Are Pot Clubs Legal? It's Hazy

Are Pot Clubs Legal? It's Hazy
Posted by CN Staff on October 12, 2005 at 06:23:13 PT
By Jane Meredith Adams, Special To The Tribune
Source: Chicago Tribune
San Francisco -- Four months after the Supreme Court upheld the right of the federal government to crack down on the sale and use of medical marijuana, California's estimated 150,000 medical marijuana patients are still puffing freely.Nellie, the so-called bud-tender at the Alternative Herbal Health Services medical marijuana dispensary here, tucked some cannabis into a pipe recently and lit up. Reaching across a display case holding marijuana brownies, she passed the pipe to Leather Webb, 51, who took a hit and handed the pipe to three guys relaxing on a couch.
Leaning against a wall and exhaling a cloud of pungent smoke, Webb said marijuana eases the residual pain from 15 surgeries on her left leg, which was damaged by polio."I was on 100 milligrams of morphine twice a day," she said. "I was zombied. I got my cannabis to take me off of it."As they smoke, the air grows as hazy as the complicated legal saga of medical marijuana. When California voters passed Proposition 215 in 1996, medical marijuana became legal under state law but remained illegal under federal law. Federal authorities have always had the right to arrest and prosecute people using marijuana for medical reasons in the 10 states that have passed laws allowing such use. California's law is considered among the most liberal in the nation.In San Francisco, federal agents largely had stayed away from 34 marijuana dispensaries in the city until this past summer, when the Drug Enforcement Administration closed three clubs, as some of the dispensaries are known, and charged 19 people with using the clubs as drug-trafficking and money-laundering fronts for organized crime. More than 9,309 cannabis plants with an estimated street value of $5 million were seized from the clubs and associated warehouses.The DEA said the raids, part of Operation Urban Harvest, were the culmination of a two-year investigation and were not related to the Supreme Court decision.While some in the medical marijuana community here say the raids and the Supreme Court decision have made them nervous, few expect the DEA to launch an all-out assault against the dispensaries. For its part, the San Francisco Police Department has a policy of not entering the clubs."The clubs are not being raided, but people are scared," said Hilary McQuie, a spokeswoman for Americans for Safe Access, an Oakland-based coalition.Ethan Nadelmann, founder and executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, said a ramped-up federal assault on medical marijuana is unlikely, given that California is a politically powerful state led by a Republican governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger.Enforcement Risky"For the feds to come into a state of a Republican governor who has explicitly said he supports medical marijuana and start busting people--to tromp state and local rights and a law that is supported by 70 percent of the people--would be a particularly defiant thing to do," Nadelmann said.At the local DEA office, the talk is of going after major dealers."We investigate large traffickers," said Javier Pena, special agent in charge at the agency's San Francisco office. "We're not after the users, the sick people, the dying people."For some law-enforcement officers, medical marijuana has presented a tricky legal situation. California's law differs from the federal law, county district attorneys have varying stances about whether medical marijuana cases should be prosecuted, and each county can set its own limits about how much marijuana patients and caretakers may possess, as long as it's no less than the 8 ounces allowed by the state.A patient may legally possess 3 pounds of medical marijuana in Santa Cruz County and then travel with the marijuana to Fresno County, where the limit is 8 ounces. "Clearly, we're frustrated," said Fresno County Assistant Sheriff Jeff Hollis. "The state attorney general's office has stated that the medical marijuana law is still in force, yet we have a Supreme Court decision that says it's illegal. Law-enforcement officers are walking a tightrope: Whose law do you apply?"With marijuana dispensaries remaining apparent fixtures in San Francisco's neighborhoods, the city is for the first time preparing to regulate the location and licensing of the clubs, which serve 7,500 residents who carry medical marijuana authorization cards provided by the San Francisco Department of Public Health. A patient must have a doctor's recommendation to obtain the card. Legislation, which is expected to be put to a vote next month by the city's Board of Supervisors, will seek to resolve issues such as loitering, double-parking, noise, violent crime and the proliferation of clubs."I don't think there's anybody who wants to see patients who need medical marijuana being prevented from getting it," said Supervisor Sean Elsbernd, whose district includes two of the three clubs that were closed by the DEA. But, he added, "there's concern that some of the patients are turning around and selling it to kids."Capt. Tim Hettrich, head of the narcotics and vice division of the San Francisco Police Department, said he wouldn't comment on whether medical marijuana has ended up on the street.Liberal DefinitionCalifornia also has the most liberal definition of who qualifies for treatment, said Nadelmann of the Drug Policy Alliance.The law calls for "seriously ill Californians" to have access to marijuana for use in the treatment of "cancer, anorexia, AIDS, chronic pain, spasticity, glaucoma, arthritis, migraine, or any other illness for which marijuana provides relief."According to a 2000 report from the California chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, 40 percent of medical marijuana is used to treat chronic pain, 29 percent is for AIDS or HIV-related treatment, and 15 percent is used to treat mood disorders, with the remainder in all other categories.Under California law, doctors have wide discretion in authorizing use of marijuana. Nadelmann says this is no different from the discretion doctors have in prescribing traditional pharmaceuticals."We're increasingly living in a society where what's medical and what's not is unclear," Nadelmann said. "What do you call Viagra and other pharmaceuticals? How does marijuana relate to Ritalin or Prozac?"Note: Despite feds' right to crack down, medical marijuana in California seems safe for now.Source: Chicago Tribune (IL)Author: Jane Meredith Adams, Special To The TribunePublished: October 12, 2005Copyright: 2005 Chicago Tribune CompanyContact: ctc-TribLetter Tribune.comWebsite: Articles & Web Sites:NORML Policy Alliance For Safe Access Marijuana as a Schedule II Drug Feds Say They're Not Really Pot Cops
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Comment #24 posted by Hope on October 15, 2005 at 13:27:33 PT
Thank you, Runruff.
I mean what I said. 
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Comment #23 posted by runruff on October 13, 2005 at 08:44:01 PT:
You've warmed my heart here, Hope.
Thems is some mighty fine words there you're a speakin'.
Thank you for your kindness. Your warmth has breached the cyber space and I feel it.
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Comment #22 posted by Hope on October 12, 2005 at 19:56:26 PT
"They have been watching me under a micoscope for over a decade."This world is so insane.I'm so sorry that the evil of this prohibition has laid it's hand on you. We have to keep fighting. We've got to stop it. We've got to get people to see it for what it is. It's so wrong what they are doing to you and I'm grieved. I'm grieved for you and everyone else that has been hurt and persecuted by our government like this. It just makes me sick.You're a hero to me, Runruff. I love you and am hoping and praying the best for you...that no matter what they will ultimately be victorious over them, all of them, and their institutionalized evil. I'm counting on you living through prison and probation and coming back and being more successful, alive and brilliant than ever before. 
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Comment #21 posted by John Tyler on October 12, 2005 at 17:30:30 PT
going both ways
When Roberts was nominated for the Court it was said that his religion (Catholic) would play no part in his decisions. Now that Bush's crony is nominated and the Right wingers are wriled up he is saying that her religion (right wing fundamentalism) will play a part in her decisions. Bush is trying to have it both ways. Either it should matter or not matter, but not matter one way one time and then matter another time.
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Comment #20 posted by charmed quark on October 12, 2005 at 16:50:19 PT
 NJ Gubernatorial Candidates Support Med Marijuana
OT but encouraging. As reported in the Philadelphia Inquirer on Oct. 12, 2005.In a debate last night, 
both the Republican candidate, Forrester, and the Democratic candidate, Corzine, said they would sign into law a medical marijuana bill if it reached the governors desk. Such a proposal is currently stalled in the Legislature."...I think we need to provide all medical resources and that includes what is emerging now with regard to this particular application", Forrester said. "So, yes, I'm very much open to that."Corzine said:"I believe medical marijuana is something that, if a doctor prescribes it, we need to do what is in the best interests of the patient. It's a tragedy when you're not giving the best medication to an individual."One of these people is going to be governor of NJ come this November and both seem to have a very good attitude about medical cannabis. Unfortunately, I couldn't find a usable link.-CQ
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Comment #19 posted by siege on October 12, 2005 at 16:12:54 PT
try this
LESS to mess with us... sorry for there familys not them OK.
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Comment #18 posted by E_Johnson on October 12, 2005 at 15:35:41 PT
So siege it's okay for them to kill us then?
I'm not sure what you're saying. Do you mean you think that it's okay if we die? If it's okay that they die, then it's okay that we die. I just don't understand what value system you're advocating.
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Comment #17 posted by siege on October 12, 2005 at 15:23:31 PT
D E A die
The Radio NEWS just said that there was 9 DEA died in columba
today sorry about thatless to bother us here. and hilary clinton is trying to get something go there.
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Comment #16 posted by siege on October 12, 2005 at 15:12:33 PT
Sheriff thinks pot club patrons look 'unsavory'
Since Plummer doesn't back marijuana for medicinal uses, much less as a recreational drug, he made it clear his department  as the lead agency to review and issue the permits  will closely monitor permit holders and people who patronize what he described as "legalized dope shops."
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Comment #15 posted by runruff on October 12, 2005 at 12:54:16 PT:
A BOOK IS COMMING. And if ever I may live long enuff to produce it. I would love to do a movie, a biography on Ansinger. One that would show off all his blimishes and moles. I would portray him as the Joseph McCarthy of Drugs.
Exposing all of his hipocrocy and political agendas and who he worked for and why. This is a story that is long overdue.
A story who's time has come.
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Comment #14 posted by FoM on October 12, 2005 at 12:41:41 PT
I really am sorry. I hope you will be able to make the most out of this. Write a book or something. This song came to my mind.***And you may see me tonight with an illegal smileIt don't cost very much, but it lasts a long whileWon't you please tell the man I didn't kill anyoneNo I'm just tryin' to have me some fun
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Comment #13 posted by runruff on October 12, 2005 at 12:33:10 PT:
Making the world a safer place.
By putting me away. No there is nothing anyone can do. Yes I will be isolated 
from my family. You see I am well known for my activism in my part of the world. Local and federal cops have been after me for many years. I used to make regular appearences on KOPE radio as well as other radio and community tv shows during the Bushido 1 regime.
I sent my video to the president the vice president and several congressmen and senators and police stations. I recieved many replys from these people. Not nice ones either. Now that they have me they will not let me off the hook. They have made that clear. When the DEA came here I was so suprised at all they knew about me. They have been watching me under a micoscope for over a decade. Forget about it. I'm a gonner. I just hope I was able to make at least a dent in their armour. Thanks for asking.Namaste
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Comment #12 posted by FoM on October 12, 2005 at 12:16:47 PT
If you mean Mass on the east coast that on the other side of the country for you. You would be isolated from your family.
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Comment #11 posted by FoM on October 12, 2005 at 12:11:02 PT
Isn't there any way to not have to go to jail? It just seems so unfair.
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Comment #10 posted by runruff on October 12, 2005 at 12:02:19 PT:
Pee on the lier to put out the fire!
See how they lie! A few years ago I would have to sit here and fume and take that lie. Today I can appeal to thousands of people here on C/News alone. I recieved my reporting papers from the feds. I am to report to a federal hospital in Mass. Jan. 10, 2006 to star my 24 month sentence. After that I have 4 years probation. My heart Doctor says I may not live long enough to serve all of my sentence. I have an Oregon Medical Marijuana card. I was busted by the DEA. So may I say, lier, lier, pants on fire. Pee on the lier to put out the fire. I love being a kid sometimes, tee hee.Namaste
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Comment #9 posted by FoM on October 12, 2005 at 11:34:53 PT
Republican Morality
I really try to live a moral life but I don't listen to a politician for guidance. I really mind religion and politics together. The problem has been mostly with Born Again Christian Politicians. They think if you don't do it the way they believe you'll cause God's wrath on us here and they don't want you to go to Hell.I prefer my religion and politics not be associated with each other. Separation of Church and State would stop fears of a theocracy.When Go Made Me***Was he thinking about my countryOr the colour of my skin?Was he thinking about my religionAnd the way I worshipped him?Did he create just me in His imageOr every living thing?When God made meWhen God made me***Was He planning only for believersOr for those who just had faith?Did he envision all the warsThat were fought in His name?Did he think there was only one wayTo be close to Him?
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Comment #8 posted by MikeEEEEE on October 12, 2005 at 11:13:48 PT
Off-topic: Building the Theocracy
theocracy: a government ruled by or subject to religious authority.Bush: Miers' Religion Key Part of Her Life By NEDRA PICKLER, Associated Press WriterPresident Bush said Wednesday his advisers were telling conservatives about Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers' religious beliefs because they are interested in her background and "part of Harriet Miers' life is her religion.""People are interested to know why I picked Harriet Miers," Bush told reporters at the White House. "They want to know Harriet Miers' background. They want to know as much as they possibly can before they form opinions. And part of Harriet Miers' life is her religion."Bush, speaking at the conclusion of an Oval Office meeting with visiting Polish President Aleksander Kwasniewski, said that his advisers were reaching out to conservatives who oppose her nomination "just to explain the facts."He spoke on a day in which conservative James Dobson, founder of Focus on Family, said he had discussed the nominee's religious views with presidential aide Karl Rove.Not even a congressional recess nor Bush's preoccupation with hurricane recovery and affairs of state have shrouded the continuing controversy surrounding his selection of Miers to replace the retiring Justice Sandra Day O'Connor. Debate about Miers' credentials was prominent on the Sunday television talk shows and has continued to occupy considerable attention on the Internet.Some of Bush's conservative critics say Miers has no judicial record that proves she will strictly interpret the Constitution and not  as Busy says  "legislate from the bench." They argue that Bush passed up other more qualified candidates to nominate someone from his inner circle.On a radio show being broadcast Wednesday, Dobson said he discussed Miers with Rove on Oct. 1, two days before her nomination was announced. Dobson said Rove told him "she is from a very conservative church, which is almost universally pro-life," but denied he had gotten any assurances from the White House that she would vote to overturn the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion.Sen. Patrick Leahy (news, bio, voting record), ranking Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, said: "The rest of America, including the Senate, deserves to know what he and the White House know.""We don't confirm Justices of the Supreme Court on a wink and a nod. And a litmus test is no less a litmus test by using whispers and signals," the Vermont senator said. "No political faction should be given a monopoly of relevant knowledge about a nomination, just as no faction should be permitted to hound a nominee to withdraw, before the hearing process has even begun."Earlier Wednesday, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales asserted that Miers would bring "a unique brand of experience" to the high court and would that the concerns of critics would be eased once more is known about her.Gonzales, himself once considered a leading candidate for a vacancy there, said there is "nothing unique or earth-shattering" about Miers' nomination and said people should give her time to say who she is and what she believes.Also, presidential spokesman Scott McClellan acknowledged there were some prospective candidates who told the White House that they preferred not to be considered, citing the ordeal of the confirmation process."Washington scares people away? Is that new?" McClellan asked. "There are plenty of good people willing to be considered. The president found the best person."McClellan later said that "it was just a couple of people" who asked that their names be withdrawn, and it happened when the field of candidates was "in the double digits." He declined to say whether "a couple" meant just two  or more.Asked why Rove would have discussed Miers' religious views if the president ascribes to a conservative judicial philosophy that backs a strict interpretation of the Constitution regardless of one's views on various issues, McClellan said it was just part of an "outreach" to help people get to know Miers."What we have seen so far," Leahy said, "is more of a commentary on the litmus tests and narrow motivations of vocal factions on the Republican right than it is a commentary on the qualifications of Harriet Miers."
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Comment #7 posted by Zandor on October 12, 2005 at 10:46:46 PT
Whose law do you apply?
"The state attorney general's office has stated that the medical marijuana law is still in force, yet we have a Supreme Court decision that says it's illegal. Law-enforcement officers are walking a tightrope: Whose law do you apply?"***********************************************************That's easy, you apply the law for the people who pay your salery. The Tax payers of the State of California and nobody else period. It's our money and you work for US so you follow our law period!You do not have the right to pick and choose you follow state law because we pay your bills not the federal gov.
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Comment #6 posted by siege on October 12, 2005 at 10:43:27 PT
What do you call 
HEPM the best food on earth!
Ethyl Alcohol, one acre of hemp will run all your Farm Equipment for a few years on 100 acres.
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Comment #5 posted by FoM on October 12, 2005 at 10:33:09 PT
Apple a Day
I've been eating an apple a day. The natural plants and vegetables help our health and right now I am tired so I'm going to take some American Ginseng and I'll have energy in about an hour. I think of drugs as an easy way to get results but herbs take a little longer but they are mostly non toxic. Why do men use Viagra? There are herbs that accomplish the same results and aren't toxic.
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Comment #4 posted by E_Johnson on October 12, 2005 at 10:16:14 PT
What do you call walnuts, blueberries and fish oil
Nadelman is on to something when he says, what do you call Viagra?But I would add -- what do we call foods that we now understand to have medicinal properties, like walnuts, blueberries and fish oil?Fish oil is mood altering -- it can help mild to moderate depression.The lines are getting less clear, the more we learn about nature.
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Comment #3 posted by siege on October 12, 2005 at 09:45:32 PT
supported by 70 percent of the people7,500 residents who carry medical marijuana authorization cards San Francisco Department of Public Health.California's estimated 150,000 medical marijuana patients.And the 15 to 18 % patients that have to stay hiden because of there business  associates.That would give you a big lead over the next person, don't you THINK... Terminator!
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Comment #2 posted by siege on October 12, 2005 at 09:18:52 PT
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Alright Arnold Schwarzenegger you are the Terminator 
so get with it and HELP the medical marijuana  patient of calif... Tell the DEA to get out and stay out of your state... It's that easy!!!! 
You are looking to get Voted back in to office there, so give them something to vote for!
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Comment #1 posted by E_Johnson on October 12, 2005 at 09:07:46 PT
The compassion is leaking through their defenses?
"We investigate large traffickers," said Javier Pena, special agent in charge at the agency's San Francisco office. "We're not after the users, the sick people, the dying people."******************************************************That's more empathy than I've ever heard from this agency. I guess I could call that encouraging.Maybe they'll be merciful with Steve. Maybe they're learning how to be merciful.I do feel empathy for them because the mission of their agency is impossible -- and their agents do get killed and tortured and traumatized in the line of duty.I think they're caught in a world between grief and greed. It must be a hard place to live, where a DEA agent has to live.
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