MEDICAL MARIJUANA: Arcata’s Approach May Go Statewide
The tiny town of Arcata, CA, population 16,000, "is getting considerable attention for its response to Proposition 215" because Arcata Police Chief Mel Brown issues photo identification cards indicating that the holder is a registered medical marijuana user, AP/Los Angeles Times reports. Those who apply must have a doctor's recommendation and officers have been instructed not to arrest card holders -- who now number "about 100" -- for smoking or growing pot. Brown, who also serves on state Attorney General Bill Lockyer's medical marijuana task force, said, "[H]ere, law enforcement is holding out the olive branch to people who smoke medical marijuana." He said he is unconcerned about repercussions from U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno, who has warned state officials about Proposition 215's conflict with federal law. "Quite frankly, I don't see Janet Reno coming to Arcata and arresting somebody or having her people arrest somebody," he said. However, as a precaution, he does not keep applicants' records. Officials in Mendocino County plan to announce a similar system next month. "We thought it was very successful and we intend to plagiarize as much of it as we can," said District Attorney Norman Vroman. Lockyer spokesperson Nathan Barankin added, "What makes Arcata's program work is the fact that law enforcement and the medical community are involved. The task force has been asked to look at Arcata as a model and perhaps make some recommendations on whether what works for Arcata works for Los Angeles and other larger communities" (Isackson, 4/9).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.