MEDICAL MARIJUANA: Lockyer May Meet with Feds
State Attorney General Bill Lockyer (D) hopes to set up a meeting with federal officials "to discuss reclassifying marijuana as a drug that can be prescribed, under tight control, by physicians." Attorney generals from other states with medical marijuana statutes would be included, with the meeting possibly coming as soon as March 24, during the National Association of Attorneys General convention. "It always amazes me that doctors can prescribe morphine but not marijuana," Lockyer said following his first State of the Public Safety speech (AP/Sacramento Bee, 2/25).
In a Los Angeles Times op-ed, State Sen. John Vasconcellos (D-Vasconcellos), chair of a Prop. 215 task force, charges the federal government with trying "to silence the proponents of medical marijuana, to threaten the integrity and livelihood of California physicians and, ultimately, to engage in a campaign against the health and care of sick and dying Californians." He writes that the task force's efforts "will be largely Sisyphean as long as the federal government does not change its position or have its position changed by more sympathetic federal courts. ... It is now incumbent on Californians to convince the federal government to abide by our will, rather than have Big Brother consigning them to pain and even death" (2/25).
Need Pot to Live
In related news, a California AIDS patient on trial for medical use of marijuana asked a federal judge Friday to ease the condition of bail that bans him from smoking marijuana while awaiting trial, saying it is "tantamount to a death sentence." The Los Angeles Times reports that Peter McWilliams, indicted in July on nine counts of "conspiring to possess, manufacture, and distribute marijuana," faces a mandatory 10-year jail term if convicted. McWilliams said, "I just want to be alive to defend myself in September," when his trial is slated to take place. His doctor testified Friday that since being forced to stop smoking pot, McWilliams' "viral load has skyrocketed from undetectable to a level that, if it is not reduced, will inevitably lead to the crumbling of his immune system" (Luo, 2/26).