SUPERVISORS RIGHT TO QUESTION MEDICAL MARIJUANA
As members of the San Diego County Board of Supervisors, we recently voted to clarify the laws surrounding implementation of Proposition 215, an initiative authorizing medical marijuana identification cards.
State law says the sale of marijuana to medicinal users is legal. Federal law says it is illegal. My colleagues and I on the board voted not to distribute user cards. Later we voted to challenge state implementation of the law.
The courts will now decide whether federal law pre-empts or supersedes state law. That's the clarification we need. Holding a card may give medicinal users a false sense that what they are doing is legal. Additionally, the board might very well be in violation of federal law if we distribute the cards.
Tuesday's troublesome events shed more light on this issue. Federal agents executed search warrants on 13 medical marijuana dispensaries in the cities of San Diego and San Marcos. Since the latter city was once known to law enforcement officials and newspapers as the Methamphetamine Capital of the World, the proliferation of marijuana dispensaries there should make anyone sit up and take notice. Apparently, marijuana, easy to grow and cost-efficient, and now tacitly "legal," is a more lucrative trade. For there to be 13 illegal dispensaries already in business begs the question, where's the oversight?
Most telling was that a state judge issued the warrants and federal agents raided the dispensaries. This is precisely the quandary about mixed authority that prompted the Board of Supervisors to seek clarification of this issue.
Should you have any remaining questions about the effect of medical marijuana dispensaries on law enforcement and our neighborhoods, I urge you to discuss them with the sheriff and other law enforcement officials. Our public safety agencies have a tremendous problem with these outlets.
Frankly, if this was really a legally approved drug you would go to a pharmacy to buy your prescription.
In closing, the state has at its disposal many ways to issue medical marijuana ID cards. For instance, driver's licenses or Medi-Cal cards could be altered to signify allowed use.
Establishing political cover by forcing local governments to challenge state law is not the answer.
Pam Slater-Price is chairwoman of the county government's Board of Supervisors.
North County Times (Escondido, CA)
Copyright: 2005 North County Times
Note: Pam Slater-Price is chairwoman of the county government's Board
of Supervisors. (
Cited: San Diego County Board of Supervisors