From: Rev. Lynnette Shaw
Date: Sat, 17 Mar 2001
Subject: Letter to the editor

Dear Editor,

The terrible problem we currently have with the County is because of  the District Attorney's Medical Marijuana Guidelines, which are now a part of the County ID Program paperwork.  This forces the patient to agree that a legal medical cannabis patient has no protection from arrest, plus all cannabis discovered by any law enforcement will always be seized and never returned. The following information supports our position that the guidelines are illegal and so is the  County ID Program for participating with enforcing them:

1)     DA Kamena's guidelines violate the State of California Constitution.

The first two sentences of Kamena's guidelines set the stage for the undermining and overturning  of State Health and Safety Code 11362.5 ( The Compassionate Use Act, AKA the CUA) by unfair and illegal public policy. This is in direct violation of the California Constitution, Article 3, section 3.5.  The State Constitution is very specific about the administrative agencies upholding State law even when in conflict with Federal law.
To quote DA Kamena's first sentence of her widely published official County policy:

³It is important to remember that: Federal law prohibits possession and cultivation by any person and does not recognize medicinal use. Therefore, all marijuana is contraband and may be properly seized by law enforcement."

This policy is in complete conflict with the Attorney General's very arguments to the Supreme Court on this issue.

The State Constitution reads, Article 3 Section 3.5: 

"An administrative agency, including an administrative agency created by the Constitution or an initiative statute, has no power...(c) To declare a statute unenforceable, or to refuse to enforce a statute on the basis that federal law or federal regulations prohibit the enforcement of such statute unless an appellate court has made a determination that the enforcement of such statute is prohibited by federal law or federal regulations."

This so-called "guideline" is, in effect, an illegal rule of law developed by the DAs office, carried out by all law enforcement personnel in the County (except Fairfax) which is not the appropriate branch of the government to write or enact laws or de facto laws. People have been arrested and prosecuted because of these guidelines, so it is the rule of law here in Marin.

The DA's guidelines turned the green light on to all officers in the field to ALWAYS seize medical cannabis and hassle any patients, under any circumstances. Plus, the county never returns improperly seized medical cannabis, because it is "against Federal law." The police returned to harassing every patient encountered, starting September 1, 1999. We just had our first court-ordered return of plants two months ago, the first in Marin since the CUA passed in 1996. The patients always lose their medicine.

DA Kamena has successfully subverted and suspended the CUA in Marin. When a case is about to go to a judge, the DA dismisses, knowing full well that she can not get a conviction because they are legal under the CUA. The DA prosecuted and  tried to get convictions of people who would not register with the County, but that fell down because of  judicial rulings on the basis of the CUA that upheld the patients' rights. The direct result of these guidelines has been terrorism on the part of law enforcement, laughing at doctor's notes and/or any form of ID card, claiming the "DAs guidelines say it is all against Federal law". If they don't arrest the victim, they always confiscate or destroy the cannabis on the spot, which is the case in three out of four encounters. When the DA claims they prosecuted "only 70" patients  (which is not right to prosecute any of them), they don't mention the hundreds of patients that have lost their medicine. There has been excessive verbal abuse by the police, intimidation of the patients, unnecessary shakedowns , cops telling the sick that there is no such thing as legal cannabis, that they are going to jail and so is their doctor. Considering the delicate condition of most of our patients, this is cruel public policy that purposely frightens innocent sick persons.

2)    The DA's guidelines violate the Constitutional right to privacy.

DA Kamena tried to require mandatory registration of any and all medical cannabis users. We had launched a boycott of the Marin County medical marijuana ID program in 1997, because the program did not stop anyone from being arrested and having their medical cannabis seized, and then having to go to court, produce the doctors note, and then get released, with no return of seized medicine. What kind of "compassion program" is that? Plus, the Supervisors did not do their homework, and had conditions that allowed a chiropractor, an acupuncturist, a nurse, or a massage therapist to okay cannabis, along with the MDs. It was a sham, staged for the 72.3 %"yes" vote for the CUA in Marin. The County continued to arrest and prosecute. We actually endorsed Paula Kamena, in 1998, because she promised to"walk carefully into the future with the Marin Alliance and all the patients", and we thought the arresting would stop.

After DA Kamena took office , she stopped returning our phone calls, and then issued her"bust them all" guidelines that also tried to pump up registrations in the County program by making enrollment mandatory.  Our members and everyone else refused to enroll, and our attorneys were backed by judicial decisions. We have had to go to court repeatedly , wasting time and tax dollars, to uphold the patients' right to privacy.

One of our worst cases was "Mr. X", threatened with  jail when he refused to sign up to the County ID program. The DA's office told him he would have to go to a jury trial to get dismissed if he did not sign up to the County ID program. DA Kamena made "Mr. X" appear nine times in court, before the DAs office dismissed "in the interest of justice" because he had a doctor's note in advance of his arrest for 3 grams. That's right, nine appearances over three grams.  "Mr. X" did not want to be forced into a registration program that does not protect any rights, and he does not trust the DA nor the County on this issue.

The County ID does NOT prevent a patient from being arrested, having their medicine confiscated, and enduring legal abuse, before the DA or a judge dismisses due to the doctor's note.  Since the DA is upholding Federal law over State law, any information turned into the County could also be easily turned over to the Feds by the DA .
We have successfully boycotted the Marin County ID program for four years now, despite the intense pressure placed legally on all our patients when the DA added the required registration in 1999 to this mess. There are still only about 12 registrants in the County program, some of whom were forced onto the roles by intimidating court room pressure. Our boycott has infuriated the DA, despite repeated judicial rulings against the requirement since 1999.

The patients still don't trust anyone else but myself and our organization, and for good reason. The DA is still attempting to coerce us into turning  over all our information to the much-hated and rightfully mistrusted system at the Civic Center.

3)     DA Kamena has violated the laws governing the Separation of Powers.

First of all, the branch of government that is properly assigned the task of writing law is the Legislative branch.  Developing laws or de facto laws are not within the legal boundaries of any District Attorney.

 Secondly, DA Kamena's guidelines prohibit anyone on parole or probation from using medical cannabis. The DA is restricted by law and cannot tell the judge nor the probation department how to do their job, what ruling to make, or what policy to adopt. The guidelines have done just that.

The practical application of DA Kamena's guidelines for this example, was a wholesale sweep of the Probation Department starting immediately after the guidelines were adopted, in which dozens of people who were on probation were suddenly violated for having legal cannabis in their urine, threatened with time in jail and community service hours. Then the DA attempted to force them all into the mandatory County ID registration program that has been boycotted for violating our Constitutional rights.

We have had to spend time and money on attorneys to go to court, and get judicial orders to exempt patients  from probation department sanctions. There is one patient in jail right now with liver cancer, violated for her legal cannabis that even the judge said she could have, and our lawyer was not alerted to in time. We are working on rescuing her now.

4)      DA Kamena is in violation of Marin County Medical Marijuana Ordinance #3109, unanimously adopted by the Board of Supervisors on September 18, 1992.

Kamena has enacted  unfair policy that is the opposite of the previous, successful County policy. In 1992 I co-sponsored the Marin Medical Marijuana Ordinance #3109, a law still on the books in Marin, that declares that enforcement of marijuana laws against patients are the "lowest possible priority" for the County. This was a big headline in all the papers at the time. There were no cannabis - positive urine test violations of sick persons from 1992 through 1999 because of this former policy. DA Kamena changed all that , and created tremendous suffering of the sick in her zeal to overturn the CUA at every level.

5)     Kamena has violated the Brown Act by closing the doors to the public.

DA Kamena has expressly prohibited us from contacting her by phone, mail, fax, nor attempt to meet with her or her staff at any time. Formerly, she had been our liaison to help the patients out of trouble at the DAs office, which led to our full scale endorsement of her. We paid  for advertisements urging medical marijuana supporters to vote for Kamena during her election in 1998! As soon as she took office, she stopped returning our messages, then came out with guidelines, not bothering for input from the patients, and then shut us all out permanently. We were set up.

6)     DA Kamena's  medical marijuana policy has violated the California State Constitution, the U.S. Constitution, the Brown Act, the Marin Medical Marijuana Ordinance #3109, and the Compassionate Use Act. Her policy has targeted medical cannabis using patients, causing immense grief and suffering among the disabled of our community, in direct violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act. We have been discriminated against, as a class of people, by her illegal and unfair guidelines. The Bill of Rights, various civil rights legislations, and the laws governing the separation of powers have been all violated by DA Kamena's policies.

These grievances could not be redressed by normal means available, being blocked from any contact whatsoever, by her specific, discriminatory, policy. Our only recourse was to redress our grievances by petition, and to endorse and support the recall started by the terrible family law court corruption that Carol Mardeusz was blowing the whistle on, the woman unfairly jailed. We feel our reasons for joining the recall are very strong. We ask everyone to vote Yes to Recall Kamena, and to vote for Tom Van Zandt for  DA, to help bring the Civic Center into the 21st century.

We, the victimized medical cannabis patients,  have so much in common with the victims of the family law court , it is very disturbing, and shows a pattern of abusive public policy that is a conscious effort, and has resulted in tyranny and illegal acts against the most vulnerable of our village.


Rev. Lynnette Shaw
Fairfax, Ca.
Religion of Jesus Church

founder / owner:
Marin Alliance for Medical Marijuana
Cannabis Buyers' Club Marin