Arts District Healing Center (ADHC), affectionately known as the “Healing Center,” is about using the constructs and parameters of the medical cannabis laws as a pathway to personal and social transformation.
Founder and director James Shaw holds a clear vision of the Compassionate Use Act, passed by California voters in 1996, as a health opportunity for humanity, and the Medical Marijuana Program Act, a Senate Bill approved in 2004, as a vehicle for personal and social transformation through a model of collective action structured within the not-for-profit economic forum of cannabis production, exchange, service as employment, and volunteerism.
Patients from throughout the state have joined the membership ranks of one of the most prestigious, well-respected patient associations because they share ADHC’s vision of a better world. They recognize a benevolent leadership who believes that members should have the opportunity to contribute their talents and abilities for the common good and discover the healing of service and participation in the fabric of a loving, sharing community.
Arts District Healing Center was founded in 2005 and built out in early 2006 with permits from the city for a medical cannabis collective in the Arts District adjacent to Little Tokyo. On April 4, 2006, ADHC opened doors to the larger medical cannabis community. Accepting a leadership role in the Los Angeles community, ADHC was one of the first five collectives to form and host the Greater Los Angeles Collective Alliance. Efforts were made early on through working groups to influence the city toward a thoughtful local regulatory ordinance. ADHC was incorporated in April 2007.
When the Drug Enforcement Agency sent letters in the summer of 2007 to the landlords of almost every collective in California threatening them with forfeiture and imprisonment unless they expelled the collectives, the medical cannabis community began to collapse. The situation was dire. Landlords were terrified.
Despite the serious threat of police violence and the chagrin of the largest patient advocacy groups in California, the courageous staff and member patients of ADHC stood up to the DEA and took them to court. ADHC was the first to take the issue of the landlord letter to Unlawful Detainer Court, while simultaneously filed its registration with the City of Los Angeles to be permitted under the new ordinance.
According to records, the day after the unlawful detainer case was filed in court defending against the landlord letter, the DEA started an investigation of the Arts District Healing Center and raided ADHC on October 11, 2007, just before the hearing. The Unlawful Detainer Court ruled in ADHC’s favor and the word began to spread. Many other patient associations were emboldened to fight back.
ADHC then helped finance the Union of Medical Marijuana Patients to form a unified defense strategy against the DEA. ADHC joined the Union’s federal case against the landlord letter and success in defending 12 collectives in state court from eviction. Unfortunately, only 186 Los Angeles collectives survived the DEA letter campaign and were capable or brave enough to file for the ordinance registration with the City by Sept 14, 2007. The federal case was finally settled in a mediation compromise over a two-year process where the DEA agreed to not send any more landlord letters and identified our Attorney General’s guidelines as the only discussion points in identifying what were acceptable practices for following California law.
Out of these negotiations with the DEA was born AgSite Secure, a self-regulatory program for tracking cannabis from seed to consumption, all for the purpose of demonstrating the bonafides of law-abiding patient associations proving no diversion or profit with medical marijuana amongst their cultivating sites. Arts District Healing Center was the principal contributor to the Union for developing this program. AgSite Inc. was formed at the beginning of 2011 to successfully carry AgSite Secure statewide.
Arts District Healing Center embraces the concept of transparency for law enforcement and city officials for the sake of normalizing relations between the medical cannabis community and the larger public.
Arts District Healing Center now hosts one of the largest and most comprehensive member patient services program in the state, as alternatives to cannabis, as treatment for the many ailments afflicting it members, with thousands of members participating on a weekly basis. ADHC plays host to a staggering variety of cannabis education programs, organic farming and horticultural grow lessons, art therapists, alternative health and wellness practitioners, and industry speakers.
Now, more important than any time in the recent history, facing financial, ecological, and social collapse, we need significant reinterpretation of our shared human value. Everyone has to work together now. We must wake up now to the best of our humanity.