Sunday, October 31, 2010

Patient Advocates Launch Effort to Oppose Steve Cooley as California Attorney General 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 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:
NotCooley video on medical marijuana:
NotCooley video on the environment:
NotCooley video on marriage equality:
NotCooley poster:

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.

San Diego Americans for Safe Access

Get Involved, get active, make a difference!
Join ASA -

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:
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 -

San Diego Americans for Safe Access

Get Involved, get active, make a difference!
Join ASA -

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, 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.


  7. Rx Fest II - For more information or to reserve an exhibitor space please call 760-758-8500 or email

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):

ASA compliance letter sent to more than 140 localities:

Appellate court ruling in Qualified Patients Association v. City of Anaheim:

Status of California city ordinances regulating and banning dispensaries:

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

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:


1/20 San Diego City Planning Commission Meeting

To see all the San Diego ASA News Briefs visit: