News Flash from The Berkeley Patients Group
 

California Highway Patrol Ceases Arresting Patients 
& Confiscating Their Medicine

Dear Medical Marijuana Supporters,

I am very pleased to share with you the news that the
California Highway Patrol (CHP) has abandoned its
policy of arresting medical cannabis patients and
confiscating their medicine in response to a lawsuit
filed on behalf of six patients by Americans for Safe
Access (ASA) (See Today's LA Times article below). On
August 22, 2005, the CHP quietly changed its policy to
officially recognize the rights of lawful patients
under California's Proposition 215. This is one of the
biggest victories for medical cannabis patients and
caregivers in California since voters approved the
Compassionate Use Act in 1996!

The CHP is responsible for more than one quarter of
all medical cannabis arrests and confiscations
reported to ASA in California - more than any other
law enforcement agency in the state! It has been CHP
policy to confiscate all medical cannabis found during
traffic stops regardless of whether or not the patient
has an ID card or a valid doctorăs recommendation.
This overt disregard for the voter approved medical
cannabis law and state legislation designed to
implement it (SB-420) made the CHP the worst offender
when it comes to unlawful arrests and confiscation.

The new change in CHP policy is a dramatic step
towards protecting medical cannabis patients and
caregivers in California. The new policy requires CHP
officers to honor state-issued medical cannabis ID
cards and letters of recommendations as proof of an
individual's status as a legal patient or primary
caregiver. The policy forbids officers from
confiscating medicine from legitimate medical cannabis
patients. This gives patients and caregivers vastly
more freedom and peace of mind when carrying
medication on Californiaăs highways.

If that was all the policy change accomplished, it
would still be a major victory for medical cannabis.
But, this decision has far reaching implications for
patients and caregivers in every city and county in
California. ASA will be working hard to pressure local
police departments and county sheriffs to bring their
policies into line with the CHP. Success in this work
means patients and caregivers will no longer need to
fear arrest or confiscation from law enforcement
statewide!

This is a watershed moment for medical cannabis rights
in California. ASA has worked for almost two years to
develop this suit, identify plaintiffs, build a case,
and push the issue this far. You can feel good about
the fact that you have played a role in helping ASA
push the CHP towards compliance with Proposition 215
and SB-420. Thanks to your support and this lawsuit,
we are back on the offensive and ready to push our
advantage!

We still have to fight our lawsuit in court to be sure
that patients and caregivers have legal recourse if
the CHP fails to uphold the new policy. We also have a
lot of work to do to be sure that everyone Ó including
police officers statewide Ó knows about the new
policy.

ASA needs your ongoing support to keep doing this
important work. We need your continued participation
at meetings, rallies, and special events. We need you
to keep speaking out to elected officials and signing
petitions. We also need your continued financial
support to keep moving forward.

I would like to ask everyone to make a special effort
to help ASA at this strategic moment. Our resources
have been stretched to capacity by the federal crack
down that followed the adverse Supreme Court ruling
this summer. We are providing court support, telephone
consultations, and peer-counseling to hundreds of
patients each week. This work is making a difference,
but we need your commitment to carry on and make the
most of this victory. We have a lot more up our
sleeves for this fall and winter!

You can make a tax-deductible donation to support our
work right now at
<http://www.safeaccessnow.org/article.php?list=type&type=83>

Please do not wait. We need your help right now. (You
can mail a check or money order payable to Americans
for Safe Access - SEE to 1322 Webster St. #208,
Oakland, CA 94612).

Together, we are making a difference for patients and
caregivers. This lawsuit is a big step, but there is
more to do. I am dedicated to making sure there is
safe access for everyone who needs it. I know you are,
too.

Thank you for your support! This is a great day for
patients and the voters of California!

Steph Sherer
Executive Director
Americans for Safe Access 

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Berkeley Patients Group
2747 San Pablo Ave.
Berkeley, CA 94702
(510) 540-6013

Please join us...
Open Daily 11:00 AM - 7:00 PM
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