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ASA’s Media Summary For The Week Ending 8/3/07

Jim Finnel

Fallen Cannabis Warrior & Ex News Moderator
ASA’s Media Summary for the Week Ending 8/3/07
ASA ACTION : Pursuing the Truth about Medical Marijuana
FEDERAL : DEA Interfering with Medical Marijuana Dispensaries
OREGON : Feds Escalating Investigation of Patients
CALIFORNIA : Merced Patient Wants Seized Property Back
CALIFORNIA : Implementation Around the State
CALIFORNIA : Dispensary Debates Continue
RESEARCH : Biased Reporting Skews Findings
ASA ACTION: Pursuing the Truth about Medical Marijuana

When ASA petitioned to correct misinformation about medical marijuana spread by the federal Department of Health and Human Services and the Food and Drug Administration, the agencies stalled for two years and then refused to respond. So ASA filed suit to force the issue. The judge hearing the case has indicated that ASA may be able to make the government respond, but may have no legal recourse to correct the false information. Yet the law says federal agencies must rely on sound science in the information they disseminate, so ASA will first try to get an answer. And if that answer does not acknowledge the consensus of doctors and scientists about the medical efficacy of marijuana, there will be an appeal.

Suit Over Pot's 'Benefit' Stumbles
by Matthew Hirsch, The Recorder (CA)
An Oakland, Calif.-based nonprofit can't put the federal government on trial for saying that marijuana has no medical use -- but it might get to challenge the government for blowing deadlines, a federal judge in California ruled last week. Americans for Safe Access sued in February after two federal agencies refused to alter government-published statements saying marijuana has "no currently accepted medical use in the United States."
FEDERAL: DEA Interfering with Medical Marijuana Dispensaries

In the week after the coordinated raids on medical marijuana dispensaries in Los Angeles, editorial pages and patient protests around the state have denounced the interference with state and local handling of public health matters. Collusion between the DEA and rogue elements of the LAPD is being investigated, and local officials are calling for changes in the law.

Feds, LAPD freeze Berkeley pot club's assets
by Paul T. Rosynsky, Oakland Tribune
A city-sanctioned medical marijuana dispensary had its assets frozen this week, prompting some city council members to call for new city laws protecting such businesses.

Berkeley medical pot club raided
by Carolyn Jones, San Francisco Chronicle
The Los Angeles Police Department and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency seized the assets of a Berkeley marijuana club Tuesday, following a raid of its sister club in Los Angeles.

Backers of medical marijuana protest raids
by John Asbury, Press-Enterprise (CA)
Medical-marijuana advocates staged a protest in front of the federal Drug Enforcement Administration building in Riverside on Friday to oppose recent raids on Southern California distributors.

DEA's Scarlet Letter
by Celeste Fremon, LA Weekly
The DEA and the City of Los Angeles are at war over medical marijuana. On one side of the fight is the Drug Enforcement Administration, which seems to be doing all within its power to shut down the 180 or so medical-marijuana collectives (as dispensaries are called) in Los Angeles County.
COMMENT

Only Congress can resolve pot battle
EDITORIAL, Daily Breeze (CA)
In 2005, the Supreme Court ruled that medical marijuana users could be federally prosecuted, though the court did suggest that supporters of medical marijuana could lobby Congress to change the law. That's where municipal leaders who support regulating medical marijuana at the local level should place their energies.

Federal intervention
EDITORIAL, Los Angeles Daily News
Feds, back off. That's what the Los Angeles City Council and medical marijuana advocates hope will happen by adopting a moratorium on new dispensaries and bringing current ones into compliance while stricter rules are written.

Why Don't More Republicans Oppose the DEA's Medical Marijuana Raids?
by Jacob Sullum, TownHall.com
Last week, the Los Angeles City Council voted for a measure that asked the federal government to stop harassing medical marijuana users in California. Minutes later, the Drug Enforcement Administration raided 10 medical marijuana dispensaries in Los Angeles County.

Fed's medipot raid priorities are out of whack
by Thomas Elias, Columnist, San Gabriel Valley Tribune (CA)
There's something almost idiotic about the obviously confused and misguided way in which federal authorities are trying to enforce anti-marijuana laws in California today.

DEAsy Pickings
by Dan Bernstein, Columnist, Press-Enterprise (CA)
I never realized the Drug Enforcement Agency gets the summer blahs, just like everybody else. But I happened to be talking with a friend who knows all about this stuff.

DEA thwarts Montana's medical marijuana law
by Robin C. Prosser, OpEd, Billings Gazette (MT)
Five years ago, I starved myself to bring attention to the plight of the sick in Montana that need medical marijuana. Two years later, I worked hard on the campaign for our state medical marijuana initiative, which passed with more support than any other.
OREGON: Feds Escalating Investigation of Patients

When the US Supreme Court told the federal government that the Constitution does not prevent them from prosecuting medical marijuana patients, government officials said that they would not be going after sick people, just “drug dealers.” Yet they have systematically targeted those who help patients in California obtain their medicine, and now they appear to be secretly preparing for attacks on patients in Oregon.

Feds strike medical pot growers
by Nick Budnick, Portland Tribune (OR)
A secret federal grand jury is duking it out with the state of Oregon to obtain the confidential records of some medical marijuana patients, the Portland Tribune has learned.
CALIFORNIA: Merced Patient Wants Seized Property Back

Since ASA began its Return of Property Campaign, patients in California have had fewer problems getting back medical marijuana wrongfully seized in law enforcement encounters. And when there is a problem, patients understand better that they have rights they can insist be respected, as in the case of a Merced man.

Medical pot user challenging city
by Scott Jason, Merced Sun-Star (CA)
Sam Matthews doesn't mind blowing a sweet, thick cloud of marijuana smoke in the city's face. The 25-year-old resident has challenged just about every city official to get the police to return two handfuls of medical marijuana.
CALIFORNIA: Implementation Around the State

While state law does not set limits on how much marijuana a patient can possess, leaving that to doctors and patients to decide, the state has set minimum amounts that local authorities must accept without question. Some counties and cities are setting guidelines that allow patients to grow and possess more, without it being specified by a doctor, and one local sheriff has created an ID system for the plants to ensure none will be wrongfully destroyed. Doctors are also developing procedures and standards for the writing of recommendations.

Counties, cities set their own marijuana limits
by Paul Boerger, Mt. Shasta News (CA)
It hasn't happened in Siskiyou County yet, but elected officials in other California counties and cities have passed ordinances governing how many marijuana plants and how much processed plant a legitimate user of medical marijuana may possess at one time.

Allman: Zip-ties are in
by Mike A'Dair, Willits News
The zip-ties are in. So says Mendocino County Sheriff Tom Allman. The zip-ties are an effort by Allman to reduce the element of fraud in the medical marijuana industry.

Goleta Doctor Cracks Down on Pot-Seeking Patients
by Barney Brantingham, Santa Barbara Independent
You can amble down to one of Santa Barbara’s eight medical marijuana shops, letter from a doctor in hand, and score pot to ease your physical woes. But getting that letter might be a lot harder than some people seem to think, especially if you try to make an appointment with Dr. David Bearman, a well-known Goleta physician.
CALIFORNIA: Dispensary Debates Continue

The federal government is trying to intimidate Californians into abandoning its medical marijuana program, but many local officials have recognized that dispensaries not only provide an irreplaceable service for their most seriously ill citizens but allow for closer monitoring. The benefits are outlined in ASA’s statewide study, which is at ASA : Medical Cannabis Dispensing Collectives and Local Regulation. Those who have refused to permit regulated dispensary operations are facing legal challenges from patients.

Pleasanton takes lid off medical pot issue
by Meera Pal, Contra Costa Times
Dressed in a suit and tie, Pleasanton resident Kirk Warren is the last person one would point to as a medical marijuana user. Warren, an executive for a Fortune 500 company, recently went public when he attended a Pleasanton City Council meeting to put a face to the medical marijuana issue.

Heated prescription pot users to sue county over canni-ban
KGET NBC TV Bakersfield
Medical marijuana users said they will sue the county over the closure of local pot shops. They’re angry because Sheriff Donny Youngblood, with the blessing of Board of Supervisors, has stopped issuing permits for the medical pot clinics.

Plan to limit new medical marijuana dispensaries OK'd by council
by Rick Orlov, Los Angeles Daily News
Ban will last a year, while a more detailed ordinance regulating medical marijuana dispensaries is drafted.

Pot store moratorium extended
by Tania Chatila, San Gabriel Valley Tribune (CA)
The city continued a temporary ban on medical marijuana dispensaries but could make it permanent in the next few months.

Hayward City Council secretly snuffs pot club
by Rachel Cohen, ANG Newspapers
More than a dozen patients from the Hayward Patients Resources Center pleaded with council members at the meeting to keep the city's last medical marijuana dispensary open.
RESEARCH: Biased Reporting Skews Findings

When another research study is released showing that smoking marijuana is not only far less harmful than smoking tobacco but actually has an apparent protective quality for those who smoke both, one might expect the news reports to tout marijuana’s healthful benefits. But instead, reporters have mischaracterized questionable findings on a single measure of lung function not associated with disease. Such sensationalism serves the government's agenda but not the public interest.

Study: 1 joint is as bad as 5 cigarettes
Associated Press
A single joint of marijuana obstructs the flow of air as much as smoking up to five tobacco cigarettes, but long-term pot use does not increase the risk of developing emphysema, new research suggests.

MORE ABOUT AMERICANS FOR SAFE ACCESS
Find out more about ASA at our website AmericansForSafeAccess.org.
More medical marijuana news summaries can be seen here .
 
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