Thursday, September 20, 2012
Join activists on September 20th - 5pm at the San Diego Obama Campaign Headquarters located at 4660 El Cajon Blvd. San Diego CA 92115
We want to remind Obama of his campaign promises to our community, and that he has the power to stop the attacks on patients and safe access all over the nation.
In coordination with our Camp WakeUpObama summer campaign, San Diego ASA is taking part in a nationwide action at your local Obama Campaign HQ on September 20th. For more information please visit: http://americansforsafeaccess.org/sept20-rally
Thursday, September 13, 2012
Senior Citizens and Patient Advocates Brave San Diego Federal Courthouse in Support of Legal Cannabis Patients Victimized by Unethical Wire Tap
By Terrie Best – San Diego Americans for Safe Access
San Diego, CA - Over 60 senior citizens put the Edward Schwartz Federal Courthouse on its ear by forming a long line outside the building, donning green medical cannabis ribbons of support, and setting off metal detectors with their canes and walkers.
Their mission: To support Ronnie Chang, Hal Pilotte and co-defendants Gary Maddox and Peter Suhan (all allegedly connected to Club One Collective/Extreme Holistic Care, formerly San Diego Dispensary Services). The defendants were in court with their attorneys Michael J McCabe, Paul Turner, Mark Bluemel and Tom Matthews to argue a motion challenging the legality of a wire tap.
Michael McCabe, who wrote and argued the motion to suppress the evidence obtained from the wire tap, asserted the affidavit used to support the warrant contained false statements and omissions of facts. Further, had those false statements not been included in the affidavit and had the omitted information been included there would not have been enough probable cause to support the wire tap warrant, making it illegal.
US Prosecutor, Paul Starita decided not to use oral arguments and seemed quite taken aback by the full galley of supporters. The US attorney’s office likely understands it will be difficult to seat a jury who would convict when it is common knowledge that California is a medical cannabis state.
For years, the federal government has senselessly interfered with states rights to regulate cannabis in accordance with Proposition 215, a peoples’ initiative, SB420, designed to clarify the scope of 215, and the California Attorney General’s Guidelines for the Security and Non-diversion of Marijuana Grown for Medical Use.
Among the points of Starita’s written response was the opinion that primary care givers for infirm people who use medical cannabis may not be entities but only individuals. Mr. McCabe, however was able to quickly enter evidence to discredit Starita’s argument with documents he obtained from state court.
In the now vacated state case against Ronnie Chang, prosecutor Theresa Pham entered the collective’s membership agreement into evidence some time ago and Mr. McCabe obtained and used the agreement to expose Starita’s falsehood that the collective ever designated themselves as primary care givers.
The state case was vacated when the US Attorney’s office inserted themselves into the matter and San Diego District Attorney (and failed Mayoral candidate), Bonnie Dumanis allowed county resources to be used to assist in the victimization of the defendants on the federal level. This disturbing level of cooperation illustrates how much assistance Dumanis office provides the US attorney’s office in their effort to thwart the will of California voters.
In the courtroom every chair in department 5 was filled and 20 more supporters waited outside necessitating a US Marshall be stationed at the door throughout the hearing to keep latecomers out, for lack of seating.
The Judge, Michael M Anello, acknowledged the supporters with an understanding of why we were there. In a show of authority to the seniors however, US Marshalls attempted to put Ronnie Chang, who is in custody, in the corner of the courtroom away from his counsel, an intimidation tactic that did not work on his honor.
In the end Judge Anello ruled against the defendants, a crushing blow to the supporters who were seen leaving the courtroom in tears. Mr. McCabe remained to speak with supporters, explain the motion’s arguments and provide information on the case law cited within it. Among the case law Mr. McCabe used in his motion:
Franks v. Delaware, 438 U.S. 154 (1978)
United States v. $186,416.00 in U.S. Currency, 590 F.3d 942 (9th Cir. 2010)
People v, Mower
People v. Mench
People v. Colvin
On the other hand, Paul Starita, in his effort to exit the room and escape the crowd at the end of the hearing, accidentally hit Ronnie Chang’s mother in the head with the swinging door as he exited and she was taken away by ambulance. Mrs. Chang is doing well but sustained heavy bruising.
Outside the courthouse supporters were delighted to hear attorney Bahar Ansari Miller take interest in the case and it looks hopeful she will take Hal Pilotte as a client, replacing appointed counsel, Paul Turner. Ms. Ansari Miller was co-counsel with Mr. McCabe in the successful Davidovich state case a few years ago and has extensive knowledge in medical cannabis law.
Later that day, Hal Pilotte thanked his friends and supporters with this note:
Ann and I wish to thank all of you who showed up to support us in court yesterday, and those of you who held us up in your thoughts and prayers and couldn't be their. We had around 50+ supporters who showed up for us and well over 20 people who could not get seats inside the courtroom. We know it made an impact. A special thanks to Colleen McCall. Colleen took calls from people who were concerned about us and wanted some information on how to get to the Federal courthouse and Coaster train times to and from. You are all dear dear friends.Hal also vowed to keep fighting this terrible injustice. He and his wife Ann continue to help with the care of Ronnie’s mother while Ronnie is in custody.
Upcoming court dates for this case are October 30, 2012 at 9:30AM and November 28, 2012 at 9:30AM, Dept. 5, on the 3rd Flr. of the San Diego Federal Courthouse, 940 Front St. at Broadway, San Diego, CA, 92101.
Other articles on this case:
Sunday, September 9, 2012
|SD ASA Rally - Federal Courthouse|
- Happy Hour / Meet and Greet
- Intro / About ASA - Eugene Davidovich
- National News – Jonathan Cohen
- Local news – Eugene
- Court Support – Terrie Best
- Treasurers Report – Richard Hertz
- Patient Segment – Kim Twolan
- “Know your rights” - Will Johnson
- Outreach Committee Update – Vey Linville Community Announcements
Tuesday, September 4, 2012
|Laura Duffy Announcing Attack on MMJ Media 10/2011|
COUNTY MEDICAL MARIJUANA FACILITY FORCED TO CLOSEThousands of medical marijuana patients lose access to medical marijuana as U.S. Attorney forces eviction of only legal dispensary, Mother Earth Alternative Healing Coop, Inc.SEPTEMBER 4, 2012 (SAN DIEGO, CA) - Southern California’s only legal medical marijuana dispensary, Mother Earth Alternative Healing Coop, Inc. was forced to close its doors and cease operations today a a result of the U.S. Attorney’s office pressure to force its eviction. The El Cajon facility had served thousands of medical marijuana patients since it opened in July 2011 and had complied with all state and local laws. It was cited as a model operation and was lauded by many as completely fulfilling the intent of California voters who approved Proposition 215, the Compassionate Use Act of 1996.“The loss of this facility today is a real tragedy for those patients who turned to us to help relieve the pain and suffering associated with treatments for life threatening cancers and other conditions,” said Bob Riedel of Mother Earth, Inc. “This is a sad day for them and a sad day for those who believe that the federal government has overstepped its bounds in pursuing a dubious course of action to close facilities that are legal under current state law. It’s a travesty really to divert this amount of time, resources and energy on legal and legitimate operations, a continuation of a flawed and misguided drug policy that has failed at many levels for many years.”The closure of the Mother Earth facility came about as a result of eviction actions taken by the property’s landlord in response to pressure by U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy’s office. The tactic of forcing evictions has been repeated in a number of locations. in the meantime, there have been no attempts by the federal government to successfully overturn California State law or San Diego County ordinances which legalize medical marijuana for patients. There are approximately 70,000 such patients in San Diego County alone.“We are leaving this operation today with a renewed determination to fight for our patients and to fight for recognition of California state law which was approved by California voters more than fifteen years ago.,” said Riedel. “The U.S. Attorney’s office is avoiding a direct challenge to that law for a reason. We believe the courts would uphold California law and we believe the U.S. Attorney fears this outcome and has decided not to directly challenge the law. That day in court is inevitable, however, and we will do all we can to force resolution of this issue as soon as possible. This action has resulted in a de facto ban on medical marijuana in San Diego.”Mother Earth officials announced plans to pursue alternative options for the thousands of medical marijuana patients who are now left without legal means to obtain cannabis. They also released letters of support from Congressman Bob Filner and other supporters who were appealing to Governor Jerry Brown and others to take action to resolve this issue. Options to continue operations would continue to be limited to sites and protocols that not only complied with state and local laws, but exceeded those standards as did the now closed Mother Earth Alternative Healing Coop.
First Permitted Medical Marijuana Coop to Open in San Diego County Unincorporated Area
First Permitted Dispensary Receives Final Permit from San Diego County Sheriff