The next court date in my case is set for August 28 in Department 11 of the San Diego Superior Court at 1:30 p.m.
Although just last week I was anticipating not having enough money to retain Mr. Mike McCabe as my defense council and was planning on either defending myself or working with the public defenders’ office — I am very pleased to announce that as a result of the hard work of many supporters, I was able to receive a pledge of $2,500 towards my legal defense, which will allow me to retain Mr. McCabe for all the pre-trial motions and hearings.
Aside from the generous pledge, I have also been receiving tremendous support from the community. It is truly amazing to see people uniting in support of my case and in opposition to Operation Green Rx. In fact, even outspoken critics of “dispensaries” who take the time to look into the operation have uniformly proclaimed that they do not support operations where doctors are defrauded, patients are setup, and the courts are forced to “sort it out.”
This week also brought with it news from the Citizens Review Board on Police Practices. I sent the board a letter on July 15, 2009, describing what happened in Operation Green Rx, as well as filing a complaint against the following two detectives:
1. SDPD Narcotics Detective Conrado DeCastro, ID#3954 (Chief Investigative Officer and mastermind of Operation Green Rx)
2. SDPD Narcotics Detective Scott Henderson, ID#4713 (Undercover Operative who defrauded local physician and joined collectives listed on CA NORML)
The Citizens’ Review Board reviews and evaluates serious complaints brought by the public against the Police Department of the City of San Diego. Any person who is dissatisfied with police services or believes he/she has witnessed or been a victim of police misconduct may file a complaint. In person, by mail, on the phone, or through email.
The response came in a signed, and mailed letter by Patrick A. Hunter, the Executive Director of the Citizens’ Review Board. The letter read “your complaint was received and will be forwarded to the San Diego Police Department Internal Affairs Unit for investigation, which I believe is one of the first steps to ending the illegal operation targeting medical cannabis patients.
The discussion about regulating dispensing medical cannabis collectives and coops in San Diego continued in City Hall and throughout the departments across the county this week as well. The debate about whether there is any exemption from prosecution or provision for sales in California’s Medical Cannabis laws gets more controversial by the day. In fact, San Diego District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis, in a recent interview with KUSI News, spoke to that effect.
In the interview Dumanis said “We follow the law, we don’t go after people for using medical marijuana,” she then goes on to say that, “There is no provision for people to sell marijuana period.” In a separate interview with SDNN, a few weeks before the KUSI news piece, Chris Lindbergh a Deputy District Attorney proclaimed that “There is no provision for marijuana sales in the law.”
Dumanis in the KUSI interview also discussed her position on Proposition 215. She said, “It really was meant to legalize in a sense.” Dumanis ends the interview on the following statement “It is a gateway drug, it does have ramifications, and people commit crimes in order to get it. So, that is a debate that will go on but I will fight fiercely against that.”
On Wednesday, the Public Health and Human Services Committee held a meeting where the issue of re-establishing the Medical Cannabis Taskforce was raised. The committee voted unanimously to draw up a resolution, which will be presented to the City Council for approval. The resolution will create the Medical Cannabis Task force in San Diego. The task force among other things will provide clarification, guidance and regulations for collectives and patients in San Diego.
During this meeting, the San Diego City Attorney’s office presented a report to the committee which addressed some of the questions raised at the July 8 meeting with respect to medical cannabis.
The report beginning on the second page stated qualified patients are exempt from “arrest and prosecution for possession for sale; transportation, distribution, and importation; maintaining a place for unlawfully selling, distributing, or using; knowingly making available a place for unlawful manufacturing, storage, and distribution; and using such a place”. The document goes on to stated “The legislation also allows marijuana to be collectively or cooperatively cultivated for medical purposes by qualified patients”.
The San Diego City Attorney’s interpretation of the law matches what the majority of people reading the laws interpret them to be. That qualified patients are protected specifically from these type of investigation and prosecutions conducted in Operation Green Rx.
At the same Public Safety Committee meeting as the City Attorney issued the report providing clarification for patients, the committee and the soon to be established Medical Cannabis Taskforce, the San Diego Mayor’s office announced that they would not allow the police department or any other department reporting to the Mayor’s office to participate in the task force because they would like to see the task force made up of only officials and not patients (citizens).
On Thursday, after Terrie Best, the campaign manager for Stop Operation Green Rx, contacted Mayor Jerry Sander’s office for comment, Ron Lacey from his office issued the following statement:
“Based on the Mayor’s philosophy he feels the City Council, working with city planners along with input from affected citizens as well as dispensary operators can formulate a plan that can address everybody’s needs. Mayor Jerry Sanders is not opposed to medical marijuana.”
We were not able to get further comment or clarification from the Mayor about why the San Diego Police department will not be sending a representative to the Task Force.
Without the direct involvement and participation of both the Mayor’s office and all relevant departments including the police — the task force’s recommendation will fall on deaf ears.
As the District Attorney continues to proclaim that Prop 215 was just a guise to legalize and that cannabis is a gateway drug and should be vehemently fought against, patients continue to suffer, and law enforcement continues to operate under vague laws.
Supervisor Ron Roberts said it best, at the June 23 County Board meeting, when speaking to the actions of the District Attorney with respect to medical cannabis, “I am very disappointed in the Sheriff and the District Attorney for taking these steps. I think we are adding immensely to the confusion surrounding this issue and I think at some point some of the leaders of this community need to accept that 215 is the law and do things that will allow people a simple and clearer way to understand what the rules are, and don’t single this out”.
I encourage everyone to look deeper into Operation Green Rx and our District Attorney’s intent on continuing the fight to overturn Proposition 215.
Davidovich can be reached via hisWeb site.