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ASA California Weekly Alert: July 20, 2007

Jim Finnel

Fallen Cannabis Warrior & Ex News Moderator
Weekly Round-Up
1. a. Virginia Resner: Human Rights and Medical Marijuana Activist, 1946-2007
b. Orange County Board of Supervisors Passes ID Card Program
c. Bakersfield and Corona Raid Updates
d. San Diego City Council Votes in Favor of Amicus Brief

Take Action
2. DEA's Actions Must be Thwarted! Urge Your Representative to Vote to Protect Patients!

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

City and County Hearings
8. Tuesday, July 24, Claremont: City Council to Vote on Dispensary Regulations
9. Thursday, July 26, San Francisco: Committee to Discuss Dispensary Amendment

Court Support
10. Monday, July 30, Sacramento: Dr. Phillip Denney's Federal Motion to Dismiss Hearing
11. Monday, July 30, Fresno: Discovery Hearing for Bill Connelly
12. Tuesday, July 31, Sacramento: Federal Trial for Dr. Mollie Fry & Dale Schafer
13. Monday, July 30, Sacramento: State Sentencing Hearing for John Berchielli

Special Events
14. Saturday, July 21, Bakersfield: Medical Marijuana March at Beach Park
15. Monday, July 23, San Francisco: San Francisco Medical Cannabis Town Hall
16. Tuesday, July 31, San Francisco: Virginia Resner's Memorial Service


Weekly Round-Up

1. a. Virginia Resner: Human Rights and Medical Marijuana Activist, 1946-2007
b. Orange County Board of Supervisors Passes ID Card Program
c. Bakersfield and Corona Raid Updates
d. San Diego City Council Votes in Favor of Amicus Brief

a. Virginia Resner: Human Rights and Medical Marijuana Activist, 1946-2007

by Mikki Norris

Virginia Resner, a great activist who worked tirelessly to put a human face on the injustice of the Drug War, succumbed to a five and a half year battle with breast cancer at age of 60 on July 18, 2007.

Virginia first became involved in drug policy reform in 1991. Unbeknownst to her, her companion Steven Faulkner had engaged in a plan to sell drugs. Coming home to find federal agents in her San Francisco residence on a warrantless search for evidence to use against him became her wake-up call. Through Faulkner’s arrest, prosecution, and 5-year mandatory minimum sentence as a first-time non-violent, drug offender, she quickly learned about the excesses of the Drug War.

Virginia found her way to the national organization Families Against Mandatory Minimums (
FAMM Home Page ) and volunteered as their California representative from 1992 to 2002. In this capacity, she provided information and support to prisoners and their families in similar situations, and advocated to public officials and the media for an end to mandatory minimum sentencing. She initiated a Women’s Project that collected stories and photos of women serving long sentences for low-level, non-violent drug offenses and conspiracy charges, to bring attention to the growing number of women in prison. She was instrumental in the effort to attain Presidential Clemency from Bill Clinton in 2000 for Amy Pofahl, who had already served nine years of a 24-year drug conspiracy sentence.

In 1995, Virginia joined forces with Mikki Norris and Chris Conrad of the Family Council on Drug Awareness to co-create HR95, now the Human Rights and the Drug War Photo Exhibit project (
Welcome to Human Rights and the Drug War ). This compelling photo exhibit shows the faces and tells the stories of non-violent drug offenders and their families. It was first shown at Fort Mason during festivities commemorating the United Nations 50th Anniversary. It later was exhibited at libraries, universities, government buildings and events across the USA and Europe, including a six-week showing at the San Francisco Main Library in 1998.

The trio co-authored the acclaimed book, Shattered Lives: Portraits from America's Drug War and Human Rights and the US Drug War. Their work has moved and inspired activists everywhere to take action and get involved with the drug policy reform movement. It has influenced the media through subject matter used in the local and national press, political ads, documentaries, etc., influenced politicians and opinion makers, and shifted public perception to see the negative impact of the Drug War on the American people. For their efforts, they received a Robert C. Randall Award for Achievement in the Field of Citizen Action from the Lindesmith Center/Drug Policy Foundation in 2001.

Until her untimely death, Virginia continued to be intricately involved with the Ed Rosenthal case as president of Green Aid: Medical Marijuana Legal Defense and Education Fund, Inc. Although seriously ill, she took the time to come to court regularly to attend his trial and take care of the administrative tasks for his defense.

She was a true fighter for justice, and her commitment, courage and inner-strength, warm and generous spirit, as well as her dignity in her battle with cancer, has been an inspiration to many who had the fortune to know her. An indication of the special love that Virginia brought to her work can be seen in the outpouring of personal messages of support that she received during her final days. She will be dearly missed.

Her family requests that donations in Virginia Resner’s name to be made to Coming Home Hospice, Green Aid: Medical Marijuana Education and Legal Defense Fund, Inc., and to programs at Temple Emanu-El.

See below under Special Events for information about Virginia's memorial service.


b. Orange County Board of Supervisors Passes ID Card Program

This past Tuesday, in a 4-1 vote, the Board of Supervisors voted to implement the statewide medical cannabis ID card program for Orange County patients. Back in April, the Board of Supervisors had directed staff to draft a policy for local implementation of the medical marijuana ID card program.

After the Supervisors heard reports from the local sheriff's department, the Department of Health, and Orange County patients, they voted in favor of implementing an ID card program. The ID cards are expected to be made available to patients and their caregivers by December 2007. The annual application fee for the card will be $150 ($75 for MediCal recipients). Patients are not required to obtain the ID cards but many choose to because it reduces the risk of wrongful arrest, prosecution, and seizure of property.

Because of enormous grassroots pressure, an all-Republican Board of Supervisors voted to take these significant steps in implementing our medical marijuana laws. A special thanks to Aaron Smith from Safe Access Now, Bill Paoli from Orange County ASA, and Orange County ASA as a whole for their tremendous hard work! Thank you also to everyone who took action online to assure safe access for patients.
Read the Los Angeles Times story about the O.C. ID card program.


c. Bakersfield and Corona Raid Updates

On Tuesday, July 17th, the federal agents raided two dispensaries in the Inland Empire, Bakersfield's Nature's Medicinal and Corona's Healing Nations Collective.

At the Nature's Medicinal Cooperative raid, DEA agents arrested 5 people. Agents also raided one of the owner's homes. The DEA confiscated medicine and resources. This is the second attack on the Bakersfield collective within three months.

At the Healing Nations Collective, in Corona, DEA agents stole fifteen pounds of medicine and a large amount of edibles. 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 who took Naulls' children away and refused to allow them to stay with their grandparents, who were at Naulls' home during the raid.

During the Healing Nations Collective raid, federal agents found out that Naulls' owned another facility in Perris, CA. Two days later, DEA agents raided the Tree of Life dispensary in Perris. When agents arrived, they found that the dispensary had previously been shut down and was not in operation. Naulls was arraigned yesterday and should be released on bail shortly.

For more information about either of these raids, please contact ASA at:
Sonnet@AmericansforSafeAccess.org


d. San Diego City Council Votes in Favor of Amicus Brief

The San Diego City Council voted in a closed session on Tuesday to file an amicus brief in support of the state of California. Filing an amicus brief offers a unique legal argument which is specific to the people of San Diego city in hopes of influencing the judge's decision. This is an unusual move for the city to file an amicus brief against the County. The majority of patients live in the city of San Diego.

The County of San Diego has sued the state of California, arguing that medical cannabis laws are preempted by the federal law. The trial court issued a ruling in favor of the State of California. The County of San Diego has now appealed and is awaiting a verdict in the Fourth District Court of Appeal.

The San Diego City Council's decision to file an amicus brief is a small step forward in the fight for safe access in San Diego. According to a staffer in Councilmember Atkins' office, the large turnout of activists at the hearing to discuss filing the amicus brief was very helpful in gaining support for this important action. The filing of the amicus brief is expected sometime in August. Great work and thanks to San Diego ASA and all the medical cannabis supporters that attended the hearing.

Take Action!

2. DEA's Actions Must be Thwarted! Urge Your Representative to Vote to Protect Patients!

In the past 6 weeks, the federal government's efforts to shut down safe access have been escalating. The list below illustrates the need for all medical cannabis supporters to
take action to prevent further attacks on safe access. The following is a timeline of DEA activity reported to ASA staff:
June 13 DEA raid Pomona dispensary, but makes no arrests
July 9 DEA sends 150 Letters to landlords threatening to seize their assets due to asset forfeiture lawsif they do not evict their medical cannabis collective tenants.
July 16 Raid Bakersfield dispensary, making five arrests
July 17 DEA issues 4 indictments for raids from 2 years ago
July 17 Raid Corona Dispensary making two arrests
July 19 Raid Perris dispensary in connection with Corona raids
All of these actions could have been prevented by the
Hinchey-Rohrabacher Amendment . This amendment to the Commerce-Justice-State appropriations bill will cut federal funding for any efforts to preempt states' medical cannabis laws. Members of Congress must vote in favor of this amendment to protect patients and to prevent the DEA from taking any more actions such as those listed above. Take Action Now!

ASA Chapter and Affiliate Meetings

3. Saturday, July 21, Los Angeles:Los Angeles ASA Community Forum

ASA sees it as as very important that patients stay plugged into the developing situation in LA. ASA will be hosting a patient-based community forum to keep everyone informed. We also want to hear from patients to see what they want to see as a response.

This will be where patients can come and voice what they want to see as a response and how they can help save the collectives they support.

The meeting will be:

Saturday July 21, 2007 1 - 3 PM
California Patients Group
6208 Santa Monica Blvd @ Vine
Hollywood, CA

The meeting will be open to all patients and advocates who want to productively develop a response.

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

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

Safe Access is 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

5. 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

6. 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

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

This month we will be discussing the following items:

- Hinchey-Rohrabacher Amendment vote
- Remembering Virginia Resner
- DEA letters sent to landlords of dispensaries
- Medical marijuana sales tax legislation update
- Court support
- And more!

Please join us and make your voice heard! Refreshments will be served.

Wednesday, July 25th @ 7 pm

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

City and County Hearings

8. Tuesday, July 24, Claremont: City Council to Vote on Dispensary Regulations

The Claremont City Council will vote on lifting the temporary ban on dispensaries and adopting dispensary regulations this Tuesday. Members of the City Council are reported to be in support of dispensary regulations and we need to show them that their constituents are as well! Please attend this hearing and speak out for safe access!

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

When: Tuesday, July 24th at 6:30pm

Where: City Council Chambers
City Hall
207 Harvard Avenue, Claremont, CA

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

9. 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

Court Support

10. Monday, July 30, Sacramento: Dr. Phillip Denney's Federal Motion to Dismiss Hearing

In February 2006, Dr. Denney, a physician in practice for over 30 years, received documents revealing that an undercover agent of the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) visited Dr. Denney’s Redding, CA office and obtained a recommendation using false information and under false pretenses. The government was allegedly investigating a local dispensary that was subsequently shut down. In November 2006, Dr. Denney filed a lawsuit in federal court naming the ATF, DEA, and various local law enforcement agencies, which alleges that his constitutional rights have been violated, and that the actions of law enforcement have had a chilling effect on his relationships patients. The lawsuit seeks to enjoin (prevent) law enforcement not only from investigating Dr. Denney, but also from using him in an investigation.

When: Monday, July 30th at 10:00pm
Where: Judge Lawrence Karlton in U.S. District Court 15th Floor
501 "I" Street in Sacramento

For more information, contact Sonnet at sonnet@AmericansforSafeAccess.org

11. Monday, July 30, Fresno: Discovery Hearing for Bill Connelly

Medical marijuana patient Bill Connelly, who operated the Seven Seas collective, was raided in June 12, 2007, and the DEA confiscated approximate 40 mature and 40 immature plants but did not arrest him. Later in June, the DEA returned and arrested him and at least four others and charged them with conspiracy to distribute marijuana.

When: Monday, July 30 at 9:00am
Where: Judge Anthony Ishii Courtroom
U.S. District Court (E.D., CA), 8th Floor
2500 Tulare Street, Fresno, CA

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

12. Monday, July 30, Sacramento: State Sentencing Hearing for John Berchielli

In Sacramento Superior Court last month, patient and caregiver and ASA activist, John Berchielli, was convicted on five counts relating to his medical marijuana garden. Berchielli was a supplier of clones to the Sacramento dispensary Alternative Specialties, which was shut down by a multi-agency raid in July 2005 and whose owner is currently being prosecuted in federal court. This closure, which occurred shortly before the action against Berchielli, prevented the defendant from being able to present adequate evidence of his caregiver status during trial. This made his grow of over 1000 marijuana clones very difficult to defend. When interviewed after giving their verdict, jurors reported that the lack of patient lists and testimony heavily influenced their decision.

To read a full account of the trial of John Berchielli, visit
The Trial of John David Berchielli: The Bungling of Medical Marijuana in California’s Capital

If Berchielli is sentenced heavily, it could mean that we will lose the work of a very valuable activist. Please come to the sentencing hearing to show your support for this asset to our community.

When: July 30 at 9:00am
Where: Dept. 47 (6th Floor) of 720 9th Street in Sacramento, California

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

13. Tuesday, July 31, Sacramento: Federal Trial for Dr. Mollie Fry & Dale Schafer

El Dorado County medical marijuana physician Mollie Fry and her husband, attorney Dale Schafer, were arrested as a result of a September 28, 2001 raid on their clinic in Cool, California, in which patient records were seized. After the Raich decision, on June 22, 2005, Fry and Schafer were indicted for marijuana found on the premises during the raid. Fry is also facing a separate action by the DEA to revoke her license to practice medicine.

When: Tuesday, July 31, Time, TBD
Where: Judge Frank C. Damrell, Jr.
U.S. District Court (E.D., CA), 15th Floor
501 "I" Street in Sacramento

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

Special Events

14. Saturday, July 21, Bakersfield: Medical Marijuana March at Beach Park

Event Timeline:
12:00 noon Meet at Beach Park (Oak St. and 24th St.) and press conference
12:30 PM March to the Liberty Bell at Truxtun Ave. and Chester Ave.
2:00 PM Rally at the Liberty Bell

Join hundreds of medical marijuana patients and activists will march and protest against the Sheriff's decision to stop the issuance of permits for dispensaries to operate and provide medicinal marijuana to sick people. Signs will be provided.

The people are angry that the Sheriff used our tax money to subvert state and local law. Many patients feel they have been betrayed.

The Sheriff has an ethical and constitutional duty to defend state law including the Compassionate Use Act of 1996 and Senate Bill 420 allowing patients access to medical marijuana. Many patients are scared and do not understand how the Sheriff could cower down to federal agents.

For more information, contact Doug McAfee at 661-873-1703

15. Monday, July 23, San Francisco: San Francisco Medical Cannabis Town Hall

Americans for Safe Access (ASA-SF) and the Compassionate Care Council are co-hosting a forum.

What: ACCESSIBLITY AND ACCESS: San Francisco Medical Cannabis Town Hall
When: Monday, July 23rd from 6 - 8 PM
Where: Unitarian Universalist Church
1187 Franklin St. @ Geary (Disabled access on Geary St. side)

Why safe access?
Accessibility and safe access to medical cannabis are important issues for San Francisco, especially as the city is looking to permit local dispensaries. Come and learn more about how we can protect safe access to medical cannabis while defending disability rights!

What is going on?
The Town Hall will consist of a 6-person panel discussion from 6 - 7 PM and a reception with refreshments from 7 - 8 PM.

Who will be there?
Panelists will include a Jim Whipple of the Mayor’s Office on Disability, Debra Walker, president of the Building Inspection Commission, Michael Goldstein, an AIDS/HIV activist, Charles Pappas, a disabled chairman of a local medical cannabis cooperative, and lobbyist Stephanie Tucker.

Sponsored by: Americans for Safe Access San Francisco,
www.AmericansForSafeAcccess.org and The Compassionate Care Council.

The Compassionate Care Council is a coalition of medical cannabis dispensaries, collectives and cooperatives in San Francisco. Partnering with caregivers, advocates and patients, the Council is committed to protecting neighborhood-based patient access.
Reach us at:
carecouncil@gmail.com

16. Tuesday, July 31, San Francisco: Virginia Resner's Memorial Service
From Mikki Norris

A memorial service for our dear friend and colleague, Virginia Resner (who passed away earlier this week), will be held on Tuesday, July 31, 2007 at 1:00 PM at Temple Emanu-El, Martin Meyer Sanctuary, at 2 Lake Street (located on the corner of Lake and Arguello Streets), San Francisco, CA 94118.

Her family requests that donations in Virginia Resner’s name to be made to Coming Home Hospice, Green Aid: Medical Marijuana Education and Legal Defense Fund, Inc., and to programs at Temple Emanu-El.

A second gathering to celebrate Virginia’s life is being planned for Sunday, September 30, 2007. Details to come.




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


http://www.americansforsafeacccess.org/
 
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