R.I.P. Randy Ritchie, San Jose’s “celebrity waiter”, A2C2 member #1348

Randy Ritchie was many things to many people. He was a fixture at Original Joe’s in downtown San Jose working there for over 30 years. He was one of the nicest people I have met. Randy was known for his flamboyance and birthday “raps”. The Metro did a piece on him in 2008.

The first time I met Randy, San Jose’s “celebrity waiter”, I was sitting by myself at Original Joe’s counter eating dinner. He sat next to me and said “Haven’t I seen you on TV before?”. I answered “Yes.”. He said “I thought so. I’m kind of a fan.”. I could have never known how important of a friend he would become to me. I would see him about twice a week for the next year and a half. Continue reading

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Repeal Cannabis Prohibition for San Jose Residents Project

Update (5/5/12): Next meeting May 19th, 2012 @ 2:30pm-4pm

We, the Silicon Valley Cannabis Coalition and the residents of the city of San Jose, acknowledge the hypocrisy of the cannabis laws and that we must take deliberate and consistent action to protect the civil rights of those who use cannabis and the community that we serve.


We have proactively initiated this project in-order to increase the safety of San Jose residents, create new jobs, and increase property values within the city.

The intent of this project is to draft a voter initiative with safe, community friendly regulations, that include the input of all interested parties such as, San Jose Law Enforcement, City Officials, Community Leaders and Labor, in order to allow for the ADULT 18 and over, USAGE OF MARIJUANA and to insure that City of San Jose Residents, who comply with the regulations are EXEMPT FROM MARIJUANA RELATED OFFENSES. When the initiative is finished it will be filed and petitions circulated for signatures.

The next meeting to continue this process will be May 19th, 2012.  A2C2 – the All American Cannabis Club will be hosting a FREE BBQ from 1-6pm. The Silicon Valley Cannabis Coalition, Repeal Cannabis Prohibition for San Jose Residents Project meeting will start at 2:30pm. With your help we can make this happen!


May 19th, 2012 @ 2:30pm-4pm

A2C2 – the All American Cannabis Club

1082 Stockton Ave
San Jose, CA 95110

Silicon Valley Cannabis Coalition is a no cost grassroots coalition comprised of the community, industry, faith, public safety, health, and labor. SVCC is dedicated to assisting Santa Clara county municipalities in coming up with and constructing together proven, effective, uniform ordinances and an application process that stabilize our industry for our patients, our workers and the communities we work in.

www.svcannabis.org / 408-625-5629

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Recent raid no damper on interest in Oakland’s medical marijuana business

Despite the recent federal crackdown on medical marijuana dispensaries and last week’s raid on Oaksterdam University, it appears that the four groups approved last month to open dispensaries in Oakland still want to get into the medical marijuana business.

The Oakland Community Collective is moving forward to open at 2101 Broadway by mid-to-late summer, member Scott Hawkins said.

The other three groups to get permits have the added burden of finding new locations after the city nixed their proposed sites for being too close to schools or parks.

Many medical cannabis industry observers questioned if those groups would follow through, given that federal authorities in recent months have closed dozens of dispensaries and threatened to seize the property of their landlords.

However, on the day of Oaksterdam raid, Tidewater Patients Group told Assistant City Administrator Arturo Sanchez that they were still looking for a viable site, Sanchez said last week. He also said leaders with G8 Medical Alliance Inc. had told him before the Oaksterdam raid that they too had been looking at sites to open a dispensary. Neither group has returned phone calls this week, nor has Jeff Wilcox, whose Agramed cooperative also received a permit. Wilcox had said before the Oaksterdam raid that he hoped to find a suitable home to open a dispensary in Oakland.

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Oaksterdam University Raid: Federal Agents Take Over Marijuana College

Oaksterdam University Raid: Federal Agents Take Over Marijuana College


OAKLAND, Calif. — Federal agents on Monday targeted a San Francisco Bay area medical marijuana training school started by a leading pot advocate who has been instrumental in pushing for ballot measures to legalize the drug.

The doors to Oaksterdam University in downtown Oakland were blocked by U.S. marshals and yellow tape following the early morning raid by agents with the Internal Revenue Service and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

Agents carted trash bags of unknown materials out of the school as protesters gathered to condemn the action. A museum connected to the school and a nearby medical marijuana dispensary operated by Oaksterdam founder Richard Lee also were raided.

Demonstrators outside the multistory building, some openly smoking marijuana, held signs demanding an end to federal crackdowns on marijuana, which remains illegal under federal law.

Ryan Hooper, 26, of Oakland, wearing an Oaksterdam hat and sweat shirt, said he had finished taking courses at the school in February.

“This is not in the best interest of the city,” Hooper said. “If they close the dispensaries, all of this stuff is going to go back underground.”

Oaksterdam University was founded by Lee, who spent more than $1 million as the main backer of a California ballot measure defeated in 2010 that would have legalized marijuana in the state for recreational use. Lee did not immediately return a message seeking comment.

The school offers classes to would-be medical marijuana providers in fields ranging from horticulture to business to the legal ins-and-outs of running a dispensary. It does not distribute marijuana.

Arlette Lee, an IRS spokeswoman and no relation to Richard Lee, told reporters that agents were serving a federal search warrant but said she could not otherwise comment on the purpose of the raid.

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San Francisco marijuana shop crackdown is about locations

By Peter Hecht
The Sacramento Bee

Directly across the street from tiny Sgt. John Macaulay Park, with its swings and wooden climbing train, is a strip club flashing signs for “Live Nude Shows.”

People walking three blocks and around the corner will pass a massage parlor, a porn theater, four liquor stores and a tobacco and head shop before reaching the place federal prosecutors shut down as a threat to the children’s playground.

The Divinity Tree marijuana dispensary’s operators – Raymond Gamley, 59, and Charlie Pappas, 64 – closed shop in the gritty Tenderloin district Nov. 15 rather than risk the consequences of perhaps the most powerful weapon U.S. authorities are using to go after medical cannabis outlets.

Invoking Reagan-era federal sanctions inspired by crack cocaine dealers selling to kids at America’s parks or schools, San Francisco U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag threatened the Divinity Tree’s landlord with seizure of the property and up to 40 years in federal prison. Last month, Haag sent out more letters to city dispensaries, warning of equally severe penalties.

Similar notices from U.S. attorneys are closing pot outlets in Colorado and elsewhere in California, making it challenging for marijuana stores to operate in many urban regions.

The tactic is playing out dramatically in San Francisco, birthplace of California’s medical marijuana movement and a densely packed environment where neighborhoods may encompass pot dispensaries, parks, schools and all manner of uses, upscale to seedy.

In the city where Dennis Peron championed the state’s 1996 medical marijuana law in the name of his lover, who died of AIDS, Gamley and Pappas took over the Divinity Tree dispensary on Geary Street in 2005. They say they didn’t much notice the playground, a block over and two blocks down at the corner of O’Farrell and Larkin streets.

Now they know it well. They also know strip clubs, porn houses and liquor stores aren’t against federal law, but marijuana – medical or otherwise – is. As a result, they’re out of business for imperiling the playground.

“Look at San Francisco,” Gamley protested. “It’s so crowded. The terrain lends itself so that it’s difficult not to be within 1,000 feet of anything. You can see how silly it is. I can’t tell you how bad it feels, what they did to us.”

In the Mission district, where former fashion store operator Al Shawa opened the Shambhala Healing Center last year, a letter arrived from Haag last month threatening “enhanced penalties” for “operating within prohibited distance” of the Jose Coronado Playground.

Shawa says the edge of the playground, which has an asphalt court for tennis, soccer and basketball and a small children’s play area next to a locked clubhouse used for storage, is 960 feet from his store’s rear wall and 1,100-feet from its only entrance.

Shawa said he expects to shut down because “I probably don’t have the guts to challenge the feds.”

“We call it the 44-cent policy,” said Shawa, who says he worked with the city Planning Commission for 18 months and spent $250,000 to open the dispensary. “For a postage stamp, with no raid or anything, they can get people to just close and leave.”

Nine S.F. dispensaries shut

Don Heller, a former Sacramento federal prosecutor, said citing dispensaries stores’ proximity to playgrounds may provide political cover in the liberal city for exercising federal law against an industry Haag has asserted is “hijacked by profiteers.”

Heller said Haag may be striking a blow to pot permissiveness in her city, which early on issued permits to dispensaries even though Proposition 215, the medical marijuana initiative adopted in 1996, made no mention of marijuana stores. “San Francisco was blatant about it, and so arrogant, you knew something was going to crack down,” Heller said.

Nine of 27 dispensaries in the city have closed since October. Haag, who declined comment on the recent letters, also forced the closure of California’s oldest dispensary, the Marin Alliance of Medical Marijuana in the Bay Area town of Fairfax, for operating near a Little League field.

Another landmark marijuana store, the Berkeley Patients Group, announced it was shutting down to seek another site after Haag threatened property seizure and prosecution over pot sales near a French language school and school for the deaf.

In Sacramento, one dispensary, Grass on 10th, closed due to federal threats over proximity to a school. About 20 of 38 city stores, grandfathered in despite their proximity to schools, parks and homes, remain open.

Caleb Counts, whose Fruitridge Health and Wellness closed in December under a federal order that didn’t cite the distance issue, said shuttered clubs will have a hard time reopening under the federal government’s 1,000-foot distance standard and local rules banning them within 300 feet of homes. “We’ve been working for months with multiple real estate agents, and it’s virtually impossible,” Counts said.

High-profile sites targeted

In San Francisco, the HopeNet Co-op dispensary, a small shop near Ninth and Howard streets with a smoking and vapor bar, passed its local health inspection last week. But operator Catherine Smith sat dejectedly with an order to close by the U.S. attorney.

HopeNet is one of the few outlets in San Francisco to allow on-site pot consumption because it operates more than 1,000 feet from a public elementary school. But three years ago, a private Mandarin immersion school for youths opened nearby.

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latest update

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) — There are more than 100 pot clubs in San Jose, but an attempt to reduce the number touched off a huge legal fight. Now, the mayor is recommending the city back off, at least for now.

Medical marijuana provider Dave Hodges feels like the years of regulation debate in San Jose has been erased in minutes.

“It puts us back to square one; we have nothing,” Hodges said. “The city considers us to be illegal and they are going to start enforcing.”

The San Jose City Council voted unanimously to rescind an ordinance passed in September that limited the number of collectives in the city to 10 and required dispensaries to grow all medicine on site. Opponents of the ordinance collected enough signatures to challenge the rules and rather than go to voters, it’s back to a grey area of police action.

“With the limited resources we have, we do have operations that are more troublesome than others and we’ll focus there first, continue to set tone that it is illegal and if you are causing grief in the community we’re going to go after you,” San Jose Police Chief Chris Moore said.

Mayor Chuck Reed has a specific list of dispensaries that will be targeted.

“I am going to ask the council to prioritize enforcement for clubs that are causing trouble for neighbors, generating complaints and those that aren’t paying their taxes,” Reed said.

The finance department says there are 117 collectives actively operating in the city and 54 have been paying a 7 percent marijuana business tax since it was implemented in March, 31 are paying the tax sporadically and 32 have paid nothing or not filed.

Many collective operators say they are fine with the tax payment crackdown.

“Why should anybody the pay the tax if there are no consequences for not paying the tax? There absolutely has to be tax enforcement and that will increase the city’s revenue,” James Anthony of Citizens Coalition for Patient Care said.

The message from patients, providers and city leaders is to state lawmakers and the state Supreme Court, and the message is almost universal — they want some legal guidelines.

“The medical cannabis community isn’t asking for cart blanche, an open sesame type of policy, we’re asking you people to regulate us,” medical marijuana patient John Sutton said.

A couple of City Council members said they are trying to come up with a workable ordinance, but it has been a challenge, in part because state and federal law are in conflict.

San Jose is not the only city looking for direction. The state Supreme Court is expected to rule on a couple of Southern California cases that could offer some legal guidance. There will also be more pressure on Sacramento to weigh in with some legal guidelines.

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Silicon Valley Cannabis Coalition – Cans for Cannabis Food Drive

This past holiday season, under the leadership of The Silicon Valley Cannabis Coalition, twenty-nine cannabis related organizations launched  a group food drive in an effort to feed the less fortunate for the holiday season.

The following organizations participated in the event:
A2C2 – the All American Cannabis Collective
All Bay Cooperative
Amsterdam Gardens
Arc Healing Center
Arch Collective
American for Safe Access – Silicon Valley
California Collective Care
Cinnabar Health Collective
Fruit of the Spirit
Green Door Collective (in SF)
HHCC, High Standards Medical Collective
MedEx Collective
Medmar Healing Center
NorCal Care Collective
NorCal Natural Collective
Pallative Health Center
Patient ID Center
Pharmers Health
Roberts & Elliott Law Offices
San Jose Patients Group
Sanative Sanctuary
SensiHerbal Care
Simply Chronic Healing
South Bay CRC
SV Care
TriValley Wellness.

Special congratulations goes out to California Care Collective for collecting over 2300 pounds of food, the most out of all our participating organizations!

These 25 organizations collected 8,550 lbs. which equals 8,550 meals for families in Santa Clara County.  SVCC  partnered with Second Harvest Food Bank to bring nutritious meals to the hungry.  The food drive ran from November 14 through January 4, 2012.

Most organizations put out newsletters, and announcements on Facebook and Twitter to alert their members of the food drive.  The food barrels at participating locations started to fill quickly from eager members wanting to give to those in need in the City of San Jose.

Silicon Valley Cannabis Coalition and Second Harvest Food Bank, San Jose oversaw the collection and distribution of the food.

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As expect, at today’s San Jose City council meeting the council moved forward with the second reading of the new Medical Marijuana Regulations (Title 6 & Title 20). The ordnance will go into effect in 30 days. In addition to unreasonable conditions, and a limit of 10, this ordinance will require all clubs in the city to shutdown starting October 27, 2011.

** 6.88.800 Existing Medical Marijuana Operations
A. Any existing medical marijuana collective, dispensary, operator, establishment, or provider at the time of the effective date of this Chapter is not in compliance with the San Jose Municipal Code, and shall immediately cease operations.

Unless the San Jose cannabis community can put together a referendum, and stop the councils actions, starting October 27th every club in San Jose will receive a letter stating they must shutdown. Wednesday (9/28) @ 11am, the Citizens Coalition for Patient Care (CCPCsj.org) will be holding a press conference regarding the referendum. At 6pm that same night CCPC will be holding a meeting for operators, growers, providers and suppliers to discuss and begin the next steps in the referendum process.

Citizens Coalition for Patient Care Meeting:

Wednesday September 28, 2011 @ 6:00 PM
240 South Market st, San Jose, CA 95113

For more information on the Citizens Coalition for Patient Care visit: CCPCsj.org or SaveCannabis.org

Press Conference:

Wednesday September 28, 2011 @ 11:00 AM
San Jose City Hall (on corner of 4th Street & Santa Clara Street)
200 E Santa Clara St, San Jose, CA 95112

If we all come together we can and will make this happen.

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions. Hope to see you there.

Best Regards,
Dave Hodges
SJCBC LLC – the San Jose Cannabis Buyers Collective
A2C2 – the All American Cannabis Club
SVCC – the Silicon Valley Cannabis Coalition

The San Jose Referendum needs YOU!

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ALL Cannabis Clubs in San Jose to be SHUTDOWN IN 35 DAYS!!! Meeting to stop it TODAY (9/22) @ 6pm

San Jose Collective & Co-op Operators,

San Jose City Council moved forward on a poorly written and unreasonable ordinance Tuesday (9/13). In addition to the unreasonable conditions, and limit of 10, this ordinance will require all clubs in the city to cease operations immediately at the time of the effective date, October 27, 2011.

** 6.88.800 Existing Medical Marijuana Operations
A. Any existing medical marijuana collective…. shall immediately cease operations.

We must come together as a community and fight back with a referendum.

Meeting :
SEPT 22, 2011 @ 6:00 pm
240 South Market st
San Jose, CA 95113

If we all come together we can, and will make this happen.

Please contact me, info@sjcbc.org if you have any questions.

Best Regards,
Dave Hodges
SJCBC LLC – The San Jose Cannabis Buyers Collective
A2C2 – The Alll American Cannabis Club
SVCC – Silicon Valley Cannabis Coalition

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-SJ City Council Meeting 6/14 (Budget)

-SJ City Council Meeting 6/21 (Rally)

-Planning Commission Meeting 6/22

-Medical Cannabis Patient Voter Registration Drive

SVCC continues to have dialogue with San Jose City Council Members, their staff and Commissioners of the Planning Department with a focus on the up coming Planning Meeting. Where a collective can operate is a game changer for most facilities. MC3 has drafted well thought out and sensible zoning plans for the city to adopt. On June 21, the Central Labor Committee is planning a rally for San Jose city workers because of threats of major concessions to their collective bargaining agreements.  SVCC along with Local 5 and other unions will be there to support those workers. SVCC encourages the entire medical cannabis industry to come out to the rally because the medical cannabis industry will have a direct impact on city employees. Also, SVCC is organizing a voter registration drive for patients who live in the San Jose area.  For more information please attended this Thursday’s meeting.



ufcw local 5

240 south market st 

san jose, ca 95113 


June 16, 2011 @ 8: 00 pm 

Silicon Valley Cannabis Coalition is a no cost grassroots coalition comprised of the community, industry, faith, public safety, health, and labor. SVCC is dedicated to assisting Santa Clara county municipalities in coming up with and constructing together proven, effective, uniform ordinances and an application process that stabilize our industry for our patients, our workers and the communities we work in.

Validation is available only at the large outdoor parking lot @ 2nd St and San Carlos.  (Enter parking lot through 375 South 2nd St)


NOTE: Parking adjacent to Local 5 and street parking cannot be validated.

Validation is available only at the large outdoor parking lot @ 2nd St and San Carlos.  (Enter parking lot through 375 South 2nd St)


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