Thursday, March 17, 2011

Superior Court Judge Allows Dispensary to Remain Open; Denies City of San Marcos Emergency Injunction

By Eugene Davidovich, San Diego ASA

SAN MARCOS – In a major victory for medical marijuana advocates across the state, San Diego Superior Court Judge Thomas Nugent on Thursday morning denied the City of San Marcos a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) against Wellness Tree collective, allowing the medical marijuana dispensary to remain open.

In 2006, when the city adopted an ordinance prohibiting medical marijuana dispensaries from operating in all zones, they specifically instructed the business tax office not to issue permits for such use and have denied all applications since.

The TRO filed by the City Attorney’s Office on Thursday named not just the Wellness Tree Collective, but also individual directors, and the landlord, demanding emergency relief through a restraining order, a preliminary and permanent injunction, declaratory relief, and damages.

This blatant attempt to shut down the remaining access in that city is very much in line with their bias driven agenda to undermine state law on this issue and is clearly against the desire and will of the residents who overwhelmingly oppose the city’s ordinance and these actions against the dispensaries.

Representing the collective in court were attorneys John Murphy who argued against the restraining order and cited the City’s ordinance did not provide the ability for anyone to obtain a business license to operate a dispensary, making it an outright ban. Murphy who works closely with Anthony Curiale the lead attorney in the highly publicized Anaheim case was accompanied in court by Melissa Bobrow who represented the landlord of the property where the dispensary is located.

During Thursday’s hearing the City Attorney argued the dispensary was operating illegally because it failed to obtain a business license, Judge Nugent disagreed, he explained that he saw absolutely no emergency in this matter and denied the TRO as well as pointed out that even if the dispensary had applied for a business license, they would not have received one.

After the hearing Attorney John Murphy said “The ordinance in the City of San Marcos is fatal and it violates the very terms of the Compassionate Use Act and the associated Health and Safety Codes by banning a patient’s right to collectively cultivate anywhere in San Marcos”.

While the City of San Marcos claims the ban is simply their way of ‘regulating’ dispensaries; advocates, patients, and concerned citizens alike have called it unconstitutional and a slap in the face of California voters who overwhelmingly passed Proposition 215 in 1996.

The Wellness Tree case is the first time a San Diego Superior Court Judge ruled against the City of San Marcos on this issue and also appears to be the first time the legality of the San Marcos Ban will be challenged in court.

On Jun 3rd instead of revising their unconstitutional ordinance, the San Marcos City Attorney’s Office will resume their eradication effort in court yet again trying to convince Judge Nugent that regulation really does mean eradication.

The hearing will be held in the Vista Courthouse at 1:30pm in Department M30 on Jun 3rd, 2011.

San Marcos City Council

Hal Martin

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

City to Close all Medical Marijuana Dispensaries; Opposition Mounts

On March 28th at 2pm the San Diego City Council will be voting on an ordinance that, if approved as currently written, would close every medical cannabis facility in the city and make it virtually impossible for them to reopen, threatening the quality of life for some of the most vulnerable members of our community and denying safe access for thousands of patients in the City of San Diego.

Led by San Diego Americans for Safe Access and Canvass for a Cause, over twenty local, state, and national organizations have come together in opposition to this ordinance as currently written.

The “Stop the Ban” coalition campaign has been educating the public on the upcoming ordinance and encouraging them to write hand written letters to the city council urging them to amend the proposed ordinance and to approve an ordinance that guarantees safe access and reflects the needs of the community.

With the help and support of coalition partners the ‘Stop the Ban’ campaign has collected over 2,100 letters to the city council making it the largest letter writing campaign in San Diego history, has been profiled in CityBeat and covered by Fox 5 and CW 6,and has received endorsements from some of the largest clergy, drug policy reform, and student groups in the state - making it the largest public mobilization on behalf of medical cannabis in San Diego's history. 

With less than two weeks left before the vote, the campaign has brought on extra volunteers who will supplement the ongoing effort in every district within the city. 

“If this ordinance passes as currently written, crime will increase and the economy will suffer”. Ben Cisneros a Senior Organizer with the campaign stated. “By shutting down all access in the city, the veterans, families of patients, and the sick and dying would be terribly impacted”. 

The campaign will be holding a Press Conference followed by a Candlelight Vigil on March 25th at 6:30pm at the Veterans Memorial Garden located at 2115 Park Blvd San Diego CA 92101

The following Monday on March 28th there will be a rally of hundreds of patients and concerned citizens voicing their concern against this ordinance. The rally will start at the Federal Courthouse located at 940 Front St. San Diego CA, 92101 at 12noon and will end at the San Diego City Hall at 202 C St. at 1:30pm where everyone will go up to the City Council Meeting to speak against the proposed ordinance at 2pm. 

Further Information:

Campaign Website: and

San Diego CityBeat Coverage:

OB Rag Coverage:

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Bonnie Dumanis for San Diego Mayor? Take Action Against Dumanis Today!

There are many patients and concerned citizens in the San Diego community who have witnessed firsthand DA Bonnie Dumanis' fierce and misguided fight against medical marijuana patients.

In response to her bid for Mayor of San Diego in 2012, many in San Diego have quickly united in opposition. The medical marijuana community sent a strong message to all supporters regarding Dumanis’ track record on the issue through social media and the internet. Most recently the ‘Dumanis Propaganda Machine’ began turning its wheels and producing misleading information about her record on the medical marijuana issue.

Dumanis has begun to recycle her old rhetoric claiming she in fact supports medical marijuana and that it is all the collectives that break the law because they are ‘selling’ marijuana. Dumanis is prepared to spend thousands of dollars on her propaganda war.

We urgently need your help to quickly mobilize opposition to the propaganda which will be put out from the Dumanis campaign in the coming weeks by helping us disseminate Dumanis true position and track record on the issue.

Take Action Against Bonnie Dumanis Today!
1. Post a negative review for Bonnie Dumanis on Yelp

2. Join the NOT DUMANIS campaign on Facebook.

Top three reasons why Dumanis is bad for San Diego compiled from dozens of responses from residents in the city of San Diego:

1. Dumanis is bad for our Community’s Safety and Welfare
Failed to protect victims' rights and has advanced her political agenda instead.

2. Dumanis is Bad for Marriage Equality
As District Attorney Dumanis has turned her back on the LGBT community by supporting anti-gay candidates and refusing to help defeat Proposition 8.

3. Dumanis is Bad for Medical Marijuana
Continues to wage a 'fierce fight' against medical marijuana patients and the protections created in the law for the sick and dying, while at the same time claiming to be for the issue.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Bonnie Dumanis Mayoral Candidacy Statement of Opposition from San Diego Americans for Safe Access

In response to District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis’ announcement to run for San Diego Mayor in 2012, the local chapter of the nation’s largest medical cannabis patient’s rights advocacy group (Americans for Safe Access), joined a growing list of organizations opposed to her candidacy and issued the following statement:

In her service as the District Attorney for San Diego County, Dumanis has undermined the most vulnerable members of our community through her continued and misguided ‘fierce fight’ against medical marijuana. 

Her fight has included raids on dispensaries as well as sick and dying patients’ homes, resulting in hundreds of thousands of tax payer’s dollars wasted on failed prosecutions. Dumanis has actively lobbied local governments for bans on dispensaries and has successfully influenced the County Board of Supervisors to adopt one of the most restrictive ordinances in the state.

Although Dumanis years ago ran on a platform for District Attorney in favor of medical marijuana her actions and track record since being elected almost a decade ago make clear that she continues to be an enemy to the medical marijuana community and those who use cannabis therapeutics for treatment.

We are strongly opposed to Dumanis for San Diego Mayor in 2012 and will work to oppose her continued oppression of the most vulnerable among us.

Visit NOT DUMANIS to voice your opposition to Bonnie Dumanis as Mayor of San Diego in 2012.

San Diego Americans for Safe Access

Harassment of Medical Marijuana Patients in San Diego Continues

Rogue Code Enforcement Officer Peter Bedrosian intimidates, harasses, and questions visibly ill patient in the streets of East San Diego County

By: Eugene Davidovich

SAN DIEGO – For years the county’s sick and dying have been at the brunt of District Attorney Bonnie (DA) Dumanis’ ‘fierce fight’ against medical marijuana patients. Dumanis’ fight has included raids on dispensaries, arrests of wheel-chair bound and terminally-ill patients, and has resulted in courtroom acquittals rather than convictions costing the county thousands and serious embarrassment to law enforcement.

In June of 2010, Dumanis managed to convince the County Board of Supervisors, a governing body historically opposed to medical marijuana, to adopt an ordinance which forced all dispensaries in the unincorporated areas of the county to shut down.

Since then, a few brave safe access pioneers, determined to provide the sick and dying with quality care, remained open and began to challenge the “de-facto” ban in court. With court challenges ramping up, under the direction of Top Cop, Dumanis, the Sheriff and Code Enforcement have launched a harassment campaign against the remaining care facilities.

The latest and most egregious example surfaced last month when Code Enforcement Officer Peter Bedrosian busily harassed and interrogated patients outside a remaining facility in the East County of San Diego and came across Vey Linville, a very active advocate, terminally ill patient, and member of the San Diego Chapter of Americans for Safe Access.

Below is an account of Mr. Linville’s encounter with Bedrosian as well as my attempt to clarify the departmental policy with regards to code enforcement encounters with patients.

After Mr. Linville contacted San Diego ASA and reported the incident, I was assigned to investigation. The goal was to determine the Sheriff Department’s and Code Enforcement policies on their interactions with patients as well as voice San Diego ASA’s concern for the incident.

I first called Mr. Bedrosian. When he answered his phone, I introduced myself and began to express my concern regarding his interaction with Mr. Linville was going to asked him for clarification on the department’s policy. After hearing who I was and why I was calling, a very angry Bedrosian began shouting into the telephone then, finishing his rant, he hung up. Shortly after his episode, Bedrosian called back with another ranting voicemail, this time complete with threats and intimidating statements which appeared designed to scare me into silence.

Following this call I wrote an email and left a voicemail for Assistant Sheriff Prendergast, the official spokesperson for the Sheriff on medical marijuana issues in the hopes of a response. In the email, I inquired about the policy as well as whether a departmental training program was in place for field code enforcement officers in those sensitive interactions. In the email, which I carbon copied Bedrosian on, I included Mr. Linville’s letter.

Around that same time, Mr. Linville personally hand delivered the letter to Assistant Sheriff Prendergast’s office. Mr. Linville’s letter as well as my email and calls, remain unanswered.
Here is the full content of the letter sent by Mr. Linville to Assistant Sheriff Prendergast which Mr. Linville has agreed to share with us for this article:
Assistant Sheriff Prendergast,
My name is Vey Linville. We met recently at the County Board of Supervisors meeting. I am an emphysema patient with an oxygen tank. I legally drink cannabis medicines to keep from suffocating. I thought you might perhaps remember me. I have been in the press and on TV several times recently regarding this issue, and I am an active and vocal member of Americans for Safe Access (ASA), the nation’s largest organization of patients, medical professionals, scientists, and concerned citizens promoting safe and legal access to cannabis for therapeutics and research.
On Thursday February 17, 2011, I was delivering political event flyers to various facilities in the unincorporated areas of San Diego County. It was approximately 1 p.m., I was dressed in a business suit and tie, and I was encumbered as usual with my oxygen tank.
On exiting XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX on  xxxxx . in xxxxxxxxx, as I approached my vehicle, I was detained, interrogated, and harassed with no cause by a County Code Enforcement team, led by Peter Bedrosian, Code Enforcement Officer, Dept. of Planning and Land Use, (858-694-3047,
Mr. Bedrosian identified himself and asked me in an aggressive and forceful manner who I was and what I was doing there. As a legal patient on life support with an illness considered terminal, I was quite intimidated by his aggressive demeanor, tone, and line of questioning; but I offered my hand and introduced myself and told him that I was there representing the San Diego Chapter of Americans For Safe Access and that I was dropping off brochures. This seemed to greatly agitate Mr. Bedrosian. He said: “Brochures, Eh?”, crossed his arms and proceeded to interrogate me in the parking lot.
He wanted to know if “The Facility” was still “Operating” inside. I explained to him that since I was just dropping off flyers, that I had not been past the front waiting area today; and that I could not say of my own knowledge what activities may or may not be occurring inside. I also explained to him that I had been to this facility before, and that I was not aware of any conduct by this facility not in fullest and strictest compliance with all state laws and local ordinances that I am aware of.
This seemed to cause Mr. Bedrosian great distress, and his level of agitation continued to increase. By this point, the other member of the Code Enforcement Team was trying to tell Mr. Bedrosian privately that he had seen me speak at the Planning Commission, and he seemed to be trying quite hard to get Mr. Bedrosian to calm down and disengage from this encounter.
At this point, Mr. Bedrosian took a couple of deep breaths and tried to put a good face on the above by explaining to me in a calmer tone and a forced smile that they had no problem with this facility continuing to operate, but that the issue was one of location. He told me that there were parcels in Spring Valley that were zoned for this, and that it would be fine for the facility to move to one of them.
I told Mr. Bedrosian calmly that I was a resident of Spring Valley, and that I was quite aware of the two parcels that he was referring to. I explained that my mobility is limited, and that I have many patients as friends who are far more disabled than I, in wheelchairs and on dialysis. I explained to him that a rock quarry and a radiation disposal area, without buildings, utilities, or improvements were not my idea of Safe Access; and that I did not think that was what the voters of California had in mind, or the framers of the Americans With Disabilities Act.
That is when I realized that this was an issue that Mr. Bedrosian is clearly taking very personally. He became even more angry and frustrated, and the other team member was forced to pull him away by the arm; and they left. I was afraid that Mr. Bedrosian’s clear personal bias on this political issue would result in attempted law enforcement action against me, because of my legal patient status, my political activities, and by simply being near that facility at that time.
Apparently this facility has a number of recorded video cameras, including one covering the front outside area; and a member inside had watched this Code Enforcement “Terminal Patient Encounter” unfold. This member came outside to see if I had been harmed, and to assist me with my oxygen tank and offer me water or whatever aid I might need. Before leaving the parking lot, I contacted Eugene Davidovich the San Diego Area Liaison for Americans for Safe Access and notified him of the incident.
It is my understanding that you personally have always treated the medical marijuana community and members of Americans for Safe Access in a fair, balanced and honorable way; and my recent meeting with you bears this out. I know as well that you have served with the highest valor in the field. I must therefore share with you one more item of the gravest concern. Yesterday I was told by members of the community that Mr. Bedrosian has had a number of other highly negative “Patient Encounters” of the worst kind.
It is my understanding that the purview of a Code Enforcement Officer is rather narrow.
It is my sincere hope that in the future, legal patients going about their lawful occasions in San Diego County will not be harassed in the street by County Code Enforcement Officers who may be personally uncomfortable with existing California State Law and political activity by legal patients, and are unable to exercise reasonable discretion thereby.
I must also encourage public policy discussion on this issue. It directly affects patients Quality Of Life, and intimidation of this type can keep the sick and dying from obtaining their life-saving medicine in San Diego County. I encourage you to work with Eugene Davidovich and other members of Americans for Safe Access to implement a policy for the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department that would address these types of interactions with the sick and dying in the County of San Diego.
I understand that your people have a job to do. This just isn’t it.
Thank you Sir, Vey Linville
Why has the county taken such a harsh stance on this issue considering that the latest field polls show 80% of registered voters in the County of San Diego support medical marijuana?

The lack of response from the San Diego Sheriff’s Department and Code Enforcement suggests that there is a serious disconnect between the will and needs of the residents of the county and their elected representatives. This disconnect gravely concerns the community which overwhelmingly supports the Compassionate Use Act and the fair treatment of sick and dying patients.

In Bedrosian’s case, his personal views against medical marijuana patients have clearly influenced his work, he now as a part of his job feels he has a right to target sick people who are exercising their right to free speech, under the guise of code enforcement.

On-the-job Code Enforcement officers like Peter Bedrosian and other law enforcement officials should keep their personal and political beliefs from spilling these views into a vitriol of hatred of patients.

It is time the San Diego Community stood up against this unfair treatment of patients and demanded accountability. I encourage you to contact the San Diego County’s Citizens’ Law Enforcement Review Board and file a complaint urging them to investigate the treatment of patients by Code Enforcement as well as other law enforcement officials in San Diego County.

Our most vulnerable residents deserve respect and a policy that takes into account their needs.

Download Instructions and form to file a complaint with the County’s Citizens’ Law Enforcement Review Board:

For questions and tips contact:

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Citizens Unite in Opposition to Proposed Medical Marijuana Dispensary Ordinance

Citizens Unite in Opposition to Proposed Medical Marijuana Dispensary Ordinance

Opposition mounts against proposed medical marijuana dispensary regulation for the City of San Diego. Over twenty local and national organizations join campaign opposing the ordinance and urging changes.

On March 28th the San Diego City Council will be voting on an ordinance that will serve as a de-facto ban on medical cannabis facilities in the City of San Diego. If passed as currently written, this unduly restrictive ordinance would threaten the quality of life for some of the most vulnerable members of our community and would deny safe access for thousands of patients in the city.

In order to oppose the ordinance Canvass for a Cause and the San Diego Chapter of Americans for Safe Access have launched a coalition campaign to educate the public of the impending ban and mobilize grassroots opposition to the ban.

In the last three weeks the campaign has generated over 1,500 letters of opposition from constituents in the City of San Diego and has brought together a coalition of over twenty local and national organizations united in opposition to this ordinance!
The campaign has mobilized hundreds of patients and concerned citizens by organizing the medical cannabis facilities, employing well trained professional canvassers, and leading a traditional volunteer driven political effort giving the people a unique opportunity to voice their opposition to this ban.

Our campaign is educating the public to generate massive quantities of constituents’ communications to the city council members, urging them to amend the ordinance and approve an ordinance that guarantees safe access and reflects the needs of the community.

The campaign will be holding a rally on the 28th of March! The rally will start at the Federal Courthouse located at 940 Front St. San Diego CA, 92101 at 12noon and will end at the San Diego City Hall at 202 C St. at 1:30pm when everyone will go up to the City Council Meeting to speak against the proposed ordinance at 2pm.

We need your help to make the campaign a success, for volunteer opportunities, please email

Visit the official campaign website for more information: |

San Diego Americans for Safe Access

Get Involved, get active, make a difference!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Advocates Hold Press Conference at City Hall To Stop The Ban

San Diegans join together to “Stop The Ban” on Medical Cannabis

Patient’s Advocates and Community Groups launch the “Stop the Ban” campaign at press conference in front of San Diego City Hall on Tuesday morning.

SAN DIEGO - In response to the impending de facto ban on medical cannabis facilities in San Diego, on Tuesday morning at 8am in front of San Diego City Hall, a coalition of community groups, non-profits, businesses, and concerned citizens held a press conference to announce the “Stop The Ban” grassroots campaign and town hall meeting.

Lead by the San Diego Chapter of Americans for Safe Access, the nation’s largest medical cannabis advocacy group and Canvass for a Cause, a non-profit specializing in grassroots organizing, the campaign is aimed at protecting medical cannabis patients and preserving safe access to medical cannabis in the city of San Diego by urging the city council to amend the proposed ordinance, which stands to eradicate access for all patients in the City, and bring it in line with the community’s needs as spelled out in the recommendations of the City’s Medical Marijuana Task Force.

“The City Council’s ordinance as proposed would close every medical cannabis facility now serving patients in the city of San Diego, would make it virtually impossible for a facility to reopen, and would leave thousands of vulnerable AIDS, Cancer, MS and other seriously ill patients in despair. People need to know what’s about to happen in their city.” said attorney and “Stop The Ban” spokesperson Rachel Scoma at the press conference on Tuesday.

Gretchen Bergman with A New Path also addressed the press from a mother’s perspective. Ms. Bergman discussed the need for compassion and outlined her opposition to the proposed ordinance.

The Stop the Ban campaign will draw on the San Diego Chapter of Americans for Safe Access’ history of activism on the behalf of patients and will utilize Canvass for a Cause’s proven grassroots organizing and education models in order to generate mass awareness and constituent communications to city hall. “We want to make sure that if the City insists on passing this ban that they have to do so despite the most unprecedented outpouring of public opposition to an ordinance that the city has ever seen.” Scoma says.

A town hall meeting will be taking place at Canvass for a Cause HQ, 3705 10th Ave. San Diego, CA on Wednesday, February 9th at 7:00pm.

The campaign has also launched the “Stop The Ban” website aimed at informing the public about the impending ban and helping organize volunteers for the effort.

Members of the coalition as well as the coalition spokesperson will be available for interviews and to answer questions at the town hall meeting on Wednesday at 7pm.

Stop The Ban Coalition: Canvass for a Cause, A New PATH, Drug Policy Alliance (DPA), Americans for Safe Access, Students for Sensible Drug Policy, Ideal Choice Insurance, Law Offices of Melissa Bobrow, Law Offices of Kimberly Simms, Nug Magazine, Kush Magazine, The San Diego County Community Coalition, Green Freedom Law Group, Legal Cannabis Institute, Several Members of the San Diego Medical Marijuana Task Force, among others.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Legal Cannabis Institute Doctor's Office Education Night

Legal Cannabis Institute Presents - Doctor's Office Education Night - Thu, February 17, 7pm – 9pm

In our ongoing support of Medical Marijuana Doctors, we are offering a FREE Medical Marijuana Law class on Thursday, February 17th from 7PM to 9PM to you and your staff. The Legal Cannabis Institute is on a mission to help all medical marijuana patients understand their rights and responsibilities under the ever-changing laws. All of our law classes are taught by cannabis specialized attorneys.

Everyone who works in this industry can benefit from learning the up to the minute cannabis laws. Your staff needs to be informed and educated about patient rights and responsibilities; they are the front line for most patient information. Join us for a class and feel empowered to be of service to your patients.

Please RSVP by phone to 858-864-8787 for yourself and your staff by Tuesday, February 15th. Space is limited. We invite your participation in this exciting educational adventure!

LCI Campus, 10459 Roselle Street, Suite A, San Diego, CA 92121 – 858-864-8787

Why You Need a State Issued ID Card

By Melissa Bobrow, Esq., San Diego ASA

As an activist and educator within the San Diego medical marijuana community, I hear many rumors, myths, and just plain old crazy stories. There is so much information and misinformation about medical marijuana rights and laws. So many people try to educate themselves on the topic only to become more confused, or worse arrested.

Many people know that in order to legally obtain medical marijuana within the State of California you must obtain a valid recommendation from a doctor – either a Medical Doctor (M.D.) or Doctor of Osteopathy (D.O.). What some people do not realize, is that this recommendation will ONLY provide you with a valid defense in court. What does that mean? It means you have been arrested and now you are in court with either a public defender or you had to hire an attorney. Sound fun?

The recommendation is the first vital step to protecting your rights, but that is all it is, the first step. The next and most crucial step is going to your local county Department of Health Services and applying and obtaining a valid State issued identification card. The State card is much like a driver’s license in that it is issued by the State of California through local county offices. You do not go to Sacramento to get your license, you go to your local county DMV – the same holds true for the State issued medical marijuana card. The website for all of the criteria as to how to obtain one is available below, this article is here to explain why you need it.

1. But, I Already Have A Card From My Doctor
There are many doctors that will gladly furnish you with a recommendation and a card of their own. The plastic cards issued by the doctor are NOT State issued identification cards. They are nice, some nicer than others, but they will not prevent you from getting arrested – they will provide you with a valid defense in court. With nothing more than a recommendation you leave whether or not you are arrested to the full discretion of the officer. Some officers are nice, some are mean, some are educated about medical marijuana law, and some do not distinguish between medical marijuana and illicit substances. There is no reason to leave this discretion to a police officer. Protect yourself.

All State issued cards look exactly alike, just like a California driver’s license. An officer is required by law to verify your State card, whereas he or she is not required to verify your recommendation, whether it is a card with a 24 hour hotline or not. The State identification card is easier for law enforcement to identify as a legitimate card, and mandates that if you have a reasonable amount of medicine in your possession you are allowed to go home.

2. Big Brother IS NOT WATCHING
The most frequent excuse as to why many do not obtain a State card is the feared “database”. Nobody wants their name in a database that anybody can subpoena or tap into at any time. While I can give no guarantees as to anything in life, I can realistically assure you that nobody is tapping into this database. Why? If any government agency tried to obtain what are truly medical records without the consent of the patients – especially several hundred thousand patients - a lot more than just the medical marijuana community would be upset, and more important would sue.

Special interest groups that have nothing to do with medical marijuana, such as privacy groups, would be more than happy to sue the City, State, or whichever agency attempted to obtain these records. Throw on the patients whose rights are directly affected that would also sue, and you have a fiscal and political nightmare that neither the State of California nor the Federal government can presently afford.

3. Okay, But What Does the ID Card Do?
The identification card will PREVENT arrest. Say it with me now: PREVENT arrest. You are not in court, you do not have to hire an attorney, and you do not have to worry about anything (provided the amount of medical cannabis you have on your person is within the legal limits).

The most frequent place people run into trouble is in their vehicle, where your right to privacy is substantially diminished. If you are pulled over, have legal amounts of medicine in your possession, and your valid State ID card the officer must call the number, verify your card, and if you are verified send you home.

4. How do I get one in San Diego County?
Visit the County of San Diego Medical Marijuana Identification Card Program Website:
Call to make an appointment: 619-692-5723

• Just a recommendation - even a nice one on an official card from your doctor – it’s all up to the officer.
• Valid State issued identification card – the officer must verify you and send you on your way home.
• Be smart, be safe, be well.

[1] Recommendations are imperative and I strongly advise acquiring a recommendation that offers a 24 hour hotline for verification purposes. When the police use their discretion to call your doctor to verify only your recommendation, you want to make sure your recommendation can be verified at all times.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Advocates Keep Jackson out of Jail

By: Eugene Davidovich

ASA Chief Counsel Joe Elford and defense attorney Lance Rogers successfully argued motion to keep Jackson out of jail pending appeal.

SAN DIEGO – On Thursday San Diego District Attorney (DA) Dumanis and her fierce fight against medical marijuana saw a significant setback. San Diego Superior Court Judge Howard H. Shore granted Jackson’s motion to stay out of jail pending appeal.

Jovan Jackson a medical marijuana patient, Navy Veteran, and former operator of Answerdam a medical marijuana collective in San Diego, was convicted on September 28th, 2010 after he was tried for the second time in less than a year on the same charges of marijuana possession and sale.

He was convicted in his second trial as a result of being denied the medical marijuana defense by Judge Shore, who claimed that although all were legal patients, since all 1600 members of the collective did not express that their “purpose” was to cultivate, that Jackson did not qualify for the medical marijuana collective defense.

On Wednesday, December 15th 2010 Jackson was sentenced to 180 days in jail and a fine. He was scheduled to report to jail on February 1, 2011. Also that day, Americans for Safe Access (ASA), the country’s largest medical marijuana advocacy group joined the case. Joe Elford ASA’s Chief Legal Counsel was in court officially joining, filing motions, as well as helping Lance Rogers, Jovan’s defense attorney from both trials.

On Thursday, January 27 2011 ASA Chief Counsel Joe Elford was back in San Diego in front of Superior Court Judge Howard H. Shore along with Lance Rogers arguing to keep Jovan out of Jail while ASA appeals his case.

Judge Shore heard arguments from Deputy DA Chris Linbergh who claimed that Jovan was a flight risk and should be remanded into custody. Joe Elford fired back with proof that Jackson had made every court date, that the community was behind him, as well as presented compelling case law to support keeping Jackson out on bail while his appeal was being heard.

Judge Shore agreed with the defense and explained that it would not be fair if Jackson was remanded into custody, forced to serve his time, and then later find out that he was victorious on appeal. Judge Shore further explained that this was not a typical drug case, that Jackson was not a threat, that there was no violence or weapons involved, and that this was a case where the defendant appeared to have made every attempt to follow state law.

When the DA realized that there was a chance that Jackson would not see any jail time and that Dumanis’ plan was failing, he begged the court for a bail to be set at 180 thousand dollars. Judge Shore found that to be overly excessive and reduced the bail to 50 thousand.

Judge Shore also agreed with the defense that Jackson was clearly not a flight risk and even took the time to point out that advocates for medical marijuana and other members of the community have been there for Jackson throughout the entire trial, which showed strong community ties and support.

Judge Shore moved the official date Jackson has to report to jail from February 1 to the 15, giving Jackson an extra two weeks to come up with funds necessary to stay out on bail. After the hearing advocates present in the courtroom vowed to raise the $4,500 necessary to keep Jackson out of Jail.

Within the next few months the appellate courts will decide whether to hear Jackson’s case and if the decision comes out that Jackson should have been allowed a defense during trial, his case would likely return to the superior court to be retried in front of a Jury with a medical marijuana defense as it should have been in the first place.

After this hearing the community is certain that court support works, and that the efforts of just a few can significantly impact the decisions Judges make in court and actually keep patients out of jail.

If you would like to help with the fundraising efforts to keep Jackson out of Jail contact

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

San Diego City Planning Commission to Vote on Dispensary Ordinance

By: Eugene Davidovich, San Diego Americans for Safe Access

Patients and Advocates concerned ordinance headed towards ban rather than reasonable regulation.

On January 20th the City of San Diego’s Planning Commission will be discussing and voting on a recommendation to the City Council to approve an ordinance limiting medical marijuana dispensaries in the City of San Diego to certain industrial and limited commercial zones.

Out of almost one hundred possible zoning categories in the city’s municipal code if the ordinance passes unchanged, the current limitations would allow dispensaries only in five specific zones within the city’s limits; IL-1-3, IS-1-1, CC-2-1, CC-2-2, and CC-2-3.

Facilities lucky enough to find friendly landlords in those five zones, would be faced with another challenge; finding friendly landlords whose properties are located at least 1,000 feet away from schools, playgrounds, libraries, child care facilities, youth facilities, churches, parks, as well as other dispensaries.

According to the proposed ordinance all dispensaries currently open in the city would be required to shut down, as the ordinance considers everyone open prior to its passage, out of compliance by default. Those who want to continue to provide safe access to patients in their current locations would have to apply for a process 4 conditional use permit (CUP). Process 4 is one of the most restrictive and expensive licensing processes the city can force an organization to go through. Under a process four, each application would have to be heard by the planning commission as well as the city council on appeal.

Under Process 4, not only would safe access be unduly restricted for patients in the city, but every dispensary application would turn into a political battle that would require city council’s vote on each application. While the political wrangling goes on in City Hall, those patients who need this medicine most would have to go without.

Even on the surface this proposal does not appear to be a compromise, nor is it a regulation addressing patients’ needs. The proposed ordinance is nothing but a ban attempting to be passed off as a regulation.

There is still a chance to turn this around. The roadmap to a reasonable compromise is already spelled out in the report presented by city staff to the planning commission. Aside from the overly restrictive ordinance, the report includes numerous alternatives and recommendations from The Medical Marijuana Task Force, the Code Monitoring Team, as well as the Community Planners Committee all of whom prior to making their recommendations heard testimony from hundreds of patients and community members on the issue.

The San Diego Medical Marijuana Task Force (MMTF) recommended a process 2 CUP for dispensaries with less than 100 members and a process 3 CUP for those with more than 100. The sensitivity buffer of 1,000 feet in the MMTF’s recommendations only applied to schools, playgrounds, libraries, child care facilities and youth facilities, not churches and parks. Also, the separation requirement from other dispensaries recommended by the MMTF was only 500 feet.

The Code Monitoring Team (CMT) also recommended a much more reasonable approach. They suggested that distances from sensitive uses be down to 300 feet, making the restrictions the same as those currently in place for off-site sales of alcohol.

The CMT also recommended that dispensaries be allowed in all commercial zones including those with residential uses, as well as industrial zones that allow retail uses such as pharmacies. With regards to the permitting process, the CMT recommended a process 3.

The Community Planners Committee (CPC) recommendations also included a less restrictive approach. Majority of members of the CPC were extremely concerned that the proposed ordinance bans access in their communities. They actually demanded that every Community Planning Group (CPG) be allowed to grant variances allowing locations in their communities if the overly restrictive ordinance ends up banning or making their neighborhoods “too sensitive” for medical marijuana.

The CPC also recommended that collectives currently open be allowed to continue operating for at least one year following the passage of the ordinance while they are coming into compliance with the new requirements.

The consensus of the San Diego Community is clear. Citizens want safe access to medical marijuana for patients in their communities. They do not want a ban nor do they want to see only a handful of facilities allowed to be open through an overly restrictive and expensive process.

The regulation adopted should allow patients to sort out the number of locations allowed to exist in the city through their patronage or lack thereof, rather than through a zoning cap or de facto ban.

San Diegans see that an ordinance so restrictive that it eradicates reasonable access in our communities would not only create many lawsuits and legal costs for the already cash strapped city, but it would also go directly against the will of California voters and the needs of the many sick and dying patients who rely on this medicine every day.

At the January 20th planning commission meeting, patients, advocates, and concerned citizens will speak out in hopes of convincing the commissioners to listen to the recommendations of the community, the MMTF, the CMT, and the CPC, to help regulate rather than ban safe access in the City of San Diego.

Further Information:
Planning commission’s Agenda for the January 20th Meeting:

Staff Report for the January 20th meeting:

San Diego ASA News Brief about the Planning Commission Meeting:

Planning Commission Meeting Information:
MMJ Ordinance is Agenda Item 10 - January 20th 9am
12th Floor of City Hall – 202 C St. San Diego CA

Friday, January 14, 2011

Local Medical Marijuana Advocacy Group Training Public Defenders

San Diego Chapter of Americans for Safe Access conducts certified continuing legal education training for the San Diego County Public Defender’s Office.

SAN DIEGO - Successfully defending medical marijuana patients in court was the focus of Thursday’s certified continuing legal education (MCLE) training for the San Diego County Public Defenders.

About sixty public defenders, court-appointed attorneys, and private attorneys were on hand at the main San Diego training facility with over sixty others joining through an internet broadcast courtesy of the Public Defender’s Office.

“This was our most well attended training”, said Gary Gibson, Training Coordinator for the San Diego County Public Defender’s Office and local Law Professor.

Proposition 215, known as the Compassionate Use Act of 1996, established the legal right of patients to use, possess and grow marijuana with a doctor’s authorization in California. In January 2004, SB 420, a bill passed by the California legislature and signed by the governor, gave patients, collectives, and cooperative dispensaries additional rights and directing counties to afford better protection to patients and caregivers.

Since SB 420 in 2004 the appellate courts have issued many decisions directly affecting medical marijuana patients and caregivers in California including County of Butte v. Superior Court, a landmark appellate court ruling that protects the right of medical marijuana patients and their primary caregivers to collectively cultivate.

“No California medical marijuana patient or caregiver should ever have to go to jail or accept a plea bargain again,” said Steph Sherer, ASA executive director. “Once defense attorneys understand the changes in the law and the defenses available to them, they’ll be able to fight every prosecution to acquittal.”

The training sessions will count for continuing legal education credit (MCLE) for the participating attorneys and were provided to the Public Defenders Office at no cost. The training was taught by two trial lawyers, Bahar Ansari San Diego ASA board member and Lance Rogers, both of whom successfully defended medical marijuana patients at trial in San Diego and are experts in the field.

“This training helped arm the Public Defenders in San Diego who typically represent the most vulnerable in our community, those who cannot afford private counsel, with the knowledge and resources to successfully defend legitimate patients at trial”, said Eugene Davidovich San Diego Area Liaison for Americans for Safe Access who introduced the two instructors at today’s training. “It is our hope that programs like this one will help reduce the amount of cases where patients accept plea deals when they are in fact compliant with State law”.

Americans for Safe Access is the nation’s largest organization of patients, medical professionals, scientists and concerned citizens promoting safe and legal access to cannabis for therapeutic use and research.

Further Information:

Watch the News Brief about the training:
San Diego ASA:

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

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Stacy Sentenced in Federal Court; Two Years Probation for Operating Medical Marijuana Dispensary

By: Eugene Davidovich

San Diego -- Today at the San Diego Federal Courthouse medical marijuana patients saw a tremendous victory in court. In front of a courtroom filled to the brim with supporters wearing green solidarity ribbons, James Stacy was just sentenced to 2 years probation for operating a medical marijuana dispensary in Vista Ca.

Mr. Stacy’s dispensary Movement in Action was raided in September of 2009 as part of San Diego DA Bonnie Dumanis’ Operation Green Rx raids on over a dozen dispensaries in San Diego.

Just two months ago Stacy was facing a mandatory minimum of 5 years in Federal Prison with the possibility of life. Shortly before his trial was supposed to begin in November of last year, the US Attorney’s office made an offer which included three years probation and no jail time, if Stacy pled guilty to one count of manufacturing marijuana (cultivation).

After careful consideration Stacy signed the deal.

Today Judge Moskowitz heard from the probation department, which recommended that Stacy be incarcerated for thirteen months as well as go to drug rehab.
Both the Judge and US Attorney disagreed with the report and stated multiple times how Mr. Stacy was in clear and unambiguous compliance with state law, and that no jail time was warranted.

Judge Moskowitz took extra time to modify the terms of Stacy’s probation to make them less restrictive and even reduced the original 3 year probation recommendation to 2 years.

The US Attorney’s office agreed and Mr. Stacy walked out of that courtroom today not in custody and to a hallway filled with his supporters and friends.

Watch this San Diego ASA News Brief for James Stacy’s reaction after his sentencing as well as for the complete story:

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Sentencing for Vista pot shop owner set for Friday

By TERI FIGUEROA - North County Times

A Vista man who pleaded guilty last fall to federal charges related to his medical marijuana dispensary is set to be sentenced on Friday, with prosecutors agreeing to recommend probation instead of jail time, according to court documents.

Even with the recommendation of probation, the fate of James Stacy, 46, lies in the hands of U.S. District Judge Barry Ted Moskowitz during a sentencing hearing in the judge's San Diego federal courtroom.

Stacy had faced nine federal drug charges arising from a raid of his now-shuttered Vista dispensary, Movement in Action. In October, he pleaded guilty to a single charge: manufacturing marijuana.

Stacy's medical marijuana shop on South Santa Fe Avenue was one of 14 San Diego County shops raided by local and federal authorities Sept. 9, 2009. Read More...

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Protest Medical Marijuana Law Enforcement Raids in San Luis Obispo County January 11

Regarding the recent law enforcement raids of several area medicinal marijuana delivery services, a public protest rally, including ASA participation, will take place on TUESDAY, JANUARY 11th, starting at 7:30 am in front of the San Luis Obispo County Courthouse on Monterey Street at Santa Rosa Street (across from the Fremont Theater).

Please help get the word out to everyone you know who shares our disapproval of the heavy-handed actions of law enforcement against providers who are fully compliant with California's medical marijuana program. Many patients have also been victimized unfairly; and our SLOASA Chapter urges everyone who supports patients' rights to speak out, write letters to the media and to your local government officials here in SLO County decrying the continued expenditure of our taxpayer dollars on this war on medical marijuana.

We hope to see you at the rally! Make and bring signs! Bring a friend or relative! Please remember, however, that this rally is specifically directed at the medical marijuana issue, and it will not be addressing recreational use of marijuana.

Thanks for your support.

1/20 San Diego City Planning Commission Meeting

To see all the San Diego ASA News Briefs visit: