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Historic Breakthrough in Struggle to End Marijuana Prohibition

August 29th

WASHINGTON, DC — Attorney General Eric Holder informed the governors of Washington and Colorado today that the Department of Justice will allow the states to implement their ballot initiatives that legalized the production, distribution, and sale of marijuana for adults. Deputy Attorney General James Cole also issued a memo to U.S. attorneys across the country […]

Read Historic Breakthrough in Struggle to End Marijuana Prohibition in its entirety on The Daily Chronic.

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Medical Marijuana Advocates Cautious About “New” Policy on Federal Marijuana Enforcement

August 29th

WASHINGTON, DC — The U.S. Justice Department issued a press release earlier today, announcing a memorandum from Deputy Attorney General James M. Cole that detailed a similar policy on recently adopted laws in the States of Washington and Colorado as it previously indicated for medical marijuana states. To the extent this new memorandum affects medical marijuana patients in Washington, […]

Read Medical Marijuana Advocates Cautious About “New” Policy on Federal Marijuana Enforcement in its entirety on The Daily Chronic.

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DEA Agent to Raided WA Dispensary Owner: “Things Are Going to be Hell For You”

July 25th

Bayside Collective employees in Olympia, WA stand in front of empty shelves following a raid by the Drug Enforcement Administration Wednesday, July 24, 2013. (K5)

Bayside Collective employees in Olympia, WA stand in front of empty shelves following a raid by the Drug Enforcement Administration Wednesday, July 24, 2013. (K5)

OLYMPIA, WA — When Bayside Collective owner Casey Lee saw seven vehicles speed into the parking lot of his Olympia, Washington medical marijuana dispensary Wednesday morning, he thought he was being robbed, and told his employees to take cover.

“When I came outside, there were guns drawn on me,” Lee said Wednesday night. “And then I saw the badges.”

As DEA agents cleaned out the shelves of his dispensary, confiscating an estimated $2,500 worth of medical marijuana and 17 small marijuana plants,  Lee says an agent asked him why he continued to remain in the business of providing medical marijuana.

“One of the DEA agents said: ‘This is your second raid and your third robbery. Why do you keep doing this?’” Lee said.  ”I just told him it’s because we just enjoy helping people, and he told us that he wasn’t expecting that a. . . . . READ MORE

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DEA Raids Washington Medical Marijuana Dispensaries in Renewed Crackdown

July 24th

OLYMPIA, WA — Federal agents from the Drug Enforcement Administration launched a new battle in the war against medical marijuana dispensaries in Washington on Wednesday, raiding several medical marijuana dispensaries the Puget Sound region.

A number of dispensaries in the area were closed for business as word of the raids, which began around 11 am PDT, spread among the community.

DEA spokesperson Jodie Underwood confirmed Wednesday that an operation was currently under way, but declined to provide any details about how many dispensaries were being targeted or how many search warrants were being executed.

It has been reported that Seattle Cross, Tacoma Cross and Bayside Collective have been raided, but only the Bayside Collective in Olympia has been confirmed.

Addy Norton, an employee at Bayside Collective, told the Olympian that she was “terrified” during this morning’s raid, telling the newspaper that DEA agents pointed guns in her face as they entered the building.

Another employee from Bayside Collective, Casey Lee, said that agents took 11 or 12 plants and seized about a quarter pound of marijuana, but did not arrest anyone working at the dispensary, but would be federally subpoenaed.

“I don’t think we’re doing anything wrong here,” Lee told the Olympian. “This is really disturbing. We just opened last month.”

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City of Berkeley Fights Federal Action to Seize Medical Marijuana Dispensary

July 3rd

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

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CA Medical Marijuana Dispensary Numbers Shrink in Two-Pronged Attack

June 30th

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

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U.S. Conference of Mayors Tells Feds to Respect Local Marijuana Laws

June 24th

LAS VEGAS, NV — The United States Conference of Mayors unanimously passed a resolution on Monday criticizing the failure of marijuana prohibition and urging the federal government to respect the ability of states and cities to implement policies like marijuana legalization and medical marijuana without interference.

“In November, voters in my city and state strongly approved a ballot measure to legalize, tax and regulate marijuana,” said Mayor Steve Hogan of Aurora, Colorado. “The bipartisan resolution we passed today simply asks the federal government to give us time to implement these new policies properly and without interference. Cities and states across the country are enacting forward-thinking reforms to failed marijuana prohibition policies, and for the federal government to stand in the way is wasteful and contrary to the wishes of the American people.”

The feds have conducted more than 200 SWAT-style raids on state-compliant medical marijuana businesses since 2011. Here, law enforcement commandos descend on a Santa Rosa neighborhood in search of medical marijuana growers in September, 2012.

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U.S. Mayors Demand Change to Federal Policy, End to Crackdown on Medical Marijuana in Their Cities

June 21st

LAS VEGAS, NV — As mayors from across the country gather today in Las Vegas for the 81st annual U.S. Conference of Mayors, the federal government’s crackdown on medical marijuana is expected to be discussed and debated over the weekend.

resolution ”in support of states setting their own marijuana policies without federal interference” was introduced in advance of the conference by San Diego Mayor Bob Filner and co-sponsored by eight other mayors from across the country. Deliberation on the resolution comes days after medical marijuana advocates issued an alarming report detailing how the Obama Justice Department has spent nearly $300 million to undermine medical marijuana laws in the U.S.

San Diego Mayor Bob Filner

San Diego Mayor Bob Filner

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US Court Records Show Nearly 500 Years in Prison Time for Medical Marijuana Offenses

June 15th

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):

CA: Riverside Bans Medical Marijuana Delivery

June 14th

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

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