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LIVESTREAM: Medical Marijuana Rally Outside Obama’s Oakland Fundraiser

8:22 am in Uncategorized by Brian Sonenstein

Free live streaming by Ustream

Today at 12pm Pacific, medical marijuana patients, caregivers and supporters will gather outside a fundraiser for President Obama at Oakland’s Fox Theater to protest the administration’s multi-agency war on pot.

Oakland’s Harborside Health Center, one of the nation’s largest medical marijuana dispensaries (serving thousands of patients) is one of the organizations calling for this action. Harborside has been a prime target of the Obama administration’s war on medical marijuana, and just this month, the federal government threatened to seize their property “under federal laws prohibiting the distribution of marijuana.”

If you’re in the Oakland area, please head down and show your support, or you can make a last-minute contribution to help Just Say Now target supporters in the area with Facebook ads, urging them to attend. As Jane wrote, “…we firmly believe that elections are the time when candidates are the most responsive to the needs of the constituents whose votes they hope to woo,” and with only a few months until November, this an excellent opportunity for the marijuana community to express those needs.

From Harborside Health Center’s action alert:

Dear Harborside Supporter,

Our Time is NOW! A Call to Action:

Watch Steve DeAngelo’s Call to Action

Last October CA’s four US Attorney’s announced a crackdown on medical cannabis, saying they would target organizations using medical cannabis as a shield for criminal activity and profiteering. But the list of those actually targeted reads like an honor role of the most legitimate and legally compliant medical cannabis providers in the state.

On July 9th, Harborside Health Center was added to that list, when federal agents taped a notice of property forfeiture to our front doors. This action was a major escalation by US Attorney Melinda Haag, who previously had said she would focus enforcement actions on dispensaries that too close to schools, or out of compliance with state law

Ms. Haag failed to cite even one specific act of wrongdoing on the part of Harborside. The only reason she gave for moving against us is that we are too large. But the reason we have become so large is because we have provided patients with the very highest level of care, and have meticulously obeyed state law and local regulations.

Help stop the Federal attacks on the medical cannabis community!

Join us
MONDAY, JULY 23 at 12:00pm
Oakland City Hall
1 Frank H Ogawa Plaza
Oakland, CA 94612

Please tweet using hashtag #SaveHarborside

Oaksterdam Update: Richard Lee Calling it Quits?

11:50 am in Uncategorized by Brian Sonenstein

Following the raid on Oaksterdam University earlier this week, in which federal agents from the IRS and DEA seized bank accounts, plants, computers and records from the industry training center, founder and Prop 19 sponsor Richard Lee announced today that he will be leaving the business.

The government has yet to release the justification for this raid, but the damage is already done. The unbearable legal and financial burdens have forced Lee to step down, silencing an important voice in the movement; and the total lack of transparency will likely cast a chill over others in the medical marijuana industry as well.

It’s important to note that these raids – which candidate Obama repeatedly opposed – do not only intimidate. They also crush businesses and investors operating in a perfectly legal state and local environment, and sever a patient’s safe access to medicine – either driving them into the black market, forcing them to tolerate the dangerous and uncomfortable side-effects of pharmaceutical drugs, or leaving them to suffer.

These actions make it difficult for states to continue to pass medical marijuana laws. Some governors are blocking important medical marijuana reforms out of fear of federal retribution, and the window of opportunity for this state-by-state approach may be closing.

But simply rescheduling marijuana, which currently stands as a Schedule I drug alongside heroin and ecstasy, would allow doctors in any state to prescribe medical marijuana to patients. Governors from VT, RI and WA have already signaled their support for rescheduling to DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart.

However, President Obama can reschedule medical marijuana right now with an executive order – no congressional approval needed. On his own, President Obama could end the war on patients in this country, save untold law enforcement resources, and maybe even convince young voters, a few of his erstwhile 2008 supporters, that he might not be totally awful on marijuana.

Both President Obama and AG Holder have deeply confused the public, local governments, and law enforcement on their stance on medical marijuana – claiming to let states self regulate while allowing these disastrous federal raids to continue. It’s time for President Obama to take real action if he wants the trust and support of the marijuana reform community.

Sign our petition urging President Obama to immediately reschedule medical marijuana and end the war on patients and caregivers.

Lt. Dan Choi Needs Our Help.

10:49 am in Uncategorized by Brian Sonenstein

It’s time to rally for Lt. Dan Choi.

Jane was with Dan in June when Assistant U.S. Attorney Angela George announced that on August 29, the government will put him on trial for protesting Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell last November in front of the White House. To date, Dan has refused to accept the government’s plea deal.

For the first time in 94 years, using the same arcane law that Woodrow Wilson used to silence important women suffragists, the Obama administration will try to punish Dan for exercising his right to free speech in front of the White House.

That alone speaks volumes to the administration’s distaste for Dan’s vocal opposition to DADT. But recently, Dan got in touch to tell us about a startling new front in the government’s campaign against him.

Dan received a letter from a collection agency demanding he pay over $3,000 to the Department of Defense to compensate for the period of his enlistment he did not serve after being thrown out of the military for telling the truth about his sexual orientation.

What if Dan refuses to pay? (And in case you were wondering, he is refusing to pay). The collection agencies are threatening to seize his veterans disabilities checks, which Dan uses to treat his Post Traumatic Stress Disorder from an incredibly challenging and heroic tour of duty in Iraq. Dan received a 50% disability rating from the military, meaning that on a scale of being 0% to 100% disabled, his injuries classified him as 50% disabled. By attacking Dan’s disability benefits, it’s hard to imagine how the government’s campaign against him could get much uglier.

Dan Choi's response to the DADT debt collection agency.

DADT Activist Dan Choi's response to the Dept. of Defense's collection agency.

Although I suppose it might not be so hard to imagine. These days, it seems the White House and military have put in place a zero tolerance policy against truth-telling and whistle-blowing. Just look to their treatment of Bradley Manning, Tim DeChristopher and Dan Choi to name a few. Read the rest of this entry →