Responsible Legislature Could Help The Sick, Forestall Endless Bickering

And so we come to another marijuana trial burdened with the uncertainty of
disputed facts and hazy law.

The prosecutor alleges two Petaluma suspects were growing pot for sale and
profit.

The defendants' lawyer says his clients were doing noble work, providing
marijuana to to relieve the sick and dying, as authorized by the 1996
initiative, Proposition 215.

More than four years later, people in communities all over the state are
still trying to cope with two fundamental realities of California governance:

The initiative process is a lousy way to make law. The result, as has been
experienced again and again, is that simplistic solutions get applied to
complex issues, generating confusion, conflict and years of legal battling.

The initiative becomes the only alternative because the state Legislature
so often fails to respond to the public welfare.

This Petaluma case offers one strange wrinkle. San Francisco District
Attorney Terence Hallinan will testify that he advised the suspects on how
to comply with the state's medical marijuana law.

This begs the question: If the suspects were confident that they were
complying with San Francisco's interpretation of Proposition 215, wouldn't
it have been wiser to grow the dope in San Francisco?

Putting aside Hallinan's involvement and the ongoing controversy about the
legalization of marijuana, however, the problem remains that four years
after voters declared they want people with cancer, AIDS and other serious
ailments to have the relief afforded by marijuana, the law remains clouded.

The Legislature could create a fair system that helps the sick and spares
communities endless legal turmoil, but, as so often happens with critical
issues, the Legislature chooses to be irrelevant.


Newshawk: Jo-D and Tom-E
Pubdate: Thu, 15 Mar 2001
Source: Press Democrat, The (CA)
Copyright: 2001 The Press Democrat
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