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HASHISH IS SAME AS POT FOR PROP 215 The attorney general’s office has held that concentrated cannabis or hashish should be treated the same as marijuana under Proposition 215, which could provide a medical necessity defense for some felony defendants. In an opinion issued Tuesday but released Friday, Deputy AG Gregory Gonot concluded that the state’s 1996 medical marijuana measure “plainly” covers concentrated cannabis, possession of which is a felony. “We have carefully reviewed the ballot materials accompanying Proposition 215 and have found nothing therein to indicate that the voters intended for concentrated cannabis to be treated differently from ordinary marijuana when used for medical purposes,” Gonot wrote. “Proposition 215 was approved by the voters without specificity as to the strength, quality or quantity of marijuana to be used for medical purposes as long as the use is reasonably related to the patient’s current medical needs and was recommended or approved by a physician.” According to the ruling, the level of tetrahydrocannabinol, marijuana’s most active pharmacological ingredient, can range up to 70 percent in concentrated cannabis, whereas in ordinary pot it varies between 5 percent and 60 percent. Yolo County Public Defender Barry Melton said the legal difference for possession is profound. “Possession of marijuana is a misdemeanor and, if small enough, a misdemeanor without punishment,” he said Friday, “whereas possession of concentrated cannabis is a felony and does not wobble.” That seems to indicate, Melton said, that the AG’s opinion could be used as a persuasive argument in defense against a charge of possession of concentrated cannabis. Anthony Craver, the sheriff and coroner of Mendocino County, had sought the AG’s opinion. — Mike McKee OAKLAND ATTORNEY NAMED COMMISSIONER An Oakland attorney with a long history of gay and women’s rights advocacy will be Alameda County’s next court commissioner. Elizabeth Hendrickson’s selection by the court caps her long career in public interest law. She was the executive director for the National Center for Lesbian Rights, a public interest law firm that works to strengthen legal protections for the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community. Hendrickson, 53, has also been active with the Bay Area Lawyers for Individual Freedom, a gay attorneys group, and founded Alameda County’s Domestic Violence Law Project. She said it was tough to leave the advocacy trenches for the bench. “It was a hard decision,” Hendrickson said. But diversity on the bench is extremely important, she said. “It increases people’s confidence in the legal system.” Hendrickson first assignment, presiding over family law, is familiar territory. As an Oakland solo, Hendrickson says she has maintained a family law practice “on and off” for 24 years. In January she will begin handling traffic matters in Pleasanton. — Jahna Berry

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