Chris Conrad: DON'T BE FOOLED by wolves in sheep's clothing

Don’t Be Fooled:
Prop. 19 WILL protect Medical Marijuana Patients and Collectives


Here’s what Prop 19 proponents say in their official ballot argument: “Medical marijuana patients’ rights are preserved.” Here’s what its opponents say in their official ballot argument: “Proposition 19 makes no changes either way in the medical marijuana laws.” Both sides agree about this point, it’s that clear. So where’s the confusion coming from?

Letitia Pepper, for one. A “patient” and attorney who worked for Best, Best & Krieger — the same law firm that’s been advising cities on how to ban medical marijuana collectives — she is now trying to convince patients and collectives that Prop 19 overturns California’s medical marijuana laws. She is entitled to her opinion; it merits no particular weight in state Appeals court. However, she is giving out false information (see reverse side), and by discouraging voters from supporting Prop 19, she is working against medical marijuana, as well – just like her old law firm. Don’t you fall for it: This is a very well-written law. Vote Yes on Prop 19.

Please read the whole initiative, not just her lawyerly trick ‘interpretation’ written for her own purposes, whatever they may be. She wants you to vote against your own interests.

Remember, cannabis is not legal for adults yet; only qualified patients and caregivers have limited immunity and a court defense. Prop 19 protects their medical use (Prop 19: Purposes 6, 7, 8) and it also legalizes small, non-medical gardens and personal amounts for adults (Prop 19 11300[a]). Prop 19 creates a legal defense for greater amounts, even without a medical note (11304d(iv)[c]). It lets counties and cities regulate sales (11301[c]), which the medical marijuana laws are not clear about; and that’s exactly how Letitia’s old law firm has been shutting down dispensaries! So Prop 19 can save the dispensaries. It lets the legislature or state voters increase quantities and reduce penalties (Section 5). Vote Yes on Prop 19.

Read Prop 19: “Notwithstanding any other provision of law, it is lawful and shall not be a public offense under California lawfor any person 21 years of age or older to: (i) Personally possess, process, share, or transport not more than one ounce of cannabis, solely for that individual’s personal consumption, and not for sale. ii) Cultivate, on private property by the owner, lawful occupant, or other lawful resident or guest of the private property owner or lawful occupant, cannabis plants for personal consumption only, in an area of not more than twenty-five square feet …” (11300[a]). Does Prop 215 say you can’t possess an ounce or grow a 25 square feet garden? No, it already protects medical gardens, and the courts have ruled that voters approved a reasonable amount. Does SB 420 say you can’t possess an ounce or grow a 25 square feet garden? No, it allows patients 8 ounces and 6 mature plants. Since the legislature can allow more than an ounce, and did so in SB 420; would!

Prop 19 strike that down? No, it allows the legislature to do precisely that. Our medical use laws are protected by Prop 19, and it goes far beyond that to help all Californians, not just patients.

The facts: Prop 19 repeatedly protects patients rights, it legalizes non-medical use and it makes it harder for police to arrest patients as “not sick enough,” because if you are age 21 or above, it will be “lawful” to garden and possess marijuana. Vote Yes on Prop 19.

— Chris Conrad, Prop 215 community action coordinator, SB 420 advisor, court-qualified expert witness cited in Supreme Court’s Mower and Kelly decisions

Don’t Be Fooled by Letitia Pepper:
Prop. 19 WILL protect Medical Marijuana Patients and Collectives

Luckily for everyone, the courts won’t interpret Prop 19 based on the opinion of Letitia Pepper, “patient” and former associate at Best, Best & Krieger — a law firm that’s been advising cities on how to ban medical marijuana collectives. Courts will look first at the language of the law, then at the stated intent of the initiative and then at the ballot argument. Following that process, they will rule that patients are protected.

First, note that the official ballot summary does not mention medical marijuana, qualified patients, or collectives at all, since they are not affected. Prop 19 does not limit medical marijuana, it does not modify Prop 215, it does not modify SB 420 (Prop 19 C: Intent 2, statutes to be modified; they are not there). Prop 19 exempts medical use and cultivation from local control in its Purposes 7 and 8 (listed by statute as HS11362.5, 11362.7 – 11362.9). Purpose 6 is to “Provide easier, safer access for patients who need cannabis for medical purposes.” It’s reiterated in the official “Yes” ballot argument. Even the official “No” campaign admits in its official ballot argument: “Proposition 19 makes no changes either way in the medical marijuana laws.” J. David Nick and other medical marijuana defense attorneys agree that patients will benefit from Prop 19.

How flawed is Pepper’s legal analysis? Here are just a few examples of her sloppy work.

Letitia: “[Prop 19 Purpose] Paragraph 7 specifically leaves out the right to cultivate. Why? This is a very meaningful omission of an existing right held by MM patients.” Wrong, cultivation is not omitted.

Fact: Cultivation is not mentioned in paragraph 7 because … it is in the very next sentence. Did she even read paragraph 8 before making this false claim? Yes. She cited it earlier to opine that the courts won’t interpret it to mean what it says: Medical rights are clearly protected under Prop 19. Vote Yes on Prop 19.

Letitia: “Prop. 19 severely limits everyone’s rights to cultivate and distribute.” “Notice that [Purpose] 14 says nothing about allowing the cultivation of larger amounts for medical use.” Wrong, she simply ignores the following:

Fact: Prop 19: 11304d(iv)(c) “in a criminal proceeding a person accused of violating a limitation in this Act shall have the right to an affirmative defense that the cannabis was reasonably related to his or her personal consumption.” That is exactly the same quantity standard that California protects for patients under the People v Mower decision, and Prop 19 also legalizes non-medical adult sharing. Vote Yes on Prop 19.

Letitia: “Paragraph 6 of ‘Purposes’ then specifically refers to patients and cannabis for medical purposes – so this makes it clear the Proposition is intended to affect MM and patients. How? Only to make access “safer” and “easier,” it says — but not cheaper.” Are you kidding me?

Fact: Voters cannot pass a law and make medical marijuana “cheaper.” Is that a joke, does this attorney actually believe such nonsense — or is she just fear mongering patients? Let’s see what else she has to say:

Letitia: “Why would the Prop. 19 people set things up like this? It is going to be contrary to the commercial interests of whoever wants to create a commercial cannabis industry to let such a large group of potential cannabis consumers continue to cultivate and share with each other, via the collective system, cannabis – instead of being forced to buy it from the commercial cannabis industry. Something sneaky’s going on.”

Fact: The initiative makes it legal for patient and adult non-patient alike to cultivate and share cannabis for free, which shows that her fear mongering attack on the authors is both unwarranted and contrived.

So why is Pepper misrepresenting Prop 19? “Something sneaky’s going on,” she wrote. Let’s see: A lawyer who worked for a firm hired to shut down dispensaries is spreading false rumors to patients to get them to vote to keep cannabis criminalized except for patients who pay doctors and lawyers to defend them one by one. Maybe she doesn’t want cannabis to be lawful for adults age 21 and above to grow and use. Don’t buy her lies, the Appeals court won’t skip paragraphs or rule based on conspiracy theories.


The Key Fact: Prop 19 is a well-written law that protects patients and legalizes small personal cultivation and quantities for all California adults. After it is passed, the legislature can fix any minor defects; but this is the right approach and now is the right time. Vote Yes on Prop 19: Common Sense for Cannabis.

— Chris Conrad, Prop 215 community action coordinator, SB 420 advisor, court-qualified expert witness cited in Supreme Court’s Mower and Kelly decisions

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