A California Tax Dollar and Medical Marijuana

May 16, 2006

Kenneth Michael White , opinioneditorials.com

Hello, I am a California Tax Dollar and I have a problem with the way I am being spent by some California law enforcement officials.

Because there is currently a difference between California law and Federal law regarding medical marijuana, there is some confusion about what a California law enforcement officer should do when encountering marijuana during the normal course of duties.

If a person has a serious illness and a doctor’s recommendation to use marijuana, then under California law there is no grounds for arrest and/or prosecution. Under Federal law, however, all marijuana is contraband. This difference of laws has led the California Attorney General to take the position that local police officers “should not” enforce Federal drug laws against legitimate medical marijuana patients, which is not the same thing as saying they “shall not” enforce such laws.

It has been argued that because California police officers are sworn to uphold both the United States Constitution and the Constitution of California, this makes it okay for California Tax Dollars (me and my friends) to be spent enforcing Federal law against legitimate medical marijuana patients. But how can a California Tax Dollar be spent criminalizing conduct the State of California considers lawful?

The problem may not seem like much to some. I recognize that many jurisdictions in California do not spend public funds criminalizing medical marijuana, however, some do. Local law enforcement personnel in the Bay Area, Butte County, Kern County, Merced County, Riverside County, Sacramento, San Diego, Stanislaus County, and Trinity County have all assisted Federal authorities in medical marijuana investigation and enforcement actions.

These actions have violated the principle of federalism and instilled fear in patients who have had their medical records seized and/or their only avenue to safe access to medical marijuana interrupted. This fear and loss of privacy are criminal sanctions that are not supposed to happen (at the behest of California officials) to legitimate medical marijuana patients under California law.

To enforce the law, the police must first uphold it. While the voters of California cannot prevent the Federal Government from enforcing Federal law, they can prevent their own local police officers from spending me (a California Tax Dollar) on activities that punish the sick and dying.

California police officers must not spend a California Tax Dollar helping Federal authorities criminalize medical marijuana. I should be spent on education instead.

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