Jeffrey Schwartz: Arcata’s Own SS Might Come Busting In Any Time – May 26, 2011

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Last week the Arcata Eye reported on two more marijuana raids by the newly formed Arcata Police Department’s Special Services Unit – or otherwise known to me as the “SS Unit.” The Eye’s reporting on the raids was somewhat inaccurate when it stated that the SS Unit “…served two search warrants on residences where illegal marijuana cultivation operations were suspected to be taking place.” The warrants were served because the SS Unit believed there were marijuana cultivation operations taking place. Whether it was lawful or not was not a concern of the SS Unit.

The APD chose a perfect name for the Special Services Unit, or SS Unit that bursts into Arcata homes with no idea if unlawful activity is occurring therein. Why is this important? Because We the people living in the United States of America, have the constitutional right to demand that police officers have probable cause that there is unlawful activity going on in a person’s home before state agents can bust down doors and invade. Arcata’s SS Unit does not seem to care about that. It’s so Soviet Union.

Last week’s raids are the perfect example of what happens throughout Humboldt County every week, or more, among the various drug enforcement agencies: Cops busting into people’s homes to find out if they are growing marijuana unlawfully.

I don’t need to see the warrants to know that in most cases there is nothing in those warrants served by the SS Unit or other drug task force units in the county over the last 15 years that suggest the suspected marijuana cultivation is unlawful. The SS Unit doesn’t care if it is legal (medical) or not. It will find that out later after a wee-hours bursting into a house with guns drawn rounding up all of the sleeping half-naked residents in the home including children at gun point into the living room so they can find out if the marijuana is unlawful.

Last week on the 2500 Block of McDowell Court in Arcata Kevin Hoover reported that the police busted into a house, and whoops the marijuana grow was a lawful medical grow. Arcata Police Chief Chapman of course said something like, “[s]orry folks for the inconvenience, we’ll take off your handcuffs so you can put on your clothes and you can clean up the mess we made tossing up everything in every corner of your house. Oh, and by the way, we are going to cut your electricity until a City-approved electrician can make sure that your wiring is proper for the size of your grow. What was that you say, you would like the power to stay on to keep your perishables from spoiling and the baby’s milk from souring while you bring your own licensed electrician to make sure the house is safe…again I am sorry about that, it’s not how it works.”

I am surmising somewhat on what went down at the house on McDowell Court because there will be no report generated by the SS Unit for public consumption unless the folks at McDowell Court decide to sue the APD’s butt for the flagrant constitutional violation of busting into their home without probable cause that an unlawful cultivation operation was going on.

The Eye and all of the rest of the news reporting agencies are doing a disservice when they report that the SS Unit or the County Drug Task Force agents (DTF) enter houses on search warrants because they suspect “unlawful cultivation.” That is not the case most of the time. The reporters should ask the police just what facts they had before entering to suspect whether the cultivation was unlawful as opposed to a lawful medical grow. Most of the time there are no facts to distinguish a lawful grow from an unlawful grow before the battering ram is pressed into service.

It is disappointing that the powers that be including the Arcata City Council, the Board of Supervisors, the Humboldt County judges and the District Attorney allow this unconstitutional conduct without a peep.

Perhaps a multi-million dollar federal or state civil rights lawsuit or two from folks like the ones on McDowell Court who were raided for having a lawful medical grow will make the officers think twice about seeking search warrants without first asking: do we know if this is a medical grow or not?”

Jeffrey Schwartz the director of the Humboldt Center for Constitutional Rights (HumRights.org.) He can be reached at jdsarcata@gmail.com. Mr. Schwartz welcomes Chief Chapman to respond. This issue needs to be aired. Maybe he’ll get lucky and the people on McDowell Court will say they were grateful for his invasion of their privacy or for the fact that they were not hauled off to jail.

 

 

 

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29 Responses to “Jeffrey Schwartz: Arcata’s Own SS Might Come Busting In Any Time – May 26, 2011”

  1. MonkeyShines

    Well-thought-out & written.

    Keep up the good work, Jeff.

    #31429
  2. RangerX

    A search warrant must be reviewed and signed by a judge prior to service of the warrant, and the judge must agree that probable cause exists that a crime has occured and that evidence of that crime is likely to be found at the location detailed in the warrant. The contents of the search warrant are available through public records requests, and I suggest the Mr. Schwartz review some of these prior to accusing the APD and, by extension, Humboldt County’s judges of indiscriminate searches. I’d also suggest that he speak to someone whose 215 grow has been searched and found to be compliant to find out exactly how traumatic the experience was rather than simply making assumptions. Finally, maybe a call to the city is in order to learn just how dangerous some of the electrical violations are, and what actual risk of fire might have existed.

    I understand that Mr. Schwartz is a lawyer, so he must have at least a passing knowledge of basic research. His letter is not well-reasoned and factual but a hysterical screed from someone who has made up his mind, the facts be damned. If he or anyone else wants to present fact-based accusations on this topic I’d be happy to listen with an open mind. Until then, blah blah blah.

    #31449
  3. Robert Benson

    What is wrong with this area? As soon as someone alleges official misconduct, they are immediately attacked and ridiculed. FWI, I speak from experience.

    #31451
  4. Yes Robert, you are experienced at attacking and ridiculing people. That nonsense about a eugenicist running Arcata, and old people not liking hippies is one example. What’s wrong with this area? Look inward for answers.

    #31452
  5. Ranger X,
    Not to say that this happens in Arcata, but it does happen all of the time in regards to medical cannabis patients, collectives, and cooperatives.
    Here is a case in point from just this week:
    ​Deputies Conveniently Forget To Mention Existence Of A Tape Which Showed Dispensary Was Following The Law

    A Superior Court judge in California has thrown out a criminal case against an Oildale medical marijuana cooperative that was shut down in 2009. According to the judge’s decision, the search warrant that led to the closure was based on incomplete information because it left out a tape recording indicating the cooperative was following the law.

    Judge Michael Dellostritto on Friday called the affidavit supporting the search warrant “false and misleading,” and said he never would have issued the warrant if he had heard the recording, reports Courtenay Edelhart of the Bakersfield Californian.

    The ruling validated the California Compassionate Co-op and was not only a victory for his client, but “more importantly, a victory for the rule of law and due process of law,” said defense attorney H.A. Sala on Tuesday.

    Sheriff’s deputies identified themselves as law enforcement officers and interviewed the owner of the cooperative and several employees in May 2009, about a month before the warrant was issued. That interview was secretly recorded.

    They later put together a written summary of the exchange and sent it with the affidavit in support of a search warrant, but the officers failed to attach a copy of the recording — or even to disclose that the interview had been taped.

    “That would not be in the normal realm of practice, to attach a tape to an affidavit and submit it to a judge,” claimed Francis Moore, chief deputy at the Kern County Sheriff’s Department. “They’re always summaries,” he fibbed. “There are often tapes and videos and things, but it would take judges days to wade through all that.”

    So obviously, this Deputy Moore prefers for judges to see only “summaries” of the “evidence” prepared by — guess who? The same dishonest cops who got caught trying to mislead the judge this time!

    Moore said the district attorney’s office and the defense attorney “still don’t see eye to eye on whether it was a legitimate co-op, and that’s the crux of the argument, but the judge makes his decision based on the evidence he’s presented, and we respect the judge’s decision.”

    Judge Sala only learned of the existence of the tape during a cross examination, at which point he told the Sheriff’s Department to produce the damned thing already.

    On the recording, the dispensary’s owner, Deborah Lynn Dahl, and her staff are heard apparently showing sheriff’s deputies articles of incorporation, telling them that the co-op did not profit from cannabis sales but only covered costs, and explaining that cannabis was sold exclusively to co-op members who had been authorized by a doctor with a valid California medical license, according to Judge Sala.

    The co-op had opened in April 2009 to sell cannabis only to members whose doctors had recommended marijuana use for medicinal purposes.

    The judge ruled to throw out the search warrant and suppress all evidence obtained as a result of the search it authorized.

    Dahl had faced one felony count of selling/furnishing marijuana, and one felony county of possessing marijuana for sale. Both charges were dismissed.

    Criminal charges were filed in September 2009, and a civil suit was filed around the same time.

    The dispensary is seeking the return of $14,000 in cash and more than four pounds of marijuana seized from the premises at 200 North Chester Avenue in Oildale.

    The civil suit is still pending. Dahl, through her attorney, declined to comment.

    So as we see, there is ample reason to think that sometimes some police might not present every detail to the judge when seeking the search warrant.

    4 pounds of cannabis at the price the police claim is “street” value or at retail dispensary prices is $12000 minimum plus the $14000 that was seized plus attorneys fees plus damages should add up to at least $50,000 for the people arrested on the bogus warrant.

    Can Arcata afford to pay out $50k every time someones legitimate garden is raided?

    If more patients actually went to court instead of taking plea deals the raids on legitimate patients might slow down or even stop.

    #31458
  6. RangerX

    Mark – Certainly there are issues with law enforcement and dispensaries elsewhere but that wasn’t the topic of Schwartz’s letter, so I think we shouldn’t move too far afield. I prefer to focus on Arcata’s issues.

    Robert – Shame on me for even taking the bait, but did you really read my post as an attack? Schwartz’s letter is largely devoid of facts – that’s what I find troublesome. Everyone is entitled to their opinions, but opinions devoid of facts don’t carry a lot of weight.

    Let’s really get down to it – right or wrong, absent a 215 recomendation marijuana is still illegal. This makes is both profitable and potentially dangerous, as people who engage in criminal for-profit enterprise tend to have a lower regard for other laws as well. So a legal 215 grow is kept hush-hush, because nobody wants some sort of nasty home invasion robbery happening to them. Which then makes it very difficult for law enforcement to distinquish between legal 215 grows and illegal, for-profit, neighborhood blighting grows. If anyone else out there has a good idea for avoiding this sort of thing I’d be happy to hear it.

    I’d like to see the damned stuff legalized and regulated and then we could all move on to more important topics. Until then my first reaction is to have legal indoor 215 grows registered with the city to avoid law enforcement complications and to allow for electrical inspections to avoid tragic fires. There are plenty of people who will object to this as an invasion of privacy (and more than a few who really are hiding behind 215 to mask criminal activity). But since MJ cultivation lives in two worlds (legal/illegal) that might be the price that has to paid until things get clarified.

    #31463
  7. Ranger X,
    The problem with registering legal grows is that is not anywhere in state law, neither prop 215 nor the Medical Marijuana Program Act (popularly know as SB 420) mandate or even suggest registering with the police or county or city. As a matter of fact it is the fact that any records about “legal” 215 grows the police and or city held would be readily available to Federal agents that have zero regard for the laws of the Great State of California that a registry was purposefully left out of existing law.

    My general point in the earlier post is that as a defense attorney, Jeffery hears peoples stories about how “things went down” and they are often very different from what is in the warrant.

    At this point all it takes to ruin someones life is to make an anonymous complaint about a legal grow, see a few friends visit and there are grounds for a “legal” home invasion.

    And we all wonder why people try to keep their patient status a secret.

    #31466
  8. PS
    I have always maintained that APD goes out of its way to treat suspects of all types with the utmost respect, be it “growers”, transients, or belligerent drunks on the plaza at 2am.

    #31467
  9. Over 26 years in Arcata, 20 of them doing journalism, I’ve experienced a total of three intemperate or unfair incidents involving Arcata PD officers, none particularly serious. Considering the crap they put up with and that they are humans, that’s pretty good. There have been far more annoying and offensive encounters with other local law enforcement agencies.

    #31468
  10. Indeed. We are in fact lucky to have the quality police force we have here in town. That said, a “home invasion” where you are tied up, roughed up, sat down and robbed should only happen when it’s criminals. Law abiding citizens shouldn’t have to fear “home invasions” by the police that are there to serve and protect them too.

    #31472
  11. RangerX

    Again, I’d simply ask that you understand the legal requirements for a warrant – it’s more than neighbor complaints and a few late night visitors. I’ve read about all the warrants served in the last few months, and as I recall 2 out of maybe 20 were legal grows. All things considered (murky laws, dubious legal status, etc.) that’s a pretty decent percentage.

    I agree that 215 and 420 don’t have provisions for registration – they don’t have many details at all, which makes them such crappy laws, and which was the fatal flaw in Prop 19 last year. I’m not sure that the Feds have automatic access to municipal records, but do agree that it’s a potential issues. Then again, the Obama administration won’t prosecute violations of Federal MJ law that are within state law.

    #31476
  12. “Then again, the Obama administration won’t prosecute violations of Federal MJ law that are within state law.”

    If only that were true.
    http://www.tokeofthetown.com/2011/05/dea_police_raid_more_marijuana_dispensaries_in_was.php

    http://www.tokeofthetown.com/2011/05/medical_marijuana_under_attack_heres_how_you_can_f.php#more

    “Medical marijuana patients across the country are under attack, according to Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance.

    “Despite the Obama Administration’s promise to respect state laws, lawyers in the federal government are now threatening to arrest and prosecute people who are legally licensed to grow medical marijuana under state law,” Nadelmann said.

    “These ideologues are trying to block sensible regulation — and they’ve already succeeded in Washington State,” Nadelmann said. “We must stop them from erasing all the progress we’ve made and from leaving patients out in the cold.”
    I have read both prop 215 and the MMPA in great detail and to me they are not murky at all, they are really clear. And with all of the published citeable court rulings the law is as clear as a glass of tap water.
    To me it just seems like this issue is like the Israel, Palestine conflict, at this point the two sides just hate each other with no good reason.
    I would argue that Prop 19 failed because the Governor signed the marijuana INFRACTION bill that removed the misdemeanor status of low level pot busts. One of the main selling points of prop 19 was that people would not loose college money for a simple possession arrest. That and the each county could set their own rules, sort of like the worst part of the MMPA.

    One question Ranger X, If Arcata had a “215 registry”and if the DEA and or the FBI walked into the Arcata PD and wanted to see the records of who had a “215 card”, would the Arcata PD provide it to the feds? If the answer is yes, then how can you expect anyone to give up the location of their medical garden?

    #31491
  13. One more thing, until it goes to court we will not know if any of the “illegal” grows you mention are actually legal. As you know a doctors note can override any local ordinance about garden size, plant numbers etc.( even though restrictions on plant count ,weight, and by default garden size have been ruled unconstitutional by the State Supreme court.)

    Chakos Decision: “Nowhere in this record do we find any substantial evidence that the arresting officer had any expertise in differentiating citizens who possess marijuana lawfully for their own consumption, as distinct from possessing unlawfully with intent to sell.

    http://www.chrisconrad.com/pdf/chakos07-G037004.PDF

    Kelly Decision: Three Appeals courts ruled the quantity limits passed by the legislature in SB420 were unconstitutional .Chris Conrad testified at Kelly’s original Long Beach trial and is cited. The Supreme Court held that the quantities are legal as a safe harbor for state ID cardholders but are unconstitutional as a limit on a qualified patient’s defense in court. It also held that the state ID card system is constitutional and that collectives operating under Health and Safety Code 11362.775 are constitutionally protected throughout the state.

    Kelly Appeals Court Decision. Chris Conrad testified at the original Long Beach trial and is cited. Ruling that was reviewed by the Supreme Court

    Phomphakdy Appeals Court Decision: Chris Conrad testified at the original Sacramento trial and is cited. Held that Quantities listed in SB 420, HS 11362.77(a) are unconstitutional to the extent that they are taken as limits affecting patients’ rights or legal defense.

    http://www.chrisconrad.com/pdf/kelly10-S164830.pdf

    Spark Decision: Juries and judges do not get to “second guess” a doctor’s approval, condition need not be determined to be “serious” for a valid approval.

    Windus Decision: Doctor’s approval is not an annual requirement and can be good for years; doctor’s dosage is advisory and does not restrict patient from having a “reasonable” amount, even if less than what a patient has.

    Trippet Decision: Chris Conrad testified at the Humboldt County trial. Appellate Court, Prop 215: Patients not entitled to “unlimited amounts,” but transportation and possession are authorized. “The rule should be that the quantity possessed by the patient or the primary caregiver, and the form and manner in which it is possessed, should be reasonably related to the patient’s current medical needs. What precisely are the “patient’s current medical needs” must, of course, remain a factual question to be determined by the trier of fact.”

    This is a quote taken directly from a doctors recommendation:
    For thirty-seven years I have had a large portion of my patients request treatment with herbs and other remedies in preference to pharmaceuticals. Being aware of the herbal and biological origins of pharmaceuticals, I find herbal treatment to be no less rational than treatment with drugs and chemicals.

    Treatment with herbs is not magic: I have no faith in homeopathy. Although small doses of the proper remedy can have a dramatic effect on an illness, inadequate doses never will.

    In making recommendations for doses of herbs, the daily amount is usually specified in grams or ounces, depending on the potency, moisture, or concentration in processing. Extremely toxic herbs might be measured in milligrams.

    It would be fraudulent and negligent for me to pretend that inadequate doses of medical cannabis would be effective in treating my patients. Any one of my patients may need to grow ninety-nine mature plants and possess nineteen pounds of processed cannabis for their yearly medical needs.

    Addendum (added 8/9/2010)
    Since the California Supreme Court has ruled that neither County Governments, nor the State legislature, has the authority to specify legal limits on cannabis cultivation or possession by valid cannabis patients, I am adopting a consistent standard for all of my patients regardless of county. This is the standard of ninety-nine mature plants, currently allowed by a number of counties, and nineteen pounds of processed cannabis.

    #31492
  14. Whats murky about any of that?

    #31493
  15. Here’s a radical suggestion for medical cannabis patients: follow the City guidelines, install a 50 square foot grow using 1,200 watts of lighting that doesn’t require dangerous wiring or degrade the neighborhood. There are dozens, if not hundreds, maybe thousands of grows like this in Arcata, and they roll along week after month completely unmolested by the gov’t.

    As far as I can recall, ALL of what turned out to be 215 or otherwise non-prosecutable grows the cops have walked away from were slob grows that befouled and even endangered the surrounding neighborhood and necessitated disconnection of power so the house wouldn’t be burned up. That’s totally unnecessary.

    We live in a community of people who are more than happy to get along, as long as everyone is making an effort to do so. But that social contract cuts two ways. If your grow blows, expect attention.

    #31494
  16. That was never the argument Kev, and you know that.
    Like I pointed out, the local ordinance is unconstitutional on face value, as limiting area and wattage amount to a limit on quantity.(see people v kelly)

    Someone, sometime will sue over it, the city will loose and we will start the dance all over again.

    Sort of like the illegal destruction of the personal property of the transients in the illegal camps. A court in Sacrament just ruled that destroying the property is a constitutional violation.

    I guess the point we are all making is BE A GOOD NEIGHBOR.

    Don’t use shitty wiring where your kids live, don’t overload your electricity, and stay within the guidelines that you have agreed upon with your doctor.

    I still want to see an industrial warehouse set up as a co-op to rent space to patients to grow their own medicine not in a house. The place could then have a farmers market so patients that are too sick, or not otherwise able to grow for themselves could obtain their medicine from other patients, and the proceeds could go to space rental, electrical, and patient services. Too bad Arcata has already reached it artificially imposed “limit” on legal “dispensaries.”

    But he we can all dream right…

    #31495
  17. It’s bad form to tell someone what they know, because that’s something you can’t possibly know. And it is the point.

    The ordinance regulating cultivation of cannabis is based on well-established land use and zoning law. Apart from the “romance” of cannabis, which not all of us buy into, it simply codifies what should be common sense and neighborly consideration, but apparently isn’t. It’s no different from the laws that prevent selfish greed-heads from turning their houses into, for example, auto repair facilities, as some have tried.

    Unfortunately, cannabis for some is venerated to the degree that any attempt at regulation brings howls of agony. But the simple fact is that large-scale indoor cultivation in residential areas brings trouble and even danger to the community, necessitating regulation. The fair, generous laws Arcata passed allow people to grow and/or purchase all the cannabis anyone could need – enough to stay perpetually baked 24/7 if that is their desire. That will never be enough for either those who have made this mere drug the center of their lives, or the profiteers who dress their greed up in faux moral outrage.

    But for the rest of us, including those who smoke, cannabis is but part of a healthy, active lifestyle. We can now get all we need – actually far more than we would ever really need – legally, without wrecking our neighborhoods or contriving overblown legal arguments against relatively mundane land use regs.

    #31496
  18. RangerX

    Mark – I have no idea if the APD would cooperate with handing those records to the Feds, or if the Feds could compel them to do so. I was throwing out an idea as the beginning of a discussion on how to help differentiate between the legal and illegal grows, not a set-in-stone solution. From what I’ve read a lot of the grows that have been busted have included packaging materials, cash, some guns, some hash-making equipment, etc. – sounds on the face of it like illegal grows to me, and please don’t presume that I agree that an RX recomendation will trump such evidence.

    I understand that you are a passionate medical marijuana advocate, and I respect that. However I must disagree about the “murkiness” – the very fact that so many court rulings have been needed tells me that the law as written is incredibly murky, which has been the problem all along. Add to the poorly written law the fact that it addresses a substance that is legal in certain contexts and illegal in others and you have a murky situation.

    Prop 19 failed because it set up the same horrible circumstances that 215 and 420 did, wherein there are few definitions and too many options for local authorities to contradict each other. Had it been better written I suspect you would have seen endorsements for it from law enforcement up and down the state. Prop 215′s biggest flaw, and the reason that it has so many opponents, is that it takes a valid issue (medical MJ) and allows a lot of people who want to smoke weed to hide behind it. This undermines the very real needs of the medical MJ patients and confirms the worst suspicions of the anti-weed crowd. It needs an overhaul or it will just remain a shell that protects some legitimate patients and a lot of people who just want to smoke weed.

    All of that aside, I still think that Schwartz’s letter was absent of fact, shrill, and designed to inflame a lot of people who have already made up their minds, instead of helping to inform the discussion. I mean, SS references, really?

    #31505
  19. “SS references, really?”

    That surprises you? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reductio_ad_Hitlerum

    From fluoride to Smart Meters, Plaza cameras, laws about smoking and animals, parking enforcement, journalism and of course cannabis, the hidden hand of Adolph is inevitably unmasked in short order by some of the more low-effort rhetoricians.

    #31506
  20. Unless they were making has oil, it was legal.

    AG’s Opinion 03-411 regarding Medical Marijuana definition to include hashish and preparations. Note: Bear in mind the Bergen decision above that determined making hash oil using flammable agents (butane, ether, etc.) is not legal, even if intended for medical purposes. It is the extraction process itself that is illegal.

    TO BE PUBLISHED IN THE OFFICIAL REPORTS
    OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL
    State of California
    BILL LOCKYER
    Attorney General
    OPINION
    of
    BILL LOCKYER
    Attorney General
    GREGORY L. GONOT
    Deputy Attorney General
    :::::::::::
    No. 03-411
    October 21, 2003
    THE HONORABLE ANTHONY J. CRAVER, SHERIFF-CORONER,
    COUNTY OF MENDOCINO, has requested an opinion on the following question:
    Is concentrated cannabis or hashish included within the meaning of
    “marijuana” as that term is used in the Compassionate Use Act of 1996?
    CONCLUSION
    Concentrated cannabis or hashish is included within the meaning of
    “marijuana” as that term is used in the Compassionate Use Act of 1996.

    So “bubble bags” and “bubble hash” are legal for patients.

    http://www.chrisconrad.com/expert.witness/Bergen08CalAppB203793hashOil.pdf

    People that cook with cannabis cook by weight not volume.

    What are “packaging” materials? Sandwich bags? Cooking bags? Trash bags? Who doesn’t have a sandwich bag in there house?

    to my Butte County patients:
    Posted on May 16, 2011 by admin
    Notice to my Butte County patients:
    When the Sheriff’s destroy your property TAKE PICTURES.
    DO NOT cop a plea. Then bring civil suit for the value of the destroyed property.
    Use the past testimonies as to the value of the property destroyed.”

    #31509
  21. Jeffrey Schwartz

    RangerX. My piece is about the interpretation of the law in general that police officers believe allow them to crash through doors to find out whether something is unlawful or not. The point I was trying to make is a legal issue not a factual issue.

    APD and every other task force group around the state are going into homes many times, but not all of the time, not knowing one way or the other whether a grow is legal or illegal. Often times there are special facts that lead law enforcement to believe a grow is unlawful. In those circumstances they should go in with a search warrant.

    But there are a huge number of the search warrants based on spinning meters, sounds of fans, and smell. Those three elements suggest that there is a marijuana grow happening but it does not say whether the grow is a lawful medical grow or an illegal grow. In this scenario the police don’t know the legality of the grow until they get inside. Basic constitutional law prohibits this kind of conduct from agents of the state.

    California created a right to grow and possess marijuana for medical purposes. Once a right is created, I opine, the state cannot put strings on it by saying one gives up his or her rights to privacy. The law enforcement community opines just the opposite.

    There is a judge in one of the counties south of here who asks the police officer if he or she knows one way or the other if the grow is unlawful or lawful. If the police officer says, “I don’t know…” the judge does not sign the warrant.

    Can the DA and the courts get away without asking the question, “do you have any facts that suggest it is an unlawful grow?” So far they can, but does that make it right? It should not be what we can get away with; it should be what is the right thing to do.

    Do you want law enforcement crashing into your house in the early morning to make sure your gun is legal? And then it is magazines and books…and so on and so on.

    #31691
  22. Also, since when do you loose the rest of your constitutionally protected rights because you are a patient? Butte county V Butte County superior court( http://americansforsafeaccess.org/downloads/Butte_Appellate_Decision.pdf ) ruled you do not loose your other constitutional rights because you are a medical cannabis patient, so why would it matter if the patients that are raided have legal guns?

    This issue is going to find its way to the California Supreme Court soon, where I would bet they rule just like the Oregon Supreme Court ruled recently.

    http://www.tokeofthetown.com/2011/05/oregon_court_rules_medical_marijuana_patients_can.php

    #31711
  23. Loose ≠ lose.

    #31712
  24. As to probable cause as it relates to medical cannabis the California Supreme Court says: Article I, section 13 of the California Constitution guarantees individuals the right to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, free from unreasonable searches and seizures. As the Supreme Court has noted, in the context of medical marijuana: “To be sure, law enforcement officers must have probable cause before they lawfully may arrest a person for any crime. [Citations.] Probable cause depends on all of the surrounding facts [citation], including those that reveal a person‟s status as a qualified patient or primary caregiver under [the Act].” (People v. Mower (2002) 28 Cal.4th 457, 468-469 (Mower).)

    “An officer must possess “„“facts as would lead a man of ordinary caution or prudence to believe, and conscientiously entertain a strong suspicion of the guilt of the accused.”‟ [Citation.]” (Mower, supra, 28 Cal.4th at p. 473.) Any consideration of probable cause must include the officer‟s consideration of the individual‟s status as a qualified medical marijuana patient. (Id. at pp. 468-469.)”

    “Instead, we see an opportunity for an individual to request the same constitutional guarantee of due process available to all individuals, no matter what their status, under the state Constitution. The fact that this case involves medical marijuana and a qualified medical marijuana patient does not change these fundamental constitutional rights or an individual‟s right to assert them.”

    #31713
  25. Thanks for the spell check…baby woke up early and I am out of coffee.

    #31714
  26. Waldo

    With so many of our elected folks and community “leaders” financially tied to large growers moving into the County, it is only to be expected that a trivial thing like individual rights will take an inferior place to limiting competition.

    #31991
  27. Oman

    You don’t need research to figure out that busting into houses with guns drawn, just to find out weather a grow is legal or not is WAY OFF and soviet style if not Nazi style. Why not just knock on the door with a badge and search warrant and ask the people to come out side? Why do they have to bust in and put people at gun point? Oh yeah, what’s with using the name SS for the unit. Does anyone know what the guys in Nazi Germany were called that did similar stuff? SS (secret service), oh big whoop they changed one word. Just like “Homeland” Security reeks of Nazi propaganda influence. I thought Arcata had a spine but it looks like we’re not as protected from this slip toward fascism as I had hoped. And of course, if you try to sue them they are probably above the law. Which is absolutely anti American/Constitution any way you slice it. How’s that for Blah Blah Blah. All these games with semantics and acting as if this behavior is justified is ridiculous.

    #35921
  28. tim

    Tuesday Oct. 11th Dale Gieringer with Cal. NORML sent out a warning to Humboldt County about Nevada Co. I quote;”Cal NORML has recieved a report from the Civil Liberties Monitoring Project (CLMP)that Nevada Co. Agents are running a MMJ Sting Operation. Basically, Nevada Co.Agents, pose as a “Legal Collective” and try to buy MJ from Growers; then they Arrest the grower. the Nevada Co. Agents Came all the way to Humboldt Co. just to bust one of CLMP’s members. BEWARE of unsolicited requests for Medicine from NEVADA CO.-Dale G.,Cal NORML-
    Im not Judging, im just saying…when an arresting official comes to Humboldt from out of State, all properties siezed, (CASH), goes back to the Arresters state(NEVADA). If a state has no 215 laws, then they have to come to our state to Legally Steal(bust) the Growers. If all you have is weed then they give it to the Humboldt County Sheriff Dept. If there is $200,000 it goes to the arresting parties county of arrest, which in turn,that Money eventually recirculates back into our Community.When Nevada Co. is allowed to cross the Line and bust in Humboldt then any cash siezed goes back to the communities of Nevada Co. and the wreckage they created is left behind for the Humboldt Co. Sheriff’s to clean up and Pay for. So, Humboldt Tax Payers are paying federal taxes to cover the expenses of this kind of behavior. Its odd to say,but at least this big bust was carried out bythe ” Humboldt Sheriffs Dept.” If Nevada Co. had done this. they would be sending that $200,000 back to Nevada state. these are our Laws and this is our State. I truly hope that our State, County, and Cities stand up against this, harmful activity and stop outlining states from being able to Steal Money from the Cities, and Counties of the State of California.

    #39701
  29. tim

    last comment made was Speaking of the large bust that happened today and my gratitude that at least it was kept local and some out of state troopers didnt go running home with all of Humboldts Money. October 21st, 2011. when is all this going to end. I was told, at Gun Point, that I was “Illegally Transporting Drugs” the moment I leave a Medicinal Clinic with Medication. I was told that at gun point. If this is the case, what is keeping the law makers from telling people about the laws being made? I was under the impression that if a store, any store, that has a business liscense and gives me a reciept showing that the taxes were paid for the item i am buying, then how can any Human with a tenth of a brain say that i am doing anything illegal.

    #39702

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