Medical Marijuana Advocates Get Calif. DMV Change Qualified Patients No Longer Subject to Arbitrary License Revocation
The ASA legal team saw the fruits of another big victory for patients in March, when the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) issued a new policy on driver’s licenses that ends discrimination against state medical marijuana patients.
ASA Chief Counsel Joe Elford
As of March 2, the DMV Driver Safety Procedure Manual now says that “use of medicinal marijuana approved by a physician should be handled in the same manner as any other prescription medication which may affect safe driving.” The change means that medical marijuana use now “does not, in itself, constitute grounds for a license withdrawal action,” as it had in the past.
The change in DMV policy stems from a lawsuit filed by ASA on behalf of Rose Johnson, 53, whose driving license was revoked because she uses medical marijuana on the advice of her doctor. Despite having driven for 37 years without an accident or a ticket, the DMV revoked Johnson’s license last July. According to the DMV, Johnson was no longer able to safely operate a motor vehicle “because of…[an] addiction to, or habitual use of, [a] drug.” Their evidence? Her doctor’s recommendation for medical marijuana.
ASA filed suit on Johnson’s behalf in November, and DMV announced their new policy in January, before her case was heard. Johnson was given a driving test, which she passed, and DMV reinstated her license.
“The new DMV policy is a significant change,” said ASA Chief Counsel Joe Elford, who handled the action. “Drivers will no longer have their licenses suspended or revoked simply because of their status as medical marijuana patients.”
ASA had reports that the DMV had targeted medical marijuana patients in at least eight California counties, including Alameda, Butte, Contra Costa, Glenn, Merced, Placer, Sacramento, and Sonoma. License suspensions and revocations by the DMV were done under cover of calling the drivers “drug abusers,” though they were based on nothing more than the person’s status as a state-qualified medical marijuana patient.
“This DMV policy change represents a victory for patients, which puts us closer to full implementation of California’s medical marijuana law,” said Elford.
“The Deadheads are doing the dance of life and this I would say, is the answer to the atom bomb.”
“I had a marvelous experience two nights ago. I was invited to a rock concert. (laughter in the audience) I’d never seen one. This was a big hall in Berkeley and the rock group were the Grateful Dead, whose name, by the way, is from the Egyptian Book of the Dead. And these are very sophisticated boys. This was news to me.
Rock Music has never seemed that interesting to me. It’s very simple and the beat is the same old thing. But when you see a room with 8,000 young people for five hours going through it to the beat of these boys… The genius of these musicians- these three guitars and two wild drummers in the back… The central guitar, Bob Weir, just controls this crowd and when you see 8,000 kids all going up in the air together… Listen, this is powerful stuff! And what is it? The first thing I thought of was the Dionysian festivals, of course. This energy and these terrific instruments with electric things that zoom in… This is more than music. It turns something on in here (the heart). And what it turns on is life energy. This is Dionysus talking through these kids. Now I’ve seen similar manifestations, but nothing as innocent as what I saw with this bunch. This was sheer innocence. And when the great beam of light would go over the crowd you’d see these marvelous young faces in sheer rapture- for five hours! Packed together like sardines! Eight thousand of them! Then there was an opening in the back with a series of panel windows and you look out and there’s a whole bunch in another hall, dancing crazy. This is a wonderful fervent loss of self in the larger self of a homogeneous community. This is what it is all about!
It reminded me of Russian Easter. Down in New York we have a big Russian Cathedral. You go there on Russian Easter at midnight and you hear Kristos anesti! Christ is Risen! Christ is Risen! It’s almost as good as a rock concert. (laughter) It has the same kind of life feel. When I was in Mexico City at the Cathedral of the Virgin of Guadalupe, there it was again. In India, in Puri, at the temple of the Jagannath- that means the lord of the Moving World- the same damn thing again. It doesn’t matter what the name of the God is, or whether its a rock group or a clergy. It’s somehow hitting that chord of realization of the unity of God in you all, that’s a terrific thing and it just blows the rest away.” —Joseph Campbell (1986)
“The next great, proud moment was when Mickey Hart and Bob Weir come along and tell me I’ve helped them. Well, I never — the rock music never appealed to me at all. It was largely monotonous, it seemed to me. Then they invited Jean [his wife] and me to an event in Oakland that just became a dance revelation. I got something there that made me note that this is magic. And it’s magic for the future. . .
They hit a level of humanity that makes everybody at one with each other. It doesn’t matter about this race thing, this age thing, I mean, everything else dropped out. The wonderful thing was, compared to the Hitler rallies that you see in the film that were used to a political purpose, here it was just the experience of the identity of everybody with everybody else.
I was carried away in a rapture. And so i am a Deadhead now…” —Joseph Campbell, The Hero’s Journey
” …it seemed to me we had the kind of awakening that the great religions first intended, and that somehow it involved everybody. There were kids there. There were old people there, and in other parts of the building there were people just dancing and dancing… we had a chance to awaken our hearts, unbound by any particular cultural or religious commitments to this group or that. It seemed to me, and I’m meaning this very seriously, a prime religious experience that transcended all the bondages and definitions of who and what we are that are the curse of the world today. This, I would say, is the answer to the atom bomb.” —Joseph Campbell speaking about watching Deadheads at a Grateful Dead Show