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ASA California Weekly Alert: May 4, 2007

Jim Finnel

Fallen Cannabis Warrior & Ex News Moderator
Weekly Round Up

Bakersfield Raid

DEA agents and local law enforcement officers raided Bakersfield dispensary, Nature's Medicinal, and the owner's home Tuesday, seizing, according to officials, some 50 pounds of marijuana and thousands of dollars in cash. The raid on Nature's Medicinal was the first DEA raid on a locally licensed dispensary.

Managers say their premises were ransacked, all of their medicine and cash taken, their bank account frozen, and computers and patient lists seized. No one was arrested, but federal officials promised an investigation.

Nature's Medicinal says that it "jumped through all the hoops" to comply with local regulations. They were paying $54,000 per month in sales taxes, plus corporate taxes, etc.

DEA spokesmen emphasized the fact that the club was selling edibles, but offered no clear rationale for the raid. The Kern Co. Sheriff's office, which was involved through an inter-agency drug task force, admitted that it was confusing to be raiding a dispensary that they were also regulating.

Nature's Medicinal has re-opened. The DEA has promised to return.

Van Nuys Protest and Political Action at City Hall

Over 200 patients, providers, and advocates took to the streets in front of the LAPD Van Nuys Police Station to demonstrate against the LAPD’s assault on The Karma Collective last Monday. Because the LAPD claimed the edibles they found inside Karma Collective were illegal, activists chanted “Make No Mistake, We’ll Still Bake! Make No Mistake, We’ll Still Bake!” and held signs that read “Cannabis to Eat, Eat to Live” and “Let Them Eat Cake!” At one point, the crowd sent a representative into the Police Station to ask for a representative of the LAPD to come out and explain exactly how edibles are illegal. The LAPD declined.

When the mass of demonstrators were done in front of the Police Station, they marched the length of the Erwin St Mall, past the Criminal Courthouse, past the DEA in the Korman Federal Building, to Van Nuys Blvd.

The amazing support from the community continued on throughout the week as medical cannabis activists voiced their opposition to the raid at City Hall. The speakers criticized last Thursday's raid at the Van Nuys collective and called on the city council to reign in the LAPD. A collective employee read a moving statement from one of the operators who could not attend due to family obligations.

The City Council has been slow to move on regulating medical cannabis collectives or offer any guidance to LAPD Chief Bratton on this issue. Councilmember Zine's motion to study regulations for collectives has been bouncing around committee and commissions since 2005, while a separate motion for a moratorium on new facilities has been waiting most of a year.

In order to address the situation, the grassroots must persuade the City Council that the LAPD needs guidance now - while we debate regulations. Patients and advocates need to contact their representative on the Council to ask for an end to LAPD raids right away. Find your councilperson on:
City of Los Angeles.

Visiting Stephanie Landa
Written by Don Duncan, ASA Southern California Coordinator

Yesterday, LA County Field Coordinator Chris Fusco and I had the pleasure of spending a few hours with 61-year old medical cannabis prisoner Stephanie Landa at the federal work camp in Dublin where she is four months into a forty-one month sentence for growing medicine. You may remember that Stephanie, her partner Tom, and actor Kevin Gage were arrested in 2002 by the DEA after a dually-deputized SFPD officer "inspected" their medical garden in San Francisco, then called in the DEA to arrest all three.

The work camp is located in dilapidated military barracks and houses over 500 women, most of whom are serving sentences for drug related convictions. There are no walls or fences around the facility. Work camps like this one operate on a kind of honor system. Inmates agree to work in the camp doing laundry, food service, cleaning, and other manual labor at this low cost interment camp in exchange for some basic creature comforts that those of us outside the prison system consider so ordinary as to be rights. They get to go outside in the sunlight, take classes, have magazines, etc. Best of all, Stephanie, reports, "They mostly leave us alone."

The camp lacks the rigors of the traditional federal prison or county jail across the street, but shares the same atmosphere of hopelessness and wasted human potential. I wonder how many of these women, like Stephanie, are here for no good reason at all. They are just marking time, clicking off days and months on sentences handed down from federal guidelines. Couldn't these women do better for the community raising their children or being productive members of the work force? I watched the line up of inmates line up for one of several daily counts and was struck by how ordinary they looked. They looked like my mother's Sunday School class.

Stephanie is so grateful for the letters she has received from hundreds of supporters. The guards tease her that she needs her own post office. Stephanie is proud of the fact that she has answered every single letter, despite her physical limitations that make writing a chore. Please keep those letters coming. She calls them her lifeline. She can also receive visitors at the camp in Dublin, just a few miles from Oakland. I was sorry to see that Chris and I were only the second a third people to visit. If you are ever going to visit an inmate, this is perhaps the easiest setting in which to do it. Visitors must be cleared through Dept. of Corrections, so please plan ahead. I would be glad to forward the necessary forms to anyone who wants them.

I would like to say a public thank you to Sarah Armstrong who has been Stephanie's champion since her surrender in January. Sarah has worked tirelessly on Stephanie's behalf - coordinating her legal defense, giving her money out of pocket for vending machines so she can avoid the inedible prison food, taking her calls, writing every day, and visiting every month. Stephanie would have suffered much more in these early days of her incarceration if it were not for Sarah's persistent advocacy for livable conditions. Every medical cannabis prisoner should have a Sarah Armstrong on his or her side. Thanks, Sarah!

You can read more about how to provide this compassionate support to medical cannabis prisoners at
ASA*:*Support Medical Cannabis Inmates. Please take the time to write a letter, send a little commissary money, or make a personal visit.
ASA Chapter and Affiliates Meetings

2. Saturday May 5, Modesto: Central Valley Patients Coalition Meeting

Please join central valley patients and supporters to help plan and strategize for the defense of patients rights in Stanislaus County, Merced County, and beyond!

The CVPC meets on the first Saturday of each month, at 11:00 AM.
New Location: These meetings will now be held at 1733 Yosemite Ave, Modesto, CA, 95350.

For additional information, contact Shirley Cox, Public Relations Officer for the Central Valley Patients Coalition:
shirley@CompassionateCoalition.org
3. Tuesday, May 8, San Francisco: San Francisco ASA Meeting

Join SF ASA to discuss and plan for local, state and national issues. Get active locally to protect safe access!

7:30 p.m.
CA Marijuana Party Bookstore
223a 9th St. @ Howard in San Francisco
4. Tuesday, May 8, San Diego: San Diego ASA Meeting

Our San Diego chapter of ASA has been busy lately and needs you to get involved. It is time to get involved and protect safe access!

For more info about the chapter, please visit their site: Normandale -

Twiggs Coffee House
4590 Park Blvd.
In the Green Room
7:00-8:00 p.m.
5. Thursday, May 10: Lakeport: Lake County ASA Meeting

Lakeport and Lake County Medical Cannabis Patients and Caregivers must unite in a nonviolent resistance to the war on Medical Cannabis in Lakeport.

Join with others to organize a Local Chapter of Americans for Safe Access (ASA).

Meeting will be held at Cafe Victoria, 301 N Main St in Lakeport on Thursday, May 10, 2007 at 6:00 pm. Open menu will be available.

For more information or to get involved, please contact Donna: LakeCoASA@msn.com
6. Saturday, May 12, Santa Barbara: Santa Barbara ASA Meeting

Join the newly formed Santa Barbara ASA Meeting! We will be discussing Vehicle code 23222 and Patients' Rights!

3pm-5pm @ Antioch University
801 Garden St. Room #203 Santa Barbara

For More Information, contact: Jennifer at (805) 637-5365
7. Saturday, May 12, Los Angeles: Los Angeles ASA Meeting

Join the LA ASA chapter to plan future emergency response plans and help to regulate dispensaries in LA City.

1pm - 3pm @ California Patients Group
6208 Santa Monica Blvd Los Angeles, CA 90038

For more info, please call LA ASA: (323) 464-7719
8. Tuesday, May 15, Sacramento: Sacramento ASA Meeting

Please join Sac ASA to plan for the future of safe access locally, statewide, and nationally!
7:00 p.m.

Crusaders Hall
320 Harris Avenue, Suite H
Sacramento, CA

For more information or to get involved, please contact Lanette:
cannacare@earthlink.net
9. Thursday, May 17, Newport Beach: Orange County ASA Meeting

Come to the OC ASA Meetings to discuss upcoming and current medical marijuana issues in our community.

OC ASA Meeting
7-9 PM
Law Offices of WENTWORTH, PAOLI & PURDY, LLP
4631 Teller Avenue, Suite 100
Newport Beach, CA 92660
10. Thursday, May 17, Fort Bragg: Mendocino ASA Meeting

If you have decided you can no longer sit back and watch the federal government continue its campaign against cannabis therapies in this country or if you want to engage your local government in creating sane polices for cannabis patients and patient’s access to cannabis, please attend this meeting!

7:00pm at Herban Legends
18300 Old Coast Hwy # 3
Fort Bragg, CA 95437
11. Thursday, May 17, Guerneville: Sonoma ASA Meeting

When: Thursday from 7pm-9pm
Where: Marvin’s Gardens 15025 River Road (towards Guerneville)

Please join Sonoma’s chapter of American’s for Safe Access. Patients, supporters, caregivers and friends are welcome to come share their opinions on what should happen locally, statewide, and nationally. More info 707-332-6556
City and County Hearings

12. Monday, May 7th, Pleasant Hill: City Council to Vote on Banning Medical Cannabis Dispensaries

Pleasant Hill currently has a moratorium on dispensaries and is considering permanently banning dispensaries. On April 24th, the planning commission voted unanimously to recommend banning dispensaries, despite positive testimony from several patients and advocates on behalf of dispensaries.

Please attend this hearing and speak out for safe access!
Download ASA t alking points on dispensary regulations, moratoriums and bans.

7:30 p.m.
City Council Chambers
100 Gregory Lane
Pleasant Hill, CA
13. Wednesday, May 9th, Fairfield: Planning Commission to Vote on Banning Medical Cannabis Dispensaries

The city of Fairfield's Planning Commission has called a public hearing to determine whether Medical Marijuana Dispensaries should be permitted use in any zone in the City.

lease attend this hearing and speak out for safe access!
Download ASA talking points on dispensary regulations, moratoriums and bans.

May 9th
7:00pm
City Council Chambers
1000 Webster St.
Fairfield, CA

Solano Patients' Group would like to invite all supporters to come speak
on behalf of safe access to all the patients of our county.
Court Support

14. Monday, May 14th, San Francisco: Ed Rosenthal's Trial Begins

Jury selection begins on May 14th for Ed Rosenthal's re-trial. Opening arguments are likely to begin on Tuesday, May 15th or Wednesday, May 16th. Please come out and support Ed Rosenthal through his re-trial. As many of you may remember, there is a hearing on motions "in limine" on May 10 at 2:15pm. At this hearing, decisions will be made as to the evidence admissible at trial. Judge Breyer has made it known that he will follow the Ninth Circuit ruling in Rosenthal's case and prohibit any entrapment by estoppal defense. This means that Rosenthal will not be able to submit evidence that the City of Oakland had deputized him, thereby granting him protection. The main hope for Ed lies in the Jury and jury education is being restarted, lead by Danielle at Cannabis Action Network. Please come out and support Ed Rosenthal and jury education.

San Francisco County Courthouse
400 McAllister Street
San Francisco, CA
Special Events

15. Saturday, May 5th, Bakersfield: Marijuana March at Beach Park

Come out in solidarity for medical marijuana this Saturday. Activists will be gathering at Beach Park, Oak st and 24th st., for a march to the Liberty Bell at Truxtun ave and Chester Ave. to show Bakersfield and the Bakersfield Sherriff's department that people will not stand for harrassing patients and their caregivers! Please bring signs and bring your voices! We are all in this together and need to show our support for Nature's Medicinal and all the other patients, family members, and neighbors who have felt the heavy impact of this most recent raid.

Raise Your Voice! Stand up for patients' and caregivers' freedom!

March Details:
May 5th, 12:00pm
Meet at Beach Park (Oak and 24th St.)
Bakersfield, CA

For more information contact: Douglas McAfee, 661 873-1703
16. Saturday, May 19th, Newport Beach: Medical Cannabis Activist Town Hall

Please join Steph Sherer, ASA's Executive Director for an Orange County Activist Town Hall on May 19th from 3-6 pm. This event will be a an opportunity for the community to come together while Steph walks everyone through a strategic planning session to create next steps for Orange County implementation of Prop 215 And SB 420. This will include defining problems in the community, as well as determining goals and creating campaigns to tackle these problems and achieve community goals.

Steph Sherer will also give a brief update from ASA about national and state campaigns.

Who: Orange County Medical Cannabis Community and ASA's Executive Director
What: Orange County Activist Town Hall
When: May 19, 2007 from 3PM- 6 PM
Where: Law Offices of WENTWORTH, PAOLI & PURDY, LLP
4631 Teller Avenue, Suite 100
Newport Beach, CA 92660
Why: Because these laws aren't going to implement themselves

For more info contact Bill:
OCLawyer@aol.com
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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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