LaVonne & Martin Victor

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LaVonne & Martin Victor

Postby palmspringsbum » Sat Apr 08, 2006 10:19 pm

The Press Enterprise wrote:Judge orders hearing on pot as medicine

TEMECULA: Before the court are a couple who grew marijuana to treat their various illnesses.


12:24 AM PDT on Saturday, September 13, 2003


By JOE VARGO / The Press-Enterprise



<img src=bin/victors-1.jpg align=right>TEMECULA - A judge on Friday ordered a hearing on the medical pros and cons of marijuana before deciding whether to dismiss charges against a Temecula couple who contend they grew pot to treat assorted illnesses.

The prosecutor and defense attorney called the upcoming hearing in the case against Martin and La Vonne Victor highly unusual, saying judges don't usually require such exhaustive testimony before ruling whether to drop charges.

Deputy District Attorney Quinn Baranski said the hearing before Riverside County Superior Court Judge Rodney Walker will be a "trial before the trial."

The Victors are charged with possessing and cultivating 21 pounds of marijuana in their Temecula home and face up to 32 months in state prison if they are convicted. Their attorneys have asked to have the allegations thrown out.

La Vonne Victor, 47, suffers from multiple sclerosis, damaged vertebrae, emphysema and panic attacks. Martin Victor, 50, suffers cluster headaches as a result of damaged optic nerves.

Both say marijuana provides relief from their chronic and intense pain without the side effects of other medications.

Walker said he wants testimony to include what types of serious medical conditions marijuana can treat, other medications that could help patients like the Victors and how doctors supervise patients for whom they prescribe marijuana. He also wants to know about the effects of smoking marijuana on the lungs and respiratory system.

"These are questions that need to be asked," Walker said.

Walker expressed doubts that Prop. 215, the voter referendum that allows for the "compassionate use" of marijuana, trumps federal statutes that outlaw the drug.

"I don't see how a state statute can supersede a federal statute," Walker said. "I think (that issue) needs to be addressed."

Walker set the hearing for Dec. 1 and said it could take a week to complete.

Baranski said that in 10 years of practice, he has never participated in such a hearing before a motion to dismiss charges. He said prosecutors will present evidence to support their contention that the Victors broke the law by growing marijuana.

Defense attorney Zenia Gilg said she's confident that her experts can satisfy all the judge's concerns. She said she will argue that the Constitution allows states to determine whether residents can use marijuana for medical purposes.

"I do not see a jury convicting these people, because they are innocent," Gilg said.

After Friday's hearing the Victors said the case against them, now almost 2 years old, is stressful and draining.

"They're going to break us," Martin Victor said. "That's what this is all about. This has gone on a long time, too long."

La Vonne Victor said she and her husband followed Prop. 215, approved by voters in 1996, when they grew eight plants at their home near the Pechanga Resort and Casino. The Victors contend the plants yielded about eight pounds of marijuana, not the 21 law officers allege.

"They're treating me like a criminal and I'm not," she said. "Call me naive but when a law is passed you would think the authorities would abide by it."

Meanwhile, waiting for a trial, the Victors continue to medicate themselves with marijuana that they buy, since what they grew was confiscated.

Reach Joe Vargo at (909) 375-3730 or jvargo@pe.com

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Pot case called 'shift'

Postby palmspringsbum » Sat Apr 08, 2006 10:23 pm

The Press Enterprise wrote:Pot case called 'shift'

INLAND: Felony charges are dropped against a couple who grew "medicinal marijuana."


01:58 PM PST on Tuesday, December 2, 2003



By JOE VARGO / The Press-Enterprise

A judge dismissed felony charges against a Temecula couple Monday in a case their attorney said marks a dramatic shift in how Riverside County prosecutes people who grow marijuana for medical purposes.

The husband and wife had been charged with cultivating marijuana and possession for sale, which could have landed them in state prison for up to 32 months.

Following a two-minute hearing Monday, Riverside County Superior Court Judge Rodney Walker dropped all charges against LaVonne Victor, 48, who suffers from multiple sclerosis, emphysema, compressed back vertebrae and panic attacks.

"Praise God," a teary LaVonne Victor said from her wheelchair outside of court. "Christmas came early."

Martin Victor, 51, who suffers from cluster headaches resulting from damaged optic nerves, pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor count of providing less than an ounce of marijuana to a roommate living at the couple's Temecula home, a violation of the state's health and safety code. He said the roommate took the marijuana without his knowledge or consent.

He paid a $100 fine and his conviction will be automatically expunged if he violates no laws for two years.

"I spent $30,000 and three years to pay a $100 fine," he said. "I will never own my home. My children will never own my home. Honest to God, I have been an emotional wreck since this happened. When the police raided the house, my life went away."

Even as they ended their legal battle with the county, the Victors and their supporters hailed California legislators' attempts to clarify Prop. 215, the 1996 voter referendum that allows for the compassionate use of marijuana but set no guidelines for how much is too much.

Senate Bill 420, which will go into effect Jan. 1, allows patients with a doctor's recommendation to possess up to 8 ounces of dry bud and six mature or 12 immature plants. The bill also allows for a voluntary registry of medical marijuana patients with county health departments.

The Victors harvested 7.8 pounds of buds and placed it in 106 sealed jars before their arrest.

Important case

The Victors' attorney, J. David Nick of San Francisco, said Monday's disposition represented a "major shift" in the way Riverside County prosecutes people who grow marijuana under Prop. 215.

"It's a watershed case in that they accepted the force of the law," Nick said. "They moved into the category of benevolence and compassion."

Prosecutor Quinn Baranski and Ingrid Wyatt, spokeswoman for District Attorney Grover Trask, disputed the contention that prosecutorial standards have changed.

They said the county will continue to prosecute medical marijuana growers on a case-by-case basis.

Baranski said it was never his intention to send the Victors, who have no previous criminal record, to prison.

"We wanted some acknowledgement of wrongdoing," Baranski said.

Wyatt said the county is still analyzing and reviewing SB 420. The district attorney's office weighs several factors when deciding whether to file charges against people who grow marijuana for medical uses, including their illness, criminal history and amount grown, she said. County prosecutors have tried about 10 medical marijuana cases since Prop. 215 went into effect.

Ongoing court battle

The Victors, who moved to Temecula in 1990, said they contacted Temecula city officials and police before growing 12 marijuana plants at their home near the Pechanga Resort and Casino. Martin Victor said he was told by Temecula Police Chief Jim Domenoe that he could grow up to 15 plants.

Domenoe said he told Martin Victor the county had "no guidelines or specific criteria" about how much marijuana could be cultivated for medicinal purposes. He denied ever giving Victor permission to grow marijuana.

Acting on a tip, police raided the home in October 2001, seizing more than 21 pounds of marijuana.

The Victors maintained they didn't know how much marijuana the crop would produce

"I'm not a drug dealer," said LaVonne Victor, who worked for a hospital manufacturing company before her health began failing in 1992. "I'm a grandmother. I'm an ill person who gets relief from smoking marijuana."

David Herrick, a former San Bernardino County sheriff's deputy who spent 29 months in prison for providing marijuana to Orange County patients, said the Victor case is the latest in recent months in which medicinal growers have received light sentences.

In June, a federal judge in Oakland sentenced a man who grew marijuana for medicinal purposes to one day in jail.

Last week, another federal judge granted probation to three West Hollywood men convicted of the same offense and lauded them for their humanitarianism.

Under federal law, growing and consuming marijuana remains a crime despite the state's Prop. 215.

But Lanny Swerdlow, a Palm Springs activist and member of the Marijuana Anti-Prohibition Project, said federal authorities will continue to crack down.

"The DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration) doesn't care what judges or the voters of California think," he said.

Reach Joe Vargo at (909) 375-3730 or jvargo@pe.com

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Postby palmspringsbum » Sat Apr 08, 2006 10:31 pm

The Press Enterprise wrote:Couple hopes to create medical pot dispensary

TEMECULA: The medicinal marijuana advocates hope to help cancer and AIDS patients.


01:48 AM PST on Friday, January 9, 2004



By JOE VARGO / The Press-Enterprise



<img src=bin/victors-2.jpg align=right>A Temecula couple is kicking off a cannabis acceptance project Saturday they hope will lead to the creation of a dispensary where people with cancer, AIDS and other illnesses can obtain marijuana for medicinal purposes.

Martin and La Vonne Victor say the new group will educate the public about the supposed benefits of marijuana to ease pain associated with chronic and terminal illnesses and lobby for patients trying to obtain pot for such purposes.

They say they also want people to know that folks from all walks of life use marijuana as medicine.

"Bring it out in the open," said Martin Victor, 51. "A lot of sick people are still in denial. I am more scared for the sick people who are hiding than for the ones who are not hiding."

Victor suffers from cluster headaches, the result of progressive eye disease. His wife, 48, suffers from multiple sclerosis, emphysema, panic attacks and compressed vertebrae in her back. Both smoke marijuana, eat it raw and cook with it.

"I'm not ashamed I use cannabis to get relief," La Vonne Victor said. "It doesn't make me less of a person."

The Victors recently won a three-year legal battle after their arrests for growing pot to treat their illnesses.

Originally charged with felony counts of cultivation and distribution, their case ended in December when Martin Victor pleaded guilty to providing less than an ounce of marijuana to a roommate, who Victor said took it without his knowledge or consent. He paid a $100 fine. Had the Victors been convicted of the original charges, they could have been sentenced to 32 months in prison.

Legal issues

Federal drug authorities aren't swayed by the Victors' arguments.

Despite a series of recent legal setbacks, the view of the Drug Enforcement Agency remains the same, spokesman Bill Grant said in a phone interview from Washington, D.C.

"Marijuana is illegal, and it's bad for anyone to use," Grant said.

Grant said the DEA's official position is that marijuana has no medicinal value. But the agency's main mission is not going after medical marijuana growers and users. Instead, federal authorities "target major drug trafficking organizations, take away their money and put their people in jail," Grant said.

Temecula Police Chief Jim Domenoe said several questions remain before the city gives it blessing to the notion of a marijuana dispensary.

"Who's going to monitor which people have a legitimate use?" Domenoe said. "Who's going to regulate the potency of the marijuana? Who's going to provide security to make sure none of it is stolen?"

Future plans

<table width=200 align=right cellspacing=6 cellpadding=6 border=1><tr><td>
MARIJUANA MEETING

When: 2:30 p.m. Saturday.

Where: Temecula Public Library, 41000 County Center Drive.

Information: (909) 699-4693 or cannap215@yahoo.com

</td></tr></table>Martin Victor said many details need ironing out before a marijuana dispensary becomes reality. He said he would welcome police scrutiny, including letting officers screen patients with state-issued identification cards and seeking law enforcement input about security measures.

"So many people are still buying it off the street," he said. "We want to take it off the street."

If the dispensary takes off, different strains of marijuana could be developed to suit the conditions of individual patients, Victor said.

Law officers in Santa Cruz County, where a cannabis club began a decade ago, praised the growers and users, saying they've never caused a problem for police.

"They've got their act together," said Santa Cruz County sheriff's Deputy Kim Allyn, who has 25 years in law enforcement. "They've been completely above board. We don't spend any of our time doing enforcement for people using marijuana for medical means. Most of the cops here are indifferent about it. We've got other things to do besides harass sick people."

Changing attitudes

Martin Victor said the new group is patterned after the Palm Springs-based Marijuana Anti-Prohibition Project, which began more than four years ago. Monthly meetings of that group attract up to 35 patients, caregivers and advocates from Riverside and San Bernardino counties who hear lectures and discussions from doctors and politicians.

"You need to work with local elected officials," said Lanny Swerdlow, who organized the Palm Springs project. "The only way to reach people is to reach your neighbors."

Public perception is changing about the medical use of marijuana and whether law enforcement should continue prosecuting people who use it for medicinal benefits, said Robert Pugsley, a law professor at Southwestern University in Los Angeles.

That's because many medical marijuana patients are in middle age, have no criminal background, don't sell or otherwise distribute marijuana and consume it only to ease chronic or debilitating pain, he said.

"They put a completely different face on the situation," Pugsley said. "You'd have to be inhumane to put ideology over human pain and suffering."

Several recent court cases reflect the changing attitudes.

Federal courts in Oakland and Los Angeles handed down minimal sentences to people supplying others with medical marijuana. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco ruled last month that a federal law outlawing marijuana does not apply to sick people who use it with a doctor's recommendation. The DEA likely will appeal that decision to the U.S. Supreme Court.

California voters approved Prop. 215 in 1996, providing for the compassionate use of medical marijuana.

Senate Bill 420, which went into effect Jan. 1, sets guidelines for how much marijuana patients may possess, calls for the state to issue identification cards to qualified patients and establishes procedures for which they may use marijuana for medical purposes.

Reach Joe Vargo at (909) 375-3730 or jvargo@pe.com

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Postby palmspringsbum » Sun Apr 09, 2006 11:16 am

The Press Enterprise wrote:City looks at ban on pot clubs

TEMECULA: Officials want to delay medical marijuana groups while they research laws.


01:48 AM PDT on Saturday, September 11, 2004



By TIM O'LEARY / The Press-Enterprise


TEMECULA - The possible formation of one or more medical marijuana dispensaries in Temecula has prompted city officials to seek a temporary ban while the issue can be studied.

The proposed ordinance, which will be considered Tuesday night by the City Council, is a rare move in Riverside County, which has lagged behind other parts of the state on the medical marijuana issue.

"This ordinance would put everything on hold until we can take a look at it," Mayor Mike Naggar said Friday.

Temecula recently received some informal inquiries on the formation of medical marijuana dispensaries, Assistant City Manager Jim O'Grady said. The temporary prohibition, which would last 45 days but could be extended up to one year, would allow the city to research the issues before deciding how to proceed.

"Federal law says one thing and state law says another thing, so we thought we'd look into it," O'Grady said. O'Grady said he did not know who inquired about the possible formation of a dispensary, or medical marijuana "club."

While federal law prohibits the sale or use of marijuana, California and at least eight other states permit using the drug for medical purposes. California voters legalized medical marijuana in 1996.

In March, about a dozen medical marijuana advocates urged Riverside County supervisors to direct law enforcement to stop harassing residents and learn the guidelines established under the 1996 law. At the time, leaders of the Palm Springs-based Marijuana Anti-Prohibition Project said they were pleased with supervisors' willingness to examine the issue.

A Temecula couple, Martin and La Vonne Victor, have emerged as leading advocates of medical marijuana use in southwestern Riverside County. In January, the couple began a cannabis acceptance project that they hoped would lead to the creation of a dispensary where people with cancer, AIDS and other illnesses could possess and use the drug.

Martin Victor suffers from cluster headaches, the result of progressive eye disease. His wife suffers from multiple sclerosis, emphysema, panic attacks and compressed vertebrae in her back. Both smoke marijuana, eat it raw and cook with it.

The couple kicked off their acceptance push at a Jan. 10 gathering at Temecula Public Library, a session that followed a successful three-year legal battle they waged after being arrested for growing pot to treat their illnesses.

The Victors could not be reached Friday to determine whether they approached the city about a marijuana dispensary or for comment about the proposed city ordinance.

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Postby palmspringsbum » Sun Apr 09, 2006 11:22 am

The Press Enterprise wrote:Temecula bars medical pot dispensaries

MARIJUANA: Officials say the ban allows for study of therapeutic issues and potential legal conflicts.


11:54 PM PDT on Wednesday, September 15, 2004



By TIM O'LEARY / The Press-Enterprise

TEMECULA - A temporary ban on medical marijuana dispensaries was approved by Temecula early Wednesday following a standoff between local advocates and City Councilman Jeff Stone.

The showdown left three medical marijuana advocates grumbling that Stone, a pharmacist whose term as a Riverside County supervisor begins in January, is closed-minded on the issue.

The advocates did not lobby for a dispensary, but instead wanted to educate the council on marijuana's medicinal uses. They volunteered to serve on a committee that would study the issue and return to the council with a recommendation.

Stone countered that marijuana has not been proven effective and that it can be addictive and interact unsafely with alcohol or other drugs.

"We should not allow this type of activity in our city," he said.

The temporary ban, which would last 45 days but could be extended up to one year, was recommended by city staff members after an inquiry was received on the possible opening of a medical marijuana dispensary in Temecula. Officials requested the ban to give city staff time to study medical marijuana issues and examine the legal conflicts between state and federal laws.

The council agreed to examine the issues, but did not form a committee or invite the medical marijuana advocates to participate in the study.

While federal law prohibits the sale or use of marijuana, California and eight other states permit using marijuana for medical purposes. California voters legalized medical marijuana in 1996, and since then clubs have been formed in several cities to serve patients with a doctor's prescription.

The dispensary inquiry was received July 30 from Compassionate Caregivers, which opened in February 2001 and now operates cannabis clubs in Oakland, San Francisco, West Hollywood and Ukiah. Information provided by the group states that it has 142 employees and more than 7,000 members and serves more than 20,000 medical marijuana patients as far away as San Diego.

No one from the group appeared at the council meeting, and officials did not return messages Tuesday or Wednesday. The issue of whether or how to regulate medical marijuana on a municipal level has rarely been addressed by cities in Riverside County. In March, about a dozen medical marijuana advocates urged Riverside County supervisors to direct law enforcement to stop harassing residents and learn the guidelines established under the 1996 law.

Stone said Wednesday that he will continue to echo his concerns over medical marijuana when he becomes a county supervisor. His reaction dismayed advocates Martin and La Vonne Victor of Temecula, who spoke at the council meeting along with Lanny Swerdlow, director of the Palm Springs-based Marijuana Anti-Prohibition Project and American Harm Reduction Association.

The Victors, who launched a cannabis acceptance project in January at a community forum at the Temecula Public Library, said there is growing use of the drug by area residents who have received a doctor's prescription. Both use marijuana to ease symptoms of medical problems.

Martin Victor said the January meeting attracted about 75 people, about half of whom are medical patients who use marijuana for cancer, AIDS and other serious illnesses. He said about 200 people have expressed an interest in joining their loose-knit group.

"Don't hurt citizens," he urged the council. "Think about it. Think. Don't hurt us."

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Postby palmspringsbum » Sun Apr 09, 2006 11:43 am

The Press Enterprise wrote:Judge lets Temecula couple regain their drug-related items

12:05 AM PST on Wednesday, December 22, 2004



By TIM O'LEARY / The Press-Enterprise

FRENCH VALLEY - A pair of Temecula medical marijuana advocates won a court order Tuesday for the return of their drug-related items, but not the pot or marijuana seeds that were seized in a raid more than three years ago.

Martin and La Vonne Victor said they were pleased to win the return of glass smoking pipes, a scale, a marijuana cultivation book and other items.

But they noted that the continuing legal debate over the medical use of cannabis, as well as Riverside County District Attorney Grover Trask's position on medical marijuana, might someday leave them vulnerable to new criminal charges.

"We're hoping, but with Grover, you never know," said Martin Victor, who recalled the couple's three-year legal battle and about $30,000 spent on legal and court fees to win a reduction of charges filed against them on suspicion of marijuana use and distribution.

Victor, 52, noted that Trask earlier this month penned a newspaper guest column that criticized such uses of marijuana, cited research of potential health risks and called upon the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn laws in California and 10 other states that allow marijuana for patients with severe chronic pain.

Deputy District Attorney Quinn Baranski was circumspect after the hearing about the Victors' legal prospects should they continue smoking and eating marijuana as medicine.

"Anybody can get prosecuted. You or I can get prosecuted," Baranski said as he walked back to his office after the hearing in the Southwest Justice Center in French Valley.

Baranski did not oppose the Victors' motion over the drug paraphernalia, which was granted by Riverside County Superior Court Judge Michael S. Hider.

Nearly 8 pounds of marijuana buds and seeds that were at the heart of the case would not be returned, Baranski said, because the plant is illegal to possess.

The Victors, who moved to Temecula in 1990, originally were charged with felony counts of marijuana cultivation and distribution. Their case ended in December 2003 when Martin Victor pleaded guilty to providing less than an ounce of marijuana to a roommate, who Victor said took it without his knowledge or consent. He paid a $100 fine, and all charges were dropped against his wife.

Had the Victors been convicted of the original charges, they could have been sentenced to 32 months in prison.

Martin Victor suffers from cluster headaches, the result of progressive eye disease. His wife, who appeared in court Tuesday in a wheelchair, suffers from multiple sclerosis, emphysema, panic attacks and compressed vertebrae in her back. Both smoke marijuana, eat it raw and cook with it to ease their symptoms.

The couple started a cannabis acceptance project in January at a community forum at the Temecula Public Library.

They say there is growing use of the drug by area residents who have a doctor's prescription.

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Postby palmspringsbum » Sun Apr 09, 2006 1:02 pm

The Press Enterprise wrote:Cannabis civics

01:10 AM PDT on Tuesday, August 9, 2005
www.pe.com


CARL LOVE

The sign on the library door is the first indication this isn't the usual Temecula civic group.

It says: Cannabis Acceptance Project.

That's cannabis as in marijuana as in pot as in dope as in reefer madness.

Appearances can be deceiving. The people gathered here use marijuana, for medical reasons, which is still basically legal in California. Like the name of the group implies, the purpose is to inform folks about their cause. They gather on the third Saturday of every month from 2 p.m. to about 4:20 p.m. at the Temecula library.

Even the name is intended to educate. While most folks call it marijuana, actually a Mexican slang term for the drug, they consider cannabis, the scientific name, a more appropriate label. Considering the public's widespread use of the word marijuana, they've obviously got their work cut out for them.

Another problem is today's turnout: five, not exactly standing room only in a room with 50 chairs. They are Marty and LaVonne Victor, leaders of the group; Darryn Orr of Riverside; Stephen Roper of Lake Elsinore; and Nick Verboom of Murrieta. All say they use cannabis for medical reasons.

"We're just not potheads," LaVonne says. "We're sick people who use medication under the care of our doctor."

Two other people, a man and a woman, appear briefly in the meeting, then leave after being told a reporter is present.

Marty, a Temecula resident, says their departure is a sign of the problem the group faces. The group gets lots of phone calls -- Contact the Victors at 699-5306 or e-mail at cannap215@yahoo.com -- but hardly anybody attends the meetings.

"We want to be accepted in this town," he says. "It's just nobody will show up here."

They've had as many as 30 people at their meetings when the group started a couple of years ago, but a typical gathering now has 10 or fewer.

There is no shortage of information. A back table is covered with some 20 brochures, press releases and fliers. Everything from attorney general opinions on the use of cannabis for medical reasons to fliers that could incite local conservatives and evangelicals: "How does (drug) prohibition help terrorists?" argues one, and "Cannabis and THE BIBLE," complete with drawings of Jesus and quotes from the New Testament, is another.

Marty, sporting a "Defend Medical Marijuana" T-shirt and a cap with the same theme, is the most passionate, constantly feeding me studies and articles, trying to make his case that the supposed evils of cannabis are essentially much ado about nothing.

Law enforcement officials disagree, contending studies have shown that cannabis can be a gateway drug that leads to experimentation with more hazardous substances.

By contrast, the cannabis backers here consider it a miracle drug of sorts, able to provide some relief for their pain without what they consider the more harmful side effects of some prescription drugs.

LaVonne, who suffers from multiple sclerosis and has lived in Temecula since 1990, acknowledges that it is a community that promotes family values, something she supports. Using cannabis for medically approved reasons in the privacy of her own home is not going to change that, she argues.

"I can understand they want a clean town," she says. "I'm all for that."

Reach Carl Love at jocajuda@verizon.net

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Postby palmspringsbum » Sun Apr 09, 2006 1:50 pm

The Press Enterprise wrote:Dispensary raids slammed

DEA: An official confirms the agency is conducting a large-scale inquiry of the sites.



12:32 AM PST on Thursday, December 15, 2005

By KIMBERLY TRONE / The Press-Enterprise

<img src=bin/victor-lavonne.jpg align=right title="La Vonne Victor, 50, of Temecula, a medical marijuana user for five years, and Sharon Crain, 51, left, protest against federal agents who seized marijuana from San Diego-area dispensaries on Monday.">RIVERSIDE - Medical-marijuana users rallied Wednesday outside the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration building in downtown Riverside to protest the agency's recent raids on 13 Southern California marijuana dispensaries.

Federal agents seized large quantities of marijuana, records and small amounts of psychedelic mushrooms and hashish from the San Diego-area dispensaries on Monday. No dispensaries in Riverside or San Bernardino counties were raided.

Misha Piastro, a DEA special agent in San Diego, called Monday's sweep a part of one of the administration's most comprehensive investigations in California history. He said the investigation is in its infancy.

"In many cases, we sent in undercover agents who purchased marijuana without providing documentation of any sort," Piastro said. "This was drug trafficking."

Protesters said they are worried the raids are a signal the federal government intends to aggressively challenge a California law that allows the cultivation and use of medicinal marijuana with a physician's recommendation.

The California law is at odds with a June ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court that people who smoke marijuana with a doctor's permission could still be prosecuted for violating federal drug laws.

Oscar Lorigo, 31, of Palm Desert, said he uses marijuana for insomnia after trying to treat his sleeplessness with liquor and pharmaceutical drugs that left him hung over or groggy the next day.

Lorigo, one of about 20 protesters, said the federal government should be focused on fighting crime and not patients who need their medicine.

While Riverside County began taking applications Dec. 1 for state medical-marijuana identification cards, San Diego County has refused to participate in the state-mandated card program.

The San Bernardino County Public Health Department next month plans to begin implementing an ID-card program.

Reach Kimberly Trone at (951) 358-9456 or ktrone@pe.com


<table class=posttable>
<tr><td class=postcell>

<center><b>Survey</b></center>


<b>Should the federal government raid marijuana dispensaries in California, when such facilities and the use of medical marijuana are legal under state law? Comment</b>



December 16, 2005 02:13 p.m.

DEA said, "part of one of the administration's most comprehensive investigations in California history. He said the investigation is in its infancy."

(let me see: FEMA is bankrupt and can't pay people who lost their homes in the flood, although they put in money for year, but we have money to dump into BS like this? Amazing!)


<u>December 16, 2005 01:15 p.m. </u>

The article clearly states the dispensaries were "dealing" to those without medical I.D. cards, therefore the federal government has the right to raid those institutions who are not following proper protocol and the law. If local law enforcement can revoke liquor licenses when a business distributes alcohol to those under age, or do not I.D. as required by law, then certainly marijuana dispensaries should be under the same scrutiny.


<u>December 16, 2005 12:30 a.m. </u>

The federal raids should be stopped once and for all. The question posed in this survey was if the feds should stop the dispensary raids, which are based on administrative discretion, not constitutional power. In fact, all the head of the DEA has to do is move marijuana to schedule III and this issue would all be settled, so they can in fact stop the raids in a moment's notice.

For the record, at least two posts below contain factually incorrect information. First, it is not true that states cannot enact laws that conflict with federal law. They can, but they can't stop the feds from enforcing the federal policy. That case law was established after several States rejected the Fugitive Slave Act when the federal government was enforcing slavery. Please do a little research before posting patently false claims.

Another person posted that people should lobby to change the law before they break the law. Has this person been asleep for the past 30 years? Have you never heard of NORML, MPP, ASA, or DPA? There has been constant lobbying, proposed legislation and lawsuits trying to force the feds to behave themselves. About a dozen states representing 20% or more of the US population have legalized medical marijuana, often by voter initiative. The problem is not that people are not lobbying and voting, the problem is that the federal government does not respect democracy or listen to the People, it behaves like a tyrant.


<u>December 16, 2005 00:10 a.m. </u>

Article III, Section 3.5 of the California Constitution (adopted in 1978) states that "An administrative agency, including an administrative agency created by the Constitution or an initiative statute, has no power: ... (c) to declare a statute unenforceable, or to refuse to enforce a statute, on the basis that federal law or federal regulations prohibit the enforcement of such statute unless an appellate court has made a determination that the enforcement of such a statute is prohibited by federal law or federal regulations."

Appellate court means state appellate court, of course. Various California police departments and officers, sworn to uphold the law under the state constitution, have violated their oath, and the law. If police do not respect the rule of law, set the example, then who should? It is not legal for police officers to assist the federal DEA in violation of state law. Those who do should be fired immediately. They also should be sued.


<u>December 15, 2005 09:37 p.m. </u>

Posted earlier: "yes, States are prohibited from creating laws that are against federal law. Thus the state law is void."

This is absolutely false. Perhaps the poster ought to review the 9th and 10th Amendments to the US Constitution. Or at least cite the section of the constitution that supports the claim.

Additionally, if the poster were correct, why hasn't the law been struck down by the California Supreme Court? It hasn't struck down the law because the law is constitutional. This isn't the SOVIET Union.

I would bet the poster is in California law enforcement (they are the only ones really concerned with this subject... it's about protecting cushy jobs). In that job, they take an oath to uphold the laws and constitution of the state of California. No state employee is charged with enforcing or upholding federal law. has taken an oath. Yet they break that oath each time they work toward violating Proposition 215. But they don't care because they prefer to protect the federal funding they receive that assures they have more SUVs, helicopters, kevlar vests, etc, etc, etc. Power coveting more power.

"To Serve and Protect" is a myth. They've come to "Dominate and Control."


<u>December 15, 2005 07:38 p.m. </u>

The federal raids should be stopped once and for all. The question posed in this survey was if the feds should stop the dispensary raids, which are based on administrative discretion, not constitutional power. In fact, all the head of the DEA has to do is move marijuana to schedule III and this issue would all be settled, so they can in fact stop the raids in a moment's notice.

For the record, at least two posts below contain factually incorrect information. First, it is not true that states cannot enact laws that conflict with federal law. They can, but they can't stop the feds from enforcing the federal policy. That case law was established after several States rejected the Fugitive Slave Act when the federal government was enforcing slavery. Please do a little research before posting patently false claims.

Another person posted that people should lobby to change the law before they break the law. Has this person been asleep for the past 30 years? have you never heard of NORML, MPP, ASA, or DPA? There has been constant lobbying, proposed legislation and lawsuits trying to force the feds to behave themselves. About a dozen states representing 20% or more of the US population have legalized medical marijuana, often by voter initiative. The problem is not that people are not lobbying and voting, the problem is that the federal government does not respect democracy or listen to the People - it behaves like a tyrant.


<u>December 15, 2005 06:50 p.m. </u>

No, they should not. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas got it right: "They cultivate their cannabis entirely in the State of California, it never crosses state lines, much less as part of a commercial transaction. Certainly no evidence from the founding suggests that commerce included the mere possession of a good or some purely personal activity that did not involve trade or exchange for value. In the early days of the Republic, it would have been unthinkable that Congress could prohibit the local cultivation, possession, and consumption of marijuana. ... Respondents are correct that the CSA federal drug law exceeds Congress commerce power as applied to their conduct, which is purely intrastate and noncommercial." (Thomas, dissenting opinion in Gonzalez v. Raich, 6/6/2005)

I agree, and consider these raids to be unconstitutional, illegal and immoral. Moreover it is a bureaucratic attack on her heart of democracy and the will of the voters, from whom the government's authority is derived. Shame, shame shame on DEA and the San Diego Supervisors. I hope they all get recalled for violating their oath to uphold the California State constitution (Amendment III, sec 3(a) and also Prop 215.

When running for office, GW Bush said medical marijuana is a matter of States Rights, but his administration has attacked every state effort to resolve the question. The guy just can's help himself from lying and acting hypocritically, can he? Please contact your members of Congress to support the "States' Rights to Medical Marijuana Act," and the "Steve McWilliams Truth in Trials Act." I'm not sure what the Bill numbers are.

I go farther than does Thomas, who was only referring to medical marijuana that is not sold but his comments on the interstate element of "Commrece among the Several States" is pertinent to dispensaries, as well.


<u>December 15, 2005 05:53 p.m. </u>

Sure, why not? People want illegal aliens to have valid driver licences. Security at airports is looking to allow small sharp objects on planes like the ones that were used to highjack 4 different airplanes. There must be some reason they needed to raid them. But then who thinks in reason? There is an exception to everything. I may not be making sense, but it seems no one else either.


<u>December 15, 2005 05:46 p.m. </u>

Although I do not condone marijuana use, I abhor the federal government's incursion into states' prerogatives. The 10th Amendment prohibits the federal government from any activity not prescribed in the Constitution.


<u>December 15, 2005 04:37 p.m. </u>

Since federal law takes precedent over state law, does that mean the state minimum wage is void because it pays $1.60 more an hour than the federal minimum wage? I have one solution.... Impeach them all, and remove them from office. Starting with the idiot who now takes blame for faulty intelligence in Iraq.


<u>December 15, 2005 04:26 p.m. </u>

They might not be smart enough to catch Osama, but they can catch Grandma.


<u>December 15, 2005 03:47 p.m. </u>

yes, States are prohibited from creating laws that are against federal law.

Thus the state law is void.


<u>December 15, 2005 01:34 p.m. </u>

Yes, the law is the law. Lobby to change the law before you violate it.


<u>December 15, 2005 11:20 a.m. </u>

To raid the only source available to secure medicinal grade cannabis, is in direct conflict with Prop. 215, and State Senate Bill 420. Both now State Health and Safety Code Law. The Local Government should NOT have a say in whether to enforce State Law or NOT! The law is to be equal, and administered equally without prejudice, bias, or animosity. Both laws dealing with medicinal cannabis are valid, and we need to just enforce the existing law. The Federal Government has no right to interefere with State Law unless State Law is found to be Unconstitutional, which they were never challenged as to their constitutionality. Leave California and the rest of the ten States that have approved medicinal cannabis alone. The Federal Government is only responsibile for Seven, (7), things, one which is to "Defend The Nation From Foreign Attack." A job they were lax on in September of 2001. Worry about another New York style 9-11, and we will handle the medicinal cannabis issue just fine.


<u>December 15, 2005 11:14 a.m. </u>

Marijuana has been used for hundreds of years for its proven medicinal value. It was widely used in the late 1800 and early 1900's both recreationally, much like liquor, as well as medicinally, especially by the upper class. The bastardization and eventual illegalization of pot was actually racially motivated - it was outlawed as a way to force Mexican immigrants, who were, at the time, the major providers of marijuana in the southern part of the US, out of the country as they were considered at that time to be taking jobs from Americans. The government then engaged is a sweeping campaign of propaganda, labeling it as a dangerous, mind-altering drug that led people to commit heinous acts (I'm sure everyone remembers "Reefer Madness" - it didn't become a cult film for no reason). The labeling of marijuana as a hard-core drug and placing it in the line with the likes of cocaine, meth, heroin and other serious - and necessarily illegal - drugs is a joke, as is the federal governemnt's stance on our voter-approved medical marijuana initiative. I take offense to the government's urging of citizens to vote and make a difference, only to then tell us that they won't recognize the will of the people if it doesn't fit in with their ideology. The legal and penal system is needlessly bogged down with pot-related offenders so much so that there is little room for real criminals in our jails and prisons. I would prefer our government concentrate on real crime, as well as the state of our southern border. It's asinine that so much effort is focused on this issue when there are so many more important problems facing this country.


<u>December 15, 2005 10:21 a.m. </u>

who cares about marijuana?

just legalize and put a 21 age limit on it

its no more destructive than alcohol

i assure you it causes FAR fewer deaths, injuries, and general discomfort to society

its just a lot easier to grow yourself and therefore nearly impossible to tax(and no i dont smoke marijuanna, i'm just not blind)

sure, potheads are losers

but the weed didnt turn them that way

thats just one way that their loserdom manifests itself


<u>December 15, 2005 10:01 a.m. </u>

bottom line in that anything that has KILLED someone should be outlawed. When it comes to medical pot, only prohibition has killed, not the herb itself. Spend the money on schools and firemen and important stuff.


<u>December 15, 2005 09:22 a.m. </u>

Yes -- the cultivation of marijuana is illegal and is still destructive to the human mind and attitude.


<u>December 15, 2005 09:19 a.m. </u>

I feel that life isn't supposed to be pain-free. As I age, I have chronic shoulder and back problems. I do not run to a doctor for painkillers (as) they dull my senses and can create an addiction problem. People that insist they need to smoke pot for their aches and pains need rehab -- not a new law that makes it legal...Pot has ruined many a young lives by acting as a gateway drug. I see far too many young people become a drain on society because they get high all the time and end up working the system for every freebie and entitlement as well as lying and stealing to support their habits.

"Medical Marijuana" is synonomous with "I hate dealing with reality" and "I'm gonna fight for my right to be a stoned loser"...


<u>December 15, 2005 09:16 a.m. </u>

I am a retired police officer. I think they should focus their resourses elsewhere. In my 30 years of experience, marijuana use is the least of our problems......Can your spell "B-O-R-D-E-R?"


<u>December 15, 2005 09:16 a.m. </u>

Absolutely not! The federal government needs to stay out of the state's business...look at our history - sound familiar?

America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter, and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves. -Abraham Lincoln, 16th U.S. President (1809-1865)


<u>December 15, 2005 08:58 a.m. </u>

They need to use our tax dollar paid enforcement agents and focus on the rampant drug trade coming up from Mexico and leave these people alone. These distributors are providing a necessary service for many, many ill people in the area.


<u>December 15, 2005 08:42 a.m. </u>

No!!! You would think this was 1930 with our Dragonian drug laws.


<u>December 15, 2005 08:30 a.m. </u>

NO WAY! It is, or should be perfectly legal to grow pot. It's just another right-wing lunatic fringe effort to thwart needed medical care.


<u>December 15, 2005 07:32 a.m. </u>

NO, WHAT A RIDICULOUS WASTE OF TAXPAYER MONEY.


<u>December 15, 2005 07:22 a.m. </u>

Does the federal government not have anything better to do than take a type of medication that has been legalized with a doctors note? If a doctor didn't think someone with a spinal injury, etc., needed it, I doubt he would write the prescription. Now tell me, if they were in these people's shoes what would they do? Maybe they need to actually do some "federal government" business and work on our borders and keep the damn illegals out, that's more of a problem than this will ever be.


<u>December 15, 2005 06:53 a.m. </u>

A waste of manpower, etc. I am in chronic pain w/a slipped disk and arthritis. I prefer to use pot instead of a heavy duty, addicting pain killer. How many of these lawmaker/enforcers use drugs and alcohol to excess legally?


<u>December 15, 2005 06:33 a.m. </u>

It's a federal law that overrides state law. California lawmakers made a futile and rebellious attempt to fight federal law. If we the people want to legalize marijuana, then we must change federal law. Or California can secede from the nation.


<u>December 15, 2005 04:11 a.m. </u>

NO. NO. NO. NO. No, but then again we are living under the "want to be dictator of the world" rule of Bush and pals, and they do what the hell they freakin' want.


<u>December 15, 2005 03:07 a.m. </u>

I believe that the federalists have no business telling us what is legal in our state. Keeping medicine from dying patients should be against the federal law. Obviously, they dont care. I guess it's just a matter of politics and money. We need to fight for our rights, before we have none.


<u>December 14, 2005 08:58 p.m. </u>

sure why not they should try it and see what happens? whats the worst case senerio more legal paper work. they will just hold the marijuana until someone comes up with a way to get it back. it might even push the issue into making it legal to smoke, or not.


<u>December 14, 2005 06:59 p.m. </u>

I don't use marijuana, but I believe that people who are very ill should be allowed to use it if it helps them live with their medical symptoms. I believe marijuana should be used like any other
legal medical drug.</td></tr>

</table>
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Group backs medical marijuana

Postby palmspringsbum » Sun Jul 20, 2008 10:26 pm

The San Bernardino Sun wrote:Group backs medical marijuana

Diana Sholley, Staff Writer
The San Bernardino Sun
Article Launched: 07/19/2008 05:59:27 PM PDT

LaVonne Victor is not a criminal, but sometimes she feels like one.

"Why?" she asked emphatically. "Why should we be made to feel like lawbreakers when we're only taking what our doctors prescribed?"

Victor, a Temecula resident, is talking about medical marijuana. It's a volatile subject, and the ongoing debate over its use is a source of great concern for people like her. A new support group in Riverside is offering help.

Victor suffers from multiple sclerosis, seizures and agoraphobia. She's taken many traditional medications with little results and life-altering side effects including depression, mood swings and exhaustion.

About nine years ago her husband attended Hempfest, an event promoting the positive aspects of cannabis, more commonly known as marijuana.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, marijuana is a dry, shredded green and brown mix of flowers, stems, seeds and leaves derived from the hemp plant cannabis sativa. The main active chemical in marijuana is delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, THC for short. THC acts on specific sites in the brain, called cannabinoid receptors, kicking off a series of cellular reactions that ultimately lead to the high users experience. Cannabis can be smoked, cooked into foods and ingested from a vapor.

After talking to several doctors, Victor's husband thought the infamous plant might help her. She obtained a legal prescription and started taking the cannabis. Her
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health improved, and she showed no side effects.

There are thousands of stories like Victor's, where cannabis has succeeded in relieving excruciating pain when traditional medications have failed.

However, according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration's Web site, "there is no consensus of medical evidence that smoking marijuana helps patients."

On the site the DEA shows supportive statements from the American Medical Association, which has rejected pleas to endorse marijuana as medicine, and instead has urged that marijuana remain a prohibited substance ... at least until more research is done.

Also, the American Cancer Society "does not advocate inhaling smoke, nor the legalization of marijuana," according to an official statement by the organization. However, the society does support carefully controlled clinical studies for alternative delivery methods, specifically a THC skin patch.

Many who suffer from various ailments and choose cannabis as a treatment support its legalization and believe in its health benefits. Their own bodies are proof, they say.

But they face such daily challenges as where to get it legally, battling the high cost of it, and fighting the stigma that surrounds it.

About three months ago, the Marijuana Anti-Prohibition Project started the Inland Empire Medical Marijuana Patient Support Group for patients to discuss their individual hardships and share information.

Meetings are at the THCF Medical Clinic in Riverside, which serves the Inland Empire. The clinic does not dispense cannabis.

Lanny Swerdlow, a registered nurse at the clinic, has been involved in the campaign to legalize cannabis for decades. He facilitates the meetings, sharing his knowledge of the subject.

Fidel Valenzuela, 29, attends the support group regularly. Nearly three years ago the Colton resident was in a devastating motorcycle accident, colliding with a truck at 45 miles an hour.

The nerves from his right arm were disconnected from his spine. They are held together now with two plates and eight screws.

"The pain was unbelievable and constant, 24/7," he said.

The pills he was prescribed changed his personality from a laid-back, even-tempered guy to someone he didn't recognize.

"I had really bad mood changes, I was real snappy, got angry real fast," Valenzuela said. "They also gave me stomach problems, so bad I couldn't eat. I had blood in my stool. I started just taking the pills at night, but sometimes the pain was still so bad. Then, I started drinking to stop the pain."

Before his accident Valenzuela was a health nut, watched what he ate, worked out at the gym and didn't do drugs.

A family member who saw Valenzuela's pain offered him some cannabis and something unexpected happened.

"Smoking the marijuana gave me such relief," he said. "It took the edge off the pain without side effects."

He felt better but was uneasy about how little he knew about what he was putting in his body. The support group helped fill that void.

Venezuela was able to share his story, listen to others and learn from their experiences.

"At the support group you can ask questions and find out the do's and don'ts," he said.

One of the most intense topics at the meetings is availability and cost.

According to www.marijuanagrams.com, seven grams, or one-fourth of an ounce, for most varieties can run between $85 and $400. Prices on the street can be less, but there is a legal risk and no quality control.

For Valenzuela, who's been out of work since his accident, all options are a hardship.

"I can only buy a little at a time, then I have to ration it out," he said.

Though there are long-standing debates about the positive and negative effects of cannabis, it is, to date, illegal except for those Californians who qualify under The Compassionate Use Act of 1996.

The general public is invited to attend the clinic's support group meetings.
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Postby palmspringsbum » Mon Nov 02, 2009 12:00 am

Pot defiance leads to lawsuit - North County Times | 1 nov 09

Our View: City should stop ignoring voters' will on medical marijuana.
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