The Radical Minority

[The following was the basis for Doug Banfelder’s comments at last week’s Prop 203 Solidarity meeting.]

Medical Marijuana – Supported by the Majority, Under Attack by a Radical Minority

Who here feels like a Radical Tonight?!  Its easy to feel that way while we’re under attack – but consider this – We are Actually the MAJORITY!

Tonight as we meet we face an organized, energized opposition.  U.S. Attorneys have been unleashed by the DOJ, dispensaries raided, letters threatening legal action against property owners, and IRS harassment of dispensaries is escalating, despite the good faith efforts of most canna businesses to comply with often ambiguous state laws, or, as with the IRS, rules that are blatantly discriminatory and unjust.  That’s radical!

At the state and local level, anyone engaged in the production or distribution end of medical marijuana is feeling the heat. Governor Brewer and Attorney General Horne’s federal suit for a declaratory judgement is certain to be dismissed, but the intended result, confusion, has been achieved.  That’s radical!

We’ve all heard reports that local police seemingly don’t know which parts of the AMMA remain in place, putting patients at risk.  Caregivers must either grow in their homes or in commercial buildings, making them subject to the not altogether unfounded fears of building owners concerned that their property may be seized.  County Attorneys seek every opportunity to keep the prohibition machine in place, stubbornly continuing the failed “tough on crime” approach.  That’s radical!

Why is all this going on?  The only logical answer can be this: our opponents know that we are winning the public debate, and that our success WILL bring about the end of marijuana prohibition.  Consider: 25% of the American people live in states that have approved Medical Marijuana laws; we have an unprecedented level of support in the United States Congress, with three bills recently introduced; and, a Gallup poll just revealed that a majority of Americans, for the first time ever, support the full legalization of cannabis.  And, as a MAJORITY of Arizonans voted to approve Prop 203 last November proves, WE are NOT the radical ones!

No, we are the MAJORITY.  This means the best way to fight back is from WITHIN the system.  It’s how Prop 203 got passed, right?  So then how do we get from here to where we want to be?  Several things have to happen, and starting RIGHT NOW is not too soon.

Lets begin by agreeing that our opponents are a RADICAL MINORITY, and that we are part of a MAJORITY that approved Prop 203.

Second, we all must be registered to vote and know who our State Representatives are.  Every legislative district has two members of the House and one Senator.

Third, all of us, especially those patients who are able, need to contact their legislators and say “I’m a medical marijuana patient/caregiver/businessperson, and I request (not “ask”) that you support continued patient access to the medicine that works best for me/my patients.”

It does not matter that legislators cannot undo Prop 203 (due to the Voter Protection Act); we need to understand that so far, their opinions have been formed by conversations with people like Drug Free AZ leaders Carolyn Short and addiction psychiatrist Edward Gogek – a minority of prohibitionist RADICALS who want to make AZ patients into criminals!

Always keep in mind that lobbyists and business interests drive the dialogue at the legislature.  And that the legislature CAN kill 203 with “death by a thousand cuts.”  Remember Rep. Steve Farley’s bill from last session to tax MMJ 300%?  We must eliminate that kind of threat by letting our House and Senate members know how we feel NOW, BEFORE they run bad bills that put us on the defense.  They respond to pressure, so it is up to ALL of us, THE MAJORITY, here in this room tonight!

We know the awesome powers of cannabis; we know that History is on OUR side; and we know that by committing to pulling together, we will win this public policy debate over the RADICAL MINORITY who oppose WE the MAJORITY.

So let’s act like the MAJORITY we ARE by getting all Prop 203 supporters registered to vote, contacting our Representatives, and working together to overcome the Governor and AG’s attacks – we CAN have America’s BEST MMJ program, guarantee patient access to medicine, create business opportunity for growers, property owners and dispensary operators and earn the respect we deserve as a MAJORITY of everyday Arizonans supporting medical marijuana.

By |2011-11-01T07:09:30-07:00October 30th, 2011|Stories & Articles|Comments Off on The Radical Minority

Feds Target a Lender that Holds a Mortgage on Land Used by a Medical Marijuana Clinic

ABC News:  “In its effort to shut down California’s booming medical marijuana dispensaries, the Justice Department is seeking to seize the property where the clinics are based, even going after at least one bank that holds the mortgage on a clinic.  Chase bank received a letter to evict the Marin Alliance for Medical Marijuana, according to Greg Anton, attorney for the clinic. The bank owns the note on the building in Fairfax, Calif.  According to Anton, the bank received a similar letter from U.S. attorney Melinda Haag for the northern district of California that was sent to the Alliance’s landlord on Sept. 28 and other medical marijuana dispensaries. The letters threatened that unless the owners evicted the cannabis clinics within 45 days, they could face criminal action.”

By |2012-05-12T14:40:56-07:00October 28th, 2011|California News, Federal Dispensary Attacks, Stories & Articles|Comments Off on Feds Target a Lender that Holds a Mortgage on Land Used by a Medical Marijuana Clinic

Arizona Governor Pressed to Order Halt to Marijuana Cultivation Cards

Verde Independent:  “One of the major foes of the state’s medical marijuana law wants Gov. Jan Brewer to order the state health department to stop issuing cards allowing patients to obtain and grow the drug.  Carolyn Short noted that Brewer has blocked the agency from processing applications from those who want to run the dispensaries that the 2010 voter approved initiative requires to be set up to sell the drug. Brewer said she feared that state workers could be charged under federal law with being involved, even peripherally, with distributing marijuana.”

By |2017-02-12T07:38:03-07:00October 28th, 2011|Stories & Articles|Comments Off on Arizona Governor Pressed to Order Halt to Marijuana Cultivation Cards

Chicago May Decriminalize Marijuana

Breitbart:  “Chicago pot smokers may soon be able to light up without fear of jail time.  Several Windy City councilmen said Thursday they plan to introduce a local law that would decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana in order to cut costs and free up police to handle more serious crimes.”

By |2015-04-06T18:52:32-07:00October 28th, 2011|Marijuana Crimes, Stories & Articles|Comments Off on Chicago May Decriminalize Marijuana

Obama’s War on Weed

Ray Stern of the Phoenix New Times wrote an in depth article examining President Obama’s who he says is trying to hack medical marijuana off at the knees.

“The new federal crackdown on medical marijuana announced on October 7 by California’s four U.S. Attorneys sent chills through the industry. It was a stunning reversal by the Obama administration. . . . If the feds shut down every dispensary in the land, medical-marijuana patients still can possess pot legally under state laws — they’ll just have to go back to buying it from Mexican drug cartels rather than from taxpaying and job-providing Americans.”

By |2012-05-12T14:41:09-07:00October 26th, 2011|Federal Dispensary Attacks, Stories & Articles|Comments Off on Obama’s War on Weed

Daily News Editorial: Confusing State, National Pot Policies must be Reconciled

Daily News:  “THE medical marijuana laws never have been as simple as California voters intended. Now, though, the tangle of federal, state and local policies is getting downright silly. Before something really bad happens, authorities must nip this confusion – pardon the expression – in the bud.  Fifteen years after Prop. 215 made marijuana for medical use exempt from anti-drug laws, the story is going five directions at once.  The Obama administration announced a stepped-up effort this month to shut down dispensaries that purport to sell medical marijuana but actually deal recreational pot for big money. U.S. attorneys also are considering action against media that accept dispensaries’ ads.”

By |2017-10-07T09:54:53-07:00October 24th, 2011|California News, Stories & Articles|Comments Off on Daily News Editorial: Confusing State, National Pot Policies must be Reconciled

Pro/con: Medical Marijuana in Arizona

Arizona Republic:  “The state has given more than 13,000 Arizonans permission to use medical marijuana to treat chronic illness and other debilitating conditions since the program took effect in April, and nearly 11,000 have the state’s OK to grow pot. . . . The Republic asked two leading voices on either side of the medical marijuana debate to offer their opinions on where this confounding issue may be headed.”

By |2011-10-23T07:38:58-07:00October 23rd, 2011|Stories & Articles|Comments Off on Pro/con: Medical Marijuana in Arizona

Marijuana Club’s Lawyer Accuses Arizona Governor, AG of Playing Politics

East Valley Tribune:  “The lawyer for one of the state’s medical marijuana clubs accused the governor and state attorney general on Friday of conspiring to undermine the voter-approved initiative making the drug legal for some ill people.  ‘We believe that there’s a clear and blatant pattern that has transpired over the last few months,’ said Thomas Dean. He said that directly includes both Gov. Jan Brewer and Attorney General Tom Horne.  ‘There’s plenty of evidence that was done in a way that was conspiratorial, fraudulent,’ Dean told Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Dean Fink.”

By |2011-10-23T07:35:12-07:00October 23rd, 2011|AZ Marijuana Law Lawsuits, Stories & Articles|Comments Off on Marijuana Club’s Lawyer Accuses Arizona Governor, AG of Playing Politics

Feds Target Leader of Marijuana Legalization Movement

The Bay Citizen:  “As the federal government’s crackdown on the state’s medical marijuana industry expands, the Department of Justice has targeted Richard Lee, the leader of the movement to legalize pot in California, The Bay Citizen has learned.  U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag sent a letter to the landlord of Lee’s medical marijuana dispensary, Coffeeshop Blue Sky, ordering its eviction, according to people familiar with the situation.”

By |2017-10-07T09:54:52-07:00October 22nd, 2011|California News, Federal Dispensary Attacks, Marijuana Crimes|Comments Off on Feds Target Leader of Marijuana Legalization Movement

Feds Threat gets Results as California Pot Shops Close

AJC: “A letter from federal prosecutors accomplished what nearly $600,000 in legal fees couldn’t do in this Orange County suburb: it shut down medical marijuana shops.  Two weeks after California’s four U.S. attorneys announced they were cracking down on dozens of operations across the state growing and selling medical pot illegally, all eight collectives that occupied the second floor of a Lake Forest mini-mall have closed. Across the Central District of California, which stretches from Santa Barbara to San Bernardino counties, many of the 38 clinics have closed because landlords, threatened with criminal charges or seizure of their assets, were given just 14 days to evict their clients”

By |2015-04-06T18:52:32-07:00October 22nd, 2011|California News, Federal Dispensary Attacks, Stories & Articles|Comments Off on Feds Threat gets Results as California Pot Shops Close

Nurse Says She Was Fired for Being Medical Marijuana Cardholder

Azfamily.com:  “In what could be a first-of-its-kind case here in Arizona, a nurse is planning to file a wrongful termination lawsuit, claiming she was fired for being a medical-marijuana card holder. Her former employer says that’s not exactly what happened. Esther Shapiro said she was fired two months ago after telling her bosses at the Verde Valley Community Hospital in Cottonwood that she held a medical-marijuana card as a result of Arizona’s recently passed and much-debated medical-marijuana law.”

By |2015-04-06T18:52:32-07:00October 22nd, 2011|AZ Marijuana Law Lawsuits, Video|Comments Off on Nurse Says She Was Fired for Being Medical Marijuana Cardholder

Feds Target Newspapers & Radio Stations that have Marijuana Ads

California Watch:  “Federal prosecutors are preparing to target newspapers, radio stations and other media outlets that advertise medical marijuana dispensaries in California, another escalation in the Obama administration’s newly invigorated war against the state’s pot industry.  This month, U.S. attorneys representing four districts in California announced that the government would single out landlords and property owners who rent buildings or land where dispensaries sell or cultivators grow marijuana. Now, newspapers and other media outlets could be next.”

By |2017-10-07T09:54:52-07:00October 18th, 2011|California News, Stories & Articles|Comments Off on Feds Target Newspapers & Radio Stations that have Marijuana Ads

Gallup: For the First Time, 50% Support Legalizing Marijuana

Hot Air:  “A record-high 50% of Americans now say the use of marijuana should be made legal, up from 46% last year.  Support for legalizing marijuana is directly and inversely proportional to age, ranging from 62% approval among those 18 to 29 down to 31% among those 65 and older. Liberals are twice as likely as conservatives to favor legalizing marijuana. And Democrats and independents are more likely to be in favor than are Republicans.”

By |2011-10-18T18:05:55-07:00October 18th, 2011|Stories & Articles|Comments Off on Gallup: For the First Time, 50% Support Legalizing Marijuana

Medical Marijuana Compassion Club Raid by Phoenix Police Leaps Ahead of Court Case on Legality of Clubs

Phoenix New Times:  “Before Wednesday’s raid of a marijuana promoter Al Sobol’s . . . [2811 Club], Phoenix police officials discussed a pending court case on the legality, in general, of such clubs. . . . The whole situation reeks of dirty politics. . . . Horne, an ambitious politician who wants to be governor, could use the potential victory in the clubs case to advance his political opposition to the medical marijuana law.”

By |2011-10-14T17:46:21-07:00October 14th, 2011|Stories & Articles|Comments Off on Medical Marijuana Compassion Club Raid by Phoenix Police Leaps Ahead of Court Case on Legality of Clubs

Obama Administration Now Plans to Target Advertisements for Medical Marijuana Dispensaries in California

Phoenix New Times:  “President Obama doesn’t just want to seize the property of California medical-marijuana dispensaries and hit them with huge tax bills.  Now the Obama Administration plans to prosecute people who place ads for dispensaries — and possibly the newspapers that print them.”

See “US attorney eyes going after media running pot ads.   The chief federal prosecutor in San Diego [Laura Duffy] is contemplating expanding a federal crackdown on the medical marijuana industry by going after newspapers, radio stationsand other outlets that run advertisements for California’s pot dispensaries, her office told The Associated Press on Thursday. . . . ‘I’m not just seeing print advertising,’ Duffy told California Watch. ‘I’m actually hearing radio and seeing TV advertising. It’s gone mainstream. Not only is it inappropriate – one has to wonder what kind of message we’re sending to our children – it’s against the law’.”

See also “Medical marijuana crackdown gets reaction from those in industry.”

By |2017-02-12T07:38:03-07:00October 13th, 2011|California News, Federal Dispensary Attacks, Stories & Articles|Comments Off on Obama Administration Now Plans to Target Advertisements for Medical Marijuana Dispensaries in California

UA Professor Defends Value of Medical Marijuana Study

Downtown Devil:  “A researcher and professor at the University of Arizona College of Medicine’s downtown Phoenix campus criticized a government institute for obstructing a study on the medical value of marijuana at a presentation Tuesday at the Phoenix Theater.  A study on marijuana in the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has been repeatedly obstructed by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), researcher and University of Arizona College of Medicine – Phoenix professor Sue Sisley said.”

By |2011-10-13T07:01:06-07:00October 13th, 2011|Stories & Articles|Comments Off on UA Professor Defends Value of Medical Marijuana Study

Pure Medical Marijuana & Wellness Center II Sues Fountain Hills Over Medical Marijuana Dispensary Zoning

Arizona Republic:  “A non-profit corporation has filed a lawsuit against Fountain Hills, claiming the town’s medical-marijuana ordinance ‘unreasonably restricts’ potential locations for a dispensary.  Pure Medical Marijuana & Wellness Center II filed the civil suit in Maricopa County Superior Court. The town and Town Council are named as defendants. . . . One medical-marijuana dispensary will be allowed within the town”

Query: Are Pure Medical Marijuana & Wellness Center II, Inc., and its attorney unaware that the medical marijuana industry in the United States is dead.  See “Medical Marijuana Dispensaries are Dead in the United States.”

By |2019-06-14T08:25:43-07:00October 13th, 2011|AZ Marijuana Law Lawsuits, Stories & Articles, Zoning|Comments Off on Pure Medical Marijuana & Wellness Center II Sues Fountain Hills Over Medical Marijuana Dispensary Zoning

Phoenix Police Raid 2811 Club

Arizona Republic:  “Phoenix police seized records, cash and high-grade marijuana after serving a search warrant at a Phoenix medical-marijuana club Wednesday.  Detectives believe Club 2811, 17233 N. Holmes Blvd., Suite 1615, twisted Arizona’s medical-marijuana law for profit, according to police.”

The following is the text of an email message sent by The Consiglieri Group on October 13, 2011:

THE 2811 Club was Raided by the Phoenix Police yesterday.

Even though a Superior Court Judge decided that the club can remain open during the litigation, the Police , under the direction of the Arizona Attorney General decided to ignore the judges ruling and attempted to close the club by force.  We are the only club in Arizona that has operated in full compliance with the law. We have made ever effort to be transparent in the operation of our club.  We have invited all law enforcement to visit our facility.  We have repeatly stated that if you can show us one law that we are in violation of we will close our doors.  The Attorney General’s office has  been unable to produce any violations. The comments from the police were,

We are going to close this place down one way or the other’.

The Attorney General has ignored the hundreds of  black market illegal operations that have sprung up across the valley in the past few weeks.  People illegally selling pounds of marijuana to anyone with or without a card. Advertising  the sale of marijuana on the internet and from store fronts , with credit card payments and  fedex delivery.  While this blackmarket flourishes, patients are put at great risk, acquiring their marijuana from back alleys and the internet. Patients are getting mugged and ripped off. Apparently our elected officials could care less about patient safety.  The police chose to attack an open , honest and legitimate operation insteadt of focusing their resources on criminal enterprises.  Public safety should be the first concern of  our our elected officials, but clearly it has taken a back seat here.  The Governor is intentionally trying to create anarchy in the  marijuana industry to justify a repeal of the law.  It is clear that this police operation was politically motivated.  All Arizona residents should be outraged, not about marijuana, but about this egregious government abuse.  The Governor, and the Attorney general have a duty under our constitution  to uphold our laws. The Arizona Medical Marijuana Act is the law of the land.  With their actions today, they have violated the civil rights of every resident of Arizona.

 The police removed all of our electronic equipment including our POS system, computers, and large screen TV’s. We are therefore unable to provide our normal  club educational resource services.  However, we will remain open to allow patients to exchange their marijuana.  We will have patients available that have excess marijuana which they want to  freely give to other patients as permitted under the AZMMA.  As always there is no charge for this exchange.  Additionally, until we can restore full service we will waive the membership fees to the club.  Consequently, admittance  to the Club will be FREE. ( you must be a qualifed MM card holder to enter our club).    Come get your FREE MARIJUANA, while supplies last.

Additionally, we ask you to show your support and visit our club today ( Thursday).  We also need you to sign a petition that will be sent to the Judge.  We will be open from 10am to 5 pm today. Please stop by get some free marijuana and sign our petition.

Sincerely
Allan Sobol”

By |2011-10-13T01:34:51-07:00October 13th, 2011|Cannabis Clubs, Stories & Articles|Comments Off on Phoenix Police Raid 2811 Club

California Medical Marijuana Crackdown: Is it Tom Horne’s Fault?

Tucson Citizen:  “Late last week US attorneys announced a crackdown on the “large, for-profit medical marijuana industry” in California. . . . An ABC News poll from 2010 showed 81% of Americans support medical marijuana. . . . Back to my question: Why crack down now? My personal theory is that this is all Governor Jan Brewer’s and Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne’s fault.”

By |2017-02-12T07:38:03-07:00October 12th, 2011|Stories & Articles|Comments Off on California Medical Marijuana Crackdown: Is it Tom Horne’s Fault?

Medical Marijuana Dispensaries are Dead in the United States

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer killed Arizona’s medical marijuana dispensaries before the dispensaries even got to the starting gate.  The six lawsuits involving Arizona’s medical marijuana dispensary industry and cannabis clubs are slowly proceeding in court.  What happens in each of the lawsuits is not as important as the elephant in the medical marijuana room, which is that the United States has now made it clear even to the blind who will not see that the U.S. will prosecute people involved in selling medical marijuana any where in the U.S., including in states that have legalized it.  Here is the evidence:

The U.S. Justice Department has said in no uncertain terms that it will do the following in all fifty states:

  1. Prosecute people involved in selling medical marijuana to medical marijuana patients or caregivers.
  2. Prosecute people involved in growing medical marijuana for the purpose of selling to medical marijuana patients and caregivers.
  3. Prosecute landlords who lease real property to people or businesses that grow or sell marijuana on the premises.
  4. Prosecute lenders who loan money to people or businesses that grow medical marijuana for distribution or that sell  marijuana to medical marijuana patients or caregivers.

It does not matter if the parties who want to establish medical marijuana dispensaries and cannabis clubs are successful in all six of the Arizona lawsuits.  Even if the six lawsuits authorize medical marijuana dispensaries and cannabis clubs in Arizona, the federal government will prosecute anyone involved in growing and selling marijuana – medical or recreational.

People involved  in the cannabis club industry should also be very afraid.  The only people who have any comfort from the U.S. Justice Department’s current medical marijuana policies are state approved medical marijuana patients and caregivers who do not sell marijuana.  Cannabis clubs do not fall in that category.  It is clear to me that the U.S. Justice Department’s policy is to prosecute everybody involved in growing, selling and distributing marijuana except patients and caregivers.

By |2015-04-06T18:52:31-07:00October 11th, 2011|Federal Dispensary Attacks, Stories & Articles|2 Comments

Medical Marijuana: Feds Flex Their Muscles

NBC LA:  “Once again, the Barack Obama administration has taken a stance on medical marijuana. Federal prosecutors have written medical marijuana dispensaries throughout California that they will prosecute them for violating federal drug laws that prevent cultivation, possession and sales of marijuana unless they shut down their facilities.”

By |2012-05-12T14:42:03-07:00October 11th, 2011|California News, Federal Dispensary Attacks, Stories & Articles|Comments Off on Medical Marijuana: Feds Flex Their Muscles

Cow Palace Hosts First Ever Medical Marijuana Job Fair

CBS San Francisco:  “Even though the federal government threatened a crack down on California’s medical marijuana clubs this week, The Cow Palace is brazenly hosting a Cannabis Expo that includes a job fair just south of San Francisco. Medical marijuana growers and sellers gathered this weekend with no sign of the feds in sight at the West Coast Cannabis Expo.”

By |2011-10-11T06:56:10-07:00October 11th, 2011|California News, Stories & Articles|1 Comment

New York Times: Federal Crackdown on Medical Pot Sales Reflects a Shift in Policy

New York Times:  “U.S. Attorneys in California Set Crackdown on Marijuana – Federal officials on Friday warned dozens of marijuana dispensaries throughout California to shut down or face civil and criminal action as part of a major crackdown on the state’s growing medical marijuana industry. The four United States attorneys in California said that they would move against landlords who rent space to the storefront operators of medical marijuana dispensaries, whom prosecutors suspect of using the law to cover large-scale for-profit drug sales. . .. But federal prosecutors said that in California, many people had simply used the law as a cover for large-scale drug operations, with tens of millions of dollars’ worth of marijuana being sent across state lines from here. Officials said they would also concentrate on properties used to grow marijuana, particularly in the agriculturally rich central part of the state.”

Watch a video clip of the U.S. Attorneys’ news conference on October 7, 2011.

Los Angeles Times:  “California’s U.S. attorneys say they are going after for-profit marijuana sellers. The Obama administration’s crackdown on California’s highly profitable medical marijuana industry represents a dramatic departure from the low-key approach it has long pursued.  California’s four U.S. attorneys said Friday that they are taking aim at large-scale growers and dispensary owners who are raking in millions of dollars while falsely claiming that their medical marijuana operations comply with state law, which does not allow for-profit sales.”

“. . . The step comes as the Obama administration has been steadily ratcheting up enforcement efforts. Last month, a federal firearms official sent a letter to gun dealers warning them against selling to medical marijuana users. The last bank in Colorado willing to handle money from dispensaries closed those accounts last week, concerned about federal prosecution. And the Internal Revenue Service has begun to order some dispensaries to pay millions of dollars in back taxes and penalties, ruling that they can’t deduct expenses because their business is illegal.”

By |2019-06-14T08:25:42-07:00October 8th, 2011|Colorado News, Federal Dispensary Attacks, Stories & Articles|Comments Off on New York Times: Federal Crackdown on Medical Pot Sales Reflects a Shift in Policy

Feds Announce another Nail in Medical Marijuana Dispensaries’ Coffin – RIP

The end of the medical marijuana industry in the 16 states that have legalized medical marijuana is at hand.  Here are several articles that discuss the announcement by the four U.S. Attorneys for California that the United States will pursue forfeiture law suits against real estate owners whose property is used by medical marijuana dispensaries.

  • Los Angeles Times:  “Feds cracking down on California medical marijuana dispensaries – Federal prosecutors in California are threatening to shut down medical marijuana dispensaries throughout the state, sending letters to warn landlords to stop sales of the drug within 45 days or face the possibility that their property will be seized and they will be sent to prison.   The stepped-up enforcement appears to be a major escalation in the Obama administration’s bid to rein in the explosive spread of medical marijuana outlets that was accelerated by the announcement that federal prosecutors would not target people using medical marijuana in states that allow it.”
  • ABC News:  “Justice Dept. Targets Marijuana Distributors in Calif. – The Justice Department announced today it is cracking down on the illegal distribution of marijuana in four federal districts in California, which has had a growing cannabis industry since legalizing medicinal marijuana in 1996.  The action places into question marijuana-related activities in 15 other states and the District of Columbia, which have legalized medicinal marijuana in some form.”
  • USA Today:  “Feds to outline plans today for shutting down Calif. pot shops  – The four U.S. attorneys in California, the first state to pass a law legalizing marijuana use for patients with doctors’ recommendations, have scheduled a joint news conference today to ‘outline actions targeting the sale, distribution and cultivation of marijuana.'”
  • Sign On San Diego:  “Feds seek closure of medical marijuana dispensaries – “‘Apparently the federal government would rather destroy an industry that’s employing tens of thousands of people and creating hundreds of millions of dollars in legal tax revenues to save face on a bankrupt policy that the American people don’t even support — namely denying the medical value of marijuana,” Cal NORML Director Dale Gieringer said.”
  • Phoenix New Times:  “Feds Target Property Owners of Medical Marijuana Dispensaries in California – If there’s no push-back from the states that have legalized weed for qualified patients, including Arizona, it looks like this could be the end of the road for what has been a thriving, though not altogether legal, medical marijuana industry.  Oh, and Jan Brewer will be proved right.”
By |2012-05-12T14:42:29-07:00October 7th, 2011|Federal Dispensary Attacks, Stories & Articles|Comments Off on Feds Announce another Nail in Medical Marijuana Dispensaries’ Coffin – RIP

California Appeals Court Rules Against Medical Marijuana Dispensaries

Los Angeles Times:  “Appellate court voids Long Beach marijuana dispensary law.  The panel rules that the city authorized distribution of pot in violation of federal law. The decision could force Los Angeles to rewrite its medical marijuana ordinance.  In a decision that could upend the way California cities regulate medical marijuana, a state Court of Appeal has ruled that Long Beach’s ordinance regulating dispensaries violates federal law.”

See also  “The Fine Line Between Tolerating and Authorizing Medical Marijuana Dispensaries.”

Read the California Court of Appeals decision in Ryan Pack vs. City of Long Beach.

By |2015-04-06T18:52:31-07:00October 7th, 2011|AZ Marijuana Law Lawsuits|Comments Off on California Appeals Court Rules Against Medical Marijuana Dispensaries

IRS Claims Harborside Health Center Owes $2.5 Million in Back Taxes on Sales of $22 Million

The Bay Citizen:  “IRS Claims Harborside Health Center Owes $2.5 Million in Back Taxes on Sales of $22 Million – Oakland’s Harborside Health Center — the largest medical marijuana dispensary on the West Coast — lost the first round in a high-stakes battle with the Internal Revenue Service that could spell trouble for the booming pot industry. In a letter to Harborside late last week, the IRS ruled that the dispensary cannot deduct standard business expenses such as payroll and rent, because it is involved in what the agency terms ‘the trafficking of controlled substances,’ said Luigi Zamarra, Harborside’s chief financial officer. . . .If the IRS ultimately prevails, ‘we would close our doors and go away because the business model wouldn’t work,’ he said.”

See also “Harborside’s Death Tax,” which says:

“The federal government is attempting to tax Oakland’s Harborside Health Center — perhaps the country’s largest and most prominent medical marijuana dispensary — out of existence. “

Read Richard Keyt’s article called “IRS is in the Early Stages of a War to Kill Medical Marijuana Dispensaries.”

By |2017-10-07T09:54:52-07:00October 5th, 2011|California News, Federal Dispensary Attacks, Tax Issues|Comments Off on IRS Claims Harborside Health Center Owes $2.5 Million in Back Taxes on Sales of $22 Million

James Chaney, Owner of Tempe Pot Club Raided by DEA, Also Suspected of Possessing Meth

Phoenix New Times:  “The owner of a Tempe medical marijuana club raided by the DEA last week was already being sought by cops for possession of methamphetamine, records show.  James Chaney, 37, was arrested along with co-worker Rachel Beeder, 25, on September 29 during the morning raid of the Arizona Go Green Compassion Club at 426 East Southern Avenue. . . . Allan Sobol, the medical pot marketer who opened a compassion club in June, says he agrees with the DEA’s decision.”

By |2011-10-05T07:01:33-07:00October 5th, 2011|Cannabis Clubs, Marijuana Crimes, Stories & Articles|Comments Off on James Chaney, Owner of Tempe Pot Club Raided by DEA, Also Suspected of Possessing Meth

Protecting Prop 203 – With Success Comes Danger

Nearly a year after being approved by voters, the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act has proven popular with patients, yet much of the Act remains on rocky legal ground.

Six active lawsuits confirm early predictions that such a significant social policy change would engender substantial court action.  What wasn’t known was how patients, caregivers and the business community serving these individuals would respond when the State once again attempted to scuttle the will of the voters.

In January of this year Attorney General Tom Horne offered anti-Prop 203 leader Carolyn Short a gift: he could disembowel significant portions of the Act by pitting Arizona’s new law against the Department of Justice, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and last but not least, the Controlled Substance Act of 1970, Nixon’s reaction to the social unrest being fomented by the era’s youth – and still the underpinning of Federal law.  Once Governor Jan Brewer finally browbeat Arizona Department of Health Services Director Will Humble into being the State’s Plaintiff, Horne petitioned the federal court for a “Declaratory Judgement” stating that the Act did or did not conflict with federal statutue – which of course it does, as it has in every state with a medical marijuana law.

Horne had to know his abuse of the judicial system wouldn’t yield a favorable ruling, but he also knew this: the suit would create confusion and doubt about the Act, weakening public support for a ballot initiative that won by only the slimmest of margins.  This would buy opponents time to create a “sky is falling” narrative, dutifully reported by an obedient press: that “medical” marijuana is a sham, a cover for what in actuality is a recreational users program; that dispensaries would attract crime and blight to neighborhoods; that cartels would move in under the guise of being legal dispensaries; and, that medicating patients would cause trouble in the workplace, etc, etc ad nauseum.

This storyline failed during the 2010 election cycle, but could now have the effect sought by opponents.  Why? Because due to the Act’s passage and the government’s failure to fully stop its implementation, there are patients legally using marijuana for medicinal purposes,  patients and caregivers cultivating crops, and compassion clubs and collectives opening up across the State to provide patients with access to the medicine they voted for – all activities in which just a few wrong steps, misjudgements, foolish or criminal acts might be enough to turn the tide of public opinion towards the opponent’s desired goal – repeal of the Act.

Unsurprisingly, some regretable incidents have occurred.  The press, rarely missing an opportunity to cast MMJ in a bad light, reports each incident with just enough objectivity to mask its underlying Reefer Madness bias, confirming the worst fears of opponents while stirring doubt among casual supporters of Prop 203 last November.

So,we have a hostile government (with the Legisature reconvening in January), media outlets continually sensationalizing the subject, and well-connected private citizens whose overriding life goal is re-criminalizing personal behaviors we’ve just determined should be legal.

What is IN our favor is significant, if utilized with direction and purpose.  Raw assets include 13,000+ patients and caregivers, whose numbers grow daily; responsible business owners whose fledgling enterprises are starting to bear fruit; a nationwide network of supporting advocates who have been down this same rough road; and, the knowledge that a majority of Arizonans from across the political spectrum support the right of patients to have this medicine if they so choose.

Next: An actionable plan for advocates.

[Note] Although many know me as an insurance agent providing coverage for compassion clubs and grows, in a former life I worked ten years for an elected official. My political experience also includes advising local and state candidates and non-profit lobbying.  From these experiences I learned that even underdogs can win – but only if they are in the game.

Doug Banfelder is a commercial insurance specialist.  Reach him at 480-315-9051, dougb@psigllc.com, or at www.PremierDispensaryInsurance.com

Maricopa County Attorney Looks at DEA’s Raid of Cannabis Club & Finds 1 + 1 = 3

After the DEA raided the AZ Green Go’s cannabis club and arrested two of its owners Bill Montgomery, the Maricopa County Attorney, issued this statement on September 30, 2011:

“The current action by the Drug Enforcement Agency underscores the importance of having the U.S. District Court determine whether the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act can operate consistent with federal law. My concern about the potential liability for County employees continues.”

Mr. Montgomery’s statement causes concern over his ability to do the medical marijuana math.  He concludes that the arrest of somebody for allegedly selling marijuana in violation of Arizona’s medical marijuana law means that state workers not selling  marijuana could also be arrested by the DEA.  Duh!

By |2011-10-01T06:26:45-07:00October 1st, 2011|Stories & Articles|Comments Off on Maricopa County Attorney Looks at DEA’s Raid of Cannabis Club & Finds 1 + 1 = 3