Cities Seek An Antidote To Medical Marijuana
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Cities Seek An Antidote To Medical Marijuana
Posted by CN Staff on November 15, 2011 at 04:41:40 PT
By Jessica Garrison, Los Angeles Times
Source: Los Angeles Times
California -- Three years ago, Garden Grove enacted a ban on medical marijuana dispensaries.But the city's crackdown didn't go the way officials planned. Dealing with one marijuana case cost $200,000 in attorney's fees, leaving city leaders with sticker shock. Then they began to wonder whether their ban would even withstand legal challenge, given the contradictory case law.
So Garden Grove stopped enforcing its ban and this summer required dispensaries to register with the city.Now there are about 60 pot shops in Garden Grove, selling products with names like Porn Star and Super Lemon Haze. City Manager Matt Fertal said he believes it's more shops per capita than any other city in California."Everybody is just so frustrated with this," Fertal said. The state, he noted, allows medical marijuana but doesn't give clear direction on how cities and counties should regulate it. Federal law says it is illegal in all circumstances.And as for the dispensaries, Fertal said, some do not hesitate to sue cities that try to regulate them: "They've got more money than everybody to throw at this, and they are just determined to sue on every matter.... We feel like we are caught in the middle."As the medical marijuana business booms, cities are finding that regulating it is expensive. That's especially true of small and medium-sized California cities like Garden Grove, which don't have the in-house legal departments of Los Angeles and San Francisco and instead pay outside attorneys by the hour."Cities are either wringing their hands about the fact that they are going broke trying to deal with marijuana or they are just stuck," said Thomas Brown, an attorney at Burke Williams & Sorensen who has advised numerous cities on the issue. "It's paralyzing a lot of cities."There are no hard figures on how many cities and counties have been involved in litigation over medical marijuana. But The Times identified at least 40, and many experts say the number is probably much higher.As cities struggle with the dire financial problems, many dispensaries are feeling anything but a budget crunch. Although the dispensaries are prohibited by law from operating for profit, some generate enough revenue to defend themselves in court.Medical marijuana activists say they are fighting on behalf of patients who need the drug to cope with pain and other ailments."People who want to suppress it are going to be victims of litigation," said Kris Hermes, spokesman for Americans for Safe Access. "There are patients in these communities that fight back."Backers point out that California voters permitted medical marijuana and that polls show they support it.But opposition remains in some communities, where residents may view the dispensaries as blights.Down the road from Garden Grove in Lake Forest, officials saw an influx of dispensaries, including several within 600 feet of a Montessori school.Officials spent nearly $1 million on lawyers trying to shut down more than a dozen dispensaries. But they got nowhere: Even when an Orange County Superior Court judge issued injunctions shutting dispensaries down, owners filed appeals, and the state's 4th District Court of Appeals allowed them to stay open while the cases moved through the courts.In desperation, officials this spring appealed to the federal government, writing U.S. Atty. Andre Birotte Jr. to ask for aid in combatting store-front marijuana dispensaries in Lake Forest.This fall, Birotte answered them, writing a letter pledging help on the same day he and three other U.S. attorneys in California announced they would go after large-scale growers and dispensary owners in the state. The strategy worked for Lake Forest. Three weeks after the crackdown was announced, officials said, all but one dispensary has left the city.Gilroy City Councilman Perry Woodward calls what happened in his city, which enacted a ban in 2009, a cautionary tale.He said a group of local business people had been working with the city to open a dispensary, only to have the project go off the rails after community opposition. The dispensary opened anyway. The town sued and won, but not before City Hall racked up $200,000 in legal costs."We spent a lot of money," Woodward said, at the same time it was laying off police officers and firefighters. "Anyone who thinks that as a consequence, marijuana is no longer being sold in Gilroy is living in a fantasy land."Hemet spent approximately $100,000 to shut down a single dispensary this year whose owner refused to leave in a local zoning dispute; it was more than 10% of the city's projected budget for legal fees for the year. In Temecula, a suit over a dispensary has cost $140,000 and counting (the matter is still before the court) in a city that budgets less than $1 million a year for legal costs.Much of the legal activity involves cities trying to ban or use zoning laws to restrict the number of dispensaries. But at least one town, Isleton in Sacramento County, spent tens of thousands in legal fees to try to get into the marijuana business.The little city, so broke that it has relied on volunteer police officers, entered a deal last fall to let an abandoned housing development be used as a marijuana growing operation, with the city getting a cut of the profits as well as other sweeteners like surveillance cameras and an upgraded computer system. The project fell apart after the U.S. attorney and the Sacramento County Grand Jury objected, but not before the city incurred $100,000 in legal costs.David Larsen, the city's attorney and city manager, said those costs would ultimately be paid by the grower. But the debacle "has diverted a lot of resources.... Any time you have to drag the whole council and everyone else up to the grand jury, that is an interruption of scarce resources," he said.California voters approved the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes in 1996 with the passage of Proposition 215. In 2003, the state Legislature passed the Medical Marijuana Program Act, the cheekily named Senate Bill 420, a slang reference to smoking marijuana.But the legality of medical marijuana operations has long been murky. The federal government continues to view marijuana use as a crime. Then in the early days of the Obama administration, U.S. Atty. Gen Eric Holder announced that prosecutors would not target medical marijuana users and caregivers as long as they followed state laws.Last week, an appeals court upheld a dispensary ban in Riverside. Other cities hope the ruling places their bans on firmer legal footing. Medical marijuana activists vow to fight on but say the law needs to be clarified."I would have to agree that this is a mess," said Joe Elford, chief counsel for Americans for Safe Access. "People should be entitled to know what the law is, and the law is not clear enough for people to know what it is."Times staff writer John Hoeffel contributed to this report. Source: Los Angeles Times (CA)Author: Jessica Garrison, Los Angeles TimesPublished: November 15, 2011Copyright: 2011 Los Angeles TimesContact: letters latimes.comWebsite: Medical Marijuana Archives 
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Comment #10 posted by jaime on November 21, 2011 at 23:18:49 PT:
Jaime Moreno"s Christmas Gift-Your Welcome
The truth is in California when we apply for an identification card or drivers license we actually AGREE in writing to waiving our constitutional rights and accept priviliges,where we have to constantly beg and protest to get an inch of freedom through expensive attorneys and fancy legal arguments,your attorney wont tell you this ,all you do is tell the judge you never agreed to follow the rules and they will say you did,then show them your certified application on file with the dmv and the judge dismisses the case for lack of subject matter jurisdiction,your attorney is forbidden from doing this it must be done on your own, dont plead tell him to dismiss now and he will,forget agruing,why are you arguing anything in court if you agreed to something else,thats not honorable, simply cancel the agreement and file a new application, the dmv lets you, I bet None of you obviously read the contract you signed in california. It states we have read,agree and understand to the certification on the back. In the certifications section we agree to follow federal law here in california as if we were in federal united states territory,(that's why the feds come in cali and steal with impunity because you agreed to follow federal law), don't believe me , Please Dont,,,Look for yourself, what is the solution since you probably want your california identification for some things...THE SOLUTION IS MODIFY AND REFORM THE CONTRACT....and it is completely legal. I have personally done it look me up COPPERs local and federal(SMILE) PLEASE ...CALIFORNIA IDENTIFICATION CARD # b6840299,jaime moreno 11.04.79,email jaimesbox if you want proof, Check the signature line and check the original application on file with the dmv that i filed and the dmv accepted, ...THE SOLUTION in my opinion which of course is not legal advice is do WHAT I DID...I took a black marker and crossed out where it says that I agree with anything, or understand anything or under penalty of perjury, I crossed everything out, and added without prejudice(u.c.c 1-308) to protect my rights and all rights reserved, and no jurisdiction over my person and no consent ot service of process(this means they will never even summons you to court), and the dmv will accept the terms, the dmv is the State if you read the small print on the tiny dmv logo on top left of the application, simply point it out to any judge or court and they DO HONOR THIS, I am living it, just trying to spread the word ...LOVE FOR FREEDOM(SMILE 
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Comment #9 posted by Storm Crow on November 15, 2011 at 22:17:24 PT
Rainbow - here you go hon! though I'm not there much, GP is an excellent MMJ site! They are my "back-up" for the List, just in case my computer dies! They always have my latest List up! Or you can always send me an email at- stormcrow(AT)  That will get you a free PDF that can be forwarded easily to friends and relatives! And if you take any kind of vitamin, friends, make it Omega 3! It is absolutely necessary for the health of your endocannabinoid system! It also lowers cholesterol, and helps the heart, and WAY MORE! Hemp seed oil is a good source, as is fish oil and flax seed oil! Hemp seed oil tastes good enough to make a nice salad dressing - much nicer than taking pills!  
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Comment #8 posted by The GCW on November 15, 2011 at 20:38:15 PT
"too big of an issue to ignore"
Gary Johnson Makes Marijuana Legalization a Key Issue in Campaign For President GARY!
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Comment #7 posted by ekim on November 15, 2011 at 18:59:56 PT
public policy that are too expensive retired and in the private sector, Mandigo believes it is time to change course on the 74-year-old federal ban on marijuana and has endorsed a proposed state initiative, I-502, which would legalize small amounts of marijuana and regulate sales in state-run pot stores. Mandigo describes drug laws as “discretionary” public policy that are too expensive and carry to many unintended consequences.
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Comment #6 posted by FoM on November 15, 2011 at 17:37:47 PT
DEA Raids Puget Sound Medical Marijuana Shops
November 15, 2011URL:
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Comment #5 posted by disvet13 on November 15, 2011 at 13:14:20 PT:
it shall be called E.A.J.A.
every lawyer now makes a living, regardless of reason. they will spend another million, and another million. it was a virus, injected into the computer of democracy, so to speak. re-invented government is what newt gingrich calls it, back in 1988, woodrow wilson called it..." there is an element that has invaded our government, a small group of contemptible men have made us a contemptible nation". socialistic nazi's, the adversarial process bureaucracy, they teach every lawyer that in college now, and they think they're re-inventing government. it's a virus, it destroys the computer by slow death. pretty soon there will be a government lawyer for every citizen, now you know why we the people are broke, they are robbbing the nations piggy bank, and teaching your sons and daughters its alright to re-invent government, and newt is climbing in the polls, all the lawyers are contributing your tax dollars to feed their bureaucractic cancer. they will never be cured. it's their government now, and you are their slaves.
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Comment #4 posted by paulpeterson on November 15, 2011 at 12:04:15 PT:
runruff-you go girl
Sounds like you hit the nail on the head at a precise point in time. Good going so far.Me? I sued local Iowa cops in fed court, for criminal assault and false arrest-now I have a jury trial set for July, 2012 in little Sioux City Iowa fed court.Meanwhile, back at the ranch, I have been banned from a local library, and await a right to sue letter against the library. And now I am asking for permission to attend a religious meeting at the library-A LITTLE FRINGE GROUP, they call themselves CHRISTIANS, and so this public library has just stepped on the First Amendment to the US CONSTITUTION, and thats that.In other words, any chink any one citizen and chop away at, involving either state or federal prohibitions, just chinks away at complacency and conformity, and that is all good, right? Over and out PAUL PETERSON
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Comment #3 posted by rainbow on November 15, 2011 at 11:34:38 PT
Grannys list 
I had the link to granny Storm Crows list of research but the link is being highjacked by some search engine.Is there a new link?
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Comment #2 posted by afterburner on November 15, 2011 at 09:07:10 PT
Me Tired of Being Ripped Off! You?
The cities, states & federal government could save a ton of money by dropping this ridiculous obstruction. All of them are in financial difficulty due to the Great Recession. Are these bannings & strong-arm invasion tactics worth the cost? As long as we continue to fight back for our rights, we are cutting into their scarce resources. Are these bannings & strong-arm invasion tactics worth the cost? Federal, state & city politicians, stop trying to turn back the clock to the paranoid 1950's. Move on for the health and wealth of the country and the 99%. Let the healing of the nation begin! 
Herb Is the Healing lyrics - Israel Vibration - includes video 4:20
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Comment #1 posted by runruff on November 15, 2011 at 05:15:26 PT
Case in point.
They don't tell us much unless it benefits them to do so.What started this mess was me! I went before Federal Circuit Judge Panner on a charge of violation of my federal probation for continuing to use cannabis to treat my glaucoma. I stated as my defense the memo by Eric Holder about obeying state laws. Judge Panner then asked me if I had signed an agreement with the federal probation dept. to not use any federally controlled substance. I educated the Judge by telling him that in my state I am eligible to use cannabis if approved even if I have a felony marijuana conviction. The Judge announced then and there that the law was too convoluted to make a ruling, He said to the court clerk, make record of the fact that this court no longer has any hold on Mr. sisson that he should be released from his probation immediately. I am the first person In the history of this state to get off of federal probation early. It sent shock waves up and down the state. They could immediately see their grip on us slipping away! That happened 1 1/2 years ago here in Medford. I said to my 
Wife a while back that this is typical in the time frame it takes things to move through the humongous federal bureaucracy. Now is what we see them doing to close that loop-hole. This is what they do! Anything but the will of the people. It is even more evident who they work for, if you ask me?
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