Thursday, October 07, 2004

California county passes sensible measure on MMJ

Good news for medical marijuana patients in California. A county Board of Supervisors unanimously passed an ordinance on Tuesday that allows medical patients to possess 3 pounds of pot and keep a garden with a 100-square-foot canopy. None of the 25 people who showed up the hearing opposed the measure.

Enrico Mellone uses marijuana in his battle against cancer and Crohn’s disease.

...Mellone and others like him who rely on the marijuana were pleased.

"This enables me to grow outside and be self-sufficient," Mellone said after the vote.

I know you're thinking that's a lot of pot.

While the allowed amount may seem excessive to the non-user, patients said that, in some cases, 3 pounds was a minimum, providing about three marijuana cigarettes per day. Moreover, eating pot, in brownies for example, can take more of it than smoking it.

Just ask cancer patient Jake Singleton .

He uses pot in an edible form, eating it about three times per day. He noted three times a day multiplied by 365 days in a year is "quite a bit of marijuana."

The guidelines were developed by a team of medical professionals.

Those doctors considered what other counties have done in setting their own guides and also gleaned information from a little-known federal program that oversees a pot garden at the University of Mississippi. Information from three patients in that program indicated that they get about 6 pounds per year.

It's a start but it's not perfect. The measure did not address law enforcement's role in enforcing the policy. There is however, precedent in other counties on this aspect.

Santa Cruz attorney Ben Rice said guidelines are also needed for deputies. "There is nothing here about what law enforcement is supposed to do when they come across a grow," said Rice, who said he had gone to court to obtain the return of about 12 pounds of pot during the past three years.

He said that is a burden to police, who have to keep the marijuana stored properly until the case is resolved.

Rice suggested the county adopt rules similar to the city of Santa Cruz, which in 2000 passed ordinance that calls for police to take photographs and a small sample, rather than confiscating the weed, when there is a question as to whether pot is for medical purposes until the grower’s status can be determined.

Short of simply making the plant altogether legal, it sounds like a reasonable solution to me.


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