Pubdate: Fri, 23 Jul 1999
Source: San Francisco Examiner (CA)
Copyright: 1999 San Francisco Examiner
Author: Dale H. Gieringer


Your editorial about Proposition 215 ("Fixing compassion," July 19)
unfairly libels medical marijuana buyers' clubs as unscrupulous pushers and
thugs. Whatever their faults, the clubs have served as the only recourse
for thousands of suffering patients unjustly victimized by the government's
continued ban on medical marijuana.

To be sure, there have been abuses. Most notably, Dennis Peron's San
Francisco Cannabis Buyers' Club was closed due to lax admission procedures
despite the fact that an audit by independent researchers found that 90
percent of the club's members were seriously ill patients.

Virtually all other leading clubs in the state have worked conscientiously
to institute careful validation procedures, in cooperation with local
government wherever possible.

While dozens of self-declared medical providers have been arrested for
alleged marijuana offenses, none could be categorized as "drug pushers" in
the same league as the corporate drug dealers who routinely advertise,
promote and mass-market their wares through the media.

Nor could any remotely be categorized as "thugs" (certainly not Peron,
whose club was a haven for safe and peaceable marijuana use).

For thuggery, one should look to the many rogue drug cops who have
continued to arrest and persecute patients in flagrant disregard of Prop. 215.

It is to be hoped that abuses of this sort will be curbed by state Sen.
John Vasconcellos' and Attorney General Bill Lockyer's legislation.

An even more effective solution would be to simply legalize adult use of

Although you are right to note that this is opposed by most Californians,
it has been explicitly endorsed by the voters of San Francisco and Berkeley.

Dale H. Gieringer
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