Bill to protect medical marijuana advances

The Assembly Appropriations Committee yesterday voted 9-6 to move to the floor a bill that would make it the policy of state and local law enforcement agencies not to cooperate with the Drug Enforcement Administration or other federal agencies in raids on patients and caregivers which operate under California’s medical-marijuana law.

Assemblywoman Lori Saldaña, D-San Diego, authored AB 2743 in the wake of raids assisted by local law enforcement in cities all over California.

marijuana.jpgLast August’s raids in San Mateo led to the seizure of about 50 pounds of processed marijuana, hashish, cannabis-laced edibles and approximately $30,000 in cash, but brought no arrests. The role local police and prosecutors played in those raids brought a mixture of criticism and praise from local officials.

“This bill is about maintaining the integrity of California law,” Aaron Smith, California state organizer for the Marijuana Policy Project, said in a news release. “Our medical marijuana law enjoys the support of three out of four Californians, yet in too many cases federal officials have intruded into our state affairs and raided patients and caregivers. Due to these federal prosecutions, sick, elderly and disabled Californians who almost certainly would have been found innocent in a state court are in federal prison right now. At a time when state and local governments are in fiscal crisis, California tax dollars shouldn’t be used to undermine our own laws.”

The California Narcotic Officers’ Association opposes the bill.

“The combination of locations having large amounts of dope and cas(h) has created a state of affairs where violent criminal activity-invasions, robberies, beatings-have become commonplace. These crimes have a corrosive effect on public safety and quality of life of the surrounding neighborhoods in which the medical marijuana dispensaries are located,” the CNOA told Assembly analysts. “Under Assembly Bill 2743, however, local law enforcement’s hands are tied as we would be precluded from assisting federal law enforcement in the eradication of this criminal activity from the communities we serve.”

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.

  • John

    To hell with the federal govt. Im glad at least California has the guts to tell them where to stick it. Now maybe more of the country will get clued up, and the rest of the world who have been bullied into this idiotic drug war.

  • Nick

    The Federal Gov. and FBI are well known terrorists, they are dirty, have been, and always will be. Californians fight, because this is where it all started…right here on the West Coast.

    Medicinal merijuana practices and advances will prevail over these devilish powers that be.

  • mac

    legalize marijuana please and thanks for the goodness