City Considers Aiding Marijuana Patients

City Considers Aiding Marijuana Patients
Posted by CN Staff on January 26, 2008 at 06:15:42 PT
By Doug Oakley, Staff Writer
Source: Contra Costa Times 
California -- Berkeley is considering a plan to help get medical marijuana to patients if the Drug Enforcement Administration shuts down any of the city-permitted cannabis clubs.The plan by City Councilmen Darryl Moore and Kriss Worthington already has drawn fire from the Berkeley police, the city manager's office and the DEA.
The resolution before the City Council on Tuesday night declares Berkeley a sanctuary for medical marijuana users and distributors, and says "the city itself shall ensure a continuum of access to medical marijuana" if the DEA moves in.Whether that means the city selling marijuana itself or helping another distributor get started is up in the air at the moment, Moore said. He wants the police chief and city manager to come back with suggestions."The piece I originally suggested is that in the wake of a DEA closure that the city would step in and provide medical marijuana, and that was what the city manager and the police chief had a problem with," Moore said.After a December meeting with Berkeley police Chief Douglas Hambleton and City Manager Phil Kamlarz, the language of the proposed resolution was softened.The DEA doesn't like the idea of Berkeley selling marijuana."Our stand on it is if someone from the city sells it, it is still illegal, and we will investigate and take action as appropriate," said Javier Pena, special agent in charge of the DEA field office in San Francisco. "Anyone who breaks the law is at risk of getting arrested. We don't discriminate."Moore said a DEA crackdown in Berkeley could necessitate a medical emergency."I personally feel the state has adopted medical marijuana, and it is overwhelmingly positive," Moore said. "Should the DEA crack down here, it will be a public health issue, and the city should be responsible for the medical needs of its residents."The DEA raided and closed five medical marijuana dispensaries in the Bay Area in the past year, according to a spokeswoman. And according to the resolution, the DEA has shut down 28 dispensaries in 11 counties statewide since June.The resolution also criticizes the DEA's warnings to property owners in Berkeley that they face asset forfeiture and prosecution if they continue to lease property to medical marijuana providers.Berkeley police spokeswoman Sgt. Mary Kusmiss said the department must straddle conflicting state and federal laws."There is a difference between us honoring Prop. 215 -- which legalized medical marijuana in California -- and actively violating federal law," Kusmiss said.Berkeley's two dispensaries are the Berkeley Patients' Group on San Pablo Avenue and Berkeley Patients' Care Collective on Telegraph Avenue.The city already has directed its police department not to cooperate with federal investigations of any dispensaries. But critics, including Americans for Safe Access based in Oakland, say police violated that policy last fall when it was on the scene of a search by the Internal Revenue Service and the Alameda County Sheriff of a Berkeley hills home that was connected to a marijuana dispensary raided outside Berkeley."We weren't facilitating the search warrant in that case," Kusmiss said. "We were there because there were cars being towed, and we were supporting the other officers there."The resolution before the council should mainly be used as a statement to the federal government that Berkeley is serious about medical marijuana, said Kris Hermes, spokesman for Americans for Safe Access."It's not going to be in the municipal code, but it is a strong statement that the federal government is not welcome in the city of Berkeley and it stands behind its permitted facilities," Hermes said.Hermes said instead of distributing marijuana, he sees the resolution as a way of getting the city to help find an emergency location for a cannabis club to operate if one is shut down."We're not asking the city to become a distributor," Hermes said.Note: Berkeley: Resolution would declare area a sanctuary for medical pot users and distributors.Source: Contra Costa Times (CA)Author: Doug Oakley, Staff WriterPublished: January 26, 2008Copyright: 2008 Knight RidderContact: letters cctimes.comWebsite: For Safe Access Medical Marijuana Archives
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Comment #6 posted by FoM on January 28, 2008 at 12:24:04 PT
News Article from Slate
Medical Marijuana and Workers' RightsBy Bonnie Goldstein Monday, January 28, 2008California citizens with a doctor's note are permitted to grow and possess marijuana, thanks to the state's 1996 compassionate use law. Medical cannabis dispensaries are licensed and even pay sales tax. So committed is the Bay Area to marijuana rights, reported, that after some San Francisco dispensaries were found inadvertently to be "using the incorrect equivalent conversion between grams and ounces," the health department reminded operators to give the people "what they pay for." Last year, San Francisco also passed an ordinance that makes marijuana offenders the "lowest law enforcement priority." Even for medical users, however, marijuana remains illegal under federal law, and private employers in California are not required to be tolerant. Because of "well-documented problems" of absenteeism, low productivity, and physical injury, employers exercise their legal right to test workers and, if results are positive for illegal substances, to deny them employment. Veteran Gary Ross was badly injured while serving in the U.S. Air Force and became eligible for government disability benefits. He suffers chronic pain, which is eased by physician-recommended marijuana treatment. In 2001, Sacramento-based RagingWire Telecommunications hired Ross, but when his pre-employment drug test came back positive for THC, the company quickly fired him. Ross sued, arguing that he was not consuming marijuana on the job and that state fair-employment laws required "reasonable accommodation" for his disability. Last week, the California Supreme Court upheld the dismissal, noting that the compassionate use law does not "require employers to accommodate marijuana" (see excerpts of the court's affirmation below and on the following five pages).Complete Article:
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Comment #5 posted by John Tyler on January 26, 2008 at 18:55:52 PT
in vending machines
I saw on the news this evening that some dispensary in California will have a cannabis vending machine to help people if they have to come by after regular operating hours. You will have to have an account set up first before you can use the vending machine. 
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Comment #4 posted by Max Flowers on January 26, 2008 at 18:42:39 PT
The DEA doesn't like the idea of Berkeley selling marijuana."Our stand on it is if someone from the city sells it, it is still illegal, and we will investigate and take action as appropriate," said Javier Pena, special agent in charge of the DEA field office in San Francisco."No action is appropriate, because DEA doesn't actually have any true jurisdiction in the city of Berkeley, or anywhere outside of their congressional enclave jurisdiction! I wish more people would talk about this FACT. It is the crux of the issue, and makes what they do a fraud and illegal.
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Comment #3 posted by RevRayGreen on January 26, 2008 at 18:37:05 PT
need to be in place like the coffee shop over in England did after their last raid. Now how will America react to the DEA crashing thru a barricade only to come up with a little marijuana or nothing but seeds, at what cost ?
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Comment #2 posted by Sam Adams on January 26, 2008 at 10:34:45 PT
It's amazing, isn't it? The way people will sustain Doublethink in their brains.How many movies do we have to see? Training Day anyone? I was surprised when IFC had a month showing "blacksploitation" films from the 70s. In every one, the kingpins of the drug ring turn out to be evil white cops at the end of the movie. I was like, wow, people knew about this in the 70's?  Yep, they knew and simultaneously kept voting for the men who continue this policy.In my city, Boston, the newspaper just reported on the discovery of 1000 - yes, one thousand - separate thefts of drug "evidence" from the storage room in the last few years. What a complete joke, how can people live under this corrupt tyranny for all these decades and not do anything to change it. I have to laugh so I don't cry.
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Comment #1 posted by runruff on January 26, 2008 at 10:27:57 PT:
DEA , "it's illegal!"
"Anyone who breaks the law is at risk of getting arrested. We don't discriminate."See how they lie!How many agents ine DEA are drug dealers?Am I suppose to believe that the DEA oginization is running rampant with integrity. Is rife with honesty?
We'er talking about little nighborhood boys who grew up with fantasies of being a big tough "Rambo." Men who can easily see how to turn their over paid $50,000 a year jobs into millions of dollars in hidden bank accounts over seas. Tricks they learn from the very people they are paid to take down. At what price do you believe these thugs will sell out?One million? Two million? How about ten or twenty million.
There is billions of dollars in cash floating around out there. I don't believe these Neo-American Gestapo thugs have one ounce of honesty or integrity.
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