Protesters picket county over marijuana suit

February 07, 2006

Tracie Troha, Victorville Daily Press

Holding posters and signs displaying images of marijuana leaves, more than 50 people Tuesday protested San Bernardino County's opposition to "medical marijuana clinics."The protesters were angry over the decision by the Board of Supervisors to join San Diego County in a lawsuit against the state challenging the legality of medical marijuana laws.

One of the protesters, Alcina Talbott of Crestline, said she is constantly in pain and the drug is more effective than traditional prescription medicines.

"I prefer the effects of marijuana than Vicadin," Talbott said.

Talbott, a registered nurse and disabled county employee, brought her 12-year-old daughter to the protest at the County Government Center.

"My kids know the difference between medicinal and street (marijuana)," she said. "I don't want the street to look at my kids as customers."

William Britt, representing the Association of Patient Advocates, said he has epilepsy and keeps his medical marijuana with him at all times.

"I've had my medicine taken away from me over 20 times," he said. "I've been to trial with many patients in San Bernardino County. That's thousands of dollars of taxpayers' money wasted."

Britt said county officials have "no compassion" in their efforts to challenge the state's medical marijuana laws.

County Counsel Ron Reitz said despite the protests, the county plans to pursue the lawsuit.

"It will be filed in federal court in San Diego County (on Wednesday)," Reitz said.

The county is suing the state because it believes California's medical marijuana laws conflict with federal laws and are therefore invalid.

Tracie Troha can be reached at 955-5358 or at ttroha@vvdailypress.com.

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