Protesters rally at SLO Co. Courthouse over recent arrests involving medical marijuana

January 10, 2011

Steve Adamson, KSBY - NBC TV 6 (San Luis Obispo)

Protesters gathered outside the San Luis Obispo County Courthouse in support of those arrested back on Dec. 27 in a raid involving marijuana and its' sale and distribution in the County. Organizers of the rally say those arrested were done so unfairly. Law enforcement officials say the suspects were violating the state's compassionate use act.

Medical marijuana advocates say mobile dispensaries are the only option for many local medical marijuana users. There are currently no permanent dispensaries in San Luis Obispo County.

"The problem is that just about every city in our county has a ban or memorandum stopping that from happening. The only way patients in our county are able to get their medication is typically through these kinds of services," says Richard Donald, Chairman of the SLO chapter of Americans for Safe Access.

Dana Holland from Atascadero uses marijuana for an eye disorder that has left him virtually blind and unable to drive himself to dispensaries in Santa Barbara County. "There is a definite need for medical marijuana in San Luis Obispo County and we're not asking for store fronts; We're asking for safe access so that we can have access to our medical marijuana."

The December arrests were under the watch of out-going sheriff Pat Hedges. However, newly elected sheriff Ian Parkinson plans to review how the law in enforced. "The one thing everyone I think recognizes clearly is that the law was poorly written. It's flawed and so I think there's a lot of areas that are open to interpretation." KSBY asked him if mobile dispensaries are illegal in the county and he said "not by county code or anything like that. The question is, it goes back to interpretation of the law and that's really what I'm after right now."

Those involved in dispensing marijuana for medical use and their supporters are hoping for some changes coming to the county on the issue.

Parkinson has already assigned a sergeant to to look at all the aspects of the current law. He has also had an initial conversation with District Attorney Gerald Shea about the subject and has more planned with him and will be seeking input from city council as well.

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