By: Eugene Davidovich, San Diego Americans for Safe Access
Patients stand up in the face of threats, violence, and intimidation by Chula Vista Police Department during an illegal attempt to search Green Power medical marijuana collective in South San Diego.
Chula Vista — On July 12, at 10:45pm the Chula Vista City Council adopted an outright ban on medical marijuana dispensaries, cooperatives and collectives within city limits. The late hour vote was intentional so as to prevent members of the public from speaking against the ban.
Leading up to vote, patients, concerned citizens and supporters of safe access had diligently attended Council meetings for over two years pleading with their local representatives to protect sick and dying patients in their community. Dozens of patients turned out to meetings and sent letters and emails asking for reasonable regulations rather than a ban.
The City Council ignored the pleas of sick and dying patients and decided to side with the reefer madness propaganda fed to them by the San Diego Sheriff’s Department as well as San Diego County District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis who continue to claim that all dispensaries are illegal and attract crime even though actual data shows otherwise.
The vote as well as the Council Members’ comments on July 12th appeared to have given a green light to the Chula Vista Police Department (CVPD) to force existing safe access out of the City and to send a strong message of disregard to medical marijuana patients in Chula Vista.
Days after the vote was ratified and wasting no time, the CVPD posted police cars outside of existing dispensaries in Chula Vista and began pulling patients over as soon as they exited parking lots of the facilities. They questioned those pulled over, searched their vehicles, and in many cases confiscated their medicine issuing citations despite legitimate patient paperwork.
“They stopped me for no reason, asked what I bought at the dispensary, took my medicine, humiliated me and told me that medical marijuana was a joke” said Joe, a terminally ill cancer patient after experiencing an encounter with CVPD outside of a collective in Chula Vista. “I told them that I was legal, that I was using this medicine to overcome debilitating symptoms related to the chemo, but they wouldn’t hear it, the cop told me that the medical marijuana thing was a scam.”
The CVPD did not settle on simply harassing patients leaving the dispensaries, they decided to step it up a notch and go after the facilities themselves. Rather than follow the law and go through proper civil channels to start a dialogue with the collectives, the CVPD instead sent ‘patient eradication squads’ to beat the facilities into closure.
On July 26, the Green Power medical marijuana collective, almost fell victim to one of these ‘Chula Vista Patient Eradication Squad’. That day the collective had a locksmith at their location installing a new set of locks for the front door. At approximately 12:55pm as the locksmith was crouched over, installing the lock, several uniformed and plain clothed officers approached the door of the collective, pushed the locksmith aside, shouting, “Who is the owner here?!”
Long, a medical marijuana patient and member of the collective walked out of the medicine room into the front reception area where the police were huddled and said “How may I help you officers?”.
At first, they cops put on a friendly face and sat down on one of the couches as if to talk to Long. Within seconds of sitting down, two officers stood up and tried to rush the medicine room with the intent of searching the facility. Long stood up, walked calmly to the door of the medicine room and explained to the officers that because they did not have a search warrant, they could not go into the room.
At that instant the two officers turned angry and violent, they grabbed Long, slapped handcuffs on him and physically threw him on the ground. The cops were heard saying “Search Warrant, ha, don’t you know we are Chula Vista PD and can go anywhere we want?”
Long continued to remain calm and told the officers again that they had not showed him a search warrant, that he did not consent to a search, and asked them to immediately vacate the premises.
To everyone’s surprise, instead of continuing to strong-arm and physically assault Long the cops un-cuffed him and quickly scattered out of the facility.
The locksmith who witnessed the entire encounter was practically paralyzed with fear and shock after seeing the barbaric and brutal nature with which they interacted with Long at the collective.
The collective is currently consulting with their legal counsel about potential litigation or action against the Chula Vista Police Department as well as the officers themselves.
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