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  1. #101
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    City considers aiding marijuana patients
    BERKELEY: Resolution would declare area a sanctuary for medical pot users and distributors
    By Doug Oakley
    STAFF WRITER

    01/26/2008


    Berkeley is considering a plan to help get medical marijuana to patients if the Drug Enforcement Administration shuts down any of the city-permitted cannabis clubs.
    The plan by City Councilmen Darryl Moore and Kriss Worthington already has drawn fire from the Berkeley police, the city manager's office and the DEA.

    The resolution before the City Council on Tuesday night declares Berkeley a sanctuary for medical marijuana users and distributors, and says "the city itself shall ensure a continuum of access to medical marijuana" if the DEA moves in.

    Whether that means the city selling marijuana itself or helping another distributor get started is up in the air at the moment, Moore said. He wants the police chief and city manager to come back with suggestions.

    "The piece I originally suggested is that in the wake of a DEA closure that the city would step in and provide medical marijuana, and that was what the city manager and the police chief had a problem with," Moore said.

    After a December meeting with Berkeley police Chief Douglas Hambleton and City Manager Phil Kamlarz, the language of the proposed resolution was softened.

    The DEA doesn't like the idea of Berkeley selling marijuana.

    "Our stand on it is if someone from the city sells it, it is still illegal, and we will investigate and take action as appropriate," said Javier Pena, special agent in charge of the DEA field office in San Francisco. "Anyone who breaks the law is at risk of getting arrested.

    We don't discriminate."
    Moore said a DEA crackdown in Berkeley could necessitate a medical emergency.

    "I personally feel the state has adopted medical marijuana, and it is overwhelmingly positive," Moore said. "Should the DEA crack down here, it will be a public health issue, and the city should be responsible for the medical needs of its residents."

    The DEA raided and closed five medical marijuana dispensaries in the Bay Area in the past year, according to a spokeswoman. And according to the resolution, the DEA has shut down 28 dispensaries in 11 counties statewide since June.

    The resolution also criticizes the DEA's warnings to property owners in Berkeley that they face asset forfeiture and prosecution if they continue to lease property to medical marijuana providers.

    Berkeley police spokeswoman Sgt. Mary Kusmiss said the department must straddle conflicting state and federal laws.

    "There is a difference between us honoring Prop. 215 -- which legalized medical marijuana in California -- and actively violating federal law," Kusmiss said.

    Berkeley's two dispensaries are the Berkeley Patients' Group on San Pablo Avenue and Berkeley Patients' Care Collective on Telegraph Avenue.

    The city already has directed its police department not to cooperate with federal investigations of any dispensaries. But critics, including Americans for Safe Access based in Oakland, say police violated that policy last fall when it was on the scene of a search by the Internal Revenue Service and the Alameda County Sheriff of a Berkeley hills home that was connected to a marijuana dispensary raided outside Berkeley.

    "We weren't facilitating the search warrant in that case," Kusmiss said. "We were there because there were cars being towed, and we were supporting the other officers there."

    The resolution before the council should mainly be used as a statement to the federal government that Berkeley is serious about medical marijuana, said Kris Hermes, spokesman for Americans for Safe Access.

    "It's not going to be in the municipal code, but it is a strong statement that the federal government is not welcome in the city of Berkeley and it stands behind its permitted facilities," Hermes said.

    Hermes said instead of distributing marijuana, he sees the resolution as a way of getting the city to help find an emergency location for a cannabis club to operate if one is shut down.

    "We're not asking the city to become a distributor," Hermes said.

    Reach Doug Oakley at doakley@bayareanewsgroup.com.




    http://www.contracostatimes.com/news/ci ... ck_check=1

  2. #102
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    Ron Paul Blast From The Past: 1988 High Times Interview




    Old-time libertarians will recall a lot of the names dropped in this 1988 High Times article about then Libertarian Party presidential candidate Ron Paul: Andre Marrou, Ed Clark, Dick Randolph, Murray Rothbard, John Hospers, Roger McBride, Tonie Nathan, David Bergland, Eric Garris, Paul Jacob, Tim Lewis, Norma Jean Almodovar, Mark Ford, and Ed Crane. Many of these people are still around and active today.

    Considering nature of the publication, the obvious focus was on Dr. Paul’s position pertaining to the War on Drugs. I found nothing in the article which suggested anything different from the position I still maintain: As one of the nation’s most notable vocal critics of the War on Drugs, Dr. Paul has probably never used any illegal drug for either medicinal or recreational purposes. Paul used the same general arguments pertaining to the War on Drugs in 1988 that he did in a more recent article or even more recently on CNN during an interview with Wolf Blitzer.



    To be clear, I’ve never seen Paul in any of those smoke-filled hospitality suites at events we’ve both attended. Coincidentally, this year’s Libertarian Party convention will be held in Denver, too—a city which has legalized marijuana since the first Libertarian National Convention held in the Mile High City.

    One sentence in the article was very suitable for the Steve Kubby LP presidential campaign of this election cycle: “Libertarians go to jail before they are elected to office; Democrats and Republicans [go] to jail after they have been elected.

  3. #103
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    Quote Originally Posted by momofnextpres
    Quote Originally Posted by PinestrawGuys
    And none of those posts has a thing to do with marijuana...
    PinestrawGuys, It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.
    Ironically all those pictures just prove what making drugs illegal does, it give access to a billion dollar industry to criminals.

    Just like prohibition made mobsters billionaires, the drug war is doing the same, while having virtually 0 effect on drug use.

  4. #104
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    Buellton approves ban on medical marijuana dispensaries
    By Julian J. Ramos/STAFF WRITER

    Despite pleas from medical marijuana users and their supporters, the Buellton City Council unanimously approved a ban on medical marijuana dispensaries.


    Buellton had a medical marijuana dispensary called Hezekiah Inc. on Second Street, but it shut down after being raided by federal agents who seized all the marijuana on the premises on July 26. Hezekiah had been the only medical marijuana dispensary in northern Santa Barbara County. Another clinic operates in Santa Barbara.

    Unlike the first reading and introduction of the ordinance on Jan. 10, when no speakers testified, nine speakers asked the council Thursday to reconsider the ban and table the action for more time to develop regulations for dispensaries.

    Most of the speakers gave Santa Maria or Orcutt addresses. None identified themselves as being Buellton or Santa Ynez Valley residents.

    Thomas J. Gray, a Los Angeles attorney representing Hezekiah Inc. founder and director Steve Allbritton, said that “inaccuracies

  5. #105
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    Pot dispensaries closing under threat of feds
    Wyatt Buchanan, Chronicle Staff Writer

    Thursday, February 7, 2008

    Medical marijuana in San Francisco may be going up in smoke.

    In late December, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration sent letters to landlords of buildings that housed medical cannabis dispensaries in the city, telling them they face the loss of their property and possibly prison if the businesses stay open.

    Now, less than two months later, seven of the city's 28 dispensaries have closed or are on the verge of closing, according to medical marijuana supporters and activists. They fear more will follow.

    "It's like a dagger in the heart," said Wayne Justmann, a medical marijuana advocate. "We're barely holding on right now."

    Dispensary owners are being guarded about the closures, as they are fearful that speaking publicly will draw attention to their individual businesses and put them at greater risk.

    So far, the Mason Street Dispensary in the Tenderloin district has closed completely. One of the city's older dispensaries, 194 Church St. - which last year city supervisors tried to name as a historic site - no longer sells marijuana but is still open for people to use the space to get high.

    One of the best known dispensaries, the San Francisco Patients' Cooperative on Divisadero Street, will shut its doors at the end of the month after nearly 20 years, according to the Rev. Randi Webster, one of the cooperative's founders.

    The owner of the building was "severely frightened" by the DEA letter, and the cooperative founders and the landlord had agreed years ago to part ways in the event of a situation like this, Webster said.

    Activists will not disclose the locations of other dispensaries that have or may soon shut their doors.

    San Francisco is the birthplace of the medical marijuana movement. The first major club opened in the city in 1994 and the number peaked at 43 in 2005, just before the city passed first-of-their kind regulations for the dispensaries.

    All are supposed to possess city permits by March 1, though so far only one - a delivery service - has complied, according to the city's Department of Public Health.

    The DEA sent letters to about 50 landlords in 14 Northern California counties, said Casey McEnry, spokeswoman for the agency.

    In the letter sent to San Francisco dispensaries, DEA Special Agent in Charge Javier Pena wrote that the agency "has determined there is a marijuana dispensary operating on the property. This is a violation of federal law." Pena goes on to threaten landlords with the seizure of the property and other assets and up to 20 years in prison.

    The notices are the first step in this new effort to shut down dispensaries, said McEnry, who described them as "courtesy letters" to landlords who might not know such a business exists on their property. Federal agents have for years been raiding dispensaries but had yet to go after landlords.

    She said the agency has not determined its next step. "We're still evaluating the impact to see what kind of response we get," McEnry said.

    The DEA sent similar letters to dispensaries in Southern California last summer and about 50 shut down, according to Kris Hermes, legal campaign director for Americans for Safe Access, an Oakland marijuana advocacy organization.

    While that number is significant, Hermes said, "In no way is the DEA completely eliminating medical marijuana access in California."

    Action by the DEA would be followed through in the courts by the U.S. attorney's office. In an interview with reporters last week, new U.S. Attorney Joseph Russoniello said he thought most people who claimed to be patients did not need marijuana. But he also said a lifetime of trying to close dispensaries would "be terribly unproductive and probably not an efficient use of precious federal resources."

    Still, activists are putting pressure on officials to take a strong stand. The San Francisco Democratic Party approved a motion last month condemning the letters and calling on local and federal leaders to denounce the action.

    Mayor Gavin Newsom has been the target of some of that pressure. On Wednesday, his spokesman Nathan Ballard said, "The mayor is concerned that the DEA's actions will leave patients without their physician-recommended medical marijuana."

    But Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi, who wrote the city regulations, said he has not seen enough leadership from the mayor to protect the dispensaries.

    "It's an expensive proposition for medical cannabis dispensaries to pay for a permit then get shut down by the DEA," Mirkarimi said, adding later that he has heard "nothing from the mayor" on the topic.

    He said the city may need to consider dispensing marijuana itself at public hospitals and medical clinics. On Tuesday, Supervisor Chris Daly introduced a resolution condemning the DEA letters.

    Whatever happens, all eyes will be watching San Francisco for clues to the future of the movement.

    "If it goes down in San Francisco," said Webster, the activist at the Divisadero dispensary, "there's no holding them back in the 11 other states with medical cannabis."

    E-mail Wyatt Buchanan at wbuchanan@sfchronicle.com.

    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.c ... 4UTGBG.DTL

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