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Medicinal Pot Growers Rail Against DA

Cozmo

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City Hall in Nevada City was packed Wednesday night with more than 100 medicinal marijuana growers concerned that the district attorney would take away their right to puff their pain away.

Nevada County District Attorney Cliff Newell ran into a hailstorm of objection to his proposal to reduce the amount of marijuana medicinal users can grow.

"Up the numbers," yelled one woman when Newell asked what people wanted.

"We shouldn't decrease the guidelines," said Dr. Stephen Banister, a Grass Valley doctor who frequently prescribes pot to his patients, many of whom applauded him when he stood. "That will lead to problems for patients and law enforcement."

Supporters of medicinal marijuana, most of whom did not want to be identified and asked that their pictures not be taken, freely voiced their criticism of law enforcement and the proposed changes, which would reduce the number of plants allowable by law enforcement from the current limit of five to 10 plants to a new limit of six mature plants or 12 immature plants.

Users are currently allowed to have two pounds of dried pot on hand, while the proposed change would reduce the dried amount to eight ounces.

The standards are supposed to allow for a year's supply of marijuana.

"Eight ounces? I can't work with that," shouted one man. "Marijuana helps me survive."

Many said they could easily smoke eight ounces in a month. Some wanted to put the standards to a vote on a ballot initiative, which Newell said he would not pursue.

However, Newell said people will be allowed to grow amounts based on their recommendations, and police will honor recommendations if the amount prescribed is more than the amount outlined by law enforcement's new standards.

"Whatever your recommendation says, you're allowed to have that on hand," Newell said.

Confusion ensued when people tried to weed through the vague state law, which permits local governments to set standards.

"People need an average of three pounds per patient," said a young man holding a baby girl. "The guidelines should encompass most patients. These standards are for law enforcement."

Others agreed, saying officers would use the standards to harass legitimate medicinal users.

Newell fielded the shouting and arguing like a middle school teacher in a rowdy assembly.

"You're acting like I'm focusing my life on eradicating marijuana from Nevada County," Newell said, reiterating that is not the case. "Like them or not, these are the laws I'm dealing with."

One person in the crowd of approximately 120 was in favor of the proposed changes. She said the smell of plants growing next to her home bothers her, and as a recovering addict, she said the presence of pot is an unnecessary nuisance.

"It's a volatile subject," the woman said after the meeting. She did not want to be identified. "A lot of people feel the same way, but they were afraid to come to the meeting."

Newell said he would take Wednesday night's comments into account in determining the new standards. Until then, he said, the current standards will remain in place.


Newshawk: CoZmO - 420Magazine.com
Source: The Union (CA)
Author: Robyn Moormeister
Contact: robynm@theunion.com
Copyright: 2007 TheUnion.com
Website: The Union - Serving Western Nevada County, California
 
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