ASA California Roundup: February 17, 2014

February 17, 2014 | Don Duncan

Contents:

Message from the CA Director - Happy Presidents Day? Maybe.

California News

  • Feds unveil new guidelines for banks handling marijuana money (National)
  • Lawmakers Push Obama to Soften Marijuana Rules (National)
  • The US government is helping illegal pot producers destroy California’s water supply (California)
  • Marijuana Advocate Caught between State, Federal Law (Placer County)
  • San Diego City Council To Consider Medical Marijuana Regulations Again (San Diego)
  • "Legal Alternative" to Medical Marijuana? (San Diego)
  • SF's Medical Marijuana Program Is a Boring Success (San Francisco)
  • Judge throws out medical marijuana restrictions (Kern County)
  • Planning Officials Say No to Pot Shops (Santa Monica)

Events

  • Sunday, February 23, 2014 – State of the Medical Cannabis Union 2014: A Panel of Cannabis Experts (Berkeley)
  • April 5-7, 2014 - The 2nd Annual National Medical Cannabis Unity Conference (Washington, DC)

Take Action

  • Support the Medical Marijuana Organ Transplant Act
  • Join Americans for Safe Access (ASA)

ASA Website Spotlight

  • Federal Advocacy Project
  • Free Online Services

ASA Merchandise

  • ASA Cloud Vaporizer Pen
  • ASA Condition-Specific Booklets for Kindle

ASA Chapter & Affiliate Meetings

  • Tuesday, February 18, 2014 – San Francisco ASA (San Francisco)
  • Wednesday, February 19, 2014 – East Bay ASA (Oakland)
  • Wednesday, February 19, 2014 – Lake County ASA (Clearlake Oaks)
  • Sunday, February 23, 2014 – Nevada County ASA (North San Juan)

Message from the CA Director



Happy President’s Day, everyone!

President Obama’s Administration made another cautious step towards a more rational federal policy on medical cannabis last week. The US Department of Treasury and the US Department of Justice (DOJ) published a memo on Friday offering guidance to financial institutions, such as banks, credit unions, and credit card companies, which provide services to medical cannabis businesses and organizations. This is the second memo from the Administration that indicates an evolving federal policy. In August, the DOJ issued new guidelines making federal enforcement in states with effective regulatory schemes a lower priority.

Both of these memos matter in California. Federal intimidation has forced banks to close refuse to open accounts for medical cannabis cooperatives, collectives, and other organizations – forcing them to operate on a cash-only basis for years. This is complicated and potentially dangerous. The new policy may persuade ambivalent banks and credit card companies to embrace patients’ associations in California again. The outcome of the updated federal enforcement policies in our state is less certain. California lawmakers have been unable or unwilling to adopt a sensible comprehensive regulatory bill for commercial medical cannabis activity. It is too soon to know if the lack of statewide oversight will trigger federal action in California, or if the President’s small steps towards a new policy will help break the impasse in Sacramento.

Americans for Safe Access (ASA) calls on the President to take more decisive action before his final term ends. The President can use his authority to approve petitions seeking to reclassify medical cannabis under federal law. He can also let Congress know he will sign legislation like HR 689, the States’ Medical Marijuana Patient Protections Act, which will allow California and other states to regulate medical cannabis without federal interference. Doing either of these would mean a happy President’s Day for patients and advocates all over the state.

Read more about ASA's Federal Advocacy Project in the ASA Website Spotlight section below.


California News



Feds unveil new guidelines for banks handling marijuana money (National)
By Stephanie M. Lee in SF Gate

Marijuana is still prohibited under federal law, but that hasn’t stopped 20 states and the District of Columbia from legalizing certain marijuana-related activity. That divide has raised questions over whether businesses should feel safe storing their cash in banks, which are regulated by a mix of federal and state authorities...
Read more here.

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Lawmakers Push Obama to Soften Marijuana Rules (National)
By Katy Steinmentz in TIME

More than a dozen members of Congress called on President Barack Obama on Wednesday to remove marijuana from the federal government’s list of hard drugs, seizing upon his own comments in a recent interview that pot is no more dangerous than alcohol. “We were encouraged by your recent comments,” the letter from 17 Democrats and one Republican said. “We request that you take action to help alleviate the harms to society caused by the federal Schedule I classification of marijuana. … You said that you don’t believe marijuana is any more dangerous than alcohol: a fully legalized substance. …. Marijuana, however, remains listed in the federal Controlled Substances Act at Schedule I, the strictest classification...
Read more here.

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The US government is helping illegal pot producers destroy California’s water supply (California)
By Gwymm Guilford in Quartz

Heavy rains in California in recent days have partly alleviated the drought that parched the state in January. The dry spell is merely exacerbating a long-developing problem in northern California, however: The huge volumes of water used to grow marijuana, as well as the noxious fertilizers and pesticides gushing into streams, are pushing local watersheds to their breaking point...
Read more here.

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Marijuana Advocate Caught between State, Federal Law (Placer County)
By Fox 40

It was just days after California voters passed Prop 215 in 1996, California’s top cop Dan Lungren at the time said the state would face an uphill battle dealing with the legalization of the drug. Since then, many changes have taken place – and not just in California. Medical marijuana is legal in 19 other states, and Washington, D.C. That list includes Colorado and Washington, with both legalizing marijuana for recreational use. Still, that hasn’t stopped the Feds from busting up medical marijuana grows and dispensaries, because it’s still illegal under federal law...
Read more and watch a video here.

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San Diego City Council To Consider Medical Marijuana Regulations Again (San Diego)
By City News Service, Claire Trageser

The San Diego City Council will take another stab at establishing regulations for medical marijuana dispensaries in San Diego at its Feb. 25 meeting, Interim Mayor Todd Gloria said at a media briefing Thursday. The panel has addressed the issue numerous times since California's Compassionate Use Act was approved by voters more than 17 years ago...
Read more here.

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"Legal Alternative" to Medical Marijuana? (San Diego)
By 7 ABC San Diego

A San Diego company is producing and selling what could be a legal alternative to medical marijuana.HempMedPX is creating hemp oil rich in CBD or cannabidiol. Unlike THC in marijuana, CBD does not cause the “high” effect. Rather, recent studies indicate “CBD to be well tolerated and safe” and is being tested to treat children with uncontrolled seizures...
Read more and watch a video here.

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SF's Medical Marijuana Program Is a Boring Success (San Francisco)
By Chris Roberts in the SF Weekly

The evening rush hour was still in full swing on a recent weeknight at Church and Market streets. Well-dressed would-be diners crowded the doorway of a seafood restaurant, waiting for a table, while shoppers carrying Whole Foods bags competed for space on a cramped sidewalk with commuters heading home. And in the middle of it all, right at the intersection, a store that California police say is a crime magnet and an eyesore was barely noticed at all. The only thing identifying it as a pot club was the tell-tale smell and the steady crush of customers there to buy weed. That's the funny thing about legal weed -- it's not exciting, there's no drama -- as the city's annual report on its dispensary program reveals...
Read more here.

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Judge throws out medical marijuana restrictions (Kern County)
By James Burger in the Bakersfield Californian

Kern County's battle with medical marijuana collectives and cooperatives took a wild turn Friday. Superior Court Judge Kenneth Twisselman invalidated Measure G -- the 2012 voter-approved ordinance that limits where storefront marijuana operations in unincorporated Kern County can locate....
Read more here.

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Planning Officials Say No to Pot Shops (Santa Monica)
By David Mark Simpson in the Santa Monica Daily Press

The Planning Commission will soon consider adding medical marijuana dispensaries to the upcoming zoning ordinance, which regulates how city land can be used, but city planners are recommending against it. In a report for next week’s commission meeting, planning officials say that the pot shops would take up too many short-term parking spaces on city streets, cause public safety issues, and are unnecessary due to the number of delivery services surrounding the city by the sea...
Read more here.


Events



Sunday, February 23, 2014 – State of the Medical Cannabis Union 2014: A Panel of Cannabis Experts (Berkeley)
Join Dr. Frank Lucido and his guests Attorney Omar Figueroa and Attorney James Clark. The panel discussion starts at 2:00 PM at 2300 Durant Ave., Berkeley, CA 94703. Call (510) 848-0958 or (877) 787-6900 for more information.

April 5-7, 2014- The 2nd Annual National Medical Cannabis Unity Conference (Washington, DC)

We are pleased to announce the 2nd Annual National Medical Cannabis Unity Conference, Navigating Medical Cannabis in the Mainstream, taking place April 5 – 7th at the Mayflower Renaissance Hotel in Washington, D.C. Americans for Safe Access and our allies will fight even harder for safe access in 2014. This is our chance to show the Obama Administration and Congress our strength in unity – and to make our voice heard like never before in the nation’s capitol! The conference is your chance to network with other activists from around the country, attend panels and workshops to improve your skills and increase your knowledge, and to engage in direct citizen-lobbying efforts in the halls of Congress. Last year we had over 300 patients, providers, activist, medical and legal professional march on Washington on our lobby day. This was the largest march on Washington for safe access. Dont miss your chance to be apart of history.
Read more, register for the conference, and book your room at the Mayflower Inn today.


Do you have a medical cannabis event to share? Send items for the California Weekly Roundup to CARoundup@SafeAccessNow.org before 12:00 PM on Friday to be included in Monday's distribution.


Take Action



Support the Medical Marijuana Organ Transplant Act

Patients in California can be denied a life-saving organ transplant based solely on their legal medical cannabis use. Some patients have already died after being denied equal access to health care, and others are in jeopardy. Sign the petition calling on California lawmakers to pass a bill protecting legal medical cannabis patients this year – and then share the link with your friends and loved ones.

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Join Americans for Safe Access (ASA)

ASA is the nation’s leading medical cannabis patients’ advocacy organization. The patients, medical professionals, scientists, concerned citizens, and other who comprise ASA are committed to promoting safe and legal access to cannabis for therapeutic use and research. ASA works in partnership with state, local and national legislators to overcome barriers and create policies that improve access to cannabis for patients and researchers. ASA provides legal training for and medical information to patients, attorneys, health and medical professionals and policymakers throughout the United States. We also organize media support for court cases, rapid response to law enforcement raids, and capacity-building for advocates. Your support makes it all possible. Join ASA or renew your membership today.


ASA Website Spotlight



Federal Advocacy Project

ASA's National Office located in Washington, DC, advocates for safe access to cannabis for therapeutic use and research to better meet the immediate needs of patients, medical professionals, and researchers. We help to broaden support for medical cannabis on Capitol Hill, and within executive agencies and national institutes. ASA is the only organization in our nation's Capitol working exclusively to advance safe and legal access to cannabis for therapeutic use and research.

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Free Online Services:

  • Legal Support - Legal information for patients, lawyers, and other about medical cannabis laws the legal system.
  • Publications - Education literature and training for patients, activists, and others.
  • Raid Center - Be prepared for a law enforcement encounter, let ASA help you in case of a federal raid, and get text alerts regarding local law enforcement activity.
  • Medical Cannabis Advocate's Training Center - Learn how to be a more effective advocate for medical cannabis and how to build the movement in your community.

ASA Merchandise



ASA Cloud Vaporizer Pen

Medicate and advocate! The ASA Cloud Vaporizer Pen is perfect for patients who want to show their support for the medical cannabis movement. The pen has an ASA logo, comes in our signature color, and has a lifetime guarantee. 30% of every sale goes to support ASA.

ASA Condition-Specific Booklets for Kindle
 
ASA’s condition-specific booklets are the go-to reference for doctors and researchers when it comes to medical cannabis and cancer, HIV/AIDS, chronic pain, and other common conditions. These science-based booklets are also a great tool for patients who want to talk to their health care provider, family members, or others about medical cannabis. Download your now.


ASA Chapter & Affiliate Meetings



Tuesday, February 18, 2014 – San Francisco ASA (San Francisco)
The meeting starts at 7:30 PM at Lounge 847, 847 Howard St, San Francisco, CA 94103. Email tony@safeaccessnow.org for more information.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014 – East Bay ASA (Oakland)
The meeting starts at 6:30 PM at the Oaksterdam Student Union, 1915 Broadway, Oakland, CA 94612. Email eastbayasa@gmail.com for more information.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014 – Lake County ASA (Clearlake Oaks)
The meeting starts at 6:30 PM at the Moose Lodge, 15900 East Highway 20, Clearlake Oaks, CA 95423. Email boo5416@yahoo.com for more information.

Sunday, February 23, 2014 – Nevada County ASA (North San Juan)
The meeting starts at 2:00 PM at the North San Juan Senior Center, 29190 State Hwy 49, North San Juan, CA 95960. Email info@asa-nc.com for more information.


Have something to share?

The “California Weekly Roundup” is a once-a-week email for ASA Members and Friends that focuses on relevant news and important updates, action alerts, meetings and special events. Send items for the California Weekly Roundup to CARoundup@SafeAccessNow.org before 12:00 PM on Friday to be included in Monday's distribution.


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