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Pacific Region Drug Policy Update

Drug Reform Coordination Network (DRCNet)
Rapid Response Team

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1. Needle exchange program to be discussed in Snohomish County, WA.
2. First Prop. 215 cases in California.

1) The Health District Board of Snohomish County, Washington State, will meet on Tuesday, Dec. 17 at 3:00 pm to discuss whether to continue the county's needle exchange program. The board will meet in the Everett City Hall Council chambers at 3002 Wetmore Ave. It is not an official hearing, but members of the public are welcome to attend. To confirm and get more information, call (206) 339-5210.

2) The following press release from California NORML reports on the first applications of California's Prop. 215 protecting medical marijuana patients:


California NORML Press Release 12-15-96 by Dale Gieringer, (415) 563-5858, [email protected]

While supporters and opponents debate the implications of Prop. 215, scattered reports indicate that medical marijuana patients are beginning to reap the benefits of the new law.

In what may be the first known use of the new law, Amador County Judge Don Howard dismissed charges against a medical marijuana patient, Jerry Newman, who had been cited for possession of marijuana on November 13th, one week after the law took effect. Newman had vainly tried to persuade the officer who cited him that he was a medical marijuana user by presenting a membership card from the Oakland Cannabis Buyers' Club. On December 4th, district attorney Steven Cilenti requested that charges be dropped after Newman's physician traveled over 100 miles to testify to his medical need for marijuana.

In another possession case, reported by KMUD News of Garberville, a Mendocino County court dismissed charges against AIDS patient Rawn Clark on December 10th, after he presented written approval from his physician of his medical use of marijuana. Clark had been cited on October 18th after admitting to having a small container of marijuana in his car, which had been stopped and searched for a minor equipment violation as part of the California Highway Patrol's "Operation North Coast" anti-pot sweep. Mendocino County assistant district attorney Julie Werbel offered to drop charges, citing two factors: first, that Clark was not driving under the influence, and second, that he had a physician's note.

In an upcoming Prop 215 test case, to be heard in Santa Rosa Municipal Court on December 17 (Courtroom #13, 1:30 p.m.), attorney Bill Panzer will be seeking dismissal of charges against Alan Martinez, a medical marijuana patient arrestedfor cultivation last August. Panzer has requested a protective order so that Martinez' physician can testify anonymously, due to threats by law enforcement, including Sonoma County sheriff Mark Idhe, to report marijuana- recommending physicians to the DEA.

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