Document:California Press Release 5 November 1999 Prop 215 Three Years Later But Law Still Ignored

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400 Capitol Mall, Suite 900
Sacramento, CA 95814
(916) 449-3941
For immediate release: November 5, 1999
For additional information:
Juan Ros, Executive Director
Phone: (818) 506-0200

Prop. 215: three years later but law still ignored, Libertarians say

SACRAMENTO -- On the third anniversary of the passage of Proposition 215, police continue ignoring the law at the expense of patients, the Libertarian Party of California announced today.

"Californians spoke loud and clear three years ago, but their votes fell on deaf ears," stated Libertarian state chair Mark Hinkle. "What should have been a victory for patients' rights has turned into a nightmare for many."

Proposition 215, which passed November 5, 1996 with almost 5.4 million votes, made the use of marijuana for medical purposes legal in California. Voters from Alaska to the District of Columbia have also approved nine other medical marijuana initiatives, including one this week in Maine.

According to Libertarians, supporters face three major hurdles to the implementation of Prop. 215:

(1) Patients do not have a reliable way of acquiring medical marijuana.

Even though a recent court decision appeared to pave the way for medical marijuana centers to distribute cannabis to patients, the U.S. Department of Justice is seeking to overturn that decision.

"Clearly voters across the country agree that patients should have easy access to marijuana. State and local governments need to either develop distribution mechanisms or allow medical dispensaries and co-ops to operate freely for the benefit of the sick and disabled," Hinkle urged.

(2) Prop. 215 is not being enforced adequately and uniformly across the state.

Officials in Humboldt and Mendocino Counties have set policies favorable to patients, for example, but Placer and San Bernardino Counties continue to prosecute patients.

"There is no uniform standard. Law enforcement officials are basing policy on their personal feelings about drugs and sometimes ignoring the law," Hinkle pointed out. "This only raises more fear and dread in patients." A law that would have enacted a statewide medical marijuana policy for implementing Prop. 215 stalled in the Legislature this year when Governor Gray Davis threatened a veto.

(3) Lack of uniform enforcement means patients continue to be arrested on marijuana charges.

Three notable Libertarians face upcoming trials -- author Peter McWilliams this month, former gubernatorial candidate Steve Kubby in February, and dentist Michael Baldwin in March -- and that's just the tip of the iceberg.

"Instead of receiving adequate care, patients are arrested and dragged through the criminal justice system for no other reason than a desire to freely choose their health treatment," said Hinkle. "These are law-abiding citizens who should be set free immediately."

The Libertarian Party of California this year launched a website,, to promote the implementation of medical marijuana laws in California and other states, and Libertarians vow to continue the fight.

"Libertarians will not stop until patients and doctors have the freedom to decide what medicine to choose for themselves," Hinkle added. "We don't want to wait another three years before medical marijuana is finally easily and readily available for all."