home newsletter marijuana road stops forest issues books links

war on marijuana
Marijuana prohibition has caused us many of the same problems that alcohol prohibition did: Increased crime brought on by the black market; increased tax dollars spent on enforcing the prohibition from increased enforcement costs, court costs and prison costs. All for a substance that is much less detrimental to society than alcohol or nicotine and is a safe and helpful medicine.

Marijuana Enforcement Operations (also see Medical Marijuana below)

    The Willits News has published transcripts of a debate between the three candidates for Mendocino District Attorney in a special April 3 election. See answers to the main marijuana-related questions


    Ft. Bragg attorney Meredith Lintott mentioned charging people for contributing to [the delinquency of] a minor and using the word "addicted" in response to the teenager and marijuana question. She called Rudolph Guliani's book on stopping crime one of the best she ever read and said she is very involved in mental health initiatives (all three mentioned support for mental health programs). Keith Faulder, assistant district attorney, was the first to bring up Measure G, saying it "sets the standard" with its 25 plants or equivalent. Bert Schlosser, a defense attorney, was strongly supportive of medical rights and other rights as well.


    Both Lintott and Schlosser said they were for giving 15% of forfeiture funds to community groups, indicating it was a statutory requirement. Faulder corrected them to explain that the funds go to the seizing agency, the DA and the state. Faulder and Lintott said they would consider trying children as adults, with Faulder saying the determination should be by the DA and Lintott and Schlosser saying a judge should decide the matter at a 707 hearing. It remains to be seen whether one of the candidates will be required to garner 50% of the vote to win. Faulder indicated he was ready to challenge the matter, as he did to get a special election. See polling places


    The Mendocino National Forest Law Enforcement team has received a national Director's award from the President's Office of National Drug Control Policy for their outstanding service to the nation in combating marijuana trafficking on the national forest last year. Forest Service Law Enforcement Officers (LEOs) Walt Bliss, Mike Casey, Matt Knudson and Ramon Polo received the award from Director John P. Walters in a ceremony in Washington, D.C. In 2006, the team spent over 300 days eradicating 405,399 marijuana plants from 55 illegal marijuana sites on the Mendocino National Forest. "More marijuana was taken by this team than any other group within the Forest Service in 2006," the citation from Director Walters reads. "In honor and appreciation to the individuals whose outstanding accomplishments greatly enhanced the results of the National Marijuana Eradication Initiative - your remarkable efforts have helped protect America from crime, drugs and violence," the award continues. "We could not have been successful without the teamwork with the Sheriff's Departments of Glenn, Colusa, Tehama, Lake and Mendocino counties, the California National Guard, and Department of Justice CAMP teams," LEO Casey said. "We all worked together to locate and remove this illegal use of our public land."

    The Sacramento Bee questions the Bush administration's plan to send $3.7 billion more in aid to fight cocaine trafficking in Colombia. Two days later, Sacramento police and federal Drug Enforcement Administration agents announced the largest crack cocaine bust in Sacto's history.

  • 3/8/07 - Dale Gieringer of California NORML, a frequent speaker at CLMP events and radio programs, authored a March 4 op-ed in the San Francisco Chronicle titled, "State's war on drugs a 100-year-old bust"


    A Fresno Bee story reveals the focus of the federally funded, Fresno-based Central Valley High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area and its chief Bill Ruzzamenti has shifted from methamphetamine to marijuana. In a ceremony on January 18, the White House drug czar John Walters honored the state, local and federal officers who took down Modesto's California Healthcare Collective, a medical marijuana club. Officials charge the ostensibly nonprofit collective with fronting for big-time marijuana dealers who took in $8 million.


    Ruzzamenti nominated the Modesto police officers and others who received the so-called National Marijuana Initiative awards. Walters handed out three other awards, to analysts at a Sacramento-based "intelligence fusion center," to a Central Valley "marijuana investigations team" and to the statewide California Campaign Against Marijuana Planting. With four national awards - out of a total of 15 presented - the California anti-pot efforts exceed any other region.


    The Central Valley HIDTA's mission statement avers that its goal is "to reduce the manufacture, trafficking and distribution of methamphetamine, precursor chemicals and other dangerous drugs." Over time, the Valley's big meth labs have decamped for Mexico - so agents have sought new targets. Jill Smith-Edwards, for instance, is an intelligence analyst from the Stanislaus County Sheriff's Department. She is assigned to the Sacramento-based intelligence fusion center, joining with California National Guard Master Sgt. Kevin McLeer to coordinate anti-pot efforts on public lands.


    Nine defendants affiliated with the California Healthcare Collective now face federal charges, ranging from drug possession to money laundering. All have pleaded not guilty and are free on bail. "We followed California law to the letter," Luke Scarmazzo, former manager of the marijuana center, stated in a recent letter. "We paid our taxes. We went to work every day providing a benefit and service to the community. Yet in the end, we were made out to look like common criminals."


    A report released in December by researcher Jon Gettman concludes that the market value of marijuana produced in the United States exceeds $35 billion -- far more than the value of corn, soybeans and hay. California is responsible for more than one-third of the cannabis harvest, with an estimated production of $13.8 billion that exceeds the value of the state's grapes, vegetables and hay combined and marijuana is the top cash crop in a dozen states, the report says. The study estimates that marijuana production has increased tenfold in the past quarter-century, despite an anti-drug effort by law enforcement.


    Californians consume between $870 million and $ 2 billion worth of medical marijuana per year, according to a report to Oakland's Measure Z marijuana policy oversight committee. The report projects that the state could receive some $70 million to $120 million in sales tax revenues alone if medical marijuana was taxed legally like other herbal medicines. According to the Oakland business tax office, the city's medical cannabis dispensaries reported $26 million in revenues in fiscal year 2004. Oakland's cannabis clubs pay the city an annual licensing fee of $20,000 plus a business tax of 0.1% on revenues. In addition, many dispensaries pay substantial payroll taxes. A Modesto dispensary, California Healthcare Collective Inc., reported paying $93,000 per quarter in federal IRS taxes, $25,000 per quarter in state payroll taxes, and $50-60,000 per month in sales taxes before being raided by the DEA.


    Altogether, Californians consume nearly $6 billion of marijuana per year. California NORML estimates that the state could net some $1.5 - $2.5 billion per year by legalizing marijuana for general adult use.


    Drug Enforcement Administration agents routinely disregarded agency rules on the handling of seized cash, jeopardizing hundreds of millions of dollars taken in drug raids, a Justice Department review found. In an audit published on January 5, Justice Department Inspector General Glenn A. Fine examined thousands of seizures between October 2003 and November 2005. Fine's report states that drug agents rarely counted the cash they took, often didn't provide receipts for seized money, rarely recorded the seizures in agency ledgers and often didn't ask their colleagues to witness their counting and handling of the money. DEA agents recorded more than 16,000 seizures for nearly $616 million in the period surveyed, the report states. The DEA opened internal investigations of 33 agents between 2003 and 2005, Fine's report states. Anyone with information on the DEA or the Justice Department's Inspector General can call 202-459-4956.

    Attorney General Bill Lockyer announced on September 7 that the Campaign Against Marijuana Planting (CAMP) program has eradicated 1,215,042 illegally cultivated marijuana plants worth an estimated $4.9 billion so far this year. This number surpasses the prior record of 1,134,692 set in 2005.


    This year's results build upon a six-year trend of dramatically increased seizures. In addition to large garden sizes, an increased number of deployment teams, aerial surveillance and aerial transportation of officers contribute to growing seizure amounts. The program will continue into October, and local forces are out all year.


    In 2006, counties with the largest number of CAMPed upon marijuana plants include Shasta (204,571 plants); Lake (186,327 plants); and Mendocino (114,441 plants). Over 30,000 plants have reportedly been taken in Humboldt county. CLMP has compiled a list of aircraft and groundcrew reports in 2006. To make reports or complaints, call 923-4646.

    According to the sparse information released so far, undercover police spotted 22-year-old Ryan Wilson near a small patch of marijuana plants on August 4. He ran. A Lafayette, CO police officer caught up and discharged an X26 Taser. Ryan immediately began convulsing and died within an hour. Ryan was the fifth person to die in Colorado following a Taser blast since 2002. A sixth Colorado death occurred when an inmate died following a Tasering on August 18.


  • 7/27/06 - Cato Institute's Map of Botched Paramilitary Raids in US

    An interactive map of botched SWAT and paramilitary police raids, released in conjunction with the Cato policy paper "Overkill: The Rise of Paramilitary Police Raids," by Radley Balko.

  • 6/24/06 - 24th Annual Campaign Against Marijuana Planting Begins
    Last years Campaign netted a record 1.1 million plants, three-fourths of them on public lands such as national forests and state parks.

  • 5/19/06 - California Still Arresting Marijuana Offenders

    California NORML reports that the number of marijuana arrests in California held more or less steady in 2004, according to the latest data released by the Cal. Dept. of Justice Bureau of Criminal Statistics. California reported 13,106 felony marijuana arrests in 2004, up very slightly from 13,022 in 2003. Blacks accounted for 32% of offenders; whites for 28%, and Hispanics 22%. Misdemeanor offenses declined slightly to 46,931, down from 48,181 in 2003. Juveniles accounted for 26% of misdemeanors, versus 14% of felonies. Marijuana arrests have held more or less constant in California since passage of Prop. 215 in 1996. The number in prison for marijuana has declined modestly by about 15%. The impact of Prop. 215 on marijuana enforcement has been statistically marginal probably due to the fact that medical use remains a small fraction of total use. The total number of drug felony arrests rose by 7% to 150,305, presumably fueled by an increase in methamphetamine offenses.


    Humboldt County had 148 arrests for marijuana felonies and 394 misdemeanor arrests for marijuana in 2004. In Mendocino the figures were 73 felonies and 199 misdemeanors; in Trinity there were 23 felonies and 12 misdemeanors for marijuana.

  • 4/6/06 - Assembly Bill 2673, California's proposed 'zero tolerance' drugged driving bill, was rejected by the Assembly Public Safety Committee on 4/04. A majority of the Committee agreed it is not in the best interest of California citizens to criminally punish cannabis consumers including legally protected medicinal cannabis patients who operate a motor vehicle with any "measurable amount" of THC in their blood, even in cases when the individual is neither under the influence nor impaired to drive. See NORML alert.

  • 12/28/05 - California Highway Patrol helicopter patrols North Coast skies and Vandenberg helicopter crews help seize drugs
  • 12/12/05 - Homeowner protests DEA action in Ukiah

  • 11/16/05 - Year-end report on helicopter/ground crew activity in Humboldt.

  • 9/22/05 - A general alert has been issued regarding heavy sheriff/CHP canine activity in the Willits-Ukiah-Laytonville area, particularly in gas station parking lots and on Woodman Creek Road.

    Jason Fishbain has dropped his civil suit against the CHP for pulling him over because he had an airfreshner on his rear-view mirror. Fishbain said the CHP's recent policy change recognizing medical marijuana was a factor in his decision, since that was the secondary purpose of the suit. Fishbain won an appeals court ruling in February 2003 affirming that an air freshner does not obstruct a driver's view, and therefore the stop was unwarranted. Fishbain advised others to file civil complaints immediately rather than waiting for criminal proceedings, since statute of limitations considerations were among those that lead him to drop his case. He thanked Pebbles Trippet of the Medical Marijuana Patients Union in Mendocino and attorney Joe Elford of Americans for Safe Access for their support and assistance.
  • 8/11/05 - California Campaign Against Illegal Marijuana Planting Kicks Off 2005 Season (see local reports here)
  • 3/16/05 - California arrests more people for marijuana than any other state, according to a new report from NORML (National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws). In 2002, over 60,000 marijuana-related arrests were made in California, with 47,000 or 78% of all arrests for simple possession. Humboldt county saw 580 arrests for marijuana in 2002, ranking third statewide in arrests per capita with 442 marijuana arrests per 100,000 residents. Mendocino ranked 9th and Trinity county 5th. Read More.

  • 2/1/05 - Mendocino County Adds Two K-9s, purchased with private donations and forfeiture funds. They will go on duty at the end of February, after a (publicly funded) training period.

  • 8/18/04 - Times Standard: CAMP Makes Humboldt Life Complete

  • 8/06/04 - Eureka Forfeiture Ordinance Tabled A proposed ordinance that would allow the seizure of vehicles used to solicit an act of prostitution or in an attempt to sell or buy illegal drugs was tabled by the Eureka City Council on Tuesday, Aug. 3 as the result of efforts by CLMP, North Coast ACLU and Fear (Forfeiture Endangers Americans Rights.)


  • 6/25/04 - Your License, Your Urine Legislation weaving its way through the US Congress demands all 50 states pass laws granting police the power to drug test drivers and arrest anyone found to have any detectable amount of a controlled substance.
  • 1/04/04 - Does the Nose Know: How Accurate Are Detection Dogs?
  • 8/02 - Marijuana-Seeking Helicopter Starts Major Fire in San Diego Area
  • CLMP meets with Humboldt County Drug Enforcement Unit (August, '00)
  • Asset Forfeiture (from our spring/summer '00 newsletter)
  • Warrantless Searches (from our spring/summer '00 newsletter)
  • New Lead Deputy for Humboldt Co. DEU (from our spring/summer '00 newsletter)
  • CLMP CAMP Report for 1999 (from our fall '99 newsletter)
  • Thermal Imaging Decision (from our fall '99 newsletter)
  • Consent Decree - Court agreement reached in civil lawsuit over marijuana operations in California
........ Helicopter Raid Reports

Medical Marijuana

    In Humboldt, Mendocino and Trinity Counties
    Updated 05/31/07


    Edited from an article by Fred Gardner for the Anderson Valley Advertiser

    Dr. Tod Mikuriya died Sunday at his home in the Berkeley Hills. He was 73. The cause was complications of cancer.


    Tod Hiro Mikuriya was born in Eastern Pennsylvania in 1933. His father was a Japanese Samurai who converted to Christianity, his mother a German immigrant and practicing Baha'i. Tod and his siblings were raised as Quakers. He graduated from Reed College in 1956, served as a medic in the U.S. Army, and then attended Temple University School of Medicine. It was at Temple that a reference in a pharmacology text to the medical utility of marijuana triggered the interest that would define Mikuriya's career. After getting his medical degree, Mikuriya served an internship at Southern Pacific General Hospital in San Francisco, specialized in psychiatry at the Oregon State Hospital in Salem, and completed his training at Mendocino State Hospital. In 1967 he became director of non-classified marijuana research for the National Institute of Mental Health Center for Narcotics and Drug Abuse. He left the position after several months, he said, "When it became clear they only wanted research into damaging effects, not helpful ones." Mikuriya moved to Berkeley in 1970 and entered private practice.


    Mikuriya's contention that marijuana alleviates an extremely wide range of symptoms was ridiculed by Drug Czar Barry McCaffrey and other federal officials at a press conference in December, 1996. Reform advocates promptly sued the drug czar's office and obtained a federal injunction confirming the Constitutional right of doctors and patients to discuss marijuana as a treatment option. Mikuriya became the doctor of last resort for thousands of California patients. He flew or drove with John Trapp to cities and towns around the state, including Garberville, to preside at ad hoc clinics. "It's one of the most satisfying experiences for me as a psychiatrist to be able to remove the stigma of criminality from an individual," he said after testifying for an alcoholic Vietnam vet in 1998. "Not just the self-perceived stigma, but removing the real danger of civil forfeiture and other kinds of state viciousness."


    Mikuriya was the founder of the Society of Cannabis Clinicians, a specialty group whose members have issued more than 160,000 approvals. "Tod was the mentor of every doctor working in the field," says SCC president Philip A. Denney, MD. Mikuriya was investigated by the California medical board on the basis of complaints from law enforcement officers (none from patients, and no allegations of harm to a patient). He had issued some 9,000 approvals.


    A Quaker service honoring our mutual friend will be held at 4:30 p.m. Friday May 25 at the Berkeley Friends Church, 1600 Sacramento St., Berkeley. Hear NORML's podcast dedicated to discussing Dr. Tod Mikuriya and the significance of his work

    According to the Ukiah Daily Journal, the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors Criminal Justice Committee met on May 14 to continue discussing the development of policies to regulate medical marijuana possession, cultivation and dispensaries.The committee, comprised of Supervisors Jim Wattenburger and Michael Delbar, was joined by about 50 people in a crowded county conference room to discuss options that will eventually be brought before the entire board for approval. Currently, Mendocino County allows cultivation of a 100-square-foot canopy of mature marijuana plants regardless of the number, as well as possession of 2 pounds of processed marijuana for medical marijuana patients with a doctor's recommendation. The guidelines, implemented by former District Attorney Norm Vroman and former Sheriff Tony Craver, expand upon the minimum limits of six mature plants or 12 immature plants, and up to 8 ounces of processed marijuana. "The law allows for medical marijuana, and I don't think this board is in opposition to state law," Wattenburger said, noting that the committee is meeting to "try and come up with some sensible solution to a wide-open, Wild West in Mendocino County."


    Sheriff Tom Allman, who presented at the meeting an idea for a zip-tie program to make identification of legitimate medical marijuana plants easier for law enforcement, said 25 plants seemed reasonable. If the county were to adopt the state minimum of six plants, he said the Sheriff's Office could spend all of its time doing nothing but enforcing the rule. He also advocated for a plant-count limit rather than square-footage limit, saying that officers would need to start carrying a calculator to determine if people were sticking to the allotted area. While a discussion about dispensaries was on the agenda, the highly-attended meeting with a number of medical marijuana advocates and some opponents, ran overtime and the topic was continued to June (exact date to be announced). Wattenburger asked that issues such as where medical marijuana should be grown -- for instance, distance from schools and indoor or outdoor -- be included for discussion at the next meeting.


    A U.S. Tax Court ruled that medical cannabis dispensaries can deduct expenses related to non-cannabis services on their IRS returns. Congratulations to Cal NORML attorneys Bill Panzer and Matt Kumin & tax attorney Henry Wykowski for their work on this case. The case is Californians Helping to Alleviate Medical Problems, Inc, v. Commissioner of IRS, 128 T.C. No. 14, Docket No. 20795-05, filed May 15, 2007. Copies of the decision on request from CLMP.


    A national medical marijuana patients' rights group filed a motion for summary judgment today in its lawsuit against the federal government in an attempt to accelerate a decision in the case. The plaintiff, Americans for Safe Access (ASA), filed a lawsuit in February 2007 challenging statements by the federal Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that marijuana has no accepted medical value. The lawsuit followed a two-year administrative petition process using a little-known law called the Data Quality Act (DQA), which allows parties to challenge the science used in regulatory policy. By filing the motion for summary judgment, ASA will force the case to be heard in roughly 90 days. Review the Motion for Summary Judgment and review info on the Data Quality Act and ASA's lawsuit against the federal government

    Mendocino supervisors Mike Delbar and Jim Wattenburger have drafted a resolution that would lower the number of allowed mature pot plants to six and the amount of dried marijuana a patient can possess to 8 ounces, the minimum the state says counties should allow. Mendocino Sheriff Tom Allman said it's impractical to try to enforce a six-plant limit. "This is going to place a burden on law enforcement. If it's lowered to the state minimum, my deputies this summer will not be able to focus on any other public safety issue," he said. "I won't go along with it" if elected, said Faulder. The proposed reductions also are impractical and unfair because residents of both Humboldt and Sonoma counties would then have considerably higher allowances, Faulder, Schlosser and Lintott said. It's a violation of equal protection laws as well as being a burden on law enforcement, Faulder said. "It makes no sense to have it be different," Lintott said. See more


    Calling the new Mendocino Marijuana Policy a "Declaration of war against sick, disabled and dying Mendocino citizens," a local group of private citizens, headed up by Steve Kubby, took the Board of Supervisors to task for violating the specific instructions from the voters regarding marijuana policy. In a letter, the group explained to the Board why their actions were such a threat to patients and why Measure G has already decided the issue. The group of concerned citizens is asking the Board to declare a Public Safety Emergency and has given the Supervisors 15 days to correct their illegal activities.


    On March 14, the Ninth Circuit turned away another constitutional challenge to the federal ban on using cannabis for medical purposes in the case of Angel Raich. Its decision revealed a glaring weakness in how the Supreme Court protects liberty under the Constitution. See Wall Street Journal article and full text of the Ninth Circuit decision, "Angel McClary-Raich et al v. Alberto Gonzalez et al"


    Jon Carroll of the San Francisco Chronicle had a terrific op-ed on the subject on March 19


    On the same day, a judge threw out many of the charges against medical marijuana activist Ed Rosenthal. A March 22 article in the Chronicle sums up recent rulings and says, "Last year, Drug Enforcement Administration agents arrested 594 people in the state on marijuana charges and confiscated 3 million marijuana plants, up from 359 people and 880,000 plants in 2001, according to official statistics." An addendum to the article titled, "One consequence -- end of hippie era of pot growing" says, "Over the last five years, there has been a huge influx of Mexican nationals who grow on public lands . . . Most observers say the Mexican-grown pot goes almost exclusively to the recreational marijuana business and has not yet affected the medical marijuana industry, which sources its pot mainly from old-style growers."



    On the heels of public outcries over a state plan to increase the fee charged to patients for medical marijuana identification cards, the California Department of Health Services has agreed to reduce the fee increase to $66 for the state portion of the ID card fee, which is down from the previously announced $142. The original state fee was $13, but CDHS announced it would increase the fee last December due to low enrollment.


    Humboldt County's Administrative Office moved to amend the local ordinance to reflect the fee increase. The county charges $75 on top of the $66 for cards, for a total of $141 yearly. Medi-Cal patients pay half fees.


    Ellen Komp of CLMP wrote to the Humboldt BOS suggesting they ask the state to reconsider its huge fee hike, saying, "As you know, CLMP's position is that the cards are unnecessary and voluntary; however since the Humboldt Department of Health informs me that most people in our county who are signing up for ID cards are elderly patients who need them to procure their medicine from co-operatives as protected by state law SB420, it is cruel to raise the fees so sharply. Should the state fail to lower their fees, Humboldt county could revert to a county ID card instead, or it could lower its $75 fee."


    The cost of Mendocino County cards will jump from $70 to $123 on April 1, with MedCal patients paying $61.50. Currently, 757 people in Mendocino County carry the cards, however, under Prop. 215, only a doctor's recommendation is actually necessary for legal medicinal use. "Medical marijuana cards are convenient for everybody, but it's ludicrous and asinine to even assume that these 757 people are going to go along with the program, that they're going to pay more because the other people have said 'I don't want to go along with the program' and no one's going to make them," Mendocino County Sheriff Tom Allman told the Ukiah Daily Journal. Allman said the MCSO would continue to honor current doctor's recommendations, and suggested that patients without a card have them laminated and carry them. However, interim District Attorney Beth Norman said prosecutors appreciate the legitimacy of state issued cards, which cannot be easily manipulated or duplicated. See more


    The Redding Record Searchlight weighed in with an editorial that concluded, "The ideal reform for the medical marijuana ID would be for the Legislature to snuff it out."



    Medical marijuana patient and president of the Merced Patients Group was sentenced by Judge Anthony W. Ishii in Fresno federal court on Feburary 5 for a total of 13 years, the mandatory minimum sentence. Costa was the first patient convicted at trial since the Gonzales v. Raich decision in June 2005. Judge Ishii commented that, because Costa was caught between conflicting state and federal laws, he would make special note of these circumstances for the purpose of his appeal. Costa intends to file an appeal and will likely seek release on bail pending that appeal.


    Appearing in court in a wheelchair on March 5, former Bakersfield dispensary owner Joseph Fortt was sentenced to 21 months in jail by the same judge. Fortt recently underwent a month-long hospital stay to treat a severe lung infection he developed while incarcerated. Read more



    Medical marijuana advocates Americans for Safe Access have sued the federal Department of Health and Human Services, accusing it of lying to the nation about the drug's lack of accepted medical use despite scientific studies showing its efficacy. The lawsuit was filed in federal court in Oakland a week after the release of a controlled, clinical University of California, San Francisco, study finding that HIV patients who smoked marijuana found relief from chronic pain. ASA in October 2004 had petitioned the Department of Health and Human Services and its subordinate Food and Drug Administration under the Data Quality Act, a 2000 law requiring information circulated by federal agencies to be fair, objective and meet certain quality guidelines. HHS denied the petition in 2005 and denied an appeal in July 2006.

    The California Department of Health Services has announced a major fee hike for the state voluntary medical marijuana ID cards, from $13 to $142. Counties charge an additional fee. So far only 5,631 state cards have been issued, while estimates of the actual number of Prop. 215 patients run from 150,000 to 350,000. Only 23 of the state's 58 counties currently offer ID cards, and San Diego and San Bernadino counties are appealing a court decision demanding they comply with the program.


    Medical-marijuana patients who take pot from one place to another for personal therapeutic use can't be convicted of transporting narcotics under California law, the state Supreme Court ruled on November 27. In a 6-1 decision, the court said California's medical marijuana law protects patients who transport even relatively large quantities of the drug if they can show that the amount was consistent with their medical needs and recommended by a licensed physician. Also, laws recognizing new defenses must be applied retroactively to pending appeals, Justice Carlos Moreno wrote. The case is People vs. Wright, S128442.

    In a tentative ruling made on November 16, a Superior Court judge rejected a claim by San Diego County that California's medical-marijuana laws directly conflict with federal drug statutes. The ruling was issued hours before oral arguments were presented in the case, which was joined by Merced and San Bernardino counties. "When the voters passed Proposition 215, they expressly stated that one of their purposes was to 'ensure that seriously ill Californians have the right to obtain and use marijuana for medical purposes,' " Nevitt ruled.


    "A lot of the money we receive, over $4.3 billion, most of that money comes from the federal government," San Diego Board of Supervisors Chairman Bill Horn Horn said. "And if we violate any of those statutes, we're in jeopardy of losing those dollars."


    The legal arguments centered on the question of whether states were required to fully enforce federal laws. The state Department of Justice said they were not. A final ruling is likely to be issued in December.

    Facing a challenge to SB420, which establishes limits on medical marijuana cultivation and possession and outlines a state-administered ID card program, LA Judge O'Brien ruled that "The 'voluntary' program does not take away any protections of the CSA [1996 Compassionate Use Act -- Prop. 215]

    See NORML's new report: "Emerging Clinical Applications For Cannabis & Cannabinoids: A Review of the Recent Scientific Literature, 2000 - 2006."


    A Board of Supervisors' Marijuana Workshop on July 24 "left nearly as many questions as were answered."


    On July 24, the Drug Policy Alliance filed an amicus (friend-of-the-court) brief in the California Supreme Court on behalf of leading public health organizations in the case of Ross v. Ragingwire Telecommunications, Inc. The brief supports the appeal of Gary Ross, a medical marijuana patient under California's Compassionate Use Act, who was fired by his employer after testing positive for medical marijuana he used during off-hours in accordance with his doctor's recommendation for the treatment of severe pain.


    Signatories to the brief consist of a powerful contingent of medical and public health organizations that represent a broad class of patient-employees. The organizations include the American Pain Foundation, the American Medical Women's Association, the Lymphoma Foundation of America, the American Nurses Association, the California Nurses' Association, the AIDS Action Council, the National Women's Health Network, Doctors of the World USA and the Gay Men's Health Crisis.



  • 6/24/06 - Presbyterian Church Joins Other Major Denominations in Support of Medical Marijuana



  • 4/27/06 - Medical Marijuana in the Workplace

  • 3/3/06 - Ukiah City Council Votes to Outlaw Outdoor Medical Marijuana Cultivation

  • 2/1/06 - California law SB420 established a VOLUNTARY ID card program for medical marijuana patients and caregivers, administered through county health departments. Only photos and ID numbers are sent to the state and appear on the cards, but the California Department of Health Services (CDHS) issued a Medical Marijuana Program County Handbook in August 2005 suggesting counties maintain records on patients, caregivers and doctors for 1-3 years. As a result of protests from the San Francisco and Santa Cruz departments of public health and others, CDHS sent out an update in October update saying counties must only "maintain [unspecified] records of identification card programs" and added a new section called "Confidentiality." Though CDHS didn't make this very clear, counties may decide individually whether or not to keep any of the patients' or caregivers' personal information on file, and San Francisco, Santa Cruz and Marin counties currently retain no records and patients. Counties need only keep on file an ID number and expiration date to meet state requirements and to avoid breaches in patient confidentiality.

    Americans for Safe Access (ASA) has a statewide campaign going to urge California Department of Health Services to better protect patient privacy. The Civil Liberties Monitoring Project has written to CDHS and to Humboldt and Mendocino counties, both of which are currently keeping files on patients, suggesting they adopt San Francisco's or Santa Cruz's model.


    CLMP is not necessarily recommending patients and caregivers sign up for ID cards and continues to advocate for the rights of those who chose not to register with the voluntary program. Destroying records doesn't offer total protection, either, and (thanks to an ASA lawsuit) CHP officers are instructed to "use sound professional judgment to determine the validity of the person's medical claim" if presented with a doctor's recommendation instead of a card.

  • 12/22/05 - El Dorado County Patient gets medical marijuana case dismissed and is granted court order to return his medicine

  • 12/12/05 - High Court to Rule on Medical Marijuana Firing

  • 10/13/05 - Americans for Safe Access files suit against California cities for medical marijuana dispensary bans.
  • 8/28/05 - CHP To Follow State Law on Medical Marijuana

    Patients may transport 8 oz. statewide, superceded by county limits where in place (in Humboldt patients may possess 3 lbs.)

    Officers are instructed to "use sound professional judgment to determine the validity of the person's medical claim" if presented with a doctor's recommendation instead of an ID card. See more.

  • 8/23/05 - Hearings opened in the American Civil Liberties Union's challenge to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration's policy of obstructing privately funded, FDA-approved scientific research that could lead to marijuana being approved as a prescription medicine. Read transcripts of the hearings.

  • 7/21/05 - CA Medical Marijuana Program Reinstated, but Registrants Warned Their Info Could Be Turned Over to Feds

  • 7/14/05 - California Suspends its Medical Marijuana ID Card Program

    Perhaps because Sandra Shrewy is named in a lawsuit challenging SB420 on constitutional grounds filed June 28 in Los Angeles. Prop. 215 did not require ID cards and the California Constitution forbids the legislature from altering initiative-passed laws. Meanwhile, Oakland-based Americans For Safe Access filed papers July 13 in Alameda County Superior Court seeking an injunction to halt the California Highway Patrol's policy of seizing marijuana from qualified patients, even if those patients have county-issued ID cards or a doctor's recommendation.

  • 6/06/05 - The U.S. Supreme Court ruled today that the Federal government has authority, under the Commerce Clause, to prosecute medical marijuana patients in states where medical marijuana is legal. Justices O'Connor and Thomas and Chief Justice Renquist dissented in the 6-3 decision. Opening the door to a challenge of the 1972 Controlled Substances Act, Justice Thomas writes, "In the early days of the Republic, it would have been unthinkable that Congress could prohibit the local cultivation, possession, and consumption of marijuana. . . Respondents are correct that the CSA exceeds Congress' commerce power as applied to their conduct, which is purely intrastate and noncommercial. Read the full decision

    Also see California Attorney General Bill Lockyer's statement saying, in part, "Today's ruling does not overturn California law permitting the use of medical marijuana, but it does uphold a federal regulatory scheme that contradicts the will of California voters and limits the right of states to provide appropriate medical care for its citizens. Although I am disappointed in the outcome of today's decision, legitimate medical marijuana patients in California must know that state and federal laws are no different today than they were yesterday. . . . Taking medicine on the recommendation of a doctor for a legitimate illness should not be a crime. There is something very wrong with a federal law that treats medical marijuana the same as heroin. The United States Congress and the President have the power to reform and modernize federal law in order to bring relief to medical patients and still punish those who illegally traffic in substances. Patients, physicians and the public that support medicinal marijuana should tell their Congressional Representatives and Senators to take a fresh look at the federal laws that ban its use. Take action.

  • 5/27/05 - The California Department of Health Services has launched a pilot medical marijuana ID card program as outlined by state law SB420 in three California counties: Amador, Del Norte, and Mendocino. Trinity County will begin its program in a couple of weeks. A wider state roll-out of the piloted system will commence this summer on August 1. Read more. The cards are voluntary and SB420 is under constitutional challenge. CHP, which so far has not upheld the state's voter-approved medical marijuana law, has said it will honor the state-sponsored cards. Read more.

  • 5/27/05 - The California Department of Health Services has launched a pilot medical marijuana ID card program as outlined by state law SB420 in three California counties: Amador, Del Norte, and Mendocino. Trinity County will begin its program in a couple of weeks. A wider state roll-out of the piloted system will commence this summer on August 1. Read more. The cards are voluntary and SB420 is under constitutional challenge. CHP, which so far has not upheld the state's voter-approved medical marijuana law, has said it will honor the state-sponsored cards. Read more.

  • 4/28/05 - ASA (Americans for Safe Access) has filed a lawsuit to challenge Fresno's permanent ban on medical marijuana dispensaries. This lawsuit is in response to the proliferation of moratoriums, most of them temporary, occurring across California. Read more.

  • 2/3/05 - CLMP EXCLUSIVE: Update on State Medical Marijuana ID Card Program

  • 2/1/05 - Ukiah Approves a Medical Marijuana Ordinance.
  • 3/2/05 - Fired Eureka city employee pursues Prop. 215 discrimination suit

  • 10/13/04 - California, Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi back medical pot case before U.S. Supreme Court

  • 8/30/04 - Americans for Safe Access launches statewide campaign to recoup medical marijuana patients' property.

  • 7/16/04 - Humboldt County Board of Supervisors Unanimously Approves Medical Marijuana Ordinance allowing 3 lbs. dried marijuana and 100 sq. ft. of cultivated area.
  • OPED: Proposed medical pot guidelines fair, merciful
  • 6/12/04 - Humboldt County Medical Marijuana Task Force Sends Recommendations to the Board of Supervisors

  • 3/04 - Humboldt County Names Medical Marijuana Task Force
  • Medical Marijuana Law Unconstitutional, Unenforceable (1/02/04)
  • Ninth Circuit Rules Against Federal Jurisdiction in Medical Marijuana Case (1/02/04)
  • Unanimous Federal Appeals Court Rejects Government's Attempt to Punish Doctors for Recommending Medical Marijuana (11/01/02 )
  • Medical Marijuana News (from our spring/summer '00 newsletter)
  • Medical Marijuana Update (from our fall '99 newsletter)
  • Medical Marijuana Update (from our spring '99 newsletter)
  • Medical Marijuana No Longer Contraband (spr '99 newsletter)

Operation Greensweep

Road Stops

home newsletter marijuana road stops forest issues books links