About two dozen supporters of California's landmark 1996 medical marijuana measure urged Sheriff Mike Carona on Thursday to "stop violating the law" and allow patients to cultivate and use marijuana without fear of arrest.
"We are here because four years ago, 5.4 million voters in California passed the medical marijuana law, and it's being ignored," Steve Kubby said as he stood outside sheriff's headquarters in Santa Ana.
Kubby, 55, helped draft Proposition 215, the 1996 measure, and has lived in Laguna Beach since his January 1999 arrest in Northern California on various drug charges. His case ended in a mistrial on the marijuana charges, but the jury convicted him of felony possession of a small amount of peyote and a psychedelic mushroom stem.
During a news conference in front of the sheriff's office, Proposition 215 supporters such as Mira Ingram of Orange County chanted: "When are you going to start obeying the law?"
Ingram, 33, said her doctor has recommended marijuana to help ward off pain and nausea from diabetes, arthritis and other ailments.
"I have to live in fear in Orange County every day because there are no guidelines here on marijuana use," she said. "Patients like me are being arrested all the time." The department has arrested few people who claim the right to use marijuana under Proposition 215.
Initially, the group was to hand Carona a set of guidelines for use from the city of Oakland. But Carona was unavailable, a spokesman said.
The sheriff has said he will not alter department policy, which does not recognize the right to use marijuana under Proposition 215, because federal law bans marijuana cultivation and use.