CBS5AZ: “Data from the state Department of Health Services show nearly half of the recipients of medical marijuana cards in Arizona are younger than 40. . . . ‘About 90 percent of our qualifying patients have cards because of severe and chronic pain,’ said Will Humble, the director of the Arizona Department of Health Services.”
In this video a reporter for CBS5AZ goes undercover and visits a chiropractor and a doctor and obtains a medical marijuana patient card from the Arizona Department of Health Services.
CBS 5 – KPHO
The Daily Courier: “Chino Valley’s new medical marijuana growing facility would be hard-pressed to find a better lawyer and adviser than a former U.S. Attorney for Arizona. . . . ‘I’m of the belief that the feds aren’t going to do anything to an operation that’s legitimate, that follows the rules,’ [Mel] McDonald said. He knows current U.S. Attorney for Arizona John Leonardo well, since Leonardo used to work for him.”
The Daily Courier: “the first MMJ dispensary in Yavapai County is set to open this week. Organica Patient Group is scheduled to open as early as Wednesday at 856 Highway 89 in Chino Valley, said R.J. Alarcon, president of the company.”
The following is the contents of a press release issued by Americans for Safe Access on May 8, 2013. Note to Owners of real estate who lease land to licensed Arizona medical marijuana dispensaries: Are you paying attention?
One of California’s oldest medical marijuana dispensaries, Berkeley Patients Group (BPG), was served with a lawsuit Friday in an attempt to seize the property in which it operates and to ultimately shut the facility down. In the forfeiture complaint, which is similar to one filed against Oakland’s Harborside Health Center last July, U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag makes no mention of local or state law violations. Several elected officials have come out in staunch opposition to the Justice Department’s legal action and at least four Berkeley City Council members will be speaking alongside medical marijuana advocates at a press conference scheduled for Wednesday at Noon.
BPG has been operating in Berkeley since 1999 and, according to a resolution that City Council member Darryl Moore filed Monday, “BPG has served as a national model of the not-for-profit, services-based medical cannabis dispensary.” The resolution goes on to state that BPG has “contributed significantly to our local community, providing good jobs and paying millions of dollars in taxes. They have improved the lives and assisted the end-of-life transitions of thousands of patients; been significant donors to dozens of other organizations in our city; [and] shaped local, state and national policies around medical cannabis.” The resolution is scheduled to be heard by full City Council on May 21st.BPG Chief Operations Officer Sean Luse defended his dispensary as a necessary service for the patients of Berkeley. “Berkeley Patients Group intends to vigorously defend the rights of its patients to be able to obtain medical cannabis from a responsible, city-licensed dispensary,” said Luse. In addition to several city officials who will be speaking later today at the press conference, additional elected officials have also made written statements in support of BPG, including Congressmember Barbara Lee, State Assemblymember Tom Ammiano, and Board of Equalization member Betty Yee.
Despite pledges by the Obama Administration to not use Justice Department funds to circumvent state medical marijuana laws, and public proclamations by the President and Attorney General Eric Holder that the Justice Department is only targeting those in violation of state law, this action and other recent legal actions strongly indicate otherwise. After receiving a previous letter from U.S. Attorney Haag in November 2011, BPG reluctantly and at great expense moved its operation in order to stay more than 1,000 feet from a school even though there is no such requirement in local or state law.
“The Obama Administration’s ongoing war against patients is despicable and has to stop,” said Steph Sherer, Executive Director of Americans for Safe Access (ASA), the country’s leading medical marijuana advocacy group. Sherer will also be speaking at today’s press conference. “This lawsuit is not about profiteering or violating state law; it’s a mean, vindictive move aimed at shutting down one of the oldest and well-respected dispensaries in the country.”
The Justice Department lawsuit comes as Congress is deliberating on a number of medical marijuana bills. One bill in particular, H.R. 689, the “States’ Medical Marijuana Patient Protection Act,” authored by Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and introduced in February, would reclassify marijuana for medical use and allow states to establish production and distribution laws without interference by the federal government. However, even without the passage of H.R. 689, the Obama Administration can still exercise restraint in medical marijuana states, something it has so far refused to do.
The Sun: “Years of levying but not collecting fines on medical marijuana dispensaries and fielding impatient calls from neighbors upset the shops stay open are rapidly ending now that the California Supreme Court says cities may ban them, San Bernardino officials say. The message was taken seriously by at least 18 of the 33 dispensaries in the city, who have stopped operating since they were ordered to close Tuesday – the day after the court’s ruling
East Vally Tribune: “Gov. Jan Brewer has cleared one hurdle for new research on the possible medical benefits of marijuana. Without comment the governor on Tuesday signed legislation to permit possession of the drug on college and university campuses. The measure takes effect later this year.”
Long Beach Post: “The California Supreme Court ruled Monday morning that local governments have the right to ban medical marijuana dispensary storefronts, a decision that for now upholds the nearly 200 bans in effect statewide . . . . In a unanimous decision on the case City of Riverside v. Inland Empire Patients Health and Wellness Center, Inc., et al., the state’s high court said that cities and counties have the right to restrict dispensaries, rejecting multiple lower-court rulings that sided with marijuana advocates”
Phoenix New Times: “For the millions of people who now use marijuana legally under their states’ laws, driving in Arizona is technically a crime. Motorists with pot metabolites in their bloodstreams who want to avoid a marijuana DUI — which comes with nasty fines and a one-year suspension of driving privileges, instead of the regular 90 days for booze DUIs — may want to consult our quick primer below.”
The Daily Chronic: “After a several month long cease-fire, the War on Marijuana has reignited in Washington, with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) ordering 11 Seattle-area medical marijuana dispensaries to shut down within 30 days. Despite November’s voter-approved Initiative 502, which legalized marijuana for all adults 21 or over in the state of Washington, and 1998′s voter-approved Measure 692, which legalized medical marijuana in the state, the 11 dispensaries received letters from the DEA advising them that distribution of marijuana was illegal under federal law, and they were to cease operations within 30 days or risk having their properties seized under federal drug trafficking laws.”
The Daily Beast: “While a high school student at Honolulu’s elite Punahou School, Barack Obama was a high-flying member of a pot-smoking, party-hearty crew that called itself ‘the Choom Gang. . . . I inhaled frequently . . . that was the whole point.’ In 2008, he said that he wouldn’t use federal resources to target medical marijuana providers and users in states that had made the stuff legal . . . . Obama has governed not merely as a standard-issue White House drug warrior but as a particularly hard-headed and hard-hearted one. Eighteen states and the District of Columbia have legalized medical marijuana and polls routinely show 70 percent to 80 percent of Americans support the stuff, but the Obama administration has actually outpaced the Bush administration when it comes to dispensary raids.
Arizona Republic: “Glendale is home to two of Maricopa County’s three operating medical-marijuana dispensaries. . . . The state has 15 non-profit dispensaries operating with several others expected to open within a few days and more than 10 on the verge of approval.
Kitsap Sun: “More than 60 percent of those surveyed also said that the federal government should not enforce federal laws against marijuana in states where it’s legal for medicinal or recreational use. Almost 80 percent of respondents said they believe that marijuana has valuable medicinal uses as well. . . . Possession and distribution of medical marijuana is still a federal offense, regardless of whether state laws allow the use or sale of marijuana for recreational or medicinal purposes. Because marijuana is federally classified as a Schedule I drug, dispensaries throughout the country are vulnerable to raids and government action. . . . Raids are also continuing statewide. Last week, Drug Enforcement Agency agents raided One on One Patient Association, a downtown San Diego dispensary.”
CBS Denver: “Marijuana legalization could be going back to the ballot in Colorado — a prospect that infuriated pot legalization activists Friday. The proposal for a marijuana ballot measure came as the House started debate Friday evening on bills to regulate and tax pot. One bill would state how pot should be grown and sold, and the other would tax recreational marijuana more than 30 percent.”
Casa Grande Dispatch: “the law bans discrimination in terms of employment. Specifically, the law prohibits “certain discriminatory practices including” that employers may not discriminate against a person who has qualified to use medical marijuana ‘in hiring, terminating or imposing employment conditions unless failing to do so would cause the employer to lose a monetary or licensing benefit under federal law.’ That language makes Arizona’s law stand out from bills in the other 17 states and the District of Columbia where medical marijuana is legal . . . .”
Arizona Journal: “In an anticlimactic ending to a hotly contested issue, the Navajo County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a special use permit for Overgaard Compassion Care to operate a medical marijuana dispensary at a location 11 miles east of Overgaard on Highway 277.”
The Sun: “Accompanied by police, fire and code enforcement, City Attorney’s Office officials raided three medical marijuana dispensaries Wednesday, serving warrants and demanding that they shut down allegedly illegal activities. No arrests were made, but officials had a message for The Trio Holistic Center and Berdo Medical Center at 1455 W. Highland Ave. and T.H.C. First Time Patients “FTP” 4G 8th’s at 1208 W. Highland Ave.”
Today’s New-Herald: “Lawmakers voted Wednesday to pave the way for research at state universities that eventually could allow doctors in Arizona to recommend marijuana to treat more conditions. On a 37-19 margin the House approved SB 1443 to alter last year’s law banning marijuana from college and university campuses to allow federally approved research. The only other requirement would be for the applicable review boards at each school to give their blessing. The Senate already has voted for the measure. And an aide to Gov. Jan Brewer indicated she’s open to the idea.”
The following is the text of an April 18, 2013, press release by the U.S. Attorney for the Central District of California:
In the latest of a series of federal enforcement actions against the commercial marijuana industry in California, federal authorities today moved against 63 illegal marijuana stores in the City of Santa Ana.
In federal court this morning, prosecutors filed three asset forfeiture lawsuits against properties in Santa Ana where a total of seven marijuana stores are currently operating. Authorities also executed federal search warrants at two of the stores involved in the asset forfeiture actions. Additionally, prosecutors sent warning letters to people associated with 56 other stores not involved in the forfeiture actions. The federal actions involve all known marijuana stores in the City of Santa Ana.
The federal actions in Santa Ana were done in cooperation with the Santa Ana Police Department and the Santa Ana City Attorney’s Office.
The three civil asset forfeiture complaints filed this morning in United States District Court target three properties in Santa Ana where seven marijuana stores are currently operating. The civil lawsuits state: “Under federal law, the distribution of marijuana (a Schedule I controlled substance under Title 21) is prohibited except under very limited circumstances not applicable here. The government is informed and believes that at all times relevant to this complaint, the operation of the [marijuana stores] on the defendant property was not (and is not) permitted under California law.”
The forfeiture lawsuits allege that the owners of the properties knowingly allowed commercial marijuana stores to operate. The buildings named in the asset forfeiture lawsuits currently house:
GLC (or the Green Love Collective, currently in a suite that formerly housed a store called Old Remedies) and The Dispensary Store, which are operating in a building at 1638 East 17th Street, a property owned by chiropractor Mark Burcaw, and previously have been the subject of administrative citations issued by the city;
SoCal Compassion, Club Meds and Well Greenz, which are located in a building at 1651 East Edinger, another building owned by Burcaw, and are illegal marijuana operations that prompted Santa Ana to file a civil lawsuit last year seeking injunctive relief against Burcaw and the three marijuana stores; and
J Pacific Life (which is located in a suite that formerly housed marijuana stores called Saddleback Meds and The Natural Alternative) and Healing OC, which operate out 1665 East 4th Street and have been the subject of numerous warnings and administrative citations from the City of Santa Ana.
In conjunction with the filing of the asset forfeiture complaints, the United States Attorney’s Office today mailed out letters to the property owners and operators of 56 marijuana stores that are either currently operating or were recently closed in Santa Ana. The warning letters give the operators and landlords 14 days to come into compliance with federal law or risk potential civil or criminal actions.
The Drug Enforcement Administration executed two federal search warrants this morning with the assistance of the Santa Ana Police Department at J Pacific Life and Healing OC.
Today’s enforcement actions in Santa Ana follow similar actions over the past 18 months across the seven-county Central District of California. Starting in October 2011, prosecutors began filing asset forfeiture lawsuits and sending letters to marijuana operations in selected areas in the Central District of California (see, for example, www.justice.gov/usao/cac/Pressroom/2012/129.html).
With the lawsuits filed this morning, the United States Attorney’s Office has filed a total of 30 asset forfeiture complaints against properties housing illegal marijuana operations in the district. Eighteen of those actions have been resolved with the closure of the marijuana stores and consent decrees. In some cases, consent decrees required property owners to disgorge rent payments made by a marijuana store operator, and in all cases the consent decrees required the property owners to agree, among other things, that they would no longer rent to people associated with illegal marijuana operations or the property would be subject to an immediate forfeiture to the government.
Including today’s efforts in Santa Ana, federal enforcement actions – asset forfeiture lawsuits, warning letters and related activity – have now targeted more than 525 illegal marijuana businesses in the Central District of California. The majority of those businesses previously targeted are now closed, are the subject of eviction proceedings by landlords, or have been the subject of additional federal enforcement actions.
In October 2011, the four United States Attorneys in California announced the coordinated enforcement actions targeting illegal marijuana cultivation and trafficking (see: www.justice.gov/usao/cac/Pressroom/2011/144a.html).
The United States Attorney’s Office is working in Santa Ana with the Drug Enforcement Administration, IRS – Criminal Investigation, the Santa Ana Police Department and the Santa Ana City Attorney’s Office.
U-T San Diego: “One day after the San Diego City Council took up the issue of taxing marijuana, narcotics agents raided one of the last remaining medical pot dispensaries in downtown San Diego Tuesday morning. The regional Narcotics Task Force also ran a parallel operation to seize pot plants at homes and businesses in North County. About 1,000 plants were seized, according to spokeswoman Amy Roderick of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. Agents headed out about 10 a.m. and served at least 10 search warrants downtown and in Del Mar, Escondido and Oceanside . . . . the DEA’s goal is to shut down what he called ‘marijuana clubs’ operating in violation of federal law.”
WeHoNews: “Four dispensaries were raided, the La Brea Compassionate Caregivers in Los Angeles and Marina Caregivers in Marina del Rey and Zen Healing at 8464 Santa Monica Blvd. and Alternative Herbal Health Services, at 7828 Santa Monica Blvd.”
A press release issued by the Beverly Hills Police Department said:
“[the raid was the] culmination of four-year investigation into an organized criminal organization involving large scale marijuana distribution, not only throughout the Los Angeles area, but throughout the United States. This criminal enterprise hired known gang members as enforcers. This organization was involved in the operation of multiple retail marijuana dispensaries generating massive profits, repeatedly showing their willingness to use violence and intimidation to expand their operations and dissuade competition.”
For more on this story read “WeHo pot raid, owner’s bust stemmed from feud.”
UPI.com: “U.S. President Barack Obama’s point man for drug policy said legalizing marijuana won’t solve the nation’s drug problem, but addiction treatment will increase. Gil Kerlikowske, director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, said in a speech at the National Press Club in Washington the legal possession of small amounts of marijuana in Colorado and Washington state presents complex questions.”
The Union Democrat: “Four people arrested in a May 2011 raid on a medical marijuana dispensary in East Sonora will stand trial May 1, following an evidence hearing in Tuolumne County Superior Court on Wednesday. Jana Marie Evans, Nancy June Smith, Sara Herrin and Dannyjo Geller Herrin, all of Tuolumne, are accused of illegally selling marijuana through Today’s Health Collective, Inc.”
Oakland North: “He might direct the largest medical marijuana dispensary in the country, but Steve DeAngelo isn’t scared of the government’s attempts to shut it down. ‘The federal government has thrown everything they had at us and we met them and we pushed back,’ DeAngelo said, referring to Harborside Health Center, where he serves as founder and executive director. ‘It’s a drug war machine that’s bound for extinction’.”
Phoenix New Times: “Yavapai County Attorney Sheila Polk announced in dramatic fashion last July that federal authorities would shut down every medical-marijuana dispensary in Arizona ‘as it opens.’ Polk made the bad prediction in a letter she penned and sent to the governor after getting several other county attorneys to sign it. We checked into her assertion and reported to you at the time that Polk’s claim appeared to be nonsense and was, in fact, a major exaggeration of something she’d been told by a retired drug agent. How wrong was Polk’s info? As of today, there are 16 retail shops legally selling medical marijuana under Arizona law.”
Flagstaff Live: “How stoned is too stoned to drive? A recent decision by Arizona’s appellate court says it’s illegal for Flagstaff’s nearly 1,000 medical marijuana cardholders—and thousands of other recreational users—to drive their cars, even if they haven’t smoked in weeks. A 22-year-old Flagstaff father was on his way home from the grocery store earlier this year when he was stopped for having expired registration. His 2-year-old daughter was in the back seat, according to police. . . . He’d smoked marijuana six hours before driving, he told the officer.”
Yahoo! News: “according to Robert Calkin, president and CEO of the Cannabis Career Institute, there’s growing interest in how to run a successful medical marijuana dispensary, collective, or an edible marijuana (think brownies, cookies, and cake) business. ‘Aside from having a personal interest in health or the growing of [marijuana], people are realizing that this can be a legitimate lifetime career,’ says Calkin, who runs seminars around the country for $249 a pop to teach interested parties the finer points of properly running a medical marijuana business—without running afoul of the law. “Before it was a hobby or a side project you couldn’t tell anybody about,” he says. “There are now paid positions, and that wasn’t the case before.” In fact, the job can be well-paid. If you become a dispensary manager, you can make $100,000 or more a year, says Calkin.”
Associated Press: “Thousands of people are expected to join an unofficial counterculture holiday celebrating marijuana in Colorado and Washington this coming weekend, including out-of staters and even packaged tours. The events and crowds will test the limits of new laws permitting pot use by adults.”
Arizona Republic: “The complexity of the legal debate over whether federal law trumps the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act has prompted the state’s prosecuting-attorneys association to withdraw its support of legislation their members had helped craft to protect children from accidentally eating medical cannabis. A bill to enforce bland wrapping on candy containing marijuana will likely die, as attorneys say that it’s too difficult to keep legislating medical marijuana in an atmosphere of legal challenges and that the issue needs to be decided in the courts.”
Phoenix Business Journal: “With efforts under way to repeal the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act, supporters commissioned an economic analysis that found the budding industry could employ more than 1,500 Arizona workers and provide $74 million in income to those households.”