Drug Czar Holds Meeting With California Law Enforcement To Discuss New State Medical Marijuana Law

Thursday, 14 November 1996

Drug Czar Barry McCaffrey is scheduled to meet today with California law enforcement officials from the "No on 215" campaign, including Orange County Sheriff Brad Gates, to discuss the federal response to the passage of Proposition 215.

The Office of National Drag Control Policy (ONDCP) had vigorously campaigned against the initiative and reaffirmed the Administration's opposition to the passage of the measure in a November 9 press release.

"The passage of [Proposition 215] creates a significant threat to the drug control system that protects our children," the release said. "...As the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Department of Justice have stated, Federal law is unchanged by the passage of th[is] initiative. Doctors in ... California ... who prescribe a Schedule I drug as medicine, notwithstanding state law, will violate federal law. The provision in the California measure that allows patients and caregivers to grow and possess marijuana also violates federal law. The decision to bring appropriate criminal or administrative enforcement action will be, as always, decided on a case by case basis."

Dr. Tod H. Mikuriya, who has long been involved with medical marijuana research, recently learned of the meeting, but was denied attendance by Assistant General Counsel Warren Hall. It was explained to Mikuriya that the list of participants was limited to those opposed to Proposition 215. A follow up letter requesting Mikuriya's attendance was faxed by Rep. Ronald Dellums (D-Calif.) who asked that the White House "do everything possible to gain admission to this meeting for Dr. Mikuriya.

Mikuriya has requested that the meeting be rescheduled to a later date in order to allow representatives from the California medical community to attend the meeting. "The limitation of the list of invitees to those in law enforcement to strategize on the response to the passage of Proposition 215 in California ... would appear to be possibly illegal if not grossly improper," he said. "[This] proposition involves health issues. To exclude input from physicians who are explicitly and specifically mentioned is unacceptable. This act of institutional denial demonstrates bad faith on the part of the participants from California who are sworn to uphold and enforce state law."

For more information, please contact Dr. Tod Mikuriya at (510) 843-0279 or Allen St. Pierre of NORML at (202) 483-5500.