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Bucolic, Sarah

Medical Marijuana States Rights

Medical marijuana is legal here in California, but illegal per Federal law. This has led to a lot of confusion
as to who can regulate medical marijuana dispensaries. I obtained my information on this topic from
three different articles. The articles are Arrests Follow Searches in Medical Marijuana Raids by Dean E.
Murphy, F.D.A. Dismisses Medical Benefit from Marijuana by Harris Gardiner, and Confusion Reigns
Over Medical Marijuana as States and Feds Clash by Daniel B. Wood. Californians voted in 1996 to
make medical marijuana legal. A Supreme Court decision in June 2005 allows the FBI to make arrests on
anyone who uses or grows marijuana, regardless if it is for medical reasons or not. Federal crackdowns
had seemingly come to a halt before the Supreme Court ruling. Once the ruling was made, Federal
crackdowns grew especially in California.
In 2011 federal agents raided and closed down close to two-thirds of 222 medical marijuana
dispensaries in San Diego. In 2006 agents raided over 20 dispensaries in San Francisco and many arrests
were made. In 2010 DEA agents raided the first person who had registered with the Mendocinos
County Sherriff department (he had followed all regulations required by Mendocino County). The DEA
then raided another person who was a huge advocate for the registration program. The DEA also made
sure to voice their opinion on what the county was doing and threatened them with legal action if they
continued to permit and register growers. The county continued with their program of registering
growers until they were threatened with legal action. The federal government then subpoenaed
records, permits, documentsetc. of the growers. Instead of focusing on people who are trying to do
things the wrong way, the government is trying to prosecute and punish the people who tried to go
about things the lawful way. The federal government is sticking to their decision to keep medical
marijuana illegal and does not want to give any leeway or let the states have their freedom to regulate
legal use in each state. They also refuse to look at the evidence submitted by intelligent scientists and
some scientists claim that the government is choosing to ignore the scientific findings and research.
The states rights advocates view it as the government not wanting to budge and ignoring any real
scientific evidence that proves marijuana works wonders for medical patients. Some advocacy groups
file petitions or file briefs to advocate and argue for letting the states regulate medical marijuana. The
federal government raids, makes arrests, and threatens local government in order to crack down on
medical marijuana dispensaries and growers.

Cultivating a court clash over medical marijuana; Mendocino County is defying federal
orders for data on registered cannabis growers.
Mendocino County is fighting efforts by federal prosecutors to get records on medical marijuana
growers who signed up for a program intended to sanction their businesses under state law.
The county's resistance creates a rare legal clash between local and federal authorities over
conflicting marijuana laws. The U.S. Justice Department has been targeting growers and
Bucolic, Sarah
purveyors of medical cannabis, and threatening local or state officials who try to regulate the
trade, saying all marijuana use is illegal under federal law.
Last March, Mendocino County officials bowed to such threats and stopped issuing permits to
grow up to 99 plants. Now county attorneys are urging a federal judge in San Francisco to quash
a federal subpoena issued in October demanding information about the cultivation program,
including applications of growers seeking permits.
Two marijuana advocacy groups seeking clearer laws in California filed briefs arguing that
compliance with the subpoena would reveal confidential medical information and bank records
and "undermine the county's considered and thoughtful attempts to regulate marijuana pursuant
to state law."
"The message this sends to people across the state trying to comply in good faith with medical
marijuana regulations is that they should operate below ground," said Adam Wolf, a San
Francisco attorney representing the two groups, the Emerald Growers Assn. and Americans for
Safe Access. "That's the last thing the government should do."
A spokesman for Melinda Haag, the U.S. attorney for Northern California, declined to comment
on the case. The subpoena does not make clear what or who is being investigated. A hearing is
set for Jan. 29.
Mendocino County instituted County Code 9.31 in 2010 to try to control a surge of marijuana
cultivation. Robberies jumped as newcomers flooded in. And with no regulation, many growers
illegally graded, logged and diverted creeks to produce huge, multimillion-dollar crops.
Some local growers wanted to "reintegrate into the county and not feel like outlaws," said county
Supervisor John McCowen. Those who registered with the sheriff had to install security fencing
and cameras, pay permitting fees up to $6,450 a year and undergo inspections four times a year.
Every plant was given a zip-tie with a sheriff's serial number on it.
Eighteen growers signed up the first year. Medical marijuana advocates hailed the zip-tie
program as the first to create a clear, legal means for growers to supply the medical market.
George Unsworth, 60, was among those who participated. He loves to show photos from the day
deputies first came to inspect his pot. "To be in a garden with them in a Mendocino forest, and
not be in handcuffs facedown in the dirt, but to be shaking hands, it was beautiful," he said in an
interview. "I take my hat off to Mendocino County."
The U.S. attorney was quick to show its disapproval. Drug Enforcement Administration agents
raided the farm of the first person to register, Joy Greenfield. Still, 91 growers signed up the next
Agents then targeted Matt Cohen, the grower most vocal in advocating for the program and
getting it set up.
Bucolic, Sarah
Despite the raids, county officials planned to continue the program. It had paid for itself --
generating an estimated $600,000 -- over two years and allowed the sheriff to focus on growers
causing more problems.
"The program drew a clear line between those who were doing everything to be compliant with
local and state laws and people who were outlaws," McCowen said. "The marijuana industry was
completely out of control, and the permit program was an effort to bring order out of chaos, and
it was working."
But county officials stopped the permitting and inspections in March after the U.S. attorney
threatened them with legal action. The federal subpoena landed in October, demanding records
of inspections, applications, internal county emails, notes, memos and bank account numbers.
McCowen said he can't understand why prosecutors are focusing on the county's registered
growers. "When you've eliminated all those outlaw, trespass growers, then come talk to us about
our legally compliant 99-plant growers."
Lawyers for the county and the marijuana groups argue that the subpoena should be quashed
because it seeks privileged information and would gut attempts to regulate medical marijuana.
They say similar attempts by the federal government to undermine state and local marijuana laws
were rejected in court.
Kristin Nevedal, chairwoman of the Emerald Growers Assn., said her members are very
concerned about the subpoena. "All these folks who got involved in the zip-tie program really
felt they were doing the right thing following state law."
Unsworth, who signed up for the program the first year, said he knew the demands by federal
authorities were coming. An Air Force veteran with multiple sclerosis, he didn't care. He said he
wanted to put his face on the medical marijuana movement and hopes the case goes to the
Supreme Court.
"Until we change the federal law, we're breaking the law. Period. We're lawbreakers."

Arrests Follow Searches in Medical Marijuana Raids
Federal agents executed search warrants at three medical marijuana dispensaries on Wednesday
as part of a broad investigation into marijuana trafficking in San Francisco, setting off fears
among medical marijuana advocates that a federal crackdown on the drug's use by sick people
was beginning.
Bucolic, Sarah
About 20 residences, businesses and growing sites were also searched, leading to multiple
arrests, a law enforcement official said. Agents outside a club in the Ingleside neighborhood
spent much of the afternoon dragging scores of leafy marijuana plants into an alley and stuffing
them into plastic bags.
''The investigation led the authorities to these sites,'' the law enforcement official said. ''It
involves large-scale marijuana trafficking and includes other illicit drugs and money laundering.''
In a separate investigation, a federal grand jury in Sacramento indicted a doctor and her husband
on charges of distributing marijuana at the doctor's office in Cool, a small town in El Dorado
The doctor, Marion P. Fry, and her husband, Dale C. Schafer, were arrested at their home in
nearby Greenwood and pleaded not guilty in federal court in Sacramento to charges of
distributing and manufacturing at least 100 marijuana plants. The authorities said in a court
document that Dr. Fry wrote a recommendation for medical marijuana to an undercover agent
from the Drug Enforcement Administration even though there was a ''lack of a medical record,''
and that her husband provided the agent with marijuana.
The raids and arrests were the first large-scale actions against marijuana clubs and providers
since the Supreme Court upheld federal authority over marijuana on June 6, even in states like
California, where its use for medicinal purposes has been legal since 1996. The raids involved
agents from federal agencies including the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Internal
Revenue Service and the Secret Service.
''We will not turn a blind eye to serious and flagrant disregard of federal law,'' Gordon Taylor, an
assistant special agent in charge of Drug Enforcement Administration office in Sacramento, said
in a statement. ''There may be those who think we can disregard the court and Congress. D.E.A.
will not be among them.''
The raids angered and alarmed advocates of medical marijuana, some of whom stood on the
sidewalk outside the clubs in San Francisco as federal agents worked inside.
''This is an affront to patients and should not be happening,'' Kris Hermes, legal director of
Americans for Safe Access, a marijuana advocacy group, said outside a storefront club that
nearby residents said was used to grow marijuana not distribute it.
Mr. Hermes said he could not say if the raids were a result of the Supreme Court ruling, but
called it ''unacceptable'' that federal agents were accompanied by the San Francisco police
because the city several years ago declared itself ''a safe haven'' for medical marijuana users.
Several blocks away, agents seized computer records, medical files and marijuana plants at the
Herbal Relief Center on Ocean Avenue. A security gate across the entrance had been pulled
open, and a lock lay cut open on the sidewalk.
Bucolic, Sarah
''They came here before we even opened,'' said Van Nguyen, 27, who said the dispensary had
been in operation about five years and had the records of several thousand patients.
A spokesman for the San Francisco Police Department, Sgt. Neville Gittens, said in a statement
that its officers ''did not take part in any investigation of these clubs or take any enforcement
action against these clubs.''
Even before the Supreme Court ruling, many cities, including San Francisco, had begun to crack
down on the clubs, which have proliferated in recent years and generally operate without
Though the authorities would not say how the three clubs raided in San Francisco were tied to
the accusations of drug trafficking, the police in San Francisco have complained that some of the
40 or so clubs in the city are little more than fronts for drug dealers.
Ross Mirkarimi, a San Francisco County supervisor who favors the use of marijuana for medical
purposes but wants the city to regulate the clubs strictly, said the raids reinforced the need for
''We do not want bad apples to ruin something that Californians and San Franciscans
overwhelmingly voted for and support,'' Mr. Mirkarimi said.
Peter Ragone, a spokesman for Mayor Gavin Newsom, said the federal investigation reinforced
the importance of ''trying to protect the legitimate uses of medicinal marijuana in the state.''

F.D.A. Dismisses Medical Benefit from Marijuana
The Food and Drug Administration said Thursday that ''no sound scientific studies'' supported
the medical use of marijuana, contradicting a 1999 review by a panel of highly regarded
The announcement inserts the health agency into yet another fierce political fight.
Susan Bro, an agency spokeswoman, said Thursday's statement resulted from a past combined
review by federal drug enforcement, regulatory and research agencies that concluded ''smoked
marijuana has no currently accepted or proven medical use in the United States and is not an
approved medical treatment.''
Ms. Bro said the agency issued the statement in response to numerous inquiries from Capitol Hill
but would probably do nothing to enforce it.
''Any enforcement based on this finding would need to be by D.E.A. since this falls outside of
F.D.A.'s regulatory authority,'' she said.
Bucolic, Sarah
Eleven states have legalized medicinal use of marijuana, but the Drug Enforcement
Administration and the director of national drug control policy, John P. Walters, have opposed
those laws.
A Supreme Court decision last year allowed the federal government to arrest anyone using
marijuana, even for medical purposes and even in states that have legalized its use.
Congressional opponents and supporters of medical marijuana use have each tried to enlist the
F.D.A. to support their views. Representative Mark Souder, Republican of Indiana and a fierce
opponent of medical marijuana initiatives, proposed legislation two years ago that would have
required the food and drug agency to issue an opinion on the medicinal properties of marijuana.
Mr. Souder believes that efforts to legalize medicinal uses of marijuana are a front for efforts to
legalize all uses of it, said Martin Green, a spokesman for Mr. Souder.
Tom Riley, a spokesman for Mr. Walters, hailed the food and drug agency's statement, saying it
would put to rest what he called ''the bizarre public discussion'' that has led to some legalization
of medical marijuana.
The Food and Drug Administration statement directly contradicts a 1999 review by the Institute
of Medicine, a part of the National Academy of Sciences, the nation's most prestigious scientific
advisory agency. That review found marijuana to be ''moderately well suited for particular
conditions, such as chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting and AIDS wasting.''
Dr. John Benson, co-chairman of the Institute of Medicine committee that examined the research
into marijuana's effects, said in an interview that the statement on Thursday and the combined
review by other agencies were wrong.
The federal government ''loves to ignore our report,'' said Dr. Benson, a professor of internal
medicine at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. ''They would rather it never happened.''
Some scientists and legislators said the agency's statement about marijuana demonstrated that
politics had trumped science.
''Unfortunately, this is yet another example of the F.D.A. making pronouncements that seem to
be driven more by ideology than by science,'' said Dr. Jerry Avorn, a medical professor at
Harvard Medical School.
Representative Maurice D. Hinchey, a New York Democrat who has sponsored legislation to
allow medicinal uses of marijuana, said the statement reflected the influence of the Drug
Enforcement Administration, which he said had long pressured the F.D.A. to help in its fight
against marijuana.
A spokeswoman for the Drug Enforcement Administration referred questions to Mr. Walters's
Bucolic, Sarah
The Food and Drug Administration's statement said state initiatives that legalize marijuana use
were ''inconsistent with efforts to ensure that medications undergo the rigorous scientific scrutiny
of the F.D.A. approval process.''
But scientists who study the medical use of marijuana said in interviews that the federal
government had actively discouraged research. Lyle E. Craker, a professor in the division of
plant and soil sciences at the University of Massachusetts, said he submitted an application to the
D.E.A. in 2001 to grow a small patch of marijuana to be used for research because government-
approved marijuana, grown in Mississippi, was of poor quality.
In 2004, the drug enforcement agency turned Dr. Craker down. He appealed and is awaiting a
judge's ruling. ''The reason there's no good evidence is that they don't want an honest trial,'' Dr.
Craker said.
Dr. Donald Abrams, a professor of clinical medicine at the University of California, San
Francisco, said he had studied marijuana's medicinal effects for years but had been frustrated
because the National Institutes of Health, the leading government medical research agency, had
refused to finance such work.
With financing from the State of California, Dr. Abrams undertook what he said was a rigorous,
placebo-controlled trial of marijuana smoking in H.I.V. patients who suffered from nerve pain.
Smoking marijuana proved effective in ameliorating pain, Dr. Abrams said, but he said he was
having trouble getting the study published.
''One wonders how anyone'' could fulfill the Food and Drug Administration request for well-
controlled trials to prove marijuana's benefits, he said.
Marinol, a synthetic version of a marijuana component, is approved to treat anorexia associated
with AIDS and the nausea and vomiting associated with cancer drug therapy.
GW Pharmaceutical, a British company, has received F.D.A. approval to test a sprayed extract of
marijuana in humans. Called Sativex, the drug is made from marijuana and is approved for sale
in Canada. Opponents of efforts to legalize marijuana for medicinal uses suggest that marijuana
is a so-called gateway drug that often leads users to try more dangerous drugs and to addiction.
But the Institute of Medicine report concluded there was no evidence that marijuana acted as a
gateway to harder drugs. And it said there was no evidence that medical use of marijuana would
increase its use among the general population.
Dr. Daniele Piomelli, a professor of pharmacology at the University of California, Irvine, said he
had ''never met a scientist who would say that marijuana is either dangerous or useless.''
Studies clearly show that marijuana has some benefits for some patients, Dr. Piomelli said.
''We all agree on that,'' he said.
Bucolic, Sarah

Murphy, Dean E. "Arrests Follow Searches in Medical Marijuana Raids." New York Times, Jun 23, 2005. Accessed September 10, 2014.

Gardiner, Harris. "F.D.A. Dismisses Medical Benefit from Marijuana." New York Times, Apr 21, 2006. Accessed September 10, 2014.

Wood, Daniel B. "Confusion Reigns Over Medical Marijuana as States and Feds Clash." The Christian
Science Monitor, Dec 13, 2011.
Accessed September 10, 2014.