Pubdate: Tue, 10 Jul 2012
Source: Times-Herald, The (Vallejo, CA)
Copyright: 2012 The Times-Herald
Author: Tony Burchyns


Medical marijuana backers plan to march from the police department to
City Hall next week to protest recent dispensary raids in Vallejo.

The "Peaceful Protest and Advocacy March" is being organized by
members of the now shuttered Better Health Group dispensary at 3611
Sonoma Blvd. The dispensary closed after a third raid by police on
June 22.

"We're organizing a rally to speak out against the raids and, in
general, this kind of thuggish behavior by the police," said Morgan
Hannigan, a 24-year-old dispensary volunteer and Vallejo resident.

During the recent raid, Hannigan said police shredded voter
registration forms, covered security cameras with gloves, destroyed a
digital video recorder and generally "trashed" the premises using
"threats and intimidation."

A police spokesman declined to comment Monday on Hannigan's

The raids were part of an ongoing police crackdown that started Feb.
21. As a result, five clubs were shut down and a number of others
skipped town.

The raids followed the passage of a cannabis sales tax last November,
and the city's exploration of a regulatory path to medical marijuana.
However, that effort is now on hold pending the outcome of a state
Supreme Court case dealing with whether cities may sanction medical
marijuana without violating federal law.

Meanwhile, Hannigan, the cousin of City Councilwoman Erin Hannigan, a
Solano County supervisor candidate, said he's filed a complaint with
police about the alleged property damages.

"The rally was initially to protest simply the raids going on," he
said. "But after talking to the internal affairs officer I think there
are some bigger issues at hand with the way the police do business."

Club members allege that police disabled the cameras to prevent
footage from being posted online, as was the case after the first raid
on Feb. 29.

"They don't want people to know their tactics," Hannigan

Organizers say the intent of the rally is to draw attention to
"prohibitive and unacceptable tactics" used by local police. They plan
to meet in front of the police department at 111 Amador St. from 9
a.m. to noon Monday, and take turns requesting complaint forms from
the administrative officer on duty.

Around noon they'll prepare to march, leaving about an hour later for
City Hall, where they plan to protest until 8 p.m.

"I think if the city had established a regulatory process and said
these dispensaries are allowed and these ones aren't, then the police
would have had some direction," Hannigan added. "But I think at this
point we basically have delegated policy making to the police
department, and I think that's not what they are good at."
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