Santa Cruz Good Times

Wednesday
Apr 23rd
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Congressman Sam Farr

SamFarrNewHow will the Truth in Trials Act, which you introduced on Oct. 27, reinforce that medical marijuana laws be enforced at the state rather than federal level?

We have a major disconnect in this country between state and federal marijuana laws, and it’s resulting in innocent people being sent to prison.

An individual arrested for marijuana use and tried in federal court is currently barred from telling the jury that the marijuana grown, distributed or used was for legal, state-sanctioned purposes. It’s unconscionable that we limit a very legitimate defense inside federal courthouses.

The trial of Oakland marijuana advocate Ed Rosenthal brought this issue to light in 2003 when he was forbidden from using state law as a defense during his trial. Ed was legally growing marijuana, but was found guilty under federal statute. The jury later said it would have ruled differently if it knew his activities adhered to state law.

Ed said it best following his trial: “We weren't allowed to give the jury valuable information it needed to make a fair and unbiased decision.”

It’s important to understand what this legislation won’t do. It won’t prevent the arrest of someone who has violated federal marijuana laws; it will only allow state law as a defense during trial. The bill does not apply to any other substance than marijuana, and it does not legalize marijuana.

What this bill does do is allow individuals accused of violating federal marijuana laws to tell the court that they were operating under state medical marijuana laws. It’s then up to the jury to decide if the defendant has proved beyond a reasonable doubt that state law was followed.

The effect of this legislation is to protect patients, doctors and growers who follow state law from interference in medical decisions by federal drug enforcers. The bill would apply only to the 13 states that have legislated by law or ballot a medical marijuana statute. California is one of those states.

While this law doesn’t directly apply to recent guidelines issued to federal prosecutors, it does ensure that state law will no longer be ignored if the Justice Department decides in the future to again pursue medical marijuana convictions.

You are a member of the newly created Livable Communities Task Force. What are the goals of that group and how would it affect Santa Cruz?

The Livable Communities Task Force got its start last month through the work of my friend, Congressman Earl Blumenauer from Oregon. Its mission is simple: come together to help improve overall community livability and quality of life for all Americans.

The concept of a livable community is a place where families are safe; where housing and transportation work logically and sustainably; where our children excel in school and their parents have secure jobs; and where personal and environmental health is a priority. It takes effort by everyone to reach this ideal, and our job is to make sure the opportunities to reach that ideal are available.

It’s a far-reaching mandate, of course, but this task force brings together 20 members of Congress—experts on everything from renewable energy and responsible transportation to building efficiency and community gardening.

As we move ahead, we’ll be holding briefings and strategy meetings with members of the Obama administration and a range of experts on issues that affect community livability. The White House is already taking some big steps on this issue, creating the Partnership for Sustainable Communities with six “livability principles” for coordinating policy across federal agencies.

How does Santa Cruz fit in? First, I like to think Santa Cruz is already a great example of a livable community. We value the environment, we feed our children healthy foods, we consider how our actions affect the world around us. But there is always room for improvement.

I believe the work of the Livable Communities Task Force will have some concrete effects on how federal agencies approach local governments. Remember, there are hundreds and hundreds of grant programs that communities benefit from. The federal government has a hand in every community in the country.

It’s the task force’s job to make sure the federal government is an effective partner in making our communities the best homes possible.

Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

Cardinal Grand Cross in the Sky

Following Holy Week (passion, death and burial of the Pisces World Teacher) and Easter Sunday (Resurrection Festival), from April 19 to the 23, the long-awaited and discussed Cardinal Cross of Change appears in the sky, composed of Cardinal signs Aries, Libra, Cancer, and Capricorn, with planets (13-14 degrees) Uranus (in Aries), Jupiter (in Cancer), Mars (in Libra) and Pluto (in Capricorn), an actual geometrical square or cross configuration. Cardinal signs mark the seasons of change, initiating new realities.

 

Sugar: The New Tobacco?

Proposed bill would require warning labels on sugary drinks Will soda and other saccharine libations soon come with a health warning? They will if it’s up to our state senator, Bill Monning (D-Carmel). On Feb. 27, Monning proposed first-of-its-kind legislation that would require a consumer warning label be placed on sugar-sweetened beverages sold in California. SB 1000, also known as the Sugar-Sweetened Beverages Safety Warning Act, was proposed to provide vital information to consumers about the harmful effects of consuming sugary drinks, such as sodas, sports drinks, energy drinks, and sweetened teas.

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of April 17

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >

 

Aries Solar Festival

Sunday is Palm Sunday. Symbolizing victory and triumph, paradise, sacrifice and martyrdom, the Pisces World Teacher entered Jerusalem (City of Peace) on a donkey (signifying humility).
Sign up for Tomorrow's Good Times Today
Upcoming arts & events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Foodie File: Red Apple Cafe

Breakfast takes center stage at Gracia Krakauer's Red Apple Cafe Before they moved to Aptos, Gracia and her husband Dan Krakauer would visit friends in Santa Cruz County and eat at the Red Apple Café all the time. Then they moved up here from Santa Monica five years ago, and bought the Aptos location (there’s a separate one in Watsonville) from the family who owned it for two decades.

 

How would you feel about a tech industry boom in Santa Cruz?

I feel like it would ruin the small old-town feeling of Santa Cruz. It wouldn’t be the same Surf City kind of vacation town that it is. Antoinette BennettSanta Cruz | Construction Management

 

Trout Gulch Vineyards

Cinsault 2012—la grande plage diurne The most popular wines on store shelves are those most generally known and available—Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, which are all superb for sure. But when you come across a more unusual varietal, like Trout Gulch Vineyards’ Cinsault ($18), it opens up a whole new world.

 

Waddell Creek, Al Fresco

Route One Summer Farm Dinner You’ve been buying their insanely fresh produce for years now at farmers’ markets. Right? So now why not become more familiar with the gorgeous Waddell Creek farmlands of Route One Farms?