Weed Wars

Dispatches from the California Marijuana Front

October 1, 2010
Head of medical marijuana physicians network decries Prop 19

It may be no surprise that doctors who make a living recommending medical marijuana might be leery of an initiative that can allow consumers to bypass them and merely smoke pot for recreation.

Now the founder and director of one of California's most successful medical marijuana physicians' networks is coming out strongly against Proposition 19.

Dr. Jean Talleyrand, who heads MediCann, a group of clinics that has worked with more than 200,000 medical marijuana users, says the initiative could sharply curtail the rights of legitimate cannabis patients to get their medicine.

In a statement put out on behalf of Talleyrand, MediCann argued that provisions in Prop 19 that allow cities to ban retail pot sales could mean that "over two-thirds of California's counties will refuse to allow dispensaries" currently serving medical marijuana users.

"Therefore, patients who use medical cannabis to treat serious medical conditions could be denied safe access to their medication," the statement said.

Some dispensary operators and medical pot advocates have made similar arguments against the initiative. Recently, the newly-formed California Cannabis Coalition, a group representing several dispensaries and advocates, also announced its opposition to Proposition 19.

But Don Duncan, the California director for American's for Safe Access, the nation's leading medical marijuana advocacy group, said ASA doesn't think the initiative will undercut the rights of medical users. The organization isn't taking a position on the ballot measure.

"Proposition 19 will have zero, zilch, nada impact on the current legal rights granted to patients, caregivers, doctors, collectives and cooperatives under California's existing medical cannabis laws," Prop 19 strategist Dan Newman said in a recent Sacramento Bee article on the split within the medical marijuana community.

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