The Coastal Post - March 2000

Kinsey Betrays Medical Marijuana Patients

By Rev. Lynnette Shaw
Founder and Director, Marin Alliance for Medical Marijuana

I wish to alert the citizens of Marin County to Sup. Steve Kinsey's betrayal of medical marijuana patients and the voters that supported Proposition 215.

A bit of local history: harsh marijuana policies were thrown out in September 1992, when Sup. Gary Giacomini, Dr. Tom Peters, and myself co-sponsored the County of Marin Medical Marijuana Ordinance, to protect sick persons that use pot medically. The DA, Sheriff, and Probation were instructed by local law, to make marijuana enforcement the lowest possible priority when it came to medical users. This gave the Marin Alliance for Medical Marijuana (MAMM) negotiating power on behalf of our registered members in court for several years, until the DA was instructed to sever relations with MAMM because Kinsey was now in charge of the so-called medical marijuana County ID program, approved in June 1997.

I spoke to Sup. John Kress over the telephone in October 97, when I called to complain that all the work

MAMM had done since 1992 to protect the patients was being thrown out the window, thanks to Kinsey. Kress told me that he and Kinsey had not bothered to consult with the Marin Alliance Legal Team, they had not checked with the Sheriff, nor the DA, nor did they have County Counsel's blessing, they just pushed the program through because they could.

Kress claimed that both he and Kinsey had the new County ID cards, since a chiropractor's note would be good enough for "their" County program. By the way, a chiropractor's note would not qualify anyone under Prop. 215, but Kinsey and Kress seemed unconcerned about legality or patient safety.

Because there was no legal basis for the County IDs, I started a boycott that brought the County program to a dead halt. Nancy Rubin told me our boycott had been very successful, that there were only eight registrations. Five were known to me because they were also members of MAMM. Those five were either busted or had their plants or pot taken with harassment but no citation. All were laughed at when the County program was mentioned, all had health consequences.

Could it be that two of the other three cards were actually issued to Kinsey and Kress? Or was Kress bragging about their alleged cardholder status as a way to pressure me into surrendering the 1,000 member Marin Alliance Patient Registry to Kinsey? It all sounds like hypocrisy and conflict of interest to me. Apparently, thanks to Kinsey's bungled negotiations over the last two and a half years, the DA's policies, especially since September 1999, have reinstituted a tremendous surge of arrests, confiscations, stings, and urine testing for marijuana even when the victim is a legal medical marijuana user. This has been reported to me by dozens of patients and their attorneys. Due to our consistent legal support of members since 1992, MAMM has regained a foothold in Marin court proceedings.

In my opinion, Kinsey has let the Sheriffs and the DA run all over Proposition 215 patients. Perhaps because he's afraid of being exposed as a marijuana user by the very Task Force he used to be a part of.

And what about the former Dr. Alan Ager, County of Marin Patient No. 1, stripped of his medical license and currently sitting in Marin County Jail. He believed Kinsey when he was told that he would be allowed to grow plants for all the patients in the new County program! Kinsey refused to return any phone calls from Alan after his arrest.

Fortunately, there is a positive alternative in the upcoming election. Everyone who cares about the safety and well-being of our medical marijuana patients should vote on March 7 for Louis Nuyens for 4th District Supervisor.

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