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CA- Pot clubs facing shutdown by feds

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http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v12/n104/a07.html

 

MEDICAL POT CLUBS UNDER A CLOUD AS FEDERAL CRACKDOWN, COURT DECISIONS LOOM

 

Among the Tenderloin's problems - brothels masquerading as massage parlors, open-air dealing of heroin, oxycodone, crack cocaine and other hard drugs - medical marijuana seemed low on the list of law enforcement priorities.

 

Yet it was a nondescript storefront in the 600 block of O'Farrell Street that drew the attention of Melinda Haag, the U.S. attorney for Northern California.

 

In November, Haag wrote a letter to the landlord of Sanctuary warning of property forfeiture and a long jail term unless the dispensary was evicted. The medical marijuana club had operated at 669 O'Farrell St. with a city license and without complaint or issue since 2005, the Department of Public Health said.

 

Sanctuary passed annual inspections that stated the collective complied with San Francisco law, which is slightly stricter than the state medical marijuana law. But because marijuana remains illegal under federal law, state-legal dispensaries such as Sanctuary - along with four other storefront dispensaries in the Mission, Upper Market and Tenderloin neighborhoods - have closed.

 

The U.S. Justice Department's crackdown on collectives that appear to be in compliance with state and local laws has reminded The City's 21 remaining dispensaries exactly how precarious their positions are.

 

"In less than six months, this could all be gone," said Stephanie Tucker, a spokeswoman for the San Francisco Medical Cannabis Task Force. "The medical cannabis movement is in danger."

 

Haag's office offered "no comment" on its enforcement actions, according to an email from spokesman Jack Gillund. California became the first state in the country to legalize medical marijuana when Proposition 215 was approved by voters in 1996. In 2005, San Francisco became the first city in the state to offer its own local regulations and permitting system when the Board of Supervisors passed the Medical Cannabis Act.

 

Each San Francisco dispensary closed by Haag's office passed annual inspections determining they were in compliance with city law, according to Public Health. Two have since resumed business as delivery-only services, and also have filed lawsuits in federal court asking the government to step in and reverse the closures. And a state court decision is weighing on minds in the medical marijuana movement.

 

Local laws permitting medical marijuana violate federal law, according to a state appellate court decision in a lawsuit out of Southern California. That decision - Pack v. the city of Long Beach - led San Francisco and other cities to delay or suspend their local ordinances. However, the California Supreme Court agreed to hear an appeal of the case.

 

In turn, San Francisco resumed permitting new medical cannabis dispensaries Monday after a two-month pause. Medical marijuana advocates have asked influential local elected leaders - including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco, and Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, former San Francisco mayor - to use their political clout to prevent further federal interference.

 

But to date, neither Pelosi nor Newsom - or even Mayor Ed Lee - appears interested in taking up the issue.

 

Lee's first public statement on the issue was to say he had no position.

 

"Because this is medical marijuana, I'll take my lead from our experts, which is the Department of Public Health," Lee said. "That's where I'll get all my information, and until I get that, I'll be very reluctant to say anything publicly."

 

Allies scarce in City Hall, state Capitol

 

Medical marijuana does not appear to have a dedicated advocate at City Hall, and local leaders on the state level seem to want to punt the issue.

 

The City's 2005 Medical Cannabis Act was written by former Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi, who is now sheriff. And while eight of the 11 supervisors signed on to a resolution last fall decrying the U.S. Justice Department shuttering of licensed, taxpaying medical cannabis dispensaries, it's unclear what further actions the board can - or is willing - to take.

 

Mayor Ed Lee's predecessor, Gavin Newsom, was publicly supportive of medical marijuana as mayor - and recently, as lieutenant governor, he spoke in support of reformed drug laws at a conference in Los Angeles.

 

Yet other state politicians with Bay Area ties have avoided the subject of cannabis.

 

Gov. Jerry Brown, who as an Oakland-based state attorney general authored a set of medical marijuana guidelines for dispensaries and others to follow, has not commented on the dismantling of the industry.

 

Rather than issuing updated guidelines as expected - a draft version of new guidelines was leaked to the media last summer - Attorney General Kamala Harris, a former San Francisco district attorney, sent a letter in December to Legislature leaders asking them for "clarity" on medical marijuana laws.

 

"There is no further clarity that the state can provide," Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, D-San Francisco, said in a statement. "Proposition 215 is the law in California and has been for the last 15 years."

 

--------------------------------

 

I usually agree with Tom but the fact is that the shutdown has been a long time coming. The language of 215 was vague enough that outside of SF a lot of people flouted common sense and opened up dispensaries near churches, schools, and sometimes even next door to other clubs.

 

My issue with this is that it doesn't look good, and it validates all the fears of the people who voted against 215 and the stand asides. Get enough of them to complain, the DEA gets involved, and there you go.

 

I'm all for safe access and states determining what ought to be state-level issues but it's getting to the point where it might be time to review the law and set some stricter guidelines so the feds can't come in and screw up what is mostly a good thing.

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Well first off Marijuana needs to be legalized across the country.

 

This "problem" wouldn't exist otherwise. I don't know how it works out in Cali because I'm not out there and don't know anyone out there either, all I know is I'm jealous.

 

Perhaps they need to revisit the law, but seriously if you can go to a BAR and get alcohol, you should be able to go to a licensed place and purchase marijuana, regardless how you feel about the plant.

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That has more to do with semantics, vis a vis how the legalization crowd frames the argument versus how the medical crowd presents its case.

 

I think people took advantage of how loose the guidelines were and decided to cash in on that, which didn't help when the feds decided to stop looking the other way.

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If you've signed the petitions to legalize cannabis you are fucking dumb for not doing your research about it before you signed. The movement to legalize cannabis means that you can no longer as a mmc holder grow your own buds. Legalizing cannabis would make this illegal because the state would now run dispensaries and pot farms. No more co-ops, the quality of the bud would be put under testing to reduce the thc content. CBD would be turned into pharmaceuticals. The police can pull you over for suspected intoxication from cannabis and test you on the spot. The levels that would incriminate you would be reduced to allow federal, state and county police to jail you even though you didn't use cannabis that day. So if you medicated the night before you could be taken into custody because of the thc still roaming around in your body.

 

The whole legalization movement would put current dispensaries out of business or turn them into state regulated clinics that get taxed out the ass. Not to mention a doctors prescription would still be needed. And those doctors that do validate you as a mmc patient would be required to undergo state and federal authentication debilitating their freedom to diagnose and prescribe cannabis as a medicine.

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What I'm interested in is what people think the clubs are doing right versus what they're doing wrong. I have my own feelings about this, so what I'd like to know now is where I'm at on the spectrum of popular opinion.

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The ones that are "getting it right", I would say, are the ones that from the outside you would never in a million years suspect of being dispensary. As opposed to the ones that are decidedly more conspicuous. How the neighbors perceive them is a huge deal. Joe Blow the hardware store owner is going to complain to whomever will listen about the druggies across the street if he feels they will negatively impact his business.

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I'm assuming the "clubs" you are talking about are local dispensaries. If that's the case then there isn't or shouldn't be any kind of "backdoor business." If there is then that's a problem and that club is ruining the reputation that countless other clubs have fought to preserve. The dispensaries that I frequent are legit businesses. @ Eviltrailer27, i'd say your perception of the one's that are doing it right is wrong. There are countless advertised dispensaries that are obvious to the public. It's pretty well known who dispenses medical cannabis. The stigma about cannabis is what needs to go and you aren't helping the cause by saying those that you wouldn't suspect of being a dispensary are the ones getting it right. Joe Blow is just being a bitch ass pussy because he doesn't like or support cannabis. So in essence, he's stepping on the freedom of others by bitching and complaining about something that isn't hurting his business and if he isn't getting business then that's not his fault and it's not the dispensaries fault, it's the people that flocked to his business in the first place and now they aren't because they have a false impression about cannabis. It's the mindset people have about cannabis that cause all the drama and all of these problems. If it weren't for the government shoving reefer madness down peoples throats for the last 50 years, this wouldn't be a problem and we all would exist together in a free society. Do your own research about cannabis. Look up the facts for yourself about how it increases the quality of peoples lives. How the neighbors perceive them is their own problem. It's not the dispensaries that create these conflicts.

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I read this and picked up on a couple themes: Why isnt weed following in beer's footsteps? Throw money at lobbyists who'll throw money at federal politicians, ???, profit. Like the article says, there's no weed advocate at a state level, and there's hardly a weed lobbyist at congress. Give these politicians money and you bet nancy pelosi's sweet ass they'll be more vocal about the goodness of weed.

 

Also it just goes to show you SF is just becoming a douchey conservative place to live.

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Everybody around me needs to change so I can have the world the way I want it.

 

It doesnt matter whats right, or true. The fact is these laws exist because at some point the general populace was convinced that weed was dangerous. To a large degree that perception still exists. The goveenment and religious groups have spent unbelievable sums of money on propaganda to insure this. Where most political battles are won or lost is in the minds of the people and you can't change peoples minds by force. Generally the most effective way to do this is by making them think what it is was their own idea in the first place.

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There doesn't need to be any money given to anyone to advocate for cannabis. You just need to speak up. You don't want people that only do it for the money or doing it because they got bought out. That's shady and a continuation of the corrupt cycle we are already in. You think MLK got paid to say what he did about freedom? Hell no. He spoke on principle and that's all he needed. @Eviltrailer you'll never get anywhere if you keep thinking that what's true and right doesn't matter, you'll end up burning like the rest of those cloudy headed motherfuckers that make rules that you and I and everyone else have to live by because they got paid to say yes or no. We don't need people like that. A great man once said "You can't stop an idea whose time has come." Its about time people speak the fuck up about what's right and wrong. If you stay mute about it then you aren't doing anything to change what's wrong with this country if not for everyone else, do it for yourself. There's blowback with manipulating people to think that it was their own ideas in the first place. You think that once they figure out they got played they won't be doing anything to fuck shit up more? Wrong. People are vindictive as fuck and they'll stomp all over your ass for pulling their shirts over their head. Honesty is the best policy. People play themselves and you come out scott clean. That's all I gotta say about that.

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Ok, I see now, you have no concept of how the world actually works. All political systems are built on one form of manipulation or another. The populace is herded either by force or careful manipulation of public opinion, and those doing the herding are doing so because they are being paid. So in the end it comes down to money, it always does. Tobacco and alcohol are legal and have for the most part stayed so, because they can be taxed, and the government gets a share of the profits, simple as that. Even during Prohibition the agents that went after boot leggers and moonshiners where revenue agents, chasing down untaxed liquor. The original prohibition on "hemp" was the requirement of an almost unattainable tax stamp. Tobacco is difficult to grow and requires aging in a specific environment, thus necessitating large stationary operation = taxable. Alcohol requires large amounts of traceable commodities and large stills to distill down the mash, then years of careful aging in special barrels in large warehouses = taxable. Weed needs a 5 gallon bucket full of dirt, a bit of water, and some sunlight = nontaxable. So until there is a way to insure steady taxation of weed it will stay illegal.

 

Don't mistake me, I don't give two shits what someone else puts in to their bodies, its not my business. Weed being the lesser of all possible "evils" in my view. Should it be legal, with out a doubt, but until the majority of public opinion can be swayed to this mind set, its best to remain inconspicuous.

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that guy compared being vocally pro-weed to being MLK.

 

 

i'm with soup on the advocacy/lobbying bit.

 

and skeoh: your "don't legalize it because then mmc people won't have as quality a product" argument is hilarious, too.

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I agree Fist.

 

I'd go into what I thought more about it, but again I'm not in Cali. The closest I've come is watching Super High Me on Netflix, and I thought that whole thing was stupid (the experiment).

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Problem with the lobbyist thought is you will never have enough money to outweigh the pharmaceutical industry and their sway on the voting floor.

 

The medical marijuana movement is breathing down the neck of the pharmaceutical industry and their stranglehold on health care as a whole. What does Phizer charge per pill for most of their patented drugs ?? How many more ailments does CBD help with ... its s fight for the profit margin, and he who has the gold makes the rules as they say.

 

The misinformation of the refer madness era is only stuck in some peoples heads.

 

The military industrial side of our government wants to keep the prohibition going due to the pacifism and thought the use of cannabis generates.

 

 

Being in So Cal where it seems we are fucking up the program with rampant abuse of the medical marijuana dispensarys seem to come and go monthly in my city. None seem to come close to the level of quality control and testing you see in Nor Cal. It wouldn't surprise me to see it come crashing down ... at least on the storefront level, the delivery option seems to be growing. Unless they reverse the ruling on the 15 year old law I don't see the gray area (state vs fed) the stores are operating in changing.

 

Joe Rogan @ 0:44

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One of the more interesting theories I've been hearing is that the club shutdown is directly tied to all of the OWS action over the past six months. I'm not sure if I buy this but I wouldn't necessarily rule it out.

 

I have friends who are in the, uh, "business" and overall they don't seem to be too concerned about this latest development. And I was right- some of them agree that when 215 passed it addressed an immediate need but definitely opened the door to future headaches and thus should be revisited.

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So six months later, what's happened?

 

- High profile federal raid at Oaksterdam

- Virtually all SoCal clubs shut down

- BPG shut down, currently looking for a new location

- Harborside is holding out but it doesn't look good for them

- Measure Z still in effect

 

Didn't Obama say he was going to leave medical MJ alone? Because I'm pretty sure that's what he said....or is the DEA operating outside of federal decree?

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I don't smoke, but:

 

 

nancy pelosi's sweet ass.

 

 

 

There doesn't need to be any money given to anyone to advocate for cannabis. You just need to speak up. You don't want people that only do it for the money or doing it because they got bought out. That's shady and a continuation of the corrupt cycle we are already in. You think MLK got paid to say what he did about freedom? Hell no. He spoke on principle and that's all he needed. @Eviltrailer you'll never get anywhere if you keep thinking that what's true and right doesn't matter, you'll end up burning like the rest of those cloudy headed motherfuckers that make rules that you and I and everyone else have to live by because they got paid to say yes or no. We don't need people like that. A great man once said "You can't stop an idea whose time has come." Its about time people speak the fuck up about what's right and wrong. If you stay mute about it then you aren't doing anything to change what's wrong with this country if not for everyone else, do it for yourself. There's blowback with manipulating people to think that it was their own ideas in the first place. You think that once they figure out they got played they won't be doing anything to fuck shit up more? Wrong. People are vindictive as fuck and they'll stomp all over your ass for pulling their shirts over their head. Honesty is the best policy. People play themselves and you come out scott clean. That's all I gotta say about that.

 

Hahahaha, you think that there is any such thing as right and wrong outside of your own head. Do you not get that these concepts are completely subjective and everyone will differ on what right and wrong is? Dude, there is only 'can/can't, does/doesn't, is/isn't' and those who have the knowledge and power to get their way.

 

Welcome to the world, my friend!

 

 

Problem with the lobbyist thought is you will never have enough money to outweigh the pharmaceutical industry and their sway on the voting floor.

So, allow the pharmas to profit from medical dope

 

The military industrial side of our government wants to keep the prohibition going due to the pacifism and thought the use of cannabis generates.

 

Ah, you have anything you can back that last assertion up with?

 

I'm going to suggest that the mil industry couldn't give a shit about med dope. To think that they would spend time and effort on the issue because they don't like flower-power is a bit of a stretch. Entertaining, though!

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