San Diego City Council Approves Use of Medical Marijuana
The San Diego City Council yesterday voted 6-3 to approve revised guidelines that allow use of medical marijuana for "seriously ill patients" who have a physician's authorization, the Los Angeles Times reports. Under the approved guidelines, the city will allow patients and caregivers to grow marijuana plants for their own use or possess up to a pound of processed marijuana if recommended by a physician (Hong, Los Angeles Times, 2/5). The guidelines say that patients can grow up to 24 marijuana plants indoors or in locked greenhouses and that caregivers growing marijuana for others can store no more than two pounds and grow no more than 48 plants. The guidelines will take effect immediately and are be subject to a two-year trial wherein the city manager and police will update the council every six months (Huard, San Diego Union-Tribune, 2/5). The original proposal would have allowed patients who were prescribed marijuana by a doctor to use up to three pounds of the substance per year or grow up to 20 marijuana plants either outside or inside. Caregivers would have been allowed to care for up to six patients and distribute up to 12 pounds of marijuana per year. Patients and caregivers would have had to register with a not-for-profit health care agency that would issue identity cards and distribute the marijuana (California Healthline, 2/4). The guidelines the council approved yesterday also eliminate a proposed 72-hour waiting period before police could seize processed marijuana or plants from people who are not authorized patients or caregivers.
San Diego Mayor Dick Murphy, who voted against the proposal, said the guidelines go "too far" and will allow "unscrupulous" drug dealers to "hide their drug dealing" behind the guidelines and "make marijuana readily available" to children. San Diego Police Chief David Bejarano said that while he "supports the compassionate use of marijuana," he opposes the council's recommendations. However, Juliana Humphrey, the deputy public defender who chaired the council's task force, said the guidelines would give patients a needed "safe harbor" from prosecution (Los Angeles Times, 2/5).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.