Cannabis Club Raided for Nonprofit Violations

Cannabis Club Raided for Nonprofit Violations
Posted by CN Staff on May 11, 2005 at 16:53:55 PT
By Rosanna Mah, The Independent Staff Writer
Source: Los Angeles Independent
West Hollywood, Calif. -- A Los Angeles police raid on a West Hollywood cannabis club last week led to the arrest of a total of 14 people and the seizure of 800 pounds of marijuana and over $300,000 in cash.Authorities said the police raid took place on Friday, May 13, around 6:40 p.m. at Compassionate Caregivers, that has catered to hundreds of patients living with HIV/AIDS, cancer, glaucoma and other chronic illnesses.
Equipped with a search warrant, nearly 30 armed agents broke down the club’s front door and confiscated evidence including $300,000 to $500,000 cash as well as 800 pounds in unpacked marijuana (which equates to 3,000 marijuana plants) Thai sticks, compressed hashish (liquid marijuana) and food laced with marijuana.It is unclear when the club, referred by locals as Yellowhouse for its painted exterior and located at 1209 N. La Brea Ave., will reopen for business.During the raid, police arrested 13 people -- including the manager, supervisor, two security guards, salespersons and plant growers -- on felony charges of maintaining a location for sale of controlled substances, said LAPD spokesperson Sgt. Catherine Plow.Police also arrested a patient for allegedly possessing more than eight ounces of marijuana, which violates California medical marijuana laws.All 14 individuals were released on $30,000 bail each the next morning, said Lenore Shefman, an attorney representing Compassionate Caregivers.Plow said that police had recently discovered the club was not operating as a nonprofit, as required by state law, and sold marijuana plants to patients. According to Plow, a woman who was arrested last September for possession of marijuana plants claimed she had bought it from the West Hollywood club, prompting LAPD narcotics officers to launch a surveillance and investigation into the cannabis center.“This place was for profit. In a sense, they were dealing narcotics,” said Plow. “That is where the problem comes in ... they were operating out of the existing laws which was what led to the search warrant.”The West Hollywood Sheriff’s Department did not participate in the joint LAPD-IRS raid.The raid came at a time when city officials have declared a one-year moratorium and are looking into ways to regulate seven cannabis clubs in West Hollywood.Meanwhile, medical marijuana advocates and club employees — one describing the raid as their “worst nightmare” -- are condemning the LAPD action.“We are kind of shell-shocked here,” said Sparky Wilson Rose, executive director of Compassionate Caregivers. “We don’t understand the raid. We don’t understand the military kind of force used in the raid, especially with the use of guns et cetera.”Rose confirmed police allegations that the club was a for-profit business, but claimed that operators only kept 10 percent of its profit.“The law SB 420 does not say that operating for profit is against the law, so we do operate for profit but not for excessive profits,” he said.The club also sold immature marijuana plants to patients which is permitted under state laws as long they do not exceed the 12-plant limit per patient, Rose said.“The reason we sell plants to patients is for them to grow their own medicine because it makes themselves self-sufficient, so they don’t necessarily have to rely on dispensaries or turn to the street for medicine,” he said.During a phone interview with the Independent, both Rose and the club’s general manager expressed surprise at police allegations of having sold more than 8 ounces of marijuana to a patient.“We didn’t know about that,” said the general manager who ran the West Hollywood dispensary, who spoke on condition of anonymity. “There is no way [any patient] would be allowed to more than 8 ounces per purchase. We just don’t allow it.”Kris Hermes, legal director for Americans for Safe Access, an Oakland-based medical marijuana advocacy group, said any raid by a state law enforcement agency represents “an affront” to medical marijuana patients.West Hollywood city officials, who have been strong defenders of medical marijuana use, have largely stayed on the sidelines on the cannabis club raid.“I don’t think there is a general city opinion,” said Helen Goss, city public information, hearing and legal services director. “We are still in the process of fact finding and trying to find what happened, how the raid happened to the point that it did.”Goss added that West Hollywood are expected to discuss the process for future inter-jurisdiction cooperation with Los Angeles law enforcement and district attorney officials.Councilman John Duran, who learned about the raid over the weekend, declined comment.“I’m not going to say anything until I find more information,” said Duran, an attorney who once represented the now defunct Los Angeles Cannabis Resource Center, that was shut down by federal drug enforcement agents during a raid over three years ago.“What’s curious to me is the LAPD operating in West Hollywood -- it is out of their jurisdiction.”But Plow defended the department’s action as a “fairly common procedure” and said it was not unusual for narcotics investigators to cross city and county lines.Source: Los Angeles Independent (CA)Author: Rosanna Mah, The Independent Staff WriterPublished: May 11, 2005Copyright: 2005 Los Angeles Independent Newspaper GroupContact: editor laindependent.comWebsite: Articles & Web Site:American's For Safe Access Clinic Raid Raises Concerns Cannabis Club Raided
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Comment #33 posted by FoM on May 18, 2005 at 14:08:25 PT
Related Article from
West Hollywood Cannabis Clubs Open Their Doors to the Community And speak frankly about their club’s operations, whether entirely legal or not. By Ryan GierachWednesday, May 18, 2005Lately West Hollywood has watched with anxiety as medical marijuana clubs proliferated here like weeds in an unkempt lot. Mostly owned and operated by experienced dispensary operators new to the city, these clubs have become the targets of varied complaints from their new neighbors, including the city of Los Angeles’ Police Department.
Since January the city council heard complaints from constituents about young men apparently dealing the drug outside their home, parked cars full of teens or tweens toking up after one returns with his successful “score” and threatening-looking toughs hanging around waiting for their friends.The Mayor complained from the city council dais that one dispensary stationed a gun at its door just 100 feet away from a school. “That does not make me, or any parent, feel safer,” then-Mayor John Duran said. “Guns escalate situations and endanger lives.”Council responded by placing an “emergency” moratorium on new cannabis dispensaries until the city could adequately regulate the seven dispensaries to which it had granted business licenses by March 2005.Less than two months later, on May 6th, the most notoriously run of the dispensaries, Yellow House at 1209 N. La Brea Ave., was raided and shut down by the LAPD and Federal Internal Revenue Service. 800 pounds of product worth $5.1 million and between $3-500,000 cash were allegedly seized in the raid.Complete Article:
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Comment #32 posted by Hope on May 13, 2005 at 19:52:50 PT
You've got it going on! Congratulations, and thank you. You are doing so good.
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Comment #31 posted by afterburner on May 13, 2005 at 12:33:24 PT
Jose, Potential Allies?
Glazer Raises Manchester United Stake as Fans Protest (Update4)
May 13 (Bloomberg) -- "U.S. billionaire Malcolm Glazer increased his stake in Manchester United Plc to 74.8 percent, tightening his grip on the world's biggest sports franchise as fans protested his $1.47 billion takeover offer."
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Comment #30 posted by Max Flowers on May 13, 2005 at 09:12:19 PT
IRS raid?
The West Hollywood Sheriff’s Department did not participate in the joint LAPD-IRS raid.What the F...? Someone please correct me if I'm wrong, but my understanding is that the IRS is part of the Federal Reserve Treasury and therefore is NOT part of government and has no law enforcement power. 
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Comment #29 posted by Jose Melendez on May 13, 2005 at 01:08:46 PT
from:, ILLNESS, STRESS LEAD TO SUBSTANCE DEMAND, ABUSE Dear Editor: In a May 9 letter, a former nurse who is married to a judge and former district attorney expresses her frustration with those who self-medicate recreationally or for pain.  With all due respect to the author, she should know better. It has been demonstrated historically that alcohol prohibition exacerbated the very same problems that she describes.  Furthermore, there is substantial evidence that the current drug war has similarly increased the national per capita homicide rate, not to mention teen huffing and hard drug use. Perhaps a judge's wife and former nurse might be blinded by the family checkbook to this fact, but it is pain, illness and stress, not drugs that lead to social decay.  Those who seek relief deserve our respect, and not a cultural system that increases demand and encourages abuse. If health care and law enforcement workers faced arrest for consuming caffeine or aspirin, their work would suffer, and emergency rooms would fill with jittery cops, judges and nurses.The very thought is almost enough to make one's head ache. JOSE MELENDEZ DeLand, Fla. 
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Comment #28 posted by potpal on May 12, 2005 at 19:34:48 PT
Kudos, Jose.
Way to go! Lead the way.
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Comment #27 posted by Jose Melendez on May 12, 2005 at 16:14:32 PT
Hey Steve! Now that the DEA lost in court over hemp foods, is there any way to order a few bushels of Canadian Hemp seed? I'm hungry.
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Comment #26 posted by Jose Melendez on May 12, 2005 at 14:34:57 PT
one more thing . . .
I almost forgot, it's very important to thank for fighting in court for us all with legal arguments demonstrating that cannabis medications predated the Controlled Substances Act .A true patriot, that
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Comment #25 posted by Jose Melendez on May 12, 2005 at 14:29:44 PT
It's like spanking Paris Hilton!
I really ought to write a follow up and thank the editors of the Anchorage Press. It makes me feel good to exercise my right to truthful, commercial speech.I think I need a Chronic Candy now . . . 
This is your brain on propaganda
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Comment #24 posted by dongenero on May 12, 2005 at 13:57:37 PT
Go Jose!
Congratulations Jose, nicely done!
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Comment #23 posted by FoM on May 12, 2005 at 13:48:57 PT
Way To Go Jose!
Published again! Good job!
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Comment #22 posted by runderwo on May 12, 2005 at 12:58:43 PT
That's funny. I live in Missouri too and one of my best friends is from San Antonio.
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Comment #21 posted by potpal on May 12, 2005 at 12:40:54 PT
Coincidently news is out on this browser, so as an fyi,
a couple flaws recently discovered that if you haven't already get the patch to cover.
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Comment #20 posted by dongenero on May 12, 2005 at 12:15:23 PT
tracing marijuana's soil fingerprint?
Gee, there's a good way to spend thousands of taxpayer dollars.Then they can figure out who makes the most popular potting mix; Miracle Gro, Scotts, Foxfarms or Walmart.Who knows, maybe hydroponics is more poplular. America can't wait to find out.What they will probably find is that marijuana isn't supporting terrorism at all. In fact, much of it is grown right here in the "Land of the Free" it should be.
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Comment #19 posted by herbdoc215 on May 12, 2005 at 11:18:07 PT
Jose, (keep on'em it's kewl to watch) here is some
more along those lines from past...I got loads on this punk hack who steals others work for gov't pay calling it his own? peace, steve tuckPosted by FoM on July 12, 2001 at 23:30:05 PT
By Bill Robinson 
Source: Daily Mississippian cannabis The University of Mississippi’s National Center for Natural Products Research in the School of Pharmacy has started testing patented technology to trace marijuana back to the place where it was grown.Mahmoud ElSohly, a researcher at the NCNPR developed the technique that Kentucky State Police are helping test in an effort to “fingerprint” marijuana. If the technique is successful it will be used in areas of Tennessee and West Virginia.The technique uses hi-tech chemistry analysis to identify certain chemicals found in confiscated marijuana and searches for chemical markers that are unique to plants grown in different areas.The ability to use Ole Miss patented technology to distinguish the source of marijuana plants grown within a smaller region as opposed to a large foreign country known for marijuana trafficking, could be more difficult, said forensic expert Katrina Featherston, supervisor at the Kentucky State Police Forensics Crime Lab, in Frankfort, Ky.“When you have a common condensed area, you don’t always have a wide range of differences,” said Featherston, who works on the $6 million federally funded project.“Next year, we’ll have a better understanding of the technique’s feasibility based on the methods we’ve used. We really don’t have any answers right now.”Ole Miss, which owns the patent for the new technology, licensed it to the Kentucky State Police. The technique was developed as an “intelligence tool” for tracking down illegal Cannabis materials by analyzing the plant’s chemical profile, which is determined by the region’s climate and other growing conditions.A list has been compiled with a database of chemical profiles for various locations, including many foreign countries known for marijuana trafficking.Source: The Daily Mississippian (MS)
Author: Bill Robinson
Published: July 9, 2001
Copyright: 2001 The Daily Mississippian 
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Comment #18 posted by schmeff on May 12, 2005 at 11:09:58 PT:
Skeptical? Anxious? Just try it.
Anyone interested in more secure (and private) browsing should heed BGreen's advice and try the Firefox browser. It's free at schmeff can take the plunge, anyone can. You don't need to go cold turkey on Internet Explorer. Just download can have two browsers on your system. Use them side by side and see which you like better. You won't be "lost" with the new Firefox browser...the interface is so similar to IE you'll hardly notice the difference, all your bookmarks/Favorites, etc. transfer seamlessly.What you WON'T notice is all the snooping/spying/privacy busting that is NOT happening in the background as you surf the net.*I am not compensated by Mozilla and have no conflicts of interest involving my recommendations. (Actually the recommendation of BGreen, which I would simply second.) I'm convinced all my comrades at CNews are interested in privacy and security.
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Comment #17 posted by BGreen on May 12, 2005 at 10:24:26 PT
You're Welcome, schmeff
I've been waiting for somebody to say they had to reinstall windows because of me. LOLI'm really pleased to hear good things from the CNews family. That's why I shared what I had learned.The Reverend Bud Green
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Comment #16 posted by schmeff on May 12, 2005 at 09:47:58 PT
Yo, Reverend Green!
Just wanted to say hey and let you know that due to your comments on another thread, I am typing this info. in the Firefox browser.No problems at all making the switch from IE. Thanks
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Comment #15 posted by BGreen on May 12, 2005 at 09:18:48 PT
It WAS funny, GreenJoy
The GCW lives a little too far west to see the bumper stickers, but I see them a lot here in Missouri. On top of that, my in-laws live in San Antonio so I'm very familiar with the saying.I thought it was a clever joke and we need levity or else we'll go insane.The Reverend Bud Green
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Comment #14 posted by GreenJoy on May 12, 2005 at 09:02:41 PT
 It was an admittedly feeble attempt at some levity. Have you never heard the phrase, "You don't mess with Texas"? 
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Comment #13 posted by Jose Melendez on May 12, 2005 at 07:09:00 PT
monopoly against the public interest
I allege the DEA has colluded with individuals, corporations and industry to violate the letter and spirit of the Sherman Act and the Clayton Act, along with the Constitution.Here is the person that the DEA allows a monopoly on cannabis "manufacturing":Dr. Mahmoud ElSohly 
ElSohly Laboratories, Inc. 
5 Industrial Park Drive 
Oxford, MS 38655Ph: 662-236-2609 
Fx: 662-234-0253elibhg watervalley.netwww.elsohly.comThis vendor provides custom-made quality control materials to fit clients' needs including adulterated and substituted (urine) specimens.See also:'s the company the DEA allows to hava a monopoly on coca leaf importation:see also: and: Company, Natural Products Dept., 100 W. Hunter Avenue, Maywood, New Jersey, made application by renewal to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to be registered as an importer of Coca Leaves (9040), a basic class of controlled substance listed in Schedule II.The firm plans to import the coca leaves to manufacture bulk controlled substances.No comments or objections have been received. DEA has considered the factors in Title 21, United States Code, Section 823(a) and determined that the registration of Stepan Company to import the listed controlled substance is consistent with the public interest and with United States obligations under international treaties, conventions, or protocols in effect on May 1, 1971, at this time. DEA has investigated Stepan Company on a regular basis to ensure that the company's continued registration is consistent with the public interest. This investigation included inspection and testing of the company's physical security systems, verification of the company's compliance with state and local laws, and a review of the company's background and history. on antitrust law: violations here:
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Comment #12 posted by TecHnoCult on May 12, 2005 at 06:23:03 PT
DEA article and book against Legalization
Here is the latest DEA propaganda:
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Comment #11 posted by Jose Melendez on May 12, 2005 at 06:08:48 PT
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Comment #10 posted by potpal on May 12, 2005 at 04:39:55 PT
The headline...
...ought to read:Cannabis Club Raided for police profit
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Comment #9 posted by The GCW on May 12, 2005 at 03:33:09 PT
Taxes / Texas - Mess with Texas?
Taxes / TexasMore like help Texas.  THCUGalatians 5:14-15, "For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, "You shall love Your neighbor as Yourself." But if You bite and devour one another, take care that You are not consumed by one another."
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Comment #8 posted by Hope on May 11, 2005 at 23:02:58 PT
Texas Bill
It took us closer than we've been since prohibition of cannabis started. There's encouragement in that. We've been fighting so long, but I've got news for the antis. We'll never quit as long as there is life on this earth. There are more of us against prohibition every day. There was a time when I thought people would realize sooner, rather than later, that prohibition is wrong and it's fruits are not good.I've given up on sooner, but not later, no matter how long it takes. The struggle continues and we won't quit until it's done. If those of us that are older live to see it, that will be a wonderful thing, but if we don't, we still have to fight to see that it gets done and it will get done because the truth is on our side and we will have had a part in fighting an evil thing, prohibition and all it's destructive power and wicked, deadly collateral damage and unforseen consequences. 
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Comment #7 posted by GreenJoy on May 11, 2005 at 20:00:42 PT
 Makes me wanna go down there and ....mess with Texas.
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Comment #6 posted by FoM on May 11, 2005 at 19:49:57 PT
I'm sorry because I know how important it was to you. If I knew one answer that would change all of this I would be so happy but when we battle in the political realm like we must we get hurt so many times. It isn't over. 
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Comment #5 posted by Taylor121 on May 11, 2005 at 19:40:58 PT
Texas Bill Dead...
H.B. 254 is not on the schedule The deadline for H.B. 254, the bill I have been following closest this Texas legislative session appears to have died in calenders. I do not see it listed anywhere for floor debate and according to the website, the deadline for considering bills in the house has passed. Although I'm pissed that the bill did not make it to the floor for a vote (and I believe it would have passed had it) it did receive a considerable boost in momentum for upcoming sessions with the unanimous bi-partisan committee vote that was favorable on the substitute. On the flipside, probation reform is getting a vote both in the House and the Senate, and this is long overdue. Marijuana law reform is a difficult thing to convince a legislator to act upon, and here in Texas it is hard given the political atmosphere. The committee vote moved the bill further this year than last year, so hopefully we can expect a similar bill to pass in H.B. 254.If the calender committee simply has not posted up the entire schedule, then I could be wrong on H.B. 254 being effectively killed. If so, let me know. Otherwise, better luck in 2007 and thanks to everyone who helped in this effort. 
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Comment #4 posted by ekim on May 11, 2005 at 19:17:07 PT
hope all clubs have good video n-make a movie
May 19 05 Bethlehem Morning Star Rotary Club 07:30 AM Peter Christ Bethlehem Pennsylvania USA 
 The Bethlehem Morning Star Rotary Club welcomes Board Member Peter Christ for discussion of issues related to the failure of the war on drugs. Issues sure to be discussed will be the waste of tax payers money, mandatory minimums, methods of harm reduction and many other topical items of interest. May 19 05 Steel City Kawanis 12:00 PM Howard Wooldridge Pueblo Colorado USA 
 Board Member Howard Wooldridge and his horse Misty stop for lunch and discussion of issues related to the failure of the war on drugs. Topics are sure to include the continued waste of tax payer money, the drug warrior ideology and specific issues related to the Rocky Mountain region of the country. Follow Howard and Misty's cross country trip at 
May 20 05 Libertarian Party Of Ohio 2005 Convention 09:00 AM Jerry Cameron Columbus Ohio USA 
 Speaker Jerry Cameron will represent LEAP at the Libertarian Party Of Ohio's 2005 Convention. Location: Ohio State University Campus. May 21 05 Mississippi Marijuana Party Global Marijuana March and Rally 03:00 PM Larry Henson Tupelo Mississippi USA 
 Speaker Larry Henson will speak at the Mississippi Marijuana Party Global Marijuana March and Rally. Larry will talk about the failure of America's war on drugs and its negative impact on the nation and world as a whole. This is LEAP's very first event in the great state of Mississippi and it will be celebrated by all members of LEAP and the Mississippi Marijuana Party. May 23 05 Manitou Springs Kiwanis Club 06:30 PM Howard Wooldridge Manitou Springs Colorado USA 
 Members of the Manitou Springs Kiwanis Club welcome Board Member Howard Wooldridge for discussion of issues related to the failure of drug prohibition. Discussion will include the drug warrior's refusal to provide any logical explanation for their failed positions, while at the same time refusing to discuss possible alternatives. May 23 05 Drug Use & Abuse Class 02:30 PM Jim Gray Los Angeles California USA 
 The California State University at Los Angeles' Department of Sociology welcomes Judge James Gray to speak at their Drug Use & Abuse Class. Judge Gray, widely recognized as an insightful, innovative and very effective champion of alternative methods of harm reduction, will be discussing the human and financial costs of America's failed drug war and will offer viable methods to address the problem. This event is open to all students and faculty.
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Comment #3 posted by jose melendez on May 11, 2005 at 18:52:29 PT
demand market access
for profit - as in commerce?from: 1. Trusts, etc., in restraint of trade illegal; penalty    Every contract(1), combination in the form of trust or otherwise, or
  conspiracy, in restraint of trade or commerce among the several
  States, or with foreign nations, is declared to be illegal. Every
  person(2) who shall make any contract or engage in any combination or
  conspiracy hereby declared to be illegal shall be deemed guilty of
  a felony, and, on conviction thereof, shall be punished by fine not
  exceeding $10,000,000 if a corporation, or, if any other person,
  $350,000, or by imprisonment not exceeding three years, or by both
  said punishments, in the discretion of the court. - - -NIDA Wants You!from: experienced, successful Mendocino cannabis cultivator was delighted to 
read on Craig's List that the U.S. government is seeking to hire someone 
capable of "Production, Analysis, and Distribution of Cannabis and 
Marijuana Cigarettes." Understandably reluctant to forward his resume to 
the contracting office (the National Institute on Drug Abuse), the 
cultivator asked C-Notes to make further inquiries.As we suspected the "presolicitation notice" was for the (1)contract that NIDA 
awards every five years to Mahmoud El Sohly, who oversees the cannabis 
patch at the University of Mississippi. Here's the official pitch: "NIDA 
is soliciting proposals from qualified organizations having the capability 
to grow, harvest, extract, analyze, store, prepare marijuana cigarettes and 
related products, extract purified delta-9-THC and other cannabinoids, work 
on drug development, and distribute cannabis, and marijuana cigarettes and 
related products to NIDA grantees and other researchers to support basic 
and clinical research. The offeror must possess the necessary field or 
growing facility, laboratory space, instrumentation and experience to 
conduct the work. Appropriate security approved by DEA for growing, and manufacturing of marijuana cigarettes, storage facilities and DEA Schedule 
I registration for Marijuana and THC are essential..."Interested organizations must submit organizational data and background, qualifications of professional personnel, and specific experience in the 
area of this project. It is anticipated that a five-year incrementally 
funded completed contract will be awarded through this procurement with 
optional quantities for additional growing and manufacturing. RFP [Request 
for Proposals] No. NO1DA-5-7746 will be available electronically on or 
about June 7, 2004... Responses to the RFP will be due approximately 45 
calendar days thereafter."NIDA spokeswoman Jan Lipkin did not return a call in connection with this 
story. - - -(2)The word ''person'', or ''persons'', wherever used in sections 1
  to 7 of this title shall be deemed to include corporations and
  associations existing under or authorized by the laws of either the
  United States, the laws of any of the Territories, the laws of any
  State, or the laws of any foreign country . . .
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Comment #2 posted by mayan on May 11, 2005 at 17:56:32 PT
Remove The Profit
“This place was for profit. In a sense, they were dealing narcotics,” said Plow. “That is where the problem comes in ... they were operating out of the existing laws which was what led to the search warrant.”Perhaps we should eliminate the conditions which make cannabis worth it's weight in gold! Dealing "narcotics"???
Sorry, cannabis is not a narcotic.Just look at the resources(taxpayer funded) used to suppress this incredible plant...a plant which has never killed anyone. Sickening.THE WAY OUT IS THE WAY IN...MULTI-MILLIONAIRE JIMMY WALTER LAUNCHES 9/11 TRUTH EUROPEAN MEGA-TOUR - MAY 19 TO JUNE 5: 9/11 Truth From Your State Rep In Congress! and Teller's Bullshit 9/11 Coverage (scroll down to view segment): Related Music:
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on May 11, 2005 at 17:37:33 PT
I Thought I Should Post This Here Too
West Hollywood Medical Cannabis Club Busted by LAPD and IRS – City of WeHo Upset by Raid By Ryan GierachWednesday, May 11, 2005After an eight-month investigation, LAPD narco squad officers and Federal Internal Revenue (IRS) agents raided a medical cannabis club operating in West Hollywood, arresting 14 people and seizing 800 pounds of marijuana product (wholesale value, $2.5 million; retail value over $5 million) and between $300-500,000 in cash.City officials both applauded and booed the bust by another jurisdiction’s law enforcement agency. “We support any law enforcement agency’s removing from our neighborhoods any business involved in illegal activity,” said Helen Goss, city communications director.But condemnation of the tactics buzzed through city hall. One city staffer told WeHoNews that he felt violated. Jeff Prang, city council member and a deputy sheriff himself decried the raid into the city from a neighboring city’s law enforcement agency, even though routine warrants are often served inter-jurisdictionally. “This was not routine in any way…I don’t want LAPD conducting any more of these raid in our city,” Mr. Prang said point-blank. “It is…the City council’s intention to act as arbiter of what is lawful in our community, not LAPD.”The targeted club, Compassionate Caregivers located at 1209 N. La Brea Ave and commonly known as the “Yellow House,” had been under surveillance by LAPD since September 2004 after the arrest of a Compassionate Caregiver patron with 60 marijuana plants in his possession, all allegedly purchased at Yellow House.According to LAPD spokesperson Sgt. Plows, that surveillance found that the club allegedly sold large amounts of marijuana to customers on a regular, sometimes daily, basis. State law forbids the sale of more than eight ounces of medical marijuana to a patient at one time.“We formed the opinion that the club was in violation of Health & Safety Code 11360 (transportation, distribution or importation of controlled substances) through the surveillance,” Sgt. Plows told “They regularly sold 8 ounce and one pound quantities to people who made sometimes daily buys. There were an average of 235 visits a day to the house. That’s drug dealing, not medicine dispensing.”Acknowledging that the IRS had been involved in the months’ long investigation, Sgt. Plow said, “The key to [IRS involvement] in this raid was the money-laundering investigation [the IRS] is conducting into these businesses. This one was obviously set up for profit, and the law says they should be non-profit.”LAPD arrested employees and patrons en masse and charged 13 people with felony counts of H&SC 11366 (maintaining a place for selling, giving, using controlled substances); one man allegedly holding 21 grams of marijuana but no letter of recommendation identifying him as a medicinal marijuana user was charged with a misdemeanor count of possession.Most of those arrested were bailed out the following morning and are being represented by West Hollywood lawyer Bruce Margolin. Mr. Margolin’s website states that he was “an advisor for the California Compassionate Use Act – Prop. 215...He is the author of “The Margolin Guide To Marijuana Laws” and is unarguably the nation's foremost authority on marijuana law.”Calls to Mr. Margolin, who is traveling, went unreturned before press time.Calls to the IRS went unreturned by press time as well.As to LAPD’s plans to crack down on the other six clubs still operating in West Hollywood, Sgt Plows told WeHoNews that no other clubs, so far as she had been told, were under surveillance by LAPD. “That doesn’t mean they aren’t surveilling, it only means they don’t tell me what they are doing,” she said. “This surveillance began with a lead from another arrest; LAPD has no plans to raid other clubs [in West Hollywood].”According to Kristin Cook of the city’s public safety staff, such inter-jurisdictional investigations are quite common, especially in drug cases. “This case was unusual because the ‘gentleman’s agreement’ that exists between agencies about prior notification of a major raid didn’t happen,” she said. “The city and the [Sheriff’s] station are displeased at the short notice we received.”Capt. David Long, chief of the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station, told that “they did give us a 15 minute notice as a courtesy and safety measure, but I would have liked a little bit more information and time before they came in.“I can’t say they won’t come in again, but we will see to it that they won’t come in without prior knowledge,” Capt. Long said.Ms. Cook acknowledged that discussions on the controversy had begun between municipalities. Sgt. Plows told that LAPD Chief William Bratton and Sheriff Lee Baca had already spoken about the raid and bettering inter-agency communication. “From our perspective,” Sgt. Plows said, “this was a routine raid until we found so much product and cash.” Mr. Prang told that news of "so much product and cash" at the business heightened his concerns for the public’s safety, making it more urgent that regulations be put in place to protect the residents from the dangers a concentration of medical marijuana distributors posed.“When you have businessmen who keep that much marijuana and hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash, and guns, in their shops, they’re going to be targets for violent crime,” he said. “My concern is these guns near residential neighborhoods; money, drugs and guns invite disaster.”Susan Healy Keene, acting director of community development for West Hollywood informed that the first “all-hands” meeting of the committee put together to explore regulating medical marijuana facilities in the city would meet Wed., May 11 at city hall. She said that the committee would look at a wide range of issues, including safety issues and neighborhood impacts, revenue assessments, among others. The founder of West Hollywood’s first opened – and first raided and closed – medical marijuana co-op, Scott Imler said, “It’s about time [the city] began putting some thought into this; this raid is the unfortunate result of their ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy since the LACRC raid (Mr. Imler’s co-op was shut down in 2001 by the Bush Administration; he escaped with a relative slap on the wrist – one year probation).“They got stung and are still dealing with a $300,000 lawsuit [with the Dept. of Justice over the raid], so it’s understandable that they would be reluctant to regulate. But now they are beset with all these clubs they know nothing about. They have to try to find out what’s going on inside them.”For Mr. Prang’s part, “this is an issue about which I and the entire council feel strongly. Patients ought to have access to the medicine they need. West Hollywood is a strong supporter of patients’ right to obtain medical marijuana. “We do not condone drug dealing in our city. We do not approve of otherwise healthy people abusing the system by obtaining letters from ‘pot docs’ to use medicinal marijuana recreationally,” he said. “We acknowledge that problems arise because of the rapid proliferation of these clubs in our small city, and we will regulate them so that they can provide their service and medicine safely in our community.”Seeking a response to those comments on public safety, WeHoNews made calls to the Medical Marijuana Farmacy, the club employing the most visible of the armed guards. Those calls were not returned. When approached the manager of the latter on the street for comment, she walked briskly away.
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