MEDICAL MARIJUANA: Oakland Moves To Protect Pot Providers
"[D]esignated providers of medical marijuana" are likely to become "officers of the city" if the Oakland city council approves the designation at a meeting set for tonight, the Sacramento Bee reports. If the council approves the proposal, the marijuana providers would gain "legal immunity from criminal and civil actions." In the first of two required votes last week, the council "easily" passed the measure 8-1. "This will hopefully blast a hole right through the [federal] Controlled Substances Act," said Robert Raich, attorney for the Oakland Cannabis Buyers' Cooperative. As officers of the city, marijuana providers would be protected "from liability when 'lawfully engaged in the enforcement of any law or municipal ordinance relating to controlled substances,'" the Bee reports. "I hope we will have a guarantee that residents in Oakland will have safe access to medical marijuana," said Jeff Jones, director of the Oakland cannabis club that a judge ordered shut down in May.
The one dissenting council member, Ignacio De La Fuente, said of the measure: "There's no control ... no real certification, no way to track (sellers) and no way to know if this is a loophole that will allow people to abuse the program." And Jayne Williams, attorney for the city, "expressed concern that the ordinance may open the city to liability" (Maxwell, 7/28). Oakland recently passed a medical marijuana policy -- the "most permissive" in the state -- allowing terminally ill patients to keep a three-month supply of marijuana on hand.