LA DA Plans All-Out Assault on City's Dispensaries

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  LA DA Plans All-Out Assault on City's Dispensaries

Posted by CN Staff on October 11, 2009 at 09:08:54 PT
By Stephen Webster, Raw Story 
Source: AlterNet 

California -- In spite of a law on California books for over a decade which allows the sale of medical cannabis to properly licensed patients, the district attorney in Los Angeles County is preparing an all-out legal assault against the "vast majority" of dispensaries."Hundreds of dispensaries operate under a 1996 voter initiative that allowed medical marijuana use, and a state law that allows for collective growing of marijuana," NBC Los Angeles reported. "But based on a state Supreme Court decision last year, [LA County District Attorney Steve] Cooley has concluded that over-the-counter sales are illegal. Most if not all of the dispensaries in the state operate on that basis."
"The vast, vast, vast majority, about 100%, of dispensaries in Los Angeles County and the city are operating illegally, they are dealing marijuana illegally, according to our theory," Cooley said, according to The Los Angeles Times. "The time is right to deal with this problem."That "problem" -- over the counter sales of marijuana to licensed patients -- accounted for some $18 million in tax revenue for the state last year, reported The Christian Science-Monitor, during a time when California is facing the greatest budgetary challenges in its history.However, those with prescriptions for marijuana account for roughly 10 percent of the state's marijuana users, according to a California NORML report prepared for the Oakland Civil Liberties Alliance."In a radio interview on KABC-AM (790), Cooley reiterated his plan to close down many of the 800 to 900 medical marijuana shops believed to be operating in the city of Los Angeles," noted the Contra-Costa Times."We will give them fair notice and, hopefully, they will see the light and voluntarily close down," Cooley reportedly said. "We are going to uphold the laws of California."The Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), a group which advocates the nation-wide legalization of cannabis for adults, strongly disagrees."In a radio interview on KABC-AM (790), Cooley reiterated his plan to close down many of the 800 to 900 medical marijuana shops believed to be operating in the city of Los Angeles," noted the Contra-Costa Times."Last year, the state’s attorney general issued a legal opinion that clearly stated that 'a properly organized and operated collective or cooperative that dispenses medical marijuana through a storefront may be lawful under California law,'" MPP noted in Opposing Views. "Maybe Cooley didn’t get the memo."They continued: "If Cooley is somehow successful in eliminating L.A.'s medical marijuana facilities, the effect would be disastrous for patients forced to find their medicine in the underground market and would be a boon to the violent drug cartels that often supply that market. Voters in Los Angeles — who overwhelmingly support medical marijuana — are probably scratching their heads trying to figure out why their district attorney wants to enrich criminal drug dealers at the expense of patients.""Cooley and other officials say that in addition to selling to minors and others who do not use the drug for medical purposes, some of the dispensaries sell marijuana laced heavily with insecticides that endanger users even as they help finance Mexican drug cartels," Contra-Costa added.There are three voter-sponsored initiatives circulating California at the moment which seek to put complete legalization and taxation of marijuana on the state-wide ballot in 2010, according to the Orange County Register."If one of these initiatives passes, California would become the first state to legalize marijuana and impose a tax on it, a move proponents say could help get the state out of an unprecedented budget crisis," the paper reported.DA Cooley's first targeted dispensary is "Organica," in Culver City, according to Mercury News."We have our strategy and we think we are on good legal ground," Cooley said, the LA Times noted.Marijuana is California's most valuable cash crop, responsible for over $14 billion in annual sales, according to Time magazine. If legalized and taxed, it could produce $1.3 billion or more in revenues for the state, California tax collectors have estimated.Source: AlterNet (US)Author:  Stephen Webster, Raw StoryPublished: October 11, 2009Copyright: 2009 Independent Media InstituteContact: letters Website: Medical Marijuana Archives

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Comment #35 posted by FoM on October 15, 2009 at 16:05:50 PT
Related Article From
Why Is L.A.'s District Attorney Aiding and Abetting Mexican Drug Cartels?By Bruce Mirken, Daily NewsOctober 15, 2009URL:
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Comment #34 posted by GeoChemist on October 13, 2009 at 14:06:16 PT
Think about it this way.........
These politicians spend how much to get elected into a position that pays how much?
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Comment #33 posted by FoM on October 12, 2009 at 17:40:16 PT
Update On Jack Herer
Marijuana Activist Showing Signs of Improvement After Heart AttackBy Anne Saker, The OregonianOctober 12, 2009Jack Herer, a leader in the modern marijuana legalization movement, has been discharged from a Portland hospital nearly a month after a Sept. 12 heart attack, and his family has moved him to a Eugene nursing facility.Herer, 70, of Lower Lake, Calif., had just delivered what for him was a typical barn-burner of a speech promoting hemp at Portland's Hempstalk festival when he collapsed. He was airlifted to Legacy Emanuel Medical Center and was in critical but stable condition for more than three weeks.URL:
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Comment #32 posted by FoM on October 12, 2009 at 13:39:49 PT
We can't faint now. We need to be steady and strong with our opinions. We need to be tolerant of those who approach reform in a way that we might not as an individual. When solving any serious problem in life it takes many different ways of looking at the problem and then finally the problem is solved.
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Comment #31 posted by Hope on October 12, 2009 at 13:29:31 PT
You're right.Keep on keeping on. It might look stupid... it might even be stupid... but it seems to be the only way.There has been progress. It would be foolish to ignore that and fall apart, or fall down and stay down, this far into the effort.The fact that they are still persecuting Runruff and so many others cuts so deep. It's hard to not feel like I'm bleeding to death from all the cuts. Yes... I do take them personally and feel them deeply.Slap on the tourniquets and bandages, grab the crutches when I have to, and keep moving. "Faint not".
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Comment #30 posted by FoM on October 12, 2009 at 13:22:24 PT
Soon we will hit a saturation point. What I mean by that is everyone will have come in contact with the questions about marijuana and how they feel. The tide has turned and now we will just let it happen. It's like Gay Rights. 
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Comment #29 posted by Hope on October 12, 2009 at 13:18:00 PT
Thank you for the anchors, Museman and FoM
Now I'm kind of 'steady as she goes' again.Yet the storm of this prohibition and it's corruption and injustice still rages. Is there anything that can be done that we.... all of us... are not doing?Is there anything?I keep thinking that the only thing is that every day there are more and more of us. If you check any Internet stats, thousands, literally hundreds of thousands, of people are checking into C-News, DrugWarRant, Norml, and DrugSense everyday. I'm still amazed at the number of people that have stepped up and spoken out just this year. Is that our hope? Our only hope? Overgrowing? Not with plants but with one more citizen, and one more citizen, and one more citizen every day coming over to our side?I used to think that was how we'd get there. I still think it's the only way unless someone comes up with a better solution.Is there anything else that can be done to end this and any sooner? Before anyone else dies or is imprisoned or any more families broken up? We've had letter writing to politicians and news media, phone calls, conferences, vigils, marches, Internet presence, polls, votes, and petitions. Is there something we haven't thought of that would help? Are we possibly not really working together enough and making ourselves heard?Is there an answer?
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Comment #28 posted by FoM on October 12, 2009 at 13:04:11 PT
No museman sorry I can't do that! LOL!
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Comment #27 posted by museman on October 12, 2009 at 12:37:43 PT
Hope, Fom
"FoM, open the podbay doors FoM."Just trying it on for size :-)>
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Comment #26 posted by FoM on October 12, 2009 at 12:34:58 PT
Laughter is good medicine! Glad you liked it.
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Comment #25 posted by Hope on October 12, 2009 at 12:24:09 PT
comment 23
That's funny. HAL and FoM.
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Comment #24 posted by Hope on October 12, 2009 at 12:23:02 PT
Thank you. Your words have a steadying effect on me.I do feel like a loose dinghy (pun intended) on a wild and stormy sea. A steadying hand is much appreciated.
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Comment #23 posted by FoM on October 12, 2009 at 12:22:58 PT
I go outside with him a couple times a day but I am always here just like HAL from 2001: A Space Odyssey LOL!
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Comment #22 posted by Hope on October 12, 2009 at 12:16:57 PT
Hey, FoM
:0)I was afraid you were out with Mufasa and here I was, gone berserk, and tearing down the house.Your presence calms me. I'm a hothead that tries not to be a hothead and sometimes I wobble... as you know.
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Comment #21 posted by museman on October 12, 2009 at 12:15:35 PT
Hope and Dreaming
While I agree with the frustration of having very little 'political' recourse in this country as a citizen vs a member of the elite society -that Lucas is evidencing, I also agree in principle with what Hope is saying.IF we had a constitutional government that was even remotely, or a tiny bit controlled by the people its supposed to serve, or IF we had any real kind of representation in the Houses like Congress, then the due process of Congressional hearings would be an orderly and efficient way to resolve these issues.But the truth is, as Lucas points out, our 'congress' is responsible for the whole debacle in the first place. The standards and practices that allowed non-representative, self-interested members of the social/economic elite club to sit in such a place of power without any citizen oversight -FROM THE GITGO- still resides in those same places, and offices. The corruption has built up over the years, gaining much power and control through their variuous 'legislations' forcing mandatory conditions on our natural liberties, not the other way around.The ability and CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT of the citizenry to challenge our government has never made it past street level until the initiative process was taken up by ALTERNATIVE MINDED FOLKS classified by the right as 'hippies' 'counter culture' etc, etc. That power was taken up by folks who went through the social challenges raised by VietNam, Nixon, Reagan, and the bushes, by folks who to this day are still being compared to reefer madness profiles of 'social acceptability' as determined exclusively by the status quo.But the original Dream of liberty that spawned America, was a profound, honorable, and wonderful dream, that came from centuries of human bondage to the very same elite classes and dynasties of power that still exist today- new names, different faces, same damn corrupt adversarial spirit - because the religion of money and power is really the State Religion, and always has been even when they claim 'christianity' as their 'religion.'The real American Dream is Liberty, not material comfort and wealth, and in fact it is the misconsception in the form of the carrot-on-the-stick mainstream insistence in it being otherwise that all this has slipped by most un-noticed until recently.Its hard to accept that all those brave and dedicated young men and women who have given their lives and lifetimes in honor of that original dream of liberty were tricked by unscrupulous men in undeserved positions of power. It is hard to accept that to this point, and until the people rise up in their real, inherent, collective power and dismiss the fools from their false thrones of assumed power, all those lives, and proud endeavors have been in vain.It is hard, but its the uncomfortable truth. We can still redeem their sacrifices, if we refuse to allow this to continue, but otherwise it is nothing but tragedy, and travesty, rolling on towards its eventual violent destruction taking all who will not let go, with it.As far as Obama is concerned, I sure hope somebody points out the glaring scorn of his promises to the people concerning medical marijuana and stopping the DEA 'raids on sick people and their care providers' by the Cops Of America is a blatant slap at all who dare to believe in their own rights and liberty, but from what I can see, its the corruption within that rose to prominence in the last century that is embedded deeply in our power infrastructure, and like pulling out a tick, you got to make sure you get it all at once, or it will quite likely get worse.Obama may turn out to be just as hypocritical as this recent turn of events tries to make him look (which smells distinctly like the rest of the rotten corpse of spirit that has been sitting there in power for so long and makes war on the world) but I am willing to give him some time to address the situation before I draw that line in the sand.So, yes there is hope, and the dream is alive, even if the outlook is looking a bit stormy.REPEAL PROHIBITION -its the only sane, reasonable solution.
Cops Of Amerika
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Comment #20 posted by FoM on October 12, 2009 at 12:14:35 PT
Hope Here's My Opinion
I listened very closely to every comment Obama made about medical marijuana and I don't see him going against what he said. He is leaving basically California work it out themselves. I thought that is what state's rights was meant to be. The problems are coming from locals not from the Feds. 
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Comment #19 posted by Hope on October 12, 2009 at 12:02:37 PT
If being a dreamer means wading seemingly endlessly through one nightmare scenario after another... than I'm a dreamer. No doubt.I want to have hope... such an elusive and ethereal thing. Do I feel forsaken... even by my God? I'm shuddering under the weight of it. Shuddering and weak.Forsaken?Do I feel surrounded by the "Bulls" and the "Lions"? No doubt.I guess I won't know that, just how God forsaken I am, until it's all over with... one way or the other.
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Comment #18 posted by Hope on October 12, 2009 at 11:57:20 PT
Yes, Lucas, I noticed.
"did you notice that despite Obama's campaign promises, he seems impotent to stop the DEA and California DA's from prosecuting Medical Marijuana patients and dispensaries?""dreamer, Im glad one of us still has Hope, thanks"Don't be too glad... I'm scratching for threads of pitiful... even spurious, hope to keep on trying. I'm angry... and I shouldn't take my anger out on someone who is on my side.I'm sorry.Damn. This is hard. It's a swamp and a maze and a quagmire and a nightmare and...Dang!
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Comment #17 posted by Hope on October 12, 2009 at 11:47:26 PT
"the initiative process"
I think the initiative process for citizens is wonderful. Lots of the country doesn't have it... and from what I've been reading lately... there is a faction of people that want to take it away from the Californians.
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Comment #16 posted by Hope on October 12, 2009 at 11:45:02 PT
"Your idealism stupefies me"... to Lucas
Yeah... it sucks.From this end, too.Just add it to all the other stupefying crap we have all around us.Yes I hate the idiocy and corruption of our government.What can we do but keep trying and hoping and working toward a goal in a peaceful way?What?Even if we had troops and all the warfare stuff to march on D.C.... which is a stupefying dream in itself... how long do you think we would be allowed to proceed before being massacred? Not very damned long.I want peace and light. Some hotheads want blood shed and massacres and uprisings and anarchy.Nothing is working... but increasing the death toll doesn't appeal to me at all.So suck it up, Lucas. Stupefication and all, and if you've got a better idea... let's hear it.
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Comment #15 posted by Lucas on October 12, 2009 at 10:33:39 PT
> We need a hearing before Congress?
You mean the same congress that refuses to pass this bill? idealism stupefies meHow can you still believe you live in a democracy, or that congress represents the people, or that the president runs the country..did you notice that despite Obama's campaign promises, he seems impotent to stop the DEA and California DA's from prosecuting Medical Marijuana patients and dispensaries?I do HOPE it changes, but, I think the initiative process will do more than any action Congress is WILLING to take..dreamer, Im glad one of us still has Hope, thanksLucas
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Comment #14 posted by Hope on October 12, 2009 at 09:25:08 PT
We need a hearing before Congress
with the testimony, on record, before the committees or whatever they are, in Congress, from all the people like Runruff, Museman, and Herbdoc that have experienced this and know what's going on. That would be what we need to be heard. Some Congress people, some where, surely have the integrity to call for such a hearing. It would be historical and bring all the real filth of corruption that's going on out into the public where maybe it can get cleaned up. The corruption that is riddling the very foundation of all that we call government is going to be the collapse of it all if something isn't done soon.MPP, LEAP, or Norml... surely you'll have the connections to get such a thing rolling.Do it! Get it done! Now!
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Comment #13 posted by herbdoc215 on October 12, 2009 at 08:29:33 PT
Runruff and museman are 100% RIGHT 
and then some, too many people have a vested interest in the status quo to let anything change, I just can't believe they can't let us patients alone. Lawyers are as bad or worse than cops...I ain't never had one that didn't shake me down for weed/hash/anything else they could get EVERY chance they got, all the while not counting a nickel off your bill for it or doing shit to earn it. Cops have robbed me and so many others I know so many times and sold the weed...every dirt pot seller back east is some pigs brother in law or family as nobody else would be stupid enough to ride around with 50 lbs of weed consistently! I could go on all day with crooked pig/lawyer stories if anybody is in need of enlightenment? This has always been about stealing others work and money for themselves all the while hollering at anybody else they think are making a "profit"...the only group I see making "profit" are the pigs and lawyers and you can guess which is worse yourself but at least the cops don't act like their my buddy or there to help me! peace, steve
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Comment #12 posted by museman on October 12, 2009 at 07:43:06 PT
Remove an 'r,' 'u,' and the 'tion,' and you are left with the actual best (or worse) example of corruption; COP.The only thing worse than a cop, are the lawyers that they work for, which includes just about every politician in the world.Their bosses, the ultra-rich-elite are never, ever going to give back one bit of the liberty and freedom that they claim is their 'privilege' to the masses that they vampirize for their status and lifestyles. And as long as a significant number of common, ordinary citizens, remain content in their ordinariness -in the face of the challenges presented to every somewhat conscious human on the planet at this juncture- those undeserving rapers of our planet will continue to thrive while the 'mom and pop's' of america -cannabis related or otherwise- will suffer, along with their families.But since we (in general and overall) continue to give them power over us, bend over to take their corrupt edicts, with a professional smile, continue our fossil-fuel-folly, legislating instead of just being, business as usual, and worshiping the fake value of money -an act consistently proven by actions and inactions- the suffering, corruption, and eco-destruction will continue.Regardless of the compromises so many are willing to make, the absolute truth is that until we realize that it is we, the people, not the cops, politicians, lawyers, 'professional experts' etc, etc, that has the real power to change anything, no change, other than token compromises made to appease the liberty-challenged masses and get them back to work on the Juggernaut of destruction, is going to come.I am so close to conceding the need for regulation that I scare myself, but just about every time I get close, I remember who I am, and who they are.If one wants to be satisfied with -not freedom- but PERMISSION from usurpers with false authority to have enough of a taste of reality to fulfill their weekend desires, without consideration for others whose needs and desires might be different, well that's why our form of government has not yet grown up into its original concept and intent, which was about equality across the board, and inalienable rights, then those of us who are not willing to bow down to the naked emperor will pay the social price for them. But they can feel comfortable with their regulated supply of war-taxed marijuana, in pre-rolled packages from Phillip Morris or its equivalent, and shake their heads at the unfortunates who 'don't know when to quit.'The attempts to educate the people about the facts of cannabis have taken a second seat to the influx of middle-roaders (much like middlemen) who are crying 'regulate and control' -almost in my mind, suspiciously like instigators, who thrive on dividing and conquering.All the 'points' about 'professional' people who smoke pot, and the 'clean-cut' images that are somehow made up to look like this is some kind of improvement, are to those of us who've been on this battle line for most of our lives, just another tactic to keep us down.Educating people about reality on planet earth is a few millennia behind schedule, and our window of opportunity to affect the outcome of the near future -which could be dire indeed- is narrow, so why stop short of the goal?The only answers, in my mind to that question, are excuses.REPEAL PROHIBITION (what is so hard to understand?)
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Comment #11 posted by runruff on October 12, 2009 at 01:29:41 PT
Former local DA, Tim Thompson.
For ten years this ass hat prosecuted people for plant crimes including me! About eight or ten years ago he and his wife got a divorce. It was nasty and became very public. His wife started telling the news, and anyone who would listen, that she and her hubby have several indoor grows. They have been in the pot trade sense Tim was in college. He was quietly ushered out of town and given a low profile job in Salem in the state labor dept. an the matter was hushed.No, LEO's don't hate pot. Many use it. They hate to see people who do not carry a lunch pale to work 9-5 prospering. They are on a total good guys vs. bad guys program. If you have something they want you are a bad guy! I have had my crops confiscated buy local cops and sold to my buyers by them! The farmer labors all summer long in the heat. Most mom and popers are broke by harvest time. The cops take their crops and have raging Christmas' while mom and pop face a cold lean winter. Even getting commodities from charity to survive because there is no work. 
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Comment #10 posted by FoM on October 11, 2009 at 15:01:36 PT
I'm sorry that we don't have an edit feature. It would be nice to have. I can edit luckily and fix things though.
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Comment #9 posted by EAH on October 11, 2009 at 14:29:21 PT:

BIG Problem
With no edit feature, I can't fix my subject line typo. It should say Big Problem.
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Comment #8 posted by EAH on October 11, 2009 at 14:25:43 PT:

Big Problem
"Last year, the state’s attorney general issued a legal opinion that clearly stated that 'a properly organized and operated collective or cooperative that dispenses medical marijuana through a storefront may be lawful under California law,'"This "opinion" is not LAW. It does not mean anything in a courtroom. The word 'may' is not definitive. That sentence is useless. What exactly is "properly organized and operated"?I am not defending Cooley or his actions, I'm pointing out why he can do what he is trying to do.Somebody show me where it states in plain english in the CA Health and Safety codes that "sales of cannabis are lawful to individuals with a valid physicians recommendation." You can't because it doesn't and that is the problem. 215 doesn't, and sb420's compensation to caregivers is way to limited and weak to protect full on dispensary sales in court. It has already 
been severely restricted by the CA Supreme Court's ruling on the definition of a caregiver.When this DA gets dispensary operators in court, he is going to have a strong 
LEGAL advantage. The judge will say a medical defense is not allowed for a sales charge and the operator is going to have to hope his lawyer can make 
a heroic presentation to the jury that will cause them to ignore the judges instructions that there is no medical defense for sales and return a not guilty verdict anyway. During the trial the DA will hammer away about money and profits and greed and exploitation of sick people and that defendant is going to have to appear to the jury like a selfless pure hearted saint. Juries are very wary and suspicious of the money making angle and so a trial like this will be very risky and expensive to the defendant. 
Dispensaries have been very fortunate to have survived this long. In most places a stand off has existed between local governments enacting ordinances allowing dispensaries and the local Sheriff Dept. It was local politics NOT STATE LAW that kept dispensaries open. That or law enforcement simply was busy with other things and chose not to press the issue. The massive growth of Dispensaries in LA got their attention. Too much money is being made in a way that cops and DAs really HATE.This move by the DA is going to force this to be addressed.The answer is for the state to legalize cannabis and establish a regulatory scheme that is modeled on beer and wine sales. An agency to issue licenses,
set rules about production and distribution, collect fees and taxes etc. 
Without just doing that, this is going to drag on and on.

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Comment #7 posted by Mark702 on October 11, 2009 at 14:13:11 PT and
Get people informed and educated. Tell them about Cannabis Planet ( and
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Comment #6 posted by Hope on October 11, 2009 at 11:43:19 PT

Storm Crow is right.
You guys have got to get out there and vote! You'll be helping the people in your state as well as all the others.Please vote.
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Comment #5 posted by Hope on October 11, 2009 at 11:41:47 PT

Thank you, so much, Ray.
Standing up and speaking out for yourself and so many others! Thank you so much. You did a really good job.I agree, with FoM. God bless you and Godspeed to reaching your goals!
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Comment #4 posted by Storm Crow on October 11, 2009 at 11:27:03 PT

Let's see........
My local dispensary employs 6 people in their shop (small and just opened last month). There are also an unknown number of suppliers. In the county of Los Angeles, there are over 800 dispensaries. I would expect them to also employ at least 6 people, if not more. So we get a minimum of 4,800+ new people out of work in LA alone! More likely closer to 6,000. This helps our economy, how? This helps the sick, how? We all KNOW how it helps the DA!Here's the link to email his office-, the prohibs are getting vicious during their last few days! Like cornered hyenas! Is everyone registered to vote? There will be those California cannabis legalization initiatives coming up in the next election. And I KNOW you want to get those passed! Get registered, gripe, and vote!
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Comment #3 posted by FoM on October 11, 2009 at 11:20:15 PT

Good Job Ray
Thank you for standing up! God Bless You!
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Comment #2 posted by RevRayGreen on October 11, 2009 at 11:06:17 PT

My testimony from
Iowa City IA 10/7/09......
Iowa Board of Pharmacy Hearing video/RevRayGreen
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Comment #1 posted by mykeyb420 on October 11, 2009 at 09:15:28 PT

off topic
my video just passed the 30,000 hits milestone !!!
big joint 
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