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Santa Cruz County Measure A
Marijuana For Medical Use Initiative
This measure was passed by over 75% of the vote.
(Full Text of Proposed Initiative)
The people of the County of Santa Cruz do ordain as follows:
SECTION 1. TITLE:
The title of this ordinance shall be: The Santa Cruz County Medical Marijuana
SECTION 2. PURPOSE:
The purposes of this ordinance are:
To express the compassion of the people of Santa Cruz County for the medically
challenged in our community whose sufferings would be alleviated by the use of medical
To express the strong support of the people of Santa Cruz County for the restoration of
Cannabis / Marijuana medical preparations to the list of available medicines which can be
prescribed by licensed physicians.
To direct the elected officials of Santa Cruz County to take whatever actions may be
within their power to support the availability of Cannabis / Marijuana for medical use.
SECTION 3. DEFINITIONS:
For the purposes of this ordinance, Cannabis / Marijuana medical preparations shall
mean: all products made from cannabis or marijuana, in any form intended or used for human
consumption, for the treatment of any disease; the relief of pain; or as an adjunct to any
medical procedure for the treatment of Cancer, Glaucoma, or AIDS; or for any other medical
or healing purpose defined within the bounds of the doctor/patient relationship.
SECTION 4. FINDINGS:
The people of the County of Santa Cruz make the following findings:
Safe And Effective Medicine.
Scientific and medical studies by the National Academy of Science have
shown Cannabis / Marijuana to be a safe and effective medicine with very low toxicity
compared to most prescription drugs. It has been shown to be effective in the treatment of
glaucoma; epilepsy; muscle spasticity; arthritis; the nausea, vomiting and appetite loss
associated with chemotherapies; anxiety and depression; and the symptoms of withdrawal
from alcohol and narcotics.
Doctors And Patients Need The Cannabis / Marijuana Option.
Studies show that one-third of all cancer patients discontinue
potentially life-saving chemotherapy due to the severe and debilitating side effects. The
same is true for many AIDS patients receiving AZT or other similar therapies. Most
physicians surveyed said that they would prescribe Cannabis / Marijuana if legally
available. Half of all cancer specialists surveyed said that they have already encouraged
at least one of their patients to break the law and use Cannabis / Marijuana to ease the
violent nausea and vomiting associated with their current treatments.
United Nations Approves Prescription Marijuana.
In May of 1991, the United Nations Narcotic Control Board voted
overwhelmingly to reclassify Cannabis / Marijuana, placing it back on Schedule 2, and
making it available by prescription. The United States Representative to this board voted
in favor of rescheduling.
Federal Court Orders Prescription Marijuana.
Despite a Federal Court Order recognizing the "clearly
established medical value" of Cannabis / Marijuana, and mandating that it be
reclassified to Schedule 2 and available by prescription, the federal government continues
to deny access to this safe and effective medicine.
Politics Before Patients.
By its own admission, the federal government continues to deny access
to Cannabis / Marijuana for political rather than medical reasons. Using patients as pawns
in the ever-escalating War on Drugs, current policies place message before medicine,
convenience before compassion, and politics before patients.
SECTION 5. IMPLEMENTATION.
Within 90 (ninety) days of the certification of the November 3, 1992
General Election, the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors shall transmit the text of
this ordinance to the President of the United States, the Governor of the State of
California, and the Federal and State Legislative Rep- representatives of Santa Cruz
County and urge them to take whatever actions that may be in their power to:
Restore Cannabis / Marijuana medical preparations to the list of
available medicines which can be prescribed by licensed physicians.
Provide for by law and institute such mechanisms as may be necessary to
insure a safe and affordable supply of Cannabis / Marijuana for medical use.
The Board of Supervisors shall request the Sheriff and the District
Attorney to adhere to the spirit of this ordinance in setting their priorities and to
exercise whatever discretionary powers they may possess to minimize the negative impacts
of current Cannabis / Marijuana restrictions, where medical use is apparent.
The Board of Supervisors shall direct the Santa Cruz County Health
Services Agency to monitor developments in the field of Cannabis / Marijuana medicine,
including research projects, trial studies, or current governmental programs and to make
available, upon request by any doctor or patient, accurate and timely information
regarding the efficacy of Cannabis / Marijuana for various medical conditions.
SECTION 6. SEVERABILITY.
If any of these provisions are held to be invalid, all remaining
portions of this ordinance shall remain in full force and effect.
SECTION 7. EFFECTIVE DATE.
This ordinance shall take effect as provided by law.
Impartial Analysis By County Counsel Santa Cruz County Measure A
Marijuana For Medical Use Initiative
If approved by a majority of those voting on this measure, it will become a County
ordinance. The measure appears on the ballot as a result of initiative petitions which
gathered more than the number of signatures required by state law for placement on the
If enacted, the measure will not change existing laws on the availability of marijuana for
medical purposes, or on the illegality of marijuana possession. Rather, the measure would
constitute a policy statement favoring the increased availability of marijuana for medical
If enacted, the measure would require the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors to take
certain actions to communicate the policy to State and Federal elected officials. The
Board of Supervisors would also be required to request the Sheriff and District Attorney
of Santa Cruz County to adhere to the spirit of the ordinance in setting their priorities,
and to minimize the negative impacts of legal restrictions on marijuana for medical use to
the extent they have discretion to do so. Because no change in the criminal law on this
subject results from its enactment, however, the second directive to the Sheriff and
District Attorney is of uncertain effect.
The Board of Supervisors would also be required to direct the County Health Services
Agency to monitor research developments and make information avail- able concerning
medical use of marijuana. Such activities by the Health Services Agency would be a County
cost in an undetermined amount.
A "yes" vote authorizes enactment of the measure into the Santa Cruz County Code
and approves making the Findings set out in the measure. A "no" vote rejects
enactment of the measure as a part of the Santa Cruz County Code.
DWIGHT L. HERR
By/ Jane M. Scott (Assistant County Counsel)
ARGUMENTS IN FAVOR OF MEASURE A
"My commitment as a physician is to ease suffering and to do no harm. Both are
often possible with cannabis medicines. The government's policy of denying patients this
treatment is indefensible. It's a matter of compassion and common sense. Vote yes on
-Arnold Leff, MD-
The emotional and financial impacts of catastrophic illness can be devastating. For the
thousands of seriously ill and disabled Americans who have a medical necessity for
cannabis/marijuana, the devastation is compounded by a government that ignores the best
medical evidence and condemns them to a criminal black market in their daily struggle for
Measure A calls on the federal government to allow licensed physicians to prescribe
marijuana for patients with life and sense threatening illnesses.
The Controlled Substances Act allows for cannabis to be restored to the list of available
medicines if "a significant minority of physicians have accepted it as safe under
In 1988, after the most extensive review of the record ever undertaken, US Administrative
Law Judge Francis Young stated that "marijuana in its natural form is one of the
safest therapeutically active substances known to man. By any rational analysis cannabis
can be used safely under a supervised routine of medical care."
Dr. Leff and Judge Young are not alone. Seventy percent of cancer specialists, 35 state
legislatures (including California), the United Nations Narcotics Control Board, the
California Medical Association, and 80% of San Francisco voters agree - cannabis should be
available to the seriously ill and disabled to ease their pain and suffering.
Measure A will ease suffering and do no harm. Simply stated, Measure A is good medicine.
Vote Yes for Compassion. Vote Yes for Common Sense. Vote Yes on Measure A.