Marla James, OC's Matriarch of Medicinal Marijuana

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Photo by John Gilhooley
Trying to keep patients away from crappy Anaheim motels

When somebody writes the book on how Orange County became the biggest battleground in the war on medical marijuana in California, there should be an entire chapter on just one person: Marla James. She may no longer lead the Orange County chapter of Americans for Safe Access (ASA), the largest national group advocating for the rights of medical-marijuana smokers--she left that position after refusing to increase membership dues--but James remains one of the most passionate and articulate agitators in the movement.


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Tony Jalali Accused of Contempt of Court in Anaheim Pot Case

Categories: Bong Blotter

Tony Jalali has already sent a 30-day eviction notice to the cannabis dispensary operating in his building--the one that Anaheim city officials had unsuccessfully tried to confiscate under federal asset forfeiture guidelines. But perhaps because Jalali has been fighting the city's efforts to intimidate landlords into obeying Anaheim's zero tolerance policy on pot clubs, the eviction notice wasn't good enough.

Now, city officials--acting through their high-price law firm, Best, Best & Krieger (BBK)--are seeking to have Jalali fined and possibly thrown in jail for not immediately changing the locks on his building. Specifically, on Feb. 25, Jalali will have to appear in court to answer a contempt of court complaint filed just days after the Weekly highlighted his battle with Anaheim city officials.

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Gustavo's Latest KCRW "OC Line": On Anaheim, Santa Ana's Different Approaches to Pot Dispensaries!

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Illustration by Jeff Drew
You must be Ana-High!

This infernal rag has long documented the fight for medicinal marijuana, going back to the heady Prop. 215 days (when publishing a photo of a guy smoking a reefer still offended folks) to today, when Anaheim hosts the Kush Expo while cracking down on small dispensaries while SanTana instituted raids...until they didn't, and instead issued a lottery so only a couple of people could sell in the city. The double approaches is the topic of my KCRW "Orange County Line" this week.


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Anaheim Ups the Ante in Anti-Landlord Marijuana War

Categories: Bong Blotter

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Jeff Drew/OC Weekly
In a surprise move last night, Anaheim's city council passed a revised ordinance strengthening its already strict prohibition on medical marijuana dispensaries. With only Mayor Tom Tait opposing the move, the council threatened landlords who knowingly rent to pot clubs with up to a year in jail and fines of up to $2500 per day that they don't comply with the law.

The new ordinance comes just a few weeks after the city--represented by California's most powerful anti-marijuana law firm, Best, Best & Krieger (BBK)--won its lawsuit against Tony Jalali, whose building the city had hoped to confiscate until the federal government backed out of that effort following critical news reports originating in this paper.

Just days after the Weekly published a feature story on Anaheim's fruitless attempt to seize Jalali's building, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced that it was restricting the government's use of asset forfeiture against property owners. With its new ordinance, Anaheim seems to be switching tactics. Instead of threatening to seize property, which it can't do, the city is now simply threatening landlords with hefty fines and possible jail time.

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Obama Administration Repeals Drug Seizure Laws--Oh Really?

Categories: Bong Blotter

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Anaheim's Kush Expo: What war on drugs?
On Jan. 16, just a day after the Weekly published a story on the City of Anaheim's failed attempt to use federal asset forfeiture law to seize a privately-owned building over a $37 pot sale, the >Washington Post reported that the feds were repealing key aspects of that law.

"[Attorney General Eric] Holder limits seized-asset sharing process that split billions with local, state police," the article stated. "Holder's action represents the most sweeping check on police power to confiscate personal property since the seizures began three decades ago as part of the war on drugs," the article claimed, adding that in the past six years, "thousands of local and state police agencies have made more than 55,000 seizures of cash and property worth $3 billion." Those seizures fell under an asset forfeiture program administered by Holder's Justice Department known as "Equitable Sharing."

So does Holder's announcement really spell the end of the federal government's right to seize drug-tied private property without winning a conviction or even filing charges against a suspect?

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Anaheim Officials Welcome the Kush Expo--While Suing Small Pot Shops and Their Landlords

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Jeff Drew/OC Weekly

Every summer for the past five years, the Anaheim Convention Center, a swirly tower of concrete and blue-tinted glass, transforms itself into a mecca of marijuana. This magical event, the world's largest of its kind, lasts exactly two days and happens just across the street from the Disneyland Resort. It's called the Kush Expo.

On display inside the four-hall, football field-sized facility are dozens of vendors hawking products ranging from the latest vaporizers to bongs, soil nutrients and hydroponic growing equipment. There's the annual Kush Cup Awards, offering recognition for best indica, sativa and hybrid strains; oil; wax; hash; edible chocolate; vape pen; and tube bong--to name but a few categories. Then there's the Hot Kush Girl Contest, in which bikini-clad lasses with green numbers spray-painted on their thighs compete for up to $500 and a gift bag.

If all the bare flesh and bong raffles aren't enough to keep you entertained, you can step inside an open-air white tent out back, where folks with a doctor's recommendation for medical marijuana can smoke pot while guarded by Anaheim police officers. Doctors are on-site and available to help out the poor souls who forgot their cards. For a small fee, they can figure out what ails you, and presto change-o, you're a certified medicinal-marijuana patient.

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Dear Santa: Please Get My Congressman to Vote for Reclassifying Marijuana

Categories: Bong Blotter

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Photo by Jorge Negreros/OC Weekly
Breakfast of champions
All Jacqueline Patterson wants for Christmas is for you to sign her petition aimed at getting the federal government to finally reclassify marijuana, which is currently a Schedule 1 drug that the Drug Enforcement Agency considers of no medical value and as dangerous as heroin.

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Weekender Updater: John Wayne Airport Hood Ornament; Cartel Guns; Pot Attorney Guilty

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Courtesy of John Wayne Airport
Cops on bikes beware!
Read on for the sentence in the case where a Newport Beach woman tried to run over a John Wayne Airport bicycle officer, the planned destination for a couple pulled over in Newps with a cache of weapons and ammo, and the plea of the lawyer for a pot dispensary kingpin who had shops in Orange and Los Angeles counties.

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Medical Marijuanist "Dr. J" Wijegunaratne Told to Stop Practicing Due to Sexual Assault Claim

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An Anaheim Hills-based doctor who practices out of a medical marijuana clinic and goes by "Dr. J" (get it?) has been court-ordered to stop practicing medicine while he is out on bail for the alleged sexual assault of a female patient. But here's the deal with Dr. Sri Jayantha Wijegunaratne: He's already out on a bail in a separate case that accuses him of having defrauded Medicare by prescribing powered wheelchairs to patients who did not need them.

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Dana Rohrabacher, Lou Correa, Judge Jim Gray Among UCI Marijuana Symposium Speakers

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Illustration by Jorge Negreros
A high fiber meal ... emphasis on the "high."

An all-day symposium at UC Irvine Thursday is not only dedicated to one of OC Weekly's favorite topics (marijuana legalization), but it includes ... um ... colorful characters who have filled our pages (print and otherwise) for years (Dana Rohrabacher, Lou Correa, Judge Jim Gray and Tom Umberg).

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