About 40 people picketed outside a City Heights library yesterday to
protest medical marijuana guidelines pending before the San Diego City Council.

The guidelines recommended by a citizens task force would allow sick people
who have a doctor's recommendation to keep up to three pounds of marijuana
for their own use and grow up to 72 plants indoors or up to 20 plants
outdoors. Caregivers who grow marijuana for sick patients could keep up to
12 pounds and have up to 90 plants indoors or outdoors.

City Council members will consider the guidelines from the Medical Cannabis
Task Force at 10 a.m. Tuesday on the 12th floor of the City Administration
Building, 202 C St.

"The large amount of marijuana proposed by the guidelines is far too
great," Pureza Bacor of the Mid City Substance Abuse Momentum Team said at
the protest. "This is not a benign drug."

The task force said three pounds was about a one-year supply at an average
daily dose of three to five marijuana cigarettes. Task force members said
doctors who recommend marijuana for patients suggest that amount. Patients
need to be able to keep a one-year supply on hand because there is only one
outdoor growing season for marijuana in San Diego, the task force said.

Some protest organizers said they chose City Heights for their
demonstration because the community is in the council district represented
by Toni Atkins, who supports the guidelines. Others said City Heights was
chosen because of its central location.

John Redman of the San Diego Prevention Coalition said the guidelines would
give more young people access to marijuana grown in their neighborhoods.

The guidelines are meant to implement Proposition 215, a 1996 ballot
measure that allowed the medical use of marijuana but set no guidelines.
The proposed city guidelines would set standards on how much marijuana
patients and caregivers could grow and keep without fear of arrest by San
Diego police. They offer no protection from arrest by federal agents.

"If you don't create a safe haven where patients can grow marijuana, then
their only access is to get it illegally, which would be fueling the drug
trade that these people are supposedly fighting against," said Ann
Shanahan-Walsh, a Medical Cannabis Task Force member.

But Libba Jackson-D'Ambrosi of Carmel Valley said the guidelines would
expand on Proposition 215 by allowing patients to grow and keep so much
marijuana. She said the city should leave it to the state to develop

Pubdate: Thu, 30 Jan 2003
Source: San Diego Union Tribune (CA)
Copyright: 2003 Union-Tribune Publishing Co.
Contact: letters@uniontrib.com
Website: http://www.uniontrib.com/