Click on Magazine to see December 2011 Issue!!!!
RAND Retracts Marijuana Study
How many tax dollars were needed to find out this didn't work? -UA
Public safety advocates widely criticized the report and questioned the study's data, prompting the Santa Monica-based think tank to review its study.
The review found the study did not include crime data reported by the Los Angeles Police Department, according to RAND, which plans to conduct a new analysis that could take months to complete.
The study's authors were unaware that data from third-party crime mapping service CrimeReports.com did not include LAPD data, RAND Vice President of Infrastructure, Safety and Environment Debra Knopman said.
"The whole idea of the study was to try to get insight as to whether or not there was an effect on crime, whatever direction, as a consequence of the city's closure order of some dispensaries. Having an incomplete data set renders that kind of analysis invalid," Knopman said.
She called the retraction a "rare failure" of the company's peer review system.
"We take our commitment to quality and objectivity seriously, so we have retracted the study in order to correct it," Knopman said.
Going forward, RAND will be obtaining crime data directly from police departments, instead of CrimeReports.com, Knopman said, adding, "I don't want to suggest in any way that they misrepresented the data or that they have any responsibility."
California Pot Shop Laws: Gov. Brown Gives Cities The Power
At least the power didn't go to the feds. -UA
Bill AB 1300 (PDF), proposed by Assemblyman Bob Blumenfield of Woodland Hills, allows cities to regulate the medical marijuana dispensaries in their area. It also allows cities to file civil or criminal claims against them for violations.
Blumenfield told the Los Angeles Times, "the new law will provide a framework for stability after years of struggling with a Wild West, lawless proliferation of dispensaries across California that sometimes constitute a public nuisance or worse."
The law bridges that nebulous gap between the security needs of local jurisdictions and the state's authorization of marijuana dispensaries for medical purposes. A statement released by Assemblyman Blumenfield's office explains that before this law, local efforts to enforce zoning, permit, and other business regulations have been stymied by lawsuits from medical marijuana advocacy groups that claim state law preempts cities from monitoring and enforcing pot shops. Blumenfield states:
“Since there are virtually no legally binding state requirements on 'pot shops,' this new law is a first step towards much needed reform... It will help prevent medical marijuana abuses, preserve local control, and elevate our debate about medical marijuana.”
Opponents of the law fear that AB 1300 is just one more step toward less rights for medical marijuana users. Advocacy group California NORML asserts that the bill "does nothing to assure that patients who can't grow their own [marijuana] will have safe or convenient access to medicine in their community." A commenter on The Grow Report forum notes that there is nothing in the law that prevents cities from banning dispensaries outright, as Anaheim, California has done.
Only one lawmaker voted against the bill in the California Assembly (Tom Ammiano of San Francisco, reports the LA Weekly) and it had no opposition in the Senate. The law takes effect starting January 1, 2012.
Chula Vista Police Strong-Arm Medical Marijuana Patients
By: Eugene Davidovich, San Diego Americans for Safe Access, August 14
image: Police Brutality by Peter Kramar
Patients stand up in the face of threats, violence, and intimidation by Chula Vista Police Department during an illegal attempt to search Green Power medical marijuana collective in South San Diego.
Chula Vista – On July 12, at 10:45pm the Chula Vista City Council adopted an outright ban on medical marijuana dispensaries, cooperatives and collectives within city limits. The late hour vote was intentional so as to prevent members of the public from speaking against the ban.
Leading up to vote, patients, concerned citizens and supporters of safe access had diligently attended Council meetings for over two years pleading with their local representatives to protect sick and dying patients in their community. Dozens of patients turned out to meetings and sent letters and emails asking for reasonable regulations rather than a ban.
The City Council ignored the pleas of sick and dying patients and decided to side with the reefer madness propaganda fed to them by the San Diego Sheriff’s Department as well as San Diego County District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis who continue to claim that all dispensaries are illegal and attract crime even though actual data shows otherwise.
The vote as well as the Council Members’ comments on July 12th appeared to have given a green light to the Chula Vista Police Department (CVPD) to force existing safe access out of the City and to send a strong message of disregard to medical marijuana patients in Chula Vista.
Days after the vote was ratified and wasting no time, the CVPD posted police cars outside of existing dispensaries in Chula Vista and began pulling patients over as soon as they exited parking lots of the facilities. They questioned those pulled over, searched their vehicles, and in many cases confiscated their medicine issuing citations despite legitimate patient paperwork.
“They stopped me for no reason, asked what I bought at the dispensary, took my medicine, humiliated me and told me that medical marijuana was a joke” said Joe, a terminally ill cancer patient after experiencing an encounter with CVPD outside of a collective in Chula Vista. “I told them that I was legal, that I was using this medicine to overcome debilitating symptoms related to the chemo, but they wouldn’t hear it, the cop told me that the medical marijuana thing was a scam.”
The CVPD did not settle on simply harassing patients leaving the dispensaries, they decided to step it up a notch and go after the facilities themselves. Rather than follow the law and go through proper civil channels to start a dialogue with the collectives, the CVPD instead sent ‘patient eradication squads’ to beat the facilities into closure.
On July 26, the Green Power medical marijuana collective, almost fell victim to one of these ‘Chula Vista Patient Eradication Squad’. That day the collective had a locksmith at their location installing a new set of locks for the front door. At approximately 12:55pm as the locksmith was crouched over, installing the lock, several uniformed and plain clothed officers approached the door of the collective, pushed the locksmith aside, shouting, “Who is the owner here?!”
Long, a medical marijuana patient and member of the collective walked out of the medicine room into the front reception area where the police were huddled and said “How may I help you officers?”.
At first, they cops put on a friendly face and sat down on one of the couches as if to talk to Long. Within seconds of sitting down, two officers stood up and tried to rush the medicine room with the intent of searching the facility. Long stood up, walked calmly to the door of the medicine room and explained to the officers that because they did not have a search warrant, they could not go into the room.
At that instant the two officers turned angry and violent, they grabbed Long, slapped handcuffs on him and physically threw him on the ground. The cops were heard saying “Search Warrant, ha, don’t you know we are Chula Vista PD and can go anywhere we want?”
Long continued to remain calm and told the officers again that they had not showed him a search warrant, that he did not consent to a search, and asked them to immediately vacate the premises.
To everyone’s surprise, instead of continuing to strong-arm and physically assault Long the cops un-cuffed him and quickly scattered out of the facility.
The locksmith who witnessed the entire encounter was practically paralyzed with fear and shock after seeing the barbaric and brutal nature with which they interacted with Long at the collective.
The collective is currently consulting with their legal counsel about potential litigation or action against the Chula Vista Police Department as well as the officers themselves.
George Gascon Flipflops on Medical Marijuana
An ex-cop politician playing flippy-floppy? Unheard of..........-UA
With less than six months as district attorney on his résumé — and zero cases personally tried in court — George Gascón has a thin record on which to stand for re-election in November. But the former chief of police is doing what he can to rally a base, even among the medical marijuana community.
"My office is not interested in prosecuting legal cultivation sites connected with a registered dispensary," Gascón told a July 5 meeting of Americans for Safe Access, a patients' advocacy group.
Meanwhile, his office is pressing felony charges against 63-year old Wayne Kiloh, who has legally cultivated medical cannabis for Green Cross for nearly seven years, according to its CEO, Kevin Reed. Kiloh's Richmond District home was raided by police in July 2010, and despite Reed's good standing as a registered dispensary operator and his insistence that Kiloh was growing for his collective, prosecutors declined to drop charges during a July 7 hearing and offered Kiloh a felony plea.
Erica Derryck, a spokeswoman for the District Attorney, assures SF Weekly this could all be cleared up easily. "Someone from Green Cross communicated to police that [Kiloh] was not an employee," she says, noting that a permit from the Department of Public Health, on site at Kiloh's home, was expired. If Green Cross presents any information to the contrary, she says, the charges may be dropped, "but nothing has been presented to us to demonstrate any relationship."
The Green Cross disputes this. "At no time did a conversation between Green Cross and the police take place," spokeswoman Caren Woodson says. Paperwork at the Hall of Justice demonstrating Kiloh's legitimacy — including tax forms and a letter identifying Kiloh as a grower for the collective — was seized by police during the raid, and extra copies were furnished to prosecutors as late as this July 7, Woodson says. "All of it is right in their hands," she says.
Kiloh's attorney, Jeremy Blank, is working to settle the case with prosecutors, who will take their cues from Gascón for a full four years if he wins in November. But what cues will he send?
Napa officials find two corpses in marijuana grow
DEA is still bothering patients and caregivers when the cartels are working within our borders.........smh....-UA
a large, hidden marijuana grow last week, and law
enforcement officials believe they were homicide
victims, the Napa County Sheriff's Office announced
while," Napa County Sheriff's Capt. Tracey Stuart
said. "We don't know how long, but long enough
to make it difficult to determine their identity."
The pot-growing operation was eradicated
Wednesday by Napa Special Investigations
Bureau agents, officials said. The operation is
believed to be part of a larger Mexican drug
trade organization, they said.
The grow was operating on private property
without the property owner's knowledge or
consent, they said.
Last week, the Sheriff's Office Investigations
Bureau received information that there were
possibly dead bodies at a marijuana growing
operation, concealed on private property in the
rural hills west of Rutherford, officials said.
On July 1, agents located a pot-growing
operation, containing some 3,000 immature
plants and two bodies, they said.
The identity of the dead has not been confirmed,
The Napa County Major Crimes Investigation
Team is investigating the deaths with help from
numerous outside agencies, officials said.
Aren't there cartels these police could be targeting? And why are the cops giving the street values of the medicine? These Cali cops need to relax.-UA
By Mike Sprague, Staff Writer whittierdailynews.com 5/21
WHITTIER - When Whittier police raided two unlicensed medical marijuana dispensaries Wednesday, they used a more aggressive approach than the city of Pico Rivera and Los Angeles County.
Instead of providing a notice of violation and threatening to sue if they didn't close, a dozen members of Whittier police and L.A. Impact Task Force officers came down on the two dispensaries, leaving shattered glass and bitter feelings.
Both medical marijuana dispensaries are located outside the area allowed by city ordinances.
"They broke in the glass door and shattered it when they came in," said Laura Kaplanian, owner of GreenReleaf Healing Center, 8645 Greenleaf Ave.
"They trashed our place," Kaplanian said. "They took all of the patients' medicine (marijuana) from their hands. It was inhumane. We're not animals."
Kaplanian, whose dispensary opened in February and was not in area the city allows for such uses, said she never received any letter or order from the city to close.
Michael McGehee, owner of the Apex - Alternative Patient Dispensary - at 14440 Whittier Blvd., said he, too, never received any such notice from the city.
"Why not give us a cease-and-desist order?" McGehee asked. "We would have just packed up and left. This was a huge raid."
McGehee said he was surprised by the tactics, saying the police had a battering ram but didn't use it because their front door was unlocked and he unlocked the other door.There were three patients at his location when the police came, he said.
"They had all of their guns pulled, screaming, `Get down,"' he said. "The patients didn't even know what was going on."
Chief explains approach
Whittier Police Chief Jeff Piper on Friday agreed the police used a different approach.
"It's because they were committing criminal violations," Piper said of the dispensaries.
"They were acting as for-profit organizations essentially selling drugs," Piper said.
"They're outside the scope of the Compassionate Use Act," he said, referring to the voter- approved Proposition 215 that legalized medical marijuana in California. "We were conducting an investigation and determined there were criminal violations."
Both Kaplanian and McGehee say their collectives are nonprofit.
The police arrested five people - one of whom remains in custody.
Three of the individuals were involved in a third raid at a medical clinic in the 7200 block of Greenleaf Avenue.
Dr. Arun Sherma, 32, of Los Angeles was arrested on suspicion of aiding and abetting an unlicensed medical practice.
Janna Li, 41, and Andrew Ligay, 45, both of Hollywood, are accused of owning that same practice and practicing medicine without a license.
Under California law, only physicians can own a licensed practice, said Carmen Aguilera-Marquez, supervising investigator for the California Medical Board.
All three posted $20,000 bail and were released Wednesday.
A fourth person arrested, Ryan Lockridge, 20, of Norwalk, remains in custody. He was turned over to sheriff's officials on suspicion on violating his county probation.
McGehee, who is on federal probation for narcotics trafficking, was taken into custody but released Thursday with no bail required.
Police seized more than 13 pounds of marijuana at Apex, worth $32,500 to $39,000 on the street, said Whittier police Sgt. Kevin Ramos.
They seized 6 pounds of marijuana, including 44 plants, at the GreenReleaf Healing Center. The drugs were worth $16,000 to $18,000 on the street, Ramos said.
However, the Whittier owner of a legal medical marijuana dispensary and a spokesman for a national medical marijuana organization criticized the police tactics.
"I'm really surprised that it got to that point," said Robert Ortiz, director of Whittier Hope Collective, which has a permit from the city.
"A simple letter to stop the operation would have been sufficient," Ortiz said. "You won't see a lot of violent angry people within the medical marijuana community. A lot of people are trying to do this for the compassionate side of it."
Kris Hermes, spokesman for Americans for Safe Access, which promotes safe and legal access to cannabis for therapeutic use and research, wouldn't comment on Whittier's tactics but said he doesn't believe an aggressive law enforcement raid is needed.
"I just read the other day that someone was forced from a wheelchair onto the floor," Hermes said.
"Much of the time police are armed to the teeth and there's no threat to law enforcement," he said. "There's no reason to barge in and smash things."
Pico Rivera uses letter
Pico Rivera shut down a medical marijuana dispensary this week by issuing a cease-and- desist letter.
Marijuana dispensaries are banned in Pico Rivera.
Assistant City Manager Jeff Prang said a building inspector discovered that EB Family Health Group Inc., 9425 Telegraph Road, was operating as a medical marijuana dispensary.
After an investigation by a building inspector, Pico Rivera's city attorney was contacted, Prang said.
The dispensary closed after receiving a letter threatening court action.
Los Angeles County typically sends someone from its zoning enforcement staff - often with a sheriff's deputy for security - to check potential dispensaries out, said Alex Garcia, supervising regional planner for the county.
If necessary, they get an inspection warrant. If the location is an illegal dispensary - the county allows none now - a notice is issued warning of fines of $1,000 a day, Garcia said.
Staff Writers Ruby Gonzales and Hector Gonzalez contributed to this report.
Pot Tax Nets City $290K
Someone wanna wake up the fed? The thought of healthy citizens doesn't excite them, maybe more of our money will. -UA
Posted by Josh Koehn on Monday, May 16, 2011 sanjoseinside.com
In its first month of collecting taxes on medical marijuana being sold inside city limits, San Jose took in almost $290,000. And it appears more money is still on the table.
The approval of Measure U by voters in last November’s election led to a 7 percent tax on all gross receipts for the city’s collectives. Less than three-quarters (73) of San Jose’s 100-plus collectives paid the business tax in March, according to city figures. Four collectives have already made payments totaling $20,000 for April.
With the City Council’s decision last month to cap medical marijuana collectives to 10, which could go into effect by September, it’s unclear how much money will be collected in future months as well as what costs will go into regulation. Measure U was billed by Mayor Chuck Reed and several councilmembers as a way to help the city increase revenue in the face of the city’s 10th straight year of a budget deficit.
Dave Hodges, who started the city’s first collective, San Jose Cannabis Buyers Collective, has said he is refusing to pay the tax on his new collective: All American Cannabis Club. Hodges claims the wording of Measure U would force him to break the law.
A failure to pay the tax results in a 25 percent increase of the amount due, plus interest on the unpaid tax.
On Friday, Reed called for the city to declare a fiscal and public safety emergency. City Manager Debra Figone’s office has said the city will be $115 million in the red for the upcoming fiscal year, which begins in July.
Click Here to Read the Medical Marijuana Tax Revenue Memo.
The following are key dates regarding regulation of San Jose’s medical marijuana collectives:
May 20 thru 27: Manager’s Budget Addendum (MBA) Released
June 8: Planning Commission hearing on Title 20, Land Use/Zoning Regulations
June 14: First reading of Title 20— Land Use/Zoning; Second reading Title 6—Regulations; City Council Consideration of MBA
June 21: Second Reading, Title 20
July TBD: Applications Made Available for Medical Marijuana Registration With Further Instructions on Process
July 14: Title 6 Effective Date
July 21: Title 20 Effective Date
July – August: Application Process Implemented
September GOAL: Select 10 Collectives and Process Registration with the City
Fresno man sentenced in fatal pot garden shooting
Are we supposed to set mouse traps in our gardens to keep out the intruders? -UA
monday, May 16, 2011 sfgate.com
Fresno County Superior Court Judge Arlan Harrell said Monday that Phayvanh Dydouangphan apparently valued his pot more than human life, the Fresno Bee reports.
Dydouangphan, who is authorized to grow marijuana under California's medical marijuana law, admitted firing a shotgun at a group of people he caught breaking into his backyard on Sept. 8. He said he acted in self-defense because one of them pointed a gun at him.
The shotgun blast killed 40-year-old Stanley Wallace of Caruthers, who was sitting in the passenger seat of a pickup.
Dydouangphan was convicted in January of voluntary manslaughter.
The incident prompted Fresno County lawmakers to ban outdoor medical marijuana growing.