Weedbay.net Logo

Is the OCBC legit (Oakland Cannabis Buyers Club)

User Rating: 0 / 5

Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive
Alot of mis-information spread this subject, they are in fact a city agency. This is for safety concerns and will help againsst DOJ interference.

August 13, 1998



OAKLAND—City officials leaped to the forefront of the medical marijuana movement Thursday, designating the staff of the Oakland Cannabis Buyers’ Cooperative as city agents.

The move, designed to shield them from criminal prosecution, is believed to make Oakland the first city in the nation to have an official program that distributes medical marijuana.

"We’re out on the frontier," City Councilman Nate Miley said at a City Hall news conference where he handed over a letter giving the staff authority to act as representatives of the city.

Miley said the council was compelled to act for humanitarian reasons.

"Today, Oakland has shown the way. I think this is an example that will be widely emulated in California," said Gerald Uelman, an attorney working with the club who also served as a member of the O.J. Simpson defense "dream team."

Thursday’s ceremony stems from an ordinance passed earlier this summer by the city council. The council has also approved a policy allowing medical marijuana users to have 1½ pounds of cannabis, which they view as a three-month supply of about 10 cigarettes a day. State guidelines figure 1 ounce equals a 30-day supply.

Robert Raich, an attorney for the club, said designating staff as city agents will protect them under the Controlled Substances Act of 1970, which gives immunity from federal and criminal liability to agents enforcing an ordinance relating to controlled substances.

A call to the U.S. Attorney’s office in San Francisco was referred to a spokesman in Washington, D.C., who did not immediately return a telephone call to The Associated Press.

Federal prosecutors are moving to shut down the Oakland club, along with several others which sprang up after voters approved Proposition 215 in 1996.

The initiative allowed patients with cancer, AIDS and other conditions that might be helped by marijuana to obtain the drug under California law with a doctor’s recommendation. But a federal judge later ruled it did not and could not override the federal law against distributing marijuana.

Raich said he will file a motion Friday seeking to have federal charges against the club dismissed. A hearing is scheduled for Aug. 31.

Oakland has espoused a tough anti-drug program that includes seizing vehicles allegedly used in the buying or selling of drugs.

Miley said there’s no contradiction, because the medical marijuana program is being administered strictly for legitimate health reasons.

"We will be very vigorous when it comes to law enforcement, but we will be very strong when it comes to compassion," he said.

The Oakland ordinance exempts the city from liability arising as a result of activities conducted by the club, which is required to carry its own insurance and obey all city laws.

Which means that, like every workplace in Oakland, the cannabis club is a smoke-free environment.


August 13, 1998

By Mary Curtius © 1998, Los Angeles Times

OAKLAND, Calif.—The city of Oakland on Thursday became the first city in the United States to begin distributing marijuana to ease the symptoms of the chronically ill.

In an action that City Councilman Nate Miley portrayed as an act of moral courage, the city named operators of the Oakland Cannabis Buyers Cooperative as officers of the city and said they will distribute marijuana at their cooperative on the city’s behalf.

Miley said the city hopes the action will shield the club from the U.S. Justice Department’s efforts to shut it down.

The city is counting on the Federal Controlled Substance Act—the same act the federal government is using in its attempt to close the club—to keep it open. A provision of the act says that officers enforcing local drug ordinances are immune from prosecution for possessing, buying and selling illegal drugs in the course of their policework.

Now that the cannabis club’s members are "officers" of the city of Oakland, the city hopes, they too will be considered immune from prosecution. Miley acknowledged, however, that the city is taking a risk.

"The city could be subject to civil and criminal prosecution" for the program, Miley said, "but it’s a risk we take. ... There are just moments that demand that people come forward and do the right thing." He said the city also will consider ways to directly distribute marijuana.

"We’re aware of the Oakland decision and we’re carefully reviewing it," said Gregory King, a spokesman for the Justice Department in Washington.

Oakland, a liberal city where California’s former governor, Jerry Brown, is scheduled to take office as mayor in January, has gone out on a limb before. The city found itself in the midst of a national debate about race, education and language in 1996, after the school board voted to officially recognize black dialect, or "Ebonics," as a separate language.

Calling the club "a very important element in our community," Miley said that the city "will do everything we can do legally ... to ensure that the Oakland Cannabis Buyers Club continues to operate."

Medical marijuana advocates say the drug eases the symptoms of a wide range of illnesses and can control nausea and pain suffered by some chronically ill patients.

Voters passed Proposition 215, the medical marijuana initiative, in November 1996. Since then, state Attorney General Dan Lungren and the Justice Department have sought, in separate court actions, to close California’s marijuana clubs. More than two dozen clubs, some of which had operated underground, emerged across the state soon after the law passed.

All but a handful have since closed—some as a result of state and federal actions, others because their officials were arrested by local police departments for allegedly selling marijuana to people without a doctor’s recommendation.

In May, U.S. District Court Judge Charles Breyer ordered six Northern California clubs to close, saying that federal law, which prohibits any sale of marijuana because it is a controlled substance, supersedes Proposition 215.

Three clubs—the Oakland club, one in Marin and one in Ukiah—chose to defy Breyer’s ruling and continue operating. Of those three, Oakland is by far the largest, with some 1,800 members.

Seeking to head off a contempt ruling, the Oakland City Council took two actions last month. It instructed its police department not to arrest city residents who possessed 1.5 pounds of marijuana or less for medical purposes, several times the amount Lungren has said is allowable. The council also passed an ordinance establishing the medical marijuana distribution system, designating the Oakland cannabis club as the city’s distributor.
Oakland City Council Votes To Allow Patients One And Half Pounds Of Medical Marijuana
At an Oakland city hall news conference Thursday, Oakland Cannabis Club director Jeff Jones—a clean-cut 24-year-old who says he became committed to the cause of providing medical marijuana to patients after watching his father die a painful death from cancer—and his staff were publicly designated as officers of the city of Oakland.
Under Jeff Jones, Oakland Buyers Club Endures In Spite of Troubles
Deputy City Manager Mike Nisperos said that the club’s members all are designated as officers. He said the designation does not put them on the city’s payroll or provide them with city benefits. It merely says that they are acting on behalf of the city to enforce a city ordinance.

Attorneys for the cannabis club said they will file a motion Friday seeking to dismiss the federal case on the basis of the city’s action.

"This designation will permit the Oakland Cannabis Buyers’ Cooperative staff to distribute medical cannabis within federal law," said Gerald Uelmen, a University of Santa Clara law professor who helped represent O.J. Simpson in his criminal case. Uelmen was joined by prominent criminal defense lawyer James Brosnahan.

Uelmen said the 1970 Federal Controlled Substances Act contains a provision saying any officer of a city who is enforcing an ordinance on controlled substances is immune from liability for civil or criminal prosecution under the act.

The provision normally applies to drug agents, protecting them from prosecution when they are buying or selling drugs in order to make arrests. But Uelmen insisted that its wording is broad, and said he is confident that the courts will rule in Oakland’s favor.

But a spokesman for Lungren expressed skepticism at the attorneys’ legal reasoning, saying he thought Oakland’s actions are illegal under state and federal law.

But Ross said Lungren’s office has no plan to move against Oakland or the cannabis club. It is up to the Alameda district attorney’s office to do that, he said.

Alameda County Deputy District Attorney Jeff Rubin said Wednesday the office would not get involved with the Oakland club unless law enforcement officials found evidence of crimes being committed there.