Saturday, April 30, 2011
Thursday, April 28, 2011
This morning with the support and approval of San Diego County District Attorney (DA) Bonnie Dumanis and in collaboration with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), swat style raids were perpetrated in both San Diego and Riverside Counties. As soon as the local chapter was notified of the raids the SD ASA Raid Response team was activated and several members were quickly dispatched to confirm the raid on site. As soon as the confirmation came in, the first notification to the list serve went out as well as the local phone tree activated.
According to accounts from patients who were present during the raids this morning, everyone was detained, questioned, and threatened with criminal charges for attempting to obtain their medicine safely and legally. The raid at the Club One dispensing center began this morning around 7am when the first patients showed up at the dispensing center in San Marcos to open their doors. The patient’s were greeted by guns, shouts, and threats. Employees of the collective as well as patients walking in to get their medicine were detained and later released. At the same time at least three patients’ residences were raided in San Marcos and other parts of North San Diego County and Riverside County.
During the raid, patient records, computers, medicine, and the collectives money was seized. Lance Rogers a criminal defense attorney representing the collective confirmed that the facility had been raided but was not able to provide any more details about who was arrested or what charges they faced.
The North County Times was able to confirm the raids with the Sheriff’s department and published the following online today: At least one medical marijuana dispensary in San Marcos was raided by law enforcement agents Thursday, and possibly other North County dispensaries were hit as well, a sheriff's captain said. Capt. Mike Barnett confirmed that authorities raided and shut down Club One Collective, a medical marijuana dispensary at 1232 Los Vallecitos Blvd. "It was raided today along with several other locations throughout North County and Riverside County," Barnett said. "Evidence was seized and money was seized." Read more: http://www.nctimes.com/news/local/sdcounty/article_619c16a3-b93d-5e2a-9c36-9136de2347a2.html
Medical cannabis providers and patients need to prepare themselves, both mentally and operationally, for a raid until federal law is harmonized with state law and state laws are fully implemented.
To help the community prepare, Americans for Safe Access will be holding a Raid Preparedness Training next Tuesday May 3 at Canvass for a Cause headquarters in Hillcrest. The training will be hosted by ASA California Director Don Duncan and San Diego Area Liaison Eugene Davidovich. Although the training will be specifically tailored for staff, managers, and directors of collectives and cooperatives, everyone wanting to be prepared in case of a raid are welcome and encouraged to attend.
WHAT: ASA Raid Preparedness Training
WHEN: 7pm - Tuesday May 3, 2011
WHERE: Canvass for a Cause - 3705 10th Ave. San Diego CA 92103
San Diego Americans for Safe Access
Get Involved, get active, make a difference!
Join ASA - www.safeaccessnow.org
New law shuts down more than 100 operating facilities & leaves virtually no options for relocation
ASA threatens to sue City of San Diego: http://AmericansForSafeAccess.org/downloads/San_Diego_Demand_Letter.pdf
San Diego medical marijuana ordinance: http://AmericansForSafeAccess.org/downloads/City_of_San_Diego_Ordinance.pdf
Tuesday, April 26, 2011
Dale Schafer and Dr. Mollie Fry: Ask President Obama to Grant Clemency For Patients Caught in the Cross Fire
Dr. Mollie Fry and her husband Dale Schafer live in Cool, California with their family until May 2nd, when they will be forced to serve 5 years each in federal prison. Mollie and Dale are both qualified patients who use cannabis therapeutically. They should never have been tried in federal court let alone sent to prison for helping patients. Ask Obama to grant them clemency by clicking here.
Mollie is a physician and a breast cancer survivor who underwent a radical mastectomy in 1997. When more common drugs meant to deal with the effects of chemotherapy didn’t work, Mollie turned to medical cannabis. After her oncologist, who agreed with her use of medical cannabis, refused to provide Mollie with written approval, she quickly learned that the struggle for patients was finding doctors who were willing to recommend its use. Mollie soon thereafter, with encouragement from the local sheriff, started a specialized clinic for medical cannabis patients.
Dale, an attorney, is also a qualified patient who has treated the effects of his hemophilia and chronic back pain. Dale has been active for years in the medical cannabis movement and ran for El Dorado County District Attorney in 2001. Dale began cultivating Mollie’s medication and eventually also provided it to a handful of local patients for free, with the consent of the sheriff and in full compliance with California law. Dale also provided classes and the equipment for patients to be able to cultivate their own medication.
The same year that Dale announced his candidacy for district attorney, he helped establish medical cannabis cultivation guidelines for the county. Also in 2001, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that medical necessity could not be used as a defense in federal court, at which point Dale abruptly stopped providing medical cannabis to other patients. Nevertheless, on September 28, 2001, more than 20 state and federal agents with guns drawn raided the home and offices of Mollie and Dale. Only 34 plants and less than 2 pounds were seized in the raid, but agents turned their home and offices upside down and additionally seized Mollie’s private patient records.
No indictments resulted from the 2001 raid until less than 3 weeks after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in June 2005 that the government could enforce federal marijuana laws even in medical marijuana states. On June 22, 2005, Mollie and Dale were arrested and charged federally with manufacturing and conspiracy to manufacture and distribute marijuana. Although Dale never grew more than 44 plants in a given year, well below the local 99-plant guideline, the federal government was able to add up the plants he had grown over a multi-year period in order to seek a 5-year mandatory minimum sentence associated with growing more than 100 plants.
After a 2-week trial in August 2007, during and the following year were sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Frank Damrell to 5 years each. Released on bail pending their appeal, Mollie and Dale saw the transition to the Obama Administration and had hope for a more compassionate federal policy. However, the Obama Justice Department did not break stride and continued to vigorously prosecute their case. In November 2010, the Ninth Circuit denied their appeal and shortly after the government moved to revoke bond on the couple. Then, in March Judge Damrell ordered them to surrender on May 2nd.
Mollie and Dale have been punished enough. They already had their licenses to practice medicine and law revoked. By sending Mollie and Dale to prison, the Obama Administration is further punishing them and needlessly breaking up their family of 5 children and 2 grandchildren. “Cannabis is proven medicine. Why would the state of California create laws based on what the people want, and then allow the federal Government to override them?” Mollie asked in an article about their case. “I had cancer, we were growing medicine. I was helping people.”
President Obama has failed to keep his pledge to medical cannabis patients
After President Bush’s aggressive campaign against medical cannabis, the patient community embraced then-Senator Obama’s pledge on the campaign trail that he was “not going to be using Justice Department resources to try to circumvent state laws.” And, his October 2009 Justice Department memo seemed to be proof that Obama was serious about medical cannabis policy change. However, we are which they were denied any medical learning that the patient community has defense, Mollie and Dale were found guilty been deceived.
Since the memo was issued, the Obama Administration has conducted no less than 74 raids on medical cannabis patients, providers and laboratories in California, Colorado, Michigan, Montana and Nevada, resulting in nearly two-dozen new indictments. The Obama Justice Department has continued to prosecute federal cases leftover from the Bush presidency with equal if not greater vigor. The prosecution against Mollie and Dale is such a case.
In addition to aggressive federal raids, the Obama Administration is using the banking industry and the IRS to undermine the implementation of state medical cannabis laws. Under the guise of a new policy on medical cannabis, President Obama has not only continued his predecessor’s tactics but increased their intensity and broadened their scope. This duplicity must stop!
Demand clemency for Mollie and Dale
Mollie and Dale don’t deserve to go to prison, but President Obama may hold the only key to their freedom. Mollie and Dale are seeking clemency from the U.S. government and need your help. By granting clemency, President Obama can end Mollie and Dale’s unnecessary incarceration, but he needs to hear from you to know how important this is.
Send a note to President Obama and urge him to grant clemency for Mollie and Dale by clicking here.
Get updates and donate to Mollie and Dale’s defense fund: FreeDocFry.com
Monday, April 25, 2011
ASA National is launching the “Sick and Tired” Campaign. Your participation in this campaign will send a clear message to President Obama from the medical cannabis community: We are sick and tired. We are suffering from chronic or debilitating conditions, and we are weary of false promises that do nothing to protect our rights as patients.
After giving the medical cannabis community a false sense of security, Obama’s administration has taken its gloves off with its approach to the medical cannabis community. The Obama administration continues to ignore state laws and raid medical cannabis patients and facilities, while creating new ways to marginalize our community.
ASA’s Sick and Tired Campaign involves approaching the federal government from several angles, and we need your help to reach every corner of Obama’s administration.
Today, ASA released Obama's Report Card. This details federal interference with state sanctioned medical cannabis laws under the Obama administration, and Obama fails. Even though he promised to not use federal resources to interfere with states’ medical cannabis laws, Obama’s administration has continued raiding legal patients and facilities. Additionally, the administration has launched new tactics and constructed new roadblocks for patients, including issues related to patient privacy, access, banking, taxation, and threats of filing suit against state employees who participate in upholding state law.
ASA is also hosting a National Day of Action on May 2, centered on Dale Schafer and Mollie Fry’s surrender date in Sacramento, CA. Fry and Schafer are legal patients who were arrested and convicted without a defense under President Bush. They appealed their sentence, which was vigorously fought by the Obama administration in the Ninth Circuit. Fry and Schafer's sentences were upheld in November. Ask President Obama to grant Mollie Fry clemency by clicking here, or by calling 202-456-1111. Keep an eye out for information about a Sick and Tired rally near you.
ASA’s Sick and Tired Campaign will bring new accountability to Obama’s administration. Please help ASA hold Obama to his word and protect patients across the nation.
To take action now, click here to sign our electronic petition urging Obama to end federal interference in existing medical cannabis programs, and legitimize medical cannabis for the sick and dying across the country. You can find a .pdf version of our petition by clicking here, please print it out and circulate it among your community. Send the signed petition back to ASA's Washington, DC Office.
Also, take time to contact President Obama’s re-election campaign staff by clicking here, to email Obama’s re-election campaign, or call 312-698-3670 to ask how can he expect re-election support from the medical cannabis community when he has not yet lived up to one promise he has made.
We are sick and tired, but we won’t give up until there’s safe access.
Please, help ASA in the pursuit of patients' rights by making a donation today. Thank you.
Thursday, April 21, 2011
Earlier this month, over the most unprecedented public opposition to an ordinance the City Council has seen to date, they voted for a second time to approve an ordinance that the forces all collectives currently operating in the city to shutter their doors, taking away access to medical cannabis from over 50,000 patients.
The displaced and disenfranchised patients wishing to comply with the new rules, prior to reopening must apply for a Conditional Use Permit Process 3 and find a location only in a limited number of far flung industrial areas of the City that are 600 feet away from schools, churches, parks, child care facilities, youth service facilities, libraries, playgrounds, and other collectives.
The new ordinance did not address any compliance period for existing locations and zoned access out of the areas of the city containing the highest patient populations. City Council asked the Mayor to come up with a price tag for the new permits as well as to propose an enforcement and regulatory structure for collectives within thirty days.
Following the final legislative act by the City Council on this ordinance the Mayor has ten days to either veto the legislation or sign it into law. If he lets the 10 days go by without a signature, then the ordinance automatically becomes law and he is no longer able to issue a veto.
Call the Mayor’s office today at 619-236-6330 and urge him to veto this overly restrictive ordinance and fix the City Council’s mistake.
Use the sample script below:
I am outraged at the San Diego City Council’s vote on the medical marijuana dispensary ordinance and the impact it will have on the community in San Diego. Medical marijuana patients and providers should not be zoned out of the city into far flung industrial areas and forced to go through an overly restrictive compliance process.
I strongly urge you to amend the ordinance with the following:
- Create a two year compliance period for collectives currently in operation.
- Add all commercial and industrial areas back in to the list of allowed zones.
- Reduce the proximity restriction to 600 feet away from schools as the only sensitivity use.
- Reduce Process three to Process one “By Right”, the same land use requirements imposed on pharmacies in the City of San Diego.
Thank you for your time."
After calling, click here to send the Mayor an email:
San Diego Americans for Safe Access | www.SafeAccessSD.org
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Join ASA - www.safeaccessnow.org
Wednesday, April 20, 2011
On 4/20/2011 at the regularly scheduled Council Meeting in Oceanside, the Oceanside City Council will be discussing a lawsuit against two medical marijuana collectives within their city’s limits. Oceanside is one of the municipalities within San Diego County that has had a moratorium on collectives since May of 2009. The city under the guise of updating their municipal code added new wording a few month ago prohibiting all types of businesses and uses that are not explicitly defined in their municipal code, which by default bans collective cultivation efforts which include dispensing medical cannabis through a storefront facility.
Come out to the City Council Meeting in Oceanside on Wednesday 4/20 at 3:30pm and speak out against this ban on patient’s rights and help us ask for a sensible regulation that protects the most vulnerable among us as well as addresses neighborhood concerns.
For more information about the law suit in Oceanside, take a look at the North County Times article:
City officials file lawsuit seeking to close two dispensaries.
OCEANSIDE: City's ban on medical marijuana shops headed for court
A court showdown is looming between the city of Oceanside and two marijuana dispensaries it's trying to close down.
City officials in March filed a lawsuit in Vista Superior Court against Abaca Medical Collective on South Coast Highway and Green Ocean Collective on South El Camino Real asking a judge to issue an injunction that would put the dispensaries out of business.
City Attorney John Mullen, in court papers, said the dispensaries violate the city's moratorium on such businesses, violate zoning ordinances and are operating without a required city business license.
Abaca on Friday counterattacked, filing a class action lawsuit on behalf of its operators and its up to 2,500 members.
The group's lawyer, Philip Ganong of Bakersfield, asked for a jury trial and is seeking damages of up to $25,000 for each of Abaca's members and for Abaca's operators, whom he said were illegally arrested in a May 2010 raid on the dispensary. Read More
Eugene Davidovich, Chapter Coordinator
San Diego Americans for Safe Access
Get Involved, get active, make a difference!
Join ASA - www.safeaccessnow.org
Sunday, April 17, 2011
Imperial Beach, CA - On Saturday, April 16th, organizers and volunteers from the Stop The Ban IB campaign kicked off a grassroots effort to collect letters from concerned citizens in Imperial Beach who feel strongly against the direction taken by city leaders to ban safe access to medical marijuana for the city's legitimate Prop.215 patients, some of who are the most vulnerable residents in the city.
Two days earlier, at 1233 Palm Ave., during the planned monthly South Bay meeting of the San Diego Chapter of Americans for Safe Access (SDASA), several city residents volunteered time and donated financially to the campaign.
Ironically, the South Bay monthly meetings are held at the very location that was to be Imperial Beach' s first Prop. 215 patient cooperative, that is until city officials refused to issue a business licence, enacted a moratorium while vowing to create an ordinance, however, have since completely flip-flopped and have surprised the community with this Public Notice outlining a plan to ban access citywide on June 1st, 2011.
After only 3 1/2 hours of effort, before the end of the test run, volunteers were on the phone with the campaign leaders requesting more blank forms, reportedly; "as soon as possible." Volunteers excitedly commented; "There were so many people, we actually had a line of voters for about 25 minutes, then we ran out of letters!"
Imperial Beach officials reportedly have checked with a 'select group' of constituents regarding this issue prior to deciding to ban access.
Apparently however, city officials did not check with many local voters before making such a wide-ranging and non-compassionate decision to outright ban Imperial Beach Prop. 215 patients from safe access to legally recommended medicine.
Volunteers also indicated that Imperial Beach voters were confused by, and could not understand why, city officials would thumb their noses at, and not respect, the San Diego County Grand Jury recommendations regarding dispensaries.
The recommendations were delivered to the City in June of last year and did not offer a ban as an option for compliance.
At the end of the campaign's first day after only a test run, it became clearly evident that the city's 'voting' constituents will be expecting a change of heart and some compassion by council members at the June 1st council meeting, and not excepting a planned discrimination of Prop. 215 patients by the banning of safe access in the city.
Or, it appears there very well may be a change of council faces following the 2012 general election when three of the council members, Bragg, Billbray and King would otherwise be seeking 'voting constituents' for their re-election campaigns.
Campaign organizer and Vice Chair of the local ASA chapter, Mr. Marcus Boyd, who also hosts the monthly South Bay SDASA meetings in Imperial Beach said, "If the Imperial Beach City Council enacts the proposed ban it will be despite the largest public outcry, against an ordinance, the City of Imperial Beach has ever experienced.”
"On Sunday, during Earth Day, the campaign will continue gathering voting constituent letters along side the Stop The Ban SD campaign, and with an anticipated 100,000 'earth mined' visitors to Balboa Park, we printed many more letters and expect our total number will rise.", Boyd continued.
San Diego Americans for Safe Access (ASA) is the local chapter of 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.
San Diego ASA helps protect the rights of cannabis patients. Our volunteer leaders work daily to change local and federal policy to meet the immediate needs of patients as well as create long-term strategies for safe access and programs that encourage research.
South Bay SDASA meetings are held in Imperial Beach the Thursday after the 2nd Tuesday of every month. Visit the SDASA website for a calendar of all meetings and events.
Not a ASA member? Join now*! Already a member? Right now is the right time to donate more.
*($10 memberships are available. Even though the ASA donation page starts at $35, you can select OTHER and enter $10, be sure to type SAN DIEGO ASA in the IN HONOR OF box. Then, poof, you're a ASA member making safe access happen now!)
Saturday, April 16, 2011
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
San Diego, CA – On Tuesday five medical marijuana activists staged an act of civil disobedience at San Diego City Hall, taking a principled and public stand against the new ordinance that establishes a de facto ban on patients’ collectives and cooperatives in the city.
Prior to the bill's first reading on March 28th, the Stop the Ban campaign organized the largest letter-writing campaign in the city’s history, during which almost 4,000 San Diego residents wrote in opposition to the ordinance, requesting the passage of specific amendments.
Having thoroughly exhausted all political means and left with little option, activists chose nonviolent civil disobedience to voice their opposition to the council's decision. The activists all part of the "Stop the Ban Campaign" -- a coalition of over 20 local, state, and national groups spearheaded by Canvass for a Cause and the San Diego Chapter of Americans for Safe Access (ASA) -- dropped empty pills bottles in front of the City Council to symbolize their lack of safe access to medicine. Then they linked arms and sat down on the floor in chambers repeatedly chanting "We demand safe access," and singing “We Shall Overcome,” disrupting the session, forcing council to clear the chambers, and for a few minutes actually delaying the second vote on the ordinance.
The council members, over loud chants and song, determined to cast their votes, did so (5-2) over the chants and singing. Once their votes were cast the council members all jetted for the exits and left City Hall with police escorts.
Following the vote, police in the council chambers told the protesters to leave or they would be under arrest and warned the audience that anyone who stayed behind with the protesters would be arrested as well. As the room cleared out, the chants and song grew louder.
After all members of the public were escorted out of the council chambers, the lights in the room as well as the air conditioning were cut off in an attempt to encourage the protesters to leave while several uniformed police were stationed on both sides of the protesters waiting for the order to take them into custody.
After a couple hours it became clear the police were instructed not to arrested, harm, or bother the protesters and to avoid by all means, the PR nightmare any arrests would cause City.
"The patient community in San Diego will not be deterred despite the efforts of the City Council," said ASA San Diego Chair Eugene Davidovich, one of the protest organizers and activists participating in the civil disobedience on Tuesday. "One way or another, San Diego patients will gain safe access to their medication, but it would be much more effective for the city to work with us instead of fighting us at every step of the way."
The protesters remained in the chambers for a couple hours past the council meeting in protest of the vote and in light of their action were able to send a strong message throughout the City, that this community’s voices will in fact be heard and respected. Those who left the chambers were told by the police that the five inside would be placed under arrest, although that never happened.
Advocates are now targeting San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders, urging him to reject the bill and tell the City Council to come back with a version that reflects the community's input. While litigation is likely to result from the passage of the ordinance in its current form, there is another move afoot. The San Diego chapter of ASA in collaboration with the Stop the Ban Campaign submitted a ballot proposal to the city clerk on Monday in an attempt to put the issue before the voters. A little-used process involving the city's Rules Committee, could prompt a public hearing on the proposed measure and if approved by the committee would be sent to the council for placement on the next election's ballot.
San Diego ASA chapter website: http://SafeAccessSD.org
Stop the Ban: www.facebook.com/stopthebansd.org
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Monday, April 11, 2011
Following the largest letter writing campaign in the city’s history council ignores community’s demands; coalition holds press conference to discuss the impact of the ordinance and the community’s response to the de-facto dispensary ban.
SAN DIEGO, CA – Monday, April 11th at 11:00am at the San Diego City Hall, the Stop the Ban Campaign – a coalition campaign of over 20 local, state, and national groups spearheaded by Canvass for a Cause and the San Diego Chapter of Americans for Safe Access – held a press conference to respond to the Council’s Medical Marijuana ordinance and Tuesday’s upcoming second vote.
Last month, on March 28th, the City Council held their first vote on the medical marijuana ordinance which serves to close every medical cannabis facility currently open in the city, and would impose stricter land-use and zoning laws than currently apply to any other business within city limits.
Prior to the March 28th vote, the Stop the Ban campaign organized the largest letter-writing campaign in the city’s history. All the letters were from San Diego residents writing in opposition to the ordinance and asking for specific amendments. The campaign then went on to organize an estimated 500 people to attend the City Council meeting on the 28th at which the council heard over 5 hours of testimony in opposition to this ordinance as it is written making it one of the most well attended Council meetings in recent San Diego history.
The ordinance was also opposed by the Chair and Vice-Chair of the City’s Medical Marijuana Task Force, and if passed without amendment would undoubtedly face multiple legal challenges as well as would negatively impact the most vulnerable members of our community.
The council refused to even place the suggested amendments on the floor for a vote, they voted this de-facto ban in over the most unprecedented outpouring of public opposition to an ordinance the City Council has ever seen.
Today the San Diego Chapter of Americans for Safe Access in Collaboration with the Stop the Ban Campaign submitted a Ballot Proposal to the City Clerk in accordance with Council Policy 000-21 for a hearing in front of the City Council’s Rules Committee. If the rules committee accepts the proposal and passes it on to the council for a vote, the council would then have the option of placing the ballot proposal on the ballot for the voters to decide on at the next election.
“Today, we are offering the council a reasonable alternative with this ballot proposal which is more in line with what the task force recommended and the community’s needs”. Eugene Davidovich, Chapter Coordinator of San Diego Americans for Safe Access stated after the press conference. “Our proposal protects both patients’ rights and respect’s the neighborhood’s concerns”.
The community is urging the City Council to listen and respect the voice of the community, voters, and patients, all of who are urging the council to amend the ordinance, bring it back in line with the recommendations of the medical marijuana task force and actually regulate access to a legal medicine rather than eradicate it for all patients in the City.
On Tuesday the community is prepared to hold the Council accountable for their failure to consider patient needs and respect the community’s wishes.
Visit www.facebook.com/stopthebansd for the latest information on the campaign efforts.
Saturday, April 9, 2011
Posted by Don Duncan on The ASA Blog 4/6/2011
Yesterday, the California Senate Judiciary Committee approved SB 129, legislation sponsored by Americans for Safe Access (ASA) that will protect responsible, law abiding medical cannabis patients in the state from employment discrimination. This is the first step in adopting this important legislation, and ASA needs your help to make sure it happens this year.
Take a minute right now to call your California Senator and ask him or her to support SB 129 to end discrimination against legal medical cannabis patients.
Patients shouldn’t live in fear of losing their jobs because of what the medicine they use at home. Unfortunately, many do because employers can fire legal medical cannabis patients, even if they are never impaired by cannabis at work. Senator Mark Leno’s (D-San Francisco) SB 129 will dissolve those fears and prevent employers from terminating an employee solely based on his or her status as a patient. At the same time, SB 129 does not require employers to break any laws or tolerate cannabis use or impairment in the workplace. This reasonable bill contains a broad exemption for safety-sensitive positions to shield employers from liability and to protect public safety.
SB 129 is the right thing to do for responsible, law abiding patients. It is also the right thing to do for California. It should be the policy of the state to keep patients who are able to work on the job. Otherwise, they may be an additional burden on social services in these tough economic times. ASA is working hard to pass SB 129 as part of an ambitious campaign to protect and expand patients’ rights in California. This work is more important than ever, because safe access is under attack at the local and state level.
We need your help more than ever to push back on bans on collectives, unreasonable restrictions on safe access, pressure from law enforcement, and pervasive media bias. ASA can fight back and win – but only if we have the resources to make it happen. Take a minute right now to support ASA’s California Campaign for Safe Access.
Thank you for participating in and supporting ASA’s fight for safe access. Together, we are making a difference.
Legislation would prevent discrimination, continue to guard against impairment at the workplace
Sacramento, CA -- The State Senate Judiciary Committee voted 3-2 April 5, 2011, approving a bill that would protect medical marijuana patients from discrimination at the workplace. Senate Bill 129, introduced by Senator Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) in January is an attempt to clarify the legislative intent of the state's Medical Marijuana Program Act passed in 2003. While clearly establishing a patient's right to work, SB 129 continues to prohibit on-the-job impairment. The bill now moves to the senate floor for an as-of-yet unscheduled vote.
"When Californians approved the compassionate use of cannabis, they never intended for it to apply only to unemployed people," said Senator Mark Leno (D-San Francisco). "With unemployment at record-high rates, we should be doing everything we can to keep productive and responsible members of the workforce in their jobs." Americans for Safe Access (ASA), the country's leading medical marijuana advocacy group and a sponsor of the bill, testified with others in support of SB 129 at last Tuesday's Senate Judiciary Committee hearing.
SB 129 would reverse a 2008 California Supreme Court ruling in Ross v. RagingWire that granted employers the right to fire or refuse to hire workers with a physician's recommendation for medical marijuana, a decision that has impacted hundreds of thousands of patients across the state. Within two weeks after the court ruling, then-Assemblymember Mark Leno introduced AB 2279, an identical bill to SB 129, which had strong support from a broad coalition of disability rights, labor, medical, and legal groups. AB 2279 passed both houses of the California legislature in 2008, but was vetoed by Governor Schwarzenegger.
The bill leaves intact existing state law that prohibits medical marijuana consumption at the workplace or during working hours and exempts from the law "safety-sensitive" positions such as health care providers, school bus drivers, and operators of heavy equipment in order to protect employers from liability and to ensure public safety. Despite the claims of opponents, SB 129 does not violate or impede federal "Drug Free Workplace" laws, which narrowly deal with workplace use and possession.
Peter O’Neal, a former assistant manager at Walgreens, testified at the Senate Judiciary hearing last week about his employment experience as a medical marijuana patient. After finding out O'Neal was a legal patient, Walgreens forced him to participate in drug rehabilitation classes in order to keep his job. Not only was O'Neal eventually fired for his status as a patient, but Walgreens also blocked his effort to collect unemployment benefits. "If this bill had been law a couple of years ago, I'd be a manager at Walgreens right now," testified O'Neal. "Instead, I'm unemployed because of flawed public policy."
Since it began recording instances of employment discrimination in 2005, ASA has received hundreds of such reports from patients across California. "Why must sick Californians be denied their civil rights," said ASA California Director Don Duncan, "and be forced to live with the risk of losing their job due to their choice of medication?"
Employment rights legislation SB 129:
Fact Sheet on SB 129:
Legal briefs and rulings in the Ross v. RagingWire case:
Friday, April 8, 2011
Wednesday, April 6, 2011
The San Diego City Council will be holding a second reading and vote to approve the ordinance to regulate medical marijuana collectives in the City of San Diego.
This is what is listed on the current agenda:
ITEM-55: Amendments to the Land Development Code and the City’s Local Coastal Program pertaining to Medical Marijuana Dispensaries; and Amendments to the San Diego Municipal Code relating to Medical Marijuana Regulations for Qualified Patients, Caregivers, and Consumer Cooperatives.
There are two ordinances under consideration for approval. The first relates to land use issues pertaining to medical marijuana cooperatives (Land Use Ordinance). It would define the term "medical marijuana cooperative" and establish a process by which medical marijuana cooperatives can be permitted in the City of San Diego. The second ordinance pertains to public safety aspects of medical marijuana (Public Safety Ordinance). It reflects the recommendations of the Medical Marijuana Task Force (MMTF) as they relate to patients and caregivers, the structure and operation of collectives and cooperatives, and police enforcement.
The rally will start at the San Diego City Hall at 202 C St at 9am and at 10am. At 10am everyone will go up to the City Council Meeting to speak against the the ordinance!
BE THERE AND HELP SEND A STRONGER MESSAGE TO THE SAN DIEGO CITY COUNCIL!
Action Alert: Tell Mayor Jerry Sanders and the City Council to Amend the Ordinances Restricting Dispensing Centers! Click here to send an email to the Mayor!
Sunday, April 3, 2011
The San Diego Chapter of Americans for Safe Access (ASA) is calling on medical cannabis patients and advocates, to speak up in opposition to the ordinance passed by the San Diego City Council on March 28, 2011. The San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders along with the entire City Council and City Attorney need to hear that we do not support shutting down all dispensaries with restrictive permitting and zoning.
This ordinance eliminates access for legitimate patients, who use medical cannabis to treat the symptoms of AIDS, cancer, Multiple Sclerosis, chronic pain, and other serious conditions.
Medical marijuana patients and providers should not be zoned out of the City into far flung industrial areas and forced to go through an overly restrictive compliance process.
Patients, clergy, veterans, LGBT groups, and concerned citizens turned out by the hundreds to the council meeting on the 28th of March all urging the council to amend the ordinance and protect the most vulnerable in our communities.
That day hundreds of people, who testified for over six hours, were urging the City Council to add three specific amendments to the ordinance. The council refused to even take those amendments up for a vote.
Patients in urban areas with no space to cultivate cannabis, those without the requisite gardening skills to grow their own, and, most critically, those who face the sudden onset of a serious illness or who have suffered a catastrophic illness — all tend to rely on dispensaries as a compassionate, community-based solution that is an alternative to potentially dangerous illicit market transactions. This ordinance eliminates this compassionate solution for many thousands of patients.
Crime statistics and the accounts of local officials surveyed by ASA indicate that crime is actually reduced by the presence of dispensaries in San Diego. Many medical cannabis dispensing collectives have shown themselves to be positive additions to the neighborhoods in which they locate, bringing additional customers to neighboring businesses and reducing crime in the immediate area.
To ensure that qualified patients, caregivers, and dispensaries are protected, general regulatory oversight duties — including permitting, record maintenance and related protocols — should be the responsibility of the local department of public health (DPH) or planning department. Given the statutory mission and responsibilities of DPH, it is the natural choice and best-suited agency to address the regulation of medical cannabis dispensing collectives. Law enforcement agencies are ill-suited for handling such matters, having little or no expertise in health and medical affairs.
Regulated dispensaries do not generally increase crime or bring other harm to their neighborhoods, regardless of where they are located. And since for many patients travel is difficult, we must take care to avoid unnecessary restrictions on where dispensaries can locate. Patients benefit from dispensaries being convenient and accessible, especially if the patients are disabled or have conditions that limit their mobility.
Please urge the San Diego Mayor to amend the ordinance with the following:
- Create a 2 year compliance period for collectives currently in operation.
- Add all Commercial and Industrial areas back in to the list of allowed zones.
- Reduce the proximity restriction to 600 feet away from schools as the only sensitivity use.
- Reduce Process 3 to Process 1 “By Right”, the same land use requirements imposed on pharmacies in the City of San Diego.
Action Alert: Tell Mayor Jerry Sanders and the City Council to Amend the Ordinances Restricting Dispensing Centers!
Saturday, April 2, 2011
|Bonnie Dumanis San Diego District Attorney|
By: Eugene Davidovich, San Diego Americans for Safe Access
Dumanis scrambles to explain why official ‘Dumanis for Mayor’ Facebook page was shut down after move raises questions of her dropping out of the Mayoral race.
SAN DIEGO - On March 31, Bonnie Dumanis shut down her official Dumanis for San Diego Mayor Campaign Facebook page, a move that raised questions about her intent on staying in the San Diego Mayoral race.
That same day San Diego Americans for Safe Access brought this occurrence to light with a story published on the local ASA website stating:
“This week, the Dumanis campaign shut down the official Dumanis for Mayor Facebook campaign page and removed any mention of Bonnie Dumanis running for mayor from her personal Facebook page. Could this be the sign of Bonnie
Dumanis dropping out of the mayoral race?”
On April 1, Ms. Dumanis quickly responded announcing on twitter around 10am that "I am STILL running for mayor--as hard as ever! Press reports I might be quitting because I took down one of my FB pages are wrong!"
That same day, LGBT Weekly reached out to the Dumanis Campaign to confirm the rumor, and found that in fact Bonnie Dumanis did shut down her mayoral Facebook page but was not dropping out of the race. Dumanis’ camp claimed they were ‘consolidating’ pages.
One thing Dumanis’ camp failed to realize is that Facebook does not provide its users with the ability to ‘consolidate’ pages. In fact Facebook gives you only two options, either delete the page permanently or ‘un-publish’ the page.
When Dumanis’ campaign realized they were failing on Facebook while the NOT Dumanis page flourished, they decided to shut down their one month old campaign page in an attempt to save face in the media who likely would have soon reported that only 70 people had become her fans while the NOT DUMANIS page had gained over 200 fans all in less than half the time.
Clearly this was not a ‘consolidation’ of pages, rather an attempt to correct a failed campaign social networking strategy.
As the San Diego District Attorney, instead of inventing new terms and functionality on Facebook such as ‘consolidate’ when such functionality does not exist, and trying to claim that ASA was incorrect in seeing that her page was shut down, Dumanis should focus on her job of protecting the citizens of San Diego.
Dumanis’ support of anti-gay candidates like Steve Cooley, her fierce fight against medical marijuana, and her failed leadership and monarchical style reign as the San Diego District Attorney has guaranteed Dumanis the biggest opposition campaign that any candidate running for San Diego Mayor has ever seen.
Friday, April 1, 2011
Bonnie Dumanis Shutters Facebook Campaign Page - Considering Dropping out of Mayoral Race
Today, April 1, 2011, Ms. Dumanis decided to run after all. She officially announced around 10am on her twitter page that "I am STILL running for mayor--as hard as ever! Press reports I might be quitting because I took down one of my FB pages are wrong!"
To echo Ms. Dumanis’ words, the NOT Dumanis campaign plans on moving forward with our mission as 'hard as ever' as well!
Visit NOT Dumanis on Facebook for more information.
San Diego Americans for Safe Access
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