Thursday, December 9, 2010

SD ASA Holiday Party Dec 15 Portugalia Restaurant

Mark your calendars and get ready to have a great time, and make a significant difference in our community in San Diego this holiday season.

San Diego ASA has teamed up with a number of amazing organizations in town to bring you this year’s Holiday Party!

The party will be held on Wednesday December 15th 2010 form 6:30pm -9:30pm at the Portugalia Restaurant located in Ocean Beach, CA (4839 Newport Avenue San Diego, CA)

The night will be filled with Karaoke Caroling, Food, Laughter and Cheer!

WHAT: San Diego ASA Annual Holiday Party
WHEN: Wednesday, December 15, 2010 – 6:30pm-9:30pm
WHERE: Portugalia Restaurant 4839 Newport Ave SD, CA

Please bring a toy you wish you had gotten as a child for our community toy drive. This year we have teamed up with The Green Door Collective who will be bringing out the Toys for Tots Marines at 6:30pm to the restaurant to collect toys. The Green Door conducted a toy drive last year at their collective which was able to collect hundreds of toys and helped bring a positive light to our community.

$10 at the door / For more information please visit http://www.safeaccesssd.org/p/events.html

This event is proudly brought to you by: San Diego ASA, Legal Cannabis Institute, The Green Door Collective, Law Offices of Kimberly R. Simms, Association of Clinical Dispensaries, KUSH Magazine, NUG Magazine, Proteus 420, The Women of Marijuana, and The Law Offices of Melissa Bobrow, and many others!

Get Involved, get active, make a difference!

Join ASA - www.safeaccessnow.org
Join us on Facebook www.facebook.com/SanDiegoASA

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Medical Marijuana Patient Advocates Fight for New Trial in San Diego Dispensary Case

For Immediate Release: December 7th, 2010


Medical Marijuana Patient Advocates Fight for New Trial in San Diego Dispensary Case

District attorney & court use double jeopardy, deny defense to unfairly convict dispensary operator

San Diego, CA -- Medical marijuana patient advocates filed a motion for a new trial today in the case of Jovan Jackson, who was convicted on September 28th after he was tried for the second time in less than a year on the same charges of marijuana possession and sales. After District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis failed to convict Jackson the first time, she was able to block his use of a medical marijuana defense at the second trial, virtually guaranteeing his conviction. Americans for Safe Access (ASA), the country's leading medical marijuana advocacy group, argues in its motion that double jeopardy and the denial of a defense was used to unfairly convict Jackson. The motion for a new trial will be heard at Jackson's sentencing hearing, currently scheduled for December 15th at 9am before Judge Howard H. Shore.

"Embarrassed by her earlier loss and desperate for a conviction, District Attorney Dumanis manipulated the criminal justice system to unfairly try Jackson a second time," said Joe Elford, ASA Chief Counsel, and the attorney who filed Jackson's motion for a new trial. "To make matters worse, the court deprived Jackson of the defense that was used to gain an acquittal in his first trial, and a defense to which he's entitled." In December of 2009, Jackson was acquitted by a jury of marijuana possession and sales charges stemming from a 2008 arrest. By denying Jackson a medical marijuana collective defense at his second trial, the court virtually assured his conviction.

For years Jackson had operated his San Diego medical marijuana dispensary, Answerdam Alternative Care Collective, before being raided in September 2009 by a multi-agency task force dubbed "Operation Green Rx." Although more than 60 people were arrested in several raids coordinated by Dumanis in collaboration with the federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Jackson was one of only two defendants Dumanis chose to prosecute in state court. The case against the other defendant, Eugene Davidovich, resulted in a jury acquittal of similar charges earlier this year.

Much of the opposition to local distribution from Dumanis and other detractors like Los Angeles District Attorney Steve Cooley, who recently lost his bid for Attorney General, is based on an interpretation which holds that patients cannot use money to obtain their medical marijuana, or that "sales" are somehow illegal under state law. This interpretation that patients must take part in the cultivation, must "till the soil," is strenuously held by a few rogue officials despite guidelines issued in 2008 by the California Attorney General's office and legal case law to the contrary. In Jackson's case, the court held that the dispensary operator must cultivate the marijuana sold by the dispensary.

"Jackson should not have been denied a defense and should not be used as a scapegoat for the District Attorney's misguided position that medical marijuana sales are illegal," said Eugene Davidovich, who also heads the San Diego chapter of ASA. In an effort to keep medical marijuana out of Jackson's second trial, Judge Shore ordered people in the audience to remove articles of clothing that displayed an Americans for Safe Access logo, including tote bags carried into the courtroom.

Notably, the San Diego City Council has been working for more than a year on a local medical marijuana distribution law, which would regulate the same activity for which Jackson was convicted. A San Diego grand jury issued recommendations in June calling on city and county governments to implement the state's medical marijuana law. In particular, the grand jury urged development of a "program for the licensing, regulation and periodic inspection of authorized collectives and cooperatives distributing medical marijuana."

Further information:
Jackson's motion for a new trial filed by ASA: http://AmericansForSafeAccess.org/downloads/Jackson_New_Trial_Motion.pdf
San Diego grand jury recommendations on medical marijuana: http://www.sdcounty.ca.gov/grandjury/reports/2009-2010/MedicalMarijuanaReport.pdf

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Judge Grants Emergency Injunction against St. Bernard’s Provisions San Marcos Medical Marijuana Collective

By: Eugene Davidovich

SAN MARCOS – On Friday of this week, San Diego Superior Court Judge Robert Dahlquist granted an emergency injunction against St. Bernard’s Provisions medical marijuana collective located in the City of San Marcos in San Diego County forcing the collective to close its doors.

Despite numerous demands by patients, advocates, and concerned citizens, the City of San Marcos has refused to accept Proposition 215 as law and is engaged in a medical marijuana eradication campaign.

In 2006 the San Marcos City Council adopted an ordinance prohibiting medical marijuana dispensaries in all zones within the city’s jurisdictional limits and specifically instructed the city’s business tax office not issue permits conditional or otherwise for such use.

Advocates, patients, and concerned citizens alike have called the San Marcos Ban unconstitutional and a slap in the face of California voters who overwhelmingly passed Proposition 215 in 1996. Since 1996 support for medical marijuana across California has continued to grow with the most recent polls showing over 70% of Californian’s in support of medical use.

To date this patient eradication campaign has cost the city millions of dollars and has included criminal and civil action against legitimate patients. The latest example in the city’s spending furry is the filing of this restraining order and demand for an “Emergency Injunction” against St. Bernard’s Provisions.

Just in the last couple months the City of San Marcos has spent several hundred thousand dollars on this effort with the cases against MMSC, Inc., and now St. Bernard’s Provisions.

On Friday December 3, members of St. Bernard’s collective were in court for a hearing on the City’s emergency injunction. The courtroom was full with over a dozen supporters, patients, and members of Americans for Safe Access, who took time on a weekday afternoon to show up in support of St. Bernards and against the injunction and illegal ban.

The hearing was scheduled to begin at 2:30 but got underway an hour late. Jeffery Lake of Lake APC, a local medical marijuana law firm which specializes in assisting patients in navigating the state’s medical marijuana laws represented St. Bernard’s Provisions that day.

The hearing began with the Judge going over the city’s complaint. The city was claiming that because St. Bernard’s business license application stated the collective provided “medical provision” rather than “medical marijuana” it was violation of the city’s code. The Judge failed to recognize or even discuss the fact that the city specifically instructed its business license office to deny all applications for medical marijuana dispensaries.

Mr. Lake explained to the Judge that the collective was truthful in their application and in fact was providing medical provisions including medical cannabis to patients and that there was already a hearing set for December 9 with the city to determine if medical provisions could include medical marijuana according to the city’s definition.

Lake also argued that the city had failed to prove that this was an emergency. There had not been a single complaint about the facility, there was no detriment or harm caused to anyone from the collective’s existence, and in fact the city’s action in itself was a detriment. Lake argued the injunction would cause harm to patients, the landlord, and others in the community who directly benefit from safe and reliable access that St. Bernard’s Provisions brought to San Marcos.

The City Attorney hardly spoke at all as she could tell that Judge Dahlquist had made up his mind about the hearing long before it began.
Judge Dahlquist concluded that the collective should have applied for the license as a medical marijuana dispensary and after being denied, should have sued the city for denying it the license intern challenging the city’s ban, rather than “not being truthful in the application”.

In the end after Lake presented countless arguments, facts, and evidence clearly proving there was no justification for the emergency injunction, and that the collective was in fact truthful, Judge Dahlquist still sided with the bias and granted the city’s request forcing the collective to close.

Patients, concerned citizens, and members of the collective alike were disappointed at the decision and vowed to continue the fight for safe access and a reasonable ordinance regulating dispensaries in San Marcos rather than a ban.

Monday, November 8, 2010

San Diego Americans for Safe Access November Meeting Tuesday 7pm - 11/9

Join patients, medical professionals, scientists, and concerned citizens this Tuesday, 7pm at the La Jolla Brew House for the monthly (main) San Diego ASA meeting.

Find out the latest information on our efforts to establish permanent safe access to medical cannabis for patients in San Diego City, County, and all municipalities. Get involved with like minded individuals and help make a significant difference in San Diego.

Don’t forget to register for next Saturday’s Americans for Safe Access Certified training, “Putting Patients First”. This newly designed ASA training is an essential basic course for anyone serious about working professionally with patients in the medical cannabis field. Instructors include; Amanda Reiman PhD., Don Duncan, Lauren Payne, JD. This ASA workshop made possible through the generous support of Legal Cannabis Institute. ($75.00 per person, lunch included) Register Today: www.safeaccessnow.org/patientsfirst
NOVEMBER 2010 - SAN DIEGO ASA MEETINGS

Tuesday, November 9th -- San Diego ASA Meeting (MAIN)
7:00 p.m. @ La Jolla Brew House, 7536 Fay Ave, La Jolla 92037
For more info, contact: sandiegoasa@gmail.com

Thursday, November 11th – South Bay San Diego ASA Meeting
6:00 p.m. @ 1233 Palm Ave, Imperial Beach, CA
For more info, contact: rasmwboyd@yahoo.com

Saturday, November 13th - ASA Certified Training – Putting Patients First
9:30 a.m. @ Marina Village Conference Center - 1875 Quivira Way San Diego, CA 92109
Register Today! www.safeaccessnow.org/patientsfirst ($75 per person lunch included)

Tuesday, November 23rd -- North County / Oceanside San Diego ASA Meeting
7:00 p.m. @ The Fish Joint - 514 South Coast Hwy Oceanside, CA 92054
For more info, contact: sandiegoasa@gmail.com

San Diego Americans for Safe Access

Get Involved, get active, make a difference!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Patient Advocates Launch Effort to Oppose Steve Cooley as California Attorney General

www.NotCooley.com highlights Cooley's poor record on medical marijuana, the environment & equal rights

Oakland, CA -- The medical marijuana patient advocacy group Americans for Safe Access (ASA) stepped up its campaign this week to oppose Steve Cooley in his bid for California Attorney General. Hoping to convince Californians against voting for Cooley, ASA has launched the website www.NotCooley.com to highlight the ways in which Cooley would be bad, not only for patients and their providers but also for those who are concerned about the environment, equal rights, and criminal justice issues.

"The Attorney General's race is, without a doubt, the most important race for medical marijuana patients in California," said ASA Executive Director Steph Sherer. "Cooley already has the motivation, but we must not give him the means to broaden his attack on patients." Cooley has long fought patient advocates on the issue of medical marijuana. As Los Angeles District Attorney, Cooley condoned dozens of SWAT-style raids on local dispensaries, aggressively prosecuted patients and their providers, and tried to criminalize the "sale" of medical marijuana. Advocates fear that Cooley will try to expand his agenda to the entire state. "As Attorney General, Cooley could dismantle many of the gains made by patients over the past 14 years," said Sherer.

Notably, the effort to defeat Cooley on November 2nd has appealed not just to medical marijuana patients, but also to criminal justice, environmental, and marriage equality advocates alike. Opponents argue that Cooley's stance on a variety of issues makes him "Not Cool" for California. From his fervent support for the death penalty and Proposition 8, to his weak record on environmental justice and enforcement, Cooley has alienated much of the voter base he needs to get elected. "California's top law enforcement officer must protect the sick, the disenfranchised, and those targeted for discrimination," continued Sherer, "and, Steve Cooley fails on all counts."

The race for California Attorney General is closely contested, with Cooley's challenger, San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris, gaining in the polls. Unlike Cooley, Harris has shown consistent support for the state's medical marijuana laws and those fighting for marriage equality. On the issue of whether local medical marijuana distribution, or dispensaries, are legal under state law, the two candidates could not be more divergent. While Harris has recognized the need for dispensaries and has supported statewide regulations, Cooley by contrast has sided with the California Narcotic Officers Association (CNOA) approach that dispensaries must be "eradicated."

According to the Sacramento Bee, the race for California Attorney General is getting even more heated. The Virginia-based Republican State Leadership Committee (RSLC), a corporate front group funded by tobacco, insurance and gambling interests, and coordinated by Karl Rove, is spending $1 million in last-minute TV attack ads against Harris. On the other hand, President Obama has strongly supported and raised funds for Harris, who is the single African-American Democrat on the statewide ballot. Harris is also California's first African-American District Attorney and, if she wins next week, would be the state's first female Attorney General.

Further information:
Campaign to defeat Steve Cooley: http://www.NotCooley.com
NotCooley video on medical marijuana: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q5ydI3ZZpzo
NotCooley video on the environment: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JM4QzC5alNM
NotCooley video on marriage equality: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sGPWDgQ7tik
NotCooley poster: http://safeaccessnow.org/downloads/not_cooley_final_proof_2.jpg

Friday, October 29, 2010

Community Planners say No De-Facto Ban - Let the communities decide!

Community groups seek input on pot dispensaries
By Jen Lebron Kuhney

The location of medical marijuana dispensaries should be left up to individual communities rather than have to follow blanket rules set out by the San Diego City Council, according to the city’s community planning groups.

At their monthly meeting Tuesday, the groups, comprised of citizens from across the city, voted to make an official recommendation to the council to allow community groups to decide restrictions for medical marijuana shops in their areas.

The City Council is mulling a plan that would allow dispensaries in select industrial and commercial zones that have no residential uses. They would also have to be at least 1,000 feet from other dispensaries, parks, youth centers, religious institutions, day care centers and schools.

Americans for Safe Access San Diego chapter coordinator Eugene Davidovich said the city is placing a de facto ban on dispensaries due to the stringent nature of the restrictions.

“It doesn’t allow for facilities near patients,” Davidovich said. “Folks who need their medicine to function would have to find other ways to get their medicine and could go to the black market.”

If the current rules were approved, areas such as Ocean Beach, La Jolla and Hillcrest would be completely zoned out, despite their planning group representatives saying they are open to having strictly regulated dispensaries in their neighborhoods.

Joe LaCava, the president of the La Jolla Planning Association, said there are already about a half dozen dispensaries in his neighborhood, and they have been good neighbors.

The City Council does not have plans to bring up the issue of zoning medical marijuana shops before the new council is in place in December.

http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/2010/oct/28/community-groups-seek-input-pot-dispensiaries/

San Diego Americans for Safe Access
www.SafeAccessSD.org

Get Involved, get active, make a difference!
Join ASA - www.safeaccessnow.org

Saturday, October 23, 2010

NUG Travel Writer In Custody with No Bail - Write Scotty in Jail

A message from Dion Markgraaff, Editor of Nug Magazine and former San Diego ASA Chapter Coordinator to San Diego Americans for Safe Access Members:

Another member of NUG Magazine has had problems with our local law enforcement. Our travel writer Brian "Scotty B." Whytsell ends up in jail with no bail.
While in the Vons parking lot in Carlsbad, law enforcement contacted Scotty and a friend of his.

The officer asked if either were on probation or parole. Scotty was, as a result of a marijuana conviction in 2009.

Despite Scotty possessing a physician’s medical cannabis recommendation, the cops searched his parked car based on his Fourth Amendment waiver, found his medicine, and arrested Scotty. The cops in Scotty’s car a half pound of different strains of cannabis and twelve clones, all of which is half the amount his recommendation allows him to posess.

Initially his bail was set at $50,000 which he posted, but when Scotty went to his court hearing the following week, the Judge bucketed him on a “probation hold” from a previous cannabis conviction and Scotty has been in custody going on 2 months now.
Well over 2/3’s of NUG writers have been arrested by local police for our medicine.

Scotty would love it if you would write him in jail while he sits through the court process.

How to email Scotty:
1. Click on the following link: http://apps.sdsheriff.net/wij/wijDetail.aspx?BookNum=10771181
2. When webpage loads, look for the “Email this inmate” link, and click on it.
3. You will be asked to validate your email address, and then you will be able to send an email to Scotty.
4. He will be delivered ALL emails sent to him, but will not be able to respond.

Remember, he has no right to privacy in these messages. Your words will be read by the Sheriff. Send Scotty your love, support, and appreciation for standing up and fighting against the unjust system.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

RX FEST II - This Sunday 4:20pm - Berkeley Ferry Boat - San Diego Maritime Museum


This Sunday at 4:20pm if you are anywhere near San Diego, you absolutely need to stop by James Stacy's RX FEST 2. The event will be filled with great Bands, Exhibitors, Speakers, Food, and lots of education about Cannabis!

Help raise money for James Stacy as well as awareness for the cause! Share this email with a fried and help spread the word about this event!

Stacy was raided as part of Dumanis’ fierce fight against medical marijuana providers and patients in San Diego, and has refused to take a plea bargain, instead is organizing the second medical marijuana convention in San Diego!

This is a historic event in San Diego that will help raise funds for James Stacy and his Federal Medical Marijuana fight, against continued harassment, prosecution, and intimidation of legitimate medical marijuana patients attempting to follow the law.

RX Fest 2 will feature an exciting evening of exhibitors, three bands, and a number of speakers at the world famous Berkeley Ferry Boat located at the San Diego Maritime Museum on historic Harbor Drive in San Diego.. Admission is $5 and the event is OPEN TO THE PUBLIC!

Meet with national advocacy groups, medical collectives, doctors, lawyers, insurance specialists and alternative health care professionals from all over San Diego County and around the state. Listen to great speakers like Judge Grey and Lanny Swerdlow, RN, and learn the latest in medical cannabis law, regulations, as well as our strategy for Safe Access in San Diego.

For years now the DEA, Narcotics Task Force and the San Diego District Attorney’s office have been terrorizing patients in San Diego through vindictive, bias driven prosecutions, raids, and outright harassment. You can help the victims of this reefer madness propaganda campaign, and San Diego District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis’ fierce fight against patients stand up for their rights.

By supporting this event, and helping raise money for James Stacy and are helping put a stop to the cycle of plea bargains and we can begin to hold the responsible parties in our government accountable for their actions of waste, fraud, and abuse.

James Stacy is the only defendant currently being prosecuted in Federal Court from the 9/9/9 raids. All proceeds from this Concert & Expo directly benefits Stacy’s ability to continue his fight without accepting a plea.

Come support our heroes and learn more about the medical marijuana movement!

Sponsors include: Americans for Safe Access (ASA), Drug Policy Alliance (DPA), Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP), KUSH Magazine, NUG Magazine, CA NORML, and many more!!

Directions and Parking The Maritime Museum of San Diego (Berkely FerryBoat) is located on Harbor Drive near the corner of Ash Street just a few blocks West of interstate 5. From interstate 5 North or South take the "Airport" exit. Look for signs on the freeway and after exiting on to surface streets that read "Embarcadero-Maritime Museum." They will direct you to the museum. Street Address : Maritime Museum of San Diego - 1492 North Harbor Drive San Diego, CA 92101

If you are not able to make the event, please share it with a friend and help us get the word out!
If you are interested in exhibiting at the event or being a sponsor, there is still time to get a booth! Call James Stacy for more information: T: (760)758-8500 - movementinaction@gmail.com

San Diego Americans for Safe Access
www.SafeAccessSD.org

Get Involved, get active, make a difference!
Join ASA - www.safeaccessnow.org

Monday, October 11, 2010

James Stacy Prosecution Continues; Federal Trial to start in November

By: Eugene Davidovich

SAN DIEGO – In March of 2009, the current administration announced “they would not prosecute medical marijuana patients and providers whose actions are consistent with state medical marijuana laws.” At least that’s what the California Legislative Analyst told Californians in the voters guide for the November 2010 elections. (1)

Approximately six month after the Presidential announcement in October of 2009, the Department of Justice (DOJ) issued a memo urging all federal prosecutors and other agencies to “not focus federal resources in States on individuals whose actions are in clear and unambiguous compliance with existing state laws providing for the medical use of marijuana”. (2)

A month prior to the October 2009 DOJ memo and only ten weeks after opening, James Stacy was charged in federal court following a raid on the Movement in Action dispensing collective in Vista, CA, making him the first medical marijuana provider to be tried under the new federal policy.

The dispensary was raided on 9/9/9 the same day over a dozen other medical marijuana dispensaries were raided in San Diego County as part of District Attorney (DA) Bonnie Dumanis’ fierce fight against medical marijuana patients, dubbed by her office as “Operation Green Rx”.

A few weeks prior to the raid, an undercover detective armed with a legitimate medical marijuana recommendation and a valid California ID came into the collective, presented all the appropriate paperwork, completed the membership agreements, and was allowed to join.

The detective posing as a legitimate patient was distributed a small amount of medicine and prior to leaving asked Stacy if he could contribute to the effort with labor and not just financially. According to police reports, Stacy welcomed the offer and told the undercover specifically what he could do around the facility that did not involve a financial contribution.

Stacy is the only defendant from the September raids who was charged in federal court, has refused all deals, and has taken his case to trial. The reason for his case going to federal court where he has no defense versus state where he would have been found in clear and unambiguous compliance with state law, still remains a mystery, and is a question the U.S. Attorney prosecuting Stacy has refused to answer.

In a recent article on change.org, Kris Hermes of Americans for Safe Access (ASA), the nation’s largest medical marijuana advocacy group wrote, “In many ways, James Stacy is no different than hundreds of other dispensary operators in California. In fact, most federal defendants take plea bargains and never go to trial, mainly because they know they will have no defense against their charges. Truth has been taken out of federal trials to appease government prosecutors and the DEA in their effort to undermine state medical marijuana laws.” (3)

Much like other federal cases, in Stacy’s case, U.S. District Court Judge Barry Ted Moskowitz precluded him from presenting any evidence of medical marijuana in the trial (5), including barring the defense from talking about the Presidential announcement of March 2009, the DOJ memo issued in October of 2009 as well as the fact that Movement in Action was a medical marijuana dispensary operating in full compliance with state law.

Judge Moskowitz ruled that any reasonable man or woman having read or heard the memo and announcement would NOT have interpreted them to mean that the Federal government was changing their policy with regards to medical marijuana prosecutions. It would appear that under this ruling, the California Legislative Analyst as well as the hundreds of thousands of citizens who understood the announcements to mean "they would not prosecute medical marijuana patients and providers whose actions are consistent with state medical marijuana laws", are not reasonable.

Since the ordeal began in September of 2009 Stacy’s case has garnered national attention and outrage from thousands of patients across the state who believed the administration’s announcements and thought the Federal intervention in State’s medical marijuana laws was over.

Stacy himself has become an outspoken advocate of patient’s rights and HR 3939 the “Truth in Trials Act”, which if passed by Congress would allow federal defendants to present “evidence during trial that the activities they were engaged in were performed in compliance with their state’s duly-enacted medical marijuana laws.” (6)

In response to Stacy’s activism, and refusal to accept a deal, the U.S. Attorney’s throughout the last year filed three indictments against Mr. Stacy turning the original counts into eight trumped up charges.

The latest charges include ‘distribution of a controlled substance to someone under twenty one’. The prosecution claims they found two patients in the dispensary records that were ‘underage’. One of the patients was nineteen and the other twenty years old at the time of their membership.

The other charge in the most recent indictment was one not heard of before in these types of cases, a charge for being an ‘Illegal drug user’. The prosecution claims that since Stacy admitted to being a medical marijuana patient and because there is no allowed medical use of marijuana under federal law, that he was an ‘Illegal’ drug user.

After the most recent superseding indictment, the defense filed several motions asking the court to dismiss the trumped up charges as well as to address the vindictiveness of the prosecution against Stacy.

On Wednesday of last week, Stacy was back in court, where Judge Moskowitz heard oral arguments regarding the motions filed by the defense. Kasha Castillo, Stacy’s Federal Public Defender argued that there was no clear definition in the law about what constitutes a ‘legal’ versus an ‘Illegal’ user, making this statute unconstitutionally vague.

The U.S. Attorney fired back stating that marijuana was not a medicine and had no accepted medical use, making Stacy an illegal drug user.

There were no oral arguments heard about the underage or vindictive prosecution charges as both attorneys agreed to submit those arguments in writing. Judge Moskowitz declined to rule on the motions that day and said he would issue a written decision within the week.

The next court date in Stacy’s case is set for October 20th at 10:30am in Courtroom 15, where motions in limine will be heard. The trial set to start on November 1, 2010

Aside from not taking a deal and advocating for HR 3939, Stacy has successfully organized and put on a medical marijuana convention in San Diego, with the second one dubbed Rx Fest II (7), planned for October 24 from 4:20pm – 9:30pm at the Maritime Museum on board the Berkeley Ferry Boat. That day hundreds of medical marijuana patients and concerned citizens will come together to help raise money for James Stacy as he goes through the Federal trial.

References:

  1. http://www.voterguide.sos.ca.gov/pdf/english/19-title-summ-analysis.pdf
  2. http://blogs.usdoj.gov/blog/archives/192
  3. http://criminaljustice.change.org/blog/view/without_truth_in_trials_medical_marijuana_defendants_have_no_hope_of_justice
  4. http://www.safeaccessnow.org/downloads/U.S._v_OCBC.pdf
  5. http://americansforsafeaccess.org/downloads/Stacy_Ruling.pdf
  6. http://www.safeaccessnow.org/section.php?id=354
  7. Rx Fest II - For more information or to reserve an exhibitor space please call 760-758-8500 or email movementinaction@gmail.com

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

San Marcos City Attorney files for ‘Emergency’ Injunction on MMSC Dispensary

By: Eugene Davidovich
Judge delays decision on ‘emergency’ injunction as patients pack the room for a standing room only hearing, hoping to retain safe access to their medicine.


SAN MARCOS – In 2006 the San Marcos City Council took a preemptive strike at the State’s medical marijuana laws. Against the protests of patients, city residents and advocates, City Council adopted an ordinance prohibiting medical marijuana dispensaries in all zones within the city’s jurisdictional limits and specifically instructed the city’s business tax office not issue permits conditional or otherwise for such use.

Despite the unconstitutional ban adopted by the city council, MMSC a collaboration of medical marijuana patients in San Marcos came together to open a dispensing collective in a light industrial area of the city, an ideal location, sensitive to the typical community concerns associated medical marijuana dispensaries.

The collective cultivation effort, headed by Ronnie Chang arose as a result of demand from thousands of patients in San Marcos for safe and reliable access to medical cannabis. MMSC stepped up to meet that demand and provided a safe environment where patients could obtain their medicine, discuss cultivation techniques, and associate for the purposes of collectively growing marijuana.

The city quickly went after this association of patients, first by convincing the San Diego County Narcotics Task Force (NTF) to conduct a raid on the MMSC facility on September 9, 2009; the day that over a dozen other medical marijuana dispensaries were raided throughout San Diego County as part of DA Bonnie Dumanis’ fierce fight against medical marijuana patients known as Operation Green Rx.

MMSC withstood the assault and continued to provide safe access to patients in San Marcos. The reefer madness propagandists however, did not stop there.

Recently, the San Marcos City Attorney’s office filed suit against the collective, demanding that a San Diego Superior Court Judge grant the city an ‘emergency’ injunction forcing the collective to close.

On Thursday of this week, during a hearing in the matter, Judge Earl H. Maas delayed granting the ‘emergency’ injunction against MMSC. After hearing arguments from the City Attorney as well as Lance Rogers, the plaintiff’s attorney representing the patients, Judge Maas stated, “I will review all the briefs and cases the attorneys have asked me to look at and issue a decision at the end of next week.”

During the hearing Judge Maas seemed not to be buying the City’s claim that this was an ‘emergency’ situation. He asked the City Attorney to produce evidence of the ‘emergency’ and insisted that they cite specific proof that the facility itself caused a nuisance to the community.

At several points throughout the hearing Judge Maas asked about the city’s ban and appeared to see through the City Attorney’s attempt to qualify a ban as a regulation. Fourteen years after Proposition 215, still having an outright ban, ignoring the law, science, and the will of their community was an embarrassment for the City of San Marcos.

Aside from citing only anecdotal evidence from outside of San Diego County claiming that ‘dispensaries were bad’, the City Attorney failed to provide any proof that MMSC had done anything but help bring a positive benefit to the community of San Marcos.

The City Attorney was not able to produce evidence supporting their allegations nor could they provide any legitimate reason or explanation for having an outright ban.

Unlike San Marcos’ City Attorney, the patient-members of MMSC came to court that day armed with evidence, common sense, and the law.

Rogers on behalf of MMSC presented to the court numerous letters from surrounding businesses, all supporting the collective, and urging the court to allow MMSC to remain open in their neighborhood. Rogers explained to Judge Maas that aside from being a good neighbor, MMSC has gone out of their way to come into compliance with state law and local law.

Aside from formally organizing with the state, the collective not only applied for but actually received a business tax certificate (Business License) under the nursery category for “high end plants and flowers”, from the City of San Marcos.

The City Attorney argued that first, MMSC should have applied for a Business Tax Certificate specifically as a medical marijuana dispensary rather than a nursery, and only after being denied, should have filed suit challenging the City’s ban to be unconstitutional, not the other way around.

Although the purpose and intent of the collective was clearly stated in the application for the business license, according to the City Attorney MMSC’s business license was not valid. It seems that in San Marcos marijuana does not constitute a high end plant / flower.

During the hearing, it appeared the City Attorney was having difficulty making all these arguments while keeping a straight face. It was even more difficult for patients who rely on this medicine daily to see their own city government try to cut off access.

The hearing was held in a courtroom filled to the brim with over fifty MMSC patients and supporters, all well dressed and from different walks of life. Wheelchair and walker bound patients, doctors, lawyers, and advocates all came out to show their support and packed the courtroom.

At one point during the hearing after a few emotional reactions from supporters, Judge Maas addressed the crowd explaining to them that this was the first time he had ever allowed people to sit on the floor and to stand in the isles, during a hearing in his courtroom.

“I understand this issue is important to many in our community and I assure you that both sides will get a fair hearing in my courtroom”. Judge Maas said. “I will allow the supporters to remain however you must agree to stay silent throughout the rest of the proceedings”.

Not a single emotion was further heard from the crowd following the Judge’s request.

The City Attorney kept arguing for as long as Judge Maas allowed, claiming all dispensaries were illegal under state law, echoing Dumanis’ assertion that all members must roll up their sleeves and plow the fields together in order for it to be legal. The City Attorney also asserted that they had every right to ban any use of a property within their jurisdiction.

According to that claim, it would seem that the City of San Marcos is under some sort of dictatorial rule of the City Council.

Judge Maas left many issues unresolved at the hearing, including the constitutionality of the City’s ban on dispensaries as well as MMSC’s right to operate in San Marcos. He did however promise to issue a decision towards the end of next week regarding the ‘emergency’ injunction.

Several patients following the hearing were quoted as saying, “as a result of the Judge not making his decisions immediately and delaying for a week, for the time being, MMSC may very well be the only quote unquote ‘legal’ dispensary in San Diego County.”

The community is grateful to MMSC for challenging the City of San Marco’s unconstitutional ban on safe access and hopes that the many thousands of patients in the City of San Marcos will find clarity in the law and are able to retain safe access in their community through the courts.

Further Information:

San Marcos Ordinance Banning Dispensaries (Chapter 5.54):
http://www.ci.san-marcos.ca.us/Modules/ShowDocument.aspx?documentid=243

ASA compliance letter sent to more than 140 localities:
http://AmericansForSafeAccess.org/downloads/ASA_Letter_re_Anaheim_Ruling.pdf

Appellate court ruling in Qualified Patients Association v. City of Anaheim: http://AmericansForSafeAccess.org/downloads/Anaheim_Ruling.pdf

Status of California city ordinances regulating and banning dispensaries:
http://AmericansForSafeAccess.org/regulations

Friday, October 1, 2010

Bill to Decriminalize Minor Pot Possession Offenses Signed by Governor Schwarzenegger

Cal NORML Release
Bill to Decriminalize Minor Pot Possession Offenses Signed by Governor Schwarzenegger

Sacramento, Sept 30th: A bill to downgrade the possession of one ounce or less of marijuana from a misdemeanor to an infraction was signed into law by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. The bill, SB 1449 by Sen. Mark Leno, will spare petty pot offenders the necessity for a court appearance and criminal arrest record while saving the state millions of dollars in court and prosecution expenses. The bill treats petty possession like a traffic ticket punishable by a simple $100 fine and no arrest record.

"Gov. Schwarzenegger deserves credit for sparing the state's taxpayers the cost of prosecuting minor pot offenders," said California NORML director Dale Gieringer, "Californians increasingly recognize that the war on marijuana is a waste of law enforcement resources."

The new law, which takes effect on Jan 1, 2011, will have an effect even if Californians vote to legalize marijuana by passing Prop 19.

Prop 19 leaves misdemeanor possession penalties in place for public use and smoking in the presence of kids; under SB 1449, these offenses would be simple infractions.

In his signing statement, the Governor said he opposes decriminalization of recreational use of marijuana and opposes Prop 19, but "in this time of drastic budget cuts, prosecutors defense attorneys, law enforcement and the courts cannot afford to expend limited resources" prosecuting petty pot offenses.




Misdemeanor possession offenses have mounted to new highs in recent years, reaching 61,164 in 2009 (see http://www.canorml.org/news/2009arrests.html).

California NORML originally called for making petty possession an infraction when the state passed its landmark decriminalization law in 1975, but the legislature made it a minor misdemeanor punishable by a maximum $100 fine. This marks the tirst time in 35 years that penalties for non-medical use of marijuana have been reduced in California.

Text of SB 1449:
http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/pub/09-10/bill/sen/sb_1401-1450/sb_1449_bill_20100405_amended_sen_v98.html

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JOIN CA NORML AND HELP US REFORM MARIJUANA LAWS IN CALIFORNIA.
See http://www.canorml.org/canormlmission.html

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Jovan Jackson Second Trial - DAY 3 - Court Support Alert


Please come out tomorrow morning at 9am on Wednesday, September 22, 2010 for Jovan Jackson’s second Medical Marijuana Trial, Day 3. 

The prosecution is close to being finished presenting their case in chief, and the Jury needs to see now more than ever the community supporting Jovan in the courtroom. The trial is held in Department 15 and is open to the public at 9am.

Please come out and show your support for Jovan and against this injustice and unfair trial!

WHAT: COURT SUPPORT
WHEN: Wednesday, September 22, 2010 – 9am-4:30pm
WHERE: San Diego Superior Court, 220 W Broadway

Eugene Davidovich
T: 619-621-8446
San Diego Americans for Safe Access

Get Involved, get active, make a difference!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Opening Statements Begin, Security Measures Upgraded at Jackson Medical Marijuana Trial

By: Eugene Davidovich
SAN DIEGO - If you thought intimidation couldn’t get any worse in the San Diego State Courts, think again. This morning Department 15 as per the new demands of the San Diego District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis, was outfitted with additional security measures. While walking up to the courtroom this morning a congregation of bailiffs could be seen outside and a giant walk through metal detector erected along with a 3’x4’ sign displaying the warning “ALL PERSONS SUBJECT TO SEARCH”.

“This monstrosity is clearly over the top”, Terrie Best member of San Diego Americans for Safe Access stated this morning while outside of court. “It is nothing more than then prosecutor’s Jury Intimidation Machine”.

The proceedings began this morning with Judge Shore instructing the jurors on rules of the court. The Judge focused special attention on admonishing the Jurors to immediately report to the court all attempts made by anyone to influence or talk to them. The Judge even focused his attention on the public and stated that it was a crime to tamper with the Jury and that anyone caught attempting to do so, would be severely punished.

While this order was being read, Paul Levikow, Dumanis’ head of Public Relations who was sitting in the front row behind the prosecution, turned around in his chair, and also focused his attention on the supporters. He began to nod his head as the Judge was speaking and continued to give the supporters a long and intimidating stare, clearly trying to instill fear and discourage the public from attending the trial.

Following this clear show of force and intimidation, Chris Lindbergh began his opening statements, in which he claimed that Mr. Jackson was operating a store that would sell marijuana to anyone that came in. A claim completely false and against the evidence that shows that all 1600 members of the Answerdam collective were legitimate patients.

After the DA’s opening statements, the Jury was asked to step into the courtroom next door (a second courtroom commissioned specifically for this trial) while a 402 hearing could be held to determine if Detective Carlson, the investigating officer in the case, was qualified to testify during the trial.

After the Jurors left the courtroom, Detective Mark Andrew Carlson got on the stand, and claimed to be an expert in the medical use of cannabis. He testified that an eight hour narcotics class administered by the California Narcotic Officers Association about how marijuana was not a medicine, made him a medical expert in the field.

The Judge agreed and to the objections of the defense, Carlson was qualified as an expert and allowed to testify in front of the Jury.

The Jurors were let back into the courtroom, and Carlson took the stand as a medical expert. Among many misleading and false statements that Carlson made on the stand, Carlson claimed that the marijuana found at Answerdam was definitely not in compliance with state law and was clearly not for medical use.

At noon, the court took its lunch recess with the proceedings resuming at 1:30 in the afternoon when Carlson is expected to be back on the stand for defense cross examination.

“They will not scare the public away. We will continue to support Mr. Jackson and his fight for our rights” stated Terrie Best while leaving the courthouse for the lunch recess.

San Diego Americans for Safe Access
www.safeaccesssd.org

Get Involved, Get Active, Make a difference!

Joine ASA - www.safeaccessnow.org

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Unfair Trial of Jovan Jackson

WHAT: Protest against the Unfair Trial of Jovan Jackson
WHEN: 8:30 - 9:30am Friday, September 17th 2010
WHERE: 220 W Broadway, San Diego CA 92101

SAN DIEGO - Mr. Jackson is facing a second trial, less than a year after being acquitted by a jury of all medical marijuana related charges just a few months ago. In State court where medical marijuana is legal, Jackson has been denied the right to a fair trial by being denied the opportunity to present the medical marijuana defense to the jury even though Jackson is a legitimate patient.

Today the prosecutor Chris Linbergh spent the morning arguing with the Judge as to why ALL of Mr. Jackson’s supporters should be excluded from the courtroom. Linbergh requested that specifically the ASA shirts not be allowed in the courtroom or the courthouse, that Eugene Davidovich, San Diego ASA Coordinator be banned from being present inside the courtroom, as well as that the retired / disabled Navy veteran, a friend of Jovan's who has come to Jovan’s hearings in the past and wore his NAVY dress blues, not be allowed to wear the uniform.

The Judge dismissed these requests as being ridiculous and some in violation of the first amendment. Judge Shore did however allow Linbergh to keep the ASA shirts out of the courtroom.

Today following the arguments to limit Mr. Jackson’s support, Jury Selection began. It is expected that Jury Selection will be finished today, with the opening statements in the trial to start on Friday morning at 9:00am in Department 15.

Please come out tomorrow to the courthouse at 8:30am and help us send a strong message that we will not tolerate this unfair persecution of legitimate patients and are outraged at the attempt to keep the community out of the courtroom.

Dumanis’ office is not just waging a fierce fight against patients, they are also actively breaking the law and attempting to keep this case as quiet as possible. Please help spread the word about the case, the protest and this injustice.

Bring a friend and come to the protest tomorrow. Everyone who attends the protest will receive a free ASA shirt, sponsored by Marcus Boyd. Although the shirts cannot be worn in the actual courtroom, outside in the hallways, the are allowed.

Your support is critical for this trial!

San Diego Americans for Safe Access
www.SafeAccessSD.org

Get involved, get active, make a difference!
Join ASA - www.safeaccessnow.org

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

SD County attempts to pass De Facto Ban on Medical Marijuana Facilities

SAN DIEGO - Wednesday, June 23, 2010, at 9am the San Diego County Board of Supervisors will meet to discuss and vote on a proposed ordinance regulating medical marijuana facilities in the unincorporated areas of San Diego County.

The proposed ordinance severely limits patients’ access to medical marijuana in the unincorporated areas of San Diego County. Certain provisions in the proposed regulatory ordinance would not only seriously violate patient confidentiality in these facilities, but also would effectively ban all dispensaries in the unincorporated areas of the county.

Monday, June 14, 2010

COURT SUPPORT TODAY FOR JAMES STACY

Join Steph Sherer, Executive Director and Don Duncan the California Director of Americans for Safe Access in Federal Court today to support James Stacy in his federal Medical Marijuana Trial.

What: Federal hearing on whether dispensary operator James Stacy can use medical marijuana and state law as a defense at trial
When: MONDAY, June 14, 2010 at 2:00pm
Where: Courtroom 15, U.S. District Court, 940 Front Street, San Diego, CA

James Stacy will be in court today for a final hearing to determine what type of defense he will be allowed to present in Federal Court. Stacy’s dispensary was raided on September 9, 2009, by a multi-agency narcotics task force, and will be the first such case to go to trial after the Justice Department issued its enforcement policy in October 2009, a month after the raid. Stacy's trial date will be scheduled Monday June 14th during a hearing at which Stacy will argue he's entitled to admit evidence of state law compliance, something routinely denied federal defendants.

Stacy's dispensary, Movement in Action, was raided along with more than a dozen other San Diego County dispensaries as part of local-federal enforcement actions called, "Operation Green Rx," which resulted in more than 30 arrests. Only Stacy, and one other medical marijuana dispensary operator Joseph Nunes, were charged federally as a result of the raids. Nunes has since pleaded guilty and was recently sentenced to a year in prison.

Because of the government's continued efforts to prosecute medical marijuana patients despite a new Justice department enforcement policy, advocates are urging Members of Congress to pass HR 3939, the Truth in Trials Act, which would allow defendants to use a medical or state law defense in federal court. The Truth in Trials Act currently has more than 30 Congressional cosponsors.

Further Information:
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder's recent statements before Congress: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MMCHmU-nFAM
Truth in Trials Act: http://www.safeaccessnow.org/downloads/TruthinTrials.pdf

Join ASA – www.safeaccessnow.org
Visit San Diego Chapter of ASA – www.safeaccesssd.org

Monday, June 7, 2010

Grand Jury Medical Marijuana Report - 2010 - San Diego

After months of investigation and inquiry, the San Diego Grand Jury has finally issues their report on the Medical Marijuana Issue in San Diego. The Grand Jury has made a number of recommendations to the San Diego District Attorney, The Sheriff, and the County Board of Supervisors.

The Grand Jury’s recommendations:

The 2009/2010 San Diego County Grand Jury recommends that the County of San Diego District Attorney:

• 10-107: In consultation with the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department and officials of the Police Departments of the Cities of Carlsbad, Chula Vista, Coronado, El Cajon, Escondido, La Mesa, National City, Oceanside and San Diego, publish a position paper which contains guidelines for the operation of legal medical marijuana cooperatives and collectives in San Diego County.
• 10-108: In cooperation with the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department, establish a Medical Marijuana Advisory Council as a forum through which the operators of legitimate medical marijuana collectives and cooperatives, as well as patients and members of the public, could engage in dialogue with representatives of County law enforcement agencies on a regular basis.

The 2009/2010 San Diego County Grand Jury recommends that the County of San Diego Sheriff:

• 10-109: In cooperation with the County of San Diego District Attorney and in consultation with officials of the nine municipal police departments in the County, publish a position paper which contains guidelines for the operation of legal medical marijuana cooperatives and collectives in San Diego County.
• 10-110: Adopt clear guidelines for law enforcement personnel so that the rights of legitimate medical marijuana patients will be respected.
• 10-111: In cooperation with the County of San Diego District Attorney, establish a Medical Marijuana Advisory Council as a forum through which the operators of legitimate medical marijuana collectives and cooperatives, as well as patients and members of the public, could engage in dialogue with representatives of County law enforcement agencies on a regular basis.

The 2009/2010 San Diego County Grand Jury recommends that the County of San Diego Board of Supervisors:

• 10-112: Adopt a cost neutral County program for the licensing, regulation and periodic inspection of authorized collectives and cooperatives distributing medical marijuana in the unincorporated areas of San Diego County, and establish a limit on the number of such facilities.
• 10-113: Adopt regulations which would allow for the closure of all unlicensed “dispensaries” in the unincorporated areas.

The 2009/2010 San Diego County Grand Jury recommends that the Mayor of the City of San Diego and the City Council of the City of San Diego:

• 10-114: Enact an ordinance creating an immediate moratorium on the opening of additional medical marijuana dispensaries in the City of San Diego, pending the adoption by the Council of guidelines regulating such establishments, as recommended by the Medical Marijuana Task Force with appropriate public input.
• 10-115: Enact an ordinance to establish a cost neutral program for the licensing, regulation and monitoring of medical marijuana collectives and cooperatives, and establish a limit on the number of such facilities.
• 10-116: Adopt regulations which would allow for the closure of all unlicensed “dispensaries.”
• 10-117: Enact an ordinance to establish a cost neutral program for the licensing, regulation and monitoring medical marijuana collectives and cooperatives, and establish a limit on the number of such facilities.
• 10-118: Adopt regulations which would allow for the closure of all unlicensed “dispensaries.”
• 10-119: Upon the enactment of such an ordinance, rescind the current ban on the opening of medical marijuana collectives and cooperatives.

The 2009/2010 San Diego County Grand Jury recommends that the City Councils of Chula Vista, Imperial Beach, National City, Oceanside and Santee:

• 10-120: Enact an ordinance to establish a cost neutral program for the licensing, regulation and monitoring of medical marijuana collectives and cooperatives, and establish a limit on the number of such facilities.
• 10-121: Adopt regulations which would allow for the closure of all unlicensed “dispensaries.”
• 10-122: Upon the enactment of such an ordinance, rescind the current moratorium on the opening of medical marijuana collectives and cooperatives.

The 2009/2010 San Diego County Grand Jury recommends that the City Councils of Carlsbad, Coronado, Del Mar, Encinitas, La Mesa, Lemon Grove, Poway and Solana Beach:

• 10-123: Enact an ordinance to establish a cost neutral program for the licensing, regulation and monitoring of medical marijuana collectives and cooperatives, and establish a limit on the number of such facilities.
• 10-124: Adopt regulations which would allow for the closure of all unlicensed “dispensaries.”

San Diego Americans for Safe Access
www.SafeAccessSD.org

Get Involved, get active, make a difference!
Join ASA - www.safeaccessnow.org

Monday, May 24, 2010

'Prince of Pot' pleads guilty; agrees to 5-year prison term

'Prince of Pot' pleads guilty; agrees to 5-year prison term
Monday, May 24, 2010 By LEVI PULKKINEN, SEATTLEPI.COM STAFF

Marijuana seed dealer Marc Emery -- Canada's purported "Prince of Pot" and a former candidate for mayor of Vancouver -- has pleaded guilty to drug charges that all but guarantee him a five-year stay in prison.

Emery, 52, and two others stood accused of selling millions of marijuana seeds to customers around the world.

He pleaded guilty Monday to one count of conspiracy to manufacture marijuana as part of a plea agreement that would see him serve the mandatory minimum sentence for the crime.

He will be sentenced Aug. 27 and remains in federal custody.

His indictment was heralded by one top Drug Enforcement Administration official as "a significant blow not only to the marijuana trafficking trade … but also to the marijuana legalization movement," prompting Emery's supporters to describe him as a political prisoner.

Indicted in 2005, Emery fought extradition in the courts while trying to pressure Canadian authorities to block his transfer to the United States. He arrived Thursday in U.S. District Court at Seattle in preparation for Monday's plea hearing.

A plea deal struck between Emery and prosecutors would see him imprisoned for five years; two of his former co-defendants have previously pleaded guilty and received probation.

Shortly before his extradition, Emery's wife, Jodie Emery, accused Canadian authorities of aiding the American government in an attempt to "silence the most vocal opponent of the drug war."

Announcing the charges against Emery five years ago, then-DEA head Karen Tandy nearly admitted the same.

In a bellicose statement, Tandy called the move against Emery "a significant blow not only to the marijuana trafficking trade in the U.S. and Canada, but also to the marijuana legalization movement."

Emery, an outspoken proponent of marijuana law reform and former publisher of Cannabis Culture magazine, stood accused of operating a mail-order seed business. Federal authorities assert Emery claimed to make $3 million in the year before his arrest selling the seeds.

"Hundreds of thousands of dollars of Emery's illicit profits are known to have been channeled to marijuana legalization groups active in the United States and Canada," Tandy continued in the 2005 statement. "Drug legalization lobbyists now have one less pot of money to rely on."

As Emery made his first appearance in an American court Thursday, a small group of supporters protested his incarceration outside the Stewart Street federal courthouse.

Among those gathered was Seattle resident Vivian McPeak, a Hempfest founder and outspoken advocated for marijuana law reform who called Emery "a political prisoner of the United States' drug war."

"It's an embarrassment to our home town," said McPeak, who was joined Thursday by Sunil Aggarwal, a soon-to-be graduate of the University of Washington's medical school who recently spearheaded a successful effort to get the American Medical Association to change its position on medical marijuana

McPeak noted Emery's indictment has done nothing to chill the mail order marijuana seed industry. Anyone seeking seeds can still get them from a variety of sellers online.

As Emery's supporters in his native Canada have done, McPeak faulted the Canadian government for cooperating with the DEA during the investigation and for handing Emery over to U.S. prosecutors.

"To me, this is like America extraditing someone to a country where they'd be executed for drugs," McPeak said.

Emery remained in federal custody Monday. It is expected that Emery will petition to be transferred to a Canadian prison after he arrives at a federal Bureau of Prisons facility.
Levi Pulkkinen can be reached at 206-448-8348 or levipulkkinen@seattlepi.com. Follow Levi on Twitter at twitter.com/levipulk.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Presenting Medical MJ Truth in a San Diego - James Stacy Federal Court

By: James Stacy, Terrie Best, Eugene Davidovich

SAN DIEGO – Medical marijuana patient, collective director, James Dean Stacy, on May 19th, 2010 at 10:30am will be appearing in San Diego Federal Court. His collective, Movement In Action (www.movementinaction.org) was raided on September 9, 2010, in District Attorney (DA) Bonnie Dumanis’ raids on medical marijuana collectives and Mr. Stacy was arrested, charged in Federal Court, and is now facing a Federal Jury Trial and the possibility of life in prison.

Since the latest round of Operation Green Rx raids began in August of 2008, San Diego DA Dumanis, has lost both cases that went to trial in State Court. Realizing that she stands no chance in state court it seems that she has redirected her efforts and taken a new approach.

Dumanis has enlisted the efforts of US Attorney Karen P. Hewitt, and has filed charges on legitimate patients and collectives in Federal court, going against the standing orders from President Obama not to target legitimate medical marijuana collectives in states where they are legal.

On Wednesday May 19, 2010, history will be made in San Diego, in Courtroom 15, at the Federal Courthouse at 940 Front St. in downtown San Diego, where U.S. Federal Judge Moskowitz will decide if medical marijuana patient James Dean Stacy will be allowed to tell the Truth in his trial.

Mr. Stacy is arguing entrapment by estoppel based on statements made by President Obama during his presidential campaign and then his first year in office, as well as the U. S. Attorney General Holders statements, both of which in summary say that the Federal government would stop prosecutions, investigations, and arrests of legal medical marijuana collective members and patients.

Ignoring this order, and the will of the California voters, Dumanis and Hewitt in partnership with the local Narcotics Task Force arrested 31 collective members in a swat style raid last September, and rumors have it, are planning more ways to harass collectives and patients.

Mr. Stacy, one of those charged federally, refused to be bullied by the prosecutor into a plea deal, and is fighting the charges. His case has the potential to set precedent throughout the state with his defense. Mr. Stacy is asking to simply tell the whole truth to the jury in during his trial.

The Federal government currently does not allow defendants to tell the jury that they are a legitimate medical marijuana patient in compliance with California State law. The mention of this fact is vigorously fought by the prosecutor.

On May 19th we will find out if the jury will be allowed to hear the Whole Truth.

Come out and support Mr. Stacy as he stands up for our rights against the misguided policies of the Federal Government and our bias driven local DA and US Attorney.

San Diego Americans for Safe Access
www.SafeAccessSD.org

Get Involved, get active, make a difference!
Join ASA - www.safeaccessnow.org

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

ASA Meeting Tonight at 6pm - Pt. Loma Library

Today at 6pm we are holding the monthly San Diego ASA meeting at the Pt. Loma Library (3701 Voltaire Street San Diego, CA 92107)

This is a time in San Diego when you should be most involved and on top of what is happening in the county and the city with regulations and laws.

Alex Kreit the chair of the San Diego Medical Marijuana Task Force and Professor at Thomas Jefferson School of Law, will be there tonight to talk about what the city of San Diego is doing with regards to regulations of medical marijuana dispensaries. We also have a very special guest, Gretchen Bergman of A New Path who will be there to talk about the new campaign she has launched “Moms Unite to end the War on Drugs”.

You will also hear about the latest news across the nation and the state with regards to medical marijuana!

I look forward to seeing everyone there.

Eugene Davidovich
T: 619-621-8446
San Diego Americans for Safe Access
www.SafeAccessSD.org

Get Involved, get active, make a difference!
Join ASA - www.safeaccessnow.org

Thursday, May 6, 2010

On Level Four Permitting in San Diego

By: Larry Sweet, San Diego MMTF / San Diego ASA

As the author of the two-tier permitting recommendation from the Medical Marijuana Task Force (MMTF), I have often been asked “why don’t you support level four permitting for dispensaries?”  It is a reasonable question and one that deserves a considered opinion.  I hope the following helps clarify this question and helps people get behind reasonable permitting.

The first thing to understand is that a level four permit is the same permit that is required for an airport for example or botanical gardens for another.  It is necessary for the complex nature of these enterprises and allows for extensive conditional use, public review and exhaustive inspection.  One would expect that level of permitting for control of pollution.  Dispensaries are not that complicated.

The City IBA reported to the MMTF that the initial, non-refundable fee for a level four permit was $8,000.  In addition to that; all agree that the costs of inspection and permitting should be recovered from the applicant.  According to the documentation from other Counties reviewed by the MMTF these permits can cost applicants $35,000 to $50,000 in fees for the permitting process alone.

A hidden cost to the start up cost is the investment beyond the permitting fees themselves.  Any business that applies for a fee will have to demonstrate they have a location which means a lease agreement entailing deposits and a financial commitment for typically more than a year.  In addition there are the costs associated with remodeling, furniture, security equipment, medicine and myriad other necessities.  These costs mount up extremely fast considering you can easily spend $30,000 on the lease alone.

A conservative estimate based on the above show that if your collective wishes to open a dispensary they will need somewhere north of $100,000 for start-up capitol. 

There are two extremely important points relative to that number:
1.     This effectively closes every legitimate collective in town, except a couple of very large operations.
2.    The City is asking only people with that much money to provide medicine for the patients who need access.

I believe that San Diegans, due to their proximity to the border, must be extremely careful who they invite to this dance.  Unfortunately, we have people that are that well organized with those resources engaged in a blood bath south of the border.

I am not certain that the City Council itself fully understands the implications of passing a level four permit.  Do they really want to have their name and office associated with every dispensary that exists in San Diego from this point forward?  Do they really have the time, energy and political capitol to revisit this issue every time someone wants to provide safe access in San Diego?  I prefer the permitting process to be codified and clear, not subject to the political aspirations of the current or any other City Council. 

I do not intend to make the case for the two-tier approach again; I believe that the protection it affords smaller collectives is self evident.  My concern is that the City Council is about to throw the baby out with the bath water if they support level four permitting.  The current strength found in the responsible and respectable collectives in town will be decimated and patients will be forced into WeedMart corrals for access to their medicine.  It is my hope that the level heads on the City Council are aware of these issues and will provide, somehow, for the continuing existence of the current collectives, regardless of their size or financial resources.

 San Diego Medical Marijuana Task Force Website

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Imperial Beach Medical Marijuana Ordinance Update

By: Marcus Boyd, San Diego ASA

The Imperial Beach City Council heard the 2nd Status Report on Interim Ordinance No. 2009-1091 at the IB city council meeting on Wednesday evening April 21st, 2010.  Ordinance No. 2009-1091 is/was the anxiously awaited medical marijuana zoning ordinance for the City of Imperial Beach requested by local citizens concerned about the lack of safe access in South San Diego, National City, Chula Vista, Nester, San Ysidro, Bonita... well you know the issue... it's all of San Diego County!  (video links of the meeting are below)

Similar to all other San Diego County municipalities, the Imperial Beach MMJ ordinance process has been plagued with material inconsistencies provided to and presented by the city staff to the city council in an obvious attempt to confuse the local governing body into a "deer in the headlights" position.  Nevertheless, diligent activism and legislative efforts in Imperial Beach appeared to have real promise in yielding the first ordinance offering safe and legal access to medical marijuana in San Diego County. 

However, despite a letter sent to the officials of the City of Imperial Beach requesting the Imperial Beach city council to; "set the example in San Diego County in moving earnestly toward an ordinance that would aim to provide the seriously ill with safe and legal access to marijuana for therapeutic use as intended by the Compassionate Use Act (Cal. Health & Safety Code § 11362.5) and Medical Marijuana Program Act (Cal. Health & Safety. Code § 11362.7 etseq.; People v. Urziceanu (2005) 132 Cal.App.4th 747, 785.)", the all but one of the council members have changed their minds and are now allowing the city to move forward with stonewalling the ordinance for another year in August.

The Imperial Beach city council meeting video has been divided into three parts and can be viewed here;

1 of 3


2 of 3


3 of 3


If you would like to be CC'ed on the recent letters that were sent to the Imperial Beach city council please respond to this email and we would be happy to forward them to you. They're really juicy!

San Diego Chapter of Americans for Safe Access
www.SafeAccessSD.org

1/20 San Diego City Planning Commission Meeting

To see all the San Diego ASA News Briefs visit: YouTube.com/SafeAccessSD