By Community Alliance Staff
Depending on what social circle you surround yourself with, marijuana, sometimes called “weed” and/or “grass,” can be embraced with open arms or looked down upon. Whatever the reasoning or politics behind how one feels about “weed,” at the end of the day, it is a natural herb that has existed and been used since the beginning of time, or at least as long as we’ve been around.
In addition to being environmentally friendly to grow and having the ability to be made into useful things like paper, many people use it for medical reasons as an alternative to processed and non-natural “medicine” that usually comes in the form of prescription pills. That’s what Joan Byrd and Susan Juvet used it for.
Byrd and Juvet were able to benefit from this as a result of the Compassionate Use Act, which people voted for in 1996. The act gave the right to individuals with severe medical needs to have access to grow and cultivate marijuana for medical use without persecution. In 2004, the Medical Marijuana Program was implemented, which strengthened the Act and provided specific guidelines for all counties in California to follow, like the guideline that reads each qualified patient shouldn’t have more than 8 ounces of dried marijuana in his/her possession.
Of course, in true rugged fashion, the sheriff and other Fresno County politicians did not care that this was the law of the state and completely banned the possession, purchasing, growing and cultivation of medical marijuana within Fresno County lines this past January. It’s officially known as Ordinance No. 14-001.
In reaction, we have Joan Byrd and Susan Juvet v. County of Fresno, City of Fresno. This civil suit is happening now and is backed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). The suit points out that the ordinance is in direct violation of the Compassionate Use Act and the Medical Marijuana Program. The suit cites that for patients Byrd and Juvet this is horribly inconvenient due to transportation and economic issues and potentially life threatening because they can’t access their medication.
It appears that the movement to legalize medical marijuana has sprung up in Fresno again. Stay tuned for future updates.
For more information, visit www.aclunc.org.