Pages tagged "Steve Cooley"


Landmark Court Decision Affirms Legality of Storefront Dispensaries in California



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Second District Court of Appeal rejects Attorney General’s argument that all collective members must participate in cultivation

The California Court of Appeal issued a landmark published decision last week affirming the legality of storefront dispensaries and rejecting the argument that every member of a collective or cooperative must participate in the cultivation. Didn’t hear about the ruling? Maybe because the decision came from the Second Appellate District in Los Angeles, the domain of District Attorney Steve Cooley and City Attorney Carmen Trutanich, famously intolerant to medical marijuana dispensaries. It would be an understatement to say that the ruling jabs a large thorn into both of their sides. You’ll certainly see no publicity from their corner.

The case People v. Colvin involves William Frank Colvin, the operator of Hollywood Holistic Inc., who was arrested while lawfully transporting a pound of medical marijuana from one collective he operates to another. Even while acknowledging that Colvin was operating a legitimate dispensary, the trial court denied him a defense on the grounds that transportation of medical marijuana was illegal under state law. After being denied a defense, Colvin was convicted.

On appeal, California Attorney General Kamala Harris advanced the view that under state law all members of a collective must somehow participate in the cultivation process and “come together” in “some way” for this purpose. In characterizing Attorney General Harris’s argument, the Court said:
The Attorney General does not specify how many members must participate or in what way or ways they must do so, except to imply that Holistic, with its 5,000 members and 14 growers, is simply too big to allow any ‘meaningful’ participation in the cooperative process; hence, it cannot be a ‘cooperative’ or a ‘collective’ [in compliance with state law].

The Court then compared medical marijuana cooperatives with food cooperatives:
[The Attorney General’s interpretation of state law] would impose on medical marijuana cooperatives requirements not imposed on other cooperatives. A grocery cooperative, for example, may have members who grow and sell the food and run a store out of which the cooperative's products are sold. But not everyone who pays a fee to become a member participates in the cooperative other than to shop at it.

However, the Court of Appeal unanimously rejected the stringent requirement that an “unspecified number of members to engage in unspecified ‘united action or participation’ to qualify for the protection of [state law].” Perhaps most importantly, the Court said that the “logical conclusion” of such requirements would likely “limit drastically the size of medical marijuana establishments.” Furthermore, the Court said that:
[T]he Attorney General’s vague qualifier provides little direction or guidance to, among others, qualified patients, primary caregivers, law enforcement, and trial courts. Rather, imposing the Attorney General’s requirement would, it seems to us, contravene the intent of [state law] by limiting patients’ access to medical marijuana and leading to inconsistent applications of the law.

It should be no surprise why Cooley, Trutanich and the other opponents of medical marijuana would want to downplay such a landmark decision. However, at a time when trial courts are denying a defense to medical marijuana dispensary operators, the Court’s decision is a welcome one that is long overdue.

It's Official... ASA Wins Big!

Like most of the country we had mixed feelings about the mid-term elections. No matter what side of the aisle you’re on, there were gains and concessions, reliefs and disappointments. But, there was one race that changed everything—one election that leveraged our movement so greatly things will never be the same.

If you don’t live in California you may not have heard much about our Attorney General race. Steve Cooley was running for AG with the most blatant anti-patient platform this country has ever seen. Hand picked by the cops and funded by rightwing political strategist Karl Rove, Cooley made no small effort to let voters know that if he were elected he would do everything in his power to eradicate medical marijuana for California.



Knowing how important the success of California’s safe access program is in directing the rest of the country, we threw the full weight of ASA into this race; galvanizing our community, educating Californians and mobilizing voters. We built coalitions, created strategic marketing videos and fervently developed our field.

We watched the results pour in November 2nd, excited when he was down and nervous as his numbers went back up. Our office held our breath as the outcome seemed to change every hour. At around mid-night it was clear we weren’t going to have an answer, and we went to bed crossing our fingers that we would wake up to good news.

Well, as you may know we didn’t get that good news for another three weeks. Today, we found out—patients won! Steve Cooley was defeated, and California’s safe access is protected.

And, while this is great news for the west coast it’s even better news for us nationally, because ASA has established medical cannabis patients as a real player in the electoral landscape. This election was won by only the smallest margin of votes. It is clear to every political expert in the country that it was the patient community that swung this election, and it will be ASA that will continue to swing elections as long as our patients’ rights are in jeopardy. You saw us win in California, now help us win nation-wide.

Every ounce of weight and leverage we have is because of our members. YOU are ASA! It is our members that supported this effort, and a special thanks to members David Bronner of Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps and to the American Cannabis Research Institute’s Ben Bronfman and Matt Atwood for their generous support.

We need your support, too. You are protecting your rights when you help us fight back and win big victories like this. ASA will be there for the next battle, if you help us do it.
Join ASA today and make sure this win is heard across the country—make sure that when you need help, we’ll be there too.

 

 

 

ASA in the Huffington Post

Online news giant Huffington Post published an outstanding op-ed by ASA Executive Director Steph Sherer this election morning, helping to bring our “Not Cooley” message to millions of Americans. This is an important message in California, where ASA and allies are urging voters to defeat anti-medical cannabis candidate Steve Cooley in his bid to be Attorney General. But it is also important nationwide. Elected officials need to know that medical cannabis patients and supporters are a political force to be reckoned with. High-profile media is an important part of that effort. Having Steph’s op-ed on a web site with an online readership bigger than both the Los Angeles Times and the Washington Post is the way to get that coverage we need. Well done, Steph!

CA Attorney General? Not Steve Cooley!

On November 2, medical cannabis patients in California will make an important choice at the polls – one that will shape the fight for safe access to medicine for years to come. I am not talking about Proposition 19, the voter initiative that is garnering headlines nationwide. I am talking about the race for California Attorney General.

If Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley wins, it will mean tough times for patients and providers all over the state.



Steve Cooley is leading in the polls, and that should make you worried. If Cooley is elected as our next Attorney General, he will pursue the same anti-medical cannabis agenda we know all too well from his tenure in Los Angeles County. Cooley will likely dismantle the gains made by medical cannabis patients over the past 10+ years, rewrite the Attorney General Guidelines to ban the sales of medical marijuana, continue to raid dispensaries and undermine the full implementation of state law, and work to overturn important legal precedents in the courts.

In short, he will roll back years of progress – putting us on the defensive in California for a long time.

But it does not have to be this way. There are millions of Californians who oppose Cooley’s agenda  - and not just concerning medical cannabis. Cooley opposes marriage equality, considers environmental protection a low priority, and has a spotty record on women’s issues. ASA is organizing a coalition of opposition committed to defeating Steve Cooley. We need to get the word out about Steve Cooley to all of the constituents who are threatened by his agenda. We need to build alliances, get our message in the media, and turn out voters. Most of all, we need your support for the “Not Cooley” campaign right now.

ASA is calling on patients and advocates all over California to register to vote  before October 18, and turn out to the polls on November 2. Together, I know we can make a difference!