Caregiver Ruling Will Help Local Law Enforcement

  Caregiver Ruling Will Help Local Law Enforcement

Posted by CN Staff on November 27, 2008 at 06:02:13 PT
By The Ukiah Daily Journal Staff 
Source: Ukiah Daily Journal 

Ukiah, CA -- This week's California Supreme Court ruling defining "caregiver" under the Prop. 215 medical marijuana law, will go a long way to helping local law enforcement in their jobs, according to local sources. Most also say that the ruling finally spells out what has always been very clear in the law."It will make a tremendous difference," Mendocino County District Attorney Meredith Lintott said Wednesday. "It's finally providing us with the tools we need to enforce the medical marijuana laws fairly, equitably, and without the kind of vagueness which has allowed things - in our county in particular, of course - to expand into an area where the county has been harmed.
I don't think our medical marijuana patients have been harmed, but the residents have been harmed. Now we can say we support, we back the use (of medical marijuana) the way the law intends it to be, but we will not allow you to trounce upon the quality of the life of the other residents of our county."Most agree that for the patients it should be no problem."I think that this is not going to have an effect on legitimate patients and legitimate care providers," said Mendocino County Sheriff Tom Allman. "The effect we're going to see is on people who are making their living under the auspices of medical marijuana. And I don't think that's what the voters intended." The case concerned the conviction of a Santa Cruz County medical marijuana grower who was charged with marijuana cultivation and who sought a defense on the basis of being the caregiver for five different medical marijuana patients.Even though the court accepted that he may indeed have been growing medical marijuana, it ruled that he was not, in fact, a caregiver. Under Prop. 215, the medical marijuana law, a caregiver is defined as someone who actually provides for the housing, health and safety of the patient, and had that relationship before marijuana became part of the treatment."There's a lot more to caregiving than growing marijuana," Allman said.The change for law enforcement will come as they no longer have to wonder whether to investigate marijuana growers who display "caregiver cards."Allman cited a case two years ago in Anderson Valley where deputies were faced with a large marijuana garden and a grower holding 57 "caregiver cards." Under rules in effect in the county at the time, that grower could possess 25 marijuana plants for each of those cards.According to Commander Bob Nishiyama with the Mendocino Major Crimes Task Force, the law's been clear all along."I read over the decision. All (the court) did was basically look at the law and say You know, this is what the law says.' Law enforcement's been saying this for years," he said.Both Nishiyama and Lintott said judges were in some part responsible for allowing the caregiver defense to sprout into full bloom. "I think because people themselves took it to such extremes and had highly paid, well trained, persuasive lawyers and courts accepted the arguments," Lintott said. "Once the courts started accepting the arguments and expanding the law to anyone who was providing marijuana, then the DAs, the prosecutors, and the people growing start buying into the interpretation.""Hopefully (local judges will) read (the ruling) and say Hey, this is the law,'" Nishiyama agreed. "It's like I've argued ... if you want to grow your six plants at home and smoke it all up, I don't care, but when you're providing for every Tom and Dick and Harry that has a marijuana recommendation, that's when it becomes a problem for us."Nishiyama pointed out that the Major Crimes Task Force will still be doing what it is doing now. "Is this going to change the way we do business? No, not really. We're still going after commercial dealers. The reality is, if people would just read the law, it has always said that."Allman said members of his department had a meeting on the ruling and felt that it had come at a good time for the department to get policies ready for 2009. He said he'd like it if the California Supreme Court would also make a ruling on the so-called Kelly decision, in which an appeals court struck down the state's medical marijuana regulations limiting growing to six mature or 12 immature plants and other provisions. (The court has a second such case from which to rule as well.)"If it comes out before the end of the year it will give true and consistent direction to law enforcement," Allman said. "And it's not just us. People call us every day and ask us what the law is for marijuana. We have to tell them we don't know yet."Allman, meanwhile, still believes in his idea for a zip tie program, in which people growing medical marijuana as patients or caregivers would buy number and color coded zip ties from the Sheriff's Department to place on each plant. If a deputy comes upon the plants for whatever reason, the plant's legal status is easily checked. Allman would like the new Board of Supervisors to allow him to proceed with the program by giving him permission to charge $25 per zip tie. Allman used the zip ties for awhile in 2007 and said he thought they were a success."In January, the next step is to go to the board and see if they will approve the cost for us to charge for these. If we recommend the distribution, I still think it will save law enforcement time. It will allow us to do our job and not burden legitimate medical marijuana growers." Beyond the caregiver issue, the California Supreme Court's ruling also made it clear that cannabis buyers clubs are not caregivers either. Ukiah City Police Chief Chris Dewey said he got a legal brief this week from the California Police Officers Association outlining how police chiefs should view the ruling.According to the brief: "As a result of the Court's clear, distinct, articulation of who or what is a primary caregiver,' the question of whether a marijuana dispensary falls within the definition is resolved -- it does not! As is set forth in the law, a cooperative or collective can be formed to provide the needed marijuana for the members of that group. The Attorney General, in his recent guidelines, sets forth the legal basis for determining whether the dispensers of medical marijuana meet the definitions of a cooperative or collective - if they do not, they are not protected under the (Compassionate Use Act) and are operating illegally. It seems to be incumbent upon units of government, such as cities, to insure that businesses which want to distribute marijuana for medical use meet these legal requirements before issuing licenses and authorization to operate in their jurisdictions. Storefront dispensaries, which do nothing more than dispense marijuana, ostensibly for medical use, are illegal under both state and federal law and should not be permitted to operate in California."The city of Ukiah no longer has a medical marijuana dispensary in the city limits, and Dewey said that while the city has fewer of the kinds of problems with commercial growing than the Sheriff's Office faces, the ruling this week helps."It will impact people's understanding of what it means to be a caregiver. It clarifies that issue," he said. No one was available at the Public Defender's office to discuss the ruling. Source: Ukiah Daily Journal (CA)Published: November 27, 2008Copyright: 2008 Ukiah Daily JournalContact: udjrb pacific.netWebsite: Articles:Caregivers Should Provide More Than Marijuana Pot Caregivers Can Be Prosecuted

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Comment #20 posted by The GCW on November 28, 2008 at 18:27:08 PT
Appreciate the insight.
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Comment #19 posted by herbdoc215 on November 28, 2008 at 16:45:13 PT
GCW, We've even given that some thought up here?
I've thought for a long time that we need these issues cleaned up... but ALL local activist I know have been taught by experience to fear the national org's with a passion as they've been burned every time, and a new prop would require big dough as the prop 8 crap in Cali recently shown me and the one thing the industrial prison complex has is another prop isn't feasible without a major ground-shift...FoM is right next thread up, without rescheduling this current situation and laws are untenable and egregious! This is about as reasonable as the assisted suicide laws mandating we hand each patient a pistol and no instructions on it's use...both with very similar results! So I guess what I'm saying is how do we do it without it being co-opted/hijacked by some national org marching to incremental change and actually make it worse on us than it already is as that's all I've seen so far out of them? Peace, Steve
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Comment #18 posted by The GCW on November 28, 2008 at 10:57:43 PT
How about another Prop?
Another Prop. could use / devine it as a medical cannabis cultivation person or something similar, instead of "caregiver" -to help the courts stay and keep out of sick people's interests.We don't let dogs attack people, why let a court?
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Comment #17 posted by OverwhelmSam on November 28, 2008 at 05:08:03 PT
Elected Officials Embedded in Prison Business
This article from reddit is relevant to the continued marijuana prohibition by elected officials:DA says “Elected officials were embedded into the prison business and it goes all the way to the top.” Dick Chenney has 85 million invested in VanGaurd.
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Comment #16 posted by Hope on November 28, 2008 at 03:52:44 PT
Blessed, I am, to have met you all.
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Comment #15 posted by dankhank on November 28, 2008 at 01:36:06 PT
Happy ...
Holiday, Thanksgiving ...we're up and going to the fantastical 4AM Do at the local PX.we're mad, but having fun.I changed my yearly tradition a little this morning.Every morning after Thanksgiving, and a few more 'till I get tired of 'em, I have, for years, made a Turkey, dressing and gravy omelette for breakfast. I add cheddar and jalapeno. a real tasty treat. this year I made a burrito with the ingredients. try it ... you'll like it ...anyhow ... happy thanksgiving.
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Comment #14 posted by afterburner on November 27, 2008 at 21:41:39 PT
If Anyone Is Still Awake, Not in Food Coma...
Here are some relaxing Happy Thanksgiving songs:YouTube - Simon & Garfunkel - America - sweet surrender - john denver denver - rhymes and reasons
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Comment #13 posted by Sinsemilla Jones on November 27, 2008 at 14:38:04 PT
On this Thanksgiving Day it's okay to say...
Thank God for Marijuana!or the pc version...Thank Goddess, God, gods, natural selection, or the luck of the Big Bang for Cannabis!andThank all those natural and supernatural dudettes and dudes for Cannabis News, FoM and Friends!
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Comment #12 posted by museman on November 27, 2008 at 13:07:20 PT
Great to hear from you!
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Comment #11 posted by FoM on November 27, 2008 at 12:52:47 PT
It's so good to see you. I'm glad things are working out now. It's been a long strange trip we've been on but it's so darn interesting!Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!
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Comment #10 posted by herbdoc215 on November 27, 2008 at 12:31:59 PT
I also want to thank yall for being here!
Many times through the darkest moments you here were a ray of light to me...Things are finally turning around for me here in Washington, both my kids are here with me to celebrate Thanksgiving...
I've spent the last year working/helping Doug Hiatt and some really cool people here in Washington and we are bridging new ground by educating and cooperating with law enforcement to produce our medicine and being left alone for first time in many years...sure feels better than the past. This new year is so pregnant with hope and so many are holding their breathe waiting for the nightmare to end...I just pray for those whom haven't found a place to be at peace, to be safe until this last madness is over and it will be over as the writing is on the wall! 
Thank you all and never wonder if this venture is worth the time and effort so many put into's meant all the difference in the wold to some of us! Peace and love, Steve 
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Comment #9 posted by museman on November 27, 2008 at 12:26:13 PT
zip-ties, screwdrivers, and other government 
accessories.You can purchase 1000 high quallity zip ties for about $12.   a whopping expense of less than one and 1/2 cents per tie, thats a cop profit of $24,988!Who is fooling who?Reminds me of the $700 screwdrivers the US Air Force bought a few years back.If this isn't proof of the real priorities of federally-fed (as in 'feeding') government, I don't know what is. What is amazing is that some asshole cop can dictate such BS, apparently without any challenge, and the yellow-bellied 'journalists' who are so busy kissing the status quo ass for the benefit of their own 'success' have nothing to say...FREE AMERICANO FOR EVERYONE
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Comment #8 posted by Yoshi on November 27, 2008 at 11:41:51 PT:
Hemp World, Thanksgiving
I like your holiday cynicism. I'm sure there are alot of people out there today surrounded by family who wish they could just be alone.
I'll be having Indian take out later, best wishes to the Cnews community
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Comment #7 posted by ripit on November 27, 2008 at 10:07:20 PT:
why does law enforcement
think they need to charge for the zip ties? i get it that the the greedy bast#$ds want their cut but he needs to explain why they think they are entitled to profit from the sick?
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Comment #6 posted by FoM on November 27, 2008 at 09:52:25 PT
I'm sorry your day might not be what some of us will experience. Hopefully we ( CNews folks ) can bring a little joy to you today.
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Comment #5 posted by HempWorld on November 27, 2008 at 09:46:53 PT
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
You guys especially; FoM, museman, Hope, GWC, runruff, ripit, Storm Crow, and all the people I left out that contribute regularly, donegero, observer, etc. etc. I don't like making list because that means I always leave someone out. I usually spend Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years' alone because I have very few friends and no family here and my old lady is a b.Anyway no use spilling my guts, you don't want to know, trust me. It is a long and winding story that brought me to HempWorld ... (I saw the movie The Beach yesterday ... funny ...)But I'm digressing horribly:"Caregiver Ruling Will Help Local Law Enforcement" and state prosecutors make career.
On a mission from God!
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Comment #4 posted by FoM on November 27, 2008 at 09:21:35 PT

museman and runruff
I'm so glad we got to meet online and share so many things together.museman, I'm sorry. Losing someone we love is always hard but when it is around the holidays it becomes a little harder.runruff, Please give Linda a big hug from us.Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. I don't care about how Thanksgiving started but I care about what it means to me. It's a day to count our blessings and to enjoy our friends and family. It's a day to smile.
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Comment #3 posted by museman on November 27, 2008 at 08:48:44 PT

Hope everyone has a good day. Ours was a little tainted by the passing of my wifes' father yesterday, but he passed peacefully, and it was not unexpected. The family will gather today with some special prayers.I echo runruffs sentiments about the wonderful people who post on this site. I dare to believe that we make a difference, no matter how slight, and I encourage everyone to continue in the months and years ahead. Now is our moment, and it should be full of thought and action.Don't believe in 'holidays', but I believe in family. I have no thanks to give towards the original intent and meaning of this day, but I thank the Most High Father Creator for the love of family and friends.peace and plenty for everyone
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Comment #2 posted by runruff on November 27, 2008 at 08:18:42 PT

Best group ever!
My friends here on this site are among the very finest humanity has to offer. You all were so kind to me, my dear wife and little crew. We will never forget you all. I think about how some of you responded to my misfortune with love, kindness and understanding.This is why I am writing this post, to thank you all and wish you the most happy thankgiving day ever. May every holiday be even more special than the last! I know it will be this way for me because, when you are with your loved ones, many things otherwise bothersome are nothing at all when you count your blessings.God bless you all.
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on November 27, 2008 at 06:28:29 PT

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone
I hope everyone has a wonderful day. With all the bad things happening in the world, this year I am honestly happy about the hopes for our country. I guess that shows me that if you wait patiently long enough our dreams really can come true.
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