prop 215

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California: Militarized Cops Seize Assets of Legal Medical Marijuana Company

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Police High Five Each Other as Cannabis Industry Leader’s Assets Frozen, $324,000 in Cash Taken, Family Bank Accounts Frozen

Med-West CEO Speaks Out for First Time Since Raid

“It was like a scene from a bad movie.”

That’s what James Slatic, the CEO of Med-West Distribution, LLC and a leader in the national effort to legalize medical cannabis products, remembers thinking when he first viewed the footage from his security cameras.

For the first time, Slatic is speaking out about the raid mounted by local law enforcement against his company, a legal medical cannabis company, on January 28, at 7:30 a.m.

His comments, contained in a video on the Indiegogo account he is using to raise money for his legal defense, raise serious issues about the role of local law enforcement in California, a state where a new law just went into effect regulating the medical cannabis industry and where a statewide ballot initiative will be held this November to legalize the adult use of recreational cannabis.

In the video, Slatic offers disturbing details from the raid: “Our two employees were put on the floor with guns to their heads. All of our assets were frozen, all of our bank accounts, all of my wife’s accounts, all of our daughters’ accounts have been frozen.”

California: Record-Breaking 13 Bills In Legislature Dealing With Marijuana

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A record-breaking 13 bills are in the California Legislature this year dealing with marijuana, and most of them deal specifically with medicinal cannabis. Some of the bills would be quite damaging, including legislation that would criminalize some types of cultivation and concentrate manufacturing.

The bill with the most far-reaching consequences is AB 266, according to activist Lanny Swerdlow of the BlogTalkRadio.com show "Marijuana Compassion and Common Sense." According to Swerdlow, this bill is an attempt to put some state controls on California's patchwork of local regulations.

The bill would create a new Governor's Office of MMJ Regulation to oversee and coordinate three new MMJ regulatory divisions:
1) The Department of Food and Agriculture for cultivation;
2) Public Health for product safety and labeling; and
3) The Board of Equalization for licensing.

The major action, according to Swerdlow, would be by the Board of Equalization acting in coordination with other state agencies to write and enforce regulations for commercial medical marijuana distribution, and to issue provisional licenses for medicinal cannabis organizations, contingent on local licensing approval.

AB 266 also would prioritize enforcement against doctors accused of writing inappropriate medical marijuana recommendations, would create an apprenticeship program for the medicinal cannabis industry, would authorize additional local taxation, and more.

California: Residency Requirement For Medical Marijuana May Be A Myth

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The residency requirement for legally getting a medical marijuana authorization in California doesn't really exist, according to at least two Bay Area lawyers who say the industry is misinterpreting state law.

Veteran marijuana lawyer William Panzer on Thursday confirmed the contents of a talk given by another attorney, Lauren Vazquez, to a group of entrepreneurs on January 22, reports David Downs at SF Gate.

"No, there is no residency requirement," Panzer said. "It's just misinformation."

"Why not?" Panzer said. "My wife hurt her ankle in Florida and had to go to the doctor for pain pills. They didn't say, 'Sorry, you don't live in Florida.'"

Almost all authorizing physicians and dispensaries in California enforce the residency requirement, turning away tens of millions of dollars in business each year by enforcing what looks to be a non-existent rule.

One of every 20 California adults is estimated to have used cannabis medicinally for a "serious" condition, and 92 percent of them believe it was helpful, according to recent polls.

Vazquez, speaking to about 30 marijuana investors, said that the preface to the 1996 Compassionate Use Act mentions "Californians," but the preface has no legal weight. This was confirmed by the California Supreme Court in a split ruling in 2013, allowing cities and counties to ban medical marijuana activity.

California: Democratic Party Platform Calls For Marijuana Legalization

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Pointing out that it could put billions of dollars into state coffers and provide much-needed jobs, California Democrats on Sunday insert a plank in their party platform calling to "support the legalization, regulation and taxation of pot in a manner similar to that of tobacco or alcohol," reports the San Francisco Chronicle.

On the marijuana issue, California Democrats "support the legalization, regulation and taxation of marijuana, in a manner similar to that of tobacco or alcohol," the official party platform reads, reports Seema Mehta at the Los Angeles Times.

The change -- a monumental political shift -- comes as 3,000 state Democrats met over the weekend at a three-day convention in Los Angeles, where they heard a Saturday appeal by Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom on the issue, reports Carla Marinucci at SF Gate. The former San Francisco mayor told the Democrats that the state should be leading, not following, on an important issue that, according to the latest polls, is experiencing a surge of popular support among Americans.

California: Fresno County Bans All Medical Marijuana Cultivation

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Both Cultivation and Dispensaries Now Banned

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

In a sobering reminder of just how backward county governments can still be, even in California, the Fresno County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday ignored the objections of patients and banned all medical marijuana cultivation in the county's unincorporated areas with a 5-0 vote. The ban takes effect next month.

The county is also banning medical marijuana dispensaries and collectives, leaving patients with no legal access to medicine, reports California NORML. "The Fresno ordinance is in blatant conflict with the intent of the Compassionate Use Act to ensure access to medical marijuana for all patients in medical need," the group said in a statement.

Those who defy the ban will be fined $1,000 per plant, reports Marc Benjamin at the Fresno Bee. The ordinance also adds a fine of $100 per plant, per day for each day the plants remain after they are initially discovered.

Violations of the "public nuisance" ordinance would trigger misdemeanor fines.

Appeals of the ordinance and its citations will be heard by the Board of Supervisors; the ban takes effect in 30 days.

California: Feds Continue Attacks on Medical Marijuana Collectives

(Photo: Patient Advocacy Network)By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The federal crackdown on medical marijuana continues, with the feds sending landlord threat letters from the U.S. Department of Justice to collectives. A new round of letters went out this week to landlords and collectives throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.

Many California cities have had similar federal interference recently, including Oakland, Berkeley, Fairfax, Long Bach, Santa Ana and others.

Los Angeles has lost more than 80 collectives, and San Francisco has seen more than a dozen permitted medical cannabis dispensaries close due to the federal threats of asset forfeiture, prosecution and imprisonment.

California's Patient Advocacy Network is responding with a Day of Action on Monday, May 6. "Feds Out of California" rallies will be held from noon until 1 p.m. in San Francisco, Los Angeles and Sacramento, with more details to be announced.

• San Francisco: Noon, Federal Building, 90 7th Street, S.F., CA 94103

• Los Angeles: Noon, Edward R. Royal Federal Building, 255 E. Temple St., L.A., CA 90012

• Sacramento: Noon, Federal Building, U.S. District Court, 501 I Street, Sacramento, CA 95814

Supporters are encouraged to contact California Attorney General Kamala Harris on Monday, May 6, to demand that she stand up for California and defend Prop 215, the medical marijuana law. Ask that Atty. Gen. Harris work to stop the federal attacks on collectives, patients, property owners and banks.

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