California, Riverside

Medical marijuana by county.

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California, Riverside

Postby palmspringsbum » Sun Apr 09, 2006 11:05 am

The Press Enterprise wrote:Cannabis backers bring grievance

RIVERSIDE COUNTY: Supervisors are also asked to support a state identification card.


11:44 PM PST on Tuesday, March 9, 2004



By MICHAEL CORONADO / The Press-Enterprise

About a dozen medical marijuana advocates told Riverside County Supervisors on Tuesday to stop harassing residents and learn about the law that governs those who grow and use cannabis under the guidelines of Prop. 215.

The protesters carried signs in front of the county administration building, some chiding the enforcement tactics of District Attorney Grover Trask.

"You should be ashamed that we are here before you," said Craig Canada, 48, a former resident of Desert Hot Springs.

Prop. 215 provides for legal protection for medical marijuana patients.

Senate Bill 420, which went into effect Jan.1, sets guidelines for how much marijuana patients may possess, calls for the state to issue identification cards to qualified patients and establishes procedures for which they may use marijuana for medical purposes.

Supervisors listened as speakers asked the board for three things: information on how the district attorney's office enforces Prop. 215; information on how the county will comply with SB 420; and the board's support of the state identification card system.

At the suggestion of Supervisor Roy Wilson, the board agreed to ask the district attorney's office about its enforcement measures and have county health director Gary Feldman provide information about the implementation of SB 420.

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Postby palmspringsbum » Sun Apr 09, 2006 11:28 am

The Press Enterprise wrote:Group looks to marijuana ID cards

CATHEDRAL CITY: A meeting on Sunday will discuss how a patient can register with the state.


11:34 PM PST on Friday, November 5, 2004



By WES WOODS II / The Press-Enterprise

Obtaining a medical marijuana identification card will be the focus of a Marijuana Anti-Prohibition Project meeting Sunday.

Susan Mackintosh, the assistant public health officer for the Riverside County Department of Public Health, is scheduled to speak about the cards and about the implementation of Senate Bill 420.

"This is the first time a public official has come to one of our meetings to speak on medical marijuana" and its implementation in Riverside County, said Lanny Swerdlow, organizer of the Palm Springs-based Marijuana Anti-Prohibition Project.

The meeting is at 3 p.m. Sunday at the Cathedral City Public Library, 33520 Date Palm Drive.

The medical marijuana identification cards were legalized as part of Senate Bill 420, which was implemented in January 2004 to give medical marijuana users a way to anonymously register and help the health department determine rules for usage.

Mackintosh said the cards could be issued starting in April. Patients would be issued a card from Riverside County, which would register the card with the state. The state will develop an identification confirmation number, she said.

Patients with ailments such as cancer, HIV and various types of glaucoma would need a "legitimate recommendation" from a licensed physician to get a card, Mackintosh said.

An obstacle to the April startup could be determining how to get the patient information anonymously, she said.

She didn't know how many patients in Riverside County would be eligible for the cards. She said she received a dozen written requests for the cards when SB 420 became law.

Mackintosh said she has received no opposition to the medical marijuana identification cards, and the Riverside County Medical Association was supportive.

The county wants to work closely with law enforcement, the district attorney's office and the consumers of medical marijuana, she said, "to make sure the program is implemented smoothly."

Swerdlow said he's expecting between 20 and 40 people at the meeting and he "encourages all patients and people who are advocates and interested in medical marijuana to attend the meeting."

Reach Wes Woods II at (760) 837-4405 or wwoods@pe.com

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Postby palmspringsbum » Sun Apr 09, 2006 11:57 am

The Press Enterprise wrote:Pot shots

08:46 AM PST on Tuesday, November 30, 2004


The Press-Enterprise



There's no compelling national reason to overturn the will of voters in 11 states who approved medical marijuana use. Surely the federal government faces more menacing threats to public safety than seriously ill marijuana users - and it should focus on those instead.

Yet the federal government continues to fight the states, the latest skirmish coming in a hearing before the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday. The case involves two California women who use the drug to ease severe pain from medical ailments, a practice California voters legalized in 1996.

The federal government argues that allowing an exemption for medical marijuana use would undermine the nation's war on drugs, and says federal law should override the state laws. Medical marijuana supporters argue the voters have already approved the use, and the federal government has no right to interfere.

The line between state and federal power has long been a constitutional battleground, but this issue should be left to the states to decide. It's difficult to see why a small group of ill people who get some relief from medical marijuana should be a federal focus. They're not a threat to national security or public safety, they're just in acute pain.

That's not to confuse patients using marijuana under a doctor's guidance with recreational drug use. Casual pot use remains illegal, and legitimately so. The state law shouldn't be read as an endorsement of marijuana use, but as a narrow exemption for medical reasons only. The states can sort out the issues of acceptable medical practices without federal intervention.

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Postby palmspringsbum » Sun Apr 09, 2006 12:03 pm

The Press Enterprise wrote:<img src=bin\trask-grover.jpg align=right>Medical pot: A smokescreen

10:48 AM PST on Saturday, December 4, 2004
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By GROVER TRASK

Contrary to your editorial "Pot shots" (Our Views, Nov. 30), there are national compelling public policy reasons to overturn the federal 9th Circuit case prohibiting federal intervention in the 11 states that allow "medical" marijuana. Medicinal use of marijuana is still illegal under federal law and in 39 states.

There is no doubt that the backers of state medical marijuana initiatives had much more on their minds than alleviating the pain of patients who suffer from catastrophic diseases. It is no secret to anyone that California's Prop. 215 and others like it specifically permitted pot use for almost any complaint.

In a larger public policy context beyond two women using medical marijuana in California is the dogged debate about the efficacy of medicinal use of marijuana and who should have the final authority on the regulation of dangerous drugs. U.S. Supreme Court Justice Breyer said it best: "Medication by regulation is better than medication by referendum."

Not one American health association accepts marijuana as medicine. The American Medical Association has concluded that smoked marijuana damages the brain, heart, lungs and immune system and is a public health concern.

Studies and anecdotal evidence suggest that marijuana is a gateway drug that leads to experimentation with even more hazardous substances.

For prosecutors who deal with drug cases in our criminal courts and review criminal histories, it is clear that marijuana has often been the gateway for use of even more dangerous drugs and more serious criminal records. Prosecutors in every state see that marijuana has played a critical role in the formative stage of young criminal careers.

These legitimate federal criminal justice and health issues should not be swept aside as irrelevant. There is a compelling national reason to be very concerned because medical use of marijuana does impact national drug policy, FDA regulations and marijuana drug markets throughout the country.

Do we really need to foreclose federal intervention in California and several other states by limiting the federal government's effectiveness in implementing the provisions of the Controlled Substances Act? Is federal immunity from prosecution a potential "get out of jail free" card for marijuana growers or distributors?

What about the notion that the federal authority, left intact, acts as a system of checks and balances to impede those who seek to make a mockery of the state law? Should the U.S. attorney be prohibited from enforcing federal drug laws because a state wants to create its own intrastate drug policy that impacts the drug market across the country? Why not keep the uncertainty for those who would seek to take advantage for economic or other gain by allowing federal civil or criminal enforcement?

Few disagree with helping people who are terminally ill or have catastrophic illness. And the federal government certainly isn't interested in prosecuting those who endure unbearable agonies that some believe could be allayed by puffing on a joint.

But that's not what this case is about.

If the U.S. Supreme Court bars application of federal drug laws, every state will see a spike in recreational use of marijuana - another step down the slippery slope toward legalization. The goal of the Controlled Substances Act is to prevent the interstate marijuana trade, even medicinal marijuana. Because plaintiff's actions violate a federal statute, the fact that it is for personal medical purposes adds nothing to constitutional battleground analysis.

The U.S. Supreme Court would be wise to reverse the 9th Circuit social judicial activism and leave federal drug regulation and drug policy where it belongs - with Congress and the executive branch of government.

Grover Trask is the district attorney of Riverside County.

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Postby palmspringsbum » Sun Apr 09, 2006 1:12 pm

The Press Enterprise wrote:Marijuana outlets banned in county

TEMPORARY: Riverside County says it wants time to draft regulations for medical use of the drug.


11:10 PM PDT on Tuesday, August 23, 2005



By KIMBERLY TRONE / The Press-Enterprise

The Riverside County Board of Supervisors temporarily banned medical-marijuana dispensaries Tuesday, over the opposition of chronically ill users who say the drug has improved their lives.

Supervisor John Tavaglione said the 45-day ban would give the county time to make sure dispensaries are located away from schools, parks and churches when applications to open them come to the county for approval.

"This item gives us an opportunity to establish regulations. It is not to prohibit them," Tavaglione insisted.

But Dr. Joanne Benzor said the county has had plenty of time to figure out how to regulate dispensaries since Californians approved medical-marijuana use in 1996. Senate Bill 420 was adopted in 2003 to set up an identification-card program to identify legal users of medical marijuana.

Benzor, who is a family practitioner in San Diego, said she fears the county is preparing for a permanent ban on dispensaries, making it difficult for medical users to obtain the drug in a safe environment.

Right now, some users say they obtain their marijuana in free co-ops.

"I have patients who benefit greatly from medical marijuana," said Benzor, who is allowed to recommend the drug to patients but may not help them purchase it.

"These are regular people like you and me," she told the supervisors. "These are not stoners."

Supervisor Jeff Stone, a pharmacist, said there are prescription drugs that isolate one of the active ingredients in marijuana, and that chronically ill users of marijuana could find prescription alternatives.

If medical marijuana is so superior to the pharmaceutical alternatives, Stone said he wonders why drug companies have not pursued marketing it.

Don Duncan, executive director of the Los Angeles Patients and Caregivers Group, which supports medical marijuana, said that until marijuana is legal under federal laws, American companies will not explore ways to market it as a whole substance.

Kyle Bashore, 21, of Cathedral City, said he supports regulation of marijuana but that he is required to grow the plant at his parents' home in the Coachella Valley.

Bashore said he has Crohn's disease and hemophilia, and had been on Dilaudid and morphine before overdosing on the drugs while hospitalized for surgery.

He said he began marijuana at the suggestion of his doctor. It helps control his symptoms without the side effects of potent pharmaceutical drugs, he said.

"This sends a negative message," Bashore said of Tuesday's temporary ban. "This makes me a criminal."

The board could extend the ban under the ordinance adopted Tuesday.

Reach Kimberly Trone at (951) 368-9456 or ktrone@pe.com

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Postby palmspringsbum » Sun Apr 09, 2006 1:16 pm

The Press Enterprise wrote:County to issue medical pot IDs
ENROLLMENT: The county health department will implement the statewide plan beginning Dec. 1.



01:27 AM PST on Thursday, November 24, 2005

By KIMBERLY TRONE / The Press-Enterprise

The Riverside County Department of Public Health on Wednesday announced plans to begin implementing the statewide medical-marijuana identification-card program Dec. 1.

Enrollment is optional, but participation could protect patients and caregivers who are complying with California's medical-marijuana laws from arrest and prosecution, said Victoria Jauregui Burns of the health department.

Sheriff Bob Doyle said his department intends to abide by the state attorney general's rules on medical marijuana.

In 1996, California voters passed Prop. 215, making medical marijuana legal. State lawmakers approved an identification-card program in 2003.

But the United States Supreme Court ruled in June that people who smoke marijuana with a doctor's permission could still be prosecuted for violating federal drug laws.

Riverside County Supervisor Jeff Stone, a pharmacist, called it a "shame" the county is required to uphold a state mandate that conflicts with the federal ruling.

Stone said the state has not provided for oversight of how much marijuana patients are using or how the dosages and purity are determined. In contrast, Stone said the state monitors for abuse of highly controlled pharmaceutical narcotics.

The supervisors have imposed a moratorium on medical-marijuana dispensaries at least until April, to give the county time to establish rules and regulations.

Temecula resident LaVonne Victor, a medical-marijuana user, said she favors small co-ops of users who share the product. Dispensaries "might run amok for business and profit," she said.

"Patients need a safe place to get their medicine," Victor said.

Those requesting a card will be required to provide valid identification, proof of residency and a doctor's recommendation.

For information and appointments, call the Department of Public Health at (888) 358-7931. A $100 administrative fee will be charged. The fee is $50 for Medi-Cal patients.

Reach Kimberly Trone at (951) 368-9456 or ktrone@pe.com

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Postby palmspringsbum » Sun Apr 09, 2006 1:21 pm

The Press Enterprise wrote:Pot ID card process begins
RIVERSIDE COUNTY: It is taking applications for identification for legal medical-marijuana users.



11:51 PM PST on Thursday, December 1, 2005

By KIMBERLY TRONE and DUANE W. GANG / The Press-Enterprise

Riverside County began processing applications for state-issued medical-marijuana ID cards Thursday, and Douglas Lanphere, who suffers from chronic pain and migraines, made sure he was first in line to apply.

The optional card, which is good for one year and one day, provides patients and their caregivers with identification that could keep them out of jail if they are complying with California's medical-marijuana laws, county officials said.

Lanphere, 44, of Perris, said the process went smoothly. Applicants must provide a prescription from a licensed doctor and proof of residency.

But Lanphere is concerned because the county intends to retain copies of the applications, which contain confidential health information. He fears that the federal government might one day require the county to turn over the information.

His concerns are shared by advocates and critics of medical marijuana alike.

California voters passed Prop. 215 in 1996, making medical-marijuana legal. In 2003, lawmakers approved a state program requiring counties to help the state process applications for medical-marijuana ID cards.

But there could be federal penalties even for people who have an ID card.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in June that people who smoke marijuana with a doctor's permission could still be prosecuted for violating federal drug laws.

Riverside County Sheriff Bob Doyle said his department intends to abide by guidelines from the state attorney general.

The sheriff said his representatives would meet soon with medical-marijuana advocates as the identification program gets under way in Riverside County.

"Our concern is that the people who need it are the people who are getting it," Doyle said. "Like anything, there are going to be people who manipulate the system, people who break the law."

Ingrid Wyatt, spokeswoman for District Attorney Grover Trask, said people found abusing the system will be prosecuted, but the cards would help identify those with legitimate needs.

Victoria Jauregui Burns, who heads the ID program for Riverside County, said the state requires counties to retain copies of the applications.

"If we can't prove we gave a person a card based on accurate information, we could be in trouble," she said.

Riverside County leaders have been wrestling with the state's legalization of medical marijuana. Earlier this year, the supervisors imposed a moratorium on medical-marijuana dispensaries at least until April, to give the county time to establish rules and regulations.

While several cities and counties in Northern California have implemented their own ID-card programs or become part of the statewide program, Jauregui Burns said Southern California counties have been slower to follow.

The San Bernardino County Public Health Department next month plans to begin implementing an ID-card program, director Jim Felten said Thursday.

Starting in January, San Bernardino County residents will be able to call the department or visit the public health Web site to download the required paperwork.

A physician's note could prove sufficient to avoid arrest, Felten said. But, he added, "It would be better to have a card rather than talk your way out of it or be arrested and later confirm that it is a valid prescription."

Reach Kimberly Trone at (951) 368-9456 or ktrone@pe.com

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Postby palmspringsbum » Sun Apr 09, 2006 4:36 pm

The Press Enterprise wrote:County may join medical pot suit

COMPASSIONATE USE ACT: The litigation fights a state law allowing marijuana use to treat some illnesses.




11:33 PM PST on Thursday, January 26, 2006

By DUANE W. GANG and KIMBERLY TRONE / The Press-Enterprise
<table class=posttable width=200 align=right><tr><td class=postcell><center>Medical marijuana </center>

1996: CALIFORNIA COMPASSIONATE USE ACT approved by voters. Allows medical use of marijuana with a doctor's recommendation.

2003: SB 420 signed into law. Requires the state to maintain a voluntary identification card program. Allows possession of no more than 8 ounces of dried marijuana.

2005: U.S. SUPREME COURT ruled that patients in states with compassionate-use laws may face criminal prosecution for transporting and using marijuana. California Attorney General Bill Lockyer said the ruling does not overturn California law.

RIVERSIDE COUNTY began issuing medical-marijuana identification cards in December.

2006: SAN DIEGO COUNTY on Jan. 20 filed a lawsuit in federal district court in San Diego seeking to overturn the state's medical-marijuana law.

SAN BERNARDINO COUNTY supervisors this week voted unanimously to join San Diego County.

RIVERSIDE COUNTY supervisors on Tuesday will discuss whether to join the lawsuit.

</td></tr>
</table>
Riverside County will consider joining San Bernardino and San Diego counties in a federal lawsuit seeking to overturn California's medical-marijuana law, a Riverside County supervisor said Thursday.

Supervisor Jeff Stone, a pharmacist, said he intends to ask his colleagues in closed session Tuesday to add the county to the short list of challengers to the state's Compassionate Use Act approved by Californians in 1996.

The law allows patients with a physician's recommendation to transport and use marijuana to treat the symptoms of illnesses such as cancer, glaucoma, chronic pain and AIDS.

State law also requires counties to issue optional identification cards to medical-marijuana users. So far, 15 counties -- including Riverside -- have issued almost 800 cards, which help users avoid arrest.

San Bernardino County, which was set to begin issuing the cards this month, will not issue them until the legal dispute is resolved. Riverside County began issuing the cards in December.

Stone, along with his counterparts in San Bernardino County, said the state law conflicts with federal drug provisions, leaving law enforcement in a bind over which measures to enforce.

In addition, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled last year that those in states with compassionate-use laws still could face arrest on federal drug charges.

"It is clear through pharmacy law that whatever law is stricter -- federal or state law -- that is the law we have to uphold," Stone said. "The more counties that sign on to the suit, the more clout we are going to have."

Counties need clarification from the courts on the conflicting laws, Stone said.

San Bernardino County supervisors voted unanimously in closed session this week to join San Diego County in its federal lawsuit against the state.

Ruth Stringer, an assistant San Bernardino County counsel, said the county has not filed its lawsuit yet but hopes to do so soon. Once filed, it is expected to be combined with San Diego County's lawsuit, officials said.

Chris Laue, 55, of Twentynine Palms, meets monthly with people in San Bernardino County who rely on medical marijuana to ease chronic pain. He said the group likely will go before the supervisors to protest their actions.

"They swear to uphold the constitution of the state of California," said Laue, whose wife uses medical marijuana.

San Diego County contends that the U.S. Constitution's supremacy clause preempts California medical-marijuana laws because they conflict with federal drug law and an international narcotics treaty the United States signed in 1961.

"Under federal law, we can't go along with what the state wants us to do," San Bernardino County Sheriff Gary Penrod said Thursday.

Penrod wrote a December memo to the San Bernardino County supervisors encouraging them to join with San Diego County.

In the memo, he said that while voters statewide approved the 1996 ballot initiative, San Bernardino County voters rejected it.

He urged the county to "resist engaging in a program that issues cards that sanction participation in a federal crime."

Penrod said he expects to be a named plaintiff in San Bernardino County's lawsuit and hopes that adds weight to the counties' case. He said he wants to go before a judge and explain the problem that medical marijuana poses to law enforcement agencies.

But the counties could be facing an uphill legal battle, even if Riverside County joins the lawsuit, said David B. Cruz, a constitutional law expert at the University of Southern California Law School.

It is pretty clear a county cannot sue its state for an alleged constitutional violation, Cruz said.

"There also is precedent that physicians recommending marijuana, which is what these ID cards are all about, does not amount to a violation of federal law," Cruz said.

It is unclear whether Stone will gain support from his fellow supervisors to add Riverside County's name to the suit. Supervisors Marion Ashley, Bob Buster and Roy Wilson said this week that as long as there is a state law allowing the use of medical marijuana, they intend to uphold it.

"I would hope we would move forward in making sure the law is followed," Wilson said.

Riverside County Supervisor John Tavaglione said Thursday he was not prepared to weigh in on whether the county should join the lawsuit, but he said he wants a ban on medical-marijuana dispensaries.

Riverside County planners are preparing to roll out a proposal this spring detailing where and how medical-marijuana dispensaries may operate.

Stone said joining the lawsuit would not mean Riverside County would stop issuing medical-marijuana cards.

"We are going to continue to do what the state tells us until a judge tells us the measure is unconstitutional or not legally viable," Stone said.

Reach Duane W. Gang at (909) 806-3062 or dgang@pe.com

Reach Kimberly Trone at (951) 368-9456 or ktrone@pe.com

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Postby palmspringsbum » Sun Apr 09, 2006 7:18 pm

The Press Enterprise wrote:Medical pot supporters face a hit

EXTENSION: Riverside County Supervisors say they need more time to create dispensary rules.



01:05 AM PST on Monday, March 27, 2006
By KIMBERLY TRONE
The Press-Enterprise



Medical marijuana advocates oppose a proposal to extend Riverside County's moratorium on pot dispensaries until August 2007.

County supervisors are scheduled Tuesday to consider extending the temporary ban, which has been in place since August 23. It is set to expire today.

The extension of 16 months and 15 days would be the longest allowed by law if adopted by the supervisors, Senior County Planner Mark Balys said.

Balys said planners need more time to formulate standards for dispensaries in unincorporated county areas.

Lanny Swerdlow, of the advocacy group Marijuana Anti-Prohibition Project, said he could understand if county officials needed another month or two.

"But 16 months? It seems like they want to ban medical-marijuana dispensaries," Swerdlow said.

In 1996, California voters approved the Compassionate Use Act, which allows patients with a physician's recommendation to transport and use marijuana to treat the symptoms of illness.

State law also requires counties to issue identification cards to medical-marijuana users. Riverside County began issuing the cards December 1.

Neighboring San Bernardino and San Diego counties have filed a lawsuit in state court seeking to overturn the Compassionate Use Act. Attorney General Bill Lockyer has said there is no legal reason for the courts to consider the lawsuit.

Riverside County has not supported court action, but supervisors still want the differences between state and federal law clarified. Federal law does not protect medical-marijuana users from prosecution.

Earlier this month, federal agents raided a house in Sky Valley, in the Coachella Valley, where a man said he was growing marijuana for a dispensary in Palm Desert.

Several cities are looking to the county to set the groundwork for marijuana dispensaries, Supervisor Roy Wilson said.

"The sooner there are clear guidelines, the better off everyone will be," he said.

Supervisor Jeff Stone, a pharmacist who has often criticized the use of medical marijuana, said he's keeping an open mind.

Stone said that in April he plans to attend a continuing-education forum on medical marijuana at his own expense to learn more about its potential medicinal merits.

"But it does not negate the conflict between federal and state law," Stone said.

Reach Kimberly Trone at (951) 368-9456 or ktrone@PE.com


<table class=posttable align=center width=90% cellspacing=6 cellpadding=6 border=1><tr><td>
<center><b>Survey </b>

<b>What, if anything should be done to regulate medical marijuana?<br> Why? Comment</b></center>


<u>March 31, 2006 07:07 p.m. </u>

Maybe if the FDA would quit dodging/resisting the petition to move it to Schedule 2 or 3, particularly since their own judge said it was "one of the safest therapuetic substances known to man", we wouldnt be having this discussion.

The real reason MJ is illegal is because the cops/government make too much $$ enforcing laws against it as it is (think about all the industries dependant upon the "drug war", and "asset forfeiture"), and government controls populations by demonizing certain segments of society, i.e. "drug users", etc.



<u>March 29, 2006 12:10 a.m. </u>

I have never used marijuana in my life. I'm 44 years old. I'm suffering with chronic pain because of a hit-and-run by a drunk driver which tore my spine and left me in chronic, crippeling pain, which is like being wrapped around the body with electrified barbed wire or being torn in half with a red hot hay fork. This type of pain is enough to make your body shut down, and does not respond to the strongest pain meds.

The only relief I have now, is the use of marijuana in a tea. The doctor has given me everything in the arsenal -- and I am not being helped.

Before you say "NO," or put moritoriums on the use of marijuana for cancer pain, glaucoma, chronic pain -- remember there are real people involved here who are given some relief to pain which most people cannot comprehend in their worse nightmares.


<u>March 28, 2006 00:21 a.m. </u>

All we need to do is follow the rules as outlined in Proposition 215. The people who need medical marijuana do not need to be treated like criminals.


<u>March 27, 2006 04:43 p.m. </u>

I think we should just let this one go.

It's not that hard to locate a source for it. This would just make it easier.

Besides, with the rest of the world's problems, this is an issue in the first place?


<u>March 27, 2006 02:54 p.m. </u>

The politicians who bring this argument are making a false dilemma. They claim that the Supremacy Clause necessarily requires them to enforce federal laws regarding marijuana, irrespective of state law, passed by the people.

Either these politicians are lying or they are more knowledgeable about medicine than law. The supremacy of federal law means that federal officers can arrest and charge marijuana users, even in places where it is protected by state law, as in California, Alaska, Oregon, Rhode Island, etc. The Clause does NOT mean that state or local agents must enforce federal laws that are in conflict with state and local laws.

The Supreme Court struck down the Brady Bill on handguns, In Printz v. United States(1997). Justice Scalia gave the opinion of the Court, where he wrote finally, and most conclusively in these cases, the Court's jurisprudence makes clear that the Federal Government may not compel the States to enact or administer a federal regulatory program.

These propagandists are under NO pressure to decide which law to enforce, read Printz v. United States (1997) for a clear, legal understanding of the issue. State officers and agents are required to enforce state law when it conflicts with federal law, but they may not hinder or impede federal officers enforcing federal laws. This is specifically why the state law was not nullified by the Supreme Court when they upheld the actions of federal officers in Raich v. Gonzales (2005) No "conflict" exists the Supreme Court has decided the line is based on jurisdiction, federal officers enforce federal laws (DEA, etc.) and state officers enforce state laws.


<u>March 27, 2006 02:49 p.m. </u>

Nothing -- (it) shouldn't be an illegal drug.


<u>March 27, 2006 11:48 a.m. </u>

From the publics perspective, they see what is shown on the nightly news and in the local media. Our goal is to show what is not being seen. Medical marijuana being regulated by the government is scary, but agree, to legitimize the industry, regulation would lend creditability.

Self policing of the industry would certainly garter positive attention showing our concern for following the law as intended. While centralized databases and patient tracking systems are not popular, they do offer a degree of protection and show the public our continued commitment.


<u>March 27, 2006 10:37 a.m. </u>

The people of the State approved it by 56%. It will be in effect as Law for 10 years on November 5th of this year. The 10th admendment to the U.S. Constitution allows for it, and the State Legislature backed it by enacting further legislation to clarify and enhance it. Yet still there are patients being arrested, gardens and equipment confiscated, all in the name of the Law. The primary duty and responsibility of every City, County, and State representative is to uphold and defend the State Laws and Constitution. If ANY Supervisor, Councilmember, Mayor, Police Officer or Sheriff's Deputy has a problem with this Law, then maybe they should find some other line of work, after all they all took oaths promising to defend California's Constitution, and uphold and enforce it's LAWS.


<u>March 27, 2006 09:39 a.m. </u>

Restore cannabis to the formulary from which it was illegitimately removed in 1940 after prescriptive availability for a hundred years.

Forget this nonsense about new drug and scheduling and grandfather it in at the FDA.

Cannabis meets all the criteria for grandfathering since it was on the market in 1938. Restore the regulatory practice by the government over the potency and purity standards for the industry. Once upon a time Lily and Parke Davis were leading suppliers of cannabis to America. They operated a farm in Michigan together from 1906 to 1938 that developed the finest cannabis in the world.

But all forgotten, drowned out by monomolecular patented chemicals claims many of which are turning out to be toxic. A century's experience with medicinal cannabis -- not marijuana -- has demonstrated both safety and efficacy.


<u>March 27, 2006 08:22 a.m. </u>

Cannabis should be removed from the Controlled Substances Act, and regulated like tobacco.

Permitting regulatory agencies to inspect and assure purity and potency -- AND removing black market price support -- would benefit patients, responsible adult users, and all of society (except today's criminal traffickers and prohibition-enforcement profiteers).


<u>March 27, 2006 02:57 a.m. </u>

Stop tailgaters and illegal lane changers. They present clear and present dangers to society, including children, daily.

Leave medicinal users of marijuana alone. The waste of law enforcement resources and the foot dragging of the supervisors is cowardly (and) callous to the needs of suffering people -- and contrary to the will of the people of California.

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Postby palmspringsbum » Tue Apr 11, 2006 11:00 am

The Californian wrote:Last modified Monday, April 10, 2006 9:30 PM PDT

County studying relaxation of medical pot policy

By: CHRIS BAGLEY - Staff Writer

<img src=bin\johnson-david.jpg align=right width=300 title="Dave Johnson of Temecula delivers medical marijuana to fellow patients using his car. The county is considering whether to allow pot dispensaries to operate in some areas">Riverside County is moving closer to allowing dispensaries that would sell marijuana for medicinal use, as county officials consider details for an ordinance to regulate such shops.

Some elected officials who had opposed permitting dispensaries now embrace it, albeit reluctantly and with caveats. And land-use planners are beginning to study what areas might be appropriate for dispensaries, following a March 28 order from the five-member county Board of Supervisors.

The shift follows years of debate over the medical legitimacy of the drug and questions over counties' roles in a conflict between state and federal law. Proposition 215, approved by California voters in 1996, exempts seriously ill patients from state laws prohibiting marijuana and directs counties to regulate the drug's medical use. But all uses remain illegal under federal law.

The supervisors agreed at a recent meeting that the county government is an arm of the state government. The move to allow dispensaries is a reluctant embrace of the state proposition.

"I don't believe in them, but the voters said they should exist," 3rd District Supervisor Jeff Stone said Monday.

Two weeks ago, Stone was the lone dissenter when a majority of the board told its planning staff to research acceptable areas for the shops.

Three California counties and 23 cities allow facilities that sell pot to qualified patients. Dozens have banned such dispensaries.

Riverside County's health department issues cards identifying patients who use the drug to ease pain or nausea as allowed under Proposition 215. Under state and city laws, patients can legally buy the drug at dispensaries in Palm Springs and Palm Desert, and can grow for their own use.

Several groups of users grow plants collectively in the western half of the county, and at least two mobile services deliver the drug to patients, undisturbed by state law-enforcement officers.

No dispensaries exist between Palm Springs and coastal cities. The county government and several cities in the area have blocked them. Murrieta has banned them and Lake Elsinore has blocked them indefinitely, while Temecula has a temporary ban that city leaders could soon make permanent.

That's why the March 28 vote was significant, medical marijuana advocates said. While approving a six-month extension on an expiring moratorium on dispensaries, the supervisors asked county planners for recommendations on where to allow them in the future in unincorporated areas.

The county probably would restrict them to high-traffic commercial zones as a deterrent to theft and other crimes that might happen in secluded areas, said Mark Balys, the county planning department's point man on the issue.

Stone, a pharmacist, had been the board's most outspoken member in questioning the medical value of marijuana. He earlier urged the board to join San Diego and San Bernardino counties in suing the state over the issue. Citing federal law, the two counties argue that they should not be forced to issue identification cards to medical-marijuana users.

On Monday, Stone said he had refined his views after a conference last weekend in Santa Barbara, where nurses, patient advocates, a pharmacologist and physicians spoke on the issue. Stone said he's now open to the possibility that the unrefined plant could have advantages over legal alternatives such as Marinol, a commercially produced drug, that produces the effects of marijuana.

If Riverside County does allow the dispensaries, Stone said, they should have to keep records to deter the drug from ending up in a pipe at a party down the street. He suggested a record-keeping system similar to what pharmacies use for controlled drugs such as morphine.

Bob Buster and Roy Wilson, the two county supervisors most sympathetic to the medicinal use of marijuana, have argued that county governments, as arms of California's state government, are first responsible for carrying out state law.

"The federal government shouldn't be meddling in state and local governments," said Wilson, who represents parts of the Coachella Valley and eastern Riverside County. "If (the county Planning Department) comes up with a reasonable approach, I'm hopeful some sort of ordinance will move forward."

The shift in county policy matters especially to users who don't belong to growing collectives, said Martin Victor, a Temecula resident whose wife uses the drug to treat symptoms of multiple sclerosis.

"If you don't have the land to do it, and you don't have the time, you have to get someone else to do it for you," Victor said.

For many users, Victor said, that someone is affiliated with a dispensary in West Hollywood or Palm Springs.

Riverside County would still have to approve its planners' recommendations as an amendment to its general land-use plan before allowing any dispensaries on unincorporated land. Individual dispensaries would then have to obtain permits, Balys said.

The apparent move toward allowing dispensaries is good news to Dave Johnson, a Temecula user who said he delivers to a dozen others in Hemet, Temecula and surrounding areas. With Temecula, Murrieta and Lake Elsinore shutting out distribution facilities, one in an unincorporated area such as Wildomar or Sun City could make his life a lot easier, he said.

Contact staff writer Chris Bagley at (951) 676-4315, Ext. 2615, or cbagley@californian.com.

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Postby budman » Fri Jun 16, 2006 7:07 pm

The Valley News wrote:County supervisor wrestles with medical marijuana issue

By Elaine Nelson
The Temecula Valley News
6/16/2006 9:00:25 PM

<img class=postimg src=bin/stone-jeff.jpg align=right width=200>Riverside County Supervisor Jeff Stone wants to know how the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is going to respond to marijuana smokers in Riverside County who use the drug to ease the pain caused by their medical condition.

Stone has asked DEA officials to meet with him so he can gain an understanding of their intent with regard to the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes, because the issue is becoming a hot topic in California.

In 1996, when Californians adopted Proposition 215, the voter initiative designed “to ensure that seriously ill Californians have the right to obtain and use marijuana for medical purposes,” the law changed for everybody – even for constituents in counties that recorded a majority vote against the measure. So it was in Riverside County.

Deemed the Compassionate Use Act of 1996, the bill prohibits any punishment to physicians who recommend to their patients the use of marijuana for medical purposes. The act further prohibits outlawing the possession or cultivation of marijuana by patients or caregivers who are acting on the recommendation or approval of a physician.

The problem is that the initiative violates federal law. But then, federal programs exist that also violate federal law. A program is currently in place in Minnesota, according to Stone, whereby the federal government provides marijuana to test patients. “It’s manufactured by the University of Minnesota, grown under controlled conditions and mailed to these patients,” Stone explained.

Stone became involved in the controversial topic back in March when he was invited to attend an international symposium on the topic of medical use of marijuana that was held in Santa Barbara. “What I learned [at the seminar] is that…there is some medical benefit to the active ingredient in marijuana,” Stone said. Stone doesn’t believe, though, that marijuana is “an appropriate indication for some of the conditions” that were mentioned at the conference.

While “legitimate practitioners” participated in the conference, including a highly regarded doctor and professor at UC - San Diego and researchers from Jerusalem University in Israel and from Amsterdam, other participants held “questionable credentials,” according to Stone.

“I wanted to hear double blind studies,” Stone said. “I don’t want to hear testimonials from people.” Double blind studies are considered to be the most accurate types of tests because neither the researchers nor the subjects are told which participants have been given the placebo, thereby eliminating bias on the part of the researcher.

The initiative that passed in 1996 also allowed for the opening of medical marijuana dispensaries, but did not set standards for operators of those dispensaries. “Can someone who has been in jail four times for heroin crimes open a dispensary and sell marijuana?” Stone asked. “Can a felon – any type of felon – open a dispensary? What are the record-keeping requirements to ensure that [the marijuana] is really going to people with a medical necessity? How do we know that it’s not going to marijuana users?”

These questions need to be resolved, Stone believes, before dispensaries can be allowed to open in Riverside County. “We, in the county, have been asking for injunctive relief,” Stone said. In conjunction with San Diego County, Riverside County officials have requested that the courts advise them how to proceed.

If dispensaries are allowed to open before these issues are resolved, Stone believes, DEA agents can arrest physicians for writing prescriptions for medical marijuana and they can also arrest the marijuana beneficiaries. “We have some conflicting laws that can lead to some very serious problems for people,” Stone said.

Stone has been designated by his peers on the Board of Supervisors as the one to write the regulations to ensure compliance with the initiative and resolve the issues behind the opening of medical marijuana dispensaries within Riverside County. Board members have voted to extend for six months the moratorium on opening dispensaries in the county, but Stone estimates that resolution will take closer to 18 months.

“I’m not here to tell you that I’m a proponent of legalizing marijuana,” Stone said, “but what I’m trying to do is deal with the proposition and how we – as a county – have to follow the rules.”

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Postby palmspringsbum » Sun Jun 18, 2006 6:48 pm

The promised Saturday feature never appeared. Unless they mean next Saturday.

The Desert Sun wrote:Medical marijuana raid points local man toward Washington


K Kaufmann
The Desert Sun
June 16, 2006

<hr>
Last March, Garry Silva’s house in Sky Valley was raided by the Drug Enforcement Administration because he was growing medical marijuana for a collective that he said was legal under California state law.

Silva said the injuries he suffered during the raid, including a broken and dislocated shoulder, have put him on heavy pain killers and severely limited his ability to work.

Sarah Pullen, DEA spokeswoman, said: “Our agents used proper procedures during the execution of the (raid). As of yet, there's been no formal complaint filed with our agency.”

Silva will not say whether he will take legal action against the agency, but on Saturday, he will board a plane to Washington, D.C., where Monday and Tuesday he will be lobbying lawmakers — especially Rep. Mary Bono, R-Palm Springs — to cut funding for DEA raids on medical marijuana users in states where the drug is now legal.

“If what happened to me can make a change so nobody has to go through it, it wasn’t in vain,” Silva said. “I made a difference.”

Read the full story in The Desert Sun’s Saturday edition.

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Postby Midnight toker » Mon Jun 19, 2006 1:43 pm

The Desert Sun wrote:Valley resident off to D.C. on quest for medical weed
Reform push looks to defund raids on patients


K Kaufmann
The Desert Sun
June 19, 2006

<hr>

<img class=postimg src=bin/silva-gary.jpg align=right width=240 title="Three months ago the Drug Enforcement Administration raided Garry Silva's Desert Hot Springs home to search for and confiscate the marijuana he was cultivating. Silva will be in Washington, D.C., on today and Tuesday lobbying Congress to stop funding DEA raids on medical marijuana patients. Silva uses medical marijuana for a degenerative disk disease and nerve damage.">The words on the medical report seem impenetrably abstract - bilateral recess encroachment, stenosis, foraminal encroachment.

What they mean to Sky Valley resident Garry Silva is pain.

Excruciating, continuous pain in his back and legs, which, said Silva, a legal medical marijuana user under California state law, is the result of injuries he suffered when federal drug agents raided his home and confiscated several dozen medical marijuana plants in March.

And though he'll need a wheelchair to do it, today and Tuesday he will be on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., lobbying lawmakers - especially Rep. Mary Bono, R-Palm Springs - to pass the Hinchey-Rohrabacher amendment.

The amendment, put forward by Rep. Maurice Hinchey, D-Hurley, N.Y., and Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Huntington Beach, would ban the federal Drug Enforcement Administration from making raids on medical marijuana patients in states, including California, that have legalized medical use of the drug.

Bono, who is up for re-election in November, voted for the amendment in 2003 and 2004 but voted against it last year.

Silva is scheduled to meet with Bono on Monday afternoon.

"We need to discriminate between drug addicts and patients," he said. "Right now, it's all the same. We need to change the law."

Kimberly Collins, a spokeswoman for Bono, said in an e-mail Thursday that Bono changed her vote after last year's Supreme Court decision in Raich vs. Gonzales, which ruled that federal drug laws take precedence over state medical marijuana laws.

<table class=posttable align=right width=240><tr><td class=postcell>

WHAT'S GOING ON?

For the past four years, Rep. Maurice Hinchey, a New York Democrat, and Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, a Republican from Huntington Beach, have offered an amendment to the Department of Justice appropriation bill that would cut funding for Drug Enforcement Administration raids on medical marijuana patients in states that have passed laws allowing medical use of the drug.

While it has never passed, the amendment has slowly gained supporters. Last year's vote was 264-161, up from 268-148 in 2004.The full text of the amendment reads:

"None of the funds made available in this Act to the Department of Justice may be used to prevent the States of Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont, or Washington from implementing State laws authorizing the use of medical marijuana in those States."

The 12 states listed in the amendment have passed laws legalizing medical marijuana.

</td></tr></table>"Prior to the ruling, Congresswoman Bono voted in favor of Hinchey-Rohrabacher out of respect for states rights and the will of California voters," Collins wrote in the e-mail. "Given the Supreme Court ruling, she respects the supremacy of federal law and the Supreme Court's recent interpretation of the federal government's role in enforcing national drug policy."

A vote on the amendment is expected around June 27 or 28, said Caren Woodson of Americans for Safe Access, a patient advocacy group, which is paying for Silva's trip to Washington.

David Roth of La Quinta, Bono's Democratic opponent in the election, did not return calls asking for his position on the amendment.

Medical marijuana laws

At the time of the raid, Silva was growing medical marijuana for patients at a collective dispensary, CannaHelp in Palm Desert. Collective growing is allowed under California's medical marijuana laws, passed in 1996 and 2003, and Silva made no profit off the plants, both he and CannaHelp owner Stacy Hochanadel said.

But the DEA enforces federal law, under which growing or using marijuana of any kind is illegal.

On the morning of the raid, Silva said, he was opening his front door for the agents but got hit by the door as they tried to push it open. He was knocked to the floor, he said, and his left shoulder was dislocated and broken.

Now, he relies on heavy pain medications, including the narcotic fentanyl, and has had to drastically reduce his work installing custom and commercial window coverings.

Silva was not arrested, but the agents confiscated about 37 plants.

Sarah Pullen, DEA spokeswoman, said: "Our agents used proper procedures during the execution of the (raid). As of yet, there's been no formal complaint filed with our agency."

Pullen said the raid on Silva's home was part of an ongoing investigation but did not provide further details.

Silva will not say whether he is planning legal action against the agency.

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Marijuana cooperatives proposal advances

Postby Midnight toker » Thu Jul 27, 2006 12:26 pm

The Press-Enterprise wrote:
Marijuana cooperatives proposal advances

RIVERSIDE COUNTY: Medical pot cooperatives still face a Board of Supervisors vote.


10:00 PM PDT on Wednesday, July 26, 2006

By KIMBERLY TRONE
The Press-Enterprise


<table class=posttable align=right width=200><tr><td class=postcell>
<center><b><span class=postbold>pot plans</span></b></center>

Here are the draft rules for medical marijuana cooperatives:<ul><li>Must be in commercial office and retail zones</li>

<li>May not be located within 1,000 feet of another cooperative, a school or youth-oriented establishment</li>

<li>Must solely be used for the sales of medical marijuana</li>

<li>Prohibits use of medical marijuana on site or within 100 feet of site</li>

<li>Cooperatives must be not-for-profit</li>

<li>Applicants must submit security and lighting plan</li>

<li>Security guard must be on premises</li>
</ul>
</td></tr></table>A proposal allowing medical marijuana cooperatives to operate with a special permit in commercial office and retail zones won the unanimous endorsement Wednesday of the Riverside County Planning Commission.

The plan, however, was criticized as "100 percent unacceptable and absurd" by Lanny Swerdlow, a medical marijuana advocate.

Instead, Swerdlow said, county planners were supposed to have drafted an ordinance that dealt with the operation of dispensaries, which are locations where marijuana is sold to patients, often by a third party.

Cooperatives are locations where medical marijuana patients grow plants and usually share them among themselves. The ordinance specifically bans the cultivation of plants in cooperatives, which Swerdlow said violates a 1996 voter-approved state initiative allowing the use of medical marijuana.

"This is what happens when they do not involve medical marijuana patients and support groups in their discussions," said Swerdlow, who did not attend the commission's meeting because he was unaware the item was scheduled.

Senior County Planner Mark Balys said late Wednesday that the ordinance was drafted using the language of the state law, but that there was not really a difference between dispensaries and cooperatives.

The ordinance must still win approval from the Riverside County Board of Supervisors, which has been divided over medical marijuana and whether county government is required to uphold the state law allowing its use.

In December, the county public health department began processing state-issued medical marijuana identification cards. So far, about 250 cards have been issued to qualified patients and 22 cards to primary caregivers in the county.

Under Wednesday's proposal, only patients or caregivers possessing the card would be allowed to purchase marijuana from a cooperative.

Supervisor Roy Wilson said he was pleased the ordinance was moving to the board, which has imposed a moratorium on medical marijuana outlets in the unincorporated areas. The moratorium expires Sept. 28.

"We need to have some controls so they don't pop up everywhere," said Wilson, adding that he hopes the ordinance will serve as a model for cities that are trying to determine the best way to regulate dispensaries and cooperatives.

Corona, Palm Desert and Palm Springs each have at least one dispensary operating within city limits and elected leaders have struggled over ways to curtail their numbers.

Other local governments like Lake Elsinore and Temecula have banned them outright.

Supervisor Jeff Stone, a pharmacist, said it would be difficult for him to support any business that distributes medical marijuana, which he believes is against the law and too loosely regulated by state rules.

Last year, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that federal law enforcement has authority to prosecute individuals who are in possession of medical marijuana.

On Wednesday, Stone vowed to write stringent rules.

The state Board of Equalization also is wrestling with ways to deal with the financial issues that have arisen surrounding dispensaries, even though the board's position is that they are unlawful, Bill Leonard, a member of the board, said in an interview earlier this year.

The board now allows dispensaries to get a seller's permit, which allows them to collect a sales tax without indicating whether their products are lawful to sell.

Reach Kimberly Trone at 951-368-9456 or ktrone@PE.com

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Medical marijuana advocates object to county ordinance

Postby Midnight toker » Mon Aug 07, 2006 6:49 pm

The Desert Sun wrote:Medical marijuana advocates object to county ordinance




K Kaufmann
The Desert Sun
August 7, 2006

<hr class=postrule>
The Riverside County Planning Commission passed a medical marijuana dispensary ordinance July 26, and area medical marijuana advocates are smoking -- and not just cannabis -- about it.

The advocates are meeting with county officials at 3 p.m. today to voice their concerns about the ordinance. Their chief objection is that it confuses dispensaries with collectives and cooperatives--prohibiting collectives from growing marijuana plants.

California state law allows collectives--defined as small groups of patients who operate cooperatively--to grow their own plants.

“We’re trying to make access easier, not harder,” said Ryan Michaels of Palm Springs, a medical marijuana user who planned to be at the meeting.

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Riverside Medical Marijuana Advocates Speak Out

Postby Midnight toker » Tue Aug 08, 2006 12:48 pm

KNX1070 NewsRadio wrote:Posted: Tuesday, 08 August 2006 11:50AM

Riverside Medical Marijuana Advocates Speak Out

KNX 1070 NewsRadio


RIVERSIDE, CA (AP) -- A dozen medical-marijuana advocates abruptly ended a meeting with county planners, saying their concerns were falling on deaf ears, it was reported.

The group, who ended talks, objected to a land-use ordinance passed in July that prohibits cultivation of the controversial crop in unincorporated Riverside County areas, according to the Riverside Press- Enterprise.

County Supervisor Roy Wilson told the Press-Enterprise he had hoped planners would work with medical-marijuana patients to form suitable guidlines before voting on the ordinance. Opponents say that had their input been heeded, the ordinance wouldn't have been forwarded to the Board of Supervisors as is, the Press-Enterprise reports.

The Board of Supervisors is scheduled to discuss the issue on Sept. 12.

<hr class=postrule>
<center>Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. </center>

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Medical pot plan blasted

Postby Midnight toker » Tue Aug 08, 2006 2:33 pm

The Press-Enterprise wrote:Medical pot plan blasted

RIVERSIDE COUNTY: The meeting ends when about a dozen angry patients and advocates walk out.


10:00 PM PDT on Monday, August 7, 2006

By KIMBERLY TRONE
The Press-Enterprise


Riverside County planners and medical marijuana advocates clashed Monday over what those advocates say is a flawed proposal to allow the operation of marijuana cooperatives in unincorporated communities.

The outburst erupted on the heels of last month's unanimous endorsement by the Planning Commission of land-use guidelines that would prohibit the growing of marijuana plants at cooperatives.

Critics contend the proposal would not be advancing to the supervisors in its present state if county planners had included them in drafting the document.

Planning staff agreed to meet with medical marijuana advocates Monday to hear their input, but the vitriolic discourse ended when about a dozen angry patients and advocates walked out, saying their concerns were falling on deaf ears.

County Supervisor Roy Wilson said Monday by telephone that he had hoped planners would have consulted with medical marijuana users to come up with suitable guidelines prior to it going to the Planning Commission.

The Board of Supervisors, which asked planners to draft land-use rules for marijuana dispensaries, is scheduled to consider the proposal Sept. 12.

"We are insulted. We are outraged. This ordinance should not have happened," said Lanny Swerdlow, a Palm Springs-based advocate for medicinal marijuana.

Swerdlow said the fact that the county proposal requires patients to have a doctor's prescription is a clear indication that planners did not conduct sufficient research into a state law allowing the use of medical marijuana.

Physicians may write prescriptions only for drugs approved by the federal Food and Drug Administration, which does not recognize marijuana as a legal medicine.

Instead, the California law says doctors may provide qualified patients with written recommendations, Swerdlow said.

Among a host of other criticisms, advocates said the ordinance fails to distinguish between a cooperative and a dispensary, which is similar to a store where marijuana may be sold to patients by a third party.

Swerdlow said cooperatives are sites where patients grow a supply of marijuana for their personal consumption. By failing to recognize the difference, he said the county was attempting to defy state law.

Mark Balys, a senior county planner, said he and others are walking a fine line between the 1996 state initiative that allows patients to use marijuana and last year's federal ruling that said medical marijuana use is illegal.

Balys said that before heading to the supervisors, some "tweaks" might need to be made to the draft ordinance, including to the language requiring a prescription.

"But it's not going to be anything close to the demands that were made here today," Balys said.

Reach Kimberly Trone at 951-368-9456 or ktrone@PE.com

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More medical marijuana hearings wanted

Postby palmspringsbum » Tue Aug 22, 2006 4:51 pm

The Press-Enterprise wrote:More medical marijuana hearings wanted

RIVERSIDE COUNTY: A senior staffer asks for the Planning Commission to reconsider the issue.

10:00 PM PDT on Monday, August 21, 2006

By KIMBERLY TRONE
The Press-Enterprise

A proposal to regulate medical marijuana cooperatives in Riverside County could be heading back to the Planning Commission for an overhaul.

Michael Harrod, a senior planner for the county, said he would ask the Board of Supervisors next Tuesday to return the proposal to the Planning Commission.

If the supervisors agree, Harrod said the commission would re-open a public hearing Sept. 13 in La Quinta to "allow for full public participation."

The commission in July unanimously endorsed the proposal, which would allow cooperatives to operate with a special permit in commercial office and retail zones.

Medical marijuana advocates later blasted the county plan saying it was poorly researched.

They said it would wrongly prohibit the sale of edible marijuana products and prohibit growing marijuana at cooperatives, which they contend is allowed under state law.

They say county planners have confused a cooperative with a dispensary, which is a location where patients may safely purchase medical marijuana.

Medical marijuana advocates such as Lanny Swerdlow, of Palm Springs, also point to language in the proposed ordinance that requires patients to have a "prescription" as evidence the plan was ill-conceived.

Doctors may write only recommendations for the use of medical marijuana.

Planning Commissioner John Snell said Monday that he was not surprised the rules could come back for more debate.

"We are going to work out something that is fair for everybody, which means nobody gets everything they want," Snell said.

Dorothy Carlson, 45, of Riverside, said officials need to stop looking at marijuana patients as "pot heads looking for loopholes in the law."

"I have always taken a strong stance against drugs. That's why I understand where the Board of Supervisors is coming from. What they don't understand is there is a big difference between recreational and medicinal use," Carlson said.

Carlson said she uses small amounts of marijuana to relieve nerve pain from a back injury that was caused by a drunken driver.

Officials in cities across the county also have been wrestling with ways to regulate or restrict the operation of medical marijuana dispensaries.

Last week a Riverside Superior Court Commissioner tossed out a request from the city of Corona to issue a temporary restraining order against the Healing Nations Collective, a dispensary.

In December, the Riverside County health department began processing applications for state-issued medical marijuana identification cards.

The cards are optional, but could protect patients and caregivers from arrest and prosecution by identifying them to law enforcement officials.

Patients and caregivers still may be prosecuted under federal laws, however.

About 250 cards have been issued to qualified patients in Riverside County.

Reach Kimberly Trone at 951-368-9456 or ktrone@PE.com

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Medical pot guidelines endorsed

Postby Midnight toker » Thu Sep 14, 2006 11:58 am

<span class=postbold>See Also</span>: ORDINANCE NO. 449.225
AN ORDINANCE OF THE COUNTY OF RIVERSIDE
EXTENDING INTERIM ORDINANCE NO. 449.224 PROHIBITING
THE ESTABLISHMENT OF MEDICAL MARIJUANA DISPENSARIES




The Press-Enterprise wrote:Medical pot guidelines endorsed

PLANNING BOARD: Members back a plan that requires patients to have a state-issued identification card.


10:00 PM PDT on Wednesday, September 13, 2006

By KIMBERLY TRONE
The Press-Enterprise


<table class=posttable align=right width=200><tr><td class=postcell><center><span class=postbold>Dispensary Guidelines</span></center>

Proposed Medical Marijuana Rules for unincorporated areas:

<b>Convicted felons</b> prohibited from working or owning dispensary or cooperative

<b>Property owners</b> within one-half mile of proposed dispensary location would be notified

<b>Dispensaries prohibited</b> within one mile of schools, libraries, public parks

<b>Special permit</b> and public hearing required

<b>State-issued</b> identification card required for use

<b>Edible products</b> allowed with health department consent

<b>Vaporized marijuana</b> may be used on site

<b>Smoking of marijuana prohibited</b>

<b>Up to six patients</b> may grow their plants in a cooperative without special permits

<small><i>Source:</i> Riverside County Planning Commission recommendations</small>

</td></tr></table>LA QUINTA - Calling it a law of compassion for patients without recourse, the Riverside County Planning Commission on Wednesday endorsed new guidelines for medical marijuana dispensaries and cooperatives.

Medical marijuana advocates had mixed reaction to the proposed rules, which would require dispensaries to sell products only to patients who have a state-issued medical marijuana identification card.

Last December, Riverside County became the first county in Southern California to begin taking applications for the card. About 340 cards have been issued to Riverside patients and caregivers so far.

Riverside County sheriff's Lt. Steve Thetford urged the commission to require the cards as a tool to help police distinguish between those who need marijuana and those attempting to access it illegally.

Thetford, assistant police chief in Palm Desert, said a dispensary in that city has worked with law enforcement to make sure only bonafide patients were obtaining marijuana.

"I am not here to pose argument about how we in law enforcement are dealing with the vague laws," Thetford told the commissioners.

State voters in 1996 approved the use of medical marijuana with a doctor's recommendation, although federal laws do not recognize a medical use for the drug.

To help patients avoid arrest and prosecution, California lawmakers approved a voluntary medical marijuana identification card in 2003. The law made it mandatory for counties to process patients' applications for the card.

Ronald Naulls, the executive director of Healing Nations, a dispensary in Corona, said the county's requirement would hurt dispensary operators.

Naulls said hundreds of his clients come from San Bernardino and San Diego counties, where supervisors have decided to not issue the cards.

"It's hard enough right now," said Naulls, who so far has successfully defended legal efforts by city leaders to close down his operation.

The commissioners also agreed to allow marijuana edibles to be sold at dispensaries with permission from the Health Department. Michael Osur, deputy director of public health, said the issue of whether edibles can be allowed is unresolved at a state level.

The new rules prohibit patients from smoking marijuana at dispensaries, a ban widely endorsed by advocates. However, the commission approved the on-site use of a vaporized form of marijuana.

As many as six patients would be allowed to privately grow marijuana in a cooperative before a special county permit is required, under the proposal.

Palm Springs resident Lanny Swerdlow, founder of the Medical Marijuana Anti-Prohibition Project, said he was moderately satisfied with the commission's decision.

Swerdlow said he would have liked a larger number of people to be allowed to participate in cooperatives. He said cooperatives provide the least expensive and safest access for patients who are able to grow their own plants.

"Now marijuana sells for the price of gold. It's ridiculous. It sells for between $400 and $600 an ounce ... Most people get their medicine from dispensaries or criminals. Criminals charge too much and so do dispensaries," Swerdlow said.

Murrieta resident Judy Smith Scott said the county was disregarding the spirit of the 1996 Compassionate Use Act, which did not intend for retailers to open up storefront shops.

Smith Scott said the visibility of retail establishments would send the wrong message to young people about its legitimacy and potentially open the door for access.

Planning Commissioner James Porras, a high school health-sciences teacher, said those concerns did not go unnoticed. But he said the county leaders had to strike a balance with those concerns and the need of the chronically ill and patients in chronic pain.

The commission voted 4-0 in favor of the recommendations, while easing some of the restrictions that had been introduced by county staff members. Commissioner John Petty was absent from the meeting.

Riverside County supervisors are set to consider the rules on Sept. 26. A ban on dispensaries in the unincorporated county is set to expire Sept. 28.

Reach Kimberly Trone at 951-368-9456 or ktrone@PE.com

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Medical pot law called 'illegal'

Postby palmspringsbum » Thu Sep 21, 2006 12:21 pm

The Desert Sun wrote:Medical pot law called 'illegal'

County supervisors to vote on the issue

Stefanie Frith
The Desert Sun
September 21, 2006

<table class=posttable align=right width=225><tr><td class=postcell><img class=postimg src=bin/grow_palm-springs.jpg width=225 align=center><br>A grower for CannaHelp prunes cannabis plants in the nursery, removing the water leaves, which are not usable. The plants receive 18 hours of sunlight in this secondary growth stage.

THE ISSUE
<span class=postbold>What happened:</span> The county district attorney has issued an opinion that California's medical marijuana "compassionate use" law allowing use and sale is superseded by the federal law that outlaws the drug.

<span class=postbold>What it means:</span> As a county supervisors' vote nears, marijuana dispensaries, local police and sheriffs' deputies and patients will keep an eye on any change and decide how their position aligns with the D.A.'s interpretation.

<span class=postbold>What's next:</span> The county supervisors will vote on the revised medical marijuana law.

More Coverage

<a class=postlink href=../legal/local/county_riverside_dispensary-report.pdf target=_blank>Read the District Attroney's white papers on medical marijuana (PDF 119kb)</a>

</td></tr></table>Medical marijuana is legal in California but all marijuana is illegal in the U.S.

Riverside County's top lawyer wants to rectify what he sees as a contradiction in the law.

District Attorney Grover Trask issued an opinion Wednesday that medical marijuana is illegal under federal law, despite a voter-approved California initiative legalizing medical use of the herb.

The opinion, issued as a "white paper," comes just as the Riverside County Board of Supervisors is expected to vote on an ordinance that would allow medical marijuana dispensaries in unincorporated parts of Riverside County. The county's Planning Commission recently approved the ordinance at a meeting in La Quinta.

"He's trying to scuttle this (ordinance)," said Lanny Swerdlow, director of the Coachella Valley based Medical Marijuana Antiprohibition Project, a medical marijuana advocacy group.

Kevin Ruddy, Riverside County deputy district attorney, said the white paper's timing has nothing to do with the ordinance, which he learned of two weeks ago. Trask's opinion is something the district attorney's office has been working on since July.

"(We did this because) there have been a lot of questions for some time about how these storefront operations fit into the Compassionate Use Act (that California voters approved in 1996)," said Ruddy.

Ruddy said Trask's white paper is simply a detailed analysis of the Compassionate Use Act, passed by the Proposition 215 initiative. The initiative made medical marijuana available to people with certain illnesses. The initiative was later supplemented with the 2004 Medical Marijuana Program Act.

Since then, according to the Trask white paper, counties have reacted by either allowing medical marijuana facilities to open, while others have banned the shops from operating. In Riverside County, there are four dispensaries, two in Palm Springs, one in Palm Desert and one in Corona.

Federal law, however, states that all marijuana-related activities are illegal and people engaged in such activities are subject to federal prosecution.

Trask's opinion states medical marijuana facilities being considered in the state are violating federal law and should not be allowed.

"No state has the power to grant its citizens the right to violate federal law," the paper states.

Furthermore, the opinion from Trask says "store-front medical marijuana businesses are prey for criminals and create easily identifiable victims."

It will be up to individual law agencies how they deal with dispensaries, said Ruddy.

Swerdlow said the district attorney's office needs to look at the California Constitution, which provides guidance when there is conflict between state and federal law. State and local authorities are still dutybound to enforce state law, he said.

STATE AND FEDERAL LAWS DIFFER

STATE LAW: California’s two medical marijuana laws — Proposition 215, passed in 1996, and Senate Bill 420, passed in 2003 — do not mention dispensaries but do allow collectives and cooperatives.
<ul class=postlist>
<li>Counties also are required to issue voluntary medical marijuana identification cards to qualified patients.</li>

<li>Riverside County started issuing the cards Dec. 1.</li>
</ul>
FEDERAL LAW:

Marijuana is considered a Schedule I drug, which means it has a high potential for abuse and no accepted medical value. It is illegal to grow, sell or possess it.

NATIONWIDE
There are 10 states that allow people to use medical marijuana: Alaska, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont, Washington and California.


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Report Condemns Medical Pot Sites

Postby palmspringsbum » Thu Sep 21, 2006 1:10 pm

The Los Angeles Times wrote:Report Condemns Medical Pot Sites

Riverside County's D.A. says dispensaries, which supervisors will consider licensing next week, are illegal and invite crime.

By Jonathan Abrams, Times Staff Writer
September 21, 2006
The Los Angeles Times

Medical marijuana dispensaries, which the Riverside County Board of Supervisors will consider licensing next week, are illegal and could attract violent criminals, the district attorney's office concluded in a report released Wednesday.

In the legal white paper on the issue, Dist. Atty. Grover Trask's office labeled the dispensaries easy targets for assaults and robberies and warned that many of the people selling the drug to medical users in dispensaries are hardened criminals.

Instead of buying marijuana at a dispensary, medicinal users should grow their own supply if they wish to remain protected under state law, the report stated.

"We aren't saying medical users can't use it and can't get it," but they must follow the law, said Chief Deputy Dist. Atty. Kevin Ruddy.

The opinion comes as the supervisors are scheduled to vote Tuesday on an ordinance to regulate the distributors in unincorporated areas.

Supervisor Roy Wilson, who represents the Coachella Valley, said he was unsure whether the report would affect his vote, but he wondered why the legal opinion came so close to the vote.

"My initial feeling is, I don't know why we're getting that opinion at such a late date," he said. "We've had the planning staff looking over this for over a year now."

The district attorney's report said the four proposed regional dispensaries — two in Palm Springs and one each in Corona and Palm Desert — are subject to search and seizure by law enforcement.

"They are a clear violation of federal and state law, they invite more crime [via robberies] and they compromise the health and welfare of the citizens of this county," the report states.

Ruddy said the report was issued because of the continuing debate over the storefront operations and wasn't intended as a signal that the office would start aggressively prosecuting medical marijuana users.

"Our office doesn't go after anybody," he said. "If a case is presented to our office and we believe from the facts that someone is selling marijuana without a legal defense, then we will prosecute them."

State and federal laws conflict over the use of medical marijuana.

In 1996, California voters approved Proposition 215 to legalize the drug for therapeutic use. State lawmakers in 2003 passed legislation that allowed counties to issue identification cards to medical users to shield them from prosecution by local law enforcement.

However, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in June that federal authorities could still seize and destroy marijuana stashes because federal law mandates that all marijuana use is illegal despite its intended purposes.

"It is illegal to possess, manufacture or to traffic in marijuana," said Thom Mrozek, spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office in Los Angeles. "There is absolutely no distinction made for medical purposes."

Medical marijuana users and several studies contend that monitored dosages provide effective pain relief for those with certain serious ailments and diseases.

Lanny Swerdlow, director of the Marijuana Anti-Prohibition Project, a local patients' rights advocacy group, questioned why the district attorney's office waited until now to join the policy debate.

"The D.A.'s office has refused to attend any of the meetings to discuss the ordinance, so here we are, less than a week before it's set to be voted on, and they try to scuttle the whole thing," he said.

Nearly 10 months ago, Riverside County became the first in Southern California to issue photo identification cards in an effort to comply with the state law shielding medicinal users from prosecution. A few thousand such cards have been issued.

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors followed suit in May, voting to issue the cards.


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Time Out of Joint?

Postby Midnight toker » Fri Sep 22, 2006 10:53 am

The Press Enterprise wrote:Time Out of Joint?

10:00 PM PDT on Thursday, September 21, 2006

DAN BERNSTEIN
The Press-Enterprise


I honestly don't think Handsome DA Grover Trask has been smoking marijuana.

I can't prove he hasn't buddied up to the bong. But I have to believe there's another explanation for why he waited so long to officially opine that medical marijuana dispensaries are "a clear violation of federal and state law" and threaten the "health and welfare of the citizens of this county."

If it's that "clear," why didn't the Handsome DA speak up months ago? The RivCo Board of Supes temporarily banned these dispensaries in '05 so the county could cook up rules about where they should be located and how they should dispense.

"Hey!" the DA might have interjected, handsomely, "If it walks like a dispensary and talks like a dispensary, then it spells dispensary, with a capital D and that rhymes with T and that stands for Trouble!"

But no. Not a peep from the Handsome One. So the county spent lots of taxpayers' time and moolah trying to dispense justice on dispensaries.

Finally, just a week ago, the RivCo Planning Commission rolled out new rules for medical marijuana dispensaries in unincorporated areas. The Board of Supes put the matter on Tuesday's agenda.

And, now, along comes the Handsome DA, suggesting, in a roundabout way, that the supes should stick those dispensaries in their pipes and smoke 'em!

Why now, wondered the medical marijuana people? Why now, inquired RivCo Supe Roy Wilson? Imaginations can run wild answering a question like that.

People do say that when one inhales -- even for nonmedicinal purposes -- time does seem to slip away. And, let's face it, the Handsome DA has been a Handsome Lame Duck for quite a spell now. So why wouldn't he treat himself to a little magical mystery tour and let the dispensaries slide down the rabbit hole?

But I don't believe that's the answer to "Why now?" So what is? I think Grover might have forgotten he was still the DA.

DA-In-Waiting Rod Pacheco sponged up 99.65 percent of the vote last June. That's pretty convincing. Pacheco has probably been discreetly measuring furniture and drapes and experimenting with DA-like inflections (Marijuana dispensaries? Are you kidding me?)

Grover, thinking Rod had already been sworn in, was probably just shuffling around the office, dreaming about the Golden Years, when someone asked, off-handedly, if he really wanted to be remembered as the Dispensary DA. That must have gotten the old juices flowing.

Or maybe the answer to "Why now?" is simply "Why not?" From a purely tactical standpoint, why not drop the dispensary bomb at the most critical moment?

Let the planners convene their little hearings, listen to their little Friends of Mary Jane, craft their little ordinance, and then, on the eve of Decision Day, diss dispensaries as an insane outbreak of reefer madness.

And suppose -- just suppose -- some RivCo supes are looking for a reason to just say no to dispensaries. "They (the DA) really feel this could spell trouble for Riverside County," observed RivCo Supe Jeff Stone.

With a capital T and that rhymes with D and that stands for Don't! Less than a week before the supes convene, and a reason to say no turns up on a silver platter. Talk about a natural high.

Reach Dan Bernstein at 951-368-9439 or dbernstein@PE.com

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Inland man wages painful fight

Postby Midnight toker » Sun Sep 24, 2006 2:41 pm

The Press Enterprise wrote:Inland man wages painful fight

State-federal divide leaves users of pot for medical reasons vulnerable


10:00 PM PDT on Saturday, September 23, 2006

By DOUGLAS QUAN
The Press-Enterprise


SKY VALLEY - Garry Silva walks with a cane and winces just trying to sit down, a result, he says, of injuries suffered in March when federal agents burst into his rural home near Desert Hot Springs and raided his marijuana plants.

<table class=posttable align=right width=300><tr><td class=postcell><img src=bin/silva_garry.bmp></td></tr><tr><td class=postcap>Garry Silva and his wife, Krista, of Sky Valley, say that Drug Enforcement Administration agents used excessive force that left Silva permanently disabled during a raid to find marijuana.</td></tr></table>Silva, 53, who was growing marijuana to help him manage pain associated with a degenerative disk disorder in his neck, represents the risk medical marijuana users face: Although the state allows people to grow marijuana for medical reasons, federal law does not make such a distinction.

The result is a mushy soup of conflicting rules that makes Silva's wife, Krista, hesitate to even mention that there are homemade marijuana cookies in the refrigerator.

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration does not keep track of arrests or seizures related to medical marijuana users because the federal government considers it illegal to grow marijuana for any reason.

But William Dolphin, a spokesman for Americans for Safe Access, a medical marijuana advocacy group in Oakland, said his office gets calls almost every week from people complaining about such raids.

"These are patients who are managing debilitating illness and injury. They are operating on the recommendation of a doctor. For the federal government to spend our tax dollars to prosecute people doing no harm to anyone is unfortunate," he said.

Stephen G. Azzam, assistant special agent in charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration's Riverside district office, said he could not discuss the Silva case because it is still under investigation.

Pot Called 'Gateway Drug'

However, he said the federal government believes marijuana does not serve a medical purpose and views it as a "gateway drug." Many marijuana users end up using harder drugs such as methamphetamine and heroin, he said.

Silva traveled to Washington, D.C., this summer, hoping to convince lawmakers to support a bill that would prevent the Department of Justice from seizing plants belonging to medical marijuana users in California and other states that have sanctioned the practice. Though the bill did not pass, Silva said he will keep fighting.

Silva said he believes he was unfairly targeted and notes that he has not been charged with a crime. He said his marijuana nursery, in a small room next to his garage, consisted of five trays of six plants and about 30 plant clippings. He said he grew the plants for himself and five members of a Palm Desert dispensary, CannaHelp.

"I've done this legal every step of the way. I feel I was picked out of the crowd," he said.

All court documents related to the Silva case, including the search warrant, are under seal.

Azzam said investigations can start a number of ways, including anonymous tips, informants and information from local law enforcement agencies.

Typically, agents talk to the U.S. Attorney's Office before executing a search warrant, Azzam said.

Thom Mrozek, a U.S. Attorney's Office spokesman in Los Angeles, declined to talk about the Silva case.

He said prosecutors rely on internal guidelines to determine what cases to prosecute. Besides the number of plants, prosecutors might consider other factors, such as prior criminal history, in determining whether to file charges, he said.

Excessive Force Alleged

Silva alleges that agents used excessive force when they entered his home, forcing him to the ground and injuring his shoulder and lower back. The injuries, he said, have forced him to scale back custom interior installation work he performs with his wife.

Silva said he also is upset that Riverside County sheriff's officials, who enforce state laws, took part in a raid enforcing federal laws. He filed a claim last week against the county related to the injuries he said he suffered.

Agents have to establish control of the premises in order to ensure officer safety, Azzam said, again without speaking specifically about the Silva case.

Azzam added that the Palm Springs Narcotics Task Force, which conducted the raid, consists of DEA agents and local law enforcement officers who have the authority to enforce federal law.

Sgt. Earl Quinata, a Riverside County sheriff's spokesman, said in a statement that Sheriff Bob Doyle believes that cooperatives and dispensaries are illegal. At the same time, the sheriff "recognizes the Compassionate Use Act of 1996 created some limited legal protection in the way of an affirmative defense," he wrote.

"Each case involving marijuana will be evaluated to determine if it is in the scope of the Act."

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Riverside County May Debate Medical Marijuana

Postby palmspringsbum » Tue Sep 26, 2006 6:16 pm

The Los Angeles Times wrote:
Riverside County May Debate Medical Marijuana

By Sara Lin
Times Staff Writer

12:55 PM PDT, September 26, 2006
The Los Angeles Times

The Riverside County Board of Supervisors this afternoon is expected to consider licensing medical marijuana dispensaries.

The debate will likely be repeated across Southern California as counties grapple with conflicting state and federal laws governing the drug's use.

Today's vote comes days after Dist. Atty. Grover Trask released a paper calling the dispensaries illegal outposts that would make easy targets for criminals.

At issue are four proposed regional dispensaries in unincorporated areas of the county — two in Palm Springs and one each in Corona and Palm Desert.

Nearly 10 months ago, Riverside became the first county in Southern California to issue photo identification cards in an effort to comply with the state law shielding medicinal users from federal prosecution. Los Angeles County supervisors followed suit in May, voting to issue the cards.

Medical marijuana users and medical experts contend that monitored dosages of the federally banned drug can provide effective pain relief for patients with serious diseases. People with AIDS, chronic pain and mood disorders are among those who use the drug.

Opponents say that if medicinal users need marijuana, they should grow their own supply, not buy it at dispensaries that would be easy targets for robberies and assaults.

In 1996, California voters approved Prop. 215, legalizing the drug for therapeutic use. State legislation in 2003 followed up by allowing counties to issue identification cards to medical users to shield them from prosecution by local law enforcement.

However, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in June that federal authorities could still seize and destroy marijuana stashes and arrest their growers and consumers — even in the 11 states that allow medical marijuana use. Federal law states that all marijuana use is illegal.

State Atty. Gen. Bill Lockyer has told local governments to follow state laws, which make it clear that medicinal marijuana use is legal.

San Diego and San Bernardino counties have filed suit against the state to overturn the state law requiring counties to issue medical marijuana cards, saying that federal prohibitions take precedence.


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Riverside County votes against medical marijuana ordinance

Postby palmspringsbum » Tue Sep 26, 2006 6:21 pm

The Desert Sun wrote:Riverside County votes against medical marijuana ordinance

4-1 vote disallows dispensaries, collectives; county to join suit




by K Kaufmann
The Desert Sun
September 26, 2006


The Riverside County supervisors today took strong steps toward limiting medical marijuana dispensaries, collectives and use in the county.

The supervisors voted 4-1 to reject an ordinance that was months in development and would have allowed dispensaries and collectives in the unincorporated county areas. Supervisor Roy Wilson voted to approve the ordinance.

The supervisors also voted to approve joining a lawsuit brought by San Diego and San Bernardino counties that challenges the legality of the sale of medical marijuana.

The decisions will not affect dispensaries already set up in Palm Desert and Palm Springs.

According to a white paper opinion released by District Attorney Gordon Trask last week, the county's top lawyer concurs with those in San Diego and San Bernardino who think that the federal drug code outlawing marijuana supercedes the California statute allowing compassionate use after the passage of Proposition 215.

The lawsuit is scheduled to go to court Nov. 16. The counties adjacent to Riverside County are seeking to have the court rule that the federal law is the one that should be followed.

California is one of 11 states that has some form of legalized medical use of marijuana.

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Riverside County Rejects Marijuana Outlets

Postby palmspringsbum » Tue Sep 26, 2006 6:51 pm

The Los Angeles Times wrote:Riverside County Rejects Marijuana Outlets

By Sara Lin
Times Staff Writer

5:21 PM PDT, September 26, 2006
The Los Angeles Times

In a contentious decision, the Riverside County Board of Supervisors today banned medical marijuana dispensaries, calling the facilities magnets for crime and citing existing federal laws outlawing the drug's use.

The 4-to-1 decision rejected a proposal that would have allowed for four dispensaries to open in unincorporated parts of the county. The board also voted to outlaw marijuana-growing cooperatives and join San Diego and San Bernardino counties in a lawsuit against the state to overturn the state law requiring counties to issue medical marijuana cards, saying that the federal prohibition of marijuana use takes precedence.

Nearly 10 months ago, Riverside County became the first in Southern California to issue photo identification cards in an effort to comply with the state law shielding medicinal users from federal prosecution.

Today's debate, which drew about 80 people, will likely be repeated in boardrooms across the state as counties grapple with conflicting state and federal laws governing the drug's use.

When explaining their decisions, supervisors said they put stock in a white paper released last week by Dist. Atty. Grover Trask, which called the dispensaries illegal outposts that would make easy targets for criminals.

Medical marijuana supporters were crushed by the decision.

"They're pushing everyone out onto the streets," said Nathan Archer, 38, a medical marijuana user who suffers chronic pain. "They've said they're going to arrest us and for what? For trying not to suffer?"

Medical marijuana users and medical experts contend that monitored dosages of the federally banned drug can provide effective pain relief for patients with serious diseases. People with AIDS, chronic pain and mood disorders are among those who use the drug.

Opponents say that if medicinal users need marijuana, they should grow their own supply, not buy it at a dispensary that will be easy targets for robberies and assaults.

In 1996, California voters approved Proposition 215, legalizing the drug for therapeutic use. State legislation in 2003 followed up by allowing counties to issue identification cards to medical users to shield them from prosecution by local law enforcement.

However, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in June that federal authorities could still seize and destroy marijuana stashes and arrest their growers and consumers -- even in the 11 states that allow medical marijuana use. Federal law mandates that all marijuana use is illegal.

State Atty. Gen. Bill Lockyer has told local governments to follow state laws, which make it clear that medicinal marijuana use is legal, but some counties have resisted.

sara.lin@latimes.com

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It's 'No' to medical marijuana

Postby Midnight toker » Wed Sep 27, 2006 3:17 pm

The Press-Enterprise wrote:It's 'No' to medical marijuana
<blockquote>
RIVERSIDE COUNTY: Supervisors ban dispensaries and will join S.B. County, others, to resist softer law law.
</blockquote>
10:00 PM PDT on Tuesday, September 26, 2006

By KIMBERLY TRONE
The Press-Enterprise

Riverside County supervisors Tuesday agreed to join a lawsuit challenging state rules that decriminalize medical marijuana, stunning patients and advocates as the board banned marijuana dispensaries and cooperatives.


<table class=posttable align=right width=300><tr><td class=postcell><img class=postimg src=bin/anthony_james.bmp width=300></td></tr><tr><td class=postcap><small>David Bauman / The Press-Enterprise</small>
Attorney James Anthony says said Riverside County's district attorney fails to realize mari- juana is no longer the enemy. </td></tr></table>Supervisors voted 4-1 to join San Bernardino, San Diego and Merced counties' lawsuit against the state of California.

Scores of medical marijuana patients attended the meeting to voice their opinions about Planning Commission recommendations that would have regulated dispensaries in the unincorporated areas.

Many left in tears, amid shouts of disappointment and anger.

After more than a year working with county officials on guidelines for dispensaries, some said they were shocked and disheartened by the board's actions.

"We went through all this trouble to be sabotaged at the end," said Summer Glenny, a coordinator for the Inland Empire Patients Advocates.

The lawsuit, which is scheduled for a hearing in November, contends a 2003 state law requiring counties to issue ID cards to medical-marijuana patients with a doctor's recommendation is illegal.

Riverside County has issued 345 cards to patients and caregivers since it started the program in December. Deputy County Counsel Katherine Lind said the board's decision Tuesday should not interfere with the card program.

Last year, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that medical-marijuana patients could be prosecuted under federal laws, despite the 1996 voter initiative that gave sick Californians the right to use marijuana on the advice of a physician.

Voters in 10 other states have adopted similar initiatives decriminalizing medical marijuana.

Supervisor Roy Wilson cast the dissenting vote, saying the board was "sticking its head in the sand. " He said a ban would force sick patients to go underground to obtain the drug.

Wilson said the county and District Attorney Grover Trask have an obligation to carry out state laws, as state Attorney General Bill Lockyer has said they should do.

However, Trask issued a 10-page report last week stating that dispensaries are illegal and urging the board to ban them.

Trask did not attend Tuesday's meeting or send a representative. He could not be reached for comment late Tuesday.

However, Supervisor Jeff Stone relied on Trask's report in his arguments to persuade his colleagues to join the court challenge.

Stone said federal law trumps state law and that the state's murky medical-marijuana laws need to be settled in court.

A pharmacist by profession, Stone acknowledged marijuana provides some benefit to patients suffering from certain diseases, such as AIDS, multiple sclerosis and cancer treatment.

Stone said the county faced substantial liabilities by defying federal laws and would be required to provide medical marijuana to prisoners and parolees if it agreed to regulate dispensing of the drug.

"One can only assume after reading ... Trask's comprehensive, well-articulated letter that ... he will continue to file charges against anyone alleged to utilize marijuana for any purpose," Stone said.

Attorney James Anthony, whose clients include the owner of Healing Nations dispensary in Corona, said he respects Trask as a diligent prosecutor in the war on drugs. But Anthony said Trask has failed to realize that marijuana is no longer the enemy.

"It is our friend. It relieves suffering. It is hard to make peace with an old enemy," said Anthony, a former attorney for the city of Oakland.

About a half-dozen residents of Riverside and San Diego counties told the Riverside County board that opening dispensaries would increase the ability of teenagers to get access to the drug.

"There is a distinct probability of it falling in to the wrong hands," said Diane Reniers, of Palm Desert.

Medical-marijuana advocates refuted the claim, saying teenage use of marijuana is less in states where its medical use is accepted.

The board must still formally adopt a ban on dispensaries by Oct. 4, when a moratorium put into place more than a year ago is scheduled to expire.

Reach Kimberly Trone at 951-368-9456 or ktrone@PE.com

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Riverside County bans medical marijuana centers

Postby Midnight toker » Wed Sep 27, 2006 5:00 pm

The San Francisco Chronicle wrote:Riverside County bans medical marijuana centers

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

The San Francisco Chronicle

(09-27) 02:09 PDT Riverside, Calif. (AP) --


The Board of Supervisors voted to ban medical marijuana dispensaries after top law enforcement officials said the centers could be easy targets for robberies.

The board voted Tuesday to reject a proposal to license four regional dispensaries in unincorporated parts of the county. The decision comes nearly 10 months after the county issued photo identification cards in an effort to comply with a 1996 state law shielding medicinal users from federal prosecution.

The board also voted to outlaw marijuana-growing cooperatives.

Supervisors said they were influenced by District Attorney Grover Trask who suggested the outlets would attract crime.

"It's very hard to go against our district attorney. He is a very responsible man and he's stepped up to the plate and provided leadership here," said Supervisor Marion Ashley.

Riverside County will join San Diego and San Bernardino counties in a lawsuit that aims to overturn the state law requiring counties to issue medical marijuana cards. The counties argue that the federal prohibition of marijuana use takes precedence.

The hearing, which drew about 80 people, were divided about having medical marijuana centers.

"It's so easy for kids to get marijuana these days, and I don't think we should make it any easier," said Nancy Faulstich, 51, a mother of three from Rancho Mirage.

Medical marijuana supporters, however, believed that the supervisors made a bad decision.

"They're pushing everyone out onto the streets," said Nathan Archer, 38, of San Diego, who said he started using marijuana medically seven years ago for chronic pain following a construction accident. "They've said in there they're going to arrest us, but for what? For trying not to suffer?"

In 1996, California voters approved Proposition 215, legalizing the drug for therapeutic use. In 2003, state legislation was approved allowing counties to issue identification cards to medical users to protect them from prosecution by local law enforcement.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in June that federal authorities could still seize and destroy marijuana stashes and arrest growers and consumers even in the 11 states that allow medical marijuana use.

Federal law prohibits any marijuana use.

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County's supervisors move to limit medical pot

Postby Midnight toker » Wed Sep 27, 2006 5:44 pm

The Desert Sun wrote:County's supervisors move to limit medical pot

<table class=posttable align=right width=200><tr><td class=postcell><img class=postimg width=200 src=bin/cannabis_clones.jpg></td><tr><tr><td class=postcap>
Stage one: Clones or babies receive 24 hours of sunlight in this primary growth stage of Cannabis harvest. Plants are from cuttings of larger plants so the smaller versions are called clones. They sit in the first stage for 7-15 days. </td><tr><tr><td cass=postcell>
STATE AND FEDERAL LAWS DIFFER

STATE LAW: California's two medical marijuana laws - Proposition 215, passed in 1996, and Senate Bill 420, passed in 2003 - do not mention dispensaries but do allow collectives and cooperatives.

Counties also are required to issue voluntary medical marijuana identification cards to qualified patients.
Riverside County started issuing the cards Dec. 1.

FEDERAL LAW: Marijuana is considered a Schedule I drug, which means it has a high potential for abuse and no accepted medical value. It is illegal to grow, sell or possess it.

NATIONWIDE: There are 10 states that allow people to use medical marijuana: Alaska, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont, Washington and California.

</td><tr></table>K Kaufmann
The Desert Sun
September 27, 2006


RIVERSIDE - Medical marijuana users and advocates were reeling Tuesday following a move by the Riverside County Board of Supervisors to ban dispensaries in unincorporated areas of the county.

In a 4-1 vote, with Supervisor Roy Wilson of Palm Desert dissenting, the board turned down an ordinance that would have allowed dispensaries and small collectives, groups of people growing for themselves in unincorporated areas like Bermuda Dunes, Thousand Palms, Thermal and Sky Valley.

The board instead directed county staff to write a new ordinance banning dispensaries and collectives.

And, just days after Riverside County District Attorney Grover Trask issued a white paper opinion on conflicts in federal and California marijuana laws, the Board of Supervisors also voted to become the fourth California county to join a legal challenge to the state's medical marijuana laws already being mounted by San Diego, San Bernardino and Merced counties.

"It's a sad day," said Garry Silva of Sky Valley, who relies on area dispensaries for the medical marijuana he uses to control back pain. "It's going to be scary for medical marijuana patients. We're soft targets."

Dorothy Carlson of High Grove echoed Silva's and other patients' concerns that a ban on dispensaries would send medical marijuana users back to illegal sources.

"I'm not doing this to break the law; I'm doing this to stay alive," said Carlson, who uses the drug to relieve pain from a torn spine she received when injured by a drunk driver.

There was no indication Tuesday that the vote would have any immediate impact on the three medical marijuana dispensaries in the Coachella Valley - two in Palm Springs and one in Palm Desert.

Those dispensaries will fall under ordinances passed by local city governments. Pending laws in Palm Springs and Palm Desert may be affected if city officials take their cue from the county.

The vote was a victory for county District Attorney Trask, who last week issued a statement arguing against the proposed dispensary ordinance, which had been passed Sept. 13 by the county's Planning Commission after months of meetings and revisions.

The ordinance would have allowed dispensaries and small collectives, groups of patients who grow medical marijuana for themselves, in unincorporated areas of the county. The ordinance also contained a number of regulations addressing public safety concerns, such as requiring dispensaries only sell to patients with county-issued medical marijuana identification cards.

Trask based his opposition on the federal drug laws banning all forms of marijuana and the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Raich vs. Gonzales, ruling that federal law pre-empts state medical marijuana laws like California's.

Eleven states including California allow some form of medical marijuana distribution or use.

Neither Trask nor any representative from the DA's office attended the board meeting.

In a public hearing preceding the vote, the supervisors heard impassioned pleas from both sides of the issue.

"Let's not put (patients) in harm's way," said Martin Victor of Temecula, a user who grows medical marijuana as part of the kind of small collective that the supervisors now want to outlaw.

"Let me grow it the right way so people don't get any sicker," he said.

On the other side, opponents like Diane Reniers of Palm Desert warned that making any marijuana more accessible increases crime and puts teens at risk.

"Drug use (is a factor) in academic failure," said Reniers, who is a volunteer at Palm Desert High School. "Its use erodes passion (for learning) and contributes to poor choice making. They think it's harmless."

Who should regulate?

In the debate that followed, Supervisor Jeff Stone led the opposition to the ordinance, saying while the drug does have medical benefits for some, it should be federally regulated and dispensed in pharmacies.

"Does federal law trump state law? Yes," he said, referring to Trask's white paper. "We should not have a dog in this fight."

He also raised the specter that if the ordinance passed, the county would be required to provide medical marijuana to prisoners in its jails.

In response, Supervisor Roy Wilson said a vote against the ordinance would be "sticking our heads in the sand."

Wilson pointed to public statements by state Attorney General Bill Lockyer that the Raich decision did not invalidate California's laws.

"We have a responsibility to carry out the laws of California," he said.

In the Coachella Valley, officials in cities also considering dispensary ordinances were caught off-guard by the vote.

"I am shocked; I will need to talk with the city attorney and the city manager and Steve Pougnet, my co-chair, to see where we go from here," said Palm Springs Mayor Pro Tem Ginny Foat.

Foat leads the city's Medical Marijuana Task Force, which last week put a dispensary ordinance on hold, specifically to see how the board would vote.

In Palm Desert, where the city staff is also working on a dispensary ordinance, Mayor Jim Ferguson called the board's vote "throwing the baby out with the bath water."

"I wish the FDA would regulate it," he said. "But you shouldn't punish patients."

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Which federal laws do we enforce?

Postby budman » Tue Oct 03, 2006 7:00 pm

The Californian wrote:Which federal laws do we enforce?

By: PHIL STRICKLAND - For The Californian
October 3, 2006

We've been saved from ourselves. Oh, thank you, thank you and thank you.

Imagine, if it weren't for our county Board of Supervisors, the terminally ill would be getting stoned and enjoying some level of comfort rather than pumping money into pharmaceutical companies for drugs that do little to relieve their agony.

Good thing we have elected officials willing to ignore a state law that came about because a majority of voters wanted it. After all, what the heck do voters know? Just a bunch of lemmings rushing headlong to the precipice of drug abuse.

And, while the supervisors are busy bowing to the Riverside County district attorney's desire and denying the public its will, they need to do something about those planning commissioners who recommended that marijuana dispensaries and cooperatives be allowed to operate in some unincorporated areas. The commission must be overrun by drug fiends.

The D.A. cites public safety as one reason for not allowing the ill to have access to medical marijuana when prescribed by physicians.

You no doubt are aware of the outbreak of lawlessness wherever dispensaries and cooperatives have been allowed to operate. You are aware, right? Right.

The other argument for wasting taxpayer money, keeping government lawyers busy and helping to clog the court system, is that federal law forbids the possession, use and sale of marijuana.

Rather than waste our money up front, our overprotective big brothers could follow the voters' will and wait for the federal government to act. Then, if they really wanted to be weenies, they could fold and come running back to their constituents crying, "The feds are coming; the feds are coming."

Or, if they cared about the state's sovereignty and the welfare of its ill, they could battle for the right of its voters to approve benign acts of kindness and caring: "We feel your pain."

But wait, there's more. The act by Riverside, San Diego and San Bernardino counties of going to court to protect its citizens is hypocritical, particularly if they use federal law as the excuse.

Let's get this right. The rule is federal law trumps state law and, by extension, local law.

OK, perhaps it's time to expand the discussion of state and local law vs. federal law to include sanctuary cities. Same thing, right? A law is a law and is to be enforced equally for all. Right?

This brave and forward-thinking action undertaken by these three counties can only presage action here and elsewhere to punish officials and employers who refuse to abide by federal law as it applies to illegal immigration.

No doubt, local officials will pursue this flagrant violation of the law of the land every bit as aggressively and with as much passion as they do when it comes to the medical marijuana scourge.

Surely, our very sick and dying will see the honor in being martyrs to the cause of protecting our way of life from the influx of people who do not even pretend to care about our laws. People who, in fact, believe our laws don't apply to them.

Could it be that those who would benefit greatly from a toke will be the fallen heroes in our battle against one of the most pressing and dangerous problems facing our country?

After all, federal law does trump state and local law, right?

Thought so.

-- Phil Strickland is a regular columnist for The Californian. E-mail: philipestrickland@yahoo.com.

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Medical Marijuana Outlets Banned In Some Areas

Postby budman » Tue Oct 03, 2006 7:44 pm

KCAL 29 wrote:Oct 3, 2006 2:39 pm US/Pacific

Medical Marijuana Outlets Banned In Some Areas


KCAL 29

<table class=posttable align=right width=175><tr><td class=postcell><img class=postimg src=bin/marijuana_bud_cbs.jpg></td></tr><tr><td class=postcap>A week after rejecting a proposal to allow medical marijuana dispensaries and cooperatives in some unincorporated areas, the Riverside County Board of Supervisors banned them entirely Tuesday.</td></tr></table>(CBS) RIVERSIDE A week after rejecting a proposal to allow medical marijuana dispensaries and cooperatives in some unincorporated areas, the Riverside County Board of Supervisors banned them entirely Tuesday.

The perfunctory handling of the 4-1 votes on two ordinance amendments -- Supervisor Roy Wilson was the lone dissenter again -- was a far cry from a week earlier.

On that day medical marijuana advocates stood confidently before the board, anticipating passage of an amendment allowing such facilities in specific unincorporated areas.

Several even told the board members they had a few misgivings about the amendment they presumed was about to pass, wondering if it should be tweaked to accommodate the needs of medical marijuana proponents.

Most were outraged minutes later when four of the five board members voted the main proposal down. As member Jeff Stone, a former pharmacist, put it, "We shouldn't have a dog in this fight."

Stone referred to the tension between California's "compassionate" medical marijuana law, which allow cannabis to be used by certain patients with a doctor's recommendation, and the federal government's blanket prohibition on the sale of marijuana -- one the U.S. Supreme Court backed up last year in Gonzales v. Raich.

The board also was mindful of a "white paper" set out days before by the office of Riverside County District Attorney Grover Task. He expressed the opinion that the U.S. Supreme Court had resolved the question as a matter of law, even if California Attorney General Bill Lockyer -- to whom Trask answers -- disagrees.

Trask, who was elected in 1982 and is the longest-serving district attorney in state history, has since clarified that his office has better ways to use its time than to track down people using marijuana in accordance with California law to treat their medical conditions.

Incorporated cities within the county are free to allow dispensaries within their municipal limits at their own discretion.


(© 2006 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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Medical pot has cities in a bind

Postby palmspringsbum » Mon Oct 09, 2006 11:19 am

The Press-Enterprise wrote:Medical pot has cities in a bind

10:00 PM PDT on Sunday, October 8, 2006

By PAIGE AUSTIN
The Press-Enterprise


As Norco Mayor Pro Tem Harvey Sullivan voted for a 45-day moratorium on medical-marijuana dispensaries this month, it was with mixed emotions.

Sullivan is battling prostate cancer. More than ever, he understands the pain that drives patients to cannabis for relief. At the same time, he leads a city battling to deal with the drug and alcohol abuse that has led to an increase in traffic fatalities -- particularly among youths. Conflicting state and federal laws on the legality of medical-marijuana use further complicate the matter for city leaders.

"I'm not sure what to think," he said. "I could go either way."

His dilemma is not unique. It's playing out throughout the region and the state.

Last week, Riverside County supervisors imposed a ban on marijuana dispensaries in unincorporated areas and joined other counties such as San Bernardino, Merced and San Diego in a court challenge of state medical-marijuana laws. California voters approved marijuana use for medical purposes in 1996, but it is still illegal at the federal level. The federal government has not determined that marijuana serves a medical purpose and views it as a "gateway drug," enticing users to harder drugs.

District Attorney Grover Trask has said he won't prosecute patients who use marijuana in accordance with state laws. A handful of Inland cities, including Palm Desert and Palm Springs, are considering ordinances to restrict or regulate cannabis distribution. Other cities such as Corona have already enacted moratoriums and have gone so far as to seek a restraining order against a dispensary within the city.

"The state has mandated cities and counties to find a way for it to be distributed without having illegal drug houses," Sullivan said. "The people voted on it. Now we need to find the right way for it to be dispensed under a doctor's supervision. I'd rather see it sold somewhere like Sav-on than some tattoo parlor on the corner."

No one has currently sought a business license for a dispensary or cannabis co-op in Norco, but city officials hope to establish guidelines before one tries to come in.

Cities were looking to the county to establish regulations they could also adopt, but now that the county is challenging the state, the cities are left on their own to figure it out, said Ryan Michaels, of Inland Empire Patient Advocates. The group has worked with several Inland cities on ordinances that regulate while protecting patient rights.

Michaels is also the director of Healing Nations Collective, a Corona medical-marijuana dispensary fighting the city in court to stay open.

A lot of cities don't even know it's legal for patients with a medical-marijuana prescription to grow their own cannabis, he said. Michaels wants cities to encourage open communication between law enforcement and dispensaries. He advocates requiring business licenses for co-ops with seven or more members.

However, city leaders fear that such places attract crime, are difficult to regulate and are vulnerable to abuse.

Last week local authorities working with the federal Drug Enforcement Administration raided a medical-marijuana dispensary and seized drugs and cash as part of an investigation into illegal distribution linked to Palm Springs Caregivers.

Norco resident Pat Overstreet said she has trouble accepting the idea of medicinal-marijuana distribution because of the potential for abuse.

"As a (registered nurse), I know there are some situations where marijuana will help people with acute pain and nausea," she said. "But the potential for abuse is truly what's so scary about this."

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Marijuana-growing collectives fuel medical debate

Postby palmspringsbum » Sat Oct 14, 2006 12:54 pm

The Press-Enterprise wrote:Marijuana-growing collectives fuel medical debate

MARIJUANA: Eyes are on Palm Springs' approach to growing the crops for medicinal purposes.

<img src=/bin/video_icon.gif> Video: Visit a medical marijuana dispensary in Palm Springs


<table class=posttable align=right width=300><tr><td class=postcell><img class=postimg src=bin/palm-springs_caregivers.bmp></td></tr><tr><td class=postcap>Tanya Garcia plans to work with Palm Springs to keep open marijuana dispensary Palm Springs Caregivers. Garcia, Caregivers' office manager, says the business's marijuana only serves its patients' medical needs. "Our patients are scared," she says.</td></tr></table>10:21 AM PDT on Saturday, October 14, 2006

By STEVE MOORE
The Press-Enterprise


PALM SPRINGS - Collectives for growing medicinal pot could someday sprout in industrial-warehouse areas of this resort town.

Under a co-op medical marijuana ordinance, eligible patients or their caregivers -- with a doctor's letter -- could cultivate small amounts.

City Attorney Douglas Holland says collectives face fewer legal challenges than dispensaries.

In a recent interview, Riverside County District Attorney Grover Trask said medical marijuana is really supported and advocated by those wanting legalization of drugs all together.

"The whole issue of its medicinal, compassionate use was a way of getting the public to believe it was an appropriate exception. Unfortunately, that exception has been turned into a wholesale advocacy for dispensaries," Trask said.

He said the retail sale of pot is a federal crime.

Two storefront dispensaries now operate in Palm Springs. But city officials have imposed a moratorium while considering the co-op approach.

Tanya Garcia, office manager for the Palm Springs Caregivers dispensary, denies Trask's allegations.

She says there's no intent to legalize recreational marijuana and that her dispensary only serves the legitimate medical needs of patients. Garcia plans on working with Palm Springs officials so the dispensary can remain open.

"Our patients are scared," she said. "They're upset.

Garcia says closing dispensaries would be a hardship on some patients.

Some are too ill to cultivate their own crop in a collective and others might be forced into the arms of street dealers where they could face robbery and violence.

Palm Springs is part of a growing debate in the Inland area about medical marijuana.

The Riverside County Board of Supervisors imposed a ban on marijuana dispensaries in unincorporated areas and joined other counties such as San Bernardino, Merced and San Diego in a court challenge of state medical-marijuana laws.

California voters approved the idea in 1996, but it is still illegal at the federal level.

Corona has enacted a moratorium and sought a restraining order against a dispensary in that city. Norco approved a 45-day moratorium on medical-marijuana dispensaries.

In Palm Springs, marijuana collectives for medical purposes would require a special, city operating permit, Holland said. Final approval on any ordinance rests with the City Council.

Under state law, eligible patients or caregivers could have six mature or a dozen immature plants and not face possession charges in state court, he said.

But federal laws against marijuana still apply.

If collectives are allowed, Palm Springs favors growing the marijuana crop indoors.

Outdoor crops invite criminal activity, pose security risks and could become a problem for police, Holland said.

Mexican marijuana currently fetches $450 per pound in Palm Springs, according to narcotics officers. Higher-quality domestic marijuana sells for $2,200 to $2,500 per pound, said Sgt. Mitch Spike, a public-information officer for the Palm Springs Police Department.

Other dealers break marijuana down into smaller quantities and jack up the price.

Possession of less than an ounce is a misdemeanor but it's treated much like an infraction -- citation, no booking, Spike said. Courts determine the penalty.

Staff writer Kimberly Trone contributed to this article

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CVAG committee hears medical marijuana update

Postby palmspringsbum » Mon Oct 16, 2006 3:35 pm

The Desert Sun wrote:CVAG committee hears medical marijuana update


K Kaufmann
The Desert Sun
October 16, 2006


Riverside County District Attorney Grover Trask may oppose medical marijuana dispensaries, but Palm Desert has renewed the business license for CannaHelp, the dispensary that has been on El Paseo for one year.

The ongoing dispensary debate rolled into the Public Safety Committee of the Coachella Valley Association of Governments today as Kevin Ruddy, the county’s chief deputy district attorney, answered questions about the white paper Trask released last month.

While state law allows qualified patients to possess and grow marijuana for medical use, Ruddy said, “nowhere in the law does code allow for what is called a dispensary. That’s the bottom line.”

Ruddy said he could not comment on whether CannaHelp, which is run as a patient collective, would be considered legal under the white paper. State law, passed 10 years ago, does allow for collectives and cooperatives to grow medical marijuana.

Any possession, cultivation or sale of marijuana is illegal under federal law. The Riverside County Board of Supervisors voted earlier this month to ban dispensaries in unincorporated areas like Bermuda Dunes and Sky Valley.

Capt. Steve Thetford, chief of the Palm Desert Police Department, said that CannaHelp has not been “a significant threat to public safety.”

But, he said, the dispensary does have an indirect impact, since officers must occasionally spend time verifying that customers have valid letters of recommendation.

Palm Desert Councilman Robert A. Spiegel, who is also chair of the Public Safety Committee, did not foresee any action by the committee or CVAG either supporting or opposing dispensaries. Ruddy’s presentation was intended as informational only, he said.

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Cities seek guidance on marijuana dispensary issue

Postby palmspringsbum » Sat Nov 04, 2006 5:07 pm

The Desert Sun wrote:Cities seek guidance on marijuana dispensary issue




<table class=posttable align=right width=200><tr><td class=postcell>

<center><b><span class=postbold><big>What's next</big></span></b></center><ul class=postlist><li> A court case scheduled for Nov. 16 in San Diego Superior Court could help resolve the conflict between state and federal law on medical marijuana. </li>

<li> San Diego, San Bernardino and Merced counties are challenging California law, in particular its requirement that counties issue medical marijuana identification cards to patients who have a doctor's recommendation.</li>

<li> The Riverside County Board of Supervisors voted earlier this month to join the suit.</li>

</ul></td></tr></table>K Kaufmann
The Desert Sun
October 16, 2006


The ongoing debate over the legality of medical marijuana dispensaries rolled into the Public Safety Committee of the Coachella Valley Association of Governments on Monday with city representatives seeking some clarity on the issue.

Coachella Mayor Pro Tem Juan De Lara said cities want a consistent policy for the valley.

"If we do ban (dispensaries), under what authority? If we're allowing them, what regulations to ensure strict controls?" De Lara said in an interview after the meeting.

Kevin Ruddy, Riverside County chief deputy district attorney, answered questions about a legal opinion opposing dispensaries that his boss, county District Attorney Grover Trask, issued last month.

Holding that federal prohibitions on marijuana trump state laws allowing medical use, the opinion was a key factor in the county Board of Supervisors' vote Oct. 3 to ban dispensaries in unincorporated areas such as Bermuda Dunes and Sky Valley.

That ban is reverberating with cities considering their own ordinances, from Palm Springs, which has two dispensaries, to Coachella, which De Lara said is researching the issue but has yet to draft a law.

Indian Wells passed a moratorium on dispensaries late last year, and Mayor Pro Tem Conrad Negron asked Ruddy about the conflict between federal and state law.

In a phone interview later, Negron said: "I feel these marijuana dispensaries are nothing but commercializing marijuana. There's a lot of money involved in this."

Undeterred by the legal limbo, Palm Desert recently renewed the business license for CannaHelp, a dispensary that has operated on El Paseo for a year.

Ruddy said whether a dispensary is in an incorporated or unincorporated town is immaterial.

"We're all subject to state law," he said. "Nowhere in the law does code allow for what is called a dispensary. That's the bottom line."

Lanny Swerdlow, president of the Marijuana Anti-Prohibition Project, a patients advocacy group, called Ruddy's statements inaccurate.

Dispensaries are covered by provisions in state law that allow people to "administer marijuana to medical marijuana patients," he said.

CannaHelp has enrolled about 1,200 qualified patients in the past year, owner Stacy Hochanadel said in a phone interview Monday. It is licensed as a medical supply company, he said.

Palm Desert Councilman Robert A. Spiegel, who is also chairman of the CVAG Public Safety Committee, said he sees the conflict between state and federal law as a conundrum.

But he said, "Without a city law, (CannaHelp) will continue like any other business unless it breaks the law."

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Sky Valley man accused of growing marijuana

Postby palmspringsbum » Sat Nov 04, 2006 9:47 pm

The Desert Sun wrote:Sky Valley man accused of growing marijuana

KESQ
October 25, 2006

A Sky Valley man is accused of growing marijuana, but says he has a good excuse.

Gary Silva is out of jail, on bail, after turning himself into Palm Springs Police last night. He's accused of felony drug charges.

Investigators say Silva was illegally growing marijuana at his home. Silva says he was operating a "legal" medical marijuana grower's co-op.

Police raided his home several months ago, but Silva only found out about a felony arrest warrant issued for him recently.

"I'm here to turn myself in and just find out what I'm guilty of, if anything." Silva said.

Silva bailed himself out late last night for $25,000.

He plans to sue the Riverside County Sheriff's Department for more than three million dollars over injuries he says he suffered during the raid

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Riverside County cannot join medical marijuana suit

Postby palmspringsbum » Sun Nov 05, 2006 10:53 am

The Desert Sun wrote:Riverside County cannot join medical marijuana suit


K Kaufmann
The Desert Sun
October 30, 2006


Riverside County will not join a legal challenge to California's medical marijuana law, scheduled to be heard in San Diego Superior Court Nov. 16.

The county Board of Supervisors voted earlier this month to join the suit originally filed by San Diego, San Bernardino and Merced counties, but the court ruled Friday that Riverside would not be allowed to join the case.

“The court felt it was too late to intervene in the pending action in San Diego,” said Pam Walls, assistant county counsel. “There was a briefing schedule and allowing (the county) to intervene, that would delay or alter the briefing schedule.”

The suit seeks to overturn state requirements that counties issue medical marijuana identification cards to patients with a doctor's recommendation to use the drug.

Americans for Safe Access, and the California Chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, both medical marijuana advocacy groups, and the American Civil Liberties Union are arguing against the counties’ suit.

Both sides are looking to the court to resolve the conflict between federal law banning any use or cultivation of marijuana and California law allowing medical use.

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Officials serve search warrant on El Paseo medical marijuana

Postby palmspringsbum » Fri Dec 01, 2006 7:19 pm

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3 Arrested For Allegedly Transporting Marijuana

Postby palmspringsbum » Tue Dec 05, 2006 10:06 am

cbs2.com KCAL wrote:Dec 2, 2006 12:07 pm US/Pacific

3 Arrested For Allegedly Transporting Marijuana

cbs2.com KCAL

(CBS) TEMECULA, Calif. Three Northern California men were in custody at a Riverside County jail for allegedly transporting a half-pound of marijuana, authorities said.

Deputies spotted the three loitering near a vehicle about 10:30 p.m. Friday on Highway 79 and Old Town Front Street, according to Riverside County sheriff's Sgt. Chris Waters.

A search of the vehicle yielded about a half-pound of pot, or approximately 270 grams, according to Waters.

The weed suspects were identified as Michael Marcum, 22; John Whalen, 29 and David Marcum, 61, all of Ukiah.

The men were jailed at the Southwest Detention Center and charged with felony possession and transportation of over 1 ounce of marijuana, according to Waters. Their arraignment was set for Dec. 5 in Murrieta.

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Med-marijuana advocates to sue state attorney general

Postby palmspringsbum » Tue Dec 05, 2006 10:13 am

The Desert Sun wrote:Medical marijuana advocates to sue state attorney general


K Kaufmann
The Desert Sun
December 3, 2006


A Coachella Valley medical marijuana advocacy group is funding a suit to be filed against the California attorney general, aimed at stopping the state from using federal law to prosecute legal medical marijuana users.

The suit was announced at a meeting of the Marijuana Anti-Prohibition Project today at the Cathedral City Public Library. Ken White, a lawyer from Ontario, said he had mailed the suit to Los Angeles Superior Court last month but did not yet know if it had been officially filed.

Proposition 215, a ballot initiative passed in 1996, legalized medical use of marijuana for patients with a doctor's recommendation, but some state officials, including Riverside County District Attorney Grover Trask, have argued that federal bans on the drug take precedence over the state law.

The MAPP-funded suit contends there is no conflict between state and federal law, and therefore California law enforcement personnel--police and district attorneys--should not be spending taxpayers' dollars prosecuting legal patients under the federal ban.

Riverside County sheriff's officers took part in a federal raid last March at the Sky Valley home of Garry Silva, a qualified medical marijuana user who was growing plants for a small group of patients, which is legal under state law.

"If police don't have the common sense and decency to do what state law tells them to do, we're going to have the courts tell them," said Lanny Swerdlow, president of the advocacy group.

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Desert Magazine's People of the Year

Postby palmspringsbum » Sun Dec 31, 2006 11:18 am

The Desert Sun wrote:Desert Magazine's People of the Year


<table class=posttable align=right width=300><tr><td class=postcell><img class=postimg width=300 src=bin/wilson_roy.jpg></td></tr></table>Erica Solvig
The Desert Sun
December 17, 2006

<hr class=postrule>
They are the people who make the Coachella Valley move forward, the people whose work, whether behind the scenes or in plain view, has had a distinct impact on our desert community.

Desert Magazine is recognizing their contributions in a special People of the Year feature. With the help of a panel of journalists and community members, we looked at people from various walks of life–government, philanthropy, activism and development among them - and picked a Person of the Year and five others who also had a good 2006. We also are setting the stage for 2007 with ten People to Watch in the coming year.

<span class=postbigbold>Person of the Year: Riverside County Supervisor Roy Wilson</span>

Roy Wilson could be the only politician who won’t boast about his accomplishments.

The Riverside County supervisor’s fingerprints are on almost every major deal in the Coachella Valley, from Xavier College Preparatory High School in Thousand Palms and east valley revitalization to keeping a $1.8 billion conservation plan alive.

But he isn’t one to take credit for any of it.

Instead, Wilson prefers working behind the scenes, refusing offers from community organizations to name buildings after him and attributing successes to others.

And those who know him best will tell you: he’s probably shaking his head when he finds out he’s been named Desert Magazine’s Man of the Year.

“Work revolves around me,” Wilson swore recently while driving around his district, which stretches from Palm Springs to Blythe and spans two-thirds of the county. “My job is an easy one. All I have to say is ‘Umm, sounds like a good idea. Staff, make it happen.’”

In the last year, Wilson has been the driving force behind the ambitious Multiple Species Habitat Conservation Plan.

He had described February’s vote for the plan as the “most important decision in 2006.” When it didn’t go his way, he refocused and kept pushing for support of a retooled idea.

He helped break ground in August on a Sheriff’s substation and new library for Mecca — part of a $30 million effort he’s leading there — and joined another groundbreaking in March for a family healthcare center in Palm Springs he’s supported.
<ul>
<li>Bringing $1.8-million in mental health services to Indio.</li>

<li>Finding a new home for the Horse Shows In The Sun (HITS).</li>

<li>Convincing the Coachella Valley Association of Governments to tackle homelessness.</li>
</ul>
Those are thanks to Wilson, too.

After 17 years on Palm Desert city council, Wilson, a former educator at College of the Desert, was elected to county office for the first time in 1994. Next year marks 30 years of public service.

He’s quiet yet firm. He’s an optimist, yet realistic at the same time. And he keeps his nonpartisan office nonpartisan, helping him build consensus across the political divide.

“His outside may be his strength,” Supervisor Marion Ashley said of his colleague’s grandfather-like demeanor. “He’s assertive, but he does it in a quiet way. And he’s very, very effective.”

Wilson is also not afraid to make tough decisions, like being the lone dissenting vote when county supervisors in September approved a ban of medical marijuana dispensaries. Though he does call that one “lonely.”

He works weekends, attends Eagle Scout award ceremonies and community council meetings and reluctantly says “no” to a folder thick with invitations.

Despite an unusually busy year, he found time to get reelected and he got married to Aurora Kerr.

But spend an afternoon with Wilson out in his district, and he won’t talk about any of this. He won’t discuss the long list of committees he’s on. And he certainly won’t mention the prestigious Jefferson Award he got in March or the “Spirit of the Desert” honor awarded in February.

Instead Wilson points to open lots overgrown with brush where he’s picturing more businesses.

He drives through rundown neighborhoods, sharing his plan to see the rows of dilapidated mobile homes in the east valley get replaced with upgraded affordable housing developments.

“There’s still a lot to do, the job isn’t done,” Wilson says. “But you ask what keeps me around, what keeps me going? It’s when you see things happen.”

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More of same on tap for 2007?

Postby palmspringsbum » Tue Jan 02, 2007 9:59 pm

The Californian wrote:Last modified Thursday, December 28, 2006 7:53 PM PST

More of same on tap for 2007?

By: GREG SCHARF - For The Californian

As the saying goes, the more things change, the more they stay the same. Or maybe not.

I guess that's a weird prediction for 2007, but it works for me.

Years ago, Paul Jacobs and I used to lob insults at each other and now we have coffee every so often. I no longer get angry when he becomes a human thesaurus to find synonyms for words like incompetent and stupid to describe the president, and he no longer gloats when I can't come up with anything better than "oh, yeah?!" in return. Then we both laugh at how he used to attack me for attacking Supervisor Jeff Stone, and now he's the one doing it.

We've traded bogus WMDs for real improvised explosive devices that kill our finest youth almost daily. Like most Americans, I could give a rat's backside whether the Iraqis adopt a form of government the Shiites and the Sunnis apparently don't want. Like many families, all I truly want is for my son-in-law to return safely home from Ramadi to my daughter and grandson.

The Liberty Quarry will continue to be a regular issue in this paper, although, going by the letters to the editor, relatively few of us are for it, except a couple of sold-out politicians, and one of those is termed out. Will our county supervisors sell us out?

We'll soon see.

No one has come up with any good ideas regarding the situation with illegal immigration. What surprises me is that no one has pursued a constitutional amendment to deny citizenship or Medi-Cal benefits to children born to parents who are here illegally. The wall? Sure. Great idea. We've seen who's going to build it.

I don't see anyone, including the president, pushing a workable solution.

The polemic regarding marijuana dispensaries here is a bad joke. Riverside County is a rogue county, ignoring the Compassionate Use Act. Those using medical marijuana deemed legal in this state will be prosecuted, whether or not it is prescribed by a physician who has determined that the person has a chronic or terminal illness that would be helped by marijuana.

My prediction? No change. Our county supervisors are going to let compassion take a back seat to right-wing politics. They will hide behind Jeff Stone's credibility as a pharmacist (who dispenses far more dangerous opioids) as well as federal law, knowing the FDA is unduly influenced by our pharmaceutical industry.

Under the guise of consumer safety, Bush tried to arm-twist the Canadian prime minister into outlawing Internet sales of Canadian drugs. These drugs are manufactured at the same sources and can be bought at one-third of the price here. I wonder if we can choose to ignore state traffic laws as well?

An issue that will grow will be the treatment of the homeless. What everyone has ignored is that a huge percentage of the homeless are mentally ill, while the landmark Lanterman-Petris-Short Act of 1966 prevented people from being held involuntarily in mental institutions it unfortunately puts huge numbers of people on the street who are really unable to fend for themselves.

There needs to be a reform.

Overall, for my family and many friends, this year's score, with 20 seconds left in the fourth quarter, is Lions 20, Christians 10. 2007 comes to our families and community fresh and with promise ---- with hope for change of those things that need change, and preservation of those that do not.

Happy New Year, and once again, may God bless us every one.

Greg Scharf of Temecula is a regular columnist for The Californian. E-mail: Gscharf7@aol.com.

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Riverside to up fee for medical marijuana ID to $220

Postby palmspringsbum » Wed Jan 31, 2007 11:34 am

The Desert Sun wrote:Riverside to up fee for medical marijuana ID to $220


K Kaufmann
The Desert Sun
January 29, 2007

The cost for medical marijuana identification cards in Riverside County will jump from $100 to $220, but not until July 1.

"It’s going to take us that long to get it in place," said Victoria Jauregui Burns, who heads the county ID card program. "We have to go through the county Board of Supervisors."

The Riverside increase was triggered by a statewide increase in the cost of the card--from $13 to $142--that goes into effect Mar. 1.

Medi-Cal patients generally pay half the full fee. The state increase for Medi-Cal patients will be to $50; in Riverside County, to $110.

For information on applying for a card, call 1 (888) 358-7932.

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Fee For Medical Marijuana I.D. Card May Double

Postby palmspringsbum » Wed Jan 31, 2007 12:47 pm

cbs2.com wrote:Jan 29, 2007 7:57 pm US/Pacific

Fee For Medical Marijuana I.D. Card May Double

cbs2.com

(CBS) RIVERSIDE The cost to obtain a medical marijuana identification card is projected to more than double in Riverside County in the next six months, after a state-imposed rate hike takes effect, a health department official said Tuesday.

Qualified patients can currently obtain a medical marijuana card for $100, but the cost would jump to $220 on July 1 if approved as expected by the Riverside County Board of Supervisors, according to Dr. Victoria Burns, chief of the Medical Marijuana I.D. Card Program at the county Department of Public Health.

"The state has increased their costs to us," Burns said, "so we will be doing our own fee increase to accommodate that."

Under California's Medical Marijuana Program Act of 2003, patients who get a doctor's approval can purchase limited quantities of marijuana from dispensaries for relief of long-term pain. In Riverside County, 390 people currently carry the appropriate form of identification, according to Burns.

"You have to get a doctor's recommendation, prove you're a resident, and pay the fee," she said. "Then my office will verify everything to make sure all the requirements established by law are met to get the I.D., which looks a lot like your standard driver's license."

She said that when the program became active in Riverside County in December 2005, the state wanted $13 for every card issued. The county mandated a $100 fee to cover all regulatory expenses and the state tax.

As of March 1, Burns said, California will increase its share of fee revenue to $142 for every card, more than 10 times the current amount. In response, the county will need to hike its fee to $220, covering all necessary expenses, she said.

"The state intended to issue 3,000 cards to the county, but that kind of demand isn't there," Burns said. "From what I understand, they paid for the development of this program, including a database, and they counted on money to come in and offset those costs, but it just hasn't happened."

According to Burns, some county residents who would otherwise qualify for an I.D. card may not go through with applying for one to protect their privacy.

She added that Los Angeles County had not yet formed its own program, further limiting the amount of revenue that might otherwise fill state coffers.

The Riverside County Board of Supervisors voted in early October to outlaw medical marijuana dispensaries or Cannabis clubs in unincorporated areas of the county. However, incorporated cities can regulate dispensaries under guidelines built into their own municipal codes.

According to Ray Smith of the county executive office, the supervisors will wait until July 1 to vote on a fee increase because the timetable coincides with an annual review period for the medical marijuana program.

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Pot ID applications spike with price hike news

Postby palmspringsbum » Fri Feb 16, 2007 6:56 pm

The Desert Sun wrote:
Pot ID applications spike with price hike news

K Kaufmann
The Desert Sun
February 5, 2007


<table clas=posttable align=right width=200><tr><td class=postcell><center><span class=postbold>

COACHELLA VALLEY CARDS</span></center>

The next date for applying for medical marijuana identification cards in Palm Springs is Feb. 15.

<span class=postbold>When:</span> 9 a.m.

<span class=postbold>Where:</span> Palm Springs Family Health Center, 3111 E. Tahquitz Canyon Way

<span class=postbold>What you'll need:</span> Photo ID, proof of state and county residency, doctor's letter of recommendation

<span class=postbold>Cost:</span> $100, $50 for Medi-Cal patients

<span class=postbold>To schedule an appointment:</span> call (888) 358-7932.

</td></tr></table>The number of Coachella Valley medical marijuana users applying to Riverside County for patient identification cards has jumped dramatically following the announcement that the cost of the card will double in July.

The card currently costs $100. But the county Department of Public Health last week announced that the price will increase to $220 on July1.

This news prompted more than 20 patients to apply for the card when department staffers came to the Palm Springs Family Health Center last week.

"Get 'em while they're hot," said Victoria Jauregui Burns, director of the county card program.

About 12 to 15 patients usually turn out every other week to apply in Palm Springs, Burns said, noting that 15 have already signed up for the next date, Feb. 15.

Applications are also accepted Monday through Thursday in Riverside.

The local turnout kicked the total number of cards issued in the county to 414 on Friday, up from around 390 earlier in the week, Burns said.

The jump in the county fee was triggered by an increase in state charges, from $13 per card to $142, which goes into effect March 1.

Under the state's medical marijuana law, having a card is voluntary but the card program must pay for itself. And, as in Riverside, the number of patients applying for the card statewide has been low.

The law requires counties to accept and process applications for the state-issued card. But, federal law bans all use, cultivation or sale of marijuana.

Riverside is delaying the increase for its cards until July 1, the beginning of the county's fiscal year, Burns said. The county Board of Supervisors will be voting on the increase, also around July 1, she said.

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Applications soar with Riverside County pot ID card cost hik

Postby palmspringsbum » Fri Feb 16, 2007 7:39 pm

The Monterey Herald wrote:
Applications soar with Riverside County pot ID card cost hike

The Monterey Herald
Posted on Mon, Feb. 05, 2007

PALM SPRINGS, Calif. - There's been a spike in medical marijuana identification card applications since Riverside County announced the cost will jump from $100 to $220 this summer.

"Get 'em while they're hot," county card program director Victoria Jauregui Burns said as more than 20 patients showed up at the Palm Springs Family Health Center last week to apply for medical marijuana cards.

The county Department of Public Health, which had issued 414 cards as of Friday, said the $100 fee will increase to $220 on July 1. The next medical marijuana ID card signup in Palm Springs is Feb. 15.

Applications are also accepted Monday through Thursday in Riverside.

The jump in the county fee was triggered by an increase in state charges, from $13 per card to $142, which goes into effect March 1.

Under the state's medical marijuana law, having a card is voluntary but the card program must pay for itself. The law requires counties to accept and process applications for the state-issued card.

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Marijuana Gaines New Foe

Postby palmspringsbum » Sun Dec 02, 2007 7:22 pm

The Inland Valley Daily Bulletin wrote:MARIJUANA GAINS NEW FOE

<span class=postbigbold>Group Seeks to Keep Out Medical Dispensaries</span>

Inland Valley Daily Bulletin (Ontario, CA) 21 Aug 2007
Will Bigham, Staff Writer, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin

RANCHO CUCAMONGA - A newly formed organization opposed to medical- marijuana dispensaries is urging local governments to prohibit the businesses.

The Inland Valley Drug Free Community Coalition fears dispensaries will attract crime and increase illicit marijuana use by people who do not need the drug for medical reasons.

"It will bring criminal activity, blight," said Brenda Chabot, the Rancho Cucamonga-based group's executive director. "Political leaders should have enough courage to say they don't want these in their communities."

Group members include law-enforcement officials, substance-abuse workers, youth representatives and others.

They are now planning community events to educate the public about the negative impact they believe dispensaries would have on Inland Valley communities.

On Oct. 2, the group plans to hold an event on substance abuse at the Cultural Center at Victoria Gardens.

"Access is a huge contributor to the use of any drug, and the ease of access - the easier it is the more use there will be," said Diana Fox, executive director of the nonprofit Reach Out West End, and a member of the new organization.

"The communities that have seen these establishments come in have seen that it's not just medical users who are visiting the dispensary," Fox added. "It's much easier for youth and adults to be able to obtain it."

Chabot formed the group after learning of a federal program that helps groups seeking solutions to substance abuse.

The group lacks steady funding, but it is working to secure federal grants, Chabot said.

In the past year, cities in the Inland Valley have been forced to address the issue of medical-marijuana dispensaries after local activists attempted to open dispensaries in Claremont, Pomona and Norco.

Most cities, including Rancho Cucamonga, have banned dispensaries or have passed moratoriums to temporarily prohibit them.

Only Claremont and Diamond Bar have reacted differently, with each city agreeing to allow one dispensary to operate.

Members of the coalition believe that such tolerance will have a negative impact on communities, citing the personal experience of its members, many of whom have backgrounds in law enforcement.

Chabot is a former probation officer for San Bernardino County.

And Fox, of Reach Out West End, works daily with people she says have had their lives ruined by marijuana problems.

"Youth are losing their relationships with their families over marijuana, having more confrontations in the home, and adults are effected in their careers and don't have the ambition or the will to continue to seek their goals in life," Fox said.

"We hear these stories on a weekly basis from our clients, that when they finally get off the marijuana they see a vast change in their lives for the better."

Advocates for local marijuana dispensaries say such businesses are needed to supply the drug to people who need for medical purposes.

California has allowed the medical use of marijuana since state voters approved Proposition 215 in 1996, but users are still subject to federal law, which outlaws marijuana.

Without dispensaries, advocates say, medical users are forced to buy marijuana from street dealers.

"The patients don't have another way to acquire medicine," said David Kasakove, a marijuana activist who is seeking to open a dispensary in Claremont. "There's no other source of medicine. They don't know how to grow it, or they don't have the time and energy to grow it. A dispensary is necessary just as a pharmacy is necessary."

But the Coalition believes people who need marijuana for medical reasons should use Marinol, a federally recognized drug in pill form that has a similar, though weaker, effect to smoked marijuana.
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Two report relief from medical marijuana

Postby palmspringsbum » Wed Dec 12, 2007 4:36 pm

The Press-Enterprise wrote:Two report relief from medical marijuana, but government doctor unconvinced

by David Olson, Press-Enterprise
September 30th, 2007


Carl Casey is convinced marijuana saved his sight. Kathy Jones says cannabis provides more relief for her muscle-related disease than the 27 pills she used to take for it.

The two Inland residents are among thousands of Californians who have doctors' permission to smoke marijuana to help them cope with medical conditions.

As medical-marijuana dispensaries in the Inland area close or authorities shut them down, local patients are traveling to Los Angeles County dispensaries or combing Inland streets to search for what they view as medicine, not a recreational drug.

With the closure this week of a medical-cannabis dispensary in Palm Desert, only two known medical-marijuana outlets remain in Riverside or San Bernardino counties, both in Palm Springs, patients and authorities said.

Earlier this year, authorities raided or closed four Inland marijuana dispensaries -- in Corona, Perris, Riverside and Norco.

Special Agent Steve Robertson, a spokesman at Drug Enforcement Administration headquarters outside Washington, D.C., said the agency would continue conducting raids because "marijuana has no medical use based on federal law."

California voters approved the medicinal use of marijuana in 1996. State law allows people suffering from AIDS-related complications, cancer, multiple sclerosis, glaucoma and other diseases to use cannabis to relieve pain. They must first get a doctor's recommendation. Patients can possess no more than eight ounces of marijuana and six mature plants.

But marijuana use remains a federal crime, and federal officials view state and local laws as irrelevant.

In addition, the DEA and the Riverside County district attorney's office allege that some of the dispensaries were operating as for-profit businesses, which is illegal in California.

<span class=postbigbold>Bearable Pain</span>

Nearly 10 years ago, Kathy Jones felt an intense pain in the abdomen when she reached for the telephone. A year later, the 47-year-old Riverside woman was taking 27 pills a day to help her cope with a condition later diagnosed as fibromyalgia, disorder of the muscles and joints that can cause severe pain.

"I was mostly bedridden," she says. "I was so out of it with the pills."

In 2002, Jones' son, after researching the potential medical benefits of cannabis, approached her with a marijuana cigarette and said, "Mom, why don't you try this?"

That night, she smoked the joint her son had given her. Jones says she slept better than she had in years, and that, when she woke up, she didn't have to ask her husband to help her walk to the bathroom, as she had every day for four years.

The marijuana provided far more pain relief than her prescription medicine, she says. Jones started smoking it four times a day.

Eventually, she stopped taking most of her pills. She now only takes two pills each day.

"I don't want to be a druggie," Jones says. "Those 27 pills made me a druggie. I'd rather die than start taking that many pills again."

Marijuana has not eliminated Jones' pain. But it's bearable, Jones says as she stands in her bedroom.

On the dresser, near a package of antacids and a pair of glasses, sits two clear plastic containers of marijuana - one with cannabis for the day, the other with a more sleep-inducing strain of the weed for the night.

Every two weeks or so, her husband drives her to Los Angeles or West Hollywood to buy marijuana from a dispensary. She's afraid those dispensaries will be shut down one day as well.

"I don't want to have to go to the street corner to get my medicine," Jones says, her eyes welling up with tears. "By (state) law, I'm allowed to grow six marijuana plants for myself, but I'm afraid to grow it because I don't want to get arrested."

Jones says her life is vastly better now that she smokes marijuana. She can take walks and move around the house, and she can visit her ailing parents in San Bernardino.

"I thank God every day that I have my life back now," she said.

<span class=postbigbold>Glaucoma Relief</span>

The area around Carl Casey's bathroom sink is covered almost entirely by plastic bottles of prescription drugs.

The Hemet man takes 31 pills a day, for clogged arteries, high blood pressure, diabetes and other ailments.

Yet Casey, 66, says the most effective medicine he's found sits in a cookie jar in his dining room.

He smokes the marijuana in that jar only once a day, just before bed, so he doesn't spend the day high from the drug's effects. But that's enough to get relief from the intense pressure on his eyes that glaucoma causes, he says. Marijuana has helped far more than any pill, Casey says.

The cannabis even helps counter the side effects from his diabetes medication, which causes him to shun food. The marijuana stimulates his appetite.

On Casey's table sits a 101st Airborne Division cap, a reminder of the three years Casey served in Korea as an Army paratrooper.

As Casey explains how he believes marijuana has prevented him from going blind, a Federal Express deliveryman arrives carrying yet another package of pills from the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Casey says a friend obtains marijuana for him. He doesn't know where the friend gets it. Casey had gone a few times to a marijuana dispensary in North Hollywood, but he says he can't drive that far by himself.

He wishes there were a dispensary nearby, because he doesn't want his friend to get arrested for helping him.

<span class=postbigbold>'Poor Science'</span>

Dr. Bertha Madras said she's heard anecdotes of people who say marijuana has helped reduce their suffering from illnesses.

But Madras, a deputy director in the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, said the anecdotes are not enough.

"We're not dismissing them," she said. "But using anecdotes is poor science and poor medicine, and it's poor public policy."

Her office has helped lead the federal government's battle against the 12 states that have legalized marijuana for medical use.

A 1999 National Academy of Sciences report found evidence that components of marijuana -- called cannabinoids -- can help combat severe pain, nausea and loss of appetite. But the report said that marijuana smoke, like cigarette smoke, can be harmful, and recommended that scientists focus on developing nonsmokable, cannabinoid medicine.

Madras said Marinol, a pill approved by the Food and Drug Administration that includes a synthetic version of THC, a key compound in cannabis, is just as medically helpful as patients claim smoked marijuana is. Other FDA-approved drugs, without cannabinoids, provide more relief from nausea, appetite loss and other conditions than marijuana does, with a controlled dosage and without harmful smoke, she said.

Caren Woodson, director of governmental affairs for Oakland-based Americans for Safe Access, which supports the use of medical marijuana, said many people say that smoked or baked marijuana provides much more relief than Marinol and other prescription drugs. Marinol uses only one synthesized component of marijuana, THC, which can produce anxiety in patients, she said. In smoked marijuana, other compounds counteract anxiety, she said.

Long-term heavy smoking of marijuana could cause health problems, Woodson acknowledged. But cannabis can also be baked into food and ingested using drops or sprays, she said.

The group supports research into creating medications out of individual cannabinoids, Woodson said. But people suffering from debilitating diseases should not have to wait years for such medications to be developed if they are able to get relief now from smoking marijuana, she said.

Reach David Olson at 951-368-9462 or dolson@PE.com
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New medical marijuana clinic coming

Postby palmspringsbum » Mon Dec 17, 2007 8:59 pm

The Desert Sun wrote:November 10, 2007

<div class=postbigbold>New medical marijuana clinic coming</div>
<table class=posttable align=right width=200><tr><td class=postcell><img class=postimg src=bin/swerdlow_lanny.jpg width=200></td></tr></table>K Kaufmann
The Desert Sun

Riverside County is about to get a new clinic for medical marijuana patients.

And Lanny Swerdlow, president of the Marijuana Anti-Prohibition Project, is going to be running it.

Swerdlow, also a registered nurse, announced he will be opening the clinic, to be called THCF Medical Clinic, at 647 N. Main St., Riverside. The clinic should be open by early December, he said.

THCF stands for The Hemp and Cannabis Foundation, a nonprofit that runs similar clinics in Colorado, Hawaii, Oregon and Washington. The clinics issue letters of recommendation to patients. They do not sell marijuana.

The Riverside location "is right in the heart of the Inland Empire; nobody's more than 30 minutes away from clinic," Swerdlow said.

Swerdlow said he decided not to open the clinic in the Coachella Valley because the area already has at least one other doctor, Dr. Joseph Durante of Rancho Mirage, writing letters of recommendation.

Ryan Michaels, a medical marijuana patient in Riverside, said most people seeking letters in the Inland Empire now go to Los Angeles or the desert.

"I had to go to Hollywood," Michaels said. "I was looking for someone who would be in accord with the law. I didn't want a fly-by-night."

California law allows medical use of marijuana for patients who have a doctor's letter of recommendation. Federal law bans all use of the drug.

Swerdlow said the Riverside clinic may require patients to submit medical records even before making an appointment.

He did not release the names of the doctors who may work at the clinic, but said all patients will receive a physical examination.

Ingrid Wyatt, spokeswoman for the Riverside County District Attorney's Office, said as long as the clinic follows state law, it should have no problems.

"I don't want to put our seal of approval on it," Wyatt said. "(But) as long as a medical doctor is making the recommendation and there's no dispensing, it falls within the confines of the law."

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Compassion & Common Sense

Postby palmspringsbum » Wed Dec 19, 2007 6:54 pm

23 Nov 2007 - Lanny interviews Dennis Peron

http://yardtv.gotdns.com/kcaa-podcasts/ ... 71123.html
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