Pubdate: Wed, 05 May 1999
Source: Ventura County Star (CA)
Copyright: 1999, Ventura County Star
Author: Jeff Meyers


Re: your April 21 article, "Officials claim marijuana ultivation exceeds
limits," and your 
April 20 article,  "Deputies seize Nagy's medical marijuana."

In the past couple of weeks I've been reading articles in local
newspapers about Andrea Nagy, whose Agoura Hills home was raided April
19 by the L.A. County Sheriff's Department. The police confiscated
expensive grow lights and a few dozen marijuana plants growing in
several areas of the house.

The newspaper articles omitted key information and included a lot of
bad information. As someone who has known Nagy since she opened the
now-defunct Ventura County Medical Cannabis Center in 1997, I'd like
to set the record straight and lay out the facts.

Fact: Nagy has a valid doctor's recommendation to use medical marijuana in
compliance with Proposition 215. Fact: She lives with her mother, who also
has a valid doctor's recommendation.

Fact: Between the two of them, the Nagys had 60 immature plants and 27 just
harvested. The 27 would have yielded about a pound and a half, 12 ounces
apiece for Nagy and her mother. That's about four grams a day for each of
them -- two or three joints, which should have been sufficient to last them
until their next harvest, three months away, if the cops hadn't relieved
them of their plants.

Fact: The amount of marijuana in the house was far below the seven pounds a
year the U.S. government supplies to its eight patients under the federal
Compassionate Use Act. The Nagys would have to harvest at least 35 plants
each every four months to equal that amount.

Fact: Oakland guidelines for each medical marijuana patient are 144 plants
and one pound at any given time up to six pounds a year. Nagy and her
mother were well below those figures.

Fact: Nagy had sophisticated growing equipment in her house. Fact: As any
horticulturist will tell you, it makes a big difference in quality when a
grower uses a 1,000-watt high-pressure sodium lamp instead of a 100-watt
light bulb to grow indoors. Fact: It's no secret that Nagy is an expert
grower. She grew and provided high-grade medical marijuana for about 60
Ventura County patients when she operated the Cannabis Center. Obviously,
she knows what she's doing when it comes to marijuana growing -- but
expertise and sophisticated equipment don't make her a criminal

Fact: Nagy is a legitimate medical marijuana patient according to
California law. Prop. 215 applies to "any illness for which marijuana
provides relief." Unless journalism schools are now teaching medicine, what
qualifies reporters -- or the police for that matter -- to question whether
her migraines are serious enough to require the use of marijuana? Neither
journalists nor the cops should be playing doctor.

Fact: Sir William Osler, one of the foremost physicians of the early 1900s,
regarded cannabis 96 as marijuana was called back then when it was legal
- -- the most effective medication for migraines.

Fact: Nagy showed the sheriffs her doctor's recommendation but they still
confiscated her marijuana and her equipment 96 although they did not
arrest her nor have they yet charged her with a crime. Their action is in
defiance of California law under Prop. 215. Police are supposed to enforce
laws, not interpret them.

Fact: The state Supreme Court only last week ordered a Northern California
police department to return plants confiscated from a legitimate medical
marijuana user.

I urge the Star to investigate the L.A. County Sheriff's Department.
The department appears to have an institutional policy of harassing
qualified medical marijuana patients, taking their plants and often
filing charges, so people have to go to the expense of defending
themselves in court.

Fact: Nagy is one of California's leading medical marijuana activists
Through her efforts, Simi Valley Police were forced to return plants they
had seized from Dean Jones and now face a civil suit. She has also assisted
other medical marijuana patients in filing lawsuits against other
California counties. I'm sure the L.A. County Sheriff's Department has not
seen the last of her.

Jeff Meyers
Ventura, Ca.
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