California, San Bernardino

Medical marijuana by county.

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California, San Bernardino

Postby palmspringsbum » Sun Apr 09, 2006 1:08 pm

The Press Enterprise wrote:Marijuana as medicine

01:40 AM PDT on Wednesday, August 10, 2005



By WES WOODS II / The Press-Enterprise

Lanny Swerdlow, the spokesman for the Palm Springs-based Marijuana Anti-Prohibition Project, has been a longtime advocate to get medical-marijuana cards for patients in Riverside County.

He's now trying to help San Bernardino County patients get the cards.

At today's Marijuana Anti-Prohibition Project meeting, Swerdlow will discuss the medical-marijuana card effort in both counties and a recent UCLA study explaining how marijuana doesn't cause lung cancer.

"It's education about the law and education about what's going on and what to do to change things," Swerdlow said.

The meeting is free and takes place at Joshua Tree Inn, 61259 Twentynine Palms Highway in Joshua Tree.

Senate Bill 420, which legalized medical-marijuana cards in California, was passed in January 2004. The bill helps the state Health Department determine rules usage and give medical-marijuana users a way to register anonymously.

Swerdlow will encourage members to attend the Riverside County Community Health Agency's SB 420 Implementation Committee meeting to discuss the identification-card program. The meeting will be held from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Aug. 15 in the Breckenridge Room at the Sherman Building Conference Center, located at 3900 Sherman Ave. in Riverside.

Riverside and San Bernardino counties do not have programs in place for the cards.

"We're in the process of contacting the Department of Health in San Bernardino County so patients can get a medical ID card," said Alfred Laue, who's a member of the Marijuana Anti-Prohibition Project.

Laue's wife, Linda, uses prescription marijuana for her fibromyalgia, a chronic-pain illness.

Linda Laue said she experiences extreme joint and muscle pain, headaches, and colon troubles, among other ailments.

"I bake with it," said Laue, who first used marijuana in 1972 after suffering a massive stroke that required 12 hours of brain surgery. She said she died twice on the operating table at Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center in Downey before being revived.

"A lot of people say, 'You use marijuana, you're getting stoned,' " Laue said in a phone interview. "I'm not -- I'm getting normal. I get, at least, comfort in that I don't hurt as much."

Also discussed will be UCLA physician Donald Tashkin's study on heavy, long-term marijuana use and whether it's connected to lung cancer.

"People who smoked marijuana, they didn't have a higher rate of lung cancer than those who didn't smoke,"Swerdlow said of the report. "In certain aspects of the study, using marijuana might protect you against lung cancer."

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

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Postby palmspringsbum » Sun Apr 09, 2006 1:24 pm

The Press Enterprise wrote:Medical pot IDs planned

SAN BERNARDINO: The county will issue cards identifying legal users beginning in January.




12:46 AM PST on Friday, December 2, 2005

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

San Bernardino County residents with a valid prescription for medical-marijuana will soon be able to get an identification card that might help them stay out of jail, the county's public health director said Thursday.

Starting in January, the Public Health Department will begin issuing medical-marijuana identification cards, director Jim Felten said. The department will hire two employees to help oversee the statewide program.

The optional card, which costs $100 and is good for one year and one day, provides patients and their caregivers with identification that could protect them against arrest and prosecution if they are complying with California's medical-marijuana laws, officials said.

California voters passed Prop. 215 in 1996 making medical marijuana legal. State lawmakers approved a statewide identification program in 2003 to help law enforcement identify Californians eligible to use medicinal marijuana.

Those using marijuana for medical reasons will have to have a valid prescription from a licensed doctor. The public health department will verify the information, Felten said. Residents will be able to call the department or visit the public health Web site to download the ID card's required paperwork, he said.

But the program is not without controversy and fears from some that rely on the medical use of marijuana.

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 began processing applications for state-issued medical marijuana ID cards Thursday, and Douglas Lanphere was the first person in line to apply.

Lanphere, who suffers from chronic pain, and a handful of users who showed up for their early-morning appointments said the process went smoothly.

But Lanphere is concerned because the county intends to retain copies of the applications, which contain confidential health information.

"Our fear is the federal government has the right to subpoena these records at any time," Lanphere said.

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.

Ingrid Wyatt, spokeswoman for the Riverside County District Attorney's office, said people found abusing the system will be prosecuted but the cards would help identify those with legitimate needs. Victoria Jauregui Burns, who heads Riverside County's ID program, said the state requires counties to retain copies of the applications.

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

Although the cards are not required -- and a doctor's note could prove sufficient to avoid trouble with police -- Felten said those who use medical marijuana should consider getting one.

"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," Felten 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 4:27 pm

The Press Enterprise wrote:Officials to sue state over medical marijuana laws

COURT: They also won't hand out ID cards, such as those issued by their Riverside counterparts.



11:29 PM PST on Tuesday, January 24, 2006

By DUANE W. GANG / The Press-Enterprise

San Bernardino County supervisors joined their counterparts in San Diego and voted Tuesday to sue the state in an effort to overturn California's medical marijuana laws.

Until the matter is resolved, San Bernardino County will not hand out medical marijuana identification cards, which help those with a valid prescription avoid arrest.

The county was set to begin issuing them this month.

San Bernardino will become the second county to challenge the state's medical marijuana laws and refuse to implement the ID-card program.

San Bernardino County supervisors said the state's laws conflict with federal drug provisions, leaving local law enforcement officials in a quandary over which to enforce.

"We need a clear directive," Supervisor Josie Gonzales said.

The lawsuit, which San Diego County filed in federal district court in San Diego on Friday, challenges the 1996 voter-approved Compassionate Use Act legalizing medical marijuana and the state's 2003 requirement that counties create the identification-card program.

So far, 15 counties -- including Riverside -- have issued nearly 800 cards, said Tacey Derenzy, a state Department of Health Services spokeswoman.

San Bernardino County's lawsuit, which will include Sheriff Gary Penrod as a plaintiff, is expected to be nearly identical to the one San Diego County filed, county counsel Ron Reitz said.

In its lawsuit, 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.

Bill Postmus, San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors chairman, said the Bush administration has been clear about not allowing states to violate federal laws prohibiting illegal drugs.

The issue must be settled in the courts, said Postmus, who personally opposes the medical use of marijuana.

The U.S. Supreme Court last year ruled that patients in states with compassionate-use laws still might face criminal prosecution for using marijuana.

Supervisor Dennis Hansberger said he neither favors or opposes the use of medical marijuana.

The county does not enact drug laws but should have a single answer on which provisions to enforce, he said.

"The sheriff is caught in an awkward position," Hansberger said.

But backers of the medical use of marijuana said Tuesday that the counties' lawsuits are without merit and are politically driven by officials who oppose medical marijuana.

The American Civil Liberties Union filed a motion Tuesday to intervene on behalf of those who rely on medical marijuana to ease chronic pain.

"At best, they are throwing a Hail Mary," said Kevin Keenan, executive director of the ACLU of San Diego and Imperial Counties.

"This isn't a game and people's lives are concretely affected."

Allen Hopper, a senior staff attorney with the ACLU's National Drug Reform Project, said the federal government must enforce federal drug laws.

In California, the matter is closed, he said. As the state's chief law enforcement officer, California Attorney General Bill Lockyer has told local officials that federal law does not preempt the state's medical marijuana legislation, Hopper said.

Just as important, the ACLU believes the two counties don't have standing to file the lawsuits, Hopper said.

For 25 years, the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has held that counties can't sue the state in federal court over a constitutional claim, Hopper said.

"I suggest San Bernardino hurry up and file its lawsuit," he said. "It is going to be thrown out of court in very short order."

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

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Postby palmspringsbum » Sun Apr 09, 2006 4:44 pm

The Press Enterprise wrote:Legal madness

12:33 AM PST on Saturday, January 28, 2006

MARK MUCKENFUSS
The Press Enterprise


Reefer madness is alive and well in San Bernardino County.

It has caused our supervisors to throw in their lot with San Diego County.

And everyone knows, if you're looking for political inspiration and a framework to be followed, San Diego is the place to go. Motto: "More indicted and convicted politicians than SeaWorld has whales."

You think San Bernardino County has suffered corruption and political problems? Our neighbors to the south make us look like rank amateurs.

In the last year, the city's mayor resigned under fire, three councilmen were convicted of extortion, wire fraud and conspiracy and five current and former city pension-fund officials were charged with fraud and conspiracy. And, of course, Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham resigned in November after admitting taking more than $2 million in bribes.

Those are the folks you want to hitch your wagon to.

While county officials there have remained largely unscathed through all the fracas, they made headlines a week ago when they filed a federal lawsuit against the state of California. The officials are refusing to implement a program connected to Prop. 215, the medical marijuana initiative passed in 1996.

Counties have been directed to provide identification cards for people who have their physician's approval to use marijuana for such things as chronic pain or the nausea associated with chemotherapy.

San Diego County refused to supply the cards, saying that federal drug laws prohibiting marijuana use override California's law.

Law Professor Robert Weisberg has been teaching at Stanford University for 25 years. Reading the details of the lawsuit shocked him.

"Wow," Weisberg said, "I've never seen anything like this."

It's not uncommon, Weisberg said, for counties and municipalities to sue the state for such things as funds they may think the state owes them.

"I've never seen a case in which a county sued a state claiming a federal law trumps state law," he said. "This strikes me more as an act of civil disobedience by the county."

Weisberg anticipates the court will throw out the case on the grounds that the county is pursuing the wrong avenue for its complaint.

Hmm. A legal cause that lacks the support of the majority of voters, has little chance of success and will suck up lots of taxpayer money.

The city of San Bernardino has been doing that for years. Now, it seems, it's time for the county to get on board.

Sheriff Gary Penrod brought the issue to the supervisors' attention and they all jumped on their horses to ride out with the San Diego posse. The decision was made behind closed doors, so it's hard to know how the issue was discussed. Neither Penrod nor chairman Bill Postmus returned calls for comment on Friday.

I'd say it's a safe bet there was little talk of folks whose pain is being eased by using marijuana, but lots of posturing and cries of reefer madness.

Sounds more like legal madness to me.

Last week's column incorrectly attributed the source of a study on air pollution. It was done by Environment California, for whom Moira Chapin is the federal field organizer.

Reach Mark Muckenfuss at (909) 806-3059 or mmuckenfuss@pe.com

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Postby palmspringsbum » Sun Apr 09, 2006 4:58 pm

The Press Enterprise wrote:Pot-lawsuit venue to change

S.B. County: Its counsel says it will take its medical-marijuana challenge to state court.



01:54 AM PST on Wednesday, February 8, 2006

By DUANE W. GANG / The Press-Enterprise

<img src=bin/nelson-jim.jpg align=right title="Jim Nelson, of Wildomar, shows his support for the legalization of medical marijuana during a protest outside the County Government Center in San Bernardino. ">San Bernardino County's lawyers are reworking a legal challenge to California's medical-marijuana laws after San Diego County withdrew its federal lawsuit and refiled it in state court.

County Counsel Ron Reitz said Tuesday the county is close to completing its lawsuit and will soon file it in San Diego County Superior Court, where it is expected to be combined with that county's legal challenge.

Meanwhile, dozens of medical-marijuana supporters Tuesday protested San Bernardino County's action and urged supervisors to drop the planned lawsuit.

"We are talking about sick patients and not criminals," said Don Duncan, of Americans for Safe Access.

Supervisors last month voted to join their counterparts in San Diego in seeking to overturn the state's Compassionate Use Act, approved by voters in 1996, and a 2003 law that requires counties to issue medical-marijuana identification cards.

The 1996 law allows patients with a physician's recommendation to transport and use marijuana to treat the symptoms of illnesses such as cancer, glaucoma and chronic pain.

But supervisors said federal drug provisions conflict with the state's laws, leaving local law enforcement in a bind over which to enforce.

In a December memo, Sheriff Gary Penrod urged supervisors to join in San Diego County's lawsuit.

Legal experts, however, said the counties faced an uphill battle in court. Counties can't sue the state in federal court over a constitutional issue, according to David B. Cruz, a constitutional-law expert at the University of Southern California Law School.

Medical-marijuana supporters said clarification is needed between state and federal laws but taking the matter to court is not the way to go.

Filing a lawsuit only hurts those who rely on medical marijuana to ease pain, said supporters, who protested with signs, chants and a bullhorn outside the County Government Center.

Alcina Talbott, 43, of Crestline, said she relies on medical marijuana to treat chronic pain. As a trauma nurse at Arrowhead Regional Medical Center, she was struck in the face by a patient and suffered severe neck and brain injuries. She said she is fully disabled and cannot work.

"I really didn't want (medical marijuana) to work," she said. But with it, "I have a life now with my children."

Alexandra Talbott, 12, told supervisors that the drug has given her mother the energy to be a mom again.

"Medical marijuana is not cruel," Alexandra said.

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Postby palmspringsbum » Fri May 26, 2006 10:07 pm

White, an attorney and a graduate student at Claremont Graduate University, is a refreshing candidate – open, frank, grounded in the classics of philosophy and government. He felt compelled to enter the race, he says, when supervisors voted to sue California over its medical marijuana law, which he points out was passed by the state’s voters and upheld by its Supreme Court. His other passion is improving education.

He’s right that the supervisors are on the wrong side of federalism in trying to force the state to enforce U.S. law. And he’s right that education is critically important. Unfortunately, neither issue falls under normal county governance.

We’d like to see White run for a school board seat in the future. He’s someone who should get involved in government, starting on the ground floor.



The Daily Bulletin wrote:Article Launched: 05/26/2006 12:00:00 AM PDT

Ovitt is our pick for supervisor – with reservations

The Daily Bulletin


Somewhat reluctantly, the Daily Bulletin endorses Gary Ovitt to retain the San Bernardino County 4th District supervisor’s seat in the June 6 primary election.

It’s not that we’re ignoring Ovitt’s many good qualities or the good work he’s done in his abbreviated first term. We give him full credit for accomplishing most of the agenda that he set out when he ran for this office a year and a half ago and for serving his cities and constituents. And we credit him for his initiative to make county government more transparent by posting information about campaign contributions, vendors and contracts online.

Yet he gets a failing grade for conducting the public’s business out of sight of the public – refusing, with the rest of the board majority, to release in a timely manner the county’s reports on its own land dealings, particularly the purchase of a jail in Adelanto.

Ovitt hid behind the ruse of attorney-client privilege – convenient that the investigations and reports were done by a lawyer, Leonard Gumport – until it was no longer tenable, and still refuses to let the public see those reports on the basis that the district attorney’s investigation of the same matters is incomplete.

Though he is a self-professed advocate of open government, Ovitt has not demanded that the District Attorney’s Office wrap up its probe or tell him why it hasn’t. Again, it’s convenient for some that the investigation will not be done before the primary election.

Rather than demonstrating real open-government leadership, Ovitt has fallen into the trap of a bureaucrat who thinks the bureaucracy knows better than the people. He has forgotten that the people elected him to conduct their affairs in their sight to the fullest extent possible, not behind closed doors and in secret reports.

As we said, we appreciate Ovitt’s accomplishments, particularly in the area of public safety. He spearheaded the use of GPS monitoring for high-risk sex offenders and pushed for funding for the anti-gang SMASH unit and an identity theft unit in the DA’s Office. The board added 37 deputy positions and allocated an additional $80 million to the Sheriff’s Department of the rapidly growing county. We endorse the acquisition of the jail – just not the secrecy around the tainted process.

Ovitt has allocated money for sidewalks and roads around schools in his district and to build facilities to train badly needed nurses at Chaffey College’s Chino campus.

Ovitt’s opponent, Kenneth Michael White of Ontario, faults the supervisor for wanting to run county government like a business. That tendency is particularly egregious in Ovitt’s stated desire to have the county’s cities compete to become the site of county facilities – a misguided twist on government’s mandate to place its services where they are needed.

White, an attorney and a graduate student at Claremont Graduate University, is a refreshing candidate – open, frank, grounded in the classics of philosophy and government. He felt compelled to enter the race, he says, when supervisors voted to sue California over its medical marijuana law, which he points out was passed by the state’s voters and upheld by its Supreme Court. His other passion is improving education.

He’s right that the supervisors are on the wrong side of federalism in trying to force the state to enforce U.S. law. And he’s right that education is critically important. Unfortunately, neither issue falls under normal county governance.

We’d like to see White run for a school board seat in the future. He’s someone who should get involved in government, starting on the ground floor.

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Anti-pot suit survives hurdle

Postby palmspringsbum » Tue Jun 13, 2006 6:34 pm

The San Bernardino County Sun wrote:
The San Bernardino County Sun
Crime and Public Safety 6-10-2006
Staff Reports

Anti-pot suit survives hurdle

A lawsuit by San Bernardino and San Diego counties seeking to overturn California's medical marijuana law has survived its first challenge in court.

At a Friday afternoon hearing, a San Diego Superior Court judge denied requests by a marijuana advocacy group, NORML, and the state of California to dismiss a lawsuit by the two counties seeking an injunction against Proposition 215, the voter-approved medical marijuana law.

Opponents of the suit had filed a motion arguing that the counties had no standing or reason to litigate. The court disagreed, stating that the counties' "complaint is sufficient if it shows an actual controversy; it need not show that plaintiff is in the right."

The ruling did not address the merits of the counties' claim that Proposition 215 must be overturned due to conflict with federal drug laws, but San Bernardino County spokesman David Wert said the county was pleased to have won the initial skirmish.

"This is good news for the county and good news for law enforcement," Wert said.


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Protesters seek medical care, not jail

Postby palmspringsbum » Wed Aug 09, 2006 2:24 pm

San Bernardino Sun wrote:Article Launched: 08/09/2006 12:00:00 AM PDT

Protesters seek medical care, not jail

Group wants county to allow medical marijuana use under terms of Prop. 215

Nikki Cobb, Staff Writer
The San Bernardino Sun


SAN BERNARDINO -- A handful of people carrying signs reading ``Give us our medicine'' and ``Stop the war on patients'' protested outside Tuesday's meeting of the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors.

The group was opposed to San Bernardino County's continued policy of arresting marijuana users, even those using the drug for medical purposes.

``We're hoping to get medical i.d. cards reinstated in the county,'' said Richard McCabe, of Johnson Valley. ``They're trying to make criminals out of sick people.''

The protesters believe a state law allowing medical marijuana use trumps a federal law prohibiting the drug in all circumstances.

Proposition 215, passed by California voters in 1996, allows `` ... seriously ill Californians have the right to obtain and use marijuana for medical purposes...''

The Board of Supervisors is joining San Diego County in suing the state for adopting Prop. 215, arguing that it violates federal law which makes no allowances for using marijuana growing, posessing or using it are illegal in the U.S.

A county official affirmed Tuesday that the supervisors' stance has not wavered. The county is still planning to join San Diego County in its lawsuit, the official said.

Chris Laue of Joshua Tree said marijuana eases the pain of his severe arthritis. Unlike the painkillers his doctor initially prescribed, Laue said, he found marijuana to be effective and relatively non-addictive.

Besides chronic pain, marijuana also is used to treat asthma and glaucoma, and to aid stroke patients. Laue said he believes state law takes precedence over federal law, and is lobbying to have San Bernardino County issue medical marijuana i.d. cards, as is done in other parts of the state.

McCabe said he uses marijuana for arthritis, and said with the i.d. cards he knows he's buying high-quality drugs, rather than the mixed bag available on the street.

``Why can't we be like the rest of the state?'' he asked.

Sunshine Laue, Chris Laue's wife, said marijuana eases the aftereffects of a massive stroke she had 35 years ago. She said she wishes the police were on her side, not adversaries, because she feels vulnerable in her marijuana use while it is considered illegal.

``It has helped me tremendously,'' she said of the drug. ``It has calmed me down ... it has made me feel normal again.''

``What's the big deal? It's an herb. It grows in the ground,'' Sunshine Laue said. ``God gave it to us.''

Bobbi Jo Janssen of Johnson Valley, said she is caretaker for her husband, who she has an extremely bad back. Marijuana ``helps tremendously,'' she said.

``I think we havve the right to use the medication that is best for our body,'' Janssen said. ``MD's legal doctors recommended this medication. But we're not allowed to use it.''

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Officials to push medical pot fight

Postby palmspringsbum » Sun Dec 31, 2006 5:11 pm

The Press-Enterprise wrote:Officials to push medical pot fight

LAW: Supervisors in San Bernardino County vote to appeal a judge's ruling backing the state law.

12:15 AM PST on Wednesday, December 20, 2006

By DUANE W. GANG
The Press-Enterprise

San Bernardino County supervisors Tuesday voted to appeal a San Diego County judge's decision this month rejecting their challenge to California's medical-marijuana laws.

The closed-session decision came a week after their counterparts in San Diego County also voted to appeal the decision by Superior Court Judge William R. Nevitt Jr.

Nevitt rejected the two counties' February challenge to the 1996 California law legalizing the use of marijuana to treat the symptoms of illnesses such as cancer, glaucoma and chronic pain.

The two counties argue that they cannot enforce a state law that is weaker than the federal ban on marijuana.

Until the matter is resolved, San Bernardino County has not handed out medical-marijuana identification cards, which help those with a valid physician's recommendation for the drug avoid arrest.

Handing out identification cards gives the false impression that people cannot be arrested for possessing the drug, because federal law makes no exceptions, the county argues.

San Bernardino County's top law enforcement officer praised the decision to appeal Tuesday, while at least a half-dozen supporters of medical marijuana urged supervisors to drop what they said was a costly legal battled doomed to failure.

Sheriff Gary Penrod said Tuesday that the medical-marijuana law poses serious ethical issues, puts deputies in an awkward position and raises difficulties about controlling the plant's sale.

"The abuse is going to be terrible," Penrod said in an interview. "I have deputies who are cross-deputized (to enforce federal law). What do they do?"

But Aaron Smith, the statewide coordinator for the advocacy group Safe Access Now, said the county is trying to flout the will of California voters who approved the use of medical marijuana.

He said continuing with the lawsuit is a waste of taxpayer money and political grandstanding.

"The lawsuit is a sinking ship," he told supervisors.

Decisions made in a closed session of the Board of Supervisors are often announced publicly during a regular meeting. In this case, however, supervisors decided to make the announcement through the county's spokesman.

Supervisors did not indicate their position to medical-marijuana supporters who lined up to speak before the board.

California voters passed Prop. 215 in 1996, making medical marijuana legal. In 2003, lawmakers approved a mandatory state program requiring counties to help the state process applications for medical-marijuana ID cards. Riverside County has issued more than 350 ID cards.

Besides California, 11 other states have decriminalized medical marijuana.

Reach Duane W. Gang at 909-806-3062 or dgang@PE.com

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County to appeal pot ruling

Postby palmspringsbum » Tue Jan 02, 2007 12:26 pm

The San Bernardino Sun wrote:
County to appeal pot ruling

Jeff Horwitz, Staff Writer
San Bernardino County Sun
Article Launched:12/21/2006 12:00:00 AM PST

San Bernardino County isn't prepared to drop its challenge to state-mandated medical marijuana ID cards.

At a meeting Tuesday, the county Board of Supervisors voted to appeal a San Diego court's ruling that issuing the cards did not violate federal narcotics law.

The board's decision isn't based on opposition to medicinal uses of the drug, Supervisor Gary Ovitt said after the meeting.

"It's a law issue," he said, adding that it would put sheriff's officials - some of whom may be called upon to enforce both state and federal law - in a difficult position.

The board took no position on the health benefits of the drug or the state's voter-approved medical marijuana law, he said.

Sheriff Gary Penrod agreed in a written statement issued by the county.

An initial attempt to challenge the law by San Diego, Merced and San Bernardino counties was thrown out by the court.

In a Dec. 6 ruling, San Diego Superior Court Judge William Nevitt Jr. found that counties had solid legal footing to issue cards allowing medical marijuana patients to grow, possess and transport the drug.

But the judge declined to issue an immediate injunction forcing the three counties to immediately issue the cards.

Merced County has since consented to the cards' issuance and will not join the appeal.

"The results are going to be binding statewide either way," said Walt Wall, a deputy counsel for Merced County.

Although California law mandated counties begin issuing the cards last January, more than half of the state's 58 counties have yet to do so.

At the board meeting Tuesday, medical marijuana patients and advocates assailed San Bernardino County's decision to continue its suit.

Ten years of challenges have failed to overturn California's medical marijuana law, said Aaron Smith, state coordinator for Safe Access, a medical marijuana advocacy group.

Other advocates for ID cards argued that withholding legal protections for medical marijuana patients was simply cruel.

"You're going to be pushing sick patients out to the streets to find dealers," said Krista Silva, who said her husband is a patient.

County attorneys have expended roughly $60,000 in staff time on the case to date, though that number does not truly reflect the cost to the county, said county spokesman David Wert. Were the county to have abstained from the suit, it would still have paid its attorneys' salaries.

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Gray Areas

Postby palmspringsbum » Mon Dec 03, 2007 6:53 pm

The Inland Valley Daily Bulletin wrote:Gray Areas

The Inland Valley Daily Bulletin
Tue, 25 Sep 2007
by Will Bigham, Staff Writer


<span class=postbigbold>Conflicting Laws Lead to Arrests, Confusion</span>

California voters passed Proposition 215 - permitting the medical use of marijuana - more than a decade ago.

<table class=posttable align=right width=280><tr><td class=postcell><span class=postcap>ABOUT PROPOSITION 215

The following is the text of Proposition 215:</span>

Section 1. Section 11362.5 is added to the California Health and Safety Code, to read:

11362.5. (a) This section shall be known and may be cited as the Compassionate Use Act of 1996.

(b) (1) The people of the State of California hereby find and declare that the purposes of the Compassionate Use Act of 1996 are as follows:

(A) To ensure that seriously ill Californians have the right to obtain and use marijuana for medical purposes where that medical use is deemed appropriate and has been recommended by a physician who has determined that the person's health would benefit from the use of marijuana in the treatment of cancer, anorexia, AIDS, chronic pain, spasticity, glaucoma, arthritis, migraine or any other illness for which marijuana provides relief.

(B) To ensure that patients and their primary caregivers who obtain and use marijuana for medical purposes upon the recommendation of a physician are not subject to criminal prosecution or sanction.

(C) To encourage the federal and state governments to implement a plan for the safe and affordable distribution of marijuana to all patients in medical need of marijuana.

(2) Nothing in this act shall be construed to supersede legislation prohibiting persons from engaging in conduct that endangers others, nor to condone the diversion of marijuana for non-medical purposes.

(c) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, no physician in this state shall be punished, or denied any right or privilege, for having recommended marijuana to a patient for medical purposes.

(d) Section 11357, relating to the possession of marijuana, and Section 11358, relating to the cultivation of marijuana, shall not apply to a patient, or to a patient's primary caregiver, who possesses or cultivates marijuana for the personal medical purposes of the patient upon the written or oral recommendation or approval of a physician.

(e) For the purposes of this section, primary caregiver means the individual designated by the person exempted under this act who has consistently assumed responsibility for the housing, health or safety of that person.

Sec. 2. If any provision of this measure or the application thereof to any person or circumstance is held invalid, that invalidity shall not affect other provisions or applications of the measure which can be given effect without the invalid provision or application, and to this end the provisions of this measure are severable.</td></tr></table>In some parts of the state, use of the drug is readily accepted by local governments and police departments, with dispensaries and doctors specializing in marijuana openly advertising their businesses.

Such is not the case in the Inland Empire, where medical-marijuana users, dispensers and growers generally face hostile local governments and police departments.

In San Bernardino County, sheriff's deputies are instructed to arrest medical-marijuana users for possession even if they produce a state-sanctioned ID card proving their status as a medical user.

Medical-marijuana dispensaries that have opened without the blessings of local governments have been raided, sued and faced with ordinances barring them from those communities.

Much of the chaos surrounding medical marijuana in the Inland Empire results from ambiguous state laws, conflicts between state and federal law, and the relative newness of the program.

<span class=postbold>Following Federal Law</span>

Although the laws governing the medical use of marijuana were passed at the state level, they are largely implemented and enforced at the county level.

Among local counties, San Bernardino County has the worst record in dealing with medical marijuana, activists say.

"I have heard numerous stories about tough cops in San Bernardino County," said Dale Gieringer, director of the California branch of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.

"People commonly hear that story from the cops: 'I'm going to arrest you and let the courts sort it out. We enforce federal law here."'

The federal government recognizes no medical use for marijuana and does not acknowledge California's medical-marijuana program.

Senate Bill 420, passed in 2003, established a state system that requires county health departments to issue ID cards to those authorized to use marijuana for medical reasons. Los Angeles and Riverside counties have set up their systems; San Bernardino County has not.

The system was designed to prevent medical-marijuana users from being arrested.

San Bernardino County does not recognize cards issued by neighboring counties, and sheriff's deputies arrest medical-marijuana users who would not be arrested in Los Angeles or Riverside counties.

"The sheriff believes that marijuana is illegal," said Cindy Beavers, a spokeswoman for the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department. "There is a federal law that prohibits the manufacturing, sale or use of marijuana, and he does not allow his deputies to accept the medical-marijuana cards."

Lanny Swerdlow, director of the Marijuana Anti-Prohibition Project, was an early advocate for medical marijuana. The Palm Springs resident is particularly knowledgable about medical marijuana in San Bernardino and Riverside counties.

San Bernardino County was ready to issue medical-marijuana ID cards in early 2006, Swerdlow said, but the effort was halted by the Board of Supervisors when the county joined San Diego County's lawsuit against the state, filed because of the medical-marijuana program's conflict with federal law.

Patients arrested in San Bernardino County who have a doctor's recommendation are able to present evidence of that in court, said San Bernardino County Deputy District Attorney Michael Abacherli.

"As long as they have a doctor's medical recommendation, we do not prosecute those cases, because they are excepted," he said. "However, if the recommendations are not in proper form, or they have more than the allowed amount, then we do (prosecute)."

The county's Probation Department takes the position that anyone on probation cannot legally possess marijuana even if they have a doctor's recommendation.

<span class=postbold>Dispensaries Face Resistance</span>

Medical-marijuana users can legally grow marijuana for their own use, but setting up such an operation takes space, time and money that many users do not have.

Most depend on other sources. The most common are medical-marijuana dispensaries, which provide products to users who have a doctor's recommendation.

Until about two years ago, there were no dispensaries in the Inland Empire.

When they started arriving - in Claremont, Pomona, Norco and Corona - they were met with immediate resistance from local governments.

In those four cases, the dispensaries initially approached cities, seeking business licenses and were turned away. They were told that no regulations were in place allowing that type of business.

"They come and apply for a business license and try to do the right thing, and the city doesn't allow them to," Swerdlow said.

Thinking they had state law on their side, the dispensaries opened anyway. All four now are mired in legal battles with the cities in which they opened.

The Claremont and Norco dispensaries are closed pending the outcome of court cases. The dispensary in Corona was raided and shut down in July by federal authorities. And the operator of Pomona's dispensary, Dave Touhey, was arrested in June during a raid of his dispensary.

As the legal issues hit front pages last year, most local cities passed bans and moratoriums on dispensaries, effectively blocking any possibility of others opening in the area. Most recently - just last week-the Norco City Council approved an outright ban on medical-marijuana dispensaries in that city.

The exceptions are Diamond Bar, which allows one dispensary, and Claremont, which in July gave initial approval for a dispensary to open in the city.

Abacherli said many of those who run dispensaries claim to be doing so out of compassion. A closer examination of their finances indicates that's not the only reason, he said.

"A lot of these people are profiting off of ill people," he said. "We're after the people who are taking advantage of those people, or taking advantage of the laws as they stand on the books right now."

<span class=postbold>Ambiguity Creates Problems</span>

In discussing the state's medical-marijuana program, activists, police and government officials can usually agree on only one thing: The state's medical marijuana laws are poorly written.

Proposition 215, approved by voters in 1996, stated in general terms that people who have a medical need for the drug can use it legally. The full text of the law runs less than 400 words.

State officials quickly learned that the brevity of the law was problematic for medical-marijuana users and police, who in the absence of clear direction from the state were clashing over the most basic rights of medical-marijuana users.

A law designed to clarify the proposition, Senate Bill 420, was passed in 2003. It clarified the amount of marijuana a person can possess for medical purposes, and set guidelines for an ID-card program.

But much was still missing: guidelines for the operation of dispensaries, and rules for cultivating the drug in large quantities for medical purposes.

The ambiguity has allowed cities and counties to selectively enforce the guidelines of the program, medical-marijuana activists say.

The dispute is made worse by the state law's conflict with federal law, which is often cited by local governments needing a reason to crack down on medical marijuana.

"We believe that the law is poorly written," said San Bernardino County sheriff's Lt. Greg Garland, head of the department's Narcotics Bureau. "It makes it very unclear what's legal and what's not legal.

"For people who are trying to work within the parameters of what the state is trying to do for the citizens, it doesn't give them enough direction on how to legally obtain and use marijuana.

"On our side of the fence (police), it doesn't specifically state how we determine if somebody is making a profit. How do we show that they are or they aren't?"

One apparent casualty of the law's ambiguity is Paul Shaw, arrested in May along with two other men in connection with a warehouse in Azusa that was filled with marijuana plants.

In a jailhouse interview shortly after his arrest, Shaw said the marijuana was being grown strictly for medical purposes. It was sold and sometimes given away to only dispensary operators, individual users and caretakers.

Darrell Kruse, former operator of a dispensary in Claremont, said he once purchased marijuana from Shaw's warehouse.

Shaw and the other men running the grow operation believed that because the marijuana was being distributed only to medical users, they were legally permitted to grow it.

But because S.B. 420 does not directly address the limits that can be placed on growing medical marijuana, Shaw is facing felony cultivation charges.

Activists say that for dispensaries, there are few other viable alternatives to acquire marijuana, making a large-scale grow operation a natural development in the still-young medical marijuana industry.

"There is no such thing as a legal grow house, so of course medical-marijuana dispensaries are getting their marijuana from illegal sources," said Swerdlow. "The government is creating the problem."
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Lanny is arrested at Drug Free Community Coalition

Postby palmspringsbum » Tue Dec 04, 2007 11:33 am

EMail from Lanny Swerdlow wrote:EMail from Lanny Swerdlow - 3 Oct 07:

I'm arrested at Drug Free Community meeting

Hi,

At the Drug Free Community Coalition meeting this evening, I was arrested for, get this, battery. Here's the story.

In the past few emails I have written about a new group formed to fight medical marijuana dispensaries. Made up mainly of current and former law enforcement folks, they have wrapped themselves in the mantle of protecting our children from drugs to mask their main goal of developing public opposition to medical marijuana. This is seen in the recent oped column (http://www.dailybulletin.com/opinions/ci_7021530) written by their chief organizer Brenda Chabot who authored a vitriolic column attacking medical marijuana as "decoy for drug legalization."

These people are seeking federal grants (i.e. your tax dollars) to pay themselves and their expenses to destroy the medical marijuana movement. I have always believed in "know your enemy," so I decided to go the meeting and find out just who these people were and what they were all about. Although it was not necessary, they did request that people coming to the meeting RSVP so they would have some idea how many folks would be there. I did send them an email RSVP and was sent an email back stating that they hoped "you can make the event."

When I got to the meeting at the James Bulte Senior Center in Rancho Cucamonga, I went to the room where the meeting was to be held. In front was a table where they asked that you sign an attendance sheet. While signing the sheet, I was accosted by Paul Chabot, the organizer of the event, whom I think was aware that some supporters of medical marijuana might attend. He asked what was in the small box I was carrying. I said there was information about medical marijuana in the box. Standing by was an aide to former San Bernardino Supervisor and now Assessor Bill Postmus http://www.sbcounty.gov/assessor who recognized me from watching videos of our TV show on You Tube and informed everyone there of that fact.

At that point, the impeccably dressed, coifurred and I might venture to add really cute Mr.Chabot, informed me that I was not an invited guest and I would have to leave. I informed him that indeed I was an invited guest having received an email response invite to my RSVP. I asked him why he was afraid to have me attend the meeting and he said he just didn't want people like me in there. I told him I had received an invite and I had driven all the way from Palm Springs because I wanted to know what this group was all about.

At that point I walked around the table and past Mr. Chabot who was standing in front of the door. As I walked inside and looked around to see what kind of crowd there was, I asked if there was reporter there as I felt Mr. Chabot's paranoid fear of me might be of interest. I had been led to believe that a reporter from the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin was going to cover this meeting due to that paper's coverage of this organization in recent editions of the paper. There were not very many people there ­ I counted 26, seven of whom where medical marijuana advocates who had come to see what this group was all about as well.

Mr. Chabot followed me in and informed me and everyone else in the room, that I was not invited and that I would have to leave. I repeated that I had received an invitation and then announced to them that I was director of a medical marijuana patient support group and that they did not want me there for that reason. One woman turned to me and said in a genuinely surprised tone of voice "medical marijuana?" I said yes and handed her a pamphlet out of the box. I then handed out some pamphlets and took my seat in the back row.

At this point a very visibly agitated Mr. Chabot informed me that if I did not leave, he would call the police. At this point a lady from the Senior Center came up to me and said I would have to leave. I asked her why and she said I was disrupting the meeting. I said I was invited and I intend to stay and listen. She asked me if that was all I was going to do and I said yes, I wanted to learn about these people She said "okay, then you can stay if you're not going to disrupt the meeting." I said I had no intention of doing anything of the kind and she started to walk away, but Mr. Chabot went up to her and said he didn't want me there so she then asked me to leave. I said no, I am invited guest, I drove all the way from Palm Springs and I am here to learn what these people are up to. She walked away.

Everything seems to settle down and the meeting began. The first speaker was Brenda Chabot, the author of the medical marijuana hit piece in the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin. She explained about the organization. After about ten minutes she was getting ready to introduce the main speaker, Paul Chabot, when in walked a Rancho Cucamonga police officer and asked me and three others of us to step out into the hallway.

In the hallway, he asked why we were there and I told him that we wanted to find out who these people were because they were going to use federal money to attack and undermine California's medical marijuana laws. He said that they wanted us to leave because we were not invited. I explained that I had received an email inviting me to attend. He then asked to speak to me privately and I said whatever it is he wanted to talk to me about, he could do it front of the other people.

He then informed me that Mr. Chabot was having him arrest me for assault and battery because Mr. Chabot claimed that I pushed him when I walked past him into the meeting room. He had me put my arms behind my back and then very tightly handcuffed me and marched me out of the hall and into his waiting police car.

After about an hour of sitting in the car while the police questioned some of the people and ran background checks on the four of us who were there and questioned me as well, the officer issued me a citation citing me for battery. They informed me that they were not doing this because they had seen anything but doing it because Mr. Chabot was pressing charges against me. They were very courteous the entire time and I suspect that they felt this was all a crock, but, if I understood them correctly, they had no choice but to arrest me because Mr. Chabot was adamant in filing charges .

During my 90 minutes spent in handcuffs I did have some interesting conversations with the police officers ­ yes, police officers. The four of us were such dangerous felons that the Rancho Cucamonga Police felt it necessary to have three police cars and four police officers there.

They informed me that San Bernardino County doesn't recognize the ID card and I informed that they are required to recognize the card because state law says they have to. Then they came up with the old stick about federal law and I explained to them about Sec. 3.5 of the California Constitution.

What was really interesting to me was that they knew about the ID card and they knew about the federal/state nonsense, so this issue is obviously of some concern that ordinary routine officers were aware of the issues. But I realized their awareness was only what they had been told by law enforcement and that they had not been exposed to either the legal issues on our side or the importance of marijuana for the health and welfare of so many members of the community.

One of the officers said he would never smoke it. I asked him why and he replied because it's illegal. This is so typical ­ the reason for abstaining has nothing to do with it's being bad for you or makes you do crazy things, but just because it's illegal. Denying himself and his community the benefits of this ancient herb has absolutely nothing to do with marijuana and everything to do with marijuana prohibition.

He even seems to recognize that marijuana is not a problem as he glanced up with a slight nod when I stated I bet you have a lot more problems with people drunk on alcohol than you do stoned on pot.

It was around then that the handcuffs were taken off and a citation was handed to me charging me with battery. They asked then asked if I would give them some of the pamphlets I handed out at the meeting. I knew it was for some kind of evidence but I always relish giving out information on marijuana. I said sure and got out enough pamphlets for every officer there.

I gave them each a set and, this is so bizarre, they stood there for at least five minutes as I gave them the pamphlets and explained to them what each one was about. I explained about Russo's Long Term Use Study and Tashkin's lung cancer study and then gave them copies of the Press Enterprise article that ran last Saturday and explained how effective marijuana is relieving pain.

I then invited them to come to one of our meetings and learn about the health and medical benefits and meet some patients and talk to them. I don't really know if they were just being polite and courteous or if they were hoping I would say something incriminating or if they were genuinely interested, but they heard me out.

What we sometimes forget, is that a lot of police are on our side. 70% of the country supports medical marijuana and although I am sure the percentage is lower among police due to their indoctrination and fear of losing some jobs, police officers are not going to be that out of line with the general publics attitudes on this or other issues. LEAP (Law Enforcement Against Prohibition) is an organization of active and retired police who are working openly and effectively to end this country's insane, ineffective and inhumane prohibition laws. But LEAP cannot be everywhere and do everything ­ mmj activists and patients need to educate police in their local communities. Of course how best to do that is something I am short on ideas right now, but if anybody out there has any suggestions I would very much like to hear them.

As for Mr. and Mrs. Chabot and the hundreds of thousands of folks whose livelihood and financial security are directly tied to prohibition and the million plus Americans imprisoned because of it, I doubt if you could ever reason with them.

Getting back to the "incident," I am scheduled to appear in court on Wednesday, Dec. 5 at 8 a.m. at the Rancho Cucamonga Superior Court. I have no idea how this works when the police arrest you because someone else files charges against you. I intend to find out and defend myself as best I can. If I get the charges .dismissed or I am found not guilty, I intend to sue Mr. Chabot for false arrest as I did not push him or even come into bodily contact.

As a former police officer, Mr. Chabot used his knowledge to have me arrested in retaliation for my presence there and my challenge to his position on medical marijuana dispensaries. Mr. Chabot is a professional speaker who now earns his living doing this kind of thing and I imagine no one has ever challenged him on any of this. Not only do I threaten his professional integrity but also their paranoid fear of legalized marijuana threatens his and his wife's financial integrity. His hotheaded reaction to these perceived threats and my subsequent arrest would, if my lawsuit is successful against him, seriously deplete whatever nest egg he has set aside for a rainy day.

No matter what happens, the Chabots and their Drug Free Community Coalition better get used to seeing us if they are going to operate in the Inland Empire and continue their attacks on California's medical marijuana laws. The article his wife authored claims medical marijuana is a decoy for drug legalization. We are not going to let them to get away with this tactic of not having to discuss the merits of medical marijuana by changing the subject to drug legalization. We are not going to let this group of interlopers try to take us back to the time when any medical use of marijuana was illegal.

Riverside County has made great strides especially in the light of where this county was five years ago. San Bernardino County is somewhat where Riverside County was five years ago but there are two cities, Claremont and Diamond Bar in SB County that allow dispensaries. We have come to far and achieved too much to let anyone stop us now. We will do what we can to see to it that patients in the Inland Empire continue to have access to sources of medicinal marijuana and that laws of the state of California are respected by all.

Lanny

<table class=posttable><tr><td class=postcell><span class=postcap>Reminders:</span>
<ul class=postlist><li>Indian Wells City Council meeting on banning mmj dispensaries ­ Thursday, Oct. 4 at 1:30 p.m., Indian Wells City Hall, 44-950 El Dorado Drive in Indian Wells.</li>

<li>Medical Marijuana Health Seminar 1 p.m.</li>

<li>MAPP monthly meeting featuring Don Duncan from ASA - 3 p.m.</li>

Both meetings take place at the Cathedral City Library, 33520 Date Palm Drive in Cathedral City.</ul></td></tr></table>
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Med Marijuana Opponent Lacks Facts

Postby palmspringsbum » Tue Dec 04, 2007 2:54 pm

The Inland Valley Daily Bulletin wrote:Med Marijuana Opponent Lacks Facts

The Inland Valley Daily Bulletin
Mon, 08 Oct 2007
Lanny Swerdlow

<span class=postbold>Lanny Swerdlow, R.N., is a resident of Palm Springs and director of the Marijuana Anti-Prohibition Project, an Inland Empire medical marijuana patient support group.</span>

Marijuana has been used as medicine for over 5,000 years by every civilization in human history. None has ever crumbled due to its use. Over the last 70 years, however, it has morphed into a plant so dangerous that America spends up to $20 billion a year arresting over 825,000 Americans.

According to an Aug. 21 article in the Daily Bulletin, Brenda Chabot, author of the Sept. 30 Point of View column "Medical marijuana a decoy in effort to legalize all drugs," is a former probation officer and her organization, Drug Free Community Coalition, is composed mainly of members with "backgrounds in law enforcement." They are the real decoy and are organized to protect law enforcement's access to this bottomless pit of taxpayer money. Anything that has the scent of legalization threatens their livelihoods and sends her into paroxysmal fits of "the sky is falling."

Claiming that "marijuana is a dangerous, addictive drug that poses significant health threats," Chabot does not cite a single peer-reviewed study showing any significant detrimental effects for the vast majority of cannabis consumers. There are no such studies. After a two-year study, Drug Enforcement Administration Judge Frances Young ruled that "marijuana in its natural form, is one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to man ... there is no record in the extensive medical literature describing a proven, documented cannabis induced fatality ... by contrast aspirin, a commonly used over-the-counter medicine, causes hundreds of deaths every year."

Chabot cites a "comprehensive study in 1999" by the Institute of Medicine, stating that "the study concluded that smoking marijuana is not recommended for the treatment of any disease condition." But the executive summary for that study clearly states "there is no clear alternative for people suffering from chronic conditions that might be relieved by smoking marijuana, such as pain or AIDS wasting."

Disregarding the vast number of peer-reviewed studies documenting marijuana's effective symptomatic relief for a large number of ailments, especially those of senior citizens such as chronic pain, depression, insomnia, nausea, arthritis and appetite loss, Chabot ignores the thousands of doctors who recommend medicinal cannabis and Health Canada, which approved the sale of tincture of cannabis in 2005.

Chabot lauds the pharmaceutical drug Marinol as a substitute for marijuana even though it less effective and has undesirable side effects. Marinol is synthetic THC, the major pharmacologically active ingredient in marijuana. The difference between synthetic THC and natural THC found in marijuana is that the pharmaceutical companies can patent synthetic THC and sell Marinol for $10 a pill. They can't patent marijuana just as they can't patent aspirin and will lose billions of dollars if medical marijuana becomes available.

Polls conducted by CNN, Time and AARP consistently show over two-thirds of Americans approving the use of marijuana medicinally. The public can make intelligent informed decisions, but Chabot blames the media for the "misperception that marijuana is harmless or may even have health benefits."

Chabot claims these misperceptions lead teens to "believe that marijuana can cure cancer." They know something she doesn't. Studies conducted by Dr. Manuel Guzman at Spain's Compultense University Department of Biochemistry demonstrate that cannabinoids found in marijuana "are selective antitumor compounds, as they kill tumor cells without affecting their non-transformed counterparts."

Research conducted by Dr. Donald Tashkin of the UCLA School of Medicine found that smoking marijuana does not cause lung cancer and provided evidence that people who only smoke marijuana are less likely to develop lung cancer than people who don't smoke anything at all.

Failing to report the threats made by Riverside County District Attorney Grover Trask and U.S. Attorney Tom O'Brien to arrest elected officials that allow dispensaries to operate, Chabot's praise that they are "standing up against the plight of medical-marijuana dispensaries" rings hollow. Claremont, Diamond Bar and Palm Springs should be commended for allowing dispensaries to operate and for not caving in to the bluffs, bullying and blackmail of law enforcement.

Licensed, regulated and taxed medical marijuana dispensaries provide valuable services. The only research-based report on dispensaries concluded, "Oakland's permitted dispensaries continue to function without excessive drain on police resources. Three of the four dispensaries provide additional social services to their patients and the surrounding community."

I challenge Ms. Chabot to participate in a public forum bringing her medical experts to debate our medical experts about the safety and health benefits of marijuana. WARNING - Holding your breath waiting for Chabot and the Drug Free Community Coalition to engage in a public forum could be dangerous for your health.
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Update drug laws

Postby palmspringsbum » Mon Feb 11, 2008 12:13 am

The San Bernardino Sun wrote:
Update drug laws

The San Bernardino Sun
February 6, 2008

The ruling by our state's Supreme Court concerning the firing of an individual for using doctor-prescribed marijuana is only the latest demonstration that our laws, state and federal, need to be drastically changed.

Doctors must be given the authority to prescribe any substance that has a proven pharmacological benefit.

In England there is a treatment known as the Brampton's Cocktail, which has as one of its key ingredients heroin.

It allows those suffering severe pain to function close to normally, whereas using medications legal here results in an almost comatose state.

Those who argue that some would take advantage of a loosening of our laws need to realize that the fastest-growing drug problem in the United States is the abuse of prescription medications. This has been shown by numerous studies as well as the headlines covering addiction and abuse by high-profile individuals from all walks of life and political persuasions from liberal Hollywood to conservative talk radio.

The results in other countries with more logical drug laws show that their results are no worse when drugs currently illegal in the U.S. are allowed to be prescribed.

Finally, under current laws any doctor or patient who abuses prescription medication can be, and have been, prosecuted.

It needs to be science deciding what is and is not beneficial in the treatment of patients, not those who "feel" a substance is "evil."

That there are those who will abuse just about anything imaginable from caffeine to exercise does not mean we should outlaw any substance and activity that could possibly be abused. We need to realize that there are no evil substances, only people misusing them for evil purposes.

Ritalin is a prime example. It is very effective in treating a number of disorders from ADD in children to adrenal failure in adults, yet is widely abused on the street as speed, methamphetamine. We should not outlaw any substance if it has been shown to have a legitimate medical use.

CHRIS DALY
Yucaipa

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County's stance on medical marijuana remains up in the air

Postby palmspringsbum » Wed Mar 11, 2009 2:45 pm

The San Bernardino Sun wrote:County's stance on medical marijuana remains up in the air

The San Bernardino Sun
Mike Cruz, Staff Writer
Posted: 03/08/2009 08:07:26 AM PDT


SAN BERNARDINO - While San Bernardino County officials are still awaiting judicial direction for the state's medical marijuana laws, law enforcement's stance appears to have thawed recently on the controversial issue.

The county and its former sheriff, Gary Penrod, have long maintained that state laws created under the passage of Proposition 215 in 2006 run afoul of federal drug laws.

Officials with the Sheriff's Department still say there are conflicts between the state and federal laws, but they add that deputies have "some latitude" when faced with possible medical marijuana cases.

The issue arose last week when the District Attorney's Office dismissed marijuana-related charges against a Johnson Valley couple when their several dozen plants were deemed as "falling within the medical marijuana laws."

Assistant District Attorney Dennis Christy doesn't believe that his office's position has been altered. Instead, he points to medical marijuana guidelines issued in August by the state Attorney General's Office.

"I don't know that it's been a change," Christy said . "We are a county agency and subject to state law."

Felony charges relating to marijuana possession and sales were dismissed last Monday against Richard McCabe, 66, and his 75-year-old wife JoAnn Cates. However, Cates still pleaded guilty to possession of illegal mushrooms.

Prosecutors caution against applying the outcome of the McCabe/Cates case to others in the county, saying that each has its own set of facts.
Deciding between legitimate and criminal uses of marijuana while evaluating the cases can be tough sometimes.

"It's not always an easy call. It can be pretty difficult," Christy said. The guidelines aid prosecutors in making the right decision and help the public stay within Proposition 215's intended purpose, he said.

The law does not allow patients to grow medical marijuana and then give or sell it to others, according to the guidelines. Collectives can grow the drug, but they must be operated by patients or primary caregivers and for their own use, Christy explained.

Law enforcement is keeping a watchful eye for anyone trying to use the law to run a screen or scheme for distributing and selling marijuana. Persons running unlawful enterprises still face arrest.

The county Board of Supervisors has not said how it will handle issues like medical marijuana dispenseries, distribution to those dispenseries, and identification cards for patients.

The county has filed papers before the U.S. Supreme Court seeking guidance on the issue. Officials joined San Diego County in a 2006 lawsuit in which a judge ruled in favor of the state.

The state Court of Appeal affirmed the ruling, and the state Supreme Court declined to consider the county's further appeal. The county maintains it needs the direction from the court to move forward.

"That's why we keep appealling it, we're not getting the direction that we're looking for," said county spokesman David Wert.

A Superior Court case was filed in January by a Crestline man who wants to stop Sheriff's deputies from arresting medical marijuana users. The case comes before the court again Thursday in Needles.

The number of people impacted by the medical marijuana laws in the county is relatively small, officials with the Sheriff's Department say. It has no position on the issue and just wants direction on the conflict of laws.

"Whatever the Supreme Court says, we'll abide by it," said Lt. Rick Ells, a department spokesman.

Where it all comes together...
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Re: County's stance on medical marijuana remains up in the a

Postby palmspringsbum » Wed Mar 11, 2009 2:49 pm

palmspringsbum wrote:
The San Bernardino Sun wrote:County's stance on medical marijuana remains up in the air

The San Bernardino Sun
Mike Cruz, Staff Writer
Posted: 03/08/2009 08:07:26 AM PDT


SAN BERNARDINO - While San Bernardino County officials are still awaiting judicial direction for the state's medical marijuana laws, law enforcement's stance appears to have thawed recently on the controversial issue.

The county and its former sheriff, Gary Penrod, have long maintained that state laws created under the passage of Proposition 215 in 2006 run afoul of federal drug laws.

Officials with the Sheriff's Department still say there are conflicts between the state and federal laws, but they add that deputies have "some latitude" when faced with possible medical marijuana cases.

The issue arose last week when the District Attorney's Office dismissed marijuana-related charges against a Johnson Valley couple when their several dozen plants were deemed as "falling within the medical marijuana laws."

Assistant District Attorney Dennis Christy doesn't believe that his office's position has been altered. Instead, he points to medical marijuana guidelines issued in August by the state Attorney General's Office.

"I don't know that it's been a change," Christy said . "We are a county agency and subject to state law."

Felony charges relating to marijuana possession and sales were dismissed last Monday against Richard McCabe, 66, and his 75-year-old wife JoAnn Cates. However, Cates still pleaded guilty to possession of illegal mushrooms.

Prosecutors caution against applying the outcome of the McCabe/Cates case to others in the county, saying that each has its own set of facts.

Deciding between legitimate and criminal uses of marijuana while evaluating the cases can be tough sometimes.

"It's not always an easy call. It can be pretty difficult," Christy said. The guidelines aid prosecutors in making the right decision and help the public stay within Proposition 215's intended purpose, he said.

The law does not allow patients to grow medical marijuana and then give or sell it to others, according to the guidelines. Collectives can grow the drug, but they must be operated by patients or primary caregivers and for their own use, Christy explained.

Law enforcement is keeping a watchful eye for anyone trying to use the law to run a screen or scheme for distributing and selling marijuana. Persons running unlawful enterprises still face arrest.

The county Board of Supervisors has not said how it will handle issues like medical marijuana dispenseries, distribution to those dispenseries, and identification cards for patients.

The county has filed papers before the U.S. Supreme Court seeking guidance on the issue. Officials joined San Diego County in a 2006 lawsuit in which a judge ruled in favor of the state.

The state Court of Appeal affirmed the ruling, and the state Supreme Court declined to consider the county's further appeal. The county maintains it needs the direction from the court to move forward.

"That's why we keep appealling it, we're not getting the direction that we're looking for," said county spokesman David Wert.

A Superior Court case was filed in January by a Crestline man who wants to stop Sheriff's deputies from arresting medical marijuana users. The case comes before the court again Thursday in Needles.

The number of people impacted by the medical marijuana laws in the county is relatively small, officials with the Sheriff's Department say. It has no position on the issue and just wants direction on the conflict of laws.

"Whatever the Supreme Court says, we'll abide by it," said Lt. Rick Ells, a department spokesman.

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LETTER: Marijuana tax would make millions

Postby palmspringsbum » Sat Apr 11, 2009 12:56 pm

The Hi-Desert Star wrote:
Editorial

LETTER: Marijuana tax would make millions

The Hi-Desert Star | Published: Wednesday, April 8, 2009 1:06 AM CDT


Scott Logan
Morongo Valley

It costs $2 to grow a pound of pot, which sells for about $4,000. Around 37 million people live in California. Around 3.5 million admit using marijuana. Around 10 percent of those are medicinal users. Around 70,000 of those 3.5 million were arrested in 2007, or roughly 5 percent.

Now let’s crunch some numbers. Medical marijuana users admittedly consume at least one pound per person per year at a cost of between $870 million up to $2 billion, generating a potential tax base of $70 million to $120 million. Factor in the remaining 90 percent of recreational users and you have about $13 billion already being spent with a potential tax base in the low billions of dollars.

Instead, the whole amount goes straight to the black market and cartels.

In response, California spends about $160 million to interdict, arrest, prosecute and incarcerate marijuana “offenders,” who constitute the bulk of all drug arrests. The net result of that expenditure is a whopping 95 percent failure rate!

No one needs an economics degree to figure out how massive a failure this is.

Sadly, what should be a matter of compassion at least and freedom to choose at best has boiled down to cold, hard economic fact. Had California considered the moral and economic high ground years ago, we may have remained solvent. We can reconsider our options, now that we are faced with disaster, or we can continue to pursue a failure of mammoth porprtions with a net gain of zero. Either way, marijuana and its consumers will remain.

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SB County health department to present proposed fees for med

Postby palmspringsbum » Thu Jul 02, 2009 12:29 am

The Daily Bulletin wrote:SB County health department to present proposed fees for medical marijuana ID cards

The Inland Valley Daily Bulletin
Joe Nelson, Staff Writer
Created: 06/21/2009 07:03:53 AM PDT

The county's Public Health Department has put together a proposal for a medical marijuana identification card program in terms of costs and hours of operation.

Proposed fees for the identification cards are $166 per card for caregivers and non Medi-Cal patients and $83 per card for Medi-Cal patients.

On Tuesday, the Board of Supervisors will hear the proposal during a public hearing. It will come back to the board on July 14 for adoption.

The board will also consider Tuesday adopting an "urgency interim ordinance" that would place a temporary moratorium on the issuance of permits for medical marijuana dispensaries until the county can formulate development code provisions and design standards for dispensaries.

On May 18, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal from San Bernardino and San Diego counties, who argued that the federal law outlawing marijuana possession and use under any circumstance pre-empted California's Compassionate Use Act, which allows for the possession, cultivation, transport and use of marijuana per a physician's recommendation.

The U.S. Supreme Court's decision ended a three-year legal battle to thwart the identification card programs in San Bernardino and San Diego counties.

Still, those desiring to obtain identification cards in San Bernardino County may still find themselves waiting. Finishing touches still need to be put on a pending lawsuit involving the county and a Crestline man, Scott Bledsoe, who sued the county in January over its refusal to implement an identification card program.

"Part of the problem is the person who initiated the lawsuit against the county has not signed off on the (settlement) agreement," said Burt Southard, spokesman for board chairman Gary Ovitt. "Until Bledsoe signs off on the agreement, very little is going to be going forward."

He said county officials have repeatedly tried contacting Bledsoe in the last month, but haven't been successful.

Reached by telephone Friday, Bledsoe said he spoke via telephone with Matt Brown, chief of staff for Second District Supervisor Paul Biane, on Thursday.

Bledsoe, 37, said he subsequently called his attorney, who informed him he hadn't heard from Brown or any other county officials.

He said he's going to err on the side of caution.

"We probably don't want to give up the litigation until the county does what it's supposed to be doing," Bledsoe said. "The only thing we're asking them to do is comply with state law."

If approved, the county Department of Public Health would operate the identification card program six hours a day Monday through Friday, excluding holidays. Hours of operation would be from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., with a one-hour break for lunch from noon to 1 p.m.

The health department expects to serve about 250 to 300 patients and caregivers a year, and those wanting to pick up an application can do so by dropping by the department's main office at 351 N. Mountain View Ave. in San Bernardino.

Patients will have to reapply for their cards every year.

The program is expected to cost the county about $30,000 for the 2009-2010 fiscal year.

Forty-eight counties in California have implemented medical marijuana identification card programs, and the state has distributed about 30,000 cards in those counties, according to the state.
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