California in Hot Spot With Medical Pot

California in Hot Spot With Medical Pot
Posted by CN Staff on August 14, 2007 at 17:39:45 PT
By Corinne Heller
Source: Reuters 
Los Angeles, CA -- They advertise in newspapers and on the Internet, where they supply their telephone numbers and addresses and offer free samples to new customers. Finding medical marijuana vendors in California is about as easy as locating a Starbucks coffee shop.But fresh raids by the federal government threaten to push this industry into the shadows 10 years after California legalized possession of marijuana for medical use.
"There's no way to prepare," said Joby, manager at a Los Angeles dispensary who declined to give his last name for fear of being raided."We're doing everything as legally as we possibly can but ... they (the federal government) are still saying we give too much," he added.He said he has hundreds of regular customers, including one who is 67 and has been HIV positive for 17 years. With a doctor's prescription, they can possess up to a cup of cannabis -- or more if needed -- to relieve pain, nausea and psychological disorders.The federal government argues that the legal alternative, a pill called Marinol made by a unit of Belgium's Solvay, works just fine, but activists say some people get little relief from the pill.The U.S. Justice Department says possessing the drug for any purpose is illegal despite a dozen U.S. states allowing it for medical use.Last month, the Drug Enforcement Administration, or DEA, raided 10 dispensaries in Los Angeles, arrested five people and confiscated more than 240 kilograms (430 pounds) of marijuana. A similar size raid took place in January. 200,000 Regular Users"There are ongoing investigations," said Sarah Pullen, a DEA spokeswoman in Los Angeles. "Anyone in possession or distributing (marijuana) is violating federal law."She said investigations also show criminal activity, such a robbery and dealing, often occurs near the dispensaries.California was the first state to legalize possession of cannabis for health purposes in 1996 after voters approved the Compassionate Use Act.About 200,000 residents are such users, said Chris Hermes, spokesman of Americans For Safe Access, a pro-medical marijuana grassroots group. An estimated 300,000 exist in the nation.Registration is voluntary and only some 15,000 people in California have done so, the state health department said.Making matters even more complicated, the local government has joined the fray even though its legal authority on the matter is shaky.In the weeks after the latest raids, the Los Angeles City Council voted 10-2 in favor of a one-year moratorium on new dispensaries in the city and regulation of existing ones. And it urged the DEA to stop its raids.There are more than 400 clinics in Los Angeles and some council members expressed concerns that the industry is growing out of control.But doctors and clinic owners stand by their screening and adherence to state law.Los Angeles doctor Dean Weiss, who is licensed to prescribe marijuana, said his office screens potential patients."We turn away half the people over the phone," he said. Back To The Dealers?While many of the clinics are well-marked and advertised, scores operate out of private homes or offices with no commercial signs.The dispensaries often contain iron doors, bars or sophisticated security systems. Giant signs explaining the marijuana law decorate the walls. One facility warns customers of being banned for a year if they break the law.According to sign-in sheets, dozens of people frequent the facilities every day."Everything is moving kind of smoothly but it is a little stressful just to know (raids are) happening," said Joe, another Los Angeles medical marijuana dispensary manager who declined to give his full name.But Hermes, the activist, said the raids are a menace to people who rely on safe access to medical marijuana."The DEA is using its power and influence and resources in such a way as to intimidate a whole population of people," Hermes said.Joby said customers call after raids to ask if his dispensary is open. He worries that if he is raided, he'll be forced to close shop and his patients will also go into the shadows."People would just have to go back to the street and buy it from gangstas," Joby said, using the street slang for criminals. "If they had to go about getting it themselves, who knows what would happen to them."Source: Reuters (Wire)Author: Corinne HellerPublished: August 14, 2007Copyright: 2007 Reuters News ServiceCannabisNews Medical Marijuana Archives
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Comment #10 posted by FoM on August 15, 2007 at 17:49:47 PT
News and Video from KABC-TV
Cannabis Club Supporters Hold Protest Downtown***Women Advancing Medical Cannabis Sponsored The Event By Leanne SuterLOS ANGELES, August 15, 2007 (KABC-TV) - A call for help in front of City Hall as dozens of women, many of them medical marijuana users joined forces Wednesday demanding the end on the recent raids on L.A. cannabis clubs.Related Links
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"There's a stigma to using medical marijuana. One of the reasons we had the march today is because we wanted to change the face of the medical marijuana patients," says Yami Bolanos, Medical Marijuana Patient. From treating nausea and breast cancer patients to calming menstrual cramps, thousands of women use medical marijuana, but it's often in secret. Organizers say women are often afraid to come forward an admit they use cannabis. For many of them, it is the only thing that makes them feel like they still have a life. "When people look at us we don't look like a criminal, we don't look like a drug dealer, we don't look like anything. We're just patients who want to use cannabis as our choice of medicine, simple as that," says Lisa Sawoya, Women Advancing Medical Cannabis. Women Advancing Medical Cannabis sponsored Wednesday's event. Nearly 100 people, most wearing pink arm bands, rallied outside the downtown Federal Building before marching to City Hall and into council meetings. Marijuana is an illegal drug under federal law, but state law allows patients to us medical cannabis. City Councilwoman Janice Hahn says the DEA is going too far. "I'm calling on the federal government to have a moratorium on these raids. They are coming into our city and flexing their muscles and sort of saying the federal government trumps state rights," says Hahn. It's an age-old debate that has left thousands of women trapped in the middle. Copyright: 2007 KABC-TV.
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Comment #9 posted by FoM on August 15, 2007 at 14:21:23 PT
MMJ Article About Kansas
Former State A.G. to Support Medical Use of Marijuana
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Comment #8 posted by Truth on August 15, 2007 at 08:14:10 PT
"Finding medical marijuana vendors in California is about as easy as locating a Starbucks coffee shop."Really? Tell that to the patient in Bakersfield.
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Comment #7 posted by yasuo on August 15, 2007 at 05:13:25 PT:
"People would just have to go back to the street and buy it from gangstas," Joby said, using the street slang for criminals.Wow, I didn't expect such an ignorant generalization to come from a dispensary member. That statement just disgusts me.
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Comment #6 posted by Hope on August 14, 2007 at 20:43:43 PT
Mayan comment 3
"What happens when we all stop being afraid?"It will be interesting. No doubt.Maybe, when we all stop being afraid, and our leaders all stop being afraid...they will have to stop taking all our "lunch money".It probably will have something to do with what they like to think of as their "Budget". 
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Comment #5 posted by Hope on August 14, 2007 at 20:29:40 PT
"up to a cup of cannabis"
Excellent way to put it!Anybody in the inexperienced world should be able to understand that. No ounces. No grams. No joints. No flugertotamons or idiodadabs or hysterical conflations."Up to a cup". Plain and simple.Anybody can comprehend "up to a cup", surely.
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Comment #4 posted by FoM on August 14, 2007 at 18:39:04 PT
Related Article from KABC-TV and City News Service
Medical Marijuana Outlawed in Los Angeles?***City Ordinance To Block Dispenseries September 14LOS ANGELES, Aug. 14, 2007 (CNS) - Los Angeles police officers have been present for some U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration raids on medical marijuana facilities, but only to help implement a search warrant or provide security, the Police Commission was told today. Marijuana is considered an illegal substance by the federal government. However, state law allows medical cannabis to be used by patients with permission by their physicians. Questions were raised last month after a video on the YouTube Web site appeared to show an LAPD detective, wearing DEA raid gear, participating in a bust in the Hollywood area. The department is investigating the matter. At the same time, City Councilman Dennis Zine asked the DEA to stop its raids while the city attempts to regulate the facilities. The LAPD is supportive of medicinal marijuana and does not participate in the federal agency's marijuana investigations, said LAPD Cmdr. David Doan. "(DEA officials) do ask for assistance from other agencies in order to have enough manpower present to be able to safely execute those warrants," Doan said. "Certainly there have been uniform resources of the Los Angeles Police Department present to keep the peace at some of those locations." "The raids that we have participated in with DEA all have been as a result of federally-issued or state-issued search warrants. We have not gone on any of those activities, that I'm aware of, that did not have a warrant previously signed by a magistrate, primarily at the federal level." A city ordinance that temporarily prohibits new medical marijuana dispensaries from opening in Los Angeles will go into effect on Sept. 14. The Los Angeles City Council is expected to hear a similar report on medical marijuana dispensaries tomorrow. Copyright: 2007 KABC-TV and City News Service (CNS).
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Comment #3 posted by mayan on August 14, 2007 at 18:29:14 PT
"The DEA is using its power and influence and resources in such a way as to intimidate a whole population of people," Hermes said.There comes a time when one has to say, "ENOUGH"!!! They can only control us by keeping us in a constant state of fear. What happens when we all stop being afraid?THE WAY OUT IS THE WAY IN...The Cult of 9/11: Need To Counter Those Pushing for A False Flag Attack: Analyst Discusses Cheney 9/11 Stand-down Order: about the head of the 9/11 Commission, Phillip Zelikow: and bin Laden: A 'Conspiracy Theory' Too Far? seventh tower: Are Change - 9/11/07 Promo (video):
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Comment #2 posted by RevRayGreen on August 14, 2007 at 18:27:42 PT
Back To The Dealers?
underground is the only way right now, it doesn't pay
to advertise......for now.I hope Bill helps expose the injustice even further tonight.
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on August 14, 2007 at 18:04:11 PT
Off Topic: Bill Maher
Bill Maher is on Larry King Live right now.
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