BERKELEY: Resolution would declare area a sanctuary for medical pot users
By Doug Oakley
Article Launched: 01/26/2008 02:59:19 AM PST
Berkeley is considering a plan to help get medical marijuana to patients if
the Drug Enforcement Administration shuts down any of the city-permitted
The plan by City Councilmen Darryl Moore and Kriss Worthington already has
drawn fire from the Berkeley police, the city manager's office and the DEA.
The resolution before the City Council on Tuesday night declares Berkeley a
sanctuary for medical marijuana users and distributors, and says "the city
itself shall ensure a continuum of access to medical marijuana" if the DEA
Whether that means the city selling marijuana itself or helping another
distributor get started is up in the air at the moment, Moore said. He wants
the police chief and city manager to come back with suggestions.
"The piece I originally suggested is that in the wake of a DEA closure that
the city would step in and provide medical marijuana, and that was what the
city manager and the police chief had a problem with," Moore said.
After a December meeting with Berkeley police Chief Douglas Hambleton and
City Manager Phil Kamlarz, the language of the proposed resolution was
The DEA doesn't like the idea of Berkeley selling marijuana.
"Our stand on it is if someone from the city sells it, it is still illegal,
and we will investigate and take action as appropriate," said Javier Pena,
special agent in charge of the DEA field office in San Francisco. "Anyone
who breaks the law is at risk of getting arrested. We don't discriminate."
Moore said a DEA crackdown in Berkeley could necessitate a medical
"I personally feel the state has adopted medical marijuana, and it is
overwhelmingly positive," Moore said. "Should the DEA crack down here, it
will be a public health issue, and the city should be responsible for the
medical needs of its residents."
The DEA raided and closed five medical marijuana dispensaries in the Bay
Area in the past year, according to a spokeswoman. And according to the
resolution, the DEA has shut down 28 dispensaries in 11 counties statewide
The resolution also criticizes the DEA's warnings to property owners in
Berkeley that they face asset forfeiture and prosecution if they continue to
lease property to medical marijuana providers.
Berkeley police spokeswoman Sgt. Mary Kusmiss said the department must
straddle conflicting state and federal laws.
"There is a difference between us honoring Prop. 215 -- which legalized
medical marijuana in California -- and actively violating federal law,"
Berkeley's two dispensaries are the Berkeley Patients' Group on San Pablo
Avenue and Berkeley Patients' Care Collective on Telegraph Avenue.
The city already has directed its police department not to cooperate with
federal investigations of any dispensaries. But critics, including Americans
for Safe Access based in Oakland, say police violated that policy last fall
when it was on the scene of a search by the Internal Revenue Service and the
Alameda County Sheriff of a Berkeley hills home that was connected to a
marijuana dispensary raided outside Berkeley.
"We weren't facilitating the search warrant in that case," Kusmiss said. "We
were there because there were cars being towed, and we were supporting the
other officers there."
The resolution before the council should mainly be used as a statement to
the federal government that Berkeley is serious about medical marijuana,
said Kris Hermes, spokesman for Americans for Safe Access.
"It's not going to be in the municipal code, but it is a strong statement
that the federal government is not welcome in the city of Berkeley and it
stands behind its permitted facilities," Hermes said.
Hermes said instead of distributing marijuana, he sees the resolution as a
way of getting the city to help find an emergency location for a cannabis
club to operate if one is shut down.
"We're not asking the city to become a distributor," Hermes said.
Reach Doug Oakley at
Saturday, January 26, 2008
Friday, January 25, 2008
SAN FRANCISCO -- -- The California Supreme Court weakened the effect
of the state's beleaguered medical marijuana law, ruling Thursday
that employers may fire workers for using physician-recommended
marijuana while off duty, even if it did not hurt their job performance.
Supporters of medical marijuana immediately criticized the court's
5-2 ruling, saying it undermined the 1996 law, which prohibits the
state from criminalizing the medical use of the drug.
Hundreds of medical marijuana users have complained that they have
been fired, threatened with termination or not hired by California
companies because of their drug use, according to one advocacy group.
In siding with employers, the California Supreme Court said the
Compassionate Use Act passed by voters and later amended by the
Legislature imposed no requirements on employers.
"The Compassionate Use Act does not eliminate marijuana's potential
for abuse or the employer's legitimate interest in whether an
employee uses the drug," Justice Kathryn Mickle Werdegar wrote for
Justice Joyce L. Kennard called the decision "conspicuously lacking
"The majority's holding disrespects the will of California's voters,"
wrote Kennard, whose dissent was joined by Justice Carlos R. Moreno.
The voters "surely never intended that persons who availed
themselves" of the medical marijuana act "would thereby disqualify
themselves from employment," Kennard said.
Within hours of the court's decision, Assemblyman Mark Leno (D-San
Francisco) announced that he would introduce legislation to prevent
employers from discriminating against medical marijuana users.
"The people of California did not intend that patients be unemployed
in order to use medical marijuana," he said.
The court majority upheld the firing of Gary Ross, an Air Force
veteran whose doctor recommended marijuana for chronic back pain
stemming from an injury in the military and whose disability
qualified him for government benefits.
Ross, 45, was hired by RagingWire Telecommunications Inc. in 2001 as
a systems engineer.
Before taking a required drug test, Ross provided a copy of his
physician's recommendation for marijuana.
The company fired him a week after he started the job because his
test revealed that he had used marijuana.
Ross sued the company on the grounds that it failed to accommodate
his disability as required under a state anti-discrimination law.
He contended that he had worked without any problems at other jobs in
the same field since becoming a medical marijuana user.
Lower courts, however, sided with the employer.
"All I am asking is to be a productive member of society," Ross said
in a written statement. "I was not fired for poor work performance
but for an antiquated policy on medical marijuana."
Stewart Katz, Ross' lawyer, said he was disappointed but not
surprised by the majority's ruling "because of what the political
realities are." He said the ruling could be overturned by a
legislative amendment to the marijuana law.
Ross, who continues to use medical marijuana, is now employed in another field.
His lawyer refused to disclose his current occupation because his
employer "is not terribly tolerant."
Attorney Robert M. Pattison, who represented RagingWire
Telecommunications, a Sacramento data center, said the ruling
resolved questions that have troubled employers about the use of
medical marijuana and did "not at all" eviscerate the marijuana law.
"In fact, the court makes it clear that the point here is the medical
marijuana law doesn't address employment," Pattison said.
California is one of 12 states with medical marijuana laws. At least
one of them, Rhode Island, specifically protects workers from being
fired for their medical use of the drug, said Bruce Mirken of the
Marijuana Policy Project, an advocacy group.
"The court is claiming that California voters intended to permit
medical use of marijuana, but only if you're willing to be unemployed
and on welfare," Mirken said. "That is ridiculous on its face, as
well as cruel."
Joseph D. Elford, chief counsel of Americans for Safe Access, which
argued the case on behalf of Ross, predicted the ruling would spark
an increase in employer sanctions against medical marijuana users.
His group already has reported hundreds of complaints of
discrimination by employers.
Medical marijuana patients may now be forced "to go underground and
to forgo using marijuana before a drug test," he said.
Traces of marijuana can linger in the body for weeks after its use,
long after the patient has stopped using the drug, advocates said.
Ross' lawsuit might have prevailed if the state's law gave marijuana
the same legal status as prescription drugs, the court majority said.
The law could not have done that because the drug remains illegal
under federal law, the majority said.
The two dissenting justices argued that the medical marijuana law
protected patients from criminal prosecution and "sanction," which
would include job termination. They said Ross did not seek to possess
or use marijuana at work.
They also contended that the majority would not have ruled against
Ross if he had been taking other doctor-approved drugs that might
affect work performance, such as Vicodin, Ritalin and Valium, as well
as many over-the-counter cold remedies.
Adam Wolf, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union's Drug
Law Reform Project, said at least one part of the ruling should be
welcomed by the medical marijuana movement.
The decision made clear that California could protect medical
marijuana users from job discrimination, despite federal law, if the
Legislature or voters chose to amend the law.
"Let us hope, then, that this ruling serves to silence those who
insist that California must march in lock-step with the federal
government's ill-considered medical marijuana ban," Wolf said.
Although there was no evidence in the case that medical marijuana
impaired Ross from doing his job, many employers, workers and
customers want "a drug-free workplace," said Deborah LaFetra, an
attorney with the Pacific Legal Foundation, a group that advocates
limited government and argued on behalf of the employer in the case.
"Drug-using employees are known to have impaired abilities, both
mental and physical, that can alter their judgment and other
necessary skills for their work," she said.
MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom
Monday, January 21, 2008
Sunday, January 20, 2008
Assuming that you are reading this and assuming you are enjoying that cannabis in your pocket; you are aware that Marc “Prince of Pot” Emery accepted a plea deal to serve 5 years of a 10 year sentence for believing that people should have access to Cannabis. How do you spend your time? Do you try to make sure that you are treating others as you would like to be treated? It’s time that you are spending as we communicate through this medium. It’s time you spent time you spent last weekend. Your time not mine and its not stopping. If the name Marc Emery doesn’t ring a bell, or you are not even aware he was arrested. Then you are the single reason why we are in the position we are in. Closet smokers come in second but they aren’t even reading this so I’m just going to assume that its just us. If you have made it up in your mind that Cannabis is not only a safe and effective medicine; but a much safer alternative to alcohol. Not only that but you smoke almost every week and don’t get arrested and like it to stay that way. You need to put in what you want to take out. Because the truth of the matter is this Drug War is still very much a war.
46,947; thats the number of people that have been arrested for Cannabis offenses so far this year. It’s been one month, we’ve got another 11 to go. If you have it in your heart to really make a change then its time to get your hands dirty. There is a great way to become involved in the Cannabis reform movement. It’s called spending your time effectively; and you are doing a good job so far. A lot more needs to be done until we have a sensible Cannabis policy. The more you empower yourself the more effective you will become. Sign up for email lists with all the major players. Americans for Safe Access. NORML. LEAP (Law Enforcement Against Prohibition). MPP. DPA. and the mother load Drug War Facts. Information is available to you. So when the time comes and you are trying to tell the people going to jail for Cannabis is not helping and is only hurting, you will be with great pride when the other person becomes aware of this situation. As a country we may not always get things right the first time, and sometimes the second time. Ya Nada Lo Que Era.
What you may not be aware of is that part of Emery’s deal is he must sell his magazine, Cannabis Culture. Information is being taken from you and its because information is the only thing Drug War backers fear the most. There are many reasons why this drug war has failed, but can you really fail something that’s based in psycho drama? One person tells you, “ Illegal drugs will ruin your life, even if its only one time”, and then another says, “ Some drugs are more dangerous and some are even helpful; you should never take anything that you don’t know”. The one thing they have in common is they both acknowledge the existence of drugs in our world. Now is the time to reassess the Drug War especially with regards to Cannabis. But the subject cannot be raised if the people raising the question are staying willfully ignorant. We cannot wait until “it” happens to you and 5 years are taken from your life. It’s not right and in a country full of just should not tolerate it one more moment.
They’re weapon of choice is overwhelming fear and money. But don’t feel discouraged because we have our own power and its between your ears and slightly above and behind your eyes. It’s your right to spend your time how you wish as long as you are not harming another human being. Yet we are harming ourselves when we don’t put a little traction in our action. Please volunteer with your local Cannabis reform groups. For those who are not sure what they want to do with their lives then there are campaigns happening throughout the United Sates and they are always looking to hire. It will be some of the most difficult work but its truly where the battlefield is. We have but one moment on this planet and it’s asking for help. Don’t forget that Hemp is one of the most fiber-us plants ever known to mankind. It’s the only plant that could completely remove ourselves from petroleum chemicals. And its completely biodegradable. It could help feed, cloth and shelter all at the same time. But we will never know the full extent of how much Cannabis will help the planet if we never release it from the minds that wish for its extinction.
I'm afraid this may be misleading information. As far as ASA knows,
there is no plan to change the BOE policy established in October 2005,
which is to require the sale of medical marijuana to be taxed by the
state. In fact, State Senator Carole Migden may soon be re-introducing
her back sales tax amnesty bill (SB 529 from last year) to assist
dispensaries and patients struggling to comply with these sometimes
onerous BOE requirements.
ASA and others have been communicating with BOE Chair Betty Yee's office
and no such policy change has ever been mentioned. While we would invite
such a change, it will likely not come about unless medical marijuana is
federally rescheduled or taken off the federal Controlled Substances
list altogether (so that it can be prescribed), or someone wins a legal
battle in state court (and I'm not certain that there even is such a
case filed yet).
A POLICE chief has attacked parents for encouraging their children to abuse alcohol because they view it as less dangerous than drugs. Northern Constabulary has become the first in Scotland to trial a scheme where off-licences use ultraviolet pens to mark bottles and cans with a code so police can track down where alcohol has been illegally bought by under-18s.
Police hope finding the source will allow them to snare off-licence owners who are breaking the law, or lead them to arrest older teenagers who often buy alcohol for those who are under-age.
Chief Inspector Paul Eddington, the operational commander for Ross, Cromarty and Skye, who is behind the scheme, is frustrated that some parents view their children drinking as less dangerous than smoking cannabis.
He said: "We've lost the thread somewhere when parents come up to our front counter demanding the bottle of wine we've confiscated from their youngster, as has happened to us. It's very frustrating when this minority are rather upset we've taken alcohol off their 14-year-old bundle of joy. Parents need to know what their children are up to and speak to them about their responsibilities.
"The parents have as much, if not more, responsibility than police officers, who are not here to babysit youngsters on Friday and Saturday nights when they are let loose in towns. A lot of the time they don't have a clue where their children are or what they are up to.
"We are increasingly finding some parents are saying, well at least they are not taking drugs'. To be perfectly honest, to a 14-year-old a half-bottle of vodka is probably more lethal than a puff of cannabis. They can't seem to see that."
His comments echoed those of Helen Newlove, who spoke out last week after the drunken teenagers who kicked her husband to death in Warrington, Cheshire, were convicted. Newlove called for parents to be jailed if they can't stop their children getting high on drink and drugs like those who killed her husband.
Eddington said that people needed to be taught that alcohol can be as destructive as drugs after his division's latest figures showed the problem is as bad in rural communities as urban areas. His officers confiscated alcohol, including a high level of spirits which appeared to have been taken from family drinks supplies, from 490 youths last year and in another 50 cases after groups had been dispersed. The figures are exceptional because only about 50,000 people live in the mainly rural communities.
Eddington said that the age of the children being arrested was coming down. "We're getting children as young as 11 or 12, and regularly 14-year-olds, under the influence of drink," he said.
"We kickstarted the bottle-marking scheme after convincing licensees it was in their interests. The ultraviolet pen is visible under a special light and enables our officers to know which off-licence could have sold, say, 10 bottles of beer. It gives us a start if we can identify the source, but hopefully it will also make alcohol more difficult for youngsters to get hold of."
Wanda Mackay, a youth development worker at the Princes Trust-backed Cromarty Youth Cafe on the Black Isle, said that, in some cases, young people and their parents were reluctant for them to take part in education projects.She said: "They think older people are making judgements about them, and think people are picking on them. They have seen the older people drinking and think they should be able to do it too."
Mackay, whose group has received UKP20,000 from Highland Council and Lloyds TSB's charitable fund to provide other activities for youngsters, advocates harm reduction to avoid placing young people - who she said would always find ways of experimenting with alcohol - in unnecessary danger.
She added: "Not all young people who are drinking are causing problems, but it's not good for them to be drinking in a cold or wooded area alone. We had a girl left by her fellow drinkers when she was drunk. She'd have been found dead if she hadn't been found in the dark."
MAP posted-by: Richard Lake
Rate this article Votes: 0
Pubdate: Sun, 20 Jan 2008
Source: Sunday Herald, The (UK)
Copyright: 2008 Sunday Herald
Author: John Bynorth
Bookmark: http://www.mapinc.org/find?207 (Cannabis - United Kingdom)
Bookmark: http://www.mapinc.org/hr.htm (Harm Reductio
By ROB BURGESS The Daily Journal
Article Last Updated: 01/19/2008 10:57:28 AM PST
Medical marijuana dispensaries in California, including the two that
currently operate in Mendocino County, may soon be exempt from state
sales tax, said a representative from the California State Board of
The regulations will soon reflect the change that when marijuana is
prescribed by a physician it is determined to be a medicine, said
Sarah, the representative, who refused to reveal her surname.
In order to be exempt from sales tax, the business must conform to
Regulation 1591, which states in part that the item must qualify as a
medicine, said the representative.
"Regulation 1591 defines a medicine, in part, as any substance or
preparation intended for use by external or internal application to
the human body in the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or
prevention of disease and which is commonly recognized as a substance
or preparation intended for that use," stated a special notice
released by the board titled "Information on Sales Tax and
Registration for Medical Marijuana Sellers."
The change will be a reversal from the board's previous position.
In February 2007, the board sent out a notice to dispensaries, urging
them to obtain a seller's permit like any other retailer.
There are currently two dispensaries operating in the county: Herban
Legend in Fort Bragg and Reflections of Avalon in Ukiah, which opened
last month on South State Street just outside of city limits.
A third dispensary, Mendo Remedies in Laytonville, was
open until last month, when it closed its doors for good.
Paula Deeter is the owner of Herban Legend in Fort Bragg. Deeter said
she has always adhered to federal tax laws.
"I wish they would make up their minds," she said. "We were unclear at
first if it was a taxable item. We've always paid federal income tax."
On April 20, 1996, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration drafted a
news release that declared that smoked marijuana had no medicinal
"A growing number of states have passed voter referenda (or
legislative actions) making smoked marijuana available for a variety
of medical conditions upon a doctor's recommendation," the memo
stated. "These measures are inconsistent with efforts to ensure that
medications undergo the rigorous scientific scrutiny of the FDA
Rob Burgess can be reached at udjrb -at- pacific.net.
R.A. "Bob" Ames
Employment Status: Available. Open Source Support.
Desktop Support, Internet Servers, Training,
Telephony, Network Integration, Anti-Spam Webmail.
Respect your body. Focus your mind. Love your heart. Support and
cooperate with anyone
who wants to do the same. - Laura Huxley
Saturday, January 19, 2008
Friday, January 18, 2008
Federal Authorities Allege That Sgt. Alvaro Murillo Stole From Drug
Dealers Then Sold the Drugs.
A veteran Huntington Park police officer once assigned to a federal
anti-drug task force was arrested Thursday on charges that he
conspired with others to distribute large quantities of cocaine and
marijuana, federal authorities said.
Sgt. Alvaro Murillo, who allegedly was called "The Godfather" by his
cohorts, is accused of using his job as a police officer to recruit
informants in the drug world, then use them to help him steal
narcotics from dealers.
Murillo allegedly arranged for the drugs to be put back on the street
for his own profit, according to an indictment unsealed in U.S.
District Court in Los Angeles.
One of Murillo's informants, Alberto Del Real-Gallardo, who
authorities said was dubbed the "Fat Man," was also arrested Thursday.
In the indictment, prosecutors detailed several instances in which
Murillo and Real-Gallardo allegedly recruited informants to gather
intelligence on drug dealers and then ripped them off. They were
charged with possessing, with intent to distribute, 5 kilograms of
cocaine and 340 kilos of marijuana.
"Sgt. Murillo abused his position of trust to line his pockets with
money earned from the sale of illicit drugs," U.S. Atty. Thomas P.
O'Brien said in a statement. "As a result . . . [he's] facing a
lengthy stint in federal prison."
Both defendants face potential life sentences if convicted, because
of the quantities of the drugs involved, but are likely to receive
According to prosecutors, Murillo, 44, of West Covina and
Real-Gallardo, 40, of Palmdale would press informants for information
about suspected drug dealers who would make good targets.
Murillo would run the information through a law enforcement database
to make sure that they were not the subject of a legitimate law
enforcement investigation. If they were found to be a suitable
target, the defendants would arrange for a meeting at which they
would take drugs "by trick, the intervention of defendant Murillo, or
other means," the indictment said. The informants would be rewarded
with a cut of the drugs or money from the subsequent sale.
They referred to the rip-offs as "black tactic" operations, "coded
language signifying they would work the drug trafficker for their own
benefit rather than as a legitimate law enforcement case," according
to the indictment. In addition to Murillo and Real-Gallardo, the
indictment referred to several other "unindicted co-conspirators,"
one of whom went by the moniker "The Columbian."
In one case, after at least one of the informants they had recruited
was secretly working for the government, they allegedly plotted to
steal 30 kilos of cocaine from an undercover Drug Enforcement
Administration agent. The plot failed, but the indictment did not explain why.
In 2005 and 2006, Murillo was assigned to a DEA task force. He was
suspended from the Huntington Park Police Department in 2006 after
authorities became suspicious of his activities.
In court Thursday, prosecutors sought to have Murillo held without
bond and submitted excerpts of secretly recorded telephone calls
showing that he, among other things, knew that Real-Gallardo had been
recruited by Mexican drug dealers to kidnap a man who owed them a
$3-million drug debt but failed to report the plot to authorities.
Murillo also appeared worried that a mistress whom he had lent
$10,000 would "open her trap about the money" and attract the
attention of law enforcement, according to excerpts of a conversation.
Murillo was released on $200,000 bond.
Newshawk: DrugSense Weekly www.drugsense.org/current.htm
Pubdate: Fri, 18 Jan 2008
Source: Los Angeles Times (CA)
Copyright: 2008 Los Angeles Times
Author: Scott Glover Los Angeles, Times Staff Writer
Bookmark: http://www.mapinc.org/corrupt.htm (Corruption - United States)
Bookmark: http://www.mapinc.org/find?246 (Policing - United States)
Bookmark: http://www.mapinc.org/find?115 (Marijuana - California)
Bookmark: http://www.mapinc.org/coke.htm (Cocaine)
Massachusetts may soon become the thirteenth state to decriminalize the possession of marijuana, according to the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws and the Massachusetts Cannabis Reform Coalition,
The House of Representatives has assigned a judiciary committee to review a bill that would change the punishment for those found in possession of marijuana. Instead of being a criminal offense, it would become more like a traffic ticket for anyone possessing less than an ounce, and would be punished strictly by fine.
Twelve other states have already passed similar laws and NORML and MassCann hope that by May of this year, Massachusetts will also do the same.
The effect this would have on Northeastern's policy is unclear at the time. Renata Nyul, the assistant director of communications and public relations at Northeastern said the administration is not concerned yet.
"Marijuana is currently an illegal drug and we are not planning for that to change," Nyul said. "If this does happen, we will have to address it in terms with the law."
Many students, however, have actively advocated the passing of a law like this one, including the Northeastern chapter of Students for a Sensible Drug Policy ( SSDP ), which, despite attempts, is not a student group.
Kevin Wadsworth, a middler biology major who started the chapter, helped campaign and collect signatures to promote the new law, along with other students.
Wadsworth said the current law causes problems. "It makes people use drugs in secret which is the worse thing possible because that just confirms the stereotypes when there's such a broad range of people doing it," he said. "There's also no guarantee about who will get caught and there's no consistency. Someone who smokes everyday might not ever get caught but someone who smokes once a week might and that isn't doing any good."
Because the details and implications of this law are still fuzzy, some students oppose the passing of it.
Hiba, a freshman biology major does not see the importance of the drug. She didn't want to give her last name because of privacy.
"I'm sure a lot of people still use [marijuana] despite the legal issues, but with harsher consequences, they are more likely to think twice before using it," she said.
On the other hand, some students see no deterrence in current marijuana laws and no reason to punish those who use it.
"A lot of money is spent on punishing marijuana offenders who are only in possession and are not criminally dangerous," said senior psychology and English major Chris Coughlin. "It's not deterring anything and it's just as bad as alcohol or tobacco."
Alex Faust, a freshman political science major, said he thinks the short term effects of the law may be less beneficial than long term effects.
"If this law passes, there's going to be a lot of people going out and using it [marijuana] right away. But long term, the novelty will wear off and reverse psychology will kick in and it won't be as popular I don't think," Faust said.
The long term effects of similar laws in other states are yet to be determined since the law is so new. Advocates, however, see the effects to be promising.
The law will only be applied to those over the age of 18. In that sense, punishment for possession would be like an alcohol or tobacco citation.
Some students believe this is a necessary amendment.
"I know that young people are very easily influenced," Hiba said. "They would try something without being fully aware of its effects and that needs to be taken into consideration."
Newshawk: Students Fight Back - http://www.SchoolsNotPrisons.com
Rate this article Votes: 0
Pubdate: Thu, 17 Jan 2008
Source: Northeastern News, The (Northeastern U, MA Edu)
Copyright: 2008 The Northeastern News
Author: Lisa Newman
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
The San Francisco Patients' Resource Center (SFPRC) is the oldest
and most widely recognized San Francisco protector of patients'
legal and medicinal interests. The planned SFPRC closing *IS A
PROBLEM FOR EVERY ONE OF US*, not just those directly affected.
The Constitution of the Great State of California takes precedence
over the Constitution of the United States of America.
Every California State and San Francisco City Officer is sworn
to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the Great
State of California against all enemies, both foreign and
*We have no authority to claim that a conflict exists unless and
until an appeals court has ruled that there exists a conflict.*
No appeals court has ruled that a conflict exists between
California Health & Safety Code Sections 11362.5 or 11362.7 and
The City of Oakland and The Great State of California apparently
violated the spirit of both California & Oakland laws when they
didn't protect Oakland Cannabis Buyers' Cooperative (OCBC) from
domestic enemies during OCBC's time of need in the late 1990's,
leading directly to OCBC being forced to stop dispensing
medication, and the subsequent total chaos that we have today.
The SFPRC *PROTECTED US*. Now it's time for us to step up to the
plate and *PROTECT SFPRC*.
If authorities refuse to protect us, then we will replace those
"authorities" with ones that will protect us.
Signed R.A. Ames in Rio Linda California on 16 January 2008 under
penalty of perjury. All of the enclosed information is true and
correct to the best of my knowledge.
Monday, January 14, 2008
Community Voices / The Bakersfield Californian
January 11, 2008
Federal Drug Enforcement Agency raids on California's medical
marijuana dispensaries are costing the state's taxpayers millions of
dollars in lost revenues. The DEA has not only closed facilities that
were paying millions of dollars yearly in sales taxes, but also
seized as much as $450,000 in sales tax payments that were in transit
to the state Board of Equalization.
Among them was a $350,000 electronic payment to the BOE from the
Compassion Center of Alameda County, which the DEA seized from the
bank on Oct. 30.
Although the DEA has tried to portray dispensaries as illegal drug
dealers, records show they have operated as legal businesses, paying
income, payroll, business and sales taxes, and offering workmen's
compensation, unemployment and health insurance benefits to their
Several dispensaries closed by the DEA had licenses to operate from
local governments, including facilities in Alameda County, Morro Bay
and Kern County.
Nature's Medicinal in Bakersfield paid almost $1 million in taxes
from 2005 until its closure in 2007, including $203,000 in state and
federal income taxes, $365,000 in payroll taxes and $427,000 in sales
taxes. Included was a $51,935 check to the state Board of
Equalization issued on April 27, which bounced when the DEA seized
Nature's Medicinal's bank account on May 1.
Nature's Medicinal reopened and tried to repay their taxes in monthly
installments of $9,000. They made two payments before the DEA raided
them again and seized all of their money. Nature's Medicinal had 25
employees, eight of whom were indicted and the rest left unemployed
and without health insurance due to the raid.
The DEA has tried to portray dispensaries as profiteers by citing
gross sales revenues in the millions of dollars. However, their net
income is modest when their costs are taken into account. For
example, U.S. Attorney McGregor Scott charged that Nature's Medicinal
in Bakersfield made $16 million in marijuana sales.
However, he failed to mention that their indictment shows they spent
$13 million on the purchase of product not to mention payroll, rent,
overhead and nearly $1 million in taxes.
Altogether, DEA enforcement actions have deprived the state's economy
of tens of millions in tax revenues plus hundreds of paying jobs.
For example, the California Healthcare Collective Inc. in Modesto
paid some $500,000 in sales taxes from its opening in December 2004
until its closure by a DEA raid on Sept. 27, 2006. CHC had 22
employees who were left unemployed by the raid.
The retail value of California's medical marijuana market is
estimated at $870 million -- $2 billion per year. This is enough to
generate some $100 million in sales taxes alone. At this time of
budget deficits, we can ill afford the DEA's war on medical
marijuana. Californians are better off having medical marijuana
distributed by tax-paying businesses than we are by being taxed in
order to arrest, prosecute, and imprison medical marijuana providers.
Dale Gieringer is the director of California NORML, a non-profit
organization dedicated to reforming California's marijuana laws.
California NORML, 2215-R Market St. #278, San Francisco CA 94114
-(415) 563- 5858 - www.canorml.org
MARC EMERY AGREES TO FIVE YEARS IN CANADIAN PRISON
VANCOUVER - Marc Emery, Vancouver's self-styled Prince of Pot, has
tentatively agreed to a five-year prison term in a plea bargain over
U.S. money laundering and marijuana seed-selling charges.
Facing an extradition hearing Jan. 21 and the all-but-certain
prospect of delivery to American authorities, Emery has cut a deal
with U.S. prosecutors to serve his sentence in Canada. He also hopes
it will save his two co-accused - Michelle Rainey and Greg Williams,
who were his lieutenants for so much of the past decade.
The three were arrested in August 2005 at the request of the United
States and charged even though none had ventured south of the border.
Since then, they have been awaiting the extradition hearing. With the
proceedings about to begin, Emery says his lawyer brokered the best
If accepted by the courts in both countries, Emery said he will serve
the full term and not be eligible for Canada's lenient
"I'm going to do more time than many violent, repeat offenders," he
complained. "There isn't a single victim in my case, no one who can
stand up and say, 'I was hurt by Marc Emery.' No one."
He's right. Whatever else you may think of Emery - and he grates on
many people, what is happening here is a travesty of justice. Emery's
case mocks our independence as a country. Prosecutors in Canada have
not enforced the law against selling pot seeds and all you need do is
walk along Hastings Street between Homer and Cambie for proof.
There are numerous stores selling seeds and products for producing
cannabis. Around the corner, you'll find more seed stores. You'll
find the same shops in Toronto and in other major Canadian cities.
The last time Emery was convicted in Canada of selling pot seeds,
back in 1998, he was given a $2,000 fine. Emery has flouted the law
for more than a decade and every year he sends his seed catalogue to
politicians of every stripe.
He has run in federal, provincial and civic elections promoting his
pro-cannabis platform. He has championed legal marijuana at
parliamentary hearings, on national television, at celebrity
conferences, in his own magazine, Cannabis Culture, and on his own
Internet channel, Pot TV.
Health Canada even recommended medical marijuana patients buy their
seeds from Emery. From 1998 until his arrest, Emery even paid
provincial and federal taxes as a "marijuana seed vendor" totalling
He is being hounded because of his success. The political landscape
has changed dramatically as a result of Emery's politicking for
cannabis. Emery challenged a law he disagrees with using exactly the
non-violent, democratic processes we urge our children to embrace and
of which we are so proud.
But along the way he has angered the anti-drug law-enforcement
community - the same gang that insists we must continue an expensive
War on Drugs that has failed miserably for more than a quarter
century and does more harm than good.
Canadian police grew so frustrated that neither prosecutors nor the
courts would lock up Emery and throw away the key, they urged their
U.S. counterparts to do the dirty work. And that's what's wrong.
Emery is being handed over to a foreign government for an activity we
are loath to prosecute because we don't think it's a major problem.
His two associates were charged only as a way of blackmailing him
into copping a plea.
It's a scandal.
Emery is being made a scapegoat for an anti-cannabis criminal law
that is a monumental failure. In spite of all our pricey efforts
during the last 40 years, and all the demonization of marijuana,
there is more pot on our streets, more people smoking dope and more
damage being done to our communities as a result of the prohibition.
There is a better way and every study from the 1970s Le Dain
Commission onward has urged change and legalization.
Regardless of what you think of Emery, he should not be facing an
unconscionably long jail term for a victimless, non-violent crime
that generates a shrug in his own country. Emery is facing more jail
time than corporate criminals who defrauded widows and orphans and
longer incarceration than violent offenders who have left their
victims dead or in wheelchairs.
And while he has long seemed to court martyrdom, Emery is by no means
sanguine about what is happening. He is angry at local lawyers for
failing to come up with a viable defence.
"They had two years and $90,000 and they came up with nothing," he
fumed. "John Conroy called me up and said 'take the deal - Michelle
will die in jail. Michelle will die in jail!' What can I say to that?"
Rainey, who has a medical exemption to smoke marijuana, has Crohn's
disease. Incarceration in the U.S. would deprive her of her medicine,
and she fears it could lead to her death.
"It's an ugly situation but Marc expects miracles," Kirk Tousaw, one
of the lawyers involved, told me. "There aren't any here."
He's right. Our extradition law puts Canadian citizens at the mercy
of foreign governments and judges can't do much about it. Emery is
being forced to accept a deal because not only are two of his friends
in jeopardy if he doesn't, but also to go south for an unfair trial
would mean serving as much as 20 years in prison, perhaps more.
One of his friends, for example, was handed a 30-year sentence for
growing 200 plants. This is wrong.
If Emery has been breaking the law and must be jailed, our justice
department should charge him and prosecute him in Canada. It's time
for Justice Minister Rob Nicholson to step in and say, sorry, Uncle
Sam, not today - not ever.