Solano County district attorney calls...

Solano County district attorney calls meeting on marijuana laws

Posted in the Martinez Forum


Vallejo, CA

#1 Apr 27, 2013
Solano County district attorney calls meeting on marijuana laws

The ever-changing landscape surrounding medical marijuana and laws intended to regulate it brought officials from federal, state and county law enforcement agencies to Solano County recently for a conference.

Last week, District Attorney Donald A. du Bain hosted a one-day gathering of representatives from the U.S. Attorney's Office, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, California's Franchise Tax Board and Board of Equalization, Orange County Sheriff's Office, Orange County District Attorney's Office, Solano County Counsel and the Vacaville City Attorney's Office. The meeting focused on effective enforcement strategies for dealing with the investigation and prosecution of marijuana dispensaries.

Though du Bain did not go into detail about the strategies that were discussed, he did say that recent decisions by that state Court of Appeal have interpreted the law in different ways and are sometimes contradictory.

"The purpose of the conference was to educate all of our local agencies, as well as my office, as to the current state of the law," du Bain said.

In 1996, California voters approved an initiative that exempted certain patients and their primary caregivers from criminal liability under state law for the possession and cultivation of marijuana. In 2003, the Legislature enacted additional legislation relating to medical marijuana.

One of those statutes requires the attorney general to adopt guidelines to ensure the "security and nondiversion of marijuana grown for medical use."

For example, under the statute, the term "dispensary" is absent, du Bain said. The attorney general's guidelines support this by stating, "Although medical marijuana 'dispensaries' have been operating in California for years, dispensaries, as such, are not recognized under the law."

The only recognized group entities are cooperatives and collectives.

While the sale, cultivation or transportation of marijuana is ordinarily a crime under state law, understanding the differences between an unlawful marijuana dispensary and cooperatives and collectives has created a hazy area when it comes to the investigation and prosecution of marijuana dispensary cases.

Add to that recent decisions by the courts interpreting the law in different ways and du Bain felt it necessary to host a conference to focus on "enforcement efforts that have been most effective in protecting our communities from illegal marijuana dispensaries that operate outside the bounds of state and local laws that are intended to regulate them."

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