State: Pot Can't Be Certified Organic

  State: Pot Can't Be Certified Organic

Posted by CN Staff on March 04, 2005 at 09:33:51 PT
By Glenda Anderson, The Press Democrat 
Source: Press Democrat 

Mendocino County may be pot friendly, but it cannot provide its seal of approval to organic marijuana grown for medicinal use. In a curt letter sent this week, the state Department of Food and Agriculture forbade the county from certifying organic pot or regulating the crop in any way. However, another state agency said it's probably safe for county agriculture officials to advise individual pot growers on pesticide use.
The mixed messages demonstrate the erratic application of the 1996 California law legalizing medicinal marijuana.But the answers satisfied Mendocino County ag regulators, who sought guidance from the state last month after receiving several requests from local medical-marijuana growers for organic certification, a service the county can provide to growers of other legal crops.Mendocino County Agricultural Commissioner Dave Bengston asked state regulators if his office should certify organic medical marijuana and regulate the crop to protect consumers from dangerous pesticides.In addition, the county asked whether it should regulate medical-marijuana growers and inspect their crops, as it does for vineyards, pear orchards and other legal farm products.It raised the question after a dozen people brought their medical pot-growing problems and pesticide concerns to the department in the past year, according to Assistant Agricultural Commissioner Tony Linegar.But the state Agriculture Department ruled the county has no business regulating medical pot growers."This department and you as our agent do not certify, register, etc., illegal activities. Either growing or sale of marijuana violates federal law (even the growth of one marijuana plant) and that is a federal issue not one within the purview of this department or you," John Dyer, chief counsel to the state Agriculture Department, wrote in a Feb. 28 letter to the county.Medical marijuana activists, who supported pot certification, on Wednesday criticized the department's missive.It's a case of "cowardly bureaucrats hiding behind federal law," said Dale Gieringer, Bay Area coordinator for the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.It also shows that inconsistencies continue to plague efforts to implement Proposition 215 more than eight years after it was approved by voters, he said.The 1996 initiative legalized the growth and use of marijuana for treatment of health problems, with a doctor's approval.An official at the state Agriculture Department declined to explain the decision."The letter is our statement," said Steve Lyle, the department's public affairs director.In contrast to the Agriculture Department, the state Department of Health Services this year will begin an identification card program intended to protect medical pot patients from being arrested or their plants confiscated by authorities.And, in response to a similar letter from Bengston, the state Department of Pesticide Regulation said it was probably legal for the office to advise individual medical pot growers on pesticide use.However, the state urged Bengston to steer clear of advising cannabis clubs, which sell medical marijuana.The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld a portion of California's law that allows individuals to grow and possess medical marijuana, wrote Mary-Ann Warmerdam, director of pesticide regulation. But she cautioned that it is illegal to commercially sell and distribute medicinal pot.Any pesticide advice given to medical pot growers will be limited to telling them not to use any, Linegar said.He noted Warmerdam confirmed his belief there are no pesticides that can be legally used on marijuana.Regardless of the state Agriculture Department's edict, Linegar said his department is mandated by law to investigate all potential pesticide poisonings."If we can collect evidence and prove there is an illegal use of pesticides resulting in illness, that certainly would be subject to enforcement action, including a fine," he said.Though he was expecting a longer response, Linegar said the Agriculture Department's three-sentence letter adequately answered his and Bengston's questions."We asked for a clear and concise response in writing. We believe the response we received is very clear and very concise and leaves no doubt in our minds how to proceed," he said.Mendocino County can advise on pesticide use.Source: Press Democrat, The (CA)Author: Glenda Anderson, The Press DemocratPublished: Thursday, March 3, 2005Copyright: 2005 The Press DemocratContact: letters pressdemo.comWebsite: Articles & Web Site:California NORML County Mulls Organic Pot Veggies, Wine - Why Not Pot?

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Comment #13 posted by Hope on March 04, 2005 at 15:32:30 PT
There have been too many horror stories
out of Canada for me to believe any one remotely like the fictional Dudley Do Right serves the RCMP.Gil Puder, maybe...but he's with us only in memory.
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Comment #12 posted by Hope on March 04, 2005 at 15:29:31 PT
I sure would like to hear from him right now. I fear for him.
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Comment #11 posted by Dankhank on March 04, 2005 at 14:16:07 PT
Dudley Do Right?
The first time Steve Kubby was arrested in Canada after moving there the phone number of his jailers was available and concerned citizens of two countries, or many more due to the internet, were encouraged to call the jail and communicate concern for Steve, to free him, or not to hold him more than three days, or let him medicate.I called the jail, reached a policeman, communicated my concern clearly, succinctly and calmly. He never spoke again after answering the phone, merely chuckling continuosly while I spoke. Of course he is only one evil man, but his total lack of any courtesy astounded me as I remember Dudley Do Right, too.Dudleys may be outnumbered these days by hateful prohibitionists ... alas ......
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Comment #10 posted by siege on March 04, 2005 at 13:10:05 PT
 Max F
In reguard to 
Why do they do it that way?
It is to keep it out of the AP and TV and papers and to lead the people into a false beliefs of safeties. and to keep the rest of us in the dark about what they are doing.
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Comment #9 posted by FoM on March 04, 2005 at 11:37:55 PT
You know something. I feel bad for you about this shooting in Canada. Guns and violence haven't been a big part of Canada. You have always been a peaceful people and this must really hurt. When I think of Canadian Police I always think of Dudley Do Right and the skit from That 70s Show where they tried to bring beer back over the border and got caught. It was so funny. When I saw about the shooting on News World International and they interviewed some of your police that looked like nice guys to me. They didn't look like our mean police look down here. Hang in there friend.
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Comment #8 posted by FoM on March 04, 2005 at 11:27:22 PT
Max Flowers 
You're welcome. Sometimes I think all the smart people live in California. I'm only kidding but your state is always way out in front of any other state when it comes to controversial issues. I personally feel I owe a lot to the people of California.
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Comment #7 posted by Max Flowers on March 04, 2005 at 11:07:27 PT
My guess is that with the huge story about the killed mounties, editors thought the smaller story not worth running.
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Comment #6 posted by afterburner on March 04, 2005 at 10:54:58 PT
Max, I Agree
The "forever" part is a bit of hyperbole to impress on the prohibitionists, that if they never give up, the battle will go on forever because all the activists will NEVER die off.Plus, on your previous post, a "grow-op" in Hamilton, Ontario, was busted yesterday or the day before. It was reported only briefly on the radio. The Hamilton Spectator newspaper had no story about it yesterday or today, even with a front page headline about a supposedly related story in Alberta: "MOUNTIES SLAIN IN DRUG RAID" [sic], full width of page, about half the height of the newspaper title itself.
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Comment #5 posted by Max Flowers on March 04, 2005 at 10:33:41 PT
I don't agree it will be forever. You forget that we are racheting up the pressure continuously while the feds grow ever weaker in their legal position. In my view, a bad decision on Raich is going to shock and enrage, not intimidate, the people. It will show nakedly the corruption of the justices' judgment.
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Comment #4 posted by Max Flowers on March 04, 2005 at 10:27:43 PT
Breaking news (not even on the wire yet?)
I just heard that in Guerneville (Sonoma County, Russian River area), a club there was just raided by DEA a couple of days ago. They were a small, low key one and that's one reason this is disturbing. I would have expected it to be a big high profile one. It happened so fast they were not able to organize a protest is what I heard. And I want to know why they do it the way they do, waiting a long time and letting things go on and then all of a sudden, boom they hit a single one and back off again. Why do they do it that way? Are their resources so small? Or do they lack the nerve to go after slow, sick people on a weekly basis?Thanks FoM for comment 2. Whether we like it or not, California is and has been out in front in this fight. There are so damn many of us here... 
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Comment #3 posted by afterburner on March 04, 2005 at 10:21:58 PT
This Nonsense Is Exactly What Raich v. Ashcroft...
is about. If the US Supreme Court follows case law and Constitutional precedent, they will rule in favor of Angel Raich. Then, the Nonsense will eventually stop as law enforcement and government bureaucrats will no longer be able to play hide-and-seek behind the federal Controlled Substances Act. If the Supreme Court Justices give up their judicial prerogative and knuckle under to the federal legislative and executive overreach, then the Nonsense will continue unabated across the USA, until all activists have died off and all court challenges have ceased. In other words, FOREVER!
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Comment #2 posted by FoM on March 04, 2005 at 09:59:56 PT

Just a Comment
I really appreciate activists from California. They know how to think outside the box and make an issue when most people wouldn't have even thought along those lines. California activists are the leaders of the medical marijuana movement and I just want to thank them today.

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Comment #1 posted by Max Flowers on March 04, 2005 at 09:49:38 PT

Is there a lawyer in the house?
Isn't it illegal and a violation of the state Constitution for an officer of the state to ignore a health issue under his jurisdiction in favor of federal law? What's wrong with this picture? Can't he get in *any* trouble for that??These little wormy bureaucrats need to stop licking the boots of the feds and start doing their jobs. What creeps and traitors to the state they all are!
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