Oakland City Council Votes Again To Support Medical Cannabis 7/24/98

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Reprinted with the permission of California NORML

OAKLAND, CA July 21, 1998. The Oakland City Council approved the first reading of a medical marijuana ordinance designed to protect the Oakland Cannabis Buyers Cooperative from federal prosecution, and reaffirmed its support for the city's policy guidelines allowing patients to grow up to 6 pounds per year of marijuana.

The Oakland ordinance, proposed by Oakland CBC attorney Robert Raich, would allow the city to officially designate the Oakland club to enforce the state's medical marijuana law. Supporters argue that the ordinance will protect the club from a federal injunction aimed at closing the club, on the grounds that the federal controlled substances act exempts duly designated city officers.

In other action, the city council voted to re-approve the city's recently adopted medical marijuana policy guidelines allowing certified patients to possess up to one and a half pounds or grow up to six pounds of medical marijuana per year. Mayor Elihu Harris and councilman Ignacio de la Fuente had moved to reconsider the policy, arguing that the proposed limits were too high and would invite abuse.

Medical marijuana patient George McMahon, one of seven patients who legally receive marijuana through a special FDA program, testified that the Oakland guidelines were consistent with the federal government's own approved dosage guidelines, displaying a one-half pound tin of government-supplied marijuana, which he said contained his own supply for one month.

(Mayor Harris made it clear that he saw advantages in legalization, but expressed concern that the proposed guidelines were appropriate only for the most seriously ill patients, recalling a bill he had once sponsored in the legislature to decriminalize cultivation of 3 marijuana plants.)

Councilmembers Nate Miley and John Russo defended the guidelines as a reasonable attempt to protect the most seriously ill medical marijuana patients from unwarranted police harassment, saying it would not interfere with legitimate marijuana enforcement activities.

Medical marijuana advocates applauded the council's action. "This proves again that good medical cannabis policy is good public policy," said Robert Raich. "The city council has acted to protect patients as well as the public health and safety of all Oaklanders."

(To reach California NORML, contact Dale Gieringer at (415) 563-5858, [email protected].)

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Issue #51, 7/24/98 New York Mayor Giuliani Threatens to End Methadone Maintenance | Marijuana Reform Party Organizes in New York State | Orange County Medical Marijuana Distributor Sentenced to Four Years in Prison | Oakland City Council Votes Again To Support Medical Cannabis | Oppose Harsh New Mandatory Minimums -- Urge Congress to Vote Against H.R. 3898 -- an action alert from the Drug Policy Foundation | Strip Searches at O'Hare Get US Senator's Attention | Drug War Briefs | Quote of the Week Milton Friedman on Drugs | An Interview with Dr Robert Newman: methadone maintenance, and the self-inflicted wounds of the methadone establishment | Editorial: Prohibition, Punishment and Plano, Texas
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