Medical marijuana talks unproductive |

Medical marijuana talks unproductive

William Ferchland

A West Slope doctor who champions the benefits of medical marijuana was unimpressed with the results of a roundtable discussion on the subject between law enforcement and advocates.

Although Dr. Philip Denney commended authorities on adhering to county guidelines on possession and cultivation of medical marijuana, he was disgusted by his perception of authorities lacking vision.

“It’s very frustrating from our point of view that there is so much foot-dragging at the state level and the local level,” he said.

At the heart of Friday’s meeting in Placerville was SB 420, a California Senate bill which outlined plans for an identification card system for medical marijuana patients who have a recommendation from a doctor.

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The bill charged the development of the identification card system to the state’s Department of Health Services, but no progress has been made.

“Things are kind of in a holding pattern, at least on the state level,” said El Dorado County District Attorney Gary Lacy.

Lacy and other authorities said medical marijuana proponents could draft an outline of a temporary identification card system for the county.

Dr. Stephen Drogin, health officer for the county’s department of public and health services, said the agency will wait until the state devises a system on identification cards.

“The health department’s position is we support the concept of the advocates and the law working out a system that is satisfactory to both of them,” Drogin said.

The other issue was the distribution of medical marijuana. Denney and Lacy differ on the language of SB 420 and the legality of cooperatives and dispensaries.

“I told them that I was receptive to any thoughts or ideas people had to the contrary but I didn’t see where SB 420 authorized co-ops,” Lacy said.

“I suspect that this is going to be a contentious issue for some time,” Denney said.

“We’re a ways yet from coming to any final determinations,” El Dorado County Sheriff Jeff Neves said.

The next meeting date wasn’t decided by the roundtable.

“I think they had enough of us,” Denney said.

Medical marijuana has been gaining a foothold in America. Several western states, including Nevada and Oregon, have legalized medical marijuana.

In October, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that states could construct laws allowing patients with chronic afflictions to smoke marijuana with a doctor’s recommendation.

– E-mail William Ferchland at

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