BERKELEY, CA – The City of Berkeley filed a claim Wednesday in the action brought by the federal government in May to seize the property used by Berkeley Patients Group at 2366 San Pablo Avenue in Berkeley, California. Berkeley Patients Group has been providing medical marijuana to patients within the City since 1999. It is in full compliance with the City of Berkeley’s medical marijuana ordinance, regulations, and zoning laws.
U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag of the Northern District of California has used federal asset forfeiture laws to target and close numerous medical marijuana dispensaries, even when those dispensaries have long track records of working with the cities in which they are located, responsibly providing medical marijuana to patients, and complying with state and local law.
The city’s claim was filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. In its claim, the City asserts that the closure of Berkeley Patients Group will harm the City through the loss of substantial revenue. Berkeley Patients Group has paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to the City in taxes over the years. The federal government’s action also undermines the City’s comprehensive plan to regulate and control medical marijuana, which was designed and implemented to positively impact the health and well-being of all Berkeley residents and to which the City has devoted a significant amount of time and resources.
The claim, filed on Ju. . . . . READ MORE
LOS ANGELES, CA — California medical marijuana dispensaries — and their patients — are under a sustained, two-pronged attack, and that is having a dramatic impact on patient access across the state. Under pressure from the federal government on one hand and newly-emboldened local officials on the other, dispensary numbers are shrinking and ever larger swathes of the state that legalized medical marijuana nearly 17 years ago are without anywhere to get medical marijuana.
Anyone who is following the situation in the Golden State at all closely has seen a numbing litany of reports of dispensaries forced out of business, including from some of the most venerable, respected, and law-abiding operations in the state.
What had been the occasional raid or prosecution by the DEA or federal prosecutors during the early years of the Obama administration has turned into a heightened onslaught since the issuance of the notorious Cole memo, written by Assistant Attorney General James Cole, two years ago next week and the announcement by California’s four US Attorneys that fall that they were declaring open season on dispensaries.
And while recalcitrant city and county law enforcement and elected officials had managed to make access to medical marijuana a pat. . . . . READ MORE
BAKERSFIELD, CA – The Bakersfield city council voted 4-0 this week to ban all medical marijuana dispensaries in the city, giving local law enforcement the power to close the existing dispensaries beginning in about a month.
City Attorney Ginny Gennaro says that under the ban, approved Wednesday, medical marijuana dispensaries will not be required to close overnight. Instead, the ordinance prohibits their operation in all zones of the city, from residential to industrial.
Actual enforcement of the ban, Gennaro says, will vary depending upon the situation, but investigations into dispensaries will initiated by complaints.
The city’s Code Enforcement Department will investigate the zoning violations with the aid of the Police Departmetn.
The ordinance makes closing dispensaries a civil matter, not a criminal one, unless crimes are found to have occurred at a dispensary.
Gennaro said it is not his intention to criminally prosecute, or even issue a fine, to medical marijuana dispensaries operating in the city after the ban goes into affect. Enforcement efforts will concentrate on simply closing the business.
City officials estimate that there are about a dozen medical marijuana dispensaries currently operating in the city.
Marijuana advocates say they won’t petition against the ban because there’s not enough time and it’s too expensive, estimating it would cost between $50,o00 and $60,000 to attempt to place the mea. . . . . READ MORE
LITTLEROCK, CA – Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputies shot and killed an unidentified armed 80-year-old man as they served a search warrant on a marijuana grow operation in a remote part of the county early Thursday morning.
According to NBC Los Angeles, deputies were serving a “narcotics” search warrant at the multi-unit rural property in the desert community of Littlerock at 7:30 a.m. Lt. Dave Dolson told the TV station deputies entered the home through an unlocked front door, and one deputy fired when they encountered a man armed with a handgun.
The man, who may have been the property owner, was pronounced dead at the scene.
Later Thursday afternoon, the Sheriff’s Department released a statement on the killing.
“When deputies approached a rear bedroom at the location, they encountered an 80-year-old male who was armed with a semi-automatic handgun. The suspect pointed the handgun at the deputies and a deputy-involved shooting occurred,” the statement read.
Deputies recovered the gun, marijuana, and growing equipment at the home where the man was shot. Residents who lived in other units on the property were detained, but later released.
The shooting will be investigated separately by several agencies, including the offices of the Los Angeles County District Attorney and Coroner, and th. . . . . READ MORE
SAN FRANCISCO — The City of Oakland’s fight against the federal government’s attempt to close the largest medical marijuana dispensary in the United States — and one of Oakland’s top tax paying retailers– was renewed Thursday when attorneys for the city asked a federal judge to postpone court proceedings in the case.
The request for postponement comes after a federal judge ruled in February that the city does not have legal rights in a forfeiture case against the owners of the building that contains Oakland’s Harborside Health Center.
In February, Judge Maria-Elena James wrote in a 10-page ruling that a local U.S. attorney had successfully argued the federal government was immune from Oakland’s lawsuit under the Administrative Procedures Act, which sets out how U.S. agencies develop and issue regulations.
On Thursday, attorneys from the city asked James to postpone all actions in the case until an appeals court can review her ruling, which could take up to a year before the case is heard.
The city of Oakland has been attempting to kill an attempt by U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag to close Harborside Health Care, which is one of the largest and most respected medical marijuana dispensaries in the country, and has been called a model business by city officials.
Harborside employs ov. . . . . READ MORE
SAN FRANCISCO, CA — In spite of growing public support for medical marijuana, concern about overreach by the U.S. Department of Justice and other federal agencies, and cutbacks in federal spending, the U.S. government’s war on medical marijuana is raging unabated according to a survey of court records by Cal NORML.
On Tuesday, Michigan medical marijuana grower Jerry Duval, a kidney and pancreas transplant patient with severe medical problems, began serving a ten-year sentence in the same prison as the Boston bomber. Duval joins a growing list of defendants in states that allow medical marijuana who have been charged by the Department of Justice for violating federal laws prohibiting medical marijuana.
According to a survey of US court records, news stories, and case reports compiled by Cal NORML (with help from Americans for Safe Access):
RIVERSIDE, CA — Shuttered medical marijuana dispensaries in Riverside. CA who have been attempting to continue to provide medicine to patients via delivery service must cease under a new city-wide ban on mobile marijuana dispensaries and medical marijuana delivery services.
The city of Riverside recently won a court case in which the California Supreme Court ruled that local municipalities can ban medical marijuana dispensaries, and has since shuttered nearly every dispensary in the city.
Now, Riverside officials are taking the dispensary ban one step further by banning all medical marijuana delivery services, including mobile medical marijuana dispensaries.
Attorney James DeAguilera, who represents about 15 marijuana collectives that operate in Riverside, doesn’t believe the City Council can ban delivery services, let alone enforce the ordinance.
“Would Riverside set up checkpoints all around the city and have police confiscate marijuana?” DeAguilera asked. “It doesn’t make a lot of sense.”
About 200 municipalities in California have banned retail medical marijuana sales, according to estimates from the national medical marijuana advocacy group Americans for Safe Access, while more than 40 have laws allowing dispensaries.
Kris Hermes, a spokesman for the organization, said. . . . . READ MORE
LOS ANGELES, CA — Federal prosecutors have sent dozens of letters warning medical marijuana shops in Los Angeles and Long Beach to shut down or risk potential criminal or civil action in the latest attack in the War on Marijuana.
Authorities say more than 100 medical marijuana dispensaries across Los Angeles County received the letters Tuesday.
Lawsuits also were filed against two property owners in Long Beach, telling them it’s illegal to allow pot sales in buildings they own.
California’s federal prosecutors launched a coordinated crackdown on the state’s medical marijuana industry in 2011 by threatening landlords with property forfeiture. Since then, many of the 625 dispensaries targeted in the seven-county Central District of California have closed.
California was the first state to legalize marijuana for medical use when voters passed Proposition 215 in 1996, but marijuana remains illegal under federal law.
Feds Launch New Crackdown on California Medical Marijuana Dispensaries was written by Associated Press and appears in full on The Daily Chronic.. . . . . READ MORE
SEATTLE, WA — A former Microsoft executive plans to create the first U.S. national marijuana brand, with cannabis he hopes to eventually import legally from Mexico, and said he was kicking off his business by acquiring medical pot dispensaries in three U.S. states.
Jamen Shively, a former Microsoft corporate strategy manager, said he envisions his Seattle-based enterprise becoming the leader in both recreational and medical cannabis – much like Starbucks is the dominant name in coffee, he said.
Shively, 45, whose six years at Microsoft ended in 2009, said he was soliciting investors for $10 million in start-up money.
The use, sale and possession of marijuana remains illegal in the United States under federal law. Two U.S. states have, however, legalized recreational marijuana use and are among 18 states that allow it for medical use.
“It’s a giant market in search of a brand,” Shively said of the marijuana industry. “We would be happy if we get 40 percent of it worldwide.”
A 2005 United Nations report estimated the global marijuana trade to be valued at $142 billion.
Washington state and Colorado became the first two U.S. states to legalize recreational marijuana when voters approved l. . . . . READ MORE
SACRAMENTO, CA — A proposal to impose state control over California’s medical marijuana industry, which has been largely unregulated since Proposition 215 passed in 1996, has advanced to a third reading and possible vote in the California Assembly.
Assembly Bill 473, introduced by Assemblyman Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco), would create a new agency within the state Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control to regulate the growth, supply and sale of medical cannabis, replacing standards that now vary wildly from one city and county to another.
The bill has received favorable reports from the Committees on Public Safety, Health, and Appropriations, and a third reading has been ordered for the full Assembly to consider the bill.
Although a majority of the hundreds of thousands of legal medical marijuana patients in California rely on dispensaries, the state has so far left regulation up to its localities.
The result is a situation where what is tolerated on one side of a suburban highway may be prosecuted on the other side.
There are currently more than 50 local ordinances, urban and rural, regulating m. . . . . READ MORE