Pages tagged "Dispensaries"

  • Congress to AG Holder: Let States Implement Medical Marijuana Laws without Federal Interference



     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Congressional members Barney Frank (D-MA) and Jared Polis (D-CO) wrote to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder earlier this week urging him to re-avow his commitment to an October 2009 memorandum that de-emphasized federal enforcement regarding medical marijuana.

    The 2009 memo was drafted by then-Deputy Attorney General David Ogden and sent to all of the U.S. Attorneys in medical marijuana states. Since then, some of those same U.S. Attorneys have sent letters to local and state officials in at least 10 states, threatening some of them with criminal prosecution if they implement licensed production and distribution systems.

    According to The Hill, Frank and Polis in their June 20th letter pointed to the stark divide between federal policy and practice:
    Recent actions by United States Attorneys across the country have prompted states to deny patients safe and reliable access to their medicine.

    Further emphasizing this point, U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag sent a letter to Oakland, California City Attorney John Russo in February stating that the Justice Department:
    will enforce the [Controlled Substances Act] vigorously against individuals and organizations that participate in unlawful manufacturing and distribution activity involving marijuana, even if such activities are permitted under state law.

    Letters sent to lawmakers in the States of Arizona, California, Hawaii, Montana, Rhode Island, and Washington have killed, derailed or suspended the implementation of local medical marijuana laws. Frank and Polis responded to this intimidation by explaining how obstructing medical marijuana laws needlessly expends precious federal resources and “harms the people whose major goal is to seek relief from pain wholly caused by illness.”
    There are now hundreds of thousands of medical marijuana patients in states where the medication is legal. These patients will either purchase medical marijuana safely at state-regulated entities or seek it through unregulated channels in the criminal market.

    Any day now, Holder is expected to announce a “clarification” to the Ogden memo. Patients and supporters are encouraged to contact his office and let Holder know that the federal government should let local and state governments implement their own medical marijuana laws and to focus on developing a federal policy that recognizes marijuana’s medical efficacy. Anything less would be a disservice to our most vulnerable.
  • Tough year in Sacramento



    This is shaping up as a tough year for medical cannabis in Sacramento. California Senators failed to vote on a bill by Senator Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) that would have protected legal medical cannabis patients from employment discrimination. Americans for Safe Access (ASA) is already working to build more support for SB 129 before it comes back to the Senate in January of 2012. Lawmakers also took no action on a proposal by Senator Ron Calderon (D-Montebello) that would have established a statewide task force, including a representative from ASA, to study sales tax and other regulatory issues.



    Two undesirable medical cannabis bills are moving forward in the legislature this year. The Senate approved SB 847 on Wednesday. Authored by Senator Lou Correa (D-Santa Ana), this bill will require that medical cannabis dispensing centers and gardens be located at least 600-feet from residential zones and uses statewide. Local governments can opt out of this broad restriction, but ASA fears the 600-foot buffer zone will become a de facto standard for the state. This new restriction would be in addition to the existing state law barring collectives from locating within 600 feet of a school and any local regulations. ASA is calling on members and advocates to oppose SB 847.

    A second problematic bill is Assemblymember Bob Blumenfield’s (D-Van Nuys) AB 1300, which was approved in the Assembly on Friday. ASA and other advocates succeeded in securing an amendment to AB 1300 that defined medical cannabis cooperatives and collectives as places where medicine is grown or provided. The word “or” is significant. Some lawmakers and police officers hold that patients can only grow medicine together, not provide it to other members of the collective in exchange for a monetary reimbursement (a position ASA rejects).  Unfortunately, the advocates’ amendment was removed at the last minute, leaving only the provisions in AB 1300 that authorize local government to regulate the location, operation, and establishment of cooperatives and collectives. ASA has withdrawn support for the bill, given concerns it may promote bans and criminal enforcement against patients’ associations.

    Growing ambivalence towards medical cannabis is a challenge for advocates, who are eager to see better state and local regulations. But wary lawmakers fear that support for pro-medical cannabis legislation could be used against them – especially given uncertainty about what will be a safe or vulnerable District after this year’s first-ever non-partisan re-districting. We will have to work hard to keep lawmakers focused on the needs of legal patients, instead of reacting to unlicensed dispensaries, lenient doctors, and patients who “don’t look sick.” We may know that these are misperceptions, but we have a lot to do to convince our elected representatives.

    ASA is working hard to train an army of medical cannabis advocates to support sensible regulations and oppose misguided proposals. Let’s hope our innovative Online Training Center and new Think Tank and Policy Shop help support the grassroots campaign we need statewide. You can do your part by supporting ASA. Join today and participate in action alerts aimed at protecting safe access and patients’ rights.
  • Patient Advocates Urge AG Holder to Clarify Federal Medical Cannabis Policy

    Americans for Safe Access is mobilizing its base to seek specific clarification from Holder regarding the Ogden memo and the Department of Justice policy related to medical cannabis. Holder made comments at a press conference in Providence, Rhode Island on June 2, 2011 indicating that he would clarify federal law on this issue.  Patient advocates across the country are urging Holder to listen to them and issue the following simple statement:
    The federal government will not arrest and prosecute local and state officials and others who are lawfully complying with medical cannabis laws.
    The patient community has been the most directly affected by the ambiguity of the Ogden memo, and want to be included in the conversation to clarify it.  You too can take action, and suggest that Holder issue a policy statement to end federal interference with those who comply with state law.
  • First Permitted Medical Marijuana Coop to Open in San Diego County Unincorporated Area

















    By: Eugene Davidovich























    Mother Earth’s Alternative Healing Cooperative Inc, the first medical marijuana dispensing center officially permitted by San Diego County and in full compliance with the County Ordinance adopted almost a year ago, will open its doors in July 2011.

    In order to truly grasp the importance and magnitude of the first permitted Coop opening in San Diego County and what this means for the safe access community, it is important to understand the background and history leading up to this day.

    The San Diego County Board of Supervisors is made up of five elected officials all of whom have been in office for almost two decades and have uniformly been opposed to medical marijuana. The Supervisors’ opposition has not been all ideological. In fact, they have continued to ignore and refuse to implement any provisions of the State’s medical marijuana laws for years.

    On February 1, 2006 after receiving multiple threats of lawsuits from the San Diego chapter of NORML for refusing to implement the state mandated Medical Marijuana Identification Card Program, the County Board of Supervisors (BOS) filed suit against the State challenging the law requiring them to issue the cards. The BOS claimed federal law prohibiting marijuana, preempted California’s requirement to implement the card program and if the County complied, they would be doing so in violation of Federal law.

    In July of 2006, Americans for Safe Access (ASA) along with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Drug Reform Law Project (DLRP), and the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) intervened in the civil lawsuit.

    In the case now titled, County of San Diego v. San Diego NORML, ASA argued State law is not preempted by Federal law and that the County of San Diego was required to comply. Attorneys for ASA and the ACLU presented their arguments in San Diego Superior Court on November 16, 2006. Within a month in December of that year, Judge William R. Nevitt Jr. issued a decision rejecting the County’s challenge, siding with patients, and confirming California’s medical marijuana laws.

    Despite the clear decision issued by Judge Nevitt, the BOS pressed on with their attempt to overturn State law and appealed the decision to the Fourth District Appellate Court, which on July 31, 2008 agreed with Judge Nevitt and denied the County’s challenge.

    The BOS remained undeterred and County Counsel was directed to press on with the case to the California Supreme Court, which on October 16, 2008 also denied the county’s petition for review.

    In a last ditch effort, the BOS filed a final appeal to the US Supreme Court and received their final denial on May 26, 2009. At this point the county had no choice but to start issuing ID cards.

    Patients and medical marijuana advocates across the county celebrated this victory and were convinced the US Supreme Court’s decision would bring an end to the Supervisors’ war on the State’s medical marijuana laws.

    In light of the Supreme Court’s decision and by this time, the new administration’s promise to stop raiding patients in compliance with State law, dispensaries began to open in the County.

    True to their track record, the Supervisors did not give up on their bias driven fight. They shifted gears from focusing on the ID card program to targeting patients and their access directly.

    On August 5, 2009 less than three months after the Supreme Court Decision, the BOS adopted an interim urgency ordinance enacting a moratorium on the establishment of medical marijuana facilities in the unincorporated areas of the County. This moratorium wrote into law a temporary prohibition on dispensaries in the County’s unincorporated areas.

    In the meantime the BOS decided to deal with the already open dispensaries by allowing San Diego County District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis and the Narcotics Task Force on September 9, 2009 to conduct swat style raids on over 14 facilities operating within the County.

    During the year long moratorium the BOS was intent on adopting an outright ban until their own legal counsel told them a ban may not be constitutional. To avoid another embarrassing loss in court, the BOS instead of enacting an outright ban, directed staff to craft a severely restrictive land use and public safety ordinance that would serve to accomplish the same goal.

    On June 23, 2010 the BOS adopted their restrictive ordinance against the pleas of patients and advocates as well as a threatening letter from the ACLU.

    The new ordinance allows Coops to open only if they are located in an industrial zone and are 1,000 feet away from the most comprehensive laundry list of sensitive uses ever created in the history of San Diego County zoning. The list includes: parks, churches, residences, schools, libraries, youth service facilities, other dispensaries, etc.

    Leading up to the vote, a number of land use experts conducted an analysis of the zoning requirements in the ordinance and all reached the same conclusion; the majority of the ‘compliant’ properties were undeveloped and the remaining few made it practically impossible for facilities to quickly open. The chances of someone actually finding a property that met all the requirements were slim to none.

    Patients and advocates were convinced the ordinance would ultimately result in no access in the County and following the passage of the new ordinance, San Diego ASA announced it as a de-facto ban.

    Although the overly restrictive ordinance passed, patients still did not give up their struggle for safe access and many attempted to comply with the new rules.

    A year later, only one Coop has been able to meet all the requirements. Situated in a 15,000 sq. ft. commercial building in an industrial zone next to Gillespie Field, once all construction is completed, the coop will include a small on-site cultivation area, a dispensing center, as well as a state of the art testing facility where all medicine prior to being dispensed to patients will go through on-site gas chromatography and mold/pesticide testing.

    While some of the medicine will come from on-site cultivation, the majority as required by law will be cultivated by members at their homes and may go through an inspection by the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department.

    Detective Helms, one of the San Diego County Deputy Sheriffs in charge of licensing will conduct inspections, the purpose of which will be to insure patient cultivators are growing in a safe manner and with proper safeguards. If a problem is found during the inspection, Detective Helms will issue a notice to correct the violations and will re-inspect within 30 days.

    Member cultivators may have no more than 6 mature and 12 immature plants per patient. If two patients are living together (i.e. married couple) and both have their recommendations and county cards, then they may posses 12 mature and 24 immature plants.

    For those member cultivators whose conditions or the way they consume their medication require more than six and twelve plants, their physician recommendations will need to specify the amount of plants reasonable for their condition.

    Source agreements issued by the coop will be kept with the plants as well as at the coop. The agreement will contain a phone number for a contact at the Sheriff’s Department in case any law enforcement encounter the cultivation effort and need to verify the legality of the source agreement.

    “We have seen nothing but support and help from Detective Helms, Detective Hunting and others in licensing. While going through this process everyone has been focused on finally bringing safe access to San Diego County” said Bob Riedel, official spokesperson for the coop.

    According to Bob, aside from creating a safe place for patients to obtain their medicine, the coop will be politically active in the community through support of Americans for Safe Access including providing a space for East County ASA meetings, financial support for the national organization, as well as support for other charities and local political efforts.

    For more information or questions contact Bob Riedel at: [email protected]
  • AG Holder: DOJ is Working to “Clarify” Federal Position on Medical Marijuana



     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    At a press conference earlier today in Providence, Rhode Island, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder was peppered with questions about medical marijuana. This is understandable, given that a month ago U.S. Attorney Peter Neronha sent a letter to Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee and other state officials threatening:
    [C]ivil or criminal remedies against those individuals and entities who set up marijuana growing facilities and dispensaries.

    Holder responded that the White House policy outlined in the Ogden memo, which de-emphasized federal interference, “made sense given…the limited resources that we have.” Addressing the obvious discord between policy and practice, Holder said he was working in Rhode Island and other parts of the country to “clarify what this policy means and how the policy can be implemented.”

    Holder further stated that:
    What we have to do is try to effectuate that policy in a way that we give comfort to somebody who is using it appropriately.

    Patient advocates are pleased that Holder wants to clarify this glaring contradiction in Justice Department policy. Rhode Island was not the only state to endure threats from U.S. Attorneys. The Justice Department sent letters to local and state officials in at least 10 different states. These letters and the ongoing federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) raids occurring across the country have had a devastating impact on patients’ rights and safe access. Programs have been suspended not only in Rhode Island, but in Arizona and New Jersey as well. State and local laws were arguably curtailed by federal interference in California, Montana and Washington.

    Holder did say that he wants the process of clarifying federal policy to involve “dialog” and “communication.” We certainly hope he includes patients -- the ones directly affected by these policies -- in the dialog. But, we’re not waiting for his invitation so stay tuned for ways to make your voice heard.
  • Vermont Joins List of States Licensing Safe Access to Medical Marijuana



    Governor Peter Shumlin signed a bill today that would license multiple medical cannabis distribution facilities in Vermont. Patients and advocates wildly applauded the governor’s action for two main reasons:

    1. It recognizes the need for patients to have health care options, including the ability to safely and legally obtain their medication; and

    2. It defies recent attempts by the federal government to harass and intimidate public officials to prevent them from properly addressing patients’ needs.

    Senate Bill 17 will authorizes the establishment of four licensed dispensaries in order to bring safe and legal access to medical marijuana for the state’s patient population. Last month, the Vermont House voted 99-44 to pass S. 17, despite a letter from U.S. Attorney Tristram Coffin threatening possible legal action against the state. In Coffin’s letter, he warned what might happen if S. 17 were to pass:
    [T]he [DOJ] will carefully consider legal remedies against those who facilitate or operate marijuana dispensaries or marijuana distribution or production as contemplated by S. 17, should that measure become law.

    We need more elected officials like those in Vermont, who won’t buckle to federal bullying and who are willing to stand up for the health and welfare of patients. Notably, Delaware took similarly decisive action last month, when it passed the 16th state medical marijuana law, which includes provisions for production and distribution.

    However, this type of leadership is far too rare today. We can’t give elected officials any reason to controvert science and the will of the people. We must hold them accountable at the same time as commending Shumlin and others who are willing to take a stand for patients.
  • Oppose SB 847 - Don't choke off safe access in CA!

    [caption id="attachment_1513" align="alignnone" width="247" caption="CA Senator Lou Correa"]
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    UPDATE: The CA Senate approved SB 847 on June 1. Now we must work to stop the bill in the Assembly!

    The California Senate will vote soon on a bill that will make it much more difficult to establish a legal medical cannabis patients’ cooperative or collective. Senator Lou Correa’s (D-Santa Ana) SB 847 will require that all cooperatives and collectives be located at least 600 feet from residential zones or use – effectively excluding vast portions of most California cities. This would be on top of the existing requirement that facilities be located 600 feet from schools.

    Americans for Safe Access (ASA) is calling on medical cannabis patients and supporters to oppose SB 847 today. ASA's Online Action Center makes it easy to find your Senator and send a message right now.



    SB 847 is burdensome. It is already hard enough for patients to organize and operate legal cooperatives and collectives. This new rule may make it almost impossible in some cities. Most medical cannabis patients rely on cooperatives and collectives for access to medicine, so onerous restrictions like this serve to choke off safe access. That is not what voters intended when they approved Proposition 215 calling on lawmakers “to implement a plan to provide for the safe and affordable distribution of marijuana to all patients in medical need of marijuana.”

    SB 847 is unnecessary. Research conducted by ASA and more than fifteen years of experience with medical cannabis in California have taught us that sensible local regulations reduce crime and complaints. We do not need to usurp local control on medical cannabis. Instead, legislators should be cooperating with local government and other stake holders to adopt state laws that facilitate safe, reliable, and legal access to medicine.

    Email your California Senator today and ask him or her to vote no on SB 847.

    Thank you for helping!
  • 40,000 Signatures in Less than 30 Days; Referendum on City Council’s Medical Marijuana Ordinance Enters Signature Verification Process

    40,000 Signatures in Less than 30 Days; Referendum on City Council’s Medical Marijuana Ordinance Enters Signature Verification Process


    Eugene Davidovich, May 26, 2011

    In April of this year, the San Diego City Council passed an ordinance that effectively denied safe access to thousands of patients in the city. If left as is, it would have negatively impacted the most vulnerable members of our community by cutting off access to their medicine.



    As the ordinance is written, all locations where patients currently safely obtain their medicine, would be forced to shutter their doors and only a small handful would be allowed to open in far flung industrial areas of the City, only after coming into compliance with an onerous year-long conditional use permit process.

    The City Council rather than considering amendments to the ordinance suggested by their own medical marijuana task force and thousands of concerned citizens who wrote letters as part of the City’s largest letter writing campaign, on April 12 approved the restrictions and ignored the unprecedented public opposition.

    After the City Council’s ordinance took effect at the end of April and with only 30 days to circulate a petition to repeal the ordinance, a group of collective directors quickly organized and formed the Patient Care Association and Citizens for Patient Rights Political Action Committee. Comprised of over 50 local medical marijuana collectives, the association within days raised enough funds to hire the La Jolla Group, a professional signature gathering company, and undertook a massive effort to gather enough signatures to repeal the ordinance through a referendum process.

    San Diego Americans for Safe Access (ASA), the local chapter of the nation’s largest medical marijuana patients’ rights advocacy group, provided the association with direction and guidance on messaging as well as an alternative ordinance to propose to voters following the referendum. At the same time ASA’s legal department began to gear up for a lawsuit with the city and on April 28, sent a letter to the City urging them to ease up their restriction or face a challenge in court.

    As announced by San Diego ASA on May 4th, the referendum signature drive was underway and in less than 30 days, the La Jolla Group as well as all the collectives involved, gathered over 40,000 signatures, proving yet again the medical marijuana community in San Diego to be a serious political force.

    The signatures are expected to be turned in to the City Clerk’s office on Friday, May 26 and will effectively place on hold the overly restrictive ordinance passed by the council from becoming law in the City.

    Once the Clerk’s office turns the signatures over to the County’s Registrar of Voters, the verification process will begin and as required by law must be completed within 30 days. If the registrar confirms there are enough valid signatures, the Council will be forced to make a decision; place their overly restrictive ordinance on the ballot for a vote of the people or repeal it at the next available council meeting.

    If the City forces the referendum to a vote and decides against repealing the ordinance, depending on the date the signatures are determined valid by the Registrar of Voters, the City may have to call a special election costing millions, or instead place the ordinance on the June 2012 primary ballot for a vote.

    As for the effort currently underway by Code Enforcement to shut the existing facilities down, according to the City Attorney’s office, the status quo will be maintained. Landlords will continue to be harassed, patients will continue to face threats of lawsuits and intimidation, and they City Attorney plans on continuing to wage their war on patients. Their official position remains unchanged; the facilities currently operating would still be doing so without a valid business license and with no zoning in the City’s municipal code to allow for their use.

    The voting residents of San Diego overwhelmingly support safe and reliable access to medical cannabis for qualified patients in their neighborhood and are against the restrictions approved by the council as well as the effort to shut the existing facilities down. The San Diego community hopes the council will move forward with adopting the recommendations of the Medical Marijuana Task Force and amend the overly restrictive ordinance.

    If the City refuses to respect the recommendations of their own task force and continues on the path to shut access down without providing a reasonable alternative, they will face continued litigation and the medical marijuana community plans on quickly moving forward with a voter initiative which would once and for all, create reasonable rules and clarity for patients in the City to follow.

    Further Information:

    For more information about the Citizens for Patient Rights PAC visit: www.citizens4patientrights.org

    SD ASA’s May 4 Announcement about Referendum: http://www.safeaccesssd.org/2011/05/patient-care-association-of-california.html

    ASA threatens to sue City of San Diego: http://americansforsafeaccess.org/downloads/San_Diego_Demand_Letter.pdf

    City Council Medical Marijuana Ordinance: http://americansforsafeaccess.org/downloads/City_of_San_Diego_Ordinance.pdf

    For the latest information on medical marijuana in San Diego visit: www.safeaccesssd.org
  • Bonnie Dumanis Continues War on Collective Cultivation in San Diego








    Benjamin Gasper
    Cultivation charges re-filed against legitimate medical marijuana patient after being previously dismissed in the same courthouse by different Judge.

    By: Terrie Best and Eugene Davidovich - San Diego Americans for Safe Access

    SAN DIEGO – In the summer of 2009, Benjamin Gasper, along with two other seriously ill medical marijuana patients rented a warehouse space in the Sports Arena area of San Diego in a heavily commercial district far from residences and other “sensitive uses,” and began to collectively cultivate medical marijuana there, for their own personal medical needs.



    In fact, all three members of the collective, as court documents have shown, signed an agreement which stated, “As qualified medical marijuana patients under California law, we choose to associate collectively or cooperatively to cultivate marijuana for medical purposes. All members of our medical marijuana collective will contribute labor, funds, or materials, and all will receive medicine.”

    In November of 2009, several policemen entered the premises to conduct a “safety check”; according to the officers, they believed a burglary might have been in progress as the front warehouse roll up gate was slightly ajar. After over thirty minutes of searching, they happened on the entrance to the cultivation room which was completely isolated and sealed off from the main part of the warehouse.

    After discovering and rummaging through the patient garden, even though the collective agreement, doctor’s statements and ID’s for all the members of the collective were present on site, they still arrested and charged Mr. Gasper with cultivation of marijuana.

    In later court proceedings both members of the collective would testify on the stand they had signed the agreement and all actively contributed their labor, and money to the effort from the beginning all the way until the day of the raid.

    Having gone through months of court proceedings and multiple hearings, Mr. Gasper’s charges were finally thrown out by a judge at 995 hearing in June of 2010.

    Bonnie Dumanis the San Diego District Attorney (DA) however, did not give up persecuting Mr. Gasper. In line with her ‘fierce fight’ against patients and her commitment to waste precious law enforcement resources on investigating and prosecuting these cases; the charges were refilled and an entirely new case started.

    Many thought that if the charges had been previously resolved in another case, re-filing the same charges would be ‘double jeopardy.’ This is unfortunately not the case. Through a technicality in the law, the prosecution circumvented the ‘double jeopardy’ clause, and filed the same charges against Mr. Gasper this time hoping for a different judge and a better outcome.

    On Wednesday, May 18, Mr. Gasper was in court again, this time, for his second preliminary hearing this time in front of the Honorable William H. Kronberger.

    Representing Mr. Gasper in his second case was defense attorney and San Diego Americans for Safe Access board member Melissa Bobrow. For Dumanis’ office, hand-picked by Bonnie Dumanis herself to oversee the prosecution in this case as well as all other medical marijuana cases in San Diego County, was veteran ‘chief patient prosecutor’ Steve Walter.

    In describing how Mr. Gasper was identified to be arrested in 2009, at the hearing on Wednesday, the cross-deputized SDPD Detective/Federal Agent, John Joseph Tangredi testified that he and Skylar Voyce, another NTF agent on the scene, found Mr. Gasper’s contact information posted neatly on the wall, so they simply dialed him up, told him his place had been raided and arrested him on the spot as soon as he arrived a few minutes after their call. Tangredi went on to testify that only later did they obtain a search warrant for the premises via telephone.

    The detective claimed they discovered “134 cannabis plants in various stages of development”, even though court qualified expert witness William J. Britt at the preliminary hearing in the first case had examined the plants and determined otherwise. At the first preliminary hearing, Mr. Britt testified that the majority of the plants discovered during the search were either dead branches the detectives seemed to have counted as individual plants, or un-rooted cuttings that had recently been planted and were preserved for a future harvest.

    Mr. Britt also determined that the amount of actual usable medicine (plants, dried flowers, etc.) was absolutely reasonable for the collective to have, based on the patients’ individual conditions and size of the effort compared with other similar collectives across the state.

    At Wednesday’s hearing the detectives true intentions and bias began to surface when Tangretti testified that he believed Gasper’s grow itself to be indicia of sales even though when cross examined by Ms. Bobrow he admitted to finding no scale, packaging, pay and owe sheets or any other materials indicia of sales.

    Tangredi further testified that in his ‘expert’ opinion, backed up by his claims of a meager 1.5 hours of training, the 134 plants (mostly dead branches) would have yielded a whopping 150 pounds of dried flower had they been allowed to mature.

    The defense’s expert witness, William Britt again testified that the amount was completely reasonable and would more likely have yielded five pounds of dried flowers at most. Compared with Detective Tangredi’s 1.5 hours, Mr. Britt’s training includes hundreds of hours of both in-class and hands on training in medical cannabis yields, dosages, cultivation techniques, and use of medical cannabis by qualified patients.

    DA Walter’s cross examination of Mr. Britt was focused on the absence of a defined dosage amount on Mr. Gasper’s recommendation. Mr. Britt explained the lack of scientific data and the illegality of writing prescriptions for specific dosages as the primary reason why no amount was specified.

    Also testifying for the defense at Wednesday’s hearing was one of the other members of Mr. Gasper’s collective. Prior to his testimony, in a thoughtful move, the Judge ordered an attorney be assigned to advise the witness of his rights and be on hand during Walter’s cross examination to specifically represent the patient. Walter’s cross examination of the collective member included a barrage of questions about what the patient’s specific task were in the cultivation effort along with personal questions into the patient’s medical condition.

    In the end, even though there was overwhelming evidence of clear and unambiguous compliance with State law, Mr. Gasper second case was bound over for trial with the judge explaining that inasmuch as the 134 plants seemed to be above the safe harbor amount allowed, he would have required a physician to take the stand and testify to medical necessity in order to consider the charges for dismissal.

    The Judge conceded however, that due to the lack of scientific research on recommended dosages, the law was difficult to understand even for him.

    Adapting well, Ms. Bobrow, highlighted in her arguments that navigating this law for Mr. Gaper has been arduous as well and that aside from the many other reasons why this case should be thrown out of court, on the vagueness of the law alone the case should be dismissed.

    The Judge disagreed and cited a lack of precedent in these sorts of cases as his reason. He sent Mr. Gasper on to face trial and set the issue for the jury to determine.

    Following Wednesday’s hearing, attorney Melissa Bobrow said, “Although Judge Kronberger did come to reasonable conclusion based on the lack of precedent, it is unfair for legitimate patients and caregivers trying to follow the law to be dragged through the criminal courts. The DA’s office should provide clarity on the law through a guideline rather than through continuing to expand resources on cases like this, which should have never been pursued in the first place”.

    Medical cannabis patients in San Diego continue to be in a situation where the only way for them to prove they were following the law, is to be dragged through criminal court proceedings and trials that ruin lives and cost taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars.

    Mr. Gasper remains free on his ‘own recognizance’ and will be arraigned on June 2nd. At 1:30 in Department 11 of the San Diego Superior Courthouse.

    For more information please email: [email protected]
  • ASA on DOJ Pressure in the Huffington Post



    From ASA Executive Director Steph Sherer in today's Huffington Post -
    In February, Oakland City Attorney John Russo asked the Obama Justice Department whether his city's plan to regulate large-scale medical marijuana cultivation would get the approval of the federal government. As expected, U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag responded to Russo with a declarative "No!" Little did patient advocates realize, though, that Haag's letter would begin a trend resulting in similar U.S. Attorney letters sent to local and state officials in at least 9 different medical marijuana states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Montana, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington.

    Read the entire post online.