Monday, August 25, 2008

AG Brown sets new rules for pot growers and clinics

Posted By on Mon, Aug 25, 2008 at 3:24 PM

This just in from Americans for Safe Access courtesy of Eric H.

For Immediate Release: August 25, 2008

CA Attorney General Directs Law Enforcement on Medical Marijuana Comprehensive recommendations include protection of dispensaries

Sacramento, CA -- California Attorney General Jerry Brown issued long-awaited guidelines on medical marijuana today with support from advocates and law enforcement alike. The guidelines direct law enforcement on how to approach encounters with medical marijuana patients and establish a road map for local police policies. However, more significantly, the guidelines provide recommendations for operating medical marijuana dispensaries in accordance with state law. Specifically, the Attorney General states that, "a properly organized and operated collective or cooperative that dispenses medical marijuana through a storefront may be lawful under California law."
The guidelines are the culmination of years of work by Americans for Safe
Access (ASA) and other advocates to educate and urge action from the
Attorney General and other state officials. "Today we stand beside the
Attorney General of California in his effort to fully implement the
state's medical marijuana law," said ASA Chief Counsel Joe Elford. "We
welcome this leadership and expect that compliance with these guidelines
will result in fewer unnecessary arrests, citations and seizures of
medicine from qualified patients and their primary caregivers." The
guidelines not only provide direction for patients and police, but also
for lawyers, judges and public officials to better understand their
rights, responsibilities, and obligations under state law.

The guidelines firmly establish that as long as patients and caregivers
are abiding by local and state laws, they "should be released" from
police custody and "the marijuana should not be seized." In the event
that medical marijuana is wrongfully seized from a patient or caregiver,
and the court orders its return, the guidelines state that police "must
return the property." Affirming that California's medical marijuana law
is not preempted by federal law, the Attorney General further directs
"state and local law enforcement officers [to] not arrest individuals or
seize marijuana under federal law" when an individual's conduct is legal
under state law.

Contained within the guidelines is a controversial provision requiring
medical marijuana dispensaries to operate on a not-for-profit basis. This
interpretation of the law comes from California's Medical Marijuana
Program Act (SB 420), passed by the legislature in 2003. However, while
the voter-approved initiative Proposition 215, the Compassionate Use Act,
references the need for a distribution system, no mention is made of
for-profit status. In prior discussions with the Attorney General's
office, ASA had strenuously objected to this provision of the guidelines.

The guidelines come at a time of escalating interference by the federal
government. The federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and
Department of Justice continue in their attempts to undermine state law
through ongoing investigations, raids, seizures, prosecutions, and
imprisonment of medical marijuana patients and providers. In response,
several California mayors, including Gavin Newsom and Ron Dellums, have
voiced their opposition to House Judiciary Chair John Conyers (D-MI) and
have called for oversight hearings. "It is now up to Congress and the new
President to align federal policy with California and other medical
cannabis states," said ASA spokesperson Kris Hermes. "It is time to
resolve the federal-state conflict that serves only to undermine
California and other states' sovereignty and inflict harm on seriously
ill patients and their care providers."

For further information:
Guidelines issued today by the California Attorney General:

Attorney General bulletin issued to all law enforcement after the 2005 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Gonzales v. Raich:


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