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Oakland Expands Medical Marijuana Limits, Declares Operators of Buyers Club "Officers of the City"


July-August 1998

The Oakland City Council voted to increase the amount of medical marijuana that patients can possess to an amount twenty-four times the maximum that had been established by California Attorney General Dan Lungren in 1996 (V. Dion Haynes, "Marijuana Club Given Official Role in Oakland," Chicago Tribune, August 14, 1998, sec 1, p. 1; Leslie Maxwell, "Oakland May Back Medical Pot Providers," Sacramento Bee, July 28, 1998) .

The decision allows patients who live in Oakland and use medical marijuana to possess up to one and a half pounds of marijuana, an amount which the FDA considers to be a three-month supply. Lungren's limit had permitted possession of up to one ounce. If patients grow their own marijuana, they are permitted to have up to six pounds of marijuana. The City Council decided that in addition to this, a patient can grow as many as forty-eight flowering plants and 96 nonflowering plants indoors, or thirty flowering plants and sixty nonflowering plants outdoors.

On August 13, the city council named the operators of the Oakland Cannabis Buyers Club (CBC) "officers of the city." Mike Nisperos, public safety liaison in the office of the City Manager, told NewsBriefs that this title would give them immunity from federal prosecution under the Controlled Substances Act because they would be "agents of law enforcement" by overseeing the distribution of medical marijuana (21 USC 885(d)) ("A Bid to Shield Medical Sales of Marijuana," New York Times, August 14, 1998, p. A15).

Mike Nisperos, Office of the City Manager - #1 Frank Ogawa Plaza, Oakland, CA 94612, Tel: (510) 238-2223, Fax: (510) 238-6909.