Leno Resolution Calls for End to Medical Marijuana Raids in California
June 09, 2009
SACRAMENTO – Senator Mark Leno introduced a resolution late on Monday that urges the federal government to end medical marijuana raids in California. Senate Joint Resolution 14 also calls for a comprehensive federal policy to ensure safe and legal access to medical marijuana for patients who benefit from its therapeutic use.
"The Obama Administration has indicated a willingness to change federal policy regarding medical marijuana, but details of that plan have not yet been released," said Senator Leno, D-San Francisco.
SJR 14 aims to harmonize federal law with California´s medical marijuana laws by calling for an end to federal raids. The resolution also urges the federal government to support research trials on the therapeutic use of marijuana, an affirmative defense to medical marijuana charges in federal court and comprehensive federal policy to support legal access for all patients.
"Not only do we need an end to federal interference in the implementation of California's medical marijuana law, but the entire country also needs a sensible, comprehensive medical marijuana policy," said Don Duncan, California Director with Americans for Safe Access, a national medical marijuana advocacy group.
In 1996 California voters approved Proposition 215, known as the Compassion Use Act, which ensures that seriously ill Californians have the right to obtain and use marijuana for medical purposes. The Legislature in 2004 clarified the Compassionate Use Act by recognizing the right of qualified patients and their primary caregivers to collectively and cooperatively cultivate marijuana for medical use. However, the distribution of medical marijuana remains illegal under federal law and qualified patients and providers in California are almost guaranteed a conviction in federal court because they have no right to assert a medical or state law defense.
SJR 14 will be heard in Senate policy committees later this month.