Assistant L.A. City Attorney David Berger Clarifies LA Times Article on Medical Marijuana And Discusses Future Of L.A. Medical Marijuana

“We made a commitment to the legitimate medical marijuana community that we would see that they could continue their mission and we are committed to that. Anyone who needs medical marijuana should be able to get it through a collective legitimately.” – David Berger, Assistant L.A. City Attorney (

Wow, newspapers should start to operate under the same journalistic standards as bloggers…at least the Zuma Report journalistic standard. We try not to play “gotcha” and try to take something out of context.

Zuma Dogg and many others from the medical marijuana community were alarmed by comments in the Los Angeles Times, this week, where Los Angeles District Attorney Steve Cooley was quoted as saying, “The vast, vast, vast majority, about 100%, of dispensaries in Los Angeles County and the city are operating illegally…”

To Zuma Dogg and others, this can be interpreted as feeling there should be NO medical marijuana being distributed, at all and you fundamentally reject the will of California State law as mandated by voters.

CityWatch – DA Cooley: All LA Pot Shops are Illegal

By Celeste Fremon (Posted first at

He said WHAT???? Yes, marijuana clinics need to be regulated, and, yes, the City Council has zero excuse for their positively absurd slow-dragging on the matter, but what in the world is this about? Here’s the opening of the LA Times article that explains the newest ill-considered initiative that appears to be coming out of the offices of Mr. Cooley and Mr. Trutanich. Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley said today that all the medical marijuana dispensaries in the county are operating illegally, and that “they are going to be prosecuted.”

[See how it spins FURTHER out of control. Because now Cooley’s out of context comments are being misquoted, because even LA Times said, “about all,” not all.And then CityWatch reprints it, even further.]

And today, I received a call from someone from within the Medical Marijuana (Medi-juana) community saying that a “recall” was being discussed for certain elected officials and was hoping for my participation.

WELL, after being hot under the beanie over this for a couple days, and now it appearing to spin all out of control, I wanted to try to find out for myself the attitude of the D.A. and City Attorney’s office on the matter and see how Cooley could be appearing (along with Trutanich) to be trying to shut down Medical Marijuana, against the will of California voters and State Law.

So I called the highly-respected, voice of reason, Assistant City Attorney David Berger (out of Trutanich’s L.A. City Attorney Office), who has also worked in Steve Cooley’s D.A. office.

Mr. Berger was with Mr. Cooley when he was quoted in L.A. Times and says the paper took the District Attorney out of context, since Cooley immediately clarified himself, but Times still printed the pre-clarification, “nearly 100%” comment that got ZD and others all in a tizzy.

Here are his comments from the phone conversation posted on the BlogTalkRadio widget on the right hand side of this blog:

“Just to set the record clear; I was present when Mr. Cooley made those remarks and he immediately corrected himself. He basically said he didn’t mean all of them, he said, ‘most’ of them. And I can understand that would also would cause medical marijuana community, the legitimate community to have some concerns. Because it sounds like we’re targeting everyone.” – David Berger (10/13/2009 Zuma Show)

In the interview he goes as far as saying the Times took things, “out of context.”

Something compelling Berger told me in the conversation that prompted this “on-air” interview (See BlogTalkRadio embedded player on right hand of this blog) that in a random check by Trutanich’s City Attorney’s office, high levels of pesticides were found in medical marijuana samples gathered by the office and tested by the FDA (not DEA, FDA). Signs of the pesticide mentioned in the interview indicates the marijuana was grown in Mexico or Texas. This would be in violation of State law. Along with some other issues.

I found this to be compelling and the final straw to ask if he could set the record straight with a phone call we could air on BlogTalkRadio. ZD found this to be VERY compelling and Berger replied, “This is not secret information. We made it available to L.A. Times and others.” (Hear interview.)

But the main thing is to highlight THIS portion of the L.A. Times interview that kind of gets lost in the mix of the other comments: Cooley said he believes that under state law, collectives must raise their own marijuana and can only recoup their costs. “That’s absolutely legal,” he said. “We’re going to respect that.” But he said none of them currently do that.

(SEE LA TIMES GOES STARTING TROUBLE BY SAYING, “BUT HE SAID NONE OF THEM CURRENTLY DO THAT.” Can you please post the unedited transcript of the interview?)

MEANWHILE, no way I can take any of THIS out of context. Thank you so much to David Berger for hopping on the Zuma Show LIVE call-in phone lines to help clarify. AND, ALTHOUGH HE DOES A GREAT JOB CLARIFYING AND EXPLAINING THE POSITION OF THE D.A. & CITY ATTORNEY’S OFFICE…it doesn’t mean everyone is going to like it.

But the point is, the law enforcers of the city and county feel the State law is one thing, and what has been turned into a perversion of this law with 800-900 collectives in operation in L.A. City alone is something else.

Berger suggests putting “recreational marijuana” on the ballot if that’s what the people want, but the law currently in place is NOT IT!

Full Audio Interview if you can’t find BlogTalkRadio embedded widget on right hand side of this blog. You can hear all live streams and hear all previous episodes here on the blog.


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