Chief Jim Craft staff photo

Lafayette City Police Chief Jim Craft visited Dr. John Sutherlin and Ken Romero on 'Go Acadiana' yesterday and discussed a letter dealing with marijuana legislation that is being sent to all members of Congress. ( A copy of the letter can be found at the bottom of this page)

Chief Craft appeared as a representative of the Louisiana Chief's of Police Association explaning their opposition to the medical marijuana bill in the Louisiana Legislature and not as a representative of the Lafayette Police Department or the City of Lafayette. According to Craft,

We started off by reviewing State Senator Fred Mills' bill. Different representatives of the associations; the chief's association, the sheriff's association and the district attorney's association had more questions than answers about having this type of bill being approved in the Legislature. (the bill from Senator Mills would have legalized medical marijuana in Louisiana) For one thing right away we noticed it violated our oath of office.

When asked to explain how the medical marijuana bill would cause the organizations mentioned to violate their oath of office Craft said,

We take an oath to protect and serve and enforce the laws of the United States of America and the state of Louisiana. So, passing a bill that would make medical marijuana legal is a violation of federal law. It presented a conflict for us.

Dr. Sutherlin asked what had been done in the 22 years since medical marijuana was originally cleared for use by patients and what had been done to facilitate use of marijuana, Chief Craft responsed,

Basically, not too much. Doctors said you can pass a law but we're not going to prescribe it...The Food and Drug Administration hasn't approved it. If we prescribe it and we have it in our possession can we be criminally charged?

Too hear all of Chief Craft's comments click on the blue arrow below:

Below is a copy of the letter that was sent to all members of the US Congress.

April 29, 2014

United States Representative

316 Cannon House Office Building

Washington, DC 20515

Dear :

We the undersigned professional law enforcement associations and professional prosecutors of Louisiana are mindful of our oath of office, by which we swore "To support the Constitution and Laws of the United States of America and the Constitution and laws of the State of Louisiana, ..." We are also mindful that the use of marijuana, for medical or other purposes, is currently prohibited under Federal law. We are therefore bound by oath to oppose proposed legislation in Louisiana seeking to authorize the use of marijuana for medical purposes. Because many states have authorized the use of marijuana for medical purposes, and because so many citizens have an interest in options for the effective treatment of cancer, glaucoma, HIV/AIDS, Multiple Sclerosis, and epilepsy, we respectfully request that our congressional delegation to collectively initiate discussions with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on this issue. We specifically request that you seek, for us and for all Louisiana citizens, answers to the following questions:

• Marijuana is not authorized by the Food and Drug Administration for any medical treatment. Is such authorization expected to be forthcoming? When and under what conditions?

• If such authorization is anticipated, will Federal regulations assure the therapeutic qualities and consistency of the product?

• Will patients be authorized to receive reimbursement from health insurance providers?

• Will transactions in "Iegal" states continue to be required to be done on a cash-only basis?

• If the Food and Drug Administration determines that marijuana has medicinal purposes, will the forms and methods of ingestion (smoking, eating, drinking, etc.,) be analyzed for effectiveness and reported on?

• Will the FDA conduct comparative research on the use of the raw crude plant versus other medicines containing THC such as Dronabinol, also known as Marinol, which contains lab-made THC and can be made widely available at pharmacies as capsules. This empirical evaluation must be made comparing the effectiveness of approved drugs to cultivated plants. Louisiana deserves a report on this study.

• Will the FDA sanction the use of marijuana for medical purposes despite opposition from The American Cancer Society (ACS); The National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN); The American Glaucoma Society (AGS); The National Multiple Sclerosis Society (NMSS); The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP); The American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO); The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP); The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM)? Our law enforcement concerns include the following:

• Conflict of Laws- Because the drug is not sanctioned by the FDA and is still classified as a Schedule I drug In the United States Code, even if authorized by Louisiana law, our citizens who purchase or possess the substance have the possibility of running afoul of the federal law;

• Public Safety -Cultivated marijuana is easily diverted and presents enormous security issues. Also, marijuana, when sold on a cash-only basis, presents other security issues: for example, law enforcement agencies in other states have reported that the illicit marijuana sold in the immediate proximity of dispensaries or pharmacies, as a much cheaper alternative, becomes the drug of choice for some, and innocent victims have been robbed of cash by illicit dealers;

• Collateral Consequences- Preventing illegal diversion of marijuana grown for medical purposes; providing security for growing sites and dispensaries; and the great potential of misuse or the accidental endangering of children with the potential of serious injury or death when sold as caramels, cookies, fudge, or candy.

• Practicality- The cost of establishing a regulatory and delivery system versus the net benefit to those it may potentially help . Your insistence on the Food and Drug Administration's expeditious study and findings will enable our appropriate agencies to help our citizens understand their rights concerning medical marijuana and will assist us in developing the appropriate proactive response to our constituency. Thank you in advance for your quick response to our concerns. Please keep us posted on your findings.

Respectfully,

Sheriff Tony Mancuso, President

Louisiana Sheriffs' Association

 

D.A. Charles Scott, President

Louisiana District Attorneys Association

 

Chief Jim Craft, President

Louisiana Association of Chiefs of Police

 

Michael A Ranatza

Executive Director

Louisiana Sheriff's Association

 

E. Pete Adams

Executive Director

Louisiana District Attorneys Association

 

Fabian Blache

Executive Director

Louisiana Association of Chiefs of Police

 

James D. 'Buddy' Caldwell

Attorney General

State of Louisiana