California Attorney General Tells Police to Uphold Medical Marijuana Laws

Submitted by smorgan on
Ten years after the passage of Proposition 215, California Attorney General Jerry Brown has finally clarified that law-enforcement must respect the state’s medical marijuana law:

California Attorney General Jerry Brown issued long-awaited guidelines on medical marijuana today with support from advocates and law enforcement alike. The guidelines direct law enforcement on how to approach encounters with medical marijuana patients and establish a road map for local police policies. However, more significantly, the guidelines provide recommendations for operating medical marijuana dispensaries in accordance with state law.

The guidelines firmly establish that as long as patients and caregivers are abiding by local and state laws, they "should be released" from police custody and "the marijuana should not be seized." In the event that medical marijuana is wrongfully seized from a patient or caregiver, and the court orders its return, the guidelines state that police "must return the property." Affirming that California's medical marijuana law is not preempted by federal law, the Attorney General further directs "state and local law enforcement officers [to] not arrest individuals or seize marijuana under federal law" when an individual's conduct is legal under state law. [Americans for Safe Access]

While Prop. 215 has gone a long way towards protecting the medical marijuana community from harassment by state law-enforcement, there have been continuing regional problems such as unjustified confiscation of medicine. The new guidelines should remind police that their duty is to uphold the law, not circumvent it.

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