Will The Real Med-Aid Collective Please Stand Up?

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Jay Brockman
Every once in awhile you write a story that needs updating. More rare is the story whose updates become so convoluted that you're not really updating anymore, but essentially rewriting. Such is the case with Patient Med-Aid, the collective whose efforts to distribute cannabis to sick Orange County residents I first profiled in a cover story that ran last November titled "Sick Enough to Smoke."

As I reported in August, Patient Med-Aid fled Anaheim thanks to that city's hypocritical efforts (because it hosts the Kush Expo each year) to work with the DEA in forcing out all cannabis collectives. It resurfaced in Sunset Beach under a new name--Med-Aid--but moved again after cops began parking a cruiser out front, ending up in an industrial neighborhood of Huntington Beach. There, the DEA caught up with the collective and threatened activist Marla James with criminal prosecution if she didn't shut down.

Here's where the story gets confusing.

At first, James told me that the collective was going to fight the DEA and remain open. A few hours after I published that story, however, she called back--apparently after speaking to her lawyer--and stated that Med-Aid would in fact shut down. Not everyone at the collective agreed with that move, however, and since I published the post, James left Med-Aid and the collective reopened, despite the DEA's threats.

Now that she's gone, James adds, the Med-Aid collective in Huntington Beach is no longer affiliated with the Patient Med-Aid I originally wrote about. Unlike that collective, which limited its membership to severely ill patients, she claims, this group is much less discriminating. James wants everyone--especially the city of Huntington Beach and the DEA--to know that she and Patient Med-Aid have absolutely no relationship with Med-Aid.

Separately, an individual claiming to be in charge of Med-Aid confirmed to me that James is no longer with with the collective, and she also requested that we update our coverage to indicate that Med-Aid is in fact still open for business.

Got that straight, everybody?

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Thank you Nick for clarifying things a bit. I never owned a collective, as collectives are suppose to be a mutual benefit corp. and is owned by the patients. I felt Med-Aid, which is still open in Huntington Beach, was nor running properly (as state law requires accurate paperwork), and at the time I was volunteering there, receipts were never written, so how could they accurately assess how many donations were given, and how much free or discounted medicine was given. No such records existed. I also felt like a scapegoat as the DEA did not come after Sheren, the patient manager, they came after me, a legally blind lady in a wheelchair. When Sheren  made the decision to reopen, (I no longer was there) I was in fear that the DEA would come back to arrest me for defying them.  Sheren would be in the clear.  I do wish the city of Huntington Beach would ask to look at their books, as a non-profit, which they claim to be must have their books open. 


In other words.

1.  She sold the business

2.  The business has reopened but to protect herself, she no longer owns it.

paullucas714 topcommenter

?? I was with Marla and David two weeks ago working at PMA. WTF is going on?

paullucas714 topcommenter


The whole idea of "profit" is going to be the new hinge-pin on which the DA's will focus in prosecutions. That's because the wording leaves it up to interpretation instead hard set parameters. Its a Trojan horse. Additionally, the idea that the boos have to be open, and all transactions must be accounted for to the penny is another falsehood. No where in the guidelines is this described beyond suggested parameters. Again leaving it up for interpretation for the DAs to foist another prosecution.  

One cannot point to the guidelines and say "Here", Here is the template with the guidelines that describe the methodology to which this "non-Profit" must fit within to remain legal. That was an dis intentional. Its called a poison pill.

However, we do have the court of appeal, in People v Jovan Jackson that does say that a small amount of profit is actually o and is to be expected just as much as it would be for nay business, for profit or non profit or otherwise. This standard is derived from People v Colvin, and is and was re-affirmed twice on appeal. As is and was Jackson. Twice on appeal for two cases makes this concept "hard", in the eyes of the law meaning that the guidelines are ambiguous, but these decisions are hard set in the books of case law this setting a standard.

Has anyone over at Anheiseur Bush ever had to plea about the profit margin their company has made? Or how about Smith Glaxxo Kline? Have the ever had to describe their profits? How about hospitals? These are non profit entities that pull in billions of profits to be distributed among their board members.

This concept of profit must be done away with. If not we are not going to see an end to the human rights violations in the war on cannabis over some ambiguous idea of profit and how it is established.


@paullucas714 @ghostladyjames I am not saying anything regarding profit, a collective has the right of reimbursement. The state board of equalization does require accurate numbers and how do you get accurate sales numbers if you are not giving out receipts.  How do you rectify sales tax collected which must go to the state, and city. The price you pay for goods, includes the sales tax, so if you are a member of the collective you are paying sales tax which is included in the price, but if you as the manager are no keeping track of sales, how can you keep track of how much sales tax you collect and owe.  If a collective does not keep records, or pay workers comp like any other business, is it right?


@ghostladyjames @paullucas714 "Club owners would love to pay their fair share of the taxes but how can they?  As an owner I'm not allowed to deduct my business expense, not allowed to open a bank account ( with legal corporation name ), not allowed to get property insurance, worker's comp insurance etc etc.  It's a cash business because the banks won't let us use credit cards..so to say think that clubs are inherently dodging paying their fair share is not correct.  Also, clubs are not "true"non profits..they are "for" profit company's but must not have any profits at the end ( If you can figure that one out ) Basically we should donate whatever we have left at the end to some real "non-profit" organization.

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