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ASA's Media Summary for the Week of 5/18

Jim Finnel

Fallen Cannabis Warrior & Ex News Moderator
Medical Marijuana in the News
ASA's Media Summary for the Week of 5/18
ASA ACTION: Defending Democracy in the Voting Booth
ASA ACTION: Lawsuit Results in County Compliance
FEDERAL: Rosenthal Medical Marijuana Retrial Begins
COLORADO: Caregiver Test Case Going To Trial
NEW JERSEY: Medical Marijuana Bill to be Introduced
VERMONT: Expanded Protections Passes, Governor May Sign
ILLINOIS: Lawmakers Squander Another Opportunity
CALIFORNIA: Some Law Enforcement Continues to Resist
DISPENSARIES: Oxnard, Petaluma, Mendocino, Claremont
RESEARCH: Doctor Describes His Cannabis Education
ASA ACTION: Defending Democracy in the Voting Booth

A judge is preparing to punish local officials for failing to preserve the integrity of election results, thanks to legal intervention by ASA. At issue is the recount of electronic ballots cast in a narrowly lost local medical marijuana initiative. Many election experts question the use of electronic voting machines because of concerns about verifying ballot counts.

County ignoring court order calls for sanction
It is the kind of mistake that makes you wonder. Alameda County officials refused to collect electronic ballots and internal logs in a disputed election even though a state appeals court had ordered them to do it. Now the county faces possible fines and legal sanctions.
ASA ACTION: Lawsuit Results in County Compliance

Merced was one of the California counties that balked at implementing the state’s mandated medical marijuana ID card program. After county officials lost in state court, they reached an agreement with ASA, the ACLU and the Drug Policy Alliance to start the program within 60 days. San Diego and Riverside counties are appealing the court’s ruling, but ASA is confident that California’s medical marijuana law will be upheld again.

Merced County issues first pot cards
by Corinne Reilly,
Merced Sun-Star (CA)
After a year of debate, Merced County began issuing identification cards for medical marijuana users two weeks ago. But so far, just three people have signed up for the controversial program, county officials said.
FEDERAL: Rosenthal Medical Marijuana Retrial Begins

ASA Chief Counsel Joe Elford convinced the judge to dismiss the bulk of the government’s new charges against author and advocate Ed Rosenthal, who grew marijuana for patients under the authority of a City of Oakland program. Federal prosecutors insisted on a retrial anyway, even thought they concede that Rosenthal can receive no penalty if convicted, since he’s already completed his sentence from the 2003 conviction. Attorneys say no one has ever been retried after the sentence has been served.

Re-trial of `Ganja Guru' begins
by Josh Richman,
ANG Newspaper
Ed Rosenthal grew and sold thousands of marijuana plants in Oakland over five and a half years in violation of federal law, a prosecutor told jurors today as the "Guru of Ganja's" retrial began. Assistant U.S. Attorney George Bevan even specified that the marijuana was supplied to "so-called marijuana clubs throughout the Bay Area" -- a reference to medical marijuana organizations where patients obtained the drug for use as permitted under state law, but unprotected under federal law.

Retrial Of Marijuana Activist Begins
by Bay City News,
NBC 11 News
A U.S. prosecutor told a federal jury in San Francisco today that Oakland marijuana activist Ed Rosenthal operated a large and sophisticated marijuana growing operation. Rosenthal, the author of more than a dozen books about marijuana, has claimed outside of court that he was growing starter plants for patients who need the drug under California's medical marijuana law.

Ganja Guru Back in Federal Court Again
by Marcus Wohlsen,
Associated Press
A prosecutor said Tuesday that a self-proclaimed "guru of ganja" grew and distributed thousands of marijuana plants out of a warehouse to supply area pot clubs. A lawyer for Rosenthal argued on Tuesday that her client was a prominent scientist, author and marijuana reform advocate who became a political target over his support for medical marijuana.

Retrial Of 'Guru of Ganja' Ed Rosenthal Underway

Associated Press
The retrial of marijuana advocate Ed Rosenthal is underway in San Francisco. During opening statements this morning, the prosecution described Rosenthal as a person who ran a major marijuana growing operation. But Rosenthal's defense lawyer countered by saying he was a prominent scientist and medical marijuana advocate.

Retrial for medical-pot advocate opens
by Bob Egelko,
San Francisco Chronicle
The retrial of marijuana advocate Ed Rosenthal on federal cultivation charges opened today with his lawyer doing everything she could to make it clear to jurors that he had been growing cannabis for medical use, a subject the judge has put off-limits.

Opening statements set for today in the retrial of marijuana advocate Ed Rosenthal

Associated Press
Opening statements are scheduled for today in the retrial of marijuana advocate Ed Rosenthal. The self-described "Guru of Ganja" is being retried in San Francisco federal court on five charges of marijuana cultivation and distribution.
COLORADO: Caregiver Test Case Going To Trial

It was one step forward, two steps back for a couple whose case will help better define what caregivers may do in Colorado. The search of their home was ruled illegal, but the evidence can be used, regardless. The Masters’ attorney, Brian Vicente, is director of the Colorado Campaign for Safe Access, a joint project of ASA and Sensible Colorado.

Stoned - Again - In Court
by Joshua Zaffos,
Rocky Mountain Chronicle
Medical marijuana providers James and Lisa Masters and their lawyers enjoyed a 20-second victory in court on May 14, before a judge dismissed most of their latest round of motions. Larimer County Chief Judge James A. Hiatt ruled that a drug task-force officer illegally searched the Masters’ house, but he then refused to throw out the evidence gathered during a follow-up search.
NEW JERSEY: Medical Marijuana Bill to be Introduced

State lawmakers in the Garden State will soon have the opportunity to make legal the medical marijuana gardens of patients there. Both the governor and his opponent promised to back such a bill during their campaigns. The measure may be introduced as soon as next week.

Making a case for marijuana use in relieving pain
by Kay Goodstadt, Columnist,
Philadelphia Inquirer
Legalizing medical marijuana would put an effective, nontoxic drug on the market that could be taxed, regulated, and obtained more cheaply than most prescription drugs. This issue will soon be considered again in New Jersey. Gov. Corzine, as he promised before his own near-fatal accident, is expected to endorse Senate Bill 88, which would remove state penalties for the possession, use and cultivation of a small amount of marijuana when it is recommended by a doctor.
VERMONT: Expanded Protections Passes, Governor May Sign

The success of Vermont’s medical marijuana legislation prompted lawmakers to revisit the limits they imposed on the original bill. After hearing testimony from patients and health care professionals, the legislature voted to extend protections to those suffering from debilitating chronic conditions such as arthritis. The governor’s office has indicated he won’t stand in the way.

Vermont Governor undecided on medical marijuana
by Daniel Barlow,
Rutland Herald (VT)
Medical marijuana advocates are waiting to see what Gov. James Douglas does with a proposed new law expanding the state's program, with many hopeful he will allow it to become law without his signature.
ILLINOIS: Lawmakers Squander Another Opportunity

This is not the first time the Illinois legislature has failed to act on behalf of their constituents whose doctors recommend medical marijuana. But the process of educating lawmakers on the advances in medical science and the injustice of subjecting patients to criminal penalties continues. The next session is sure to see a similar bill introduced.

Pot, politics and inhumanity
The Dispatch and The Rock Island Argus
Illinois lawmakers missed an opportunity that just might have prolonged, and perhaps saved, the lives of some seriously ill citizens. Instead, the state Senate's failure to legalize the use of medical marijuana did just the opposite, dashing the hopes of some terminally and seriously ill, their families and friends.
CALIFORNIA: Some Police Still Defy State Law

Police officers are sworn to uphold the law, but an ASA study found that many continue to resist California’s medical marijuana law. Education and leadership by lawmakers has helped, but localized problems like the ones this article describes persist. ASA’s national office and the Orange County local chapter are continuing to work with Supervisor Norby and others to implement the state ID card program and ensure safe access there.

Ten years after California legalized medical marijuana, OC’s war on cannabis continue
by Nick Schou,
OC Weekly
On April 17, the Orange County Board of Supervisors held a hearing on whether to implement a voluntary statewide identification-card program set forth by SB420. Ultimately, the board voted 4-1 to study Norby’s proposal for the next 90 days. By the time that happened, however, both the OC Sheriff’s Department and the DA’s office had announced they would continue confiscating cannabis from Prop. 215 patients no matter what the supervisors had to say about it.
DISPENSARIES: Oxnard, Petaluma, Mendocino, Claremont

A study by Oxnard city staff concluded that patients in their community need the safe, reliable access that medical marijuana dispensaries provide. ASA’s own study of the many California cities and counties that have established permits for dispensaries found that patient and community needs can both be met by sound regulations. See ASA's study at ASA*:*Medical Cannabis Dispensing Collectives and Local Regulation .

Oxnard to Consider Marijuana Dispensary
by Charles Levin,
Ventura County Star
A medical marijuana dispensary could fill a need in Ventura County for suffering patients while legally operating under state law and strict local regulations, an Oxnard city staff report says.

Medical Marijuana Dispensary Could Come to Oxnard
KEYT TV (Santa Barbara)
The City of Oxnard is exploring the idea of opening a medical Marijuana Dispensary. Medical Marijuana may help suffering patients in Oxnard and Ventura County but opponents warn opening a medical marijuana dispensary could increase crime in the area.

Oxnard balks at drafting medical marijuana law
by Charles Levin,
Ventura County Star
Oxnard City Council members Tuesday balked at drafting a law to allow medical marijuana dispensaries to operate. Council members Dean Maulhardt and Andres Herrera said they were sympathetic to the idea and needs of patients who could benefit from medical marijuana. But the entire panel expressed concerns over an unresolved legal conflict in the use of medical marijuana.

Medical marijuana quandary
Petaluma Argus-Courier
Last week, the Petaluma City Council passed an urgency ordinance to extend a temporary moratorium on dispensaries of medicinal marijuana that has been in place for two years. With only five of the seven council members present at the May 7 meeting, there weren’t enough votes for a permanent ban on dispensaries, and the council split 3-2 in favor of the ban. A fourth vote is needed for a permanent ban, and that is expected to happen when the full council meets to reconsider the issue.

Medical marijuana regulations discussed
by Katie Mintz,
Ukiah Daily Journal
The Mendocino County Board of Supervisors Criminal Justice Committee met Monday to continue discussing the development of policies to regulate medical marijuana possession, cultivation and dispensaries.

Claremont bucks trend on marijuana dispensary
by Will Bigham,
Daily Bulletin
Before making its final decision on whether to allow medical marijuana dispensaries, the Claremont City Council expects to conduct a thorough review of its options. The city attorney has collected 25 sample ordinances from California cities and counties.
RESEARCH: Doctor Describes His Cannabis Education

Because medical schools rarely discuss the history or efficacy of cannabis as a therapeutic agent, doctors typically must do their own research in the field. Those who treat cancer patients and chronic pain are most likely to be familiar with the drug’s potential -- a 1996 Harvard Medical School study found 45% of oncologists were recommending cannabis then, before any state had legalized it.

Medical Marijuana: The Replacement for Very Dangerous Drugs
by Dr. Phillip Leveque, OpEd,
Salem-News (OR)
When I was ordered before the Oregon Board of Medical Examiners, the first question I was asked by Dr. Spokas, the chairman, from Ontario, Oregon, was “Dr. Leveque don’t you know that marijuana is very addicting and very dangerous?” Frankly, I didn’t know or believe this, and all of my experience with fifty years study and 4000 patients told me this was totally false.

Find out more about ASA at ASA*:*Advancing Legal Medical Marijuana Therapeutics and Research. More medical marijuana news summaries can be seen at ASA*:*Medical Marijuana News Summaries.
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