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ASA’s Media Summary For 8/17/07

Jim Finnel

Fallen Cannabis Warrior & Ex News Moderator
ASA ACTION : Colorado Caregiver Case May Set Precedent
ASA ACTION : Cooperation between LA Police and DEA Questioned
ASA IN THE NEWS : Fed’s Action in Oregon Concerns Many
NEW MEXICO : Governor Says to Implement despite Feds
FEDERAL : Lawyer-Doctor Pair Convicted of Medical Growing
DISPENSARIES : Providing for Patients and the Community Alike
CALIFORNIA : Implementation of ID Cards Slow
KANSAS : Former Chief Law Enforcement Officer Endorses Medical Use
NEW YORK : Medial Marijuana a Bi-Partisan Issue
ASA ACTION: Colorado Caregiver Case May Set Precedent

Landmark legal work by attorney Brian Vicente, head of the Colorado Campaign for Safe Access, a joint project of Sensible Colorado and ASA, got a caregiver couple out of the legal hot seat. Now he’s arguing they deserve compensation for the medical marijuana they lost to wrongful police action. If the judge agrees, it would be the first of its kind in Colorado. ASA has helped California patients get their property returned after seizures and, in at least one case, cash settlement for medical marijuana that was not returned.

Upcoming medical marijuana hearing could be a golden opportunity for providers
by Joshua Zaffos,
RockyMountain Chronicle
Fort Collins medical marijuana providers James and Lisa Masters are asking county law enforcement officials for more than $200,000 in compensation for 39 confiscated pot plants, seized during a bust of their home last August. The Masters are also considering a lawsuit against Larimer County for placing their two young daughters in foster care for six weeks following the bust.
CALIFORNIA: Cooperation between LA Police and DEA Questioned

Since the state constitution specifically instructs state officials and employees to enforce and implement state law first, regardless of whether there are apparent conflicts with federal law, ASA's disclosure of video footage showing a Los Angeles police officer in federal DEA gear assisting with the recent raids on medical marijuana dispensaries has created a stir at City Hall. At ASA's prompting, the City Council held hearings, and Los Angeles may soon be the latest California city to instruct its law enforcement to not cooperate with federal drug raids. ASA is working with Councilmember Zine on crafting a resolution.

LAPD will continue to help with federal pot store raids
by Steve Hymon,
Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles police said Wednesday that they will continue to participate in federal raids on local medical marijuana dispensaries against the wishes of some members of the City Council.

Medical Marijuana Outlawed in Los Angeles?
by City News Service,
KABC TV (Los Angeles)
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.
ASA IN THE NEWS: Fed’s Action in Oregon Concerns Many

Justice Department officials continue to claim that they are not interested in going after patients, but their actions say otherwise. A secret federal grand jury was convened in Oregon to go after the medical records of patients there, including a former police detective. More than just patients are questioning the purpose – and the legality – of the subpoenas.

Oregon subpoenas worry medical marijuana advocates
by Associated Press,
Argus Observer (WA)
Federal subpoenas seeking medical records of 17 Oregon medical marijuana patients have growers and users upset and nervous even as a federal judge considers whether to throw the subpoenas out. Kris Hermes, a spokesman for the advocacy group Americans for Safe Access, said the subpoenas suggest the DEA is looking beyond prosecuting dealers.
NEW MEXICO: Governor Says to Implement despite Feds

When the state Attorney General issued an opinion that state workers involved in the medical marijuana program in New Mexico could be vulnerable to federal prosecution, the Health Department put the brakes on. But Governor Bill Richardson, whose personal intervention got the law enacted in the first place, has intervened to push the program forward. New Mexico would be the first in the country to grow and distribute medical marijuana directly. A provision in the federal drug law provides immunity for “duly deputized” officials enforcing state or local laws.

NM governor demands plan for medical marijuana
Governor Richardson is ordering the state Health Department to move ahead with planning of a medical marijuana program. That’s despite the agency’s worries about possible federal prosecution.

Medicinal marijuana users face challenges in NM
by Diana Washington Valdez, El Paso Times (NM)
The New Mexico Health Department has approved its first applications from patients whose doctors prescribed medicinal marijuana under the state's new law.

N.M.: Won't Oversee Marijuana Production
by Deborah Baker,
Associated Press
New Mexico will not grow medical marijuana for seriously ill patients for fear that the federal government could prosecute state workers, but will continue to certify which patients are eligible to possess the drug.

Medical Marijuana: Legal fears hack away at state’s pot plan
by Diana Del Mauro, Santa Fe New Mexican
New Mexico could have been the first state in the nation to build a centralized production and distribution system for medical marijuana, but the Health Department doesn’t want to take the risk of butting up against federal law.
FEDERAL: Lawyer-Doctor Pair Convicted of Medical Growing

Despite rules of evidence that do not allow federal juries to consider why people might grow or possess marijuana – e.g. for medical reasons – observers of the trial of Dr. Molly Fry and her husband, Dale Schafer hoped that an acquittal might result, even though neither made any excuses for the medical marijuana they grew first to treat the effects of Dr. Fry’s cancer treatment and then to help others. Unless the judge determines there were extraordinary circumstances, the two face minimums of five years in federal prison.

Couple found guilty in pot case
by Denny Walsh, Sacramento Bee
An El Dorado County couple who insist they treat marijuana only as a medicine, but who ran afoul of the federal government's zero tolerance for the drug, were found guilty Thursday by a Sacramento jury of conspiring to grow and distribute marijuana.
DISPENSARIES: Providing for Patients and the Community Alike

The social support network patients find at medical marijuana dispensaries is a critical part of the services being offered. Not only can patients get advice on the strains of marijuana that may be most helpful, but they frequently can get help with housing and meals, as well as a sympathetic community of people who understand their suffering. More about this can be seen in ASA’s report on dispensaries, at ASA : Medical Cannabis Dispensing Collectives and Local Regulation .

Medical pot users say they felt safe at closed collective
by Eve Hightower, Modesto Bee
A.J. Hajjar figures that if lawmakers and police could feel the pain of three herniated disks, other lower back problems and osteoarthritis, they'd leave places like Oakdale Natural Choice Collective alone.

City Leaders Look To Ban Medical Marijuana Facilities In Salinas
The city of Salinas is continuing its efforts to ban medical marijuana dispensaries. At a City Council meeting on Tuesday, city leaders introduced an ordinance that would prevent residents from opening marijuana clinics.

Commission tables ban on medical marijuana
by Annie Burris,
Orange County Register
The Planning Commission discussed medical marijuana dispensaries Tuesday night and determined it needed more time and information before making a decision.
CALIFORNIA: Implementation of ID Cards Slow

The lack of a timetable for implementation in the legislature’s 2003 Medical Marijuana Program Act (SB420) has meant that some county officials have been slow to act on creating the ID cards that help law enforcement determine if a patient is qualified under state law to possess or grow marijuana. Some have expressed concern, and confusion, over the apparent conflict between federal prohibition and state laws that allow medical use. Yet states are under no obligation to make criminal the same things the federal government does. If states chose to remove criminal penalties for those who are following their doctor’s treatment advice, that has nothing to do with federal law.

Medical pot issue pushed
by Andrea Koskey,
Appeal-Democrat (CA)
Yuba County residents may get a chance to voice their opinions on ID cards for medical marijuana users if county officials grant an organization’s request.

Medical marijuana program begins in El Dorado County
by Jeff Munson,
Tahoe Daily Tribune (CA)
As of this week, adult pot smokers deemed to have "serious medical conditions" can apply for a county permit and pay an annual $114 fee to use the psychotropic drug legally with a doctor's prescription.

County to apply 'not valid under federal law' sticker to medical marijuana ID cards
Lassen News (CA)
Instead of stamping state medical marijuana ID cards “not valid under federal law,” Lassen County officials will apply a sticker with the same message.
KANSAS: Former Chief Law Enforcement Officer Endorses Medical Use

A long battle with cancer no doubt contributed to the decision by a former attorney general of Kansas to endorse a medical marijuana measure in that state. Leadership in the state house has yet to embrace the idea, but there is nothing more persuasive than the testimony of patients helped by the drug, particularly when the patient was once an enforcer of drug laws.

Stephan: Legalize medical marijuana
by Sarah Kessinger, Harris News Service,
Parson Sun (KS)
Seven years enduring chemotherapy turned former Kansas Attorney General Bob Stephan into an advocate for legalized medical marijuana.

Former A.G. to push for medical marijuana
by Tim Carpenter,
Topeka Capitol-Journal
Former Attorney General Robert Stephan plans to speak out Friday about what he believes is the need to legalize the medical consumption of marijuana in Kansas.

Ex-AG backs medical marijuana push; lawmakers not interested
Associated Press
Former Attorney General Bob Stephan (STEF'-ihn) is endorsing a new push in Kansas for legalizing marijuana for medical purposes.
NEW YORK: Medial Marijuana a Bi-Partisan Issue

Recent polling in the Big Apple confirms what opinion surveys all around the country have said: majority support for safe, legal access to medical marijuana cuts across all demographic and political lines.

Party Of The Right
by Jay Jochnowitz, State Editor, Albany Times-Union (NY)
Turns out Conservative Party members in New York are ok with marijuana — medical marijuana, at least — according to a new poll.

Find out more about ASA at our website . Previous medical marijuana news summaries can be seen here .
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