SANTA CRUZ's Tight Medical Pot Rules Protect Users

Discussion in 'Politics' started by tharms5, Jul 4, 2009.

  1. Santa Cruz, CA - A state appeals court in Sacramento this week ruled that medical marijuana patients can sue over raids by local law enforcement, but county authorities aren't too worried as local rules spell out when and where such raids are allowed.

    “It's the sheriff's department's policy to protect medical marijuana patients,” said Sgt. Mark Yanez with the Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Office. However, he said, when patients break rules or use their medical cards to cover up illegal drug sales, his department still cracks down.

    Wednesday's ruling came from the 3rd District Court of Appeals in Sacramento, and addressed a Butte County lawsuit filed after a sheriff's deputy there ordered a member of a medical marijuana collective to destroy three-quarters of the more than 40 plants on his property or be arrested, according to media reports.

    The man complied, then sued for damages against the county and the deputy. Wednesday's decision gave the man permission to carry his case forward.

    Medical marijuana is legal under state law but illegal under federal law, although the Obama administration has said it does not plan to file charges against medical marijuana cooperatives.

    Yanez said he doesn't expect Wednesday's court ruling to affect his department because “when we do an investigation, we do a thorough one.” Often, he said, the violators are obvious: “We've had people renting houses for $5,500 a month and they have no job. They're traveling the world and living like rock stars,” and using medical marijuana cards as a front to grow marijuana and sell it illegally.

    Raids are nothing new in Santa Cruz, though, although situations have varied from the most recent one in Butte County.

    For example, a 2002 raid at the Davenport home of Valerie and Mike Corral, founders of medical marijuana collective Womens/Men's Alliance for Medical Marijuana, was conducted by federal officers.

    The Corrals also sued, although the two were released and never charged. A federal judge last year issued an injunction against interfering with the Corrals' marijuana garden and nonprofit collective, and they continue to provide for terminally and chronically ill patients.

    Last year, Santa Cruz police raided a Pacific Avenue storefront that claimed to be an advocacy group for medical marijuana patients but which officers said was a front for illegally selling pot. Five men were arrested, while two pounds of marijuana, packaged for sale, hash and baked goods were confiscated.

    Source: The Marijuana Blog

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