Sunday, June 13, 2010


From Lanny Swerdlow
Director Marijuana ANti Prohibition Project

On Tuesday, June 15, San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors will vote on and pass an
extension for one year to the existing moratorium on the operation of medical marijuana
collectives in the unincorporated areas of San Bernardino County. It has been a forgone
conclusion for some time, so it comes as no surprise.

Twice in as many months, we went before the Board of Supervisors asking them to get the derailed ordinance back on track and each time it was like speaking to a wall. After the May 25 meeting, I spoke with Supervisor Gonzales who informed me that we would never get anything through the Board unless the Sheriff's Department approves it.

Although I kind of always knew it, I hated to admit that rather than our elected officials
telling law enforcement what to do, law enforcement tells our elected officials what to do.

With Supervisor's Gonzales' words of wisdom in mind, I was able to secure a meeting with SB
County Sheriff Deputy Chief Robert Fonzi and Deputy Chief PaulCook, who heads the Special
Operations Bureau, i.e. narcotics. I raised several issues at the meeting about the drafting of an ordinance and the creation of a Medical Marijuana Task Force like the one in Palm Springs that oversaw the development of the first and so far only medical marijuana collective zoning ordinance in the Inland Empire.

Deputy Chief Cook said he would look into my concerns and get back to me the following week.
Sure enough he called me last Friday and informed me of the following.

1. SB County is waiting for the 4th District Court of Appeals decision in the case of Qualified Patients Association vs. City of Anaheim. The decision, which is expected by mid-July, will hopefully decide on whether cities and counties can use their zoning ordinances to ban activities permitted under state law. Until that decision is rendered, SB County is not going to do much of anything, except of course continue to arrest and prosecute legal patients like Don Lawrence and do the same for mmj patient collectives.

2. He stated that there is a draft ordinance of some kind circulating, but he has not seen it. He expects to see it soon. He did not offer to share it with me.

3. There is a meeting of the mmj collective ordinance working group in about a month. He agreed to bring up the idea of forming a task force, similar to the one in Palm Springs, with reps from planning, law enforcement, patients and other stakeholders to oversee the development of an ordinance

4. Before the working group meetings, he will see if they will allow patient
representatives to attend this upcoming meeting where the formation of a task force will be

So what do we do on June 15 when the Board considers the extension of the moratorium?

Cheri Sicard and Scott Bledsoe, the two SB organizers of the past rallies at the Board Meetings, agreed that holding another big rally on June 15 would not accomplish much of anything. Your time is valuable and we do not want to waste it. Consequently there will be no big rally on the 15th, but there will be a small one.

I want to put into the public record our request for the formation of a mmj task force to
oversee the development of the collective ordinance. If you would like to join me at the meeting and even make a 3 minute presentation on your own, that would be great, but if your time is limited, then this is one of those occasions we can survive without your presence.

The agenda item concerning extending the medical marijuana ordinance is the last item on the
agenda just before the public comment section. Although the meeting starts at 10 a.m., there are a veritable host of items to be considered before the mmj agenda item, so I would suggest
arriving around 11 a.m.
The SB Board of Supervisors meeting is held in the Council Chambers in the County Administration Building at 385 N. Arrowhead Ave. in downtown San Bernardino 92415.

Monday, May 31, 2010


Yeah, big surprise, like we didn't know. It's finally official though - San Bernardino will vote to extend their moratorium on Tuesday, June 15 at 1:30 p.m. Exactly what our response should be will be discussed at the Wednesday, June 2 MAPP meeting. I will have some information on outreach with San Bernardino officials, but it is all fairly tentative.

The monthly meeting of MAPP in Riverside is this Wednesday. We got some heavy stuff to discuss including San Bernardino's pending vote to extend their
moratorium on June 15, but we are also going to have a little party as well to
celebrate the rally in Riverside - A Dessert Party.

That's right - we will provide the ice cream and for those so inclined, you can provide some
cookies or cake or pie or whatever - nothing medicated please. The variety of items brought at our last dessert was scrumptious to say the least. As a special treat we will be showing the episode from Showtime's cuttin' edge show Nurse Jackie where Nurse Jackie furnishes medical marijuana to a patient.

In the meeting we will be discussing the rally, San Bernardino's moratorium, the Initiative,
provide a rundown on the candidates that support us in the June 8 elections (there might be a
candidate or two at the meeting - not confirmed yet - after the Zellerbach fiasco, I will always use some kind of wiggle word when talking about candidate's showing up) and the latest update on the Tax and Regulate Initiative.

The MAPP meeting and Desert Party is Wednesday, June 2 at 7:30 p.m. at the THCF Medical Clinic, 647 Main Street in Riverside 92501. Let's celebrate.


From: Lanny Swerdlow
Director, Marijuana Anti Prohibition Project

The Inland Empire Patients Health and Welness Center is the most unique collective in California. With its farmer's market model of distribution, it is one of the most AG compliant collectives in the state. Creating an environment that fosters community building, the Collective occupies a singular presence in the Inland Empire.

The first collective to open in the City of Riverside, it has now been operating for six months with absolutely no problems. A clean track record, however, is of no concern to Riverside city officials. Claiming that providing medicinal marijuana to its member patients violated its zoning ordinance banning marijuana distribution, the City filed a lawsuit on May 20 seeking a temporary restraining order to close the collective labeling it a nuisance.

This is nonsense since state law specifically allows patients to form collectives. It is illegal for the city to ban any activity permitted under state law by zoning those rights out of existence. It can license, regulate and tax, but it cannot ban.

Members of the collective are outraged by this action that imperils their access to medicinal
marijuana safely, reliably and locally. Patients are outraged too by the blatant attack on a
legally operating collective that provides medicinal marijuana to over 5,000 members.

On Tuesday, June 1 at 6:30 p.m. the Collective is holding a rally and speak-out at the
Riverside City Council meeting and is asking other patients and advocates to join them on the
Main Street Plaza immediately in front of Riverside City Hall. There will be speakers, banners, signs, chants and green armbands for all showcasing our right to have access to this legal medicine. Many attending the rally will make a three minute presentation to the City Council during the Public Comment section and you are encouraged to do so as well.

In case you were not aware, I am on the Board of Directors of the Collective. The idea of a
farmer's market was something I came up with one day and somehow it caught fire with people who are considerably better in making things happen than I am and it actually happened. Now that it is here and is working well, we can't let those who oppose medicinal marijuana access for patients take it away.

I do not believe the entire Riverside City Council is against the Collective or even the
majority. As I understand it, the decision to sue was not made by the City Council, but by staff members without consulting all of the city council.

With a decision from the 4th District Court of Appeals that will decide whether cities can ban permitted state activities like medical marijuana collectives about 45 days away, it would only make sense for the city to delay filing the lawsuit until that decision is released. That's another thing we need to tell them and we need you there to tell them with us.

This is going to be one of the most exciting and most empowering rallies we ever had. Members of the collective are fired up - they do not want to lose this very special place. It's going to be one colossal rally and you do not want to miss what is surely going to set a high water mark for medical marijuana rallies in the Inland Empire.

When we went to the Riverside City Hall on October 6, 2009, over 100 patients and advocates
assembled to tell the Council of the plans to open the Collective and the rights of patients
under state law to do so. It was one of the largest groups of concerned citizens to ever turn
out to speak on a single issue at a Riverside City Council meeting. On Tuesday June 1 we are
going to stage an even bigger rally - perhaps the largest medical marijuana rally ever held in the Inland Empire. Join us and make this happen - let's KEEP THE FARMER'S MARKET OPEN.

We will be passing out souvenir green armbands to all who come to the rally, so join patients, advocates, your friends and concerned citizens this Tuesday, June 1 at 6:30 p.m. on the Main Street Pedestrian Mall Plaza in front of Riverside City Hall, 3900 Main Street in downtown Riverside 92522. It will be an evening to remember.

In the meantime, you can also help by making a call to Mayor Loveridge right now at 951-826-5551 and tell him that the lawsuit to close the collective is wrong, Wrong, WRONG and that patients have the right to their medicine safely, reliably and locally.

You can reach His Honor 24/7 and leave a message on his voice-mail. So you can call him right now at 951-826-5551. Please let me know if you did.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Inland Empire's 1st Legal Collective to Open Same Day as San Bernardino Rally

CONTACT: Lanny Swerdlow at 760-799-2055.

Compassion and Common Sense
Patients Rally at San Bernardino Board Meeting to Celebrate Opening of First Legal Collective in Inland Empire and Demand that San Bernardino Do the Same

Inland Empire’s First Licensed Medical Marijuana Collective Opens in Palm Springs Tuesday, May 25 and Patients Rally at San Bernardino County Board Meeting the same day asking Board to enact a similar ordinance and reproach Supervisors Biane and Gonzales for not following through on their personal commitments to do the same

On Tuesday, May 25, Cannahelp will open in Palm Springs as the first legally licensed medical marijuana collective in the Inland Empire. Patients in San Bernardino County will go before the Board of Supervisors that same day to decry the failure of San Bernardino County to enact a similar ordinance.
The medical marijuana collective moratorium enacted by San Bernardino County will expire on June 19 and medical marijuana patients and advocates will return to the San Bernardino Board of Supervisors meeting on Tuesday, May 25 to find out what the Board’s intentions are and why San Bernardino County can’t do what Palm Springs did.

Patients will remind the board of the commitments made to enact a medical marijuana collective ordinance and the inability of the County staff to write one. They will again request information on the six secret meetings held by County staff over the last year. They will especially remind Supervisors Paul Biane and Josie Gonzales of the commitments that they personally made and failed to live up to.

Patients are going to ask again that the county set about drafting and implementing an ordinance to allow for medical marijuana collectives and this time they want a committee to oversee the drafting of an ordinance just like what was done in Palm Springs.

The Patient Rally for Access at the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors meeting begins at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, May 25. Patients will rally in front of the County Administration Building at 385 N. Arrowhead, San Bernardino where the Board meets with speakers, signs to wave and cheering the cars, trucks and assorted other vehicles that honk in support.. When the public comment section comes up, patients and advocates will go into the Board chamber and make 3 minute presentations asking the Board to do what Palm Springs has done.

Saturday, May 22, 2010


Rally for Access at the San Bernardino Board of Supervisors this Tuesday, May 25

From: Lanny Swerdlow
Director, Marijuana Anti Prohibition Project

On June 19, the moratorium on medical marijuana collectives in San Bernardino County comes to an end. The promised medical marijuana collective ordinance is not going to happen which means San Bernardino County will most likely pass another one year moratorium. The question is what do we do now?

Although jumping up and down and stamping our feet would be cathartic, it would not get much accomplished and we have to deal with the situation now at hand and figure what can be done to actually get a medical marijuana collective ordinance into place once a ban is in place.

The problem last time is that there was no ongoing monitoring of the process that was supposed to be in place to draft an ordinance so when patients finally realized that nothing was being done, there wasn't time left to actually get one written and in place. How do we solve that problem this time?

On May 25 when we go before the Board of Supervisors, in addition to reminding them of their
commitment to implementing state law and passing a mmj collective ordinance, we need to ask that they follow the example of Palm Springs, San Diego and many other cities and counties and establish a committee to oversee the process.

The Palm Springs Medical Marijuana Task Force, of which I was a member, was composed of two representatives from the City Council, the Chief of Police and a Deputy, City Manager, City
Attorney, Planning Staff and representatives from patient organizations and dispensaries. The
meetings were open to the public and it was not unusual to have ten to twenty or more patients at a meeting providing the committee with input and guidance.

It worked and Palm Springs became the first, and so far only, city in the Inland Empire to enact a medical marijuana ordinance allowing for collectives to operate under their zoning laws. In fact, the first licensed collective anywhere in the Inland Empire, Cannahelp, will hold its grand opening the same day as our rally in San Bernardino. (Any one up to carpooling to Palm Springs to celebrate their grand opening after our presentation before the SB Board?)

This is what we need to do on Tuesday, May 25 before the Board - ask them to establish a Medical Marijuana Task Force and charge the Task Force with developing an ordinance and bringing it to the board in as rapid a manner as is consistent with developing a good solid workable ordinance.

Hopefully 3 of the 5 Board members will recognize this as a viable solution and at a subsequent Board meeting, establish the Task Force.

I know this is kind of going hat-in-hand before the Board that has spurned us before, but we
have to be realists and take actions that hold out the promise of obtaining safe, reliable and local access. If we don't do it, who will? Better I should ask, if you don't do it, who will?

Please make the time to join us on Tuesday, May 25 at our rally at the SB Board of Supervisors meeting. Let them know how disappointed you are by the County's inaction and why access is so important to you and other patients. Ask that this time a committee be formed to oversee the process and that patients be on the committee. If you have the time, let them know that you would be willing to serve on this committee.

The Rally for Access at the San Bernardino Board of Supervisors begins at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, May 25. We will rally in front of the County Administration Building where the Board meets. We will have some speakers, signs to wave, cheer as cars, trucks and assorted other vehicles honk in support and time to meet with friends and make new friends. When the public comment section comes up, we will go into the Board chamber and those who would like to make a 3 minute presentation before the Board are strongly encouraged to do so.

The County Administration Building is located at 385 N. Arrowhead in downtown San Bernardino 92415.

If you are interested in making a day of it and car pooling to the Grand Opening of Cannahelp in Palm Springs after the Board meeting, call me at 760-799-2055 and let me know so car pool arrangements can be made.


From: Lanny Swerdlow
Director, Marijuana Anti Prohibition Project

On Thursday afternoon two gentlemen from Riverside County visited my house in White Water and handed me a summons to notify me that I had been named in a lawsuit filed by the city of
Riverside to close down the collective operating in Riverside which the lawsuit listed as the
THCF Health and Wellness Center. I was not surprised that a lawsuit had been filed - what stunned me was that I was the only person named in it.

In the article in the Press Enterprise, it states that Riverside City Attorney Greg "Priamos
said that simply issuing recommendations for medical marijuana isn't a problem, but the city is going after both facilities because officials believe they are one operation, with Swerdlow as the operator."

Obviously someone in Riverside County hasn't done their homework. The clinic and the collective are totally separate with no legal or fiscal connections. The actual work of running the collective is overseen by William Sump. I continued to oversee the operations of the THCF Medical working alongside Dr. Paul Ironside who provides qualified patients with their recommendations.

The lawsuit filed by the city of Riverside does not allege that the collective is doing anything not in compliance with the AG Guidelines. It is only alleging that the collective is violating a city zoning ordinance that bans the operation of "a facility where marijuana is made available for medical purposes in accordance with Health and Safety Code Section 11362.5 (Proposition 215)." This definition is so overbroad that it arguably bans even cultivation in a patient's private home and certainly a home in which a patient may be growing for other patients.

In any case, violating a zoning ordinance is a civil offense, not a criminal offense. You do not arrest, confiscate and imprison a person for violating a civil ordinance. You serve them a summons like the city of Riverside has done and you duke it out in court and may the party with the best arguments win.

We are not afraid of fighting for patient rights in a civil court - in fact we welcome it as we believe we are legally right and the city is legally wrong and we will win. What concerns us is the possibility of a raid such as collectives have recently experienced in San Bernardino County. I have spoken with one of our attorneys who is of the opinion that this is not likely to happen although he admits that Riverside County DA Rod Pacheco and Riverside City Attorney Priamos move in strange ways.

So what are we going to do?

First off, we are consulting with a number of attorneys as to what this lawsuit is all about and how we should best respond. We will be answering the lawsuit within the 30 days given to us to respond. We will be denying all allegations of violating any ordinance and claim that the city's ban on collectives violates the rights of patients to form them as provided for in SB 420.

Most importantly the collective will be staying open providing member patients with medicine and the clinic will be open providing prospective patients with their recommendations and current patients with their renewals.

The Press Enterprise article was a good start in letting the public know what is going on and
how the city is refusing to license and regulate collectives and instead has created a Wild West free-for-all. But most importantly, we need to let the people of Riverside and the Riverside City Council know that wasting tax payer money and city employee time drafting voluminous lawsuits to close collectives is wrong, wrong, wrong. Instead, tax payer money and city employee time should be used productively to draft a medical marijuana collective ordinance that will provide local access to patients and do so in way that causes no problems for the city or its residents.

The way to bring that about is to use our rights under the U.S. Constitution which guarantees
"the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances." We have grievances and we are going to let the Riverside City Council know about them on Tuesday, June 1 at 6:30 p.m. where we will assemble one of the largest groups of people ever to attend a Riverside City Council meeting.

Our elected officials are well aware that general public supports medical marijuana and that
they support licensed and regulated access to medicinal marijuana. The refusal of our elected
officials to recognize this and instead kowtow to Riverside City Attorney Priamos's reefer
madness mentality is both counter-productive and a slap in the face to Riverside city residents and the voters of California.

Watch here for updates on what is happening with the collective and the clinic,
but right now circle Tuesday, June 1 and write in 6:30 p.m. and be at Riverside City Hall at
3900 Main Street, Riverside 9255 to demand your right to safe, reliable and local access as well as the respect that you so rightfully deserve.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

1st Medical Marijuana Provider To Be Tried Under New DOJ Policy

San Diego, CA -- A North San Diego County medical marijuana provider, James Stacy, whose Vista dispensary was raided on September 9, 2009, by a multi-agency narcotics task force, will be the first such case to go to trial after the Justice Department issued its enforcement policy in October 2009, a month after the raid. Stacy's trial date will be scheduled Wednesday during a hearing at which Stacy will argue he's entitled to admit evidence of state law compliance, something routinely denied federal defendants. Stacy's dispensary, Movement in Action, was raided along with more than a dozen other San Diego County dispensaries as part of local-federal enforcement actions called, "Operation Endless Summer," which resulted in more than 30 arrests. Only Stacy, and one other medical marijuana dispensary operator Joseph Nunes, were charged federally as a result of the raids. Nunes has since pleaded guilty and was recently sentenced to a year in prison.

What: Federal hearing on whether dispensary operator James Stacy can use medical marijuana and state law as a defense at trial
When: Wednesday, May 19, 2010 at 10:30am
Where: Courtroom 15, U.S. District Court, 940 Front Street, San Diego, CA

"With a new enforcement policy on medical marijuana, the federal government should not be trying this case at all," said Joe Elford, Chief Counsel with Americans for Safe Access, the country's largest medical marijuana advocacy organization. "At the very least, Mr. Stacy's case should be tried in state court where he's guaranteed a defense against his charges." Because of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling on medical marijuana, defendants are prevented from entering evidence of medical use or state law compliance in federal court.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder testified before Congress last week and reaffirmed that the Obama Administration was not interested in using the Justice Department's "limited resources" to prosecute people who are in compliance with their state's medical marijuana laws. Stacy argues that he was in full compliance with state law, nevertheless he was federally charged with cultivation of marijuana, conspiracy to cultivate and sell marijuana, and possession of a firearm, which could result in more than 20 years in prison. The federal government has so far failed to show any evidence of state law violations and has blocked repeated attempts by Stacy's lawyer Kasha Kastillo to try the case in state court.

Another San Diego dispensary operator, Jovan Jackson, was arrested as a result of the raids in September and prosecuted by San Diego District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis in state court. Jackson was acquitted by a jury after a November 2009 trial on similar charges. More recently, the San Diego Board of Supervisors has taken note of the county's failure to gain convictions and has decided to regulate medical marijuana distribution in the unincorporated areas of the county. The City of San Diego City Council is similarly debating a dispensary ordinance. "The move to regulate local medical marijuana distribution is certainly a positive step for San Diego," continued Elford. "However, it begs the question of why Mr. Stacy is still being prosecuted in federal court."

Because of the government's continued efforts to prosecute medical marijuana patients despite a new Justice department enforcement policy, advocates are urging Members of Congress to pass HR 3939, the Truth in Trials Act, which would allow defendants to use a medical or state law defense in federal court. The Truth in Trials Act currently has more than 30 Congressional cosponsors.

Further Information:

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder's recent statements before Congress.

Truth in Trials Act

Monday, May 17, 2010


Arguably the most corrupt county in the state of California, I guess we should just expect this total disregard for law and human decency from the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors. From past statements, we thought we could trust Supervisors Josie Gonzales and Paul Biane, but they have turned out to be such disappointments that is just plain disheartening.

I know this seems futile, but it's just like when we used to keep going back before the Board
telling them to stop wasting taxpayer money on the mean-spirited, vindictive and futile lawsuit to have Prop. 215 ruled unconstitutional. If we don't tell them that what they are doing is wrong, then they will feel that what they are doing is right. They are well aware our request that collectives should be licensed and regulated is what the public wants and not the Wild West atmosphere created by their obfuscation and genuflection to law enforcement's reefer madness mentality.

So mark your calendars for Tuesday, May 25 at 10 a.m. and come on out, join us for the rally,
be with friends and make new friends and then, if you so chose, speak another time with the San Bernardino Board of Supervisors and let them know whatever it is you want to let them know.

It's all happening at the San Bernardino County Administration Building, 385 N. Arrowhead Ave., in delightful downtown San Bernardino 92415. Bring signs if you have them, or we will have some there.



Head on up to the town of Landers for the monthly meeting of the High Desert MAPP group - the
most fun meeting of the bunch and this time complete with a Swiss Steak Dinner and all the
Fixin's for only $3 - but it's worth at least $5 if you are employed at more than minimum wage.

In addition to the McCabe's eatin's, there will be some speakin's as well. Attorney Stephen
Peretz will make a presentation on what to do when you are confronted by a cop and you feel very uncomfortable about the situation. He wanted me to emphasize that this will be a short
presentation - he will get right to the meat and potatoes - stuff you really do need to know.

I will be bringing you up to date with what is happening, or more appropriately not happening, in San Bernardino County. I also have some information on the elective races on the June 8 ballot, but not much.

We need to put together a committee to get candidates positions on issues of importance to us
and then let our supporters know who they are. There are a lot of us out here - way more than a lot of other groups out there with way more sway with our elected officials. We need to get out there and support those who support us and that's one of the things we are going to talk about at this meeting.

Which of course dovetails into an update on the Tax and Regular Initiative. We had a meeting
last Wednesday in Riverside with a live video conference with Initiative Sponsor Richard Lee and Campaign Consultant Marucio Garzon. Very illuminating and I will discuss what was discussed and how we are going to end reefer madness this November.

So for a great meeting and an even greater Swiss Steak Dinner, be at the High Desert MAPP
meeting on Wednesday, May 19. The dinner begins at 5:30 p.m. with entertainment by Esclanate Jam and the meeting at 6:30 p.m. It's all happening at the entertainment Mecca for the high desert, The Castle Inn at 1388 N. Golden Slipper Lane in Landers 92285.

Lanny Swerdlow
Director, Marijuana Anti-Prohibition Project


Tune in this Monday at 6 p.m. to Marijuana Compassion and Common Sense featuring people you want to know speaking about things you need to know.

First we will be interviewing Araon Smith, California Field Director for the Marijuana Policy
Project. Of special interest will be hearing about the medical marijuana initiative in Arizona. Following Aaron will be Cheri Sicard bringing us information on the stalled ordinance and what, if anything, can be done. The radio show is interactive, so call in your questions and comments on our listener call-in line at 888-909-1050.

Tune in this Monday and every Monday at 6 p.m. to Marijuana Compassion and Common Sense on radio station KCAA 1050AM heard everywhere in western Inland Empire. If you can't tune it in on your radio, then fire up your computer, log on to and click on LISTEN LIVE.

Marijuana Compassion and Common Sense is brought to this week by William H. Gunn Construction Co. and THCF Medical Clinic. If you would like to let our dedicated audience know of your business, get the word out that you are cannabis friendly and help support the cause, then contact me and I will let you know about our very reasonable advertising rates.

Lanny Swerdlow
Director, Marijuana Anti Prohibition Project