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ASA California Weekly Alert: August 17, 2007

Jim Finnel

Fallen Cannabis Warrior & Ex News Moderator
ASA California Weekly Alert: August 17, 2007

Special Announcement: If you wish to have a medical cannabis event, meeting, federal trial, and/or city or county hearing listed in the ASA CA Weekly Alert, please send information to
Sonnet@AmericansforSafeAccess.org no later than Thursdays by 3:00pm.

Weekly Round-Up
1. a. Dr. Mollie Fry and Dale Schafer Disappointing Verdict
b. Return of Property Verdict Demonstrates Progress for Patients
c. El Dorado County ID Card Program Begins
d. LA City Council Grills LAPD and WAMC March Report
e. Oakdale Collective Raid Update
f. Ronnie Naulls' Children Reunited with Family

ASA's Legal Tip of the Month
2. What to Do During a Federal Raid

ASA Chapter and Affiliate Meetings
3. Saturday, August 18, Los Angeles : Los Angeles ASA Meeting
4. Tuesday, August 21, Sacramento: Sacramento ASA Meeting
5. Wednesday, August 22, Oakland : East Bay ASA Meeting & Raid Response Training
6. Thursday, August 23, Clearlake: Lake County ASA Meeting
7. Tuesday, August 28, San Francisco: San Francisco ASA Meeting

City and County Hearings
8. Tuesday, August 21, Bakersfield: Kern County Board of Supervisors to Review Report on Medical Marijuana Dispensaries

Court Support
9. Thursday, August 23, Santa Ana: ASA Return of Property Oral Arguments in CA Appellate Court
10. Friday, August 24, Sacramento : Federal Resentencing Hearing for Bryan Epis

Special Events
11. Wednesday, August 22, Modesto: Protest Against the DEA's Raid of Oakdale Dispensary


Weekly Round-Up
1. a. Dr. Mollie Fry and Dale Schafer Disappointing Verdict
b. Return of Property Verdict Demonstrates Progress for Patients
c. El Dorado County ID Card Program Begins
d. LA City Council Grills LAPD and WAMC March Report
e. Oakdale Collective Raid Update
f. Ronnie Naulls' Children Reuinted with Family


a. Dr. Mollie Fry and Dale Schafer Disappointing Verdict
From Sacramento ASA Chapter Leader and Court Supporter, Lanette Davies

Dale Schafer and his wife, Dr. Mollie Fry, were found guilty in federal court yesterday for growingless than the state approved number of plants. Having sought legal advise before growing for his sick wife back in 1999, Mr. Schafer grew 30 to 45 plants yearly for his cancer stricken wife and a fellow AIDS patient. Twice, he had the local narcotics officers through his home and his garden so he could prove that he was within allowable limits. In federal court yesterday, after the jury was told they must combine the number of plants grown per year over three years and by doing so, they found the couple guilty of growing more than 100 plants. As a result, they both now face a minimum of 5 to 40 years in federal prison. The notion of combining the number of plants per year is outrageous! If you become ill, you had better hope you die or become healthy very quickly!

Elvy Musikka, a federally approved patient, flew in as a character witness for Dr. Fry and Schafer and also to show that the federal government did give a prescription for medical marijuana and also provides her with six pounds of medicine a year. The court would not allow the jury to know or hear about the “federal prescription.” DEA agent Brian Keefe swore under oath that there is, “no such thing as a federal prescription,” even though he knew who Elvy was, and why she was at the trial.

The same agent also stated, under oath, that the DEA usually did not prosecute when someone is growing under 100 plants. He claimed that they investigated Dale Schafer because he was running for the local District Attorney position. How can we effectively change views and laws if we are not allowed to hold any political office?

Out of the four witnesses that the prosecution brought forward, three of them got "get out of jail free" passes from the federal government. As Tony Sera, Dale Schafer's attorney, stated, "If I had asked to offer a reward to anyone who would come forward and testify both myself and my client would be in violation of the law, but the government can offer what is more precious than money...they can offer freedom to a guilty party and not be held accountable."

After watching the court activity during each day of the trial, my heart aches for their family which has been torn into pieces by these unjust acts. All of us need to step up to stop this from happening! To read more about the trial verdict, please read
Vanessa Nelson's report.


b. Return of Property Verdict Demonstrates Progress for Patients

This week, Merced College student and patient, Sam Matthews, was awarded $1,700 for pain and suffering stemming from an October 2006 incident when he was cited by Merced police for possessing $300 in marijuana. Judge Armando Rodriguez was presiding over the case. The small claims court victory is a great step forward for medical cannabis patients who have had their medicine stolen by local law enforcement. To read more about the decision, visit the
Merced Sun-Star .


c. El Dorado County ID Card Program Begins

This week, the El Dorado County Public Health Department started distributing the medical marijuana state ID card. The fee for the card is $114.00 and applicants with proof of current Medi-Cal/CMSP benefits will be charged $57. The state medical marijuana ID card program is voluntary. Applications for the ID card are available at the Emergency Medical Services Agency, located at 415 Placerville Drive, Suite J in Placerville and may be picked up weekdays from 8 a.m. to noon and 1p.m. to 5 p.m. Completed applications will be accepted by appointment only. The Public Health Department plans to post additional information about the ID card and the state program, including downloadable application forms, on their website at
Public Health Department by Sept. 1.


d. LA City Council Grills LAPD and WAMC March Report

This week, the Los Angeles City Council met with the Los Angeles Police Department to pose questions about their involvement in the DEA's recent raids and other activity against patients and providers. Representatives from Americans for Safe Access (ASA) and other advocates have complained about the LAPD cooperation with the DEA, especially the appearance of LAPD Detective Dennis Packer in a DEA uniform during the raid at California Patients Group (CPG) in Hollywood. Packer, an asset forfeiture specialist on a LAPD/DEA task force, later signed warrants seizing bank accounts from CPG and affiliated collectives in West Hollywood and Berkeley.

The City Council approved a motion by Councilmember Dennis Zine calling on the LAPD and City Attorney to report back to the Public Safety Commission about the impact of policies refusing non-cooperation with DEA raids in other cities. ASA’s LA County Field Coordinator, Chris Fusco, is working with City Council staff to develop a resolution of non-cooperation. If adopted, the resolution will set an important precedent for cities statewide and become an important component of ASA’s work to get state officials to stand behind patients and providers in California.

The meeting was a bitter-sweet victory for advocates, who are seeing the results of two years of effective advocacy while feeling the heat of the DEA latest crack down on medical cannabis. Advocates complain that some of the most compassionate and reputable collectives in the city have been closed already. They also mistrust police Commander Donne’s claim that the LAPD would not target collectives that comply with the terms of the new moratorium or upcoming regulations. Advocates believe that the LAPD and DEA routinely cooperate and are determined to close all of LA’s collectives. To read more about the meeting in the LA Times,
click here.

Also this week in Los Angeles, the Women Advancing Medical Cannabis' march on City Hall turned out nearly 200 medical cannabis supporters. The protest and rally had distinguished medical cannabis supporting women speak, and even had several city council members wearing pink armbands in support of WAMC. Great work to the organizers of the march! To read more about the protest and see video coverage,
click here .


e. Oakdale Collective Raid Update

Just a few weeks ago, Oakdale Natural Choice Collective was raided by both local law enforcement and DEA agents. The dispensary operator, Addison DeMoura, was arrested and his home and dispensary were raided. DeMoura has since posted bail, but he, his family, and patients throughout the region are experiencing the effects of the DEA's targeted attacks on patients and providers. Please read more about the raid in the
Modesto Bee. Please view the Special Events section of this alert to read about the upcoming protest supporting Addison DeMoura and the Oakdale Natural Choice Collective.


f. Ronnie Naulls' Children Reuinted with Family

In late July, DEA agents raided a Corona dispensary, Healing Nations Collective. The collective's owner, Ronald Naulls was arrested along with another employee. During the collective's raid, federal agents raided the Naulls' home. Federal agents went so far as to contact Child Protective Services officials, who took Naulls' children away and refused to allow them to stay with their grandparents, who were at Naulls' home during the raid.

ASA has just received reports that last night, Naulls' family was reunited when Child Protective Services returned the children to their home. After just under a month, the family is now back together.



ASA's Legal Tip of the Month


2. What to Do During a Federal Raid
Medical marijuana remains illegal under federal law and the DEA has stepped up its attacks on Medical Cannabis Dispensary (“MCD”). If you are present during a federal raid, here are some strategies to consider.

Inside the Medical Cannabis Dispensary:
Stay quiet. When addressed by a DEA agent, present your driver’s license and say, firmly but politely, “I will remain silent, I want to speak to a lawyer.” Repeat if queried. We are unaware of any arrests of a patient who does not work at an MCD solely as a result of a federal raid.

Outside the Medical Cannabis Dispensary:

Non-arrestable Action:
Call people to join you outside the MCD.
Inform the press that the DEA is arresting the sick.
Display signs supporting safe and legal access to educate press and onlookers about DEA actions.
Chanting is optional.
Keep moving as you protest, if near the entrance.
Do not medicate near DEA agents.
Take notes on police interactions and note participation of local officials. Photos and video are best evidence.

Arrestable Action (Non-violent civil disobedience)
Every person should consider his/her own conscience before engaging in civil disobedience.
Patients engaging in non-violent civil disobedience may choose to use their bodies to block the entrance to the MCD, police vehicles, or the sidewalk.
Note that you can be convicted of “assaulting an officer” for almost any touching of an officer or her vehicle.
Stay in front of police officers, as they may feel threatened if approached from behind
If you are in a standoff with the police, sit, as it is easier to hold your ground.
Go limp if the police seize you to arrest you.
Get instant raid alerts!
Sign up for ASA's Emergency Response text messaging system.


ASA Chapter and Affiliate Meetings

3. Saturday, August 18, Los Angeles : Los Angeles ASA Meeting

This meeting will have a special focus on non-violent civil disobedience and strategic planning in response to the crisis in LA. Please invite your friends and loved ones. The meeting is not at a collective and the venue is 100% accessible. Visit
Home for directions.

When: Saturday, August 18, 1pm - 3pm
Where: 470 S. San Vicente Blvd. Los Angeles , CA
(Cross Street is Drexel, between Wilshire & 3rd St. )

For more information, call Chris: (323) 464-7719

4. Tuesday, August 21, Sacramento: Sacramento ASA Meeting

Please join ASA's Sacramento Chapter next Tuesday. We will be debriefing following Dr. Fry's and Dale Schafer's trial, discussing emergency response, and discuss other topics regarding safe access. We hope to see you there!

When: Tuesday, August 21st at 7:00 p.m.
Where: Crusaders Hall
320 Harris Avenue, Suite H
Sacramento, CA

For more information, contact Lanette:
cannacare@earthlink.net


5. Wednesday, August 22, Oakland: East Bay ASA Meeting & Raid Response Training


At this month's meeting we will hold a training on what to do in case of a raid and will design a community emergency response plan in case of a DEA raid in the Bay Area. We encourage all Bay Area activists to attend this important meeting! We need to develop a coherent emergency response plan that we could activate at a moment's notice.

Please join us! Refreshments will be served.

When: Wednesday, August 22nd @ 7 pm

Where: Americans for Safe Access Headquarters
1322 Webster Street, Suite 402, Downtown Oakland
Just a couple blocks from the 12th Street BART station!

For more information or to get involved, contact Rebecca:
Rebecca@SafeAccessNow.org or 510-251-1856 x 308


6. Thursday, August 23, Clearlake: Lake County ASA Meeting

Please Join Lake County ASA's Clearlake meeting this month. We will be planning our Lake County fair tabling session, covering recent California campaigns, and talk about the latest federal medical cannabis campaigns. All medical cannabis supporters are welcome!

When: August 23rd: 6:00pm
Where: D&M Compassion Center, 15196 Lakeshore Dr. , Clearlake

For Additional information, contact Donna:
LakeCoASA@msn.com.


7. Tuesday, August 28, San Francisco: San Francisco ASA Meeting

Please join us at the upcoming San Francisco ASA meeting. We will be discussing upcoming local medical cannabis issues as well as the pressing national issues.

The next ASA SF meeting will be held on Tuesday August 14th 7:30 to 9:00

Where: Bowzer's Pizza
371 11th St
San Francisco , CA 94103

For more information, contact Alex or Kevin:
aaafranco@yahoo.com;
kevinreed@hotmail.com.


City and County Hearings


8. Tuesday, August 21, Bakersfield: Kern County Board of Supervisors to Review Report on Medical Marijuana Dispensaries

The Kern County Board of Supervisors is reviewing a staff report on medical marijuana dispensaries on Tuesday, August 21st. There will be an opening for public comments at the meeting. Please come out and show your support for safe access in Kern County

Download
ASA talking points on dispensary regulations, moratoriums and bans.

When: Tuesday, August 21 at 9:00am
Where: Board Chambers
Kern County Administrative Center
1115 Truxtun Avenue, Bakersfield, California

For more information, contact Sonnet:
Sonnet@AmericansforSafeAccess.org


Court Support


9. Thursday, August 23, Santa Ana: ASA Return of Property Oral Arguments in CA Appellate Court

Americans for Safe Access reports, from literally hundreds of patient calls per year, that at least 90% of local law enforcement encounters result in the seizure of medical marijuana. Quite often patients are left to deal with the complicated and time-consuming criminal justice system to seek the return of property that was wrongfully seized in the first place. ASA has been fighting for years against the rampant seizure of medical marijuana by local law enforcement in California. ASA has two appellate return of property cases, that of
Felix Kha and Jim Spray, both from the Orange County Superior Court, which will be heard next Thursday in California's Fourth District Court of Appeal.

Felix Kha obtained a court order in 2005 for the return of his 8 grams of wrongfully seized medical marijuana, but the City of Garden Grove and GGPD refused to return it, choosing instead to appeal. In a separate return of property case, stemming from a Huntington Beach medical marijuana seizure, patient Jim Spray was denied a court order for the return of his medicine. Two cases were decided two different ways by Orange County Superior Court, and they are now being heard in appellate court. In November 2006, the California Attorney General filed an
amicus brief in the case on the side of patients.

Please come out and show support for a decision that affirms the right of patients to seek the return of their property and an end to medicine seizures altogether!

What: Oral arguments for two return of property cases in appellate court
When: Thursday, August 23 at 1:30pm
Where: California Fourth District Court of Appeal, 925 N. Spurgeon Street, Santa Ana

For more information, click here for return of property on ASA's
brief bank or specifically the case of
Felix Kha .

For more information, contact
Sonnet@AmericansforSafeAccess.org


10. Friday, August 24, Sacramento: Federal Resentencing Hearing for Bryan Epis

Bryan Epis was the first medical marijuana patient convicted in federal court after the passage of California’s Proposition 215. Epis was arrested June 25, 1997 , after Butte County sheriff's officers discovered marijuana plants growing in the basement of his home in Chico . Epis was released on bail August 9, 2004 , pending his appeal, and is currently awaiting his re-sentencing by the District Court. See
Vanessa Nelson's article for more info.

When: Friday August 24 at 10:00am
Where: Courtroom of Judge Frank C. Damrell, Jr.
U.S. District Court (E.D., CA), 15th Floor
501 "I" Street, Sacramento, CA

For more information contact Sonnet:
Sonnet@AmericansforSafeAccess.org


Special Events

11. Wednesday, August 22, Modesto: Protest Against the DEA's Raid of Oakdale Dispensary

Medical cannabis patients, providers, and concerned citizens are joining together to protest the DEA's attack earlier this month on the Oakdale Natural Choice Collective. Please show up to rally outside of the Stanislaus County Courthouse, followed by court support for Addison DeMoura, operator of the ONCC.

When: Aug 22nd, at 12:00pm.
Where: Stanislaus County Courthouse, 11th and H St., Modesto, CA.
What to Bring: Signs, slogans, friends, family, and other medical cannabis supporters
Why: Because the DEA's attacks on patients and providers needs to end!

For more information, contact:
shirley@compassionatecoalition.org.

--


Sonnet Seeborg Gabbard
Field Coordinator
Americans for Safe Access
AmericansForSafeAccess.org

Americans for Safe Access (ASA) is the largest national member-based organization of patients, medical professionals, scientists and concerned citizens promoting safe and legal access to cannabis for therapeutic use and research.

Join us today... AmericansforSafeAccess.org

Headquarters
1322 Webster St Suite 402
Oakland, CA 94612
P: 510-251-1856 ext. 321 F: 510-251-2036
 
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