Court Ruling Vexes Medical Pot Users

Court Ruling Vexes Medical Pot Users
Posted by CN Staff on July 04, 2005 at 06:48:15 PT
By Teresa Rochester
Source: Ventura County Star
Calif. -- The pace of phone calls coming into the office of Ventura County Alliance of Medical Marijuana Patients has quickened in the past four weeks. Patients are fearful of arrest, unclear about how they can get cannabis and unsure of the legality of what they are doing, because the Supreme Court ruled earlier this month that the federal government can prosecute them for using even if it is legal in California.
Lisa Cordova Schwarz, alliance founder, answers the calls, offering advice on everything from understanding the law and growing cannabis to providing referrals to medical marijuana dispensaries and issuing identification cards to verified patients. "We have been inundated with calls," Schwarz said. "I don't think (the decision) set the movement back at all. I think it wreaked psychological havoc on patients." Legally, the ruling essentially maintains the status quo, but it has made Schwarz rethink one of her goals for the nonprofit resource center, because she feels it would make it vulnerable to federal prosecution. "We had planned on having a dispensary," she said, "but with the federal decision coming down we figured it wasn't our time yet." Two weeks ago, federal drug agents raided more than 20 dispensaries. Three of the raided pot clubs in San Francisco were alleged to be fronts for an international drug trafficking ring. A Simi Valley man backed out of a plan to open a dispensary in that city in the wake of the court decision. When he first proposed the idea, the city reacted by imposing a temporary moratorium on dispensaries. In Moorpark, the City Council is readying itself to vote this week on its own temporary moratorium. In the nine years since voters approved the Compassionate Use Act, legalizing medical marijuana, only one dispensary has ever opened in Ventura County. The Rainbow Country Ventura County Medical Cannabis Center closed in March of 1998, six months after it opened. The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department confiscated owner Andrea Nagy's marijuana and cultivating equipment. Dale Gieringer, the head of the California office for the National Organization for the Reform of Medical Marijuana Laws, said about a dozen medical cannabis suppliers have asked to be taken off the group's referral list for "whatever reason." Locally, law enforcement officials said they would proceed as they always have. "The (California) attorney general has issued an edict that nothing is going to change," Chief Deputy District Attorney Jeff Bennett said. "We have local guidelines. We will follow the law as it is written in California, but people have to remember it is is still a crime under federal law." Schwarz, who suffers from chronic back pain, migraines and other problems, started the alliance after she was arrested in 1999 for marijuana cultivation. Prosecutors dismissed the charges in 2001. Ventura County Alliance of Medical Marijuana Patients has nearly 400 members, said Schwarz, a former nurse. Membership is $50 a year, but those on limited incomes or receiving Medi-Cal, are only charged $25 and seniors and veterans pay $35. Standing in the alliance's window-lined hallway recently, Schwarz listed the things she'd like to offer at the center: a full-time social worker, a pain management class, and care packages for people who have just received diagnoses are just a few. As part of the membership, the organization keeps an attorney on retainer to assist when needed in court cases. The group also supplies packets of information about medical marijuana-related law for public defenders who might represent arrested patients. Derek Wengeler, a 24-year-old real estate agent and father of two from San Luis Obispo who has chronic pain from several injuries, is facing his own court date. He was recently arrested for possession, though he had his identification card and doctor's letter. He took the day off work to meet with Schwarz to discuss his situation. "I might have one of my patients up there come and be with you," Schwarz said to Wengeler about his court date. "I've never been arrested before," he said. "I'm not a criminal. My knees were shaking." While talking about the court case, Wengeler and Schwarz also discussed growing their marijuana plants. Growing a small amount of marijuana for medical use is permitted under California law, but growers could face prosecution by federal authorities. "I shut it down because of the federal thing," Wengeler said. "I'm afraid of the government coming in and ruining my life." They discussed using marijuana in cooking oils. Schwarz described her desire to provide marijuana in edible forms to patients, particularly those who cannot grow their own because of illness or age. They agreed that using marijuana for their physical ailments is the only thing that has brought them relief. "People don't understand it," said Schwarz. "They think we're all potheads." Source: Ventura County Star (CA)Author: Teresa RochesterPublished: July 4, 2005Copyright: 2005 The E.W. Scripps Co.Contact: letters insidevc.comWebsite: Articles & Web Site:California NORML Pot-Club Owners Seek Regulation Medical Marijuana Is Misused Follow Searches in Marijuana Raids 
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Comment #11 posted by FoM on July 07, 2005 at 08:49:10 PT
News Brief from
Police Arrest Owner Of Medical Marijuana StorefrontsNeighbor's Complaint Prompts Search, ArrestJuly 7, 2005SAN DIEGO -- San Diego police have arrested the operator of two medical marijuana dispensaries on charges he illegally possessed marijuana with the intent to sell the drug, it was reported Thursday.Jon Sullivan was handcuffed at his La Jolla Boulevard home Wednesday morning while a team of drug agents executed a search warrant, according to The San Diego Union-Tribune.Police obtained the warrant last week based on a neighbor's complaint, not on the fact that Sullivan operates marijuana dispensaries in North Park and Pacific Beach, Damon Mosler, chief of the district attorney's narcotics division, told the newspaper. Police "are focusing on activities that were not occurring at the businesses," Mosler also told the newspaper.Sullivan chose to stay open despite a U.S. Supreme Court ruling last month that federal authorities may prosecute dispensary owners even if they comply with state law, the newspaper reported.California is one of 10 states to adopt laws that allow sick and dying patients to use marijuana to ease symptoms, the newspaper reported.Sullivan's girlfriend, Joanna Howell, told the newspaper she and Sullivan cooperated with police. Howell said marijuana inside their home was going to be used to stock the dispensaries. She said Sullivan was operating within the letter of the law.In previous interviews, Sullivan said his storefronts sell marijuana products to qualified patients who have a doctor's recommendation to use the drug. Copyright 2004 by 10News.com
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Comment #10 posted by jose melendez on July 07, 2005 at 05:02:43 PT
truth without borders
Congratulations to His Honor Yaffe for dismissing the consistently corrupt opponents to the cannabis trade.Drug war is nothing more, and nothing less than economic protectionism in violation of Constitutional, antitrust and common law. - - - " . . . the common good is best served in some instances by private citizens who are willing to defy a legal, but unjust or unwise, order . . ."
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Comment #9 posted by FoM on July 06, 2005 at 17:37:02 PT
News Brief from California
Medical Pot Dispensary Wins Right To Distribute The WeedWednesday, July 06, 2005 
 HACIENDA HEIGHTS - The first medical marijuana dispensary in the San Gabriel Valley is now free to distribute marijuana to patients with doctor's notes, a judge ruled today.Los Angeles County Superior Court judge David Yaffe ruled against Los Angeles County, denying its request for a preliminary injunction against Hacienda Heights-based dispensary California Medical Caregivers Association. The dispensary, which has been registering patients for the past few months but was barred by a temporary restraining order from actually distributing marijuana for the past three weeks, can now open fully. For more on the story, pick up a copy of tomorrow's San Gabriel Valley Tribune.,1413,207%257E24660%257E2953604,00.html
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Comment #8 posted by mayan on July 05, 2005 at 03:58:28 PT
Total Failure
Here's more on the damning UK report...Revealed: how drugs war failed - Low seizure rates give traffickers vast profits from 4bn a year business, says report ministers refuse to publish:,2763,1521501,00.htmlThere is new hope for Schapelle Corby...Judge reopens Corby case: possible for Corby witnesses: failure...Counties say meth is top drug threat: can't provide food,fuel,fiber,paper,plastics,building materials,medicine,etc. so let's go after cannabis instead. Insane.
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Comment #7 posted by PainWithNoInsurance on July 05, 2005 at 00:41:56 PT
Is greed really burning this planet up? Is greed causing millions of people to suffer? Is greed taking away our freedom? I think so.People suffer from pain and can't get insurance because of greed. They cannot afford to go to a doctor or buy medicine because of greed. Many cannot medicate themselves with the affordable cannabis plant because of greed. President bush said a couple of weeks ago, "the Kyoto agreements would have done harm to the American economy". 
To reduce green house gases would have meant reducing the burning of oil products, but it seems to me that increasing ethanol production, which is not oil, would be a good start to reduce pollution, but that would have made fat pockets smaller for oil producers and sellers. Incresing ethanol would not have put any expense on automakers either. Regardless, there is now an effort to increase ethanol production which has just been passed by the senate. I don't think any harm would have been done to not-meet the goal of the Kyoto agreement by 2008, and it is just ridiculous to not even try. A month ago many mayors across the country (I think it was 130 of them) said they would try to meet the Kyoto agreements themselves differing from the bush administration's decision to not participate. It really doesn't hurt to try---------does it?There surely are many more things that could be done if the federal government would just try to think of how to reduce oil consumption and clean the enviroment. It seems like the real problem has to do with oil profits.It seems there needs to be a cure for greed because it is causing harm to every person on this planet.
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Comment #6 posted by runderwo on July 04, 2005 at 23:10:10 PT
Hope you all had a great July 4th.  Remember what the day of patriots stands for, not blind servitude to one's national government, but the systematic overthrow of arbitrary, unaccountable, and oppressive power. Our country's founders would be ashamed at the sniveling politically-correct cowards that dominate our national leadership today, and appalled at the measures they employ to control people at great distance from them. What happened to self-determination? Why are local affairs being managed by faceless bureaucrats with neither knowledge nor concern of local needs and desires? Why did we give them this power, and why aren't we protesting more loudly as they wield it against us? These are the questions we should ask ourselves in the wake of celebrating Independence Day, the rebirth of self-determination and opportunity in the modern world.In 1876, people torn by civil war were asking questions about just what had become of a great country. In 1976, people torn by futile police actions and intolerance were asking much the same. What will we be asking ourselves in 2026, when our country is a quarter of a millenium old? What will we look back from then and wish we would have taken action to correct, *TODAY*?
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Comment #5 posted by afterburner on July 04, 2005 at 21:33:48 PT
Save the Children and Pass the Ammunition
Save the children:Legalize cannabis for adults.Let's get it out of the schoolsAnd into the stores.%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%Plants are blessed by God For food and medicine.The Over-controlled Substances Act is nanny stateInterference in personal and State medical decisionsIt is a superstitious political folly Which mocks science and religion.
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Comment #4 posted by global_warming on July 04, 2005 at 12:22:25 PT
From the article below
"In his keynote address at the Fifth International Conference on Drug Policy Reform, in 1991, Friedman said that the country should admit that drug prohibition is a policy disaster, just as we once conceded as much for the prohibition of alcohol. The war on drugs and the harm it does, he has written, are "manifestations of a much broader problem: the substitution of political mechanisms for market mechanisms . . . " It has failed, he contends, because it's a "socialist enterprise" that is inefficient, expensive, and very advantageous to a small group of people--in this case, the drug enforcement agencies for whom the war is a raison d'etre and the drug lords whose cartels are a byproduct of U.S. policy. "There's a new day
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Comment #3 posted by FoM on July 04, 2005 at 11:08:14 PT
Addiction to greed! Exactly.
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Comment #2 posted by runruff on July 04, 2005 at 11:00:08 PT:
Greed is more addictive than anything on the planet.
If you've ever seen a herion addict jonesing. A wino 
in withdrawls. A TV addict without a TV. I even seen Pepsi addicts who could not go without their Pepsi. Sex addicts. Gambling, adrinaline addicts [whatever produces your adrinaline rush]. Nothing is as strong as an addiction to greed. Greed is what is driving the WAR on drugs. The WAR in Iraq. The assult on our inviorment. The assult on our 
rights. We need to expose the the real enemy in our society. GREED!Namaste 
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Comment #1 posted by global_warming on July 04, 2005 at 09:57:12 PT
Interesting Article"That nanny instinct, so at odds with traditional Republican dogma, is one of the arguments made by a conservative couple from Houston, Bob and Ann Lee, who for years have waged a campaign to legalize marijuana. "Current drug policies violate Republican philosophy of personal responsibility," the Lees wrote in a widely distributed pamphlet that rebuts many of the arguments advanced by drug warriors. "
Weed All About It
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