A Cannabis Christmas Wish… A Marijuana Chanukah Hint

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Sarah Rice/SFGate
Lynnette Shaw ran Marin Alliance for Medical Marijuana — the first in the state to be licensed, back in 1997. Now the Feds have shut it down.

By Jack Rikess
Toke of the Town
Northern California Correspondent
It’s really easy these days to be negative about cannabis. The Feds are waving their guns around like old-time Western town bullies. Playing with the tin-horns and the dandy Easterners alike, making them dance to a tune that we thought was long gone.
They sit outside protecting the saloon, leaning  back in their chairs, keeping the weak and poor in the sight of their weapons, not necessarily to shoot them, just scare ’em a little.
 
In the Golden State, where it must seem that progress burns bright, I mean, how can you complain when you can have your medicine, including edibles and anything else that’s on the menu delivered right to your door? What in the world could those spoiled Californians have to gripe about?
How about the closing of Lynnette Shaw’s Marin Alliance for Medical Marijuana dispensary in Fairfax?  As most know by now, Lynnette’s dispensary was the first to be licensed in California back in ’97. The closure of this landmark is incredibly distressing. 

Hopefully you know that even with Lynnette being fully supported by her city and other local businesses, it still didn’t matter. The federal government and President Obama closed Cali’s longest running dispensary because it is within 1,000 feet of a Little League baseball field that hasn’t been used since the 1950s.
Really.

Frankie Frost/Marin Independent Journal
Happier times: Lynnette Shaw dispenses medicinal cannabis for a customer

​What is so disheartening about Lynnette’s deal is how the California Department of Justice put Lynnette in their sights.
There are many ways for the Feds to bring down a medical marijuana operation. They simply use harassment, where they show up, scare the intended victim; make idle threats that they will return someday if they hear you’re up to your old tricks. Or else they can bust the employees of the prospective terminated collective, in hopes of bleeding the company dry legally like they did with Matt Cohen’s Northstone Organics. 
But when they are serious, the Feds always will use asset forfeiture. When they come for your land, it is all over. Then you’re hanging on for dear life, not sure where to go from there.
And it gets really complicated when you don’t own the land, even if you have the coolest property-owner in the history of pot-shop rental management, you’re still fried by the Feds when they threaten the landlord with not only the loss of property, but jail time too.
I know Lynnette and the work she does; she supports patients. Once the Marin Alliance is gone, like it is now, patients are going to suffer. Her place isn’t some glossy made-over stylish apothecary, she’s doing the work that FDA and AMA refuse to do. Lynnette Shaw offers a way out for many that suffer daily and now those treatments are discontinued. 

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Jeff Vendsel/Marin Independent Journal
Lynnette Shaw, founder and director of the Marin Alliance for Medical Marijuana

​Why?
Ask Melinda Haag, U.S. attorney for California’s Northern District. She said, “Federal prosecutors are committed to curtailing the state’s marijuana industry and are prepared to seize properties if necessary.”
She doesn’t stop there. Haag further states, “I am focusing my limited resources on those offenders who cause the most harm and whose actions have led to consistent complaints by members of the community – including cases involving violence; guns; interstate drug shipments; environmental harm; money laundering; organized crime; sales near schools, parks and playgrounds; and sales in communities that have banned marijuana stores.”
I guess when all else fails, throw in the playground clause. Now you’ve got her!
Somehow Lynnette Shaw is seen as much as a threat as a Mexican cartel or the Mafia when it comes to the top law-dogs of the state. Why else is she on their Hit List?
Lynnette said her group was in compliance with state law, had never sold marijuana to minors and closely followed over 60 conditions set down by city officials as part of the permitting process.  

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News Junkie Post

​The Fairfax town council passed a resolution supporting the Marin Alliance and its “financial contributions to local government.”  The council said federal efforts to close the alliance and other licensed medical marijuana dispensaries “will cause a loss of dignity and liberty for patients” and force some “to seek purchase of cannabis on the black market or simply endure discomfort and pain.”
Now there’s talk that it is Washington state and Colorado’s time to go through the Federal Shake and Bake. The bad guys in their black hats will mosey through town, disrupt what they can, and like other career criminals, because they’re opportunistic, they leave when they’re done.
Once they pluck the town clean, scare the locals into believing they’re the toughest they’ve ever seen in these parts, do the most financial damage that they can with their fear and tax-money –well, then they’ll move on to the next town where they’re not needed.
I’d call it a stupid game if it wasn’t so real. 
I don’t even understand what is going on. It is like the Tea-Baggers have won. I’m ready to vote for Mitt Romney if I have to, anybody but Obama. Just like Betty and Bob Teabag sitting in lawn chairs, eating fast food, protesting the change in America, I’m ready to go down with this country, no matter what. 
If this kind of shit can happen with Obama, does it really matter who is in office if you smoke cannabis?
Lynnette Shaw is being treated like a terrorist or like one of those international hackers who if they ever touch a computer keyboard again, they’ll be sent to prison, for life. In Lynnette’s case, it is if she comes in contact in cannabis. 
I’ve known of Lynnette Shaw for a long time, it is hard to be a cannabis activist and not. I hung out with Lynnette two weeks ago Saturday night, the day after she gave testimony in Federal Court; she was given a week to close her dispensary.
Lynnette Shaw is one of those perpetually up, positive people. Saturday night, she let her guard down to be real with some supportive friends. She talked about her disappointment with Obama, “I wish I could take my vote back and the time I spent campaigning for him. Ron
Paul in 2012!” she giggled over some tears.
What worried Lynnette most was what her patients and staff were going to do.
“My people, like me, have lived hand to mouth for the last ten years. I’m worried about where my staff is going to live. How can people destroy other people’s lives like this?” Lynnette wonders.
My Christmas Wish, my Chanukah Hint, for Lynnette and her people: Could someone out there please help?
Here are people like Lynnette and her staff who have given to strangers and friends alike, from the beginning.
Now it is our turn.
Lynnette, by law, is not allowed to come in contact with cannabis, otherwise, she’s off to jail for long time.
But she could help you with consulting, paperwork, how to open a dispensary, and how to deal with the Feds if you have unlimited capital. Seriously, she needs a job.
And her employees need help too.
If this is truly a wonderful life, couldn’t we band together, change some folks’ holiday season by really caring.
Cannabis is medicine. Medicine is good. Isn’t it about time we do something good for someone who has done so much for others? 
Lynnette Shaw and her staff quietly assisted in helping countless patients for many years on their own. 
Now it is time to remind Lynnette Shaw that she is not alone.
Marin Alliance for Medical Marijuana
6 School Street Plaza, Suite 215
Fairfax, CA 94930
(415) 456-4313

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Jack Rikess
Toke of the Town correspondent Jack Rikess blogs from the Haight in San Francisco

Jack Rikess, a former stand-up comic, writes a regular column most directly found at jackrikess.com.

Jack delivers real-time coverage following the cannabis community, focusing on politics and culture.

His beat includes San Francisco, the Bay Area and Mendocino-Humboldt counties.

He has been quoted by the national media and is known for his unique view with thoughtful, insightful perspective.
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