San Diego Task Force Issues Guidelines for Medical Marijuana Use
The San Diego Medical Cannabis Task Force has announced guidelines that would allow individuals with chronic illnesses and a recommendation from a physician to possess as much as three pounds of marijuana and cultivate as many as 72 marijuana plants for their personal use, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. The guidelines, which the City Council must approve, also would allow caregivers who cultivate marijuana for individuals with chronic illnesses to store as much as 12 pounds of the drug and cultivate as many as 90 marijuana plants (Huard, San Diego Union-Tribune, 10/15). Under Proposition 215, a ballot measure approved by California voters in 1996, patients with chronic illnesses such as cancer and AIDS can use medical marijuana to treat pain. However, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled last year that the federal Controlled Substances Act, which classifies marijuana as illegal, contains no exception for individuals with illnesses (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 9/26). The task force, established last May by a City Council committee to develop recommendations for implementation of Proposition 215, said that the guidelines would provide city residents with a "sense of how much marijuana can be legally grown and stored" under state law, Juliana Humphrey, chair of the task force, said, adding that the guidelines would not protect residents from arrest and prosecution by federal law enforcement agents. John Redman, executive director of the San Diego Prevention Coalition, said the guidelines "go too far," in part because they would allow individuals with chronic illnesses to smoke marijuana in public places, the Union-Tribune reports. Redman said that the City Council should pass "tighter regulations" on who can qualify as a caregiver and cultivate marijuana for others. The council Public Safety and Neighborhood Services Committee plans to review the guidelines today (San Diego Union-Tribune, 10/15).
Vote 'Yes' for Guidelines
The San Diego City Council should approve the guidelines, which represent "a community-wide standard that has had the benefit of full public input," Humphrey writes in a San Diego Union-Tribune opinion piece. Humphrey points out that the guidelines require individuals with chronic illnesses who possess and use marijuana to have a "verification card" recommended by a physician and prevent smoking the drug in areas with smoking bans. Humphrey concludes, "It is important to separate fact from fiction when evaluating these guidelines. ... [A]sk your council representative to vote 'yes'" (Humphrey, San Diego Union-Tribune, 10/15).