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In Honor Of Veteran's Day

Spliff Twister

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After 2,000+ fallen American soldiers and countless more wounded in Iraq,
Afghanistan, and elsewhere in the War on Terror in the name of the rule of
law, the California Attorney General's office has been requested to finally
comply with the rule of law in the State of California when it comes to
medical marijuana.

Before the voters of California passed Proposition 215 in 1996 and
decriminalized medical marijuana under State law, the most vocal opponent of
medical marijuana, then Attorney General Dan Lungren, established an
official policy that permits local California peace officers to subject a
legitimate medical marijuana patient or caregiver to criminal sanction or
prosecution under the color of the federal Controlled Substances Act.
Despite a unanimous California Supreme Court opinion in 2002 (People v.
Mower), which held that (absent probable cause) peace officers have no
discretion to subject qualified persons to criminal sanction or prosecution
for a marijuana offense, the Attorney General's office has maintained that
it has the discretion to do just that under the color of federal law.

To his credit, out-going Attorney General Bill Lockyer has been more
moderate than Lungren on the issue. For example, Lockyer is defending
Proposition 215 in the lawsuit brought by the rogue counties of San Diego,
San Bernardino, and Merced. In that case, Lockyer is arguing that
California's medical marijuana laws are not preempted by the Controlled
Substances Act. But, even given this proper Proposition 215 argument, the
Attorney General's office nevertheless maintains that compliance with
Proposition 215 includes the authority to enforce federal prohibition in
cases where it is clear that a person is qualified to possess medical
marijuana under California law.

Incoming Attorney General Jerry Brown, as the State's "top cop," has the
duty "to see that the laws of the State are uniformly and adequately
enforced." Many cities and counties have dragged their heals when it comes
to implementing Proposition 215. Additionally, the policy of letting
localities sort it out for themselves has resulted in the unequal protection
of California law. In violation of Proposition 215, legitimate medical
marijuana patients and caregivers in the State of California, depending upon
where they live, in varying degrees, are subject to criminal sanction or
prosecution by officers wearing California badges.

The bottom line: the California Attorney General's office has not done the
job of ensuring compliance with Proposition 215. If there are abuses of
Proposition 215, as opponents of medical marijuana often allege, then those
abuses are in part due to the failure of the Attorney General to prevent
cities and counties from ignoring their duty under California law to
implement Proposition 215.

Federalism and the Constitution of California make it clear that California
voters are in charge of California's resources. Ten years ago, California's
voters declared that qualified persons shall not be subject to criminal
sanction or prosecution under State law. Peace officers sworn to uphold
California law cannot do indirectly what Proposition 215 prevents them from
doing directly. Federal authorities "may" be able to enforce federal
prohibition in California, but the Attorney General's office must not allow
local officers to do the same. The local police cannot exercise discretion
that they do not have. They cannot spend California tax dollars on
investigation and enforcement actions that criminalize conduct the State of
California does not consider to be criminal.

The men and women who put their lives on the line for our security do so by
swearing to uphold the United States Constitution. This sacred document
includes the 9th and 10th Amendments, which protects the right of the States
and of the People, respectively, to, among other things, pass an initiative
that differs from federal law. Not arresting someone or seizing their
medical marijuana is not a federal crime. The Honorable Jerry Brown, as the
next Attorney General of the State of California, needs to stand up and
protect the taxpayers of California. The voters called for California's
peace officers to "stand down" in the federal war on drugs when it comes to
medical marijuana. The rule of law requires that their call be defended.
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