MEDICAL MARIJUANA IN THE NEWS ASA’s Media Summary for the Week ending 9/14 ASA ACTION: Defense of Patient

Collectives Advances
Butte County, California has tried to limit patients’ ability to organize as collectives, but ASA is fighting that in court, arguing that county policy does not conform with state law. A win for patients would mean that the most seriously ill would have better access, since the policy being challenged prevents those who cannot actively participate in a growing collective from receiving medicine from it. Ruling allows medical pot lawsuit to proceed by Terry Vau Dell, Chico Enterprise-Record A Superior Court judge has ruled law enforcement response toward medical marijuana co-operatives or collectives in Butte County is out of step with state law. Joe Elford, chief counsel for Americans for Safe Access, the medical marijuana advocacy group that filed the lawsuit, cheered the pretrial ruling.

DISPENSARIES: Kern and San Mateo Counties Hear from Patients
Recent federal raids in both Kern and San Mateo counties have created a crisis of access for many patients in those communities. Local officials are being asked to stand up for their constituents and find ways to ensure the safe access that state law says is a patient’s right. ASA activists in San Mateo were instrumental in getting their local representatives to look at the issue, calling council members and supervisors, sending hundreds of e-mails, and organizing activists to testify at meetings. Medical pot advocates ask county to help by Jason Kotowski, Bakersfield Californian Medical marijuana advocates packed Tuesday night's meeting of the Kern County Human Relations Commission to ask the county to intercede and protect pot dispensaries. Life's been tough since every medical marijuana dispensary in the county closed after federal drug raids at one of the shops, advocates told the commission. Kern County Human Relations Meeting to discuss medical pot KGET - TV Local medical marijuana patients plan to speak out about the recent raids that shut down several dispensaries around town.

San Mateo County may regulate pot dispensaries by Michael Manekin, San Mateo County Times (CA) Two weeks after the DEA raided three San Mateo medical marijuana dispensaries that the county district attorney said violated state law, the County Counsel's office is preparing guidelines for the distribution of medical marijuana. Advocates urge San Mateo to adopt pot resolution by Michael Manekin, San Mateo County Times (CA) Medical marijuana patients and advocates, upset over the federal raid and shutdown of three medical cannabis dispensaries in downtown San Mateo last week, turned out en masse for a Tuesday night San Mateo City Council meeting. Laguna Hills approves ban on medical marijuana dispensaries by Alejandra Molina, Orange County Register (CA) Laguna Hills leaders on Tuesday passed a permanent ban on medical marijuana dispensaries.

CALIFORNIA: Collective Garden Uprooted, Patient Protests
At least one patient has stepped forward to publicly protest the destruction of a cannabis garden in Northern California, saying six of the 100 plants were his. Under state guidelines, all counties must allow any qualified medical marijuana patient to cultivate at least six mature plants. Many patients band together to grow their medicine at common locations for better management of the plants. Agents destroy pot garden; user says drug prescribed by Ryan Sabalow, Redding Searchlight-Record Federal agents raided a 100-plant garden on property along Backbone Ridge near here Wednesday, outraging at least one area man who claims the feds destroyed his medicinal marijuana, which is legal under California law.

ILLINOIS: Senator’s Support for Medical Marijuana Lacks Action
When Illinois Senator Richard Durbin, who holds the key leadership position of Assistant Majority Leader, stated his support for legal access to medical marijuana, many patients and advocates took heart. But at least one editorial board wondered why Congress continues to authorize raids on medical marijuana patients and those who care and provide for them. Medicinal marijuana laws far too hazy EDITORIAL, Daily Illini In an interview with the Associated Press last week, Illinois Senator Dick Durbin

came out in favor of changing federal law to allow physicians to prescribe medicinal marijuana to their patients. While Durbin reiterated that this is not exactly high on his priority list and that he has no specific plans to bring it up in Washington, one wonders how much the federal government needs to be involved in the first place.

FEDERAL: Why Conservatives Should Defend Medical Marijuana
The Republican Party’s turn toward Federalist principles of state sovereignty and a more limited central government has had effects on many areas of American life. But not all are enthusiastic about defending state laws that protect medical marijuana patients from being jailed for following their doctors’ advice. This commentator notes a curious lack of consistency. Federalism should extend to marijuana raids by Radley Balko, If ever there were an issue for which federalism would seem to be an ideal solution, it’s the medical marijuana issue, which touches on crime, medical policy, privacy and individual freedom — all the sorts of values-laden areas of public policy that states are best equipped to deal with on a case-by-case basis, and for which a onesize-fits-all federal policy seems particularly clunky and ill-suited.

RHODE ISLAND: More Patients Served in Law’s Second Year
The scientific consensus about the therapeutic potential of cannabis is compelling, but nothing shows better than the experience of patients the importance of making access to medical marijuana safe and legal, as Rhode Island has done. The patient perspective is conveyed particularly well in this week’s article from the Providence Journal. For more than 300 Rhode Islanders, marijuana provides legal relief by Amanda Milkovits, Providence Journal (RI) Rhode Island's new state law, called the Edward O. Hawkins and Thomas C. Slater Medical Marijuana Act, allows patients with debilitating medical conditions, such as cancer, HIV and multiple sclerosis, to possess up to 12 marijuana plants and 2.5 ounces of marijuana. As of early last month, 302 patients and 316 caregivers were enrolled in the program, according to the state Department of Health. A total of 149 physicians in Rhode Island have referred patients to the program. Patients Say Marijuana Law a Success Associated Press Medical marijuana users say Rhode Island's law leaves gray areas, but they're

content nonetheless.

COLORADO: Activist-Patient Lobbies for Support
One of the medical marijuana patients active in the Frontrange chapter of ASA has been pressuring medical organizations to support safe access. The ASA activist has also petitioned the Colorado health department to expand the list of conditions for which cannabis may be legally recommended. Local man tangles with American Cancer Society, police in his campaign to promote medical marijuana by J. Adrian Stanley, Colorado Springs Independent American Cancer Society officials didn't waste any time removing medical marijuana activist Matthew Schnur from their local event in August.

FEDERAL: Lies to Doctor Backfire on DEA
When undercover federal agents were turned away from a California medical marijuana dispensary because they did not have valid doctors’ recommendations, the DEA fabricated identities and medical conditions for them, so they could trick a local cannabis specialist into giving them recommendations the dispensary could verify. When the DEA then raided the dispensary and the doctor discovered that he’d been duped, he filed suit, alleging the government had violated the US Supreme Court’s Conant decision, which protects doctors who recommend cannabis from federal interference. Doctor's suit progresses: Judge decides First Amendment suit in pot sting has merit by Ryan Sabalow, Redding Record Searchlight A federal judge rejected a government move to throw out a First Amendment lawsuit filed by a Redding doctor caught up in a sting against a local medical marijuana dispensary. Will Snoops Get Stopped? by Fred Gardner , CounterPunch U.S. District Judge Lawrence K. Karlton has denied the Drug Enforcement Administration's motion to dismiss a civil suit brought by Philip A. Denney, MD. The case will be tried in June 2008 in Sacramento. Denney is seeking to enjoin government agents from infiltrating a medical practice under false pretenses.

CALIFORNIA: Another County Implements ID Cards

In 2003, the California legislature directed county health departments to provide medical marijuana patients who want them with ID cards that both protect them from arrest and allow law enforcement to better identify qualified patients. But there was no deadline for when the ID cards should be made available, so some counties have been slower than others to get with the program. Monterey County Begins Distribution Of Medical Marijuana Cards The KSBW Channel Medical marijuana cards are now available in Monterey County. Monterey County joined the statewide medical marijuana identification card program for those who have a doctor's note to use the drug.

CANADA: Health Officials Try to Limit Doses
Doctors and medical marijuana patients in Canada are under pressure from federal officials to limit the amounts being prescribed and used. One patient notes that officials never asked about her prescriptions for heroin or cocaine they way they are going after her cannabis use. New dosage limits for medical marijuana: But where's the science? by Pauline Comeau, Canadian Medical Association Journal New evidence-based guidelines are urgently needed to help doctors negotiate Canada's hazy medical marijuana landscape, particularly in light of Health Canada's efforts to impose new dose limits, say the nation's leading cannabis researcher and doctors who have been queried about their marijuana authorizations.

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