Santa Cruz Sups To Consider New Medical Marijuana Guidelines

August 12, 2004

Associated Press, KSBW-TV, Santa Cruz

SANTA CRUZ, Calif. -- Medical marijuana patients in Santa Cruz County would be allowed to keep three pounds of pot if officials go along with a recommendation by a group of doctors.

Doctors and patients said legal possession of 48 ounces of marijuana is appropriate for medicinal purposes. Three pounds over the course of a year is understandable, said Valerie Corral of the Wo/mens Alliance for Medical Marijuana.

The Board of Supervisors will consider new medical marijuana guidelines on Tuesday.

The board will decide whether to ask the county counsel to craft an ordinance reflecting the recommendations and return it for consideration by Oct. 5.

The guidelines also would allow patients to maintain a 100-square-foot canopy - a measure of leaf coverage over an area - of pot plants.

The recommendations call for quantities greater than three pounds if a doctor recommends it.

At the request of Sheriff Mark Tracy, supervisors asked former county health officer George Wolfe to convene a group of physicians to craft recommendations on how much marijuana was appropriate to grow and possess.

Wolfe said amounts recommended to the board equal three to four marijuana cigarettes per day.

'The clinicians felt that would take care of the need of most of their patients,' Wolfe said.

The guidelines come in the wake of SB 420, written by state Sen. John Vasconcellos and passed by the Legislature in 2003. The law sought to set a standard on how much pot California patients could have on hand so police wouldn't be forced to make judgment calls.

The law allowed patients to possess a half-pound, six mature plants and 12 immature plants. However, the measure also allowed local governments to set their own guidelines, and medical marijuana advocates here said the amounts set by SB 420 were inadequate for many.

'People who are ill obviously have a hard time making frequent purchases,' Supervisor Mardi Wormhoudt said. 'I think this is a good recommendation.'a - of pot plants.

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