Santa Cruz Proposes Medical Marijuana Department

Santa Cruz Proposes Medical Marijuana Department
Posted by CN Staff on October 25, 2005 at 07:52:30 PT
By Shanna McCord, Sentinel Staff Writer
Source: Santa Cruz Sentinel
Santa Cruz -- Some city leaders want to sell medical marijuana to ill residents by creating a new department within the city: an Office of Compassionate Use, with a five-member advisory commission and the capacity to archive patient records.The office would provide the drug to people suffering from serious illnesses who have a note from their doctor. "I see it as a real opportunity to do something that can help people," Councilwoman Emily Reilly said Monday.
The city has long struggled with balancing strict federal marijuana laws with looser state and local laws."It's really a shame we should be in this position," Reilly said. "The people in this state made it clear medical marijuana is something we want."Reilly and Mayor Mike Rotkin, sponsors of the proposed ordinance that would create the office, will seek approval for the new department from their colleagues on the City Council tonight, but say they will only establish the office after getting approval from the federal government  something that ensures a long legal fight.Assistant City Manager Martin Bernal said no figures had yet been calculated on how much the department would cost to run, nor how many employees would be needed to operate it. But Reilly and Rotkin say it could be financed with fees paid by participants of the program.The city is struggling financially and recently cut $720,000 from its general fund.Rotkin said the idea for an Office of Compassionate Use was broached by the American Civil Liberties Union and Wo/Men Alliance for Medical Marijuana  a local cooperative founded in 1993 with 200 members that was raided by federal agents in 2002. The two groups see the proposal as a way to legally test the state's autonomy over the use of marijuana for medical reasons.California voters passed Proposition 215 in 1996 to allow marijuana consumption by seriously ill patients. However, the federal government is steadfast in viewing marijuana as a dangerous and illegal drug, and in some cases has challenged its use and distribution.In June, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that medical marijuana users can be prosecuted by the federal government.Allen Hopper, attorney for the ACLU's Santa Cruz-based Drug Law Reform Project, said the proposed ordinance is a way for the city to assert its 10th Amendment rights  that certain powers are reserved for state governments."We believe the city government, under the 10th Amendment, has the authority to opt out of the federal government's marijuana prohibition scheme," Hopper said. "WAMM figured this ordinance is a way to get medical marijuana to those who need it without the individuals being subject to federal prosecution." Santa Cruz is the first city in California to introduce an ordinance for establishing an Office of Compassionate Use, Hopper said."The Santa Cruz city government has always been extremely supportive of medical marijuana," he said. "We hope others follow suit and use Santa Cruz as a model."The city's first sanctioned medical marijuana dispensary, Greenway Compassion Relief Inc., opened in September in the Harvey West Business Park. The business is owned by Boulder Creek resident Lisa Molyneux, who says she provides marijuana for up to 100 patients a day.Molyneux supports the city operating a similar business."I'm all for it," Molyneux said. "It's probably the best way to control what's going on out there with the feds."Rotkin said he envisions the Office of Compassionate Use contracting with a pharmacy to provide the drug."I don't think anybody's upset with the idea that a pharmacy can sell codeine," he said. "Why wouldn't medical marijuana be distributed the same way?" Police Chief Howard Skerry said his input was not sought when creating the city's proposed compassionate use ordinance, and it's too early to say how the Police Department would be impacted. Source: Santa Cruz Sentinel (CA)Author: Shanna McCord, Sentinel Staff WriterPublished: October 25, 2005 Copyright: 2005 Santa Cruz SentinelContact: editorial santa-cruz.comWebsite: Articles & Web Sites:ACLU MMJ Information & Links Sells Marijuana To First Customers Shop Lights Up The Town Cruz Approves Medical Pot Shop 
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Comment #2 posted by siege on October 25, 2005 at 14:11:24 PT
ditch weed
Rotkin said he envisions the Office of Compassionate Use contracting with a pharmacy to provide the drug.What dose a pharmacy know about the growing of cannabis
and there grades to do it right they will have to go to the people that are doing it. other wise we get government ditch weed. That would make the government happy. then we will pay Black Market price for medical cannabis. 
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Comment #1 posted by dongenero on October 25, 2005 at 08:16:11 PT
medical privacy?
Why should a city government have indivuidual's medical records?Government has no business in citizen's private medical records.Does Santa Cruz have a special governmental department with medical records of those that take Viagra?How about Ambien or Xanax?......anything?
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