Medical Marijuana: A Big Mess May Get Even Bigger

As more states enact laws allowing the compassionate use of marijuana as medicine for patients with serious illnesses, they’re getting smarter about how to do it without creating a mess similar to the chaotic legal mishmash in California. Unfortunately, California is moving in the opposite direction, creating an even bigger mess.

The California Senate on Monday passed SB 439, authored by Senate President Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, and sent it to the Assembly. Steinberg says it would curb “needless” arrests and prosecution of marijuana providers by allowing them to receive “reasonable compensation for services provided,” along with reimbursement for actual expenses.

The bill is supported by San Diego Mayor Bob Filner, among others. Filner, by the way, also recently supported “jury nullification” in a prominent local marijuana case in federal court. That’s the radical act by a jury to find a criminal defendant not guilty, even if the evidence of guilt is compelling, if the jury believes the law is “unjust.”

But we digress.

The California Police Chiefs Association and the California Narcotic Officers Association warned that Proposition 215, the 1996 medical marijuana initiative approved by voters, “is very clear that marijuana may be cultivated or provided by qualified patients, or by caregivers. Proposition 215 did not authorize cultivation or distribution of marijuana by any other entities.”

“Senate Bill 439 dramatically changes that state of affairs by evidently permitting ‘collectives, or cooperatives,’ … to engage in cultivation or distribution of so-called medical marijuana. The broad reference in Senate Bill 439 to ‘any statutory business entity’ carries with it the implication that medical marijuana may be cultivated and distributed for profit.

– Read the entire article at U-T San Diego.