Sunday, August 05, 2018

In Loving Memory of Sylvester Ferley Shaw aka Sput

Sput at home living life on his terms

In Loving Memory of Sylvester Ferley Shaw aka Sput
August 20, 1957  -  July 27, 2018

Sput was born with arthrogryposis, a genetic disease that affects the joints. His legs and arms were very under-developed and Sput lived his entire life in a wheel chair.  Medical cannabis was important to his well being.

Eventually, complications with his disease rendered him a quadriplegic.  Sput however, lived much longer than most with his disease and was able to live life on his own terms thanks to the loving care of his best friend and live-in caregiver Soquel.

Sput with his caregiver Soquel

Sput passed unexpectedly, yet peacefully in his sleep on July 27, 2018.  He lived two doors down from PAN’s LA office. All of Sput’s end-of-life wishes are being carried out by Soquel and she needs our support.  

PAN has set-up a Memorial Fund to assist with his memorial service and the other expenses of his passing.  Our goal is to give Sput a worthy send-off and help Soquel take care of Sput’s loose ends.  Funds have already been raised to cover his cremation – Many thanks to those that have already contributed.

Sput -  Mr. Charming

Sput was dynamic, very charming and beloved by his friends.  He appreciated porn, whiskey, weed and The Blues.  He also loved gourmet food.  He enjoyed camping with friends at the annual Top Of The World Party on the Angeles Crest.  Needless to say, partying with Sput was always a good time.

Degé rolls a joint for Sput's 6oth Birthday Bash

PAN has set-up a donation button on our blog specifically for Sput’s memorial to be held on Saturday, August 25th; Hollywood location to be announced. All donations are tax-deductible, a receipt will be provided.  A contribution of any amount is greatly appreciated.  

In-kind contributions are also accepted.  Please contact PAN if you have any questions or if you wish to attend his memorial service. 

Rest in Paradise, Sput.  We miss you and love you dearly.

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Some Of The Early Patient, Provider Survey Feedback

“The taxes are just too, damn high,” is the sentiment from most Californians and it’s now true for medical cannabis patients, too.  

PAN recently asked patients and providers how the new rules are affecting them.  Many patients reported no longer using retail outlets due to the cost and now use some other source, the un-regulated market.  

Shop owners are feeling this, too.  They report lower numbers of visits since the new taxes and fees took effect.   Some are frustrated with what they call rogue shops in their area, and state they know some of their patients have found growers to help supply them.  

Cultivators appear to be the most disgruntled with the licensing process, on both the local and state level.  In February of this year it was reported that only 0.78% of the estimated growers in California had been approved for a temporary license.  

The California Growers Association has filed a lawsuit against California Department of Food and Agriculture, the state agency that issues cultivation licenses.  The suit calls out new provisions in the regulations that allow a medium license holder to apply for an unlimited number of small cultivation licenses.  

The suit goes on to argue that Prop. 64 allowed a 5-year window for small growers to get established before the state issues what many refer to as the mega-licenses. This new policy of  “stacking” as the lawyers call it violates the intent of the voter initiative by basically creating a loophole to allow large-scale cultivation operations now.

California is not seeing the revenue it projected from the cannabis industry due to all of these issues.  

PAN continues take feedback, monitor the cannabis industry, work with the California legislature and help patients with Compassionate access.  


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Friday, July 13, 2018

Patient And Provider Survey

Patient Advocacy Network wants to hear from patients about their experiences with accessing medical cannabis.  

Additionally, we want to here from medical cannabis businesses that are having a difficult time navigating and/or affording regulations, fees, and taxes.

PAN’s mission is to help patients get the safe, affordable access they need, and help providers get better regulations.  Your input helps us know where we need to focus our efforts.  Please let us know your experiences.  

You can leave your comments below, email us at or call us at (323) 334-5282.  We are here for patients and providers.  

Are your favorite dispensaries still around?

Have they survived regulations?

Are you able to find a location?  Do you live in a medical cannabis desert?

Can you afford medical cannabis?  Are all the new taxes and fees making such that you are going without, relying on the underground market?

Are you able to access Compassion Programs for free or discounted cannabis?

Has legalization in your state made it easier or harder to access affordable medical cannabis?

Were you able to get a business license or permit for your commercial cannabis business?

Are the taxes and fees pushing your business under?

Are you concerned that Big Agriculture, Big Pharma is going to leverage your state for a commercial cannabis takeover?

Have you decided that you have to operate underground?

We look forward to hearing from you.  We respect and honor your privacy in your responses.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

PAN Explains To Governors Why Smokable Cannabis Is An Important & Viable Option For Patients

Florida Governor Rick Scott

Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin
PAN's Letter to the Governors


Dear Florida Governor Rick Scott  and Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin–

I write to you about blocking medical cannabis patients from access to smokable cannabis.  

For some patients this is the best means of ingestion for their condition, especially for patients with extreme nausea.  AIDS and cancer patients, those undergoing dialysis and others find it difficult to eat medical cannabis products like capsules or tinctures without throwing them up.  

For chronic pain patients smokable cannabis is very effective as the relief can be within minutes.  For some people, whether prescribed pills or edible cannabis, it can take hours before they feel any relief.  

Also, for patients that have a more sensitive system smoking is ideal because there is great control in the amount one smokes and how often.  Smokable cannabis has quick onset and a quick, gentle offset.  For some patients smoking a pinch is all they need, whereas eating it would incapacitate them. 

I provide this link to a news story about a UCLA study regarding smokable cannabis:
Study Finds No Cancer-Marijuana Connection

Please reconsider your position regarding smokable cannabis for seriously ill patients. I thank you for your time and consideration.  


Degé Coutee
President, Executive & Program Director
Patient Advocacy Network
Advocating for patients’ safe, affordable access to medical cannabis since 2006

(323) 334-5282
P.O. Box 93845, Los Angeles, CA 90093


PAN is a charitable 501(c)(3) organization

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Compassionate Care Bill Continues Through Committee

California Assembly Chamber

California’s Compassion Care Bill – SB 829 is bill to remove some of the financial barriers to cannabis business operators that want to provide products to medical cannabis patients in need.  As the current regulations stand, small collectives dedicated to assisting patients are having a difficult time or closing altogether.

The bill’s author, Senator Scott Wiener, stated in a media interview that is was not the intent of the voters to over tax patients and put compassionate collectives and cooperatives out of business.  What Wiener apparently missed is that the Bureau of Cannabis Control is doing away with collectives and cooperatives on January 9, 2019. 

SB 829 is currently making its way through Assembly Committees.  The next committee to hear this bill is Appropriations.  PAN has written to all committee members and their staff in support of Compassionate Care with an important amendment – keep collectives and cooperatives, especially in conjunction with Compassionate Care.  This business model is a natural fit for operations that give away much of their product to indigent patients.  

If you want to contact the Appropriations Committee, please find more information below.  This bill is not scheduled for hearing yet but anticipated to be heard the beginning of August. If you want or need assistance writing your comments to the committee, please contact PAN.  We are here to help you be an effective advocate. 

Look up the bill here:

Learn more about the Committee here:

Email list of Assembly Committee members, their chief of staff where available, and the Committee Consultants

Jay Dickenson – Chief Consultant Appropriations Committee  

Jennifer Galehouse – Deputy Chief Consultant  

Lorena S. Gonzalez Fletcher (Chair)

Frank Bigelow (Vice Chair)

Richard Bloom,

Rob Bonta

William P. Brough

Ian C. Calderon

Wendy Carrillo

Ed Chau

Susan Talamantes Eggman

Vince Fong

Laura Friedman

James Gallagher

Eduardo Garcia

Adrin Nazarian

Jay Obernolte

Bill Quirk

Eloise Gómez Reyes


Monday, July 09, 2018

Los Angeles To Add Further Taxation On Medical Cannabis

LA City Hall

The Los Angeles City Council is considering a proposed resolution to be placed on the ballot for November 2018, to further raise taxes on commercial cannabis activities, including medical cannabis.  

The Council File number is 18-1800-S2 and can be tracked at:

The 6/25/18 version of the Resolution is here:

You can contact Los Angeles City Council members here:

Patients concerned that further taxation will only make medical cannabis less accessible can reach LA City Council members at the above information.  Even if you do not live in Los Angeles but use the dispensaries in LA, you are a stakeholder.  Please contact PAN if you have questions about writing a letter or making a phone call.  We are here to teach patients how to be effective self-advocates.  

LA City Council is on recess for a few more days. PAN will be visiting LA City Hall upon their return to submit this memo.


To: All members of the Los Angeles City Council, the Los Angeles City Clerk and Los Angeles City Attorney

From: Degé Coutee, President, Patient Advocacy Network
P.O. Box 93845, Los Angeles, CA 90093, @PAN4Compassion,
(323) 334-5282

RE: Council File 18-1800-S2 – A Resolution To Tax Medical Cannabis Patients

I write to ask that you please reconsider any further taxation on Medical Cannabis and remove this tax from the proposed ballot resolution.  Any further taxation or fees on medical cannabis only harms Patients and pushes them further into the underground market where many have gone already.  

At this time the California legislature is considering SB 829 to incorporate Compassionate Care into the state regulations and help remove financial barriers to serving authentic patients.  Instead of using indigent patients, cancer sufferers and veterans as an ATM, I ask that you please support Compassionate Care and focus the Cannabis Reinvestment Act on adult use, smoke lounges, events and other canna-tourism, and not the sick and dying.  

I thank you for your time and consideration.


Friday, June 22, 2018

Moving Forward – Medical Cannabis In California Since Legalization

Since the passage, implementation, and constant addition of new provisions to Prop. 64, Patient Advocacy Network has been observing how the roll out of the new laws is affecting safe and affordable access to medical cannabis by California’s most vulnerable patients.

Medical Marijuana Deserts
One of the biggest issues is what is known as medical marijuana deserts.  These are the areas of the state where there are many concentrated local bans and therefore, patients must travel quite a way to access medical cannabis.  Low-income and disabled patients already have a hard time accessing transportation; California’s gas prices don’t help.  Helping patients overcome this obstacle is a large priority for PAN.

Compassionate Care, Collectives & Cooperatives
California SB 829 is a bill to create a Compassionate Care License that would be issued to M-license holders to allow the businesses to provide medical cannabis to qualified patients at no cost.  The businesses would not be subject to cultivation or excise taxes for donating products down the chain that ultimately ends up with the patient as no cost.  

There are patients that simply cannot afford the medicine they need for their condition, whether that is the disabled veteran on a fixed income that needs a couple joints a week, or a working class patient with cancer that needs to eat at least a gram of hash as day for a few months.  There are providers and producers that remain committed to this charitable effort to help people be well who cannot afford the only remedy that works for them. 

Patient Advocates are pleased to see that the California legislature is taking this on sooner than later which is important as there is one huge glaring omission that we can fix before the end of the session.  The Bureau of Cannabis Control (BCC) will end collectives and cooperatives by declaring that on January 9, 2019, that Section 11362.775 of the Health and Safety Code will no longer be in effect. 

Compassionate Care licensing, and the collective and cooperative business model work very well together for the purpose of providing cannabis for free to vulnerable patients.  When done correctly, it is already a tax-exempt project for authentic compassion services. This business model is not for everyone.  Many medical cannabis businesses are glad to move away from the closed loop, not-for-profit structure.  However, there are several entities that would like to operate solely as a Compassionate entity and the state of California should absolutely allow it. 

SB 829’s author Senator Scott Wiener said in a statement that, “Applying taxes to compassionate care will shut down collectives, and I can’t imagine that was the intent of voters.” Well, the BCC is shutting down collectives anyway and Wiener clearly believes that this is not the intent of the voters. It is going to be up to us to remind the bill’s authors and the legislature that collectives and cooperatives must be maintained and can be protected them under this bill.

Take Action
You are urged to contact the bill’s authors and let them know that you support Compassionate Care and retaining the collective and cooperative model for authentic low-income patient providers.  

Senator Scott Wiener
(916) 651-4011

Assemblymember Jim Wood
(916) 319-2002

SB 829 will be heard in the Assembly Committee on Revenue and Taxation on June 25, 2018.   You can FAX your comments to (916) 319-2198 for the entire committee.  Make sure your letter states SUPPORT SB 829 WITH AMENDMENTS or OPPOSE SB 829 WITH AMENDMENTS near the top so the committee knows your position.  The suggested amendments would be to include collectives and cooperatives in the bill for those businesses that want to operate this way and that this business model works well with the Compassionate Care license.

If you want to know more about this committee or reach out to them – maybe one is your representative,  you can find them here:

For updates follow Patient Advocacy Network on twitter  @PAN4Compassion
or sign up for email updates at


Dear, Senator Scott Weiner –

I write you as a medical cannabis patient advocate for over two decades.  My biggest concern with the implementation of the new cannabis business regulations thus far has been the lack of opportunity for truly compassionate providers in the industry.  These medical cannabis providers give away some to all of their products to some of California’s most vulnerable patients, but these compassionate providers can’t afford to participate under the regulations.  These businesses should not be erased.

You were recently quoted as stating that taxing compassionate care will shut down collectives and this was not the intent of the voters.  The Bureau of Cannabis Control announced it will end collectives and cooperatives, declaring that on January 9, 2019, that Section 11362.775 of the Health and Safety Code will no longer be in effect.   The amendment SB 829 needs is to preserve collectives and cooperatives. Compassion Care, and collectives and cooperatives go together.  

A for-profit M and A retail license holder may offer 5 - 10% of its product to indigent patients and have no desire to be a collective or cooperative, but should have the Compassionate Care exemption for the products donated to patients. However, California has a history of authentic collectives and cooperatives that give away ALL medical cannabis to qualified patient members.  

The feedback I’ve received is that most in the industry want not-for-profit collectives and cooperatives to be preserved, especially as an option for entities that give away most to all of their products and want to operate as a not-for-profit.  Some of these groups are working with hospice programs, veterans and other vulnerable patients. The groups that formed in the Bay area by 1993, specifically to give away cannabis and food primarily to AIDS and cancer patients, are what prompted the Compassionate Use Act and the medical marijuana movement as a whole.  Not-for-profit, compassionate work is the foundation of California’s medical cannabis law and history.

I ask you for your consideration in working with your colleagues to preserve collectives and cooperatives as a medical cannabis business license option, especially for operations, vertically integrated or not, that operate as a not-for-profit and/or give away most or all of its product.  I thank you taking on this important issue and for your time and consideration.  


Degé Coutee
President, Executive & Program Director
Patient Advocacy Network

(323) 334-5282
P.O. Box 93845, Los Angeles, CA 90093


PAN is a charitable 501(c)(3) organization

cc: Assemblymember Jim Wood,  Senator Jeff Stone,  Senator Scott Wilk,  Assemblymember Ken Wilk,   M. David Ruff - Chief Consultant, Assembly Committee on Revenue and Taxation

Monday, June 04, 2018

California’s New Rules & Compassionate Care

Bodhisattva of Compassion
The California Bureau of Cannabis Control reports that it has issued some 6,000 temporary licenses, which is encouraging.  What is discouraging is at last report only 0.78% of the state’s cultivators have received licenses. 

Another encouraging part seen by PAN’s Court Support Program is a change in attitude from judges since the implementation of Prop. 64.  Judges are issuing lighter sentences, usually probation even in the more severe cases, or dismissing some cases altogether.  

However, the most detrimental part of California’s new legalization scheme is the erosion of protection for patients and Compassionate Care.  This upcoming January we will see the demise of the Collective and Cooperative model.  Those providers, that have operated more as social service agencies for patients by providing medical cannabis for free, are struggling to figure out how they will continue to care for patients legally and affordably.

PAN is discouraged to learn that many patients have been forced to the Underground Market because they cannot afford the increased sales taxes or they have lost their collective due to the expensive and over burdensome regulatory scheme that lacks a Compassionate Care component.  

California’s marijuana laws are founded on the Compassionate Use Act that sparked the medical cannabis movement across the country.  Our State’s laws should be the Gold Standard for Compassionate medical cannabis implementation. Please help PAN put Compassion back into California’s cannabis laws by supporting our efforts.  

Seriously ill patients want to take coordinated action in Sacramento to have their concerns heard.  PAN has several actions planning including taking patients to Sacramento to speak with their legislators.  Your contribution guarantees more reasonable regulation and that patients have a voice in policy.  

Your contribution is always tax-deductible and 100% goes toward PAN’s education and advocacy programs.  Please contact us if you have any questions.

You can find our DONATE button here:

And here:

If you’d like to add your name to the growing list of patients and caregivers that want to attend a legislative trip to Sacramento, please contact us.

Saturday, June 02, 2018

Washington Rules To Protect Patients

Several months ago PAN alerted that the very important Rohrabacher-Blumenauer Amendment was being considered by Congress.  This Amendment has effectively kept the U.S. Department of Justice from interfering in states with medical cannabis laws.  

Congress Creates Concern Over Expiring Provision Protecting Medical Cannabis States From Federal Interference

After several deadlines and extensions the amendment finally passed through the House Appropriations Committee. Getting bi-partisan support for the Amendment seems almost impossible last fall. However, as more states enact marijuana laws more Congressional members have constituents for whom this issue is important.  

Likewise, U.S. Representative Dana Rohrabacher’s name being attached to the amendment became contentious and its introduction to the committee by Republican Rep. David Joyce of Ohio became the win for medical cannabis patients.  

Committee Approves Fiscal Year 2019 Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations Bill

Other small steps are taking place in Washington D.C.  President Trump signed legislation this week giving terminally ill patients the ‘right to try’ experimental drugs that do not have approval from the Food and Drug Administration.   Supporters of the bill say the measure is a lifeline for patients that don’t have other treatment options.  Opponents argue they don’t see how qualified patients will get access to these drugs.  

Congressional members beholden to Big Pharma adon’t like side stepping the FDA.  Big Pharma funds many Congressional campaigns and the relationship between them and the FDA is incestuous and a conflict of interest.  President Trump’s unprecedented move puts pressure on the FDA to look seriously at the experimental treatments and stated he wanted a proposal that was most beneficial for the people and not insurers and drug manufacturers.  

"For countless patients, time is not what they have," the President said at the State of the Union Address in January. "With the right to try, patients with life-threatening illnesses will finally have access to experimental treatments that could improve or even cure their conditions."

President Trump Signs Bill to Allow Terminally-Ill Patients to Try Unproven Drugs

The use of the word ‘cure’ is interesting.  Does President Trump know that cannabis kills cancer?


Support Patient Advocacy Network’s PATH – Patient Advocates on The Hill.  We are actively working to get cannabis De-scheduled! 

Monday, February 05, 2018

Cannabis Saves Lives!

Cannabis Saves Lives!

Crowd funder
Free Gift With Donation of $20.00 or More Until March 15th

Please help PAN reach its goal of raising $5,000.00 this month to cover urgent administrative expenses, professional fees, printing and reproduction costs, and renew hosting, domains and rebuild our site. 

Your contribution is always tax-deductible and PAN is offering a small gift with a donation of $20.00 or more from now until March 15, 2018.

Make a donation at through our paypal donate button (or at our Blog – Cannabis Patient Voice at  Indicate that you want the gift and PAN will mail you glossy, laminated bumper sticker at the end of the Crowd Funding Campaign.  Please allow 14 days after the close of the Campaign for delivery.  It’s our way of saying thank you, as so many of you have been with us since the beginning. 

PAN also accepts in-kind and/or cash donations.  Please contact us at (323) 334-5282 for details.

Current & Upcoming Programs

Patient Project Sacramento – Watchdog services keeping up with all changes and ramifications of the new cannabis regulatory system; Providing input to the California legislature to best protect patients and providers, keep cannabis, taxes and permitting fees affordable and fair.

Patient Advocates on The Hill – PAN is working to remove cannabis from the controlled substances act.  Please help us end the federal threat for good!

**Please share with all your social networks.**

Thank you!!