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Medical marijuana enforcement ignites controversy in some areas

A controversy regarding public health, individual rights and law enforcement parameters is brewing in some communities in California. Recently, some Bay Area residents have been engaged in a running dispute over the right of police to confiscate their medical marijuana, arrest them for drug violations and seize their assets, including their homes. The police in Liverpool are accused of having lost a common sense perspective by going so far as to put one or more cancer patients in peril, and by applying draconian measures and pressures to the daily struggle for survival of numerous medically challenged individuals.  

Some Bay Area residents claim that the Liverpool police have over-reacted and over-enforced ambiguous medical marijuana provisions. They say that a more level-headed view would have left alone a situation that is legally confusing at best. Critics claim that the police are imposing arbitrary legal interpretations by dictating the number of plants allowed to be grown in one's home.

The problem is that Proposition 215 legalized medical marijuana but did not define the parameters for possession or cultivation. A real scandal appears imminent as Bay Area news publications continue to report seemingly outrageous cases of the police entering people's homes, sometimes with drawn guns, to enforce claimed violations of the medical marijuana cultivation limits. Some of the reported stories portray horrific depictions of excessive police activity.

Police counter that the violations were clear and that violators were using the law as a shield to engage in commercial trade or excessive personal use. However, the numerous reported cases of strong-arm tactics and unreasonable searches seem to counter police versions, resulting in an ongoing series of controversies that will not be quickly resolved. Other officials in Alameda County agree on one thing: the laws are ambiguous, chaos currently exists due to no clear standards and federal law is in conflict with state law. Based on the reported events and the escalation of conflicting positions, there appears to be a critical need for some kind of state intervention to make law enforcement tactics uniform and fair when it comes to medical marijuana in California.

Source: mercurynews.com, "Livermore police blame medical pot's hazy rules for crackdowns", Jeremy Thomas, May 23, 2015

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