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Medical Marijuana: Berkeley Declares Itself a Sanctuary City

The Berkeley City Council gave a collective raised middle finger to the DEA Tuesday night, unanimously approving a resolution declaring the city a sanctuary in the event the federal agency attempts to interfere with its medical marijuana dispensaries. Passage of the resolution was greeted with loud applause, according to the Daily Californian, the student newspaper at Cal Berkeley.

The resolution was opposed by the DEA, and softened last month to accommodate grumbling from Police Chief Douglas Hambleton and City Manager Phil Kamlarz, but it still puts the city on record as "opposing the attempts by the US Drug Enforcement Administration to close medical marijuana dispensaries, and declaring the City of Berkeley as a sanctuary for medicinal cannabis use, cultivation, and distribution that complies with State law and local ordinances in the event that" the DEA tried to raid one of the city's regulated dispensaries.

The resolution also reinforces a 2002 Berkeley policy directing police not to cooperate in federal medical marijuana investigations. City police were criticized last fall after arriving at the scene of a DEA action related to a raid on a Los Angeles dispensary. The resolution reemphasizes that the Berkeley police and the city attorney's office are not to cooperate with the DEA in "investigations of, raids upon, or threats against physicians, individual patients or their primary caregivers, and medical cannabis dispensaries and operators" operating within California law.

In addition, the resolution directs the city clerk to send letters to Alameda County, of which Berkeley is a part, to state Attorney General Jerry Brown, and to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, urging them to appropriately support medical marijuana.

The city of Berkeley has now committed itself to ensuring that its residents have access to medical marijuana, but it's not clear just yet exactly what that means. The resolution directs the police chief and the city manager to try to find ways to turn the resolution into reality. If the DEA shuts down Berkeley's dispensaries, will the city provide medical marijuana? Will it help new dispensaries set up? The answers are in the making.

Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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Re: Berkeley on the right track

Congratulations to the Berkeley (Ca) City Council in unanimously approving the resolution making the city a sanctuary against the DEA's attempts to interfere with medical marijuana dispensaries delivery of services to city residents and others. I hope the chief of police and city manager carry out the resolution as directed. It would seem their jobs depend on it. Anyway, KUDOS to all involved.

Randall St Jacques CFO
Windsor West Parti Marijuana Party (Canada)

Berkeley on the Left Track

Congratulations to the Berkeley City Council for confirming in the eyes of tens of millions of Americans the devastating effects of cannibus on the human brain. Moreover, kudos to Berkeley itself for offering keen political competition to both Venezuela and Cuba, the three of which collectively represent the last genuinely recalcitrant communist strongholds in the Western Hemisphere. You're in select company, Berkeley: Take another hit from that bong, baby! You deserve it.

R.L. George
United States Marine Corps, 1941-46

An explanation please

Clearly your opinions of medical use of marijuana are opposed. Could you please provide independent and verifiable evidence which supports your position? If we are to find a solution to the many problems facing our countries, surely communicating and sharing of ideas would be productive and moral. You have risked your life in the service of your country protecting the values of your constitution. Please do not make a mockery of your valued contribution by denying the same rights and freedoms you worked so hard and diligently to protect.

Fellow Jarhead

I am also a former US Marine. I saw alot of combat in Iraq and
have used medical cannabis when prescription drugs failed me.
Please do not pigeonhole all Marines into this man's box.
Most Marines I know support MMJ especially for PTSD.
I think that Berkely is doing a great thing.

I was prosecuted in Long Beach for growing my own medical cannabis, and now I am in jeopardy of returning to jail for continuing to use medical cannabis while on probation.
No other medication works as good as MMJ.

Our country has been hi-jacked by oil interests and the military-industrial comlex and then men who go where American's ask them to go aren't even being treated.

I can hardly afford to feed my family and they want me to
stay drugged on pills and not grow my own inexpensive effective medicine.

Its madness. I pray more TRUE CALIFORNIANS will also take a stand against this rediculous injustice.

Sgt. Greenbud
OIF 2.2 Combat Veteran
www.myspace.com/p7m8

Leave it to a jarhead to

Leave it to a jarhead to know the "real facts" about marijuana.

If we just used hemp to make paper, biomass fuel, and food, we would relieve stress upon the world's rain forests, free ourselves from OPEC's grasp, and be able to feed roughly the whole of America. LEFT changes are GOOD for America, universal healthcare and other socialist changes would better the quality of life here.

So bring the revolution, shut these old white guys up. This isnt the 50's anymore, here here Berkeley!!

to R.L. George

the devestating effects of what? crack? coc? those are all man made! marijuana grows naturally.. obviously youve never experienced marijuana because any pot smoker would know that the US is based on lies.. and your obviously from the reefer madness age and would probly believe that you could kill your brother while under the influence of marijuana- that ignorant anslinger guy

Yo R.L.

Berkeley scares the hell out of you and some of your Marine buddies, eh?  All those hot little college girls with their protest signs.  All those non-conformists in their funny clothes.  Eeeeww, scary!

That’s really strange. Because Berkeley isn’t afraid of the Marines.  In fact, Berkeley really likes Marines.  That’s what the protest is about.  Stopping the war created by the psychopaths in the White House and getting the Marines and everyone else out of Iraq with what little they have left of their bodies and brains intact.

The Berkeley protest is purely symbolic.  Closing one cubby hole recruiting office for a day or two isn’t going to affect the Marine Corps in any way shape or form.  A news blip or two and it’s gone.  It’s political theater.

But since this is a drug site, no Marine veteran should sign out without checking out the incredible benefits medical grade marijuana offers for those Marines who are now retired or soon will be.

Giordano

Berkely Likes Marines

As a Marine, I get alot of love and respect in that region of California.

I want my friends and family to come home alive. I thank
the folks up there for caring enough to make a stand.

I don't want one more Marine to die so Bush's cronies can make their record profits again next year while American's lose jobs and families starve.

Semper Fidelis,
Sgt. Greenbud
OIF 2.2 Combat Veteran
www.myspace.com/p7m8

Them damned commies -- they're everywhere, aren't they?

Yeah -- what's the Marine who still sees "communists" that evaporated decades ago "under every rug" a la nutbag McCarthy doing on such a progressive and intelligent website, anyway? I mean, how'd he find his way here in the first place, do you suppose?

Berkeley vs Venezuela? And Cuba? I want to know what HE'S been smokin' because it sure couldn't have been marijuana. Maybe it was some of that Loco Weed? or Jimson Weed? I hear they induce some real bad trips and the Marine is definitely trippin'.

Berkeley and the Drug War

Berkeley, while significantly more "liberal" than other cities, has not lived up to its rhetoric against the irresponsible War on Drugs. This has been my conclusion as a student and resident of Berkeley.

The Berkeley City Council, of course, ought to be praised for its resolution. However, I would like to point out that Berkeley is by no means a "sanctuary" for medical marijuana. If it were a true sanctuary, why are patients only allowed up to ten plants? It seems that neighboring Oakland, which allows up to 72 plants per medical marijuana patient, lives up to the title of "sanctuary" more so than Berkeley.

Indeed, the Berkeley City Council ignores the fact that the citizens of Berkeley overwhelmingly oppose ANY restrictions on the use and distribution of cannabis. In 1979, more than 60% of Berkeley voters approved the Berkeley Cannabis Ordinance. This initiative allowed for the TOTAL legalization of cannabis. Unfortunately, due to Berkeley's City-Manager style of government, the Berkeley Cannabis Ordinance cannot be enforced.

While the initiative lacks legal authority, it has great symbolic force. It is a bold repudiation of Federal and State law that seeks to restrict the use of a natural medicine, sacrament, and inebriant. The Berkeley Cannabis Ordinance, above all, expresses the political will of Berkeley citizens. And so far, in its actions or lack thereof, the Berkeley City Council has yet to recognize what the citizens of Berkeley wish for--TOTAL LEGALIZATION.

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