420 Magazine Background

ASA California Weekly Alert: July 13, 2007

Jim Finnel

Fallen Cannabis Warrior & Ex News Moderator
Weekly Round Up
1. ASA Argues Against Federal Government in Court
Asset Forfeiture and What You Can Do About It!
Kris Hermes, Legal Director, is Moving into the Position of ASA Media Specialist!
ASA vs. Alameda County: Tentative Verdict is Promising

Take Action
2. Urge Your Representative to Stop Medical Marijuana Raids!

ASA Chapter and Affiliate Meetings
3. Saturday, July 14, Santa Barbara: Santa Barbara ASA Meeting
4. Saturday, July 21, Los Angeles: Los Angeles ASA Meeting
5. Tuesday, July 24, San Francisco: San Francisco ASA Meeting
6. Tuesday, July 24, Sacramento: Sacramento ASA Meeting ***Rescheduled***
7. Thursday, July 26, Clearlake: Lake County ASA Meeting
8. Wednesday, July 25, Oakland: East Bay ASA Meeting

City and County Hearings
9. Monday, July 16, San Diego: City Council to Hold Hearing Supporting Patients in Lawsuit
10. Tuesday, July 17th, Santa Ana: Orange County Board of Supervisors to Vote on ID Card Program
11. Wednesday, July 18, Ukiah: City Council to Discuss Changes to Current Cultivation Ordinance
12. Thursday, July 26, San Francisco: Committee to Discuss Dispensary Amendment

Weekly Round-Up

1. ASA Argues Against Federal Government in Court
Asset Forfeiture and What You Can Do About It!
Kris Hermes, Legal Director, is Moving into the Position of ASA Media Specialist!
ASA vs. Alameda County: Tentative Verdict is Promising

ASA Argues Against Federal Government in Court

Americans for Safe Access’ lawsuit against the Department of Health and Human Services under the Data Quality Act came up for hearing July 12th on the government’s motion to dismiss. The lawsuit is based on a little-known law called the Data Quality Act, which requires federal agencies to ensure the “quality, integrity, and objectivity” of information they disseminate. ASA’s lawsuit follows nearly two years of administrative proceedings wherein ASA contends that the Department of Health and Human Services is violating its own Data Quality Guidelines by disseminating the falsehood that “marijuana has no accepted medical value” in the United States.

At the July 12th hearing, defendants raised various technicalities, such as claiming that the Data Quality is only advisory and that ASA lacks standing to sue, in an effort to have ASA’s suit dismissed. Alan Morrison, who founded Public Citizen’s Litigation Group and currently serves as a senior lecturer at Stanford Law School, argued very forcefully on behalf of patients. United States District Judge William Alsup took the matter under submission and is expected to decide whether the suit can proceed in the next couple of weeks.

Read more about the Data Quality Act.


Asset Forfeiture and What You Can Do About It!

As many of you know, over the last 3 days, Americans For Safe Access has been forwarded numerous letters from the DEA to the landlords of Los Angeles medical cannabis dispensing collectives. The letters are all identical except for the specific information about the collectives and
their landlords (such as names and addresses). The DEA claims to have sent the letters to more than 100 landlords.

The letters all say (in less words) that the DEA has identified that you control a property, at XXX address, where a "medical marijuana" dispensary, XXXX Caregivers, is operating. Federal law states that medical marijuana is illegal. Nothing in California law takes precedent over Federal Law, including Prop 215.

Federal Law also makes it a crime to knowingly lease to a property used to manufacture or distribute a controlled substance. Federal Law also allows the US government to seize the property if the landlord knows what is happening there.

This letter shall serve as notice that there is a dispensary on your property, and you have now been made aware of it. You are advised that further violations of federal law will result in prosecution, imprisonment, fines, and forfeiture of assets (property seizure).

It is signed by the head agent of LA field division.

A few of the landlords have contacted the DEA, and the DEA confirmed that they sent the letters. They have all been postmarked Friday. The first call we got was Monday morning at 9 AM. We had heard of 3 by the end of the day. We have now seen 17 letters, and heard reports as high as 25.

This is a serious action taken by the DEA, and ASA is working non-stop to find every way we can to fight this. It will take the most calculated and thought-out response we have ever launched, and we are dedicating every resource we have to developing our short-term response and long-term plan.

This revised tactic by DEA further underscores that it is now more important than ever for Congress to pass the
Hinchey-Rohrabacher amendment. You can visit
ASA420:420TAKE ACTION: Tell Your Representative to Vote to Stop Federal Raids! and take action today! Call your Member of Congress and urge support for the amendment. Then, call a friend or family member in another state, and encourage them to take action too! Every call, every email makes a difference.


Kris Hermes, Legal Director, is Moving into the Position of ASA Media Specialist

A note from the Executive Director:

I would like to take sometime here to personally thank Kris Hermes for the contributions he has brought, not only to ASA, but to the lives of thousands of medical cannabis patients. Many of you may not know that Kris was ASA’s fifth employee. He started as Legal Coordinator and his passion and drive to build our legal department quickly moved him into the position of Legal Director.

Under Kris’ watch, access across the state of California has flourished: 37 cities and counties have passed ordinances for dispensing collectives, the CHP changed it policy... the list goes on and on. As a patient, I know that I am safer because of his work, and at ASA we are grateful to have him as staff member. Thank you Kris for all you have done and we are excited to have you in this new role at the organization!


Steph Sherer
Executive Director
Americans for Safe Access


ASA vs. Alameda County: Tentative Verdict is Promising

This past Wednesday, Superior Court Judge Winifred Y. Smith issued a tentative ruling that the Alameda County Registrar of Voters and Alameda County, “have engaged in a pattern of withholding relevant evidence and failure to preserve evidence” necessary to conduct a recount of a hotly contested Berkeley ballot measure. As a result, the Court has signaled its intention to void the election and order the County to place Measure R back on the ballot for a re-vote at the next general election. The measure sought to end limits on the number of plants allowed to medical marijuana users and would have created a peer oversight committee for medical cannabis dispensaries in the city.

Americans for Safe Access and three other patients filed the lawsuit against Alameda County on December 30, 2004. The lawsuit challenges Alameda County's refusal to allow the public to examine copies of the Measure R electronic votes and system audit logs during the recount of the ballot initiative conducted on electronic voting machines made by Diebold Election Systems, Inc.

Judge Smith heard final oral arguments this morning at the sanctions hearing and is expected to give her final ruling within the next week. During the hearing, the judge further questioned both sides and posed especially hard questions to Alameda County's attorneys. ASA's Chief of Staff, Rebecca Saltzman, attended the hearing today and said, "Judge Smith's tentative ruling is one step forward in the fight for fair and just election practices ."

Channel 7, SF Chronicle, Bay City News, and the Daily Californian all covered the hearing.

Take Action!

2. Urge Your Representative to Stop Medical Marijuana Raids This Year!

The Hinchey-Rohrabacher-Amendment will be voted on in less than two weeks! It's time to stop wasting taxpayer dollars on raiding state-licensed medical marijuana patients and providers! The Hinchey-Rohrabacher amendment to the Commerce-Justice-State appropriations bill instructs the Department of Justice to use its money wisely and specifically prohibits the Department from using appropriated funds to conduct raids or otherwise prevent the various states from implementing laws that authorize the therapeutic use of cannabis.
Take action today! For more background info, see
ASA420:420End Federal Raids: Support Hinchey-Rohrabacher Amendment

Call Your Member of Congress. Every single phone call counts!

What to say : "Please vote for the Hinchey-Rohrabacher Medical Marijuana Amendment. If adopted, this amendment will prohibits any funds made available to the Department of Justice from being used to raid medical marijuana patients and their care providers in the states that authorize use of marijuana for therapeutic use. It does not legalize marijuana, it simply prohibits taxpayer dollars from being used to interfere with state medical marijuana laws."

For phone numbers of your representatives, visit
United States House of Representatives, 110th Congress, 1st Session or call the congressional switchboard at (202) 224-3121. Give the operator your zip code and ask to be connected to your U.S. Representative.

For more information, contact Sonnet:
sonnet@safeaccessnow.org

ASA Chapter and Affiliate Meetings

3. Saturday, July 14, Santa Barbara: Santa Barbara ASA Meeting

There has been a lot of discussion the past few days over the DEA's latest attack on landlords. Come to the Santa Barbara ASA Chapter meeting this Saturday to take action. We will be discussing the Hinchey-Rohrabacher amendment and later taking action to prevent this from happening in the future.

When: Saturday, July 14 at 3pm-5pm
Where: Antioch University
801 Garden St. Room #203 Santa Barbara

For More Information, contact: Jennifer at (805) 637-5365

4. Saturday, July 21, Los Angeles:Los Angeles ASA Meeting

LA ASA is hosting a patient informational forum. This meeting is designed for patients to attend to hear the latest news on the DEA's attack on landlords. There have been a lot of questions the past few days about the DEA's recent tactics and we want to answer patients' questions.

When: Saturday, July 21st, 1pm - 3pm
Where: California Patients Group
6208 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles

For more info, please call LA ASA: (323) 464-7719

5. Tuesday, July 24, San Francisco: San Francisco ASA Meeting

Safe Access is possibly being threatened in San Francisco! There will be a Neighborhood Services Committee meeting on July 26th to discuss possible dispensary ordinance amendments. Please come out and show your support for patients and caregivers rights!

When: Tuesday, July 24th at 7:30pm
Where: Bowzer's Pizza, 371 11th St in San Francisco

For more info, contact Alex or Brent:
aaafranco@yahoo.com; brent_saupe@yahoo.com

6. Tuesday, July 24, Sacramento: Sacramento ASA Meeting ***Rescheduled***

This meeting we will be focusing on ASA and the Data Quality Act. We will be discussing the possible outcomes and also the impact this lawsuit will have if ASA wins. We will also be discussing our recent invitations to participate in 2 local condition-based walks. Please come out and show your support!

When: July 10 @ 7:00pm
Where: Crusaders Hall
320 Harris Avenue, Suite H
Sacramento, CA

For more information or to get involved, please contact Lanette:
cannacare@earthlink.net

7. Thursday, July 26, Clearlake: Lake County ASA Meeting

Lake County is taking action to improve access to medicine for medicinal cannabis patients! We need your help to make this happen! Please show your support and attend the July 26th meeting in Clearlake.

When: June 26th at 6:00pm
Where: D&M Compassion Center, 15196 Lakeshore Dr., Clearlake

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

8. Wednesday, July 25, Oakland: East Bay ASA Meeting

This month we will be discussing current CA medical cannabis affairs, have a National Campaigns update, and discuss Court Support. This meeting is open to anyone who wants to learn about the latest medical cannabis issues and take action for safe access.

When: 7:00 pm @ ASA Headquarters Office
Where: 1322 Webster Street, Suite 402, Downtown Oakland

For more information, contact Rebecca: 510-251-1856 x. 308

City and County Hearings

9. Monday, July 16, San Diego: City Council to Hold Hearing Supporting Patients in Lawsuit

The County of San Diego filed the appeal earlier this year in its lawsuit against the state and Proposition 215, and the requirement to issue voluntary ID cards. In order to bring the patient perspective to the table, ASA joined the lawsuit and the patients prevailed with a strong ruling upholding the state's medical marijuana law.

The City of San Diego is now considering submitting an amicus (supportive) brief in favor of patients. It is important that we rally as many allies as we can in the fight for safe access in San Diego. Please come out for the hearing Monday and urge the City Council to file an amicus brief. The Council will vote in closed session on Tuesday whether or not to file the brief.

When: July 16, 2007 at 2pm
Where: 12th Floor, City Hall, 202 C Street, San Diego

For more information, contact Sonnet:
sonnet@safeaccessnow.org

10. Tuesday, July 17th, Santa Ana: Orange County Board of Supervisors to Vote on ID Card Program

On July 17th, the Orange County Board of Supervisors will be voting on an ID card program. On April 17th, in a 4-1 vote, the Orange County Board of Supervisors directed staff to draft a policy for local implementation of the medical marijuana ID card program.

Because of enormous grassroots pressure, an all-Republican Board of Supervisors voted to take this small step towards implementing our medical cannabis laws, even in the face of fierce opposition from law enforcement. Please come out and once more show your support for safe access to medical cannabis.

When: July 17th at 9:30am
Where: Board Hearing Room, First Floor,
333 W. Santa Ana Blvd., Santa Ana

For more information, contact Bill:
oclawyer@aol.com

If you live in Orange County, take action and
click here!

11. Wednesday, July 18, Ukiah: City Council to Discuss Changes to Current Cultivation Ordinance

Ukiah City Council will be discussing changes to the current cultivation ordinance next Wednesday. According to City Council, there have been escalating complaints of violations of the current city ordinance. The Council will discuss solutions to address the reported ordinance violations. Please come out and show your support for safe access. It is important that the medical cannabis community's voice be heard at this meeting.

When: Wednesday, July 18th at 6:00pm
Where: Council Chambers
300 Seminary Ave.
Ukiah, CA

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

12. Thursday, July 26, San Francisco: Committee to Discuss Dispensary Amendment

The City Operations and Neighborhood Services Committee is holding a hearing to discuss an amendment to the Planning Code on July 26, 2007, at 1:00 p.m. This important hearing will determine whether the Operations and Neighborhood Services Committee will recommend an amendment to the dispensary code to the Board of Supervisors.

Please come out and show your support for safe access.

When:Thursday, July 12th at 1:00pm
Where: San Francisco Planning Commission
Commission Chambers - Room 400
City Hall, 1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place

For more information, contact Alex:
aaafranco@yahoo.com
--


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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