San Diego County Board of Supervisors, Medical Marijuana, and Waiting to Inhale

On Sunday, February 8, 2009, I attended a medical-marijuana presentation at San Diego’s Central Library. The Marijuana Policy Project showed us a documentary movie called Waiting to Inhale, and with local activists taking part, had a short talk afterwards.

San Diego County has apparently decided to not issue Medical Marijuana ID cards to patients, and it’s now been about 12 years since the California ballot proposition legalizing medical marijuana passed. F. Aaron Smith, California Policy Director of the Marijuana Policy Project, said during the Central Library presentation, that when medical-marijuana patients have an ID card, and they’re discovered with marijuana in California, they will not be arrested; while if they only have a letter from their doctors, it means they won’t be prosecuted. That’s kind of an important distinction, it seems to me. San Diego County’s decision means that patients and caregivers can still be arrested, and all the hassle that entails, even though at the end of this forceful, demeaning, and fearful process, often reportedly involving unfriendly strangers wearing black and frequently carrying assault rifles, the police victims won’t get a day in court, and presumably, no apologies either, they simply won’t be prosecuted.

So, to get their property back, they must presumably sue in civil court, and potentially wait years to see justice (if they’re dying, how likely is that?) from the greater police machine.

So much for Pursuit of Happiness.

[begin edits 2.11.09] During the open-to-the public meeting of Feb 9, 2009, one of San Diego County’s Supervisors claimed the county has won lots of awards over they years. This certainly seems to be a true statement.

I can also say I’ve known a lot of great people over the years that I’ve lived here, quite nice, generous people. [end edits 2.11.09]

Recently I watched a good friend and neighbor in home-hospice care slowly die of cancer. While he said it was legal for him to use marijuana (I don’t know all the details), he was concerned about using marijuana. From what I could tell, he never did try it, though I do remember telling him it was probably worthwhile to see if it helped. He was probably part of the Reefer Madness generation, and likely his mind had been conditioned against its use by our many generations of Authoritarian overlords. His wife, who’s still alive, said they got some Marinol pills, synthetic THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, and she said each pill was billed $30 by the pharmacy! (hmm, seems some folks are getting rich selling those, that’s a ridiculous amount of money for one pill!) On a recent visit of mine to see her, a hospice nurse was also visiting at the same time, we got to talking for a few moments, and this nurse claimed that many patients didn’t react well to the synthetic pill form of tetrahydrocannibinol.

The movie, Waiting to Inhale, claimed that with marijuana, patients are able to modulate their own dose much better than a single pill of a fixed dosage, and further, impurities in the plant may contribute to its better outcomes, and therefore general acceptance, among patients using it. The movie had a short scene that asserted patients actually feel a difference between Indica and Sativa varieties of Cannabis, clearly this is not something a single pill based upon a single-synthetic chemical could provide patients, regardless of its alleged highway-robbery retail-price.

While it’s just a guess and logical aside, I’d bet a $20 bag of marijuana would probably last most patients several days, if not longer.

During the meeting, two caregivers, who claimed to be medical marijuana dispensary operators or possibly growers (their precise function was unclear to me from the brief presentation), said that local police had been targeting caregivers, claiming that they themselves had recently been arrested. One claimed the police had taken all their property in the process, and the other that the local news media simply wasn’t covering these stories, or their frequency of occurrence. Both of them were clearly angry: so much for their pursuit of happiness and human desire for harmony.

A local activist, Rudy Reyes, said that San Diego County residents could show up at weekly meetings of the County Board of Supervisors in support of the patients and caregivers who are following the laws implemented since the passage of Proposition 215, in order to pressure the County to begin its issuing of ID cards, and to stop the harassing of dying and sick folks, and their caregivers.

From the Board of Supervisor’s meeting calendar:

A regular meeting of the Board is held at 9:00 a.m. on Tuesday and 9:00 a.m. on Wednesday of each week in the North Chambers (Room 310) or Conference Rooms (Rooms 303 or 335-A), located at the San Diego County Administration Center, 1600 Pacific Highway, San Diego, California.

Perhaps showing up at the local television media stations would also get some attention paid to the police raids. Perhaps the FCC should be required to rule that local TV stations are themselves required to cover all police actions in their own jurisdictions (not one locality covering another’s) as a condition of their licensing, the police should separately be required to video tape all arrest and confiscation actions and further be required to routinely forward all police audio-video to the local TV stations, to insure the local populace is fully informed of the truth of their own local Authoritarians. Perhaps local TV News stations need citizen review boards to filter through all this police video and to further have the authority to tell the stations what particular pieces they’re required to air. That could insulate the reporters and talking heads from the ire of advertisers.

It seems The Supervisors are on the wrong side of the law. Can you imagine a few ten thousand or even hundred thousand local folks (why not dream big!) showing up there on one of those days when The San Diego County Board of Supervisors are conspiring against the ill and their caregivers? Maybe then they’d listen to the people they’re supposed to represent, instead of promoting an ideologically-driven political-agenda that seems to represent a minority view.

8 thoughts on “San Diego County Board of Supervisors, Medical Marijuana, and Waiting to Inhale

  1. Pingback: Conscious Junkyard
  2. When should we appear? Unfortunately you don’t say when/where the board meets so we can bug them.

  3. Via TalkLeft, Barney Frank has reintroduced a bill called “Personal Use of Marijuana by Responsible Adults Act of 2009”, which MPP claims will decriminalize the possession of up to 3.5 ounces of marijuana for non-profit uses.

    I decided to sign this, as it should pull some of the rug out from under the support of our local county “leaders” apparently enacting the will and intent of an ideological minority that’s against medical marijuana. Note that this is for federal decriminalization of small amounts for personal use:

    I am writing to day to ask that you support the Personal Use of Marijuana by Responsible Adults Act of 2009.

    Introduced by Congressman Barney Frank (D-Mass.), this legislation aims to reduce the number of non-violent prisoners and free up law enforcement resources by eliminating federal criminal penalties for possession of up to 3.5 ounces of marijuana, and the not-for-profit transfer of an ounce of marijuana.

    For 70 years, our punitive marijuana laws have failed to curb marijuana use. Today, more than 800,000 arrests are made for marijuana offenses every year. 89% of these arrests are for possession, not sale or manufacture. Despite U.S enforcement efforts, our marijuana use rates are the highest of any nation surveyed by the World Health Organization, according to its most recent reports.

    Congressman Frank’s legislation is a step in the right direction. By eliminating federal criminal penalties for possession, this bill will send a message to the states that the federal government is leading the way in freeing up law enforcement resources that are better spent fighting violent crime.

    Would you please cosponsor and support the Personal Use of Marijuana by Responsible Adults Act of 2009? I will greatly appreciate your support.

    Ken Klaser

  4. Yesterday, October 18, 2009, Associated Press reported that President Obama will issue a policy directive to prosecutors that it’s a waste of time to go after medical marijuana users and caregivers or providers, provided that users and caregivers are in “strict compliance with state laws”.

  5. medical marijuana is the answer to tens of thousands of patients just in LA, SPEAK UP LET YOUR VOICE BE HEARD legalize medical marijuana, Doctors and nurses have seen that for many patients, cannabis is more useful, less toxic, and less expensive than the conventional medicines prescribed for diverse syndromes and symptoms, including multiple sclerosis, Crohn’s disease, migraine headaches, severe nausea and vomiting, convulsive disorders, the AIDS wasting syndrome, chronic pain, and many others.”

  6. The Los Angeles City Council on Tuesday gave tentative approval to a law that would eventually shut down all but 70 of the city’s medical marijuana dispensaries. The ordinance would some day close down 475 of the 545 pot stores that the Weekly has found to be up and operating. We need to speak up and let them know that it is not acceptable. They can not limit the number of dispensaries to 70 and push them to industrial areas where it is not convenient or safe for patients to access.

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