California Politics Drive Cannabis Club Crackdown

California Politics Drive Cannabis Club Crackdown
Posted by CN Staff on August 29, 2008 at 09:40:58 PT
By Justin Scheck and Rhonda L. Rundle
Source: Wall Street Journal
CA -- California Attorney General Jerry Brown issued restrictive guidelines this week for medical-marijuana sellers, bolstering his tough-on-crime credentials as he looks ahead to a possible gubernatorial bid in 2010.Mr. Brown's guidelines say medical-marijuana dispensaries -- which operate in a legal gray area -- should operate as small nonprofits. The guidelines instruct state law-enforcement officials that "excessive amounts of marijuana" and "excessive amounts of cash" may indicate a dispensary is operating unlawfully. "There's no blank check to sell marijuana in California," Mr. Brown said in an interview, adding that he believes many marijuana sellers are "shadowy enterprises."
Medical marijuana has been a sticky law-enforcement issue in California since voters passed an initiative in 1996 saying doctors could recommend marijuana to patients. The state legislature passed measures in 2003 to clarify the law. But store-front marijuana clubs have sprung up that law-enforcement officials say serve a much broader clientele than the law intended. And marijuana remains illegal under federal law, so federal authorities in California continue to crack down on marijuana sales.Mr. Brown's guidelines help solidify the legal status of smaller, nonprofit operations. They also align him with law-enforcement officials in counties like San Diego, which has shut down storefront operations over the past few years, accusing them of being illegal drug cartels. "It kind of validates what we've been saying, that these storefronts that are for profit, that really have no relationship with medical-marijuana users, are really not within the law," said Damon Mosler, the narcotics chief for the San Diego District Attorney's office.The guidelines are part of a broader effort by Mr. Brown to focus attention on his opposition to illegal marijuana sales. Earlier this month, his office issued a press release, headlined "Attorney General Brown Shuts Down Illegal Marijuana Operation," announcing a raid on a dispensary in Los Angeles by the state's Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement. A California Justice Department spokeswoman said that when it comes to medical marijuana, Mr. Brown has taken a different approach than his predecessor, Bill Lockyer."I think it's part of an overall strategy to run for governor in 2010," said Jaime Regalado, director of California State University's Pat Brown Institute of Public Affairs (which is named after Mr. Brown's father, a former California governor). Mr. Regalado said Mr. Brown has spent the past few years trying to shed the "Governor Moonbeam" moniker he earned as governor from 1975 to 1983. That included Mr. Brown's taking aggressive policing stances in Oakland, Calif., while he was mayor there through 2006.Mr. Brown has said he is considering another gubernatorial run. But he said the new medical-marijuana guidelines are a response to pleas from state law-enforcement officials, not a bid to win support. "This has nothing to do with politics," he said. "I am just doing my job."While medical-marijuana advocates don't like the prospect of tightened restrictions, some said the new guidelines should help them to comply with the law. "It reduces the subjectivity of law enforcement," said Joe Elford, who is chief counsel with the marijuana-advocacy group Americans for Safe Access. He said the majority of marijuana clubs in the state are small operations that already comply with the guidelines.Kevin Reed, the owner of a medical-marijuana provider named Green Cross, said the guidelines are "a really positive thing" because they clarify state policy. Mr. Reed, who has a permit from the City of San Francisco, said income that's not used for expenses and staff salary goes into lowering the cost of marijuana for clients. But, he added, there are some dispensary owners in Northern California who "feel like they should operate like any other business."Mr. Brown said that by eliminating larger, cartel-type operations, the guidelines should reduce the attention that federal authorities pay to legitimate distributors. San Francisco U.S. Attorney Joseph Russoniello said he supports that notion: "The people that the attorney general identifies as legitimate medical-marijuana operators are the people we view as flying below our radar."Mr. Russoniello said the guidelines don't change the fact that marijuana remains illegal under federal law. And he disagreed with suggestions that most sellers comply with California law. He estimated that 95% of medical-marijuana distributors are for-profit operations.Allison Margolin, a criminal defense attorney who represents marijuana dispensaries, said the new guidelines don't explain the difference between for-profit and non-profit organizations. "Law enforcement will use this vagueness to continue to prosecute people," she said.Source: Wall Street Journal (US)Author: Justin Scheck and Rhonda L. RundlePublished: August 29, 2008; Page A4Copyright: 2008 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.Contact: wsj.ltrs wsj.comWebsite: Medical Marijuana Archives
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Comment #14 posted by FoM on September 04, 2008 at 10:55:11 PT
Max Flowers 
Oh OK I understand.
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Comment #13 posted by Max Flowers on September 04, 2008 at 10:47:41 PT
Hi FoM, yeah it was more of a rhetorical question, expressing the idea that the states should not, in my opinion, have "federal authorities" in them at all except to carry out the limited purposes mentioned in the Constitution.
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Comment #12 posted by FoM on September 03, 2008 at 17:45:50 PT
Max Flowers 
I thought it was because of the CSA that Nixon started.
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Comment #11 posted by Max Flowers on September 03, 2008 at 16:47:13 PT
Another way this sentence burns me up
-- And marijuana remains illegal under federal law, so federal authorities in California continue to crack down on marijuana sales. --THERE SHOULDN'T EVEN BE federal authorities in California!! Why are they here at all??
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Comment #10 posted by Max Flowers on September 03, 2008 at 16:42:56 PT
So frustrating
-- And marijuana remains illegal under federal law, so federal authorities in California continue to crack down on marijuana sales. --SO many people have this wrong because they do not understand the structure of American government. Federal law applies not to every damn square inch of every state, but only to federal areas (DC) and federal enclaves. THAT'S IT. Federal law keeps on being pushed on states because everyone in states are too uninformed about jurisdiction and jurisprudence to know that it actually doesn't apply to them (all the way up to the governator), and they (feds) KNOW that everyone is dumb about this, and since they (states) keep playing the patsy, the feds keep on letting them do it.I can't stand it, it's so frustrating to watch. If *just once*, the governor or Brown or someone in authority would confront the head of DEA/DOJ with a proper injunction, they would stop.
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Comment #9 posted by The GCW on August 30, 2008 at 15:11:29 PT
Pot suspect claims medical permissionBlue River man arrested for third time in two years"... Crumblisses say they plan to sue the Larimer and Summit County sheriff’s departments for failing to take care of the marijuana plants that were confiscated, as required under Amendment 20.He also has filed civil complaints against the officer who requested the search warrants accusing him of perjury and witness tampering. ..."-0-Related:Summit Sheriff busts 2 pot-growing operations
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Comment #8 posted by runruff on August 30, 2008 at 12:01:46 PT
You want "shadowy enterprises." ?
Politics, Law enforcement, the federal justice system, The DEA, petroleum, Pharmaceuticals companies. Cannabis vendors, compared to these guys, are a healing salve applied to the abrasions of society. 
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Comment #7 posted by user123 on August 30, 2008 at 10:08:52 PT:
Go Away
California - What has Brown done for you lately? As Gov he did nothing, didnt' fix Oakland in any way while Mayor, now as AG the BS continues. If he gets on the ticket, I'll have to look to vote 'shudder' republican.
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Comment #6 posted by afterburner on August 30, 2008 at 07:34:21 PT
Yeah, We're Tired
Tired of seeing our hard work go "up in smoke."Tired of mealy-mouthed politicians that pander to the least common denominator of society and refuse to see the massive support for medical cannabis.How Much More Public Support Does Medical Marijuana Really Need?
Posted in Chronicle Blog by Scott Morgan on Fri, 08/29/2008 - 1:43am CA: Chong On Life, Comedy And Jail.
Pubdate: Thu, 28 Aug 2008.
Source: Santa Monica Mirror (CA).
Copyright: 2008 Santa Monica Mirror Don't forget it was Cheech Marin (of Cheech and Chong) who saved Steven Kubby's life by suggesting medical cannabis to him. Jerry Brown, you should be ashamed of yourself!
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Comment #5 posted by FoM on August 29, 2008 at 19:37:35 PT
AP: Calif. Bill Would Bar Firing Medical Pot Users
August 29, 2008SACRAMENTO -- California employees can't be fired just because they use medical marijuana, according to a bill that has passed the Legislature. The measure by Assemblyman Mark Leno would overturn a ruling issued by the state Supreme Court last January. The San Francisco Democrat's legislation would bar employers from punishing employees solely because they use marijuana under Proposition 215. That 1996 initiative allows people to use marijuana to ease a health problem with a doctor's recommendation. Leno's bill wouldn't protect employees who hold public safety positions or who were under the influence of marijuana while on the job. The bill cleared its final legislative hurdle Friday when the Assembly voted 41-31 to approve Senate amendments. On the Net: Read the bill, AB2279, at: 2008 - Times-Standard
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Comment #4 posted by E_Johnson on August 29, 2008 at 11:06:08 PT
Bu-bu-bu-but THIS is the Wall Street Journal
They gave Allison Margolin the tag-out quote. This is the Wall Street Journal, giving Allison margolin the tag-out quote. The Wall Street Journal bending over backwards to be fair to both sides. The Wall Street Journal treating medical marijuana dispensaries as if there ARE two sides. This is historic. I feel faint. Are you sure the article is real? Whooeee!
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Comment #3 posted by HempWorld on August 29, 2008 at 10:59:52 PT
Democrats and Republican Policians make a ca-
reer out of beating up on cannabis patients! Look tough and give those medical marijuana patients a beating, that's how I can advance my policital career!Way to go brownie! What a 'useful' topic it is, prone to give us unlimited mileage, much like 911 go Democrats and go Republicans still not getting it and never will I'm afraid.
On a mission from God!
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Comment #2 posted by runruff on August 29, 2008 at 10:22:51 PT
Where is ol' Gov'ner Moonbeam?
I liked that guy!
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Comment #1 posted by HempWorld on August 29, 2008 at 10:01:15 PT
"bolstering his tough-on-crime credentials as he
looks ahead to a possible gubernatorial bid in 2010."See! It's about policicians self interest! We are just fodder. Same old, same old, bla, bla, bla ...Even if Hell freezes over, you still can't have it!How do you say, policital football? See how 'compassionate' the politicians are!
On a mission from God!
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