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Pubdate: Fri, 28 July 2000
Source: Orange County Register (CA)
Copyright: 2000 The Orange County Register
Contact: letters@link.freedom.com
Address: P.O. Box 11626, Santa Ana, CA 92711
Fax: (714) 565-3657


Almost four years after California voters approved Proposition 215, which
authorizes people with a physician's recommendation to use marijuana
medicinally, the state may be on the verge of actually implementing the law.
Policies still vary from county to county, and certain law enforcement
officials continue to criticize Section 1362.5 of the Health and Safety
Code, which passage of the proposition created. But most are learning to
live with it.

Evidence? Last week in Victorville a couple whose home was raided by San
Bernardino County Sheriff's deputies last year got a court order allowing
them to grow up to 34 plants. According to the Victorville Daily Press, Anna
Barrett, 29, and her husband Gary, 32, had a doctor's recommendation when
their home was raided last year. The plea bargain reached last Thursday
allows them to have enough plants to grow a maximum of 7.1 pounds (the
amount the federal government provides each year to eight different

Meanwhile in Simi Valley, Rex Dean Jones, a 64-year-old retiree who had
grown marijuana for his 84-year-old wife and himself, received a check from
his insurance company to compensate for the plants the police seized when
they raided his home. He had gone to the Simi Valley Police Department two
years ago with a doctor's note to inform them he was raising marijuana for
medical use.

The next day they raided his house. Ventura County prosecutors later dropped
the charges, but Jones filed a false-arrest lawsuit, which is scheduled to
be heard shortly. Eight months ago Robert DeArkland, 71, in Petaluma,
received a check from his insurance company after police seized 13 marijuana
plants - and charges were dropped. J. David Nick, the attorney who is
representing Mr. Jones in his civil case, says that while law enforcement
officials often criticize the law, the real problem is police resistance to
obeying the law.

"Police complain that the law has no limit on the number of plants patients
may grow," Mr. Nick told us. "But that's the way the law was written and the
way the people passed it. The law doesn't normally dictate how much medicine
a doctor can prescribe for a patient. It's time for the police to accept the
fact that the law has been changed." Mr. Nick believes that the upcoming
trial of Steve Kubby, the former Libertarian Party gubernatorial candidate
and cancer patient, will be an important milestone. (Mr. Nick is an attorney
for Mr. Kubby.) "We've seen a lull in prosecutions in recent months," Mr.
Nick told us.

"The outcome of the Kubby case will tell police and prosecutors whether they
can get anywhere trying to prove patients like Steve and Michele Kubby are
really dope dealers. If that prosecution fails, I expect law enforcement
statewide to find ways to let patients have their rights while enforcing
existing laws." The Kubby trial is scheduled to begin August 15 in Auburn in
Placer County, though it has been postponed several times and could be
postponed again.