The compassionate thing to do.
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From: Peter Langston <psl>
Date: Wed, 29 Mar 100 13:41:52 -0800
Subject: The compassionate thing to do.
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Santa Cruz pot ordinance allows medical marijuana without prescription
MARTHA MENDOZA, Associated Press Writer
Wednesday, March 29, 2000
Breaking News Sections
(03-29) 02:21 EST SANTA CRUZ, Calif. (AP) -- Sick people who think marijuana
will improve their health can now spark up legally in Santa Cruz -- even
without a doctor's prescription.
The Santa Cruz City Council gave unanimous approval Tuesday to a new
ordinance modeled on an Oakland law that was successfully defended in court.
"This is the compassionate thing to do," said City Councilman Mike Rotkin,
who cosponsored the ordinance, expected to take effect in early May.
The law says that people who are being treated for cancer, anorexia, AIDS,
chronic pain, spasticity, glaucoma, arthritis, migraine headaches "or any
other illness for which marijuana provides relief" will be allowed to grow
and use pot.
The ordinance specifies that the marijuana must be organic.
The lack of a requirement for prescriptions is a way to get around federal
laws that ban doctors from prescribing pot. Doctors risk losing their
medical licenses if convicted.
In 1996, state voters -- including 74 percent of those in Santa Cruz --
approved an initiative allowing medicinal marijuana.
But medical marijuana clubs in Santa Cruz and a handful of California cities
that opened after the 1996 law's passage were soon shut down by the U.S.
Justice Department under federal anti-drug laws. Since then, several cities
have passed ordinances to try to implement the state law.
In Santa Cruz, city attorney John Barisone and former O.J. Simpson defense
attorney Gerald F. Uelman helped shape the new ordinance to withstand
"The federal government has placed us in this huge contradiction," said
Rotkin. "It's insane."
More than 100 residents -- many with AIDS and cancer -- came to the City
Council meeting to offer support and testify. Local Chamber of Commerce
and law enforcement officials also support the law.
"I look forward to a future where people who use this herb to stay healthy
will not be targeted anymore," said Theodora Kerry, a longstanding local
proponent of medical marijuana and industrial hemp, which is banned because
of its similarity to marijuana.
Mimi Carroll, who has lost all her hair during chemotherapy treatments for
ovarian cancer, said drinking marijuana in a milk form helps her with
nausea, pain and emotional stress.
"People think we just want to sit around and smoke dope, but that's not
what's going on," she said. "We're talking about very sick people receiving
legal medication that helps them feel better."
The ordinance requires city officials to recognize membership cards for a
medical marijuana provider association as well as certificates given to
growers of medical marijuana.
© 2000 Peter Langston