What does “safe access” really mean? A look at California’s sb420

Are you aware that the words “Safe Access” appear in SB420, the state law that attempted to expand and clarify the rights medical marijuana patients have under prop 215?

Sb420 gave as part of it’s purpose, the intent to facilitate “safe access” of medical marijuana to intended patients. It hoped to facilitate and give a road-map for law enforcement to recognize people growing, transporting, possessing, cultivating, and YES, distributing marijuana to qualified patients.

Therefore, it is never okay for law enforcement to use fake id’s to obtain valid medical recommendations and (mmj recs) in order to pose as patients and try to obtain medical marijuana. It doesn’t make sense unless it is an out and out overt attempt to subvert state law. The only thing that would be okay for law enforcement to do is to not have a card and attempt to obtain marijuana which members of the medical marijuana collective knowlingly are diverting to the black market. (And quite frankly, the whole attack on a safe non-toxic plant brings it’s own level of ridiculous, medical or not).

Other words appear in that law also. These are “not for profit”. (More on that in my next blog)

sb420 gave rights to all medical patients to be allowed the right to “collectively associate for the purposes of “cultivation”. In conducting that activity, patients would be exempt from certain prosecutions under state law. These exemptions include possession, sales, transportation, and cultivation. Some experts say that since all cannabis is cultivated and the patients who are getting together to obtain or transfer it should not be subject to undue restrictions. Since it was a plant, it was cultivated.

Those that oppose the law, on the extreme other side believe that the patients must all have their hands in the dirt and be part of a group grow project. This side believes that any direct exchange of money for marijuana is not covered under the law.

Some case-law has indicated that the truth lies somewhere in the middle. In Butte County the judges stated that clearly the legislature did not believe that all patients would have their hands in the dirt, hence the exemptions for sales prosecutions.

It is a somewhat murky law. A look at the senate bill archives shows the revisions that were made to this law before it was voted and passed. Originally, stores and grow-warehouses were protected. At the last minute these protections were cut out. Leaving a chopped up vague idea of what is legal and what is not. This vagueness has helped many people to move above ground in providing medical marijuana. The ambiguities have also led to many innocent law abiding people being arrested and prosecuted when they did not even know there was an issue. Many of these people have no arrests records, and many are sick. The stresses of prosecution can make a medical marijuana patients existing illnesses much worse.

Sb420 sought to help legitimate medical marijuana patients not to face the stress of arrest and prosecution by setting up a state ID card system that would help identify medical marijuana patients to law enforcement. This card system is supposed to add an additional layer of protection for the medical marijuana patient and to make the job of law enforcement easier. It is the goal of this card system to bridge the gap between patients and law enforcement. The numbers in sb420 for weights and plant numbers are a floor not a ceiling for law enforcement to respect. This means that if a person had less than a certain amount of plants or dried marijuana, if a person holds a state card, law enforcement should not rip it up or confiscate it. The California Supreme court ruled that these amounts are not a maximum level and a patient may have what they require for their medical needs.

The state ID card is not a requirement. It is an It is an additional layer of protection to be added to your Medical Doctors written recommendation to use marijuana.

By Donna Lambert

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