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Attorney General Bill Lockyer Issues Statement Regarding Supreme Court Proposition 215 Ruling

Thursday, July 18, 2002
Contact: (415) 703-5837

(SACRAMENTO) – California Attorney General Bill Lockyer made the following statement regarding the California Supreme Court's ruling today in People v. Mower:

"The California Supreme Court's decision today provides the state with a welcome and needed interpretation of important aspects of the Compassionate Use Act of 1996. As a supporter of Proposition 215, I believe that the court's decision strikes an appropriate balance in helping to ensure that truly needy patients whose doctors have recommended medical marijuana to alleviate pain and suffering related to serious illnesses will have access to this medicine under California law.

"I also agree with the court that the law does not confer complete immunity from prosecution, but instead allows courts to determine whether a defendant is appropriately charged with violating state law. While today's decision changes the standard jury instruction that has been employed in similar cases throughout California, it is unclear what impact it will have on previous medical marijuana convictions.

"The ruling provides much needed guidance in interpreting an initiative that did not clearly specify how the law should apply. Until legislation such as SB 187 by Sen. John Vasconcellos – which contains many provisions recommended by my Proposition 215 Implementation Task Force, composed of district attorneys, law enforcement representatives, medical professionals and medical marijuana proponents – is enacted to provide statutory guidelines, we will continue to rely on the courts to interpret Proposition 215."

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