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Newshawk: Shasta Patient's Alliance
Pubdate: Thu, 20 Jul 2000
Source: Redding Record Searchlight (CA)
Copyright: 2000 Redding Record Searchlight - E.W. Scripps
Contact: letters@redding.com
Address: PO Box 492397, Redding, CA 96049-2397

Author: Maline Hazle, mhazle@redding.com


Medicinal marijuana patients are ridiculed, harassed and humiliated in Shasta County, a
Redding marijuana advocate complained at Assemblyman Dick Dickerson's town hall meeting
Wednesday night.

The result is that some very ill people are too frightened to use the treatment they think works
best for them, Rick Levin told Dickerson, R-Redding.

But though Dickerson acknowledged that he thinks state government should address the
medical marijuana issue with more studies, he complained that the state's Compassionate Use
Act has "caused a lot of problems because of the way it was drafted."

Adopted in 1996, the initiative allows marijuana use with a doctor's recommendation, but sets
no rules for the numbers of plants or amount of processed marijuana a patient can have.

The resulting "guidelines" adopted by Shasta County's sheriff's office and police departments
break state law, Levin argued.

Levin and several other members of the Shasta Patients' Alliance, a medical marijuana
advocacy group, were among about 100 people who attended Dickerson's meeting at The
Mall in downtown Redding.

Other audience members peppered Levin with questions about why he couldn't take other
medications to quell the pain from his spinal injuries and some sneered when he explained that
he can't tolerate narcotic pain killers.

Dickerson cut off the exchange after about five minutes, telling the audience: "That's all we're
going to discuss here tonight unless you want to talk about marijuana all night."

Dickerson retired seven years ago after a 30-year law enforcement career that ended with
command of the Shasta Interagency Narcotics Task Force. "I continue to disapprove of it
(medicinal marijuana) because I don't know the long-term effects," he told Levin before
ending the marijuana discussion.

Other members of the patients' group did not speak and the questions returned to water plans,
laws regulating group homes, timber, air quality and even Social Security – a federal issue.

Dickerson, joined on the dais by Shasta County Supervisor David Kehoe and Redding Police
captain Steve Davidson, said that he and his staff will have held 15 town hall meetings by the
end of the month.

Reporter Maline Hazle can be reached at 225-8266 or at mhazle@redding.com .
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