California, Alameda

Medical marijuana by county.

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California, Alameda

Postby palmspringsbum » Fri Apr 07, 2006 2:59 pm

<span class=postbold>See Also</span>: Ordinance O-2005-25

<span class=postbold>See Also</span>: Alameda County General Code Title 6 Chapter 108

The Daily Review Online wrote:Article Last Updated: 04/05/2006 5:13 AM PDT

Medical marijuana clinic picture clears
Alameda County remaps allowed dispensaries

FROM STAFF REPORTS
www.insidebayarea.com


OAKLAND — Two years ago, unincorporated areas were atwitter when medical marijuana clinics began moving south after Oakland downsized the number of dispensaries allowed to operate within city limits.
Almost overnight, six cannabis clubs opened in Ashland and Cherryland, joining the longstanding We Are Hemp in San Lorenzo.

On Tuesday, Alameda County supervisors literally "mapped" the future of clinics in Ashland, Castro Valley, Cherryland and San Lorenzo.

With Supervisor Scott Haggerty absent, supervisors Keith Carson, Alice Lai-Bitker, Nate Miley and Gail Steele voted to adopt a revised map identifying where no more than three dispensaries can operate in unincorporated areas.

The change will be effective in 30 days.

The vote was taken without comment, either from supervisors or the public.

The geographical mapping is in addition to a 2005 decision by supervisors to limit the number of clinics to three, and to set up a permit application process.

Thus far, in Ashland alone, one club closed voluntarily and another closed after its permit application was denied.
Last edited by palmspringsbum on Fri Apr 07, 2006 8:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby palmspringsbum » Fri Apr 07, 2006 7:29 pm

Inside Bay Area wrote:Article Last Updated: 04/06/2006 2:51 AM PDT

Future of pot clinics mapped out, literally County supervisors identify local limits on medical cannabis clubs

www.insidebayarea.com
FROM STAFF REPORTS



OAKLAND — Two years ago, unincorporated areas were atwitter when medical marijuana clinics began moving south after Oakland downsized the number of dispensaries allowed to operate in city limits.
Almost overnight, six cannabis clubs opened in Ashland and Cherryland, joining the longstanding We Are Hemp in San Lorenzo.

On Tuesday, Alameda County supervisors literally mapped the future of clinics in Ashland, Castro Valley, Cherryland and San Lorenzo.

With Supervisor Scott Haggerty absent, supervisors Keith Carson, Alice Lai-Bitker, Nate Miley and Gail Steele adopted a revised map identifying where no more than three dispensaries can operate in unincorporated areas. The change will be effective in 30 days.

The vote was without comment, either from supervisors or the public.

The geographical mapping is in addition to a 2005 decision by supervisors to limit the number of clinics to three, and to set up a permit application process.

Thus far, in Ashland alone, one club closed voluntarily and another closed after having its permit application denied. Tuesdays action:

-Added the Garden of Eden dispensary on Foothill Boulevard in south Cherryland to east Ashland-Castro Valley, known as Area Three. With A Natural Sources closing, the Garden of Eden is guaranteed the permit for this area.

- The Garden of Edens move to Area Three leaves the Alameda County Resource Center and Compassionate Caregivers of Alameda County to compete for the operating permit in Area Two, northwest Ashland and the rest of south Cherryland.

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Postby palmspringsbum » Mon Apr 10, 2006 5:19 pm

The Tri Valley Herald wrote:Article Last Updated: 04/10/2006 2:47 AM PDT

Alameda proposes ban on pot candy
FROM STAFF REPORTS
The Tri Valley Herald


Alameda County's Board of Supervisors moved a step closer to enacting a ban on pot-flavored candy last week, voting 4-0 to ban the treats in unincorporated areas of the county.

A final vote to enact the ban is scheduled for Tuesday. If approved, the ban would go into effect 30 days later.

Supervisor Nate Miley, who proposed the ban, said the candy is being used to promote marijuana use to kids. He likened the product to candy cigarettes or alcohol-flavored popsicles, which he said are marketed to young people.

"I don't want to have marijuana promoted to young people," Miley said. But he was quick to add that he still supports the medicinal use of marijuana.

He said people working with a local group trying to halt substance abuse found the candy in a local store and asked Miley to do something to stop its sale.

One of the main makers of the treats, Tony Van Pelt of Chronic Candy, said his lollipops, gumdrops and chocolate — some of which are flavored with hemp essential oil, which is legal — are meant for adults only.

Supervisor Scott Haggerty was absent from the board's Tuesday meeting and did not vote.

If passed, Miley said he has been told this would be the first ban of its kind in California.

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Postby palmspringsbum » Tue Apr 11, 2006 10:28 am

Inside Bay Area wrote:Article Last Updated: 04/11/2006 3:23 AM PDT

Haze clears for marijuana dispensaries

Number of clinics in county's unincorporated areas continues to fall

FROM STAFF REPORTS
www.insidebayarea.com


Like bowling pins, the number of medical marijuana clinics in unincorporated areas continues to tumble.

A Natural Source on Foothill Boulevard in Ashland closes Friday. And in three weeks, after new boundaries are effective for medical marijuana dispensary sales areas, a lottery will result in either an Ashland or Cherryland cannabis club biting the dust.

None of which will happen too soon for sheriff's Capt. Dale Amaral, who's got the "law" part taken care of and now would like to see just a little "order."

Amaral is in charge of issuing and regulating three prized permits for medical marijuana sales in Ashland, Castro Valley, Cherryland and San Lorenzo.

The lottery, he admitted Monday, has him a little concerned.

"We've asked the county counsel what procedure we should follow," Amaral explained. "I sure don't want how we conduct the lottery to be litigated. We need to know how it's been conducted here in the past, or what they recommend."

Two years ago, the unincorporated areas had seven cannabis clubs. In 2004 county supervisors began a process to regulate them, including limits on the number of clubs and stringent permit procedures.

Now five clubs are operating and three area permits are available. County supervisors didn't adopt a map defining the areas until April 4, to accommodate a boundary shift between two areas.

We Are Hemp on Lewelling Boulevard in San Lorenzo is the only dispensary to win permit approval for Area One, San Lorenzo and north-central Cherryland. The Garden of Eden dispensary on Foothill Boulevard in south Cherryland has been added to east Ashland-Castro Valley, known as Area Three.

Amaral said the Garden of Eden almost has completed its background checks, most notably security conditions at its building, and "appears to qualify for" the Area Three permit. A Natural Source's closure will leave the Garden of Eden as the only outlet in Area Three.

Area Two, northwest Ashland and south Cherryland, is left with two dispensaries: the Alameda County Resource Center in Ashland and Compassionate Caregivers of Alameda County of Cherryland. These businesses have passed preliminary reviews to qualify for the lottery.

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Postby palmspringsbum » Tue Apr 11, 2006 5:50 pm

The Contra Costa Times wrote:Posted on Tue, Apr. 11, 2006

Alameda County to issue medical pot ID

By Chris Metinko
CONTRA COSTA TIMES

The Alameda County Board of Supervisors today unanimously approved a contract for a company to provide identification cards to medical marijuana users in the county.

Alameda County Patient Services and its parent company, OCB Cooperative Inc., will be in charge of verifying applicants' eligibility and need for medical marijuana, as well collecting fees and issuing the cards.

Jeff Jones, executive director of OCB, said that while the cards are not mandatory, they may be useful to people who fear legal hassles from police or are worried about entering a dispensary to buy medical marijuana. Currently, a patient needs only proof that he or she is a resident of the state and a doctor's note prescribing use of marijuana.

Jones estimates there are between 7,000 and 12,000 medical marijuana users in Alameda County. The identification cards will expire after one year.

The Alameda County Public Health Department decided to contract the identification card program to an outside business because the department lacks the resources and knowledge necessary to run it.

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Postby budman » Wed Jul 12, 2006 3:43 pm

The Oakland Tribune wrote:Article Last Updated: 07/12/2006 07:40:30 AM PDT

County supervisors vote to issue IDs for marijuana users

$50 fee will be lessened for Medi-Cal patients

The Oakland Tribune, FROM STAFF REPORTS



Starting Aug. 1, Alameda County will issue medical marijuana identification cards that will be recognized by county marijuana dispensaries and by law enforcement statewide.

The Alameda County Board of Supervisors voted 4-0 Tuesday to set a $50 fee for the cards, which will be issued by the Oakland Cannabis Buyers' Cooperative. Board President Keith Carson was absent.

The cards will be the only ones recognized by marijuana dispensaries in the county's unincorporated areas, according to a county staff report.

The cards will be part of a statewide identification system and will be recognized by state and local law enforcement, according to the staff report.

County public health management analyst Pam Willow said 20 counties are providing the cards so far, though two — San Diego and San Bernardino — have launched court challenges questioning their obligation to provide marijuana or the identification cards.

The public health department estimates about 10,000 of the cards will be issued in the county each year, and that about a quarter of the people applying for the cards will qualify for a Medi-Cal fee reduction that will cut the cost of the card in half.

Patients will need to provide proof of identity, a doctor's recommendation for the marijuana and proof of Alameda County residency. The cards will be good for one year.changes are approved by the board...


Contact Rebecca Vesely at rvesely@angnewspapers.com.

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Alameda County Processing Medical Marijuana ID Cards

Postby budman » Fri Aug 04, 2006 12:02 pm

<span class=postbold>That condition must substantially limit the ability to conduct one or more major life activities as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. </span>

I've never seen this before, it is a restriction in violation of Proposition 215.

Being 'disabled' was never meant or stated to be a requirement for a medical marijauna recommendation and/or exemption from state law criminalizing the cultivation, possesion, and use of marijuana.

The law says, <i>"or any other illness for which marijuana provides relief"</i>.

KTVU wrote:Alameda County Processing Medical Marijuana ID Cards

POSTED: 7:33 am PDT August 2, 2006
KTVU

ALAMEDA CO. -- Alameda County public health officials said that on Tuesday they began processing medical marijuana identification cards for eligible county residents.

The Medical Marijuana Identification Card Program, which was established by the state legislature, enables counties to administer a voluntary card registration program that identifies medical marijuana patients and caregivers.

Patients can use the identification card as evidence that they have received a recommendation from their physician to use marijuana for medicinal purposes.

However, Alameda County officials stress that the state's program doesn't protect patients from federal prosecution for possession of marijuana.

Alameda County Health Officer Dr. Anthony Iton said in a statement, "By implementing this card program Alameda County marijuana patients will have access to convenient proof of their status. We believe that this is a valuable service to both patients and law enforcement."

The Alameda County Public Health Department has contracted with Alameda County Patient Services to process medical marijuana identification cards that actually will be issued by the state Department of Health Services.

Neither the Public Health Department nor Patient Services will dispense marijuana. Patients will be given a list of dispensary sites where medical marijuana can be purchased once they have an ID card.

To be eligible for the county's medical marijuana ID card program, a person must reside in Alameda County, be 18 years or older (if under 18, written proof of emancipation or approval from the minor's parent or legal guardian is required), and have a serious or chronic medical condition.

That condition must substantially limit the ability to conduct one or more major life activities as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.

Eligible persons must have a recommendation from a physician indicating that medical marijuana is appropriate for their condition.

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Postby palmspringsbum » Fri Aug 04, 2006 12:36 pm

Being 'disabled' was never meant or stated to be a requirement for a medical marijauna recommendation and/or exemption from state law criminalizing the cultivation, possesion, and use of marijuana.

This is serious.

It is an erosion of 215 and must be challenged as such immediately. If it is upheld and becomes part of case law, it will be used to prosecute the four doctors the feds are going after in San Diego. :motz:

As well as everyone else: club-owners, co-ops, growers, doctors, etc...

The medical marijuana movement is making the same mistake the gay-rights movement made, holding the big guns for last - as a last resort, while spending all their capital pursuing obscure technicalities or taking the cases where there is less to lose and only incremental progress. And thereby, in losing their peripheral points, building a body of case law against the very goal they seek to advance, to the point that their central argument - such as the right of an individual to be sovereign of their body - is imperiled.

I feel my beef is a prime example, throwing everything we've got at protecting the clubs while ignoring the right of an individual patient to grow their own in their residence without being evicted. I think that is the most important, most fundamental right of the movement, because without that patients are just cash-cows and cannon-fodder for the cash-croppers.

And particularly DISABLED patients who subsist on disability.

I thought this movement was about freeing patients from being slaves to their source. :hilfe:
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Honey Oil Cases Tests Limits of Medical Pot Law

Postby budman » Mon Sep 18, 2006 12:16 pm

KCBS 740 AM wrote:Honey Oil Cases Tests Limits of Medical Pot Law

KCBS 740 AM
September 17, 2006

<table class=posttable align=right width=175><tr><td class=postcell><img src=bin/leaf_medium.jpg></td></tr></table>SAN RAMON, Calif. (KCBS) -- The manufacture of a marijuana extract popular with medical cannabis users who require large doses of pot to control their symptoms is putting Prop. 215 to the test.

The Alameda County District Attorney is trying to prosecute three people for manufacturing a controlled substance, charges with more severe penalties that are usually reserved for makers of crack cocaine and methamphetamine.

The two men and a woman were arrested after a San Ramon townhouse exploded in February. Firefighters who entered the burning building discovered a “marijuana product called honey oil was being manufactured using what are called honey bee extractors,” said Deputy District Attorney Dana Filkowski.

Making honey oil requires butane, said Filkowski as she explained the volatile process to KCBS reporter Dave McQueen. The pot is crushed and then flooded with butane to extract the active chemicals from the plant.

The honey oil was intended for patients at a medical marijuana dispensary in Richmond, and the case has prompted outcry from medical marijuana advocates.

“The D.A. is making a mistake,” said William Dolphin with Americans For Safe Access. “This is an effective way to get larger doses without having to ingest larger material.”

“Honey oil is merely an extract of the cannabis plant. There's no chemical difference between honey oil and what you get in the whole plant, so it's really nothing different than what people would commonly consider to be marijuana,” Dolphin said.

The charges sought by Filkowski do not address any medical value the honey oil might have. The issue is the manufacturing process, which she said poses a serious public safety threat.

The makeshift San Ramon lab threatened the entire townhouse complex, Filkowski maintains. She claims entire townhouse complex could have gone up in flames if not for a good sprinkler system.

“The medical marijuana defense does not apply to the statute that relates to chemical manufacturing,” she said. “The legislature seems to be saying that the defense is not going to extend to the more dangerous conduct.”

So whether consuming the drug is legal, or quasi-legal as it has been in California since Prop. 215 passed and many cities and counties chose to de-prioritize enforcement of federal drug laws, does not guarantee that producing it is legal.

Many counties have passed ordinances allowing small quantities of marijuana to be grown for medicinal consumption. A guilty verdict in this case could begin a push to relax some drug manufacturing statutes.

(jro)


<i>Copyright 2006, KCBS. All Rights Reserved. </i>
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Trio accepts deal in pot 'honey oil' case

Postby Midnight toker » Thu Sep 21, 2006 4:08 pm

The Contra Costa Times wrote:Posted on Wed, Sep. 20, 2006

Trio accepts deal in pot 'honey oil' case

By Bruce Gerstman
CONTRA COSTA TIMES

SAN RAMON - Three men who were making a cannabis product for medical marijuana patients have pleaded no contest to felony charges in the county's first pot case involving a manufacturing charge

Prosecutors have reserved such charges for methamphetamine and rock cocaine cases.

Superior Court Judge William Kolin on Tuesday imposed a three-year suspended state prison sentence on William Stoeckel, 20, Ashley Stoeckel, 24, and 24-year-old Eric Hughes, prosecutor Dana Filkowski said Tuesday.

As part of a plea agreement, the trio will serve six months in County Jail. If they violate their five-year probation, a judge could send them to prison, Filkowski said.

The trio were making "honey oil" - a concentrated form of cannabis - by adding butane to marijuana in February in the garage of the San Ramon home when an explosion caused a fire.

The District Attorney's Office dismissed charges of possessing marijuana for sale, conspiracy and poisoning, Filkowski said. The office will dismiss the cultivation charges in five years if the defendants successfully serve their probations.

The plea agreement forbids any of the men from using butane, even common cigarette lighters, she said. They cannot care for patients using medical marijuana or participate in cannabis clubs.

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Pot clubs heading for mainstream

Postby palmspringsbum » Wed Jan 17, 2007 9:13 pm

The Daily Review wrote:
Pot clubs heading for mainstream

<span class=postbold>Three Cherryland dispensaries may start collecting sales taxes on products </span>

By Karen Holzmeister, STAFF WRITER
Inside Bay Area
Article Last Updated:01/17/2007 02:54:23 AM PST

What's next, joining chambers of commerce?

Unincorporated Alameda County's three medical marijuana clinics are on their way to becoming part of the business mainstream.

Last year at about this time, the county awarded prized operating permits to the Cherryland clinics. Now, efforts are under way to:
<ul class=postlist>
<li> Determine whether the clubs will collect 8.75 percent in state and local sales taxes on the pot products they dispense. </li>

<li> Set up a computer system to regulate the amount of hemp sold, to ensure that sure customers don't stroll from club to club, loading up as they go. </li>

<li> Possibly review one club's interest in setting up an on-site kitchen to produce cannabis cookies and other products. </li>
</ul>
The clubs are We Are Hemp on Lewelling Boulevard, Compassionate Caregivers of Alameda County on Mission Boulevard and Garden of Eden on Foothill Boulevard.

Compassionate Caregivers suggested collecting sales tax from its customers, said Bob Swanson, an aide to Alameda County Supervisor Nate Miley, whose district includes Cherryland. The request is under review.

Paying tax on marijuana products helps to legitimize sales, Swanson pointed out. In California, all tangible products are taxable, except food and prescription medication.

While marijuana sales, cultivation and possession are illegal under federal law, states such as California offer limited protection under laws passed in 1996 and 2004.

In large part, marijuana sales and use is regulated locally. In the county's unincorporated areas, customers can buy up to 8 ounces at one location by presenting medical marijuana and photo identification cards.

Winslow Norton, a co-owner of Compassionate Caregivers, declined to comment. Adele Morgan, co-owner of We Are Hemp, could not be reached Monday or Tuesday. Dennis Roberts, an Oakland attorney representing the Garden of Eden, said assessing and paying sales taxes "is a good idea."

The Board of Equalization, which is responsible for administering California's sales- and use-tax programs, "treats medical marijuana as taxable merchandise," spokeswoman Anita Gore said Tuesday.

Medical marijuana sales outlets can register with the Board of Equalization as retailers, and the tax owed to the state would be based on total sales, she explained.

Compassionate Caregivers also is interested in cooking and selling products made with marijuana or marijuana derivatives, Swanson and sheriff's Capt. Dale Amaral confirmed. The proposal would require permits from the county's planning and health departments.

Amaral said his department monitors the sales outlets to ensure they "stick by the rules" established by the county.

One problem is ensuring that each outlet has no more than

20 pounds of marijuana on site. Another is keeping track of operator-provided security at each location, to guarantee safety inside and out.

Sheriff's deputies also follow up on complaints of people smoking marijuana outside outlets and selling their newly purchased marijuana to others on the street.

The county began imposing tighter regulations after cannabis clubs — forced out of other areas — began crowding into unincorporated areas in 2003 and 2004. After seven clubs clustered near each other in Ashland and Cherryland, county supervisors banned additional clinics and eventually decided to limit the number to three.

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Sheriff Calls For Halt Of Revision To Medical Pot Ordinance

Postby palmspringsbum » Tue Dec 04, 2007 10:18 pm

The Oakland Tribune wrote:Sheriff Calls For Halt Of Revision To Medical Pot Ordinance

The Oakland Tribune
Wed, 10 Oct 2007
Karen Holzmeister, Staff Writer

<span class=postbigbold>Supervisors Urged to Consult With Law Enforcement</span>

OAKLAND -- Color him skeptical.

Sheriff Greg Ahern on Tuesday questioned the proposed update of Alameda County's medical marijuana dispensaries ordinance and what the regulation is trying to accomplish.

He wants county supervisors to call a temporary halt to a yearlong ordinance revision and sit down with law enforcement to evaluate what should be permitted.

"Do the governing officials of Alameda County want to have an ordinance allowing easy access to marijuana by young adults, or do they want to work on an ordinance that may provide a small, limited amount of mariuana to elderly people who are very ill?" he asked.

Ahern clearly believes that young, healthy men are in the driver's seat when it comes to buying cannabis at three county-permitted marijuana sales outlets in Cherryland.

"You see a 25-year-old male running up (to the dispensary) and he doesn't appear to be in any immediate need of medical marijuana," Ahern contended.

And, as sheriff's Capt. Dale Amaral noted, deputies eyeballing the dispensaries don't see older people in wheelchairs, on crutches or using oxygen tanks entering to buy marijuana.

Ahern's suggestion, which hasn't formally gone to supervisors yet, surprised Supervisor Nate Miley, the county's point man on dispensaries.

The three Cherryland marijuana sales businesses are in his supervisorial district.

"This is news to me," Miley said when told of Ahern's statements. "I didn't know the sheriff didn't support the (revised) ordinance."

Miley noted that he supported, and law enforcement opposed, California Proposition 215.

The voter-enacted law allows people with a valid doctor's prescription to possess and cultivate pot for personal use.

While the county needs to eliminate abuse of the state law, "we can't have such a restrictive ordinance that it won't allow patients to get medical marijuana," Miley said.

The county issued operating permits to the three dispensaries during the last two years. During this time, patrons have been the victims of two homicides along with robberies and burglaries, Ahern said.

Amaral called the Compassionate Collective of Alameda County, on Mission Boulevard in Cherryland, a "high-volume nuisance."

The proposed amendments to the current medical marijuana law would allow the dispensaries to carry hashish, a more concentrated and potent form of cannabis. The clinics also would be outlawed from carrying food made with marijuana.
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Federal Agents Raid Marijuana Dispensary

Postby palmspringsbum » Fri Dec 07, 2007 7:40 pm

The Oakland Tribune wrote:Federal Agents Raid Marijuana Dispensary

The Oakland Tribune
Wed, 31 Oct 2007
Jason Sweeney, Staff Writer


<span class=postbigbold>Activists Protest Arrests of Two Alameda County Business Owners</span>


CHERRYLAND -- Federal agents raided a medical marijuana dispensary in Cherryland early Tuesday, prompting activists to converge on the location in protest.

The Compassionate Collective of Alameda County, at 21222 Mission Blvd. near Blossom Way, just north of Hayward, was invaded at 6 a.m. by employees of the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Internal Revenue Service. The Alameda County Sheriff's Office provided security and traffic control during the raid.

Sites in Oakland, Berkeley, Lafayette and Albany also were raided in connection with the dispensary bust, officials said.

The dispensary's owners -- Winslow Norton, 26, of Lafayette and Abraham Norton, 23, of Oakland, who are brothers -- were arrested and held without bail in connection with the raid.

A federal grand jury indicted the Norton brothers for conspiracy to distribute more than 100 kilograms of marijuana, maintaining drug-involved premises, conspiracy to launder money and money laundering, according to a press release from the Department of Justice.

In the raid, agents reportedly seized several hundred pounds of marijuana, packaging materials and about $200,000 in cash. Several vehicles including two late-model Mercedes cars and a Ford F-250 pickup, three motorcycles, two bank accounts, two IRAs, a home in Lafayette and acommercial building in Albany also were seized.

The DEA and IRS began investigating the Nortons' dispensary about a year ago. The dispensary generated sales of more than $74,000 in 2004, $1.3 million in 2005, $21.5 million in 2006 and $26.3 million through June 2007, according to the Department of Justice.

The drug conspiracy count has a statutory maximum term of imprisonment of 40 years and a minimum of five years, along with a $2 million fine and at least five years of supervised release.

Bob Swanson, constituent liaison to Alameda County Supervisor Nate Miley, said he was on the scene observing the raid and would be reporting back to the county Board of Supervisors.

"This is a federal raid based on federal law. It's truly unfortunate that the DEA feels they have to come in and waste taxpayer dollars to keep medical marijuana from patients.

"As far as we know, (Winslow and Abraham Norton) were operating within the (county) ordinance and within state law," Swanson said.

Two other permitted marijuana dispensaries in unincorporated Alameda County were not raided Tuesday, Swanson said.

A DEA van and sheriff's patrol cars were parked in front of the dispensary for much of the day Tuesday as agents searched the building. Agents had gone in through a window, leaving shattered glass on the sidewalk. Sheriff's deputies kept a crowd of more than a dozen protesters behind a police line.

Oakland resident Sonnet Seborg-Gabbard, 24, a member of the medical marijuana advocacy group Americans For Safe Access, arrived on the scene after members of her group were alerted to the raid.

"We've alerted all of our patients," she said. "We're here to show support for the operators."

Seborg-Gabbard handed out signs in English and Spanish to the gathering crowd. Patients of the clinic held up signs that said, "We're patients. We are not criminals."

Charles Matthews, 21, a patient from Alameda, said he uses marijuana for back pain and migraines. "We're not criminals," Matthews said.

Adam Haselben, 21, of San Jose said he suffers from severe headaches.

"This is the best pharmacy around. It has the highest-quality medicine at the most compassionate prices."

Americans For Safe Access spokesman Kris Hermes said his organization has tracked 46 DEA raids of medical marijuana dispensaries this year. He said there were 20 raids last year.

"This facility was permitted by Alameda County," Hermes said. "The DEA is intent on undermining local and state law."

In 2005, The Daily Review reported that Winslow Norton was arrested with his girlfriend in Mendocino County in April of that year on suspicion of transporting 40 pounds of marijuana. Norton apparently had told Mendocino County deputies that he was transporting the marijuana to the Compassionate Cooperative of Alameda County.

Norton's father, Michael Norton, tried to post their bail but had $150,000 seized by Mendocino County deputies.

In March 2001, Michael Norton of Berkeley was sentenced to 21/2 years in federal prison for wire fraud and tax evasion in connection with a coffee importation business, according to FDA Consumer Magazine. Apparently, Michael Norton was mixing coffee imported from Central America with Kona coffee and falsely labeling it as 100 percent Kona coffee, which costs more.
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Feds raid seven East Bay medical pot sites

Postby palmspringsbum » Sun Dec 16, 2007 4:28 pm

The Mercury News wrote:Feds raid seven East Bay medical pot sites

The San Jose Mercury News
October 30th, 2007


Federal officials raided seven locations in the East Bay this morning that were connected to a medical marijuana dispensary in Hayward, officials said.

The Compassionate Collective of Alameda County, on Mission Boulevard in unincorporated Hayward, was raided at 6 a.m. by federal Drug Enforcement Administration and the sheriff's office. Agents from the Internal Revenue Service were also at the raid.

Two other sites in Hayward, another two in Oakland, one in Lafayette and another in Berkeley were also raided in connection with the dispensary, officials said.

Two men who are brothers were arrested in connection with the raid, but officials had no other information about their identity or roles in the operation.

Those operations grew and packaged medical marijuana, officials said.

A warrant was served at the Hayward dispensary, at 21222 Mission Blvd., according to the sheriff's office.

Several patients at the clinic are holding signs, saying "We are not criminals" in English and Spanish.

Charles Matthews, 21, a patient from Alameda, said he uses marijuana for back problems and migraines. "We're not criminals, it's not like crack or (chemical) drugs. It's natural, it soothes you," Matthews said.

Adam Haselben, 21, of San Jose, said he suffers from severe headaches.

"This is the best pharmacy around. It has the highest quality medicine at the most compassionate prices." About the raid, Haselben said "It's pretty much pointless. They come in, take everything and leave and it opens up again."
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Two brothers arrested, accused of drug dealing

Postby palmspringsbum » Sun Dec 16, 2007 5:18 pm

The Mercury News wrote:Two brothers arrested, accused of drug dealing

<span class=postbigbold>HAYWARD: Lafayette house among sites raided; men face marijuana distribution, money laundering charges</span>

by Jason Sweeney, Paul Thissen and Scott Marshall, Mercury News
October 31st, 2007


Federal agents arrested two brothers early Tuesday and seized a Lafayette house after they were indicted on charges that they ran a multimillion-dollar drug operation out of a Hayward-area medical-marijuana collective.

Winslow Norton, 26, of Lafayette and Abraham Norton, 23, of Oakland were indicted on charges of conspiring to distribute more than 220 pounds of marijuana and money laundering, among other allegations.

The three-bedroom house in Lafayette is on Cowan Road in a hilly, densely wooded area that was quiet until the raid occurred.

"I heard somebody screaming, it was, like, 3:30, maybe quarter to four. ... 'Open the door! Open the door!'" said next-door neighbor Maryanna Sandurson.

She said the house sold in February for $1.5 million. The previous owner told Sandurson's gardener that he was paid $1 million in cash. The previous owner stayed a bit after February, and nobody new moved in until June. But they never really moved in, she said, just came and went.

"You never saw moving vans," she said, noting that people came and went at odd hours.

"We never saw anybody there," except sometimes for lights on at night, said another neighbor, Richard Lininger.

At 6 a.m. Tuesday, federal Drug Enforcement Administration and Internal Revenue Service agents raided the Compassionate Collective of Alameda County at 21222 Mission Blvd. near Blossom Way, just north of Hayward.

The Nortons had used an armored car service to move drug proceeds to banks from the collective, where they employed armed guards, prosecutors allege. Sales from January to June totaled more than $26.3 million; last year, $21.5 million; and $1.3 million in 2005, up from $74,000 in 2004, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

In other raids Tuesday that also included sites in Oakland, Berkeley and Albany, federal agents reportedly seized several hundred pounds of marijuana, packaging materials and about $200,000 in cash. Also seized were two late-model Mercedes-Benz cars, a Ford F-250 pickup, three motorcycles, two bank accounts, two Individual Retirement Accounts and a commercial building in Albany.

The Hayward raid drew a handful of protesters and some criticism.

Bob Swanson, constituent liaison to Alameda County Supervisor Nate Miley, said he was there to observe the raid and would report back to the county Board of Supervisors.

"This is a federal raid based on federal law," Swanson said. "It's truly unfortunate that the DEA feels they have to come in and waste taxpayer dollars to keep medical marijuana from patients."

"As far as we know, (Winslow and Abraham Norton) were operating within the (county) ordinance and within state law," he said.

Reach Jason Sweeney at 510-293-2469 or jsweeney@bayareanewsgroup.com. Reach Paul Thissen at 925-943-8163 or pthissen@bayareanewsgroup.com.
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Ballots Sent Out in San Lorenzo

Postby palmspringsbum » Tue Dec 18, 2007 11:04 pm

The San Leandro Times wrote:Ballots Sent Out in San Lorenzo

by Amy Sylvestri, <a class=postlink target=blank href="http://www.ebpublishing.com/*ws4d-db-query-Show.ws4d?*ws4d-db-query-Show***DBD-CDA-278279283286287280-1447***-Database***-***sltimes(directory)***.ws4d?sltimes/column(R).html">San Leandro Times</a>
November 28th, 2007


The San Lorenzo Village Homes Association will soon be sending out ballots to fill one seat on the association’s five-member board of directors, and address the issue of medical marijuana dispensaries in unincorporated areas like San Lorenzo, Ashland, and Cherryland.

The ballots are mailed out with the regular newsletter and two people per household may vote. The 5,600 households in the association have two months to return their ballots.

On the ballot, voters will choose between an argument written by Village Homes Association president Wulf Bieschke against the way that medical marijuana dispensaries are run in the area, and Alameda County Supervisor Nate Miley’s counter argument in favor of the existing system.

Since voters passed Proposition 215, state law permits people with prescriptions to obtain medical marijuana at licensed dispensaries.

Bieschke feels that the law is unclear about distribution guidelines and these dispensaries are disproportionately located in unincorporated areas. Currently, there are two dispensaries near San Lorenzo.

“Basically we are asking residents whether they support the way dispensaries are being run currently,” said Bieschke.

Bieschke said that the issue is not the legality of medical marijuana, but rather the location of the dispensaries. For Bieschke, the issue came back to the forefront after San Leandro resident Gary Jones was robbed of his prescription marijuana and murdered shortly after leaving a Cherryland dispensary last June.

“We are just trying to pool our members about the state’s current position and get feedback and present their opinions to our supervisor,” added Bieschke.

In the election for the board seat, Village Homes Association board incumbent Jim Sherman is running against lifelong San Lorenzo resident Mel Medeiros.

Sherman has served on the board for 20 years and works for the San Lorenzo Unified School District. Medeiros started a neighborhood watch association and recently retired from his job with the East Bay Municipal Utilities District.

As part of their platforms, both candidates emphasized community involvement and having San Lorenzo’s downtown retail center revitalized.

“Being on the board is about getting involved and serving your community,” said Sherman. “In general, I would like to see people get more involved, we all live in the same village and we’re all trying to look out for each other.”

“Being on the board is more than just attending a meeting once a month,” added Sherman. “I go out in the community and do things like drive-by check ups of property and I completed the sheriff’s citizen’s academy.” Like Sherman, Medeiros said the key to San Lorenzo’s future is public involvement.

“Since I’ve retired, I’ve had an opportunity to get more involved,” said Medeiros, adding that he would like San Lorenzo to have more of a say on a county-wide level.

Medeiros added that he would like to see more commercial developments replace the empty storefronts downtown.

“I’ve lived in San Lorenzo all my life and raised my family here, but now it’s going through changes,” said Medeiros. “I want to bring back a part of the past. I think that some people who have only been here a few years don’t know how the village thrived.”

The winning candidate will take a seat on the board for a three-year term.

Village Homes Association members can expect their ballots the first week of December and they must be returned by Jan. 31.
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Pot issue goes on Village Homes ballot

Postby palmspringsbum » Tue Dec 18, 2007 11:21 pm

The Daily Review wrote:Pot issue goes on Village Homes ballot

<span class=postbigbold>San Lorenzo critics question operation of dispensaries</span>

by Rachel Cohen, The Daily Review
November 25th, 2007


SAN LORENZO — Along with two names on the ballot for one open seat on the San Lorenzo Village Homes Association board will be a question about whether residents want the board to approach the county about how medical marijuana dispensaries are being operated.

"We in San Lorenzo would like to know from our members if they feel the county should continue to operate them in their current form," said Homes Association President Wulf Bieschke. "A lot of residents feel the wool has been pulled over their heads."

Ballots will be mailed the first week of December with the newsletter and assessments, and are due back Jan. 31. The newsletter also will include arguments about whether to support medical marijuana in the county's unincorporated areas. Bob Swanson, chief of staff for Fourth District Supervisor Nate Miley, wrote the pro statement, and Bieschke wrote the con argument.

The Homes Association board decided to add the marijuana dispensary ballot question after the recent Oct. 30 federal raid on a Mission Boulevard dispensary.

In the raid, agents from the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Internal Revenue Service invaded the Compassionate Collective of Alameda County, at 21222 Mission Blvd. near Blossom Way. The business, which has now been shut down, was in Cherryland, an unincorporated part of the county that borders San Lorenzo to the east.

State law — under voter-passed Proposition 215 — and federal law conflict on medical marijuana possession, which has led to a series of raids throughout the Bay Area in the past year. State law makes medical marijuana legal for people with prescriptions and limits how much of the drug may be on site at the dispensaries, while federal law prohibits all marijuana possession.

Bieschke added that state law also does not have clear guidelines on distribution.

Federal investigations found that the Compassionate Collective of Alameda County, in its fourth year of operation, had generated $26.3 million in sales in the first half of 2007, through June. The dispen-sary's owners were indicted for conspiracy to distribute more than 100 kilograms of marijuana, maintaining drug-involved premises, conspiracy to launder money and money laundering, according to the Department of Justice.

"If we had $54 million (roughly the total amount the dispensary has generated) in sales tax, that would really help our community, but we're not seeing that," Bieschke said at the meeting.

He explained that when medical marijuana began being dispensed in county areas, residents were sold on the idea because they were told the county health department would regulate the dispensaries. However, this has not happened, he added.

"If it's really compassionate distribution, then let's sell it at county hospitals," Bieschke said. "They're in the red. Fifty-four million dollars in sales would pay for a lot of that red ink."

Bieschke also argued that the cities of San Leandro and Hayward have blocked marijuana dispensaries, though there are still two left in the unincorporated areas — one of which is on Lewelling Boulevard near Mission Boulevard. Area dispensaries for been blamed for attracting crime and detracting from other retail businesses.

"I have no problem with the use of medical marijuana for any type of ailment," Bieschke said. "It's just the way it is being dispensed, and why are the dispensaries in the unincorporated area only?"

San Lorenzo resident Keith Barros asked, "Who is driving this?" in regard to the marijuana dispensaries in the unincorporated county area, and he said that Compassionate Collective dispensary was one of Miley's largest campaign contributors.

The Alameda County Registrar of Voters Office shows that Miley received $5,000 in contributions from Compassionate Collective of Alameda in May.

In 2004, Bieschke filed a lawsuit about marijuana distribution because he felt the county Board of Supervisors was bucking federal law. A judge ruled against the suit and it ended because of the cost of an appeal.

Staff from the office of 3rd District Supervisor Alice Lai-Bitker, who represents San Lorenzo, responded with the statement, "Supervisor Lai-Bitker appreciates information on how unincorporated residents feel about issues. On the medical marijuana issue, the Board of Supervisors will need to weigh the needs of medical marijuana patients against the concerns about how the pot clubs are being run."


Staff writer Jason Sweeney contributed to this report.
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San Lorenzo House Fire Caused By Marijuana Growing Operation

Postby palmspringsbum » Thu Apr 02, 2009 5:43 pm

The Daily Review wrote:San Lorenzo House Fire Caused By Marijuana Growing Operation

Monday, March 23, 2009 8:55 PM
By Jason Sweeney, The Daily Review, Hayward, Calif.

Mar. 23--SAN LORENZO -- A residential fire Friday on Via Sonata was caused by the homeowner overloading his electrical outlets while conducting a marijuana growing operation in his home, according to authorities.

Alameda County fire officials responded at 10:48 p.m. with three fire engines, one fire truck and a heavy-rescue unit to the blaze at a single-family home on the 15700 block of Via Sonata, Alameda County Fire spokeswoman Aisha Knowles said.

Fernando Ramos, 27, came out of his burning home with his pregnant wife and 2-year-old child, and told firefighters and deputies that he had a legal marijuana growing operation inside. He said he had a cannabis card and a grower's permit, Alameda County Sheriff's Sgt. J.D. Nelson said.

But Ramos was stealing electricity from PG&E for lamps used to grow the plants, which he sold to two cannabis clubs in Oakland, Nelson said.

The fire was knocked down within about 20 minutes, Knowles said. Deputies then found 285 mature and immature burned marijuana plants in the home and arrested Ramos in connection with his marijuana operation and on suspicion of stealing electricity, Nelson said.

"He was well above the limit of personal use," Nelson said. "Common sense would tell you if you are stealing electricity, then you know it's not a legal activity."

A person can legally grow six mature plants or 12 immature plants for personal use under Proposition 215 guidelines.

The San Lorenzo Village Homes Association board discussed changes to medical marijuana ordinances in the county at its meeting Thursday, and concerns were raised about homes being used for growing marijuana.

"It's not only a fire hazard, but having something like that growing opens up the possibility of crime in the neighborhood," San Lorenzo Village Homes Association President Wulf Bieschke said about Friday's fire.

The association has scheduled a meeting at 6:30 p.m. April 22 at the San Lorenzo Community Hall, 377 Paseo Grande, with the county board of supervisors to provide community input about a county ordinance being proposed to regulate medical marijuana.

Ramos, who is free on bail, appeared before a judge Monday and had a plea hearing set for 9 a.m. April 16 in Department 502 at the Hayward Hall of Justice.

Reach Jason Sweeney at 510-293-2469 or jsweeney@bayareanewsgroup.com.

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Marijuana ordinance to get airing in San Lorenzo

Postby palmspringsbum » Wed Apr 08, 2009 2:51 pm

The Daily Review wrote:Marijuana ordinance to get airing in San Lorenzo

By Jason Sweeney
The Daily Review
Posted: 04/07/2009 04:02:39 PM PDT

SAN LORENZO — Concerns over medical marijuana dispensaries in unincorporated Alameda County will be discussed later this month at a public meeting with the Alameda County Board of Supervisors.

The April 22 session will mark the first Board of Supervisors meeting to be held in San Lorenzo, officials said.

"The community is going to give input on what conditions the dispensaries should be allowed to run," San Lorenzo Village Homes Association administrator Nancy Van Huffel said, adding that local residents want to have a say on security requirements, hours of operation and location, among other conditions.

A large crowd is expected for the meeting. Speakers at a recent meeting of the Village Homes Association voiced concern that large numbers of marijuana advocates from other counties might show up.

The current county ordinance allows for three medical marijuana dispensaries in the unincorporated areas of Alameda County. However, guidelines released in August by state Attorney General Jerry Brown permit dispensaries only if they qualify as a statutory cooperative or a collective.

"The Board of Supervisors will review current developments around medical marijuana regulations, including the attorney general's opinion and any new court cases and how those new developments affect the county's medical marijuana dispensary ordinance," the office of Supervisor Nate Miley said in a statement. "Supervisor Miley hopes that the results of the meeting will be that the Board of Supervisors gives county counsel direction on revising our ordinance so that we can continue to provide medical marijuana to patients in the unincorporated communities."

Of the three dispensaries that have operated locally since 2005:
<ul class="postlist"><li> The Compassionate Collective of Alameda County at 21222 Mission Blvd. in Hayward closed in 2007 after a Drug Enforcement Administration raid.</li>

<li> The Garden of Eden at 21227 Foothill Blvd. in Hayward recently shut down voluntarily.</li>

<li> We Are Hemp at 931 E. Lewelling Blvd. in Cherryland was raided in late 2008 and shut its doors, but reopened about three weeks ago. According to an employee, it is now operating as a collective — defined as "an entity that is incorporated with the state and conducts its business for the mutual benefit of its members."</li></ul>
Reach Jason Sweeney at 510-293-2469 or at jsweeney@bayareanewsgroup.com.

<span class=postbold>IF YOU GO</span>

WHAT: County supervisors meeting on medical marijuana ordinance
WHEN: 6:30 p.m. April 22
WHERE: San Lorenzo Community Hall, 377 Paseo Grande

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Court Upholds Injunction in Voting Machine Case

Postby palmspringsbum » Mon Jun 29, 2009 2:28 pm

Courthouse News Service wrote:Court Upholds Injunction in Voting Machine Case

By NICK DIVITO
Courthouse News Service| 17 Jun 09

(CN) - Alameda County must make certain materials available to voters who question election outcomes when electronic machines are used, a California appeals court ruled. It also found a trial court's award of $875,000 in attorneys' fees excessive.

The 1st Appellate District Court of Appeal pointed out in its opinion, however, that the injunction is limited in scope to Diebold Accuvote-TS direct-recorded electronic voting machines, which the county stopped using shortly after the contested 2004 vote.

Americans for Safe Access sued Alameda County in an attempt to recount the results of Measure R, which would have loosened limits on growing medical marijuana in Berkeley, Calif. The measure lost by 191 votes.

The ASA demanded a recount and asked to see internal access logs and test reports that it claimed would show whether the electronic voting software was manipulated. It also wanted documents reflecting the chain of custody of electronic data.

The registrar denied that request because he did not consider the documents relevant to the outcome. Instead, the registrar conducted a hand recount of paper ballots, but the outcome did not change.

The ASA sued, and in February 2008, the trial court ordered that all future elections conducted in Alameda County shall produce for public examination relevant election materials "in connection with an election that is the subject of a recount, including audit logs, redundantly stored vote data, complete chain of custody information and all logic and accuracy test reports."

The appellate court affirmed the injunction in part, "with the provisio that it is to be narrowly construed."

The trial court also reduced the $1 million in legal fees requested by Santa Monica, Calif.-based law firm of Strumwasser & Woocher's to $875,000. The firm argued that the amount was justified because of the novelty of the litigation and the fact that the legal ordeal spanned 40 months.

But the San Francisco-based appeals court ordered the trial court to recalculate the amount, and questioned whether the case was as complex as the firm indicated. It also added that the firm had already litigated similar issues in Riverside County.

The court called the fees high "for work involving only the meaning of 'relevant material.'"

Americans for Safe Access vs. County of Alameda
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