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

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 Follow Levi on Twitter at

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 ( 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

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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

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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

Bonnie’s Raids and Persecutions on Medical Marijuana in San Diego Continue

By: Dan Murphy, San Diego ASA

Many in the community thought that since losing twice at a Jury trial, San Diego District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis’ office would reconsider further prosecuting and arresting legitimate medical marijuana patients. Unfortunately this is far from the case.

Laura Reindel of Encinitas is being charged in state court for cultivation and possession of Cannabis, despite her status as a medical marijuana patient. Although raided almost two months ago, Laura has lived with the dread of not knowing if she will be charged until just a couple days ago when she received the letter on District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis' letterhead, charging her with two counts.

Laura was raided by the multijurisdictional narcotics task force headed by the DA's office to eradicate medical marijuana from San Diego. She was detained and questioned for many hours as well as having all her medical cannabis and related property seized.

While Laura was alone and confused, being questioned by detectives, several local activists were trying diligently to find her, to voice our discontent. She did not know this at the time but her spirits lightened to see so much Facebook activity after her ordeal was over. People trying to find her to help however they can. She has since become more active in the community by providing court support for several San Diegans persecuted for medical cannabis.

Laura is a spiritual person and is thankful for the support she has received from the community. She looks for the good in people and situations and is currently seeking the silver lining of her current situation. Laura and a co-defendant are scheduled to be arraigned on the 10th of May in San Diego superior Court Department 12. This is another citizen that needs our help. 1:30 to 3:30 please come out and show your support.

This is one of North County's own, so I want to start hearing chatter of carpools to get as many of her neighbors in the court room as necessary.

Laura is now seeking the guidance of council and will be represented in court on the 10th.

A valuable asset that Laura has is her son, who is a documentary film producer and she plans to document her entire process through court.

San Diego elected officials continue to persecute the sick and the kind hearted. Unwilling to respect or observer state laws they target care providers following state laws and guidelines and deprive the patients of their medicine. This is cruel and unusual.

Laura admits that she has considerable anxiety over the outcome of the case even though she was in compliance with state law. She was startled by the police announcing their presence that fateful morning. The police separated Tim and Laura and questioned them both before their eventual release. There were many clones there as there was a cloning class the day previous. There were multiple recommendations on site to justify the number of plants, complying with current guidelines and precedent.

COURT SUPPORT – MAY 10, 2010 – 1:30pm – 3:30pm San Diego Superior Court Department 12, 220 W Broadway, San Diego CA 92101

San Diego Americans for Safe Access

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Saturday, May 1, 2010

San Diego Man Getting His Weed Back From The Cops

By Steve Elliot, Toke of the Town

A judge Friday morning ordered the San Diego Police Department to return all property seized from medical marijuana patient and provider Eugene Davidovich, including the dried marijuana and concentrated cannabis seized more than a year ago, in February 2009.

"Although I don't agree with this, I have no choice but to return the property of Mr. Davidovich," said Judge David Szumowski. 

"After receiving a refusal from the District Attorney's office to comply with our letter of demand for the return of all my property, today we were forced to spend more of our resources as well as the taxpayers' resources on frivolous litigation caused by San Diego District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis's bias and hate towards medical marijuana," Davidovich said.

"Will Ms. Dumanis ever stop going after medical marijuana patients and begin respecting state law?" Davidovich asked.

Davidovich, the former defendant in a San Diego medical marijuana trial, said the office of  the District Attorney was wrongfully holding his belongings, despite his acquittal by a jury.

Eugene became a spokesman for local medical marijuana patients when his home was raided and four charges brought against him. According to Davidovich, the reason he had to go back to court to get his belongings is likely political.

Davidovich was one of 37 people charged with criminal offenses during Operation Endless Summer in 2008. He was unanimously founded not guilty by a jury on March 25.

Attorney Michael McCabe had already contacted Deputy District Attorney Theresa Pham at least five times to obtain Davidovich's belongings, to no avail. McCabe was eventually forced to send a letter (PDF)  to Pham on April 7 with the formal request.

"Since Mr. Davidovich was acquitted of all charges by the jury's verdict on March 25, 2010, your office has no legitimate reason to continue to maintain possession of these items," McCabe wrote in his letter. "Thus, under the express power conferred upon the Court by Penal Code 15365, these items must be returned to Mr. Davidovich."

The letter said that the D.A. is required, under California law, to return "34.1 grams of marijuana contained within 11 separate plastic bags, as well as 14.59 grams of concentrated cannabis (hashish) contained within three plastic bags."

According to Davidovich, the D.A. will also be required to return his backpack, passport, scale and papers, and other non-drug items.

Davidovich said that when he initially called D.A. Dumanis's office to request the return of his property, a staff person accused him of being a "stoner."

The D.A.'s office denies this accusation.

1/20 San Diego City Planning Commission Meeting

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