AMMA Rebuttal to Sac Police "Medical Marijuana: Fact or Farce?
Posted by pozlife on July 10, 2008
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
To “Officer Michelle”
c/o Media Relations Office Office of the Chief of Police
5770 Freeport Blvd. Suite 100 Sacramento, CA 95822
(916) 808-0808 / Fax: (916) 808-0829
Sgt. Matt Young at email@example.com
Dear Officer Michelle,
Everyone is entitled to their own opinion about medical marijuana. However, they are not entitled to their own facts.
Unfortunately, your blog essay, “Medical Marijuana: Fact or Farce?”, presents police opinions, rather than actual facts, regarding California’s historic medical marijuana law. Worst of all, you present these unsubstantiated opinions, as if they were facts, and then publish them in the official website of the Sacramento Police Department. (Source: http://blog.sacpd.org/?p=376)
Officer Michelle, we want to look up to our police and believe what they tell us. So when opinions are being passed off as facts, on an official police website, such actions are viewed as a direct threat to public health and safety by the patients, physicians, nurses, lawyers, and scientists who support our organization, The American Medical Marijuana Association (AMMA)
Although you offer an opportunity to post a response, you also have reserved the right to decide whether or not you will post it. Therefore, I am posting the response of our organization, to your “Medical Marijuana: Fact or Farce?”, on the Internet, so that you, your department, and other LEOs can be educated with real and verifiable facts.
For example, you asserted in your essay, “The pro-medicinal argument is reserved for legitimately sick people. It’s not for people who have a chronic back problem, or a torn hamstring.”
Actually, that is EXACTLY what the voters were told would happen IF they voted “YES” for Prop. 215. If you refer to the official Analysis of Proposition 215 by the Legislative Analyst, the voters were told, “No prescriptions or other record-keeping is required by the measure.” In addition, the voters were reminded by the Legislative Analyst that this initiative also covered, “any other illness for which marijuana provides relief.” (Source: http://vote96.sos.ca.gov/BP/215analysis.htm)
Furthermore, in the ballot Argument Against Prop. 215, James P. Fox, President, California District Attorneys Association solemnly warned voters that if Prop. 215 passed, it would legalize marijuana:
“This initiative allows unlimited quantities of marijuana to be grown anywhere … in backyards or near schoolyards without any regulation or restrictions. This is not responsible medicine. It is marijuana legalization.” (Source: http://vote96.sos.ca.gov/BP/215noarg.htm)
The fact is that when the People of California wrote and passed Proposition 215, the Compassionate Use Act, it was intended to fully EXEMPT patients from criminal prosecution.
Attorney General Dan Lungren even said so when he wrote his official Title and Summary to Prop. 215 and told the voters in their 1996 Voter’s Handbook:
“Exempts patients and defined caregivers who possess or cultivate marijuana for medical treatment recommended by a physician from criminal laws which otherwise prohibit possession or cultivation of marijuana.” (Source: http://vote96.sos.ca.gov/BP/215.htm
Nowhere in the official Title and Summary, or in the text of the Compassionate Use Act, does it say anything about an affirmative defense, or any limits or restrictions.
It was Lungren who fraudulently changed his official Attorney General’s interpretation, AFTER the election, from “”Exempts patients and defined caregivers” to his personal “narrow interpretation” that told law enforcement they could go ahead and arrest anyone who had “too much for personal use.”
Lungren also immediately called a statewide “All-Zones Meeting” to discuss and coordinate how police could gut Proposition 215 and ignore the new law. The gist of his “narrow interpretation” was relayed to law enforcement officers throughout California by their professional associations and through official channels.
“We will continue to provide vigorous enforcement of the Health and Safety laws as written,” declared Fresno Sheriff Steve Magarian in a January 28, 1997, training bulletin:
“This means that we will continue to arrest and seek prosecution … where warranted by the evidence, with the onus on any defendant claiming an affirmative defense … to affirmatively prove that defense.”
Lungren also met with and coordinated his attack on the CUA with federal officials. Finally, in the action plan he released on December 30, 1996, ONDCP “Drug Czar” Barry McCaffrey made Lungren’s policy explicit:
“State and local law enforcement officials will be encouraged to continue to execute state law to the fullest extent by having officers continue to make arrests and seizures under state law, leaving defendants to raise the medical-use provisions of the proposition only as a defense to state prosecution.”
The affirmative defense strategy allowed opponents of medical marijuana to achieve what they couldn’t on election day — a fraudulent interpretation that allowed LEOs to continue arresting and charging people as if Proposition 215 had never passed.
You also assert in your blog: “…federal law supersedes the voters’ decision and says, “No way,” invalidating the state law.”
That statement by you places you, and every other state official who uses this bogus argument to attempt to nullify the will of the People of California, in direct conflict with our California Constitution, the highest law in our state.
According to the California Constitution, such actions are clearly prohibited. Under Article 3, Section 3.5 (c) An administrative agency, including an administrative agency created by the Constitution or an initiative statute, has no power: “To declare a statute unenforceable, or to refuse to enforce a statute on the basis that federal law or federal regulations prohibit the enforcement of such statute unless an appellate court has made a determination that the enforcement of such statute is prohibited by federal law or federal regulations.” (Source: http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/.const/.article_3)
The US Supreme Court has had three opportunities to declare the Compassionate Use Act unconstitutional, yet they have not only refused to do so, their legal decisions have clearly upheld that the People of California had every right to pass and enforce the CUA as a state law.
Oh yes, one more fact that everyone MUST understand about the Compassionate Use Act. The California Constitution also requires that any changes to a voter initiative must be submitted to the voters of the state and approved by them. Thus, no Board of Supervisors, nor Sheriff, nor District Attorney, nor Sacramento Police Department, nor Legislature, nor Attorney General, nor Governor has the legal right to change the state’s medical marijuana law. ONLY the voters can change or modify this law.
Sick, disabled and dying patients throughout California are still being raided by SWAT teams, arrested, jailed, humiliated, treated like criminals, bankrupted, children abducted by CPS and made even sicker, because of those who are still deliberately opposing this law, eleven years after the People of California voted to EXEMPT patients and caregivers from criminal penalties and sanctions.
It is time to separate OPINION from FACT and uphold the Compassionate Use Act as it was written and passed by the People of California.
Officer Michelle, the lives of sick, disabled and dying patients are in the hands of dedicated and otherwise well-intentioned officers like yourself. Those who read your words on an official police website, need to hear directly from you that the information you gave them was wrong and is actually part of an carefully crafted plan hatched by Attorney General Dan Lungren, under color of law, to subvert a law that police don’t like.
We hope you will do the right thing and publish a retraction to your unfortunate and harmful essay.
Let freedom grow,
Steve Kubby, Director The American Medical Marijuana Association http://americanmarijuana.org/