Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Position Paper by Patient Advocacy Network

There has been much talk from members of Congress and some Governors to "reschedule" marihuana within the Controlled Substances Act.  However, what they don't tell you  is that moving cannabis to a different schedule does not eliminate any federal criminal jeopardy from patients or their collectives.  In some instances the penalties under Schedule III are more harsh than its current Schedule I.

Please educate yourself and share this paper with your legislative officials.


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Contact Los Angeles City Council

LA City Council may hear an emergency motion to ban collectives in Los Angeles tomorrow.  Contact the Council and urge them to work on regulations, prohibition will not work and patients DO NOT want to be pushed back to the black market.

Please send an email or make a phone call before the LA City Council meeting on November 23, 2011.

  Here’s the email short-list of all council members and their staff assigned to medical cannabis:

Here’s a detailed list of LA City Councilmember info:
Council District 1
200 N. Spring Street, Room 410
 Los Angeles, CA 90012
Phone: (213) 473-7001 Fax: (213) 485-8907
Chief of Staff: Jose Gardea
Planning Deputy: Guadalupe Duran Medina - guadalupe.duran.medina@lacity.org

Council District 2
200 N. Spring Street, Room 425
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Phone: (213) 473-7002 Fax: (213) 978-3092
Medical Cannabis Liaison: Nat Hale, Legislative Analyst  & Areen Ibranossian

Council District 3
200 N. Spring Street, Room 450
Los Angeles, CA 90012 (213) 473-7003
Phone: (213) 485-8988 Fax
Medical Cannabis Liaison: Brian Perry, Legislative Deputy & Jennifer Rivera Email: brian.perry@lacity.org, jennifer.rivera@lacity.org

Council District 4
200 N. Spring Street, Room 480
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Phone: (213) 485-3337 Fax: (213) 624-7810
Medical Cannabis Liaison: Doug Mensman, Asst. Director of Planning & Lisa Schechter Email: doug.mensman@lacity.org, lisa.schechter@lacity.org

Council District 5
Paul Koretz - Paul.Koretz@lacity.org
200 North Spring Street, Room 440
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Phone: 213-473-7005 Fax: 213-978-2250
Medical Cannabis Liaison: Christopher (Chris) Koontz, Chief Planning Deputy Email: chris.koontz@lacity.org

Council District 6
200 N. Spring Street Room 455
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Phone: (213) 473-7006 Fax: (213) 847-0549 MMJ
Medical Cannabis Liaison: Miguel Franco, Legislative Deputy Email: miguel.franco@lacity.org

Council District 7
Richard Alarcon - councilmember.alarcon@lacity.org
200 N. Spring Street, Room 425
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Phone: (213) 847-7777 Fax: (213)847-0707
Medical Cannabis Liaison: Faisal Alserri, Planning Deputy Email: Faisal.Alserri@lacity.org

Council District 8
200 N. Spring Street, Room 460
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Phone: 213-473-7008 Fax: 213-485-7683
Medical Cananbis Liaison: Dennis Rodriguez, Planning/Economic Development Deputy & Laura Peralta  Email: dennis.rodriguez@lacity.org, laura.peralta@lacity.org

Council District 9
200 N. Spring Street, Room 420
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Phone: (213) 473-7009 Fax: (213) 473-5946
Medical Cannabis Liaison: Stephanie Magnien, Legislative Deputy Email: Stephanie.Magnien@lacity.org

Council District 10
200 North Spring Street, Room 430
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Phone: (213) 473-7010 Fax: (213) 485-9829
Medical Cannabis Liaison: Michael Bai Email:  michael.bai@lacity.org

Council District 11
200 N. Spring Street, Room 415
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Phone: (213) 473-7011 Fax: (213) 473-6926
Medical Cannabis Liaison: Arturo Pina, Southern District Director/Venice-Marina Peninsula Deputy Tel. (310) 568-8772 Email: arturo.pina@lacity.org

Council District 12
Mitchell Englander - councilmember.englander@lacity.org,
200 North Spring Street, Room 405
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Phone: (213) 473-7012 Fax: (213) 473-6925
Medical Cannabis Liaison: Phyliss Winger, (Chief Planning Deputy) Email: phyliss.winger@lacity.org

Council District 13
200 North Spring Street, Room 475
Los Angeles, California 90012
Phone:  (213) 473-7013 Fax: (213) 613-0819
Medical Cannabis Liaison: Katherine (Kate) Hennigan, Planning Deputy Email: katherine.hennigan@lacity.org

Council District 14
200 N. Spring Street, Room 465
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Phone: (213) 473-7014 Fax: (213) 847-0680
Medical Cannabis Liaison: Tara Devine, Director, Planning & Economic Development Email: Tara.Devine@lacity.org

Council District 15
Seat Currently Vacant
200 N. Spring Street, Room 435
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Phone: (213)-473-7015 Fax: (213)-626-5431

If you can attend the meeting:
Los Angeles City Hall
200 North Spring Street, 3rd Floor
Council Chambers
Speaker cards available at the back of the room


posted by PAN

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Write To A Political Prisoner Of Compassion & Conscience

Prisoner Outreach Workshop

Please write a letter to these patients and caregivers serving federal prison sentences. Learn more at http://cannabissaveslives.org/prisonerhoutreach.html. Some prisoners have been moved so PAN is posting updated addresses here. We will have them updated on the website shortly.

There are good letter writing tips at http://www.prisonerlife.com/tips.cfm. Info on the Bureau of Prisons' policies, etc., can be found at http://bop.gov

Join us live the last Friday of the month at 10 p.m. PST for our virtual letter writing party at http://www.stickam.com/thepotcast.

Note: example, (9/15) denotes prisoner is to be RELEASED September of 2015.

This list is not comprehensive. If you know a patient, caregiver or doctor serving federal prison time for medical marijuana, please forward the information to patientadvocates@riseup.net.

Dustin “DC” Costa 62406-097 (9/18)
USP Florence Admax
U.S. Penitentiary
P.O. Box 8500
Florence, CO 81226

Jonathan M. Chapman 63546-097 (3/14)
FCI Phoenix
Federal Correctional Institution
37910 N. 45th Ave.
Phoenix, AZ 85086

Roger Christie 99279-022 (unknown)
FDC Honolulu
Federal Detention Center
P.O. Box 30080
Honolulu, HI 96820

Tim Dellas 93161-011 (11/15)
Federal Prison Camp
P.O. Box 6000
Sheridan, OR 97378

Marc Scott Emery 40252-086 (7/14)
FCI Yazoo City Medium
Federal Correctional Institution
P.O. Box 5888
Yazoo City, MS 39194

Bryan James Epis 09636-097 (9/16)
FCI Terminal Island
Federal Correctional Institution
P.O. Box 3007
San Pedro, CA 90731

Marion P. Fry 15840-097 (9/15)
FCI Dublin
Federal Correctional Institution
5701 8th St. - Camp Parks
Dublin, CA 94568

Virgil Edward Grant 47375-112 (1/15)
FCI Terminal Island
Federal Correctional Institution
P.O. Box 3007
San Pedro, CA 90731

James Dale Holland 62466-097 (7/13)
FCI Herlong
Federal Correctional Institution
P.O. Box 800
Herlong, CA 96113

Joe Kidwell 08559-033 (11/11)
CCM Nashville
Community Corrections Office
801 Broadway St.
Nashville, TN 37203

Charles Edward Lepp 09636-097 (1/18)
USP Lompoc
U.S. Penitentiary
3901 Klein Blvd.
Lompoc, CA 93436

Richard James Marino 16206-097 (4/12)
CCM Sacramento
Community Correction Office
501 I Street, Suite 9-400
Sacramento, CA 95814

Richard Ruiz Montes 63130-097 (9/25)
Federal Correctional Institution
3600 Guard Road
Lompoc, CA 93436

Van Phong Nguyen 13254-041 (5/23)
FCI Safford
Federal Correctional Institution
P.O. BOX 9000
Safford, AZ 85548

Luke Scarmazzo 63131-097 (4/27)
USP Lompoc
U.S. Penitentiary
3901 Klein Blvd.
Lompoc, CA 93436

Dale C. Schafer 15839-097 (9/15)
CI Taft
Correctional Institution
P.O. Boc 7001
Taft, CA 93268


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Responding To Federal Interference - Petition To Governor Jerry Brown

On October 7, 2011, U.S. Attorneys announced that they will be enforcing California State's medical cannabis law, as they see fit. Given the amount of tax revenue the State is raking in from the collectives, it is unacceptable for our Governor to continue to be tight-lipped about these attacks.

Supporters of Medical Cannabis throughout California are encouraged to get involved with the Statewide petition drive urging Governor Jerry Brown to demand that the feds halt this attack and he take a more pro-active role in our State's enforcement. We need Governor Brown to be our ally in this. He needs to know that medical cannabis is important to many and not just a few.

In the spirit of fun and appreciation, PAN announced today that prizes will be given to honor those who collect the most signatures. Details and instructions are on the petition. The deadline for submitting petitions to PAN is November 18, 2011.

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”
― Margaret Mead

Posted by Degé Coutee

Thursday, October 06, 2011

How Can Patients Respond to Further Federal Interference? Part I

The Department of Justice, DEA, IRS and ATF have teamed up to thwart patients’ rights. U.S. Attorneys have issued a new round of threat letters to property owners leasing commercial space to patient collectives. The DEA scoffs at States’ medical cannabis laws, continues to raid collectives, seizes bank accounts and threatens banks that do business with dispensaries. The IRS is going after the largest/oldest collectives for filing false tax returns claiming millions in back taxes are owed. The ATF has announced legally qualified patients under state law have no 2nd Amendment rights.

For your reference, some news links from the last week:

The DEA raided two collectives in California’s Southland October 5, 2011, and U.S Attorneys are expected to make a statement this Friday during a press conference in Sacramento about their ‘new policy’ regarding ‘marijuana distributors.’ The Feds appear poised to launch a coordinated attack geared to shut down as many patient collectives and gardens around the country as possible and make patients fear for their personal safety. While collective directors shoulder most of this stress and burden, the most vulnerable patients are also in the crosshairs. Low income, disabled patients rely on the dispensary system for free medicine, sometimes delivered to their homes.

However, Congress obviously does not hear our voices. We are still a fearful and silent majority. When PAN visited Congressional offices, we were quite surprised to hear that most never had a visit from a qualified patient there to discuss medical cannabis. PAN learned that what we brought to the Congressional table was extremely important to patients’ rights. We also learned that no one advocate, no one organization will sway Congress. We must act in great numbers speaking from our own individual, diverse experiences.

The rest of this series will cover the many ways patients can help change federal law and end federal interference.

Posted by Degé Coutee

Monday, September 12, 2011

AB 1300 Signed

California Governor Jerry Brown

On August 31, 2011, Governor Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill 1300. Below is the final version full-text of the bill, which is brief:

Assembly Bill No. 1300



INTRODUCED BY Assembly Member Blumenfield FEBRUARY 18, 2011

An act to amend Section 11362.83 of the Health and Safety Code,
relating to medical marijuana.


AB 1300, Blumenfield. Medical marijuana.
Existing law establishes the Medical Marijuana Program to exempt certain qualified patients who hold an identification card issued pursuant to the program, and the caregivers of those persons from certain state criminal sanctions related to the possession,
cultivation, transportation, processing, or use of limited amounts of marijuana, as specified. The program prohibits certain entities, including a medical marijuana cooperative or collective, from being located within a 600-foot radius of a school. Existing law also specifically provides that these provisions governing the program do not prevent a city or other local governing body from adopting and enforcing laws consistent with the program. This bill would revise the latter provision described above to additionally provide that these provisions shall not prevent a city or other local governing body from adopting and enforcing local ordinances that regulate the location, operation, or establishment of a medical marijuana cooperative or collective, or from the civil or criminal enforcement of those local ordinances.


SECTION 1. Section 11362.83 of the Health and Safety Code is amended to read:
11362.83. Nothing in this article shall prevent a city or other local governing body from adopting and enforcing any of the following:
(a) Adopting local ordinances that regulate the location, operation, or establishment of a medical marijuana cooperative or collective.
(b) The civil and criminal enforcement of local ordinances described in subdivision (a).
(c) Enacting other laws consistent with this article.


The concern with AB 1300, which takes effect January 1, 2012, is whether cities and counties will interpret the bill as justification to adopt bans on storefront dispensaries. It is reported that while in committee the bill’s author, Assembly Member Bob Blumenfield, 40th District (much of the San Fernando Valley) stated it was not the intent of the bill to address bans, “I’m wary about getting into the issue of bans. I know some folks were asking us to say ‘prohibit’ counties or cities from being able to ban. And some folks were saying ‘mandate’ that they can ban. And I just as soon stay away from that issue and be very narrow in the scope of this bill.”

However, it is yet to be seen how committees, councils and commissions will choose to enact the new bill. Blumenfield struck much stronger language after the bill’s passage. "This is a great victory for communities suffering from rogue dispensaries that create a host of problems," said Blumenfield. "Some dispensaries have been caught selling marijuana to people not authorized to possess it, many intentionally operate in the shadows without any business licensure or under falsified documentation, and some have been the scene of violent crime. This new law will provide a much needed framework for stability after years of struggling with a Wild West, lawlessness…. Since there are virtually no legally binding state requirements on "pot shops," this new law is a first step towards much needed reform," added Blumenfield. "It will help prevent medical marijuana abuses, preserve local control, and elevate our debate about medical marijuana."

So much for the narrow scope.

Senate Bill 847 which is said to be much more problematic http://www.aroundthecapitol.com/Bills/SB_847/20112012/ currently sits on the Governor’s desk.

Posted By: Degé Coutee

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Patients Must Take Control Of Their Collectives or Free Gram of Cocaine For New Members

On August 4, 2011, the Los Angeles Police Department raided a medical marijuana dispensary in Northridge suspected of being a front for an interstate drug-trafficking operation. In addition to seizing cannabis, reports indicate authorities also seized 20 pounds of cocaine and several weapons, some loaded. The raid netted 6 suspects each being held on $1.5 million bail.

While patient advocates have been pleased that previous raids have revealed no more than cannabis and cash on hand at area collectives, it was only a matter of time before LA’s unregulated industry would be taken advantage of by dangerous criminals, leaving a huge black-eye on what is supposed to be a movement of “compassion.”

The victims are the patients. At fault is the LA City Council whose inability to implement a legal ordinance that has been trapped in a lengthy court battle with no near end in sight. Within LA’s current scheme there is no way for a legitimate patient to ensure they are visiting a legitimate collective putting the community at large at great risk.

The playing field is different now. The adage that collectives are passive places where authorities only find herb and cash is now badly tarnished. Future raids could prove to be more aggressive as cops now expect to find loaded weapons.

I recently met with friends visiting LA from outside the state. They told me about the number of ‘dispensaries’ they were referred to that would not ask any questions about their purchase nor require ID, physician’s recommendation, etc. It is concerning as to what else could be going on within these operations.

If patients truly want to protect their access, patients must become vocal and involved members of their collectives. By definition this is what makes a collective, a collective.

Monday, August 08, 2011

California Attorney General Drafts New Medical Cannabis Guidelines

The Office of the California Attorney General Kamala Harris is revising current medical marijuana guidelines. Here is a link to the leaked draft: http://drugsense.org/temp/New_California_Attorney_General_Guidelines_2011_draft.pdf

These GUIDELINES FOR THE SECURITY AND NON-DIVERSION OF MARIJUANA GROWN FOR MEDICAL USE [DISCUSSION DRAFT – April, 2011] are an expanded guide for patients, doctors, cultivators, collective/cooperative directors, local legislators and law enforcement. Any patient engaged in medical cannabis activities or who belongs to a collective should review this proposal.

PAN would like any feedback from patients and their collectives as to how these proposed revised guidelines would affect you.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Patients Speak-out Against Further Federal Interference

On July 18, 2011, medical cannabis patient advocates took to the streets of Los Angeles and San Francisco to express concerns about recent statements from Washington DC including the Cole Memorandum. News is that it will be business as usual with respect to federal enforcement of the Controlled Substances Act. Patients are concerned that there will be more hostile smash and grab raids and selective prosecutions.

Patient Advocacy Network has reached out to nearly 90 Congressional offices to discuss medical marijuana, the Controlled Substances Act and continued federal criminal jeopardy for patients. Governors and State AG’s in all medical cannabis states have also been called upon by PAN to help end the federal criminal jeopardy for patients and their cultivators. It is PAN’s contention that cannabis is inappropriately placed in the CSA and needs to regulated more like beer or wine. This is the only legal model that keeps cultivators safe, as safe as those who grow grapes and hops.

While only a handful of patients participated in the LA rally, PAN got the attention of many media outlets: TV, radio, print and internet. “We feel it’s extremely important to be here and express the fear patients and their collectives have over further federal interference BEFORE there are any federal actions this season,” states Degé Coutee to the media during the rally. “The DEA got their funding today on the heels of some very strong statements from Washington. We fear federal raids and prosecutions on non-violent, otherwise law-abiding citizens, some of which are seriously ill or disabled.”

PAN encourages supporters to get involved with its Legislative Education programs and upcoming rallies and street theater by becoming a sponsor. All monetary and in-kind contributions are tax-deductible.