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 www.stopthebansd.org 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.

1/20 San Diego City Planning Commission Meeting

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