Posts Tagged ‘420’
Walking Buster was the hardest part of watching his friend’s house. It meant he had to walk around the neighborhood with the dog, without making eye-contact with the neighbors.
“Just don’t offer any information,” Jake lectured. “I don’t even know their names,” he added. “And they don’t know mine, and that’s the way we all like it.”
Jake said there were a lot of grow houses here in Cutten. The town was an old, established neighborhood in Humboldt’s County seat, and still considered a family neighborhood with parks, a school and a town center.
This was just one of Jake’s houses and no one lived here. A four bedroom California ranch-style, with four grow rooms for the ladies and a false room in the garage for growing babies. Nick was just one of several house-sitters keeping watch at any given time.
Unlike other neighborhoods he worked in, you could still see the occasional mom walking with a stroller, and parents walking kids to school in the morning.
Nick quickly led the dog out of the cul-de-sac and onto the busier street of Walnut. “Less people wondering who I am on this street,” he thought, averting his eyes from a passing car.
School was letting out and he had a moment of dread as carpool mom’s filed past him in a sea of mini-vans. “Note to self: don’t walk dog during school rush.”
Back at the house Nick rinsed out Buster’s water dish and filled it up again, reminding himself to dump the humidifier in the big room.
“It was nice outside, eh boy?” he said, patting him on the head. If only he could open a window or the blinds for some light. But that wasn’t going to happen.
The list of have and have-nots lie face-up on the kitchen table. “No open curtains or shades, no open blinds. When opening front door, make sure hallway curtain is pulled shut. When opening grow room door, make sure other doors to outside doors are blocked…” The list went on and on.
The house was always too warm from the hot lights in the grow rooms, and no matter how many fans were on back there you could still smell the green of thriving plants. Well, thriving except for the occasional spider mite, but that’s another story altogether.
Nick propped pillows on the open futon in the living room and eyed the cover of an old North Coast Journal, “Best Weed Strains.”
“How would they know,” he laughed to himself. “Let’s see what they think…‘OG Kush’ and ‘Headband,’ well, I can agree with Headband – that’s stuff’s killer. Wonder if they even know what the ‘OG’ stands for. Obviously not, or they wouldn’t spread the lie of its So Cal creation. Ocean Grown in Petrolia, on Humboldt soil, assholes.
The futon felt hard as a rock. Jake said he could sleep in the bedroom, but the noise from the fans was deafening, so he slept on the couch in the living room. Not that he slept much. All of the work was done at night when the lights in the rooms were on.
Last night was exhausting, first pinching back larger plants, then spraying babies with Neem for the never ending mite situation, then fertilizing. Feeding the plants was a bear, as Jake’s notes were always sketchy and each set of plants had different requirements at various stages.
Nick stuck the pH tester into the runoff water in the drain dish under the more mature ladies and checked the meter. “Six-point-eight, time for vinegar,” he whispered to himself.
There were at least 15 gallon jugs of fertilizers to choose from in Mike’s garage and he used them all – Tiger Bloom, Big Bloom, Open Sesame, Beastie Bloom, Bio Bud, Bio Weed, you name it. He was always amazed at the amount of stuff needed to get a few pounds out of this small,
The money was good at a hundred bucks a day, but his better side felt guilty about the waste, the runoff and the energy consumed. He read that grow houses use sixty percent more than the average household. And most of the growers he worked for didn’t recycle all those big, plastic jugs of “organic” fertilizer for fear of being found – either at curbside, or at the recycle yard.
Regulations are out the window too, with spraying without a mask or bending over in cramped spaces a given – with no complaint department, and no Christmas ham.
Yes, everything about this gig was bleak with no future, sans a bigger black market grow to tend.
Nick pulled the brochure from the Small Business Center out of his backpack. “Developing a Business Plan,” he read the first entry aloud.
Outside a car door slammed. The dog began to bark wildly. Inching the curtain away from the blinds, he carefully peeked out and held his breath.
by Shannon Young, Associated Press
HARTFORD, Conn. — Connecticut lawmakers’ approval of the use of medical marijuana includes strict regulations for the cultivation and distribution in an attempt to avoid problems other states have run into when legalizing the plant for medical use.
The bill, passed early Saturday by the state Senate, is headed to Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, who said in a statement that he plans to sign it, as he believes the law would “avoid the problems encountered in some other states.”
Sixteen states and the District of Columbia have laws authorizing the use of medical marijuana. Since California passed the country’s first such law in 1996, states have struggled with disorganization and clashes with the federal government, which considers the drug illegal and of no medicinal value.
“Everything from California back is trying to get away from chaos,” said Allen St. Pierre, the executive director of the National Organization to Reform Marijuana Laws.
Advocates say the Connecticut proposal goes further than any other state in regulating the drug.
Under the legislation, marijuana would be sold in multiple forms at dispensaries, which must have a licensed pharmacist on staff. It would be marketed only to patients authorized to use it. The measure also outlines diseases that would be treated by the drug, establishes a registry for patients and caregivers and restricts cultivating the plant to growers with permits.
“Experience has shown that having statewide structures in place makes it easier for everyone to understand what the rules really are,” said Alan Shackelford, who serves on a state advisory work group for medical marijuana in Colorado and helped advise Connecticut lawmakers on their proposal.
Opponents in Connecticut, however, point to a letter from U.S. Attorney David Fein, who wrote that while the Department of Justice would not go after seriously ill patients who use the illegal drug, federal laws would be enforced against those who manufacture and distribute it.
“The violation of a federal law to me is a big stop sign and I just can’t bring myself to go through it,” said Rep. Steven Mikutel, a Griswold Democrat who voted against the legislation when it passed the state House.
In addition to federal efforts to shut down dispensaries in California and, to a lesser extent, Colorado, problems with regulation have arisen in states where the drug was legalized through ballot initiatives and the system was implemented without regulations in place, advocates say. Likewise, some states don’t allow medical marijuana dispensaries and patients are left to grow their own.
Because of this, several states have been taking steps to strengthen regulations.
Colorado imposed tight regulation and state government control over dispensaries in 2010. New Jersey and Delaware also have passed laws to strictly regulate medical marijuana.
California state Sen. Mark Leno said he was working to enact legislation that would further clarify that care providers be exempt from prosecution for providing the drug to patients.
But Leno said he is uncertain how states’ attempts to improve regulation will succeed in reducing federal scrutiny. He points to small patient-owned and patient-run dispensaries in his district that the federal government has shut down.
Allison Price, a DOJ spokeswoman, said in a statement the department “is focusing its limited resources on significant drug traffickers, not seriously ill individuals who are in compliance with applicable state medical marijuana statues.”
I am not writing this because I have an answer to that question. Far from it. I am writing this to try and flush an answer out of my spinning brain.
I have never understood this reality. Medical cannabis seems like a no brainer to me. I just do not get living in a world where other humans would deprive sick people of a safe and effective plant to serve some strange ideology, or to create wealth from its prohibition. When I stood in Santa Cruz in 1996 collecting signatures for Prop. 215, I never imagined over 16 years later we would still be fighting this battle. I have grown old watching patients and providers struggle to find their place in this society. The evolution of the medical cannabis movement has been astonishing at times, but more so, it has been plain weird.
I cannot wrap my head around the concept that because Nixon, the Nation’s most corrupt President, ignored reports that warned of the dangers of prohibition and decided to outlaw weed through the Controlled Substances Act, that some how we are stil trying to reverse that insane decision decades later. What is more appalling is the real lack of a conscious and meaningful conversation on the obvious failures that cannabis prohibition has resulted in.
Law enforcement, elected officials, community leaders, and every citizen should be very concerned with the incredible harm cannabis prohibition has created in our communities. Our world is far less safe as a result of the lucrative black market we have created for illegal weed. We have made criminals out of millions of our friends and neighbors in what we can only call a huge failure by any metric used. We lock up mostly poor people and use “the system” to create income for corporations who have bought our prison system, forced us to be tested regularly for drug use, and who have law enforcement in their pocket. It is an absurd police state we live in. When Nixon first outlawed weed it was the conservatives who thought he was nuts for telling people what they could and could not do to their own bodies. But as these assholes turned archaic laws into huge profits, their understanding of liberty changed and now they only believe in those freedoms for certain issues…like education, healthcare, and finances. On those issues, fuck it…you are on your own. Too much big government, ya’ know? But not for weed…for weed we have all the government you need.
So that is where we are as a society. In some fucking alternate universe where grown ass people are afraid to have an open and honest discussion about weed because we have brainwashed people for decades to think a safe, enjoyable, and helpful plant is evil. Even the rational people who know this is not true do not want to get accused of being a dope lover or, God forbid, a Liberal. We continue to dance the medical weed dance and allow for the “who is sick enough for weed” game to go on. Instead of demanding our society just stop the madness and cut the shit, we allow the squeaky wheels to get the oil, and the prohibitionists have created quite the machine to ensure that their profits from making criminals out of innocent people does not go away. It sucks.
So the “what now?” question is a difficult one to answer. I can assure you the answer is not to run and hide. I can assure you the right thing to do is not to start stuffing the mattress and heading for the hills. It is time for our community to double down on the progress we have made and ensure that the future is not one where we continue to see almost a million people a year in trouble for weed. We must put aside our internal issues to rise up and ready for battle. We continue to see support swell for cannabis freedom and we must not let the continued attacks by those who make their living off weed being illegal stop us. We are the many. We are mighty. Weed is bigger than all of us.
Understand that I, or anyone else, can not truly answer the “what now?” question. Fate is seldom wrong. We all have a responsibility and a duty to work to create the society we want to live in. I do not want to live in a society where we lock up 25% of the world’s prison population, but only have 5% of the actual population. I do not want to live in a society where we allow people to suffer and where we compromise people’s health for money. I do not want to live in a world where we authorize militarized local police forces to violate people’s right to privacy because they smell weed. My WHAT NOW has a lot to do with changing those things, and making our community one where we do not continue to oppress people for their personbal choices. I hope you will join me.
by Michael Steininger, The Christian Science Monitor
For visitors to the Netherlands who enjoy the relaxing effects of marijuana, life has just become a little less easy going, particularly for those Germans living just west of the border who used to just pop over for a fresh supply. New legislation is restricting the sale of cannabis to residents of the country and banning tourists from purchasing the drug at the coffee shops, famous for selling it.
The new law, drafted by the center-right government of Prime Minister Mark Rutte, officially came into effect on Jan. 1. It demands that the approximately 700 coffee shops in the country, where the sale of small amounts of soft drugs is tolerated, turn into members-only clubs, allowing only Dutch residents 18 and older and over to apply for membership.
“The ‘open door’ policy currently pursued by coffee shops will come to an end,” Mr. Rutte said in a statement. “The objective is to combat the nuisance and crime associated with coffee shops and the trade in drugs.”
The lax approach to drugs in the Netherlands has irritated its European neighbors for some time.
Officially, the possession and sale of cannabis is illegal in the Netherlands too, but under the so-called gedoogbeleid (policy of tolerance), owning a maximum amount of five grams for personal use is not prosecuted. Under that same policy, coffee shops are allowed to stash a maximum of 500 grams at any given time and sell that in amounts of up to 5 grams.
The practice led to a flourishing of coffee shops as drug outlets and a tourist industry depending on them. An estimated third of all visitors to urban centers like Amsterdam and Maastricht are believed to be looking not just for museums full of Dutch masters or a boat ride on a canal but also for pot, according to the Amsterdam City Council. In the border town of Maastricht, some 70 percent of coffee shop customers are non-residents.
Given the possible effect the new rules could have on tourism, and the likelihood of legal procedures against the discrimination against fellow Europeans, the Dutch authorities opted for a slow start – enforcement of the law began only this month in three southern provinces, next to Belgium, France and Germany. Those are the locations outside the capital where so-called drug tourism is busiest. The rest of the country is meant to follow in January 2013.
Coffee shops and the political opposition are putting up resistance.
In a last-ditch attempt to stop enforcement of the new law, 19 coffee shop owners took the government to court, arguing that the exclusion of tourists discriminated against EU rights of free movement and infringed on people’s privacy. However, the Hague court ruled last week that it could see no such discrimination and that the law aimed to reduce drug tourism and drug-related crime.
The mayor of Amsterdam, Eberhard van der Laan, said his city had no problems with drug crimes and that a compromise was needed. He is also expected to stage a legal challenge before implementation in his city.
Lea Bouwmeester, a member of parliament (MP) with the opposition Labor Party, argues that the tolerant approach to possession has worked well at keeping drugs in check. “It is the supply side that we need to control,” she says. “The growing of cannabis and the wholesale supply take place in the illegal circuit.”
The outcome of the policy change is uncertain and could be influenced, of all things, by the eurozone crisis. Last month Rutte’s minority government collapsed after it lost the support of the populist Freedom Party in a debate over a new package of austerity measures. What course on drugs a new government ( when it comes in after September elections) is still up in the air.
Courtesy of the Chicago Tribune
Clemson freshman wide receiver Sammy Watkins was arrested by Clemson, S.C., police and charged with simple marijuana possession and possession of a controlled substance, the university announced Friday.
Also arrested was men’s soccer player Amadou Tidane Daniel Dia. Both men, 18, were arrested early Friday morning, according to a police report.
Police officials said Watkins’ car was pulled over after officers witnessed the vehicle scrape against a curb on campus. The officer smelled marijuana upon approaching the car and the vehicle was searched. Both athletes have been released on bond.
The controlled substance charge relates to two schedule-2 non-narcotic pills found on Watkins for which he did not have a prescription.
Last season, Watkins led the Tigers with 82 catches for 1,219 yards and 12 touchdowns.
by Rob Kampia, Special to the Washington Post
Rob Kampia is executive director of the Marijuana Policy Project.
During the 2008 campaign, Barack Obama raised hopes among those who support medical marijuana by pledging to respect state laws on the issue. But his administration has reversed course and massively escalated the federal government’s attacks on medical marijuana businesses, most of which are legal under their states’ laws.
This is perplexing because medical marijuana is far more popular than Obama is. A Washington Post-ABC News poll from January 2010 found that 81 percent of Americans supported legalizing medical marijuana. A CBS News poll from October found that 77 percent of Americans support allowing doctors to prescribe marijuana for serious medical conditions. By contrast, the president’s approval rating last October hovered around 42 percent — and is currently about 47 percent.
The shift has been clear. Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. announced in March 2009 that the Obama administration would end the Bush administration’s practice of raiding medical marijuana providers that violated federal statutes. A memo from the Justice Department later that year said the department would not prioritize prosecutions of individuals acting in compliance with state medical marijuana laws.
But last year the tide turned. Obama’s Justice Department authorized a series of letters from U.S. attorneys across the country threatening to “vigorously” prosecute individuals acting in compliance with state medical marijuana laws. In some cases the U.S. attorneys suggested that government employees who help regulate their states’ medical marijuana systems could be prosecuted for “facilitating” a crime.
There was more. The IRS cracked down on medical marijuana dispensaries, refusing to allow them to deduct such standard business expenses as rent and payroll. Last September the National Institute on Drug Abuse refused to provide federally grown marijuana to a Food and Drug Administration-approved research protocol seeking to measure the extent to which marijuana helps combat veterans with their post-traumatic stress disorder. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives outlawed gun sales to medical marijuana patients. And federal prosecutors in California announced that they would crack down on dispensaries across the state, saying that they intend to seize the property of landlords who lease space to these businesses that are legal under state law.
Last month Obama clarified his position on medical marijuana, saying on a late-night show that “we’re not going to be legalizing weed . . . anytime soon.” This after he had recently told an interviewer: “I never made a commitment that somehow we were going to give carte blanche to large-scale producers and operators of marijuana — and the reason is, because it’s against federal law. I can’t nullify congressional law.”
Simply put, Obama has become more hostile to medical marijuana patients than any president in U.S. history.
To put Obama’s implosion in perspective, consider what Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) wrote in his 2010 book “Fed Up!”: “When the federal government oversteps its authority, states should tell Washington they will not be complicit in enforcing laws with which they do not agree. Again, the best example is an issue I don’t even agree with — the partial legalization of marijuana. Californians clearly want some level of legalized marijuana, be it for medicinal use or otherwise. The federal government is telling them they cannot. But states are not bound to enforce federal law, and the federal government cannot commandeer state resources and require them to enforce it.”
Perry also wrote, “If you don’t support the death penalty and citizens packing a pistol, don’t come to Texas. If you don’t like medicinal marijuana and gay marriage, don’t move to California.”
The five presidents from Richard Nixon through George H.W. Bush allowed medical marijuana research to proceed unhindered.
The three presidents from Jimmy Carter to George H.W. Bush allowed patients to apply to the federal government for waivers to use medical marijuana legally under federal law.
Obama appears to be to the right of Ron Paul, Gary Johnson, Ronald Reagan and even George W. Bush on this issue. It’s hard to imagine how this helps Obama politically, and it’s easy to imagine how forcing patients to purchase their medicine from an illicit provider instead of a regulated business hurts people who are suffering from cancer, AIDS and multiple sclerosis.
Courtesy of the New York Times
HARTFORD (Reuters) — The Connecticut Senate passed a bill on Saturday legalizing the use of marijuana for medical purposes, with tight restrictions intended to avoid the problems that have plagued some of the other states where it is now legal.
After nearly 10 hours of debate, the Senate voted 21 to 13 in favor of the measure, which has already cleared the House.
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, a Democrat, is expected to sign the bill. Once he does, Connecticut will join 16 other states and the District of Columbia in allowing the medical use of marijuana.
Connecticut’s legislation calls for tight regulation and seeks to avoid disagreements with the federal government.
Under the bill, patients and their caregivers must register with the Department of Consumer Protection. In addition, their doctors must certify that there is a medical need — for instance, debilitating diseases like cancer, glaucoma, AIDS, Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis or epilepsy — for marijuana to be dispensed.
The medical marijuana would be dispensed only by pharmacists with a special license.
by Jeff Barnard, The Associated Press
After scraping together a mound of zucchini, broccoli, beef, pineapple and noodles on a big round Mongolian grill, Kevin Wallace measured out a shot of grapeseed oil infused with hashish and poured it over the steaming food, setting off a sizzle.
Thirteen years after Oregon became one of the first states to make medical marijuana legal, Wallace and business partner Michael Shea think they’ve found a way to fit in the big gray area between making a living from medical marijuana and going to jail.
Marijuana is indelibly associated with food, whether it is chemotherapy patients using the drug to try to develop an appetite, or, farcically, a couple of stoners with an overpowering case of the munchies in “Harold & Kumar Go To White Castle.” Secret “herb dinners” with appetizers, entrees and desserts are reported in newspaper food sections. One restaurant chain, CHeBA HUT, is based on a marijuana theme. And patrons of the World Famous Cannabis Cafe in Portland can get a burger or lasagna packing a pot punch in between choruses of karaoke.
But restaurants where marijuana is the focus have had trouble gaining traction. The customer base is, after all, limited to medical marijuana cardholders. And any enterprise associated with medical marijuana will quickly come under scrutiny.
At the Earth Dragon Edibles Restaurant & Lounge in Ashland, Wallace and Shea are trying to bring Mongolian barbecue dosed with medical marijuana to a higher level, though they are still feeling their way through the fuzzy legalities of it all.
An Oregon medical marijuana card is required to get in the door. Inside, the place looks and operates pretty much like any other little Asian-style restaurant, with the smells of teriyaki and sounds of the grill filling the air. A wall hanging at the back depicts ganja guru Bob Marley. Diners go through a check list of vegetables, sauces, meats and tofu, and whether their bowl will be regular, large, or unlimited. One difference is the boxes to check for medicated or unmedicated. If medicated, there are three strengths. Cheesecake, candies and cookies, medicated or not, are also available.
While they wait, diners can use the hash bar, choosing from an assortment of glass pipes, a vaporizer, or a bong, hashish or bud. Marijuana donations are encouraged.
Operating under the theory that it is no crime for one patient to share medicine with another, all the marijuana — whether in the food or at the hash bar — is free. And unlike the marijuana cafes in Portland, there is no membership fee.
“I know it’s a little weird,” said Shea.
Ashland itself could be considered a little weird. Close to the California border and home to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, it is an outpost of liberalism in conservative southwestern Oregon. Think of it as a little Berkeley in the middle of Orange County. It is also within the Green Triangle, one of the nation’s best marijuana-growing climates. This corner of Oregon has the highest per capita rate of medical marijuana use in the state.
Wallace and Shea render their medical marijuana into hashish, infuse that into oil or glycerin, and eat it, believing that is healthier than smoking. With few patients able to do that, they felt they should share their skills to help others.
“That’s how Mommy raised me,” said Wallace.
I have spent the past couple of days all over Northern California form one weedhead event to the next. What I saw was a community hungry for a cannabis reality and an end to the nightmare of cannabis prohibition. I saw people from all walks of life who love weed. That was invigorating and let me know that as tough as things seem, we are the many and they are the few.
I started 4/20 morning off in Oaksterdam for a protest and march beginning at the Oakland Federal building. It was a colorful and strong turn out of over 100 dedicated activists and concerned cannabis supporters. The group amassed at 1301 Clay Street with signs and a hunger for freedom. Many people who support Oaklsterdam and cannabis reform were in attendance, and fired up for the cause. It was cool to see. The event was organized by CANORML (I think), led by Dale Garinger. The mild mannered and refined Garinger got a permit for sound and began to speak to the crowd from what I can only call a Toys R Us megaphone. I gave them my more industrial strength megaphone, so the crowd could actually hear him…kind of. As many in attendance pointed out to me, I do not really need a megaphone any way. Dale was joined by UFCW’s Dan Rush in speaking to the crowd, and there were many cheers for Richard Lee, who spoke briefly (as usual. Richard is a man of action). Dale Sky Jones, from Oaksterdam also said a few words to the crowd. The message was positive and upbeat declaring the community’s commitment to the cause and willingness to stand up and fight. Most of it was well pointed rhetoric, but there were some shameless plugs mixed in by the usual suspects that I thought watered down the message. When we have a captive audience of 100 frenzied and excited activists I would focus more on mobilizing the troops, rather than making your speech into a commercial for your organization. But I digress. I did not organize the event, so therefore it is none of my business what folks do with their 15 minutes. I did think that we wasted opportunity in front of the Federal building by not taking to task more effectively the war criminals that brought about the raids and this unnecessary crack down on patients and providers. For my taste, it was way to tame given the destruction our community has faced, and the folks speaking might want to reel in some of the “Look at me” bullshit a little next time. You know who you are.
But anyway….After the speeches the group began marching down Clay Street and through Oscar Grant Plaza and the City Hall corridor. There was a long line of us marching with our signage and our spirits. The crowd chanted and screamed and traffic in the plaza was stopped dead as our precession came through raising awareness for the cause.
My message was one that spilled over from the previous day, when we took on the anti-pot crusaders on at the State Capital…”WHAT ABOUT THE CHILDREN?” I see this as where we MUST begin to focus our message. “QUIT TAKING POOR KIDS TO JAIL FOR WEED!” When you can reach people with the message that “America locks up 25% of the world’s prison population, while only having 5% of the actual world population because we take poor kids to jail for weed every day,” people get it. They can understand the basic math and people know that these laws primarily target the poor and less fortunate in our society. I screamed “IT IS NOT THE RICH KIDS GOING TO JAIL FOR WEED! IT IS THE POOR KIDS!” In Oakland, that is a very REAL message. I saw many onlookers ponder the facts and nod in agreement or visibly show their support. Taking kids to jail for weed is no longer acceptable and that was the message I decided to hammer home .
The march went to Obama’s campaign headquarters in Oakland and a crowd stood outside demanding that Obama keep his promise to stop interfering in state cannabis laws. Several prominent activist, including the great Chris Conrad, spoke in defiance of tyranny and urged Obama knock off the shit. It was a great action and one that was memorable and also very fun. I guess I just really love standing on the street corner screaming about weed. Not really, but I do love knowing that we reached hundreds, if not thousands, of people with the message that cannabis prohibition is fucking crazy.
Folks convened at the Oaksterdam student union afterwards for some refreshments and camaraderie. It was good to see diverse members of our community in attendance to fight for what is right. I spoke with a reporter who asked me if I was disappointed with the turn out, given all that is happening. I reminded him that we were knee deep in an actual war, and that our opposition had made it difficult for the masses to come out of the cannabis closet because our society still stigmatizes cannabis users; and that many face loss of employment…or kids…or their freedoms, if they are filmed at a cannabis rally. It is difficult turning non-activists out to political actions, as there is unfortunately still a lot at stake in this day and age. I assured him that for everyone of us there were a million others cheering us on and standing there with us. He agreed.
Later in the day I made the journey to Hippy Hill in SF. I did not make it by 4:20, as I had planned. I was at the toll booth for 4/20; but amazingly enough there were a dozen or so cars in line with us that were all enjoying the moment as the huge clock on the Bay Bridge tool booth read 4:20 pm. It was kind of surreal. There was a puff of smoke rising up from the see of cars, and I am pretty sure it was not exhaust.
But when we got to Hippy Hill it was still packed to the max with weedheads. The entire front half (at least) of Golden Gate Park was populated by those who love cannabis. It was fucking sweet. In the meadow near hippy hill there were stoners as far as the eye could see. Kids were rolling little read wagons full of edibles around, music was bumping, and there was weed smoke EVERYWHERE. The ground was littered with blunt packages and glass bongs were being passed around by the dozen. We climbed the hill to overlook the massive crowd and to take in the vibe. It was EPIC SHIT. There was no disputing the power of a field full of cannabis lovers who do not give a fuck and are willing to be outlaws…even if just for the day. People came from all over to partake in the beautiful day and the ceremony of 4/20. I was impressed. It may not be easy to get people to pick up a sign and get to a protest but the statement made by 20,000 plus standing in a field taking massive rips and defying the shit out of the law with every weed hustle you could think of is POWERFUL in itself. It says “WE are here, and go fuck yourself.” Mad respect to all the kids who came out and made that shit off the hook.
We then caught some hella tasty grub at Memphis Minnies near the Vapor Room on lower Haight St. Delicious. The Vapor Room was packed, so we did not make a cameo there; but instead packed the van and headed out for an evening in Sacramento with SaccCannMove.org’s event at Harlow’s. It was a good event at a great venue with nice music and a lot of people who supported ending cannabis prohibition. Some of the local community came out and we had a swell time blowing fat doobies out back and discussing the current state of affairs and the happenings of the day.
I got home at about 3 am after dropping of the folks and got up early for some little league action. I almost phoned it in the next day for the Deep Green Fest in Richmond, but some good friends were there so I pulled my 3 hours of sleep having ass together and made the trip to “The Rich.” Deep Green was once again a sparsely attended event, that seemed more like a trade show than an event. In fact, I am not even going to go to “deep” into it, as it was pretty much the same as last year and you can read that article here in an article entitled ”Deep Something…” It seemed to be a little less people than last year even, regardless of how much attention it got from Weed Wars. I think it may just be hard to get people to come to Richmond. I guess the true test will be when High Times shows up in June to do the Cannabis Cup at the same venue. If it is packed, then we will know it is not Richmond’s somewhat roughneck reputation to blame for the lack of turnout to Deeper Green, the sequel. I am sure the event promoters have got to be rethinking this for next year, but we will see. I thought after last year they would have gave up on this year. What do I know anyway?
I did have a good time because, as noted in the article from last year, me and my friends love to walk around and look at the crazies that make up this industry and get a good chuckle out of everyone’s latest and greatest ordeals; and since the event was not packed there was plenty of elbow room and places to sit. They did add a love bus to the smoking yard this time which was interesting and colorful for sure.
We finished our extended cameo and bounced back to the hotel for a cool dab session with Deejay Wiid. My cannabis adventures had come to an end, and I drove back to the house right before midnight so I did not turn into a pumpkin.
What I learned over my 48 hour blitz tour of several unique and interesting cannabis events was that WEED IS AWESOME! People really enjoy it. It helps a lot of people have a better life. It is super safe. Chicks dig weed. Weed knows no age, race, or class of person. Weed is ubiquitous. People will go to great lengths because they love weed. Weed makes a difference. And there is no shortage of weed in Northern Cali for sure.
To all that I met or chilled with in my travels, thanks for the memories….I will see you next year, no doubt.
Courtesy of the Associated Press
AUSTIN, Texas – Country music legend Willie Nelson helped unveil a statue honoring him in downtown Austin by singing his new song “Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die” on Friday, a date long reserved to celebrate marijuana use.
The faint smell of marijuana smoke wafted through a crowd of about 2,000 people as Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell accepted on the privately funded statue as a gift from a private arts group. Organizers said they didn’t intentionally choose April 20 for the event, but once they found out, they scheduled the unveiling at 4:20 p.m. as a tongue-in-cheek reference to Nelson’s openness about his marijuana use and advocacy for its legalization.
The statute stands in front of the Moody Theater, where the Austin City Limits Studio is now located. Nelson, a 10-time Grammy Award winner who has sold more than 40 million copies of his 150 albums, appeared on the first episode of the public television show in 1974.
“He is the man who more than other made Austin the live music capital of the world,” Leffingwell said.
Nelson was born in Abbott, a tiny town about 120 miles north of Austin, but he has lived in Texas’ capital city since 1971.
Longtime friend and fellow singer-songwriter Kris Kristofferson congratulated Nelson, saying he couldn’t have imagined the city honoring Nelson during the early days of what became known as the Cosmic Cowboy movement in music.
Nelson, who wore black jeans, a black T-shirt and a black cowboy hat, is notoriously shy about such honors. Before he began performing, with his sister Bobbie Nelson on piano, he thanked the organizers and joked with the crowd that had gathered to watch the ceremony.
“What time is it?” he joked as the clock approach 4:20 p.m. “I feel it’s getting close to something.”
Nelson’s career was built on not conforming to country music norms. He fused country music with jazz and rock in the early 1970s to create the “outlaw country” movement in Austin and helped give the city a reputation as a music city. His first major hit came when Patsy Cline recorded his song “Crazy” in 1961.
The monument shows Nelson in a relaxed, standing pose and holding his guitar to the side as if in conversation. Philadelphia sculptor Clete Shields said the leaning pose and heroic scale are intended to show Nelson’s openness and whimsical side while honoring his tremendous influence on music and the city.
“We wanted to get a timeless Willie, an ageless Willie,” Shields said.
Nelson was also a founder of the Farm Aid movement to help family farmers and has appeared in 37 films and television shows, ranging from a starring role in the 1982 western “Barbarosa” to making a cameo in the 1998 Dave Chappelle stoner comedy “Half Baked.”
The unveiling was fitting on April 20 – or 4/20, which is slang for smoking marijuana – a day pro-marijuana legalization forces have used for annual gatherings to demonstrate in support of the cause. Nelson is a well-known advocate of legalizing marijuana and has been arrested several times for possessing it.
The Willie Monument is the third statue put up by Capital Area Statues Inc., a group of prominent Texas writers, film producers and musicians. One of the others honors three Texas writers and is located at Barton Springs and the other honors the woman who fired a cannon to prevent the removal of the state archives from Austin. Capital Area Statues was formed to add more statues in Austin’s public places and raises money for them by selling scale models of the work.
Lawrence Wright, one of the group’s founders, said April 20 was chosen because Nelson was scheduled to perform at a tribute to Johnny Cash in Austin that night, not because of the counterculture significance.
“We didn’t know anything about it; it seems everyone else knew the story on this,” Wright said, laughing. He said he didn’t think Nelson was doing it intentionally either, but said the group decided to embrace the city’s unofficial motto of “Keep Austin Weird” by scheduling the unveiling at 4:20 p.m.
by Jim Spellman, CNN
Boulder, Colorado (CNN) – Steps taken to thwart a public marijuana smoking event Friday at the University of Colorado appear to have worked. Protesters who gathered at a quad on the campus for the customary 4:20 light-up time dispersed without an apparent toke.
In past years the Norlin Quad on the campus of the University of Colorado at Boulder had drawn 10,000 to 12,000 people for the event, which falls on April 20 (4/20). Marijuana smokers traditionally wait until 4:20 in the afternoon to light up as a celebration of marijuana culture and a protest against drug policy.
This year, the school closed the campus to outsiders and spread an unpleasant-smelling, fish-based fertilizer on the quad before enclosing it in yellow police tape and stationing police officers around the perimeter.
Hours before the planned event, three students who crossed police lines and went onto the field were led away in plastic handcuffs.
Several hundred students gathered around the quad as the time approached. A man began shouting into the crowd, becoming its de facto leader. When asked his name he replied, “It doesn’t matter.”
“Alright, it’s 4:20 who is ready to get weird?” he shouted.
The crowd cheered.
“Who is with me?” he called out.
The crowd seemed to expect him light up a joint, but instead he dashed under the police tape and ran across the quad as police gave chase on foot.
None of his encouragers followed.
Police ultimately nabbed him and carted him off in plastic handcuffs.
Their leader gone, no one in the crowd seemed to know quite what to do. No one could be seen smoking marijuana and by the less legendary time of 4:30 the crowd had gone on their way.
The number 420 has become synonymous with all things marijuana, but exactly why is less clear.
Whatever the number’s origin, “420″ events across the country have become opportunities to advocate the legalization of marijuana. The expansion of medical marijuana in California, Colorado and other states is making efforts to legalize marijuana more mainstream and making more people comfortable coming out and smoking pot in public, according to Chris Conrad, curator of the Oaksterdam Cannabis Museum in Oakland, California.
Boulder’s is one of the biggest pro-pot rallies, and attendance had grown from year to year, according to university spokesman Bronson Hilliard.
“People fly in from around the country to participate,” Hilliard explained. “We don’t understand why they have to come to (this) campus.”
Prior to the Colorado event, university police spokesman Ryan Huff said the smoke-ins have become too dangerous.
“It’s hard to keep track of that many people high on marijuana,” he said.
Why these marijuana advocates congregate each year on April 20 is a bit of a mystery steeped in the hazy lore of the American pot culture. Some have said 420 is a local police code for someone smoking marijuana. Others have said it refers to the number of active chemicals in marijuana.
Another theory holds that 420 is a nod to Bob Dylan and his 1966 song “Rainy Day Women #12 & 35″ which contains the lyric, “Everybody must get stoned.” Multiply 12 by 35 and you get 420.
Conrad said the leading theory traces the beginning of 420 to the early 1970s when a group of students at San Rafael High School in California would meet at 4:20 each afternoon to smoke marijuana.
“It (was) the time between when classes were over and their parents came home,” he said. “The number 420 signifies that somebody is smoking marijuana right now and it becomes a clarion call for others to join.”
According to Conrad, the story goes that the San Rafael teens named themselves “the Waldos” and would meet very day at 4:20 p.m. near a statue of Louis Pasteur to smoke joints.
A website that claims to be associated with the Waldos declares them to be “The Founding Fathers of 420,” although it doesn’t appear to be current. Attempts to reach the owners of the site were unsuccessful.
No matter what the origin, the number now signifies the pro-marijuana culture: Craiglist ads for roommates, or for even so-called “casual encounters,” often note “420 Friendly.” An episode of the animated TV show Family Guy called “420″ involves a plot in which marijuana becomes legalized and 420 Magazine is devoted to marijuana culture. The 2003 California State Senate bill that became the law that established medical marijuana in the state was called SB420.
What began as a secret code word between stoners has gone mainstream.
“It’s a form of shorthand essentially. As far as being a secret code, it’s one of the least secret,” explained Conrad with a laugh.
I will admit that I am not the biggest 4-20 head on the planet. It is normally a day that comes and goes like any other for me. I have never really bought into the hype of it all. But I do enjoy seeing the community get “fired up” for cannabis and I love that we have declared this day as our own. Because I am knee deep in cannabis policy and reform 365 days a year I am often simply too exhausted or have had enough of my fellow weedheads. I generally lay pretty low on 4-20 for the most part. It is almost as if I am so inundated with cannabis that most 4-20 events generally leave a lot to be desired…and with a cannabis event of some sort almost happening every week these days it seems that another cannabis party for me is often a mundane experience. That being said, when I force myself to be social and get to an event I generally have a pretty good time. Today I am gonna have a good time, if it kills me….
So what will a lowly foot soldier in the war for cannabis freedom do on the big day? Well I am glad you asked. I am in the Bay, so I will likely stay local for the daytime and attend the big protest at the Oakland Federal Building at 11:30 am. Why? Because protesting at the Oakland Federal building is like my most favoritest thing to do. Oakland Fed building is where I had to go to court for my case and I organized several actions at the building myself during that episode. My favorite was the Christmas protest where I dressed up like Santa, made a huge Grinch card for the DEA signed by dozens of activists, made them presents of books, studies, and yes…treats (because I figured they would test them), and stood on the street corner with my fellow soldiers and fought for my freedom. So a protest at the Oakland Fed building brings back a lot of emotion for me. Not to mention, the assholes who kicked in my door work on the 6th floor, so any chance I get to stand outside and scream at those cats is a good day for me. It is therapy.
After the protest I will likely reconvene with my fellow activist at the OU student union and try to make sense of it all for a minute over a J or two before having to go visit a good friend and enjoying some conversation and cannabis, and reflecting on life.
What I have not figured out is where I will be at 4:20. I may run to SF for an ASA event, or I may wander over to hippy hill to see what the kids are up to. It will likely be a beautiful day, so that may be a nice scene. I could just chill East Bay style and go burn one overlooking the Bay from my favorite spot in the Mountain View cemetery. I could end up spacing on the whole 4:20 moment and could be pumping gas at a Chevron at that moment. Who knows? Like I said, I am not huge on the ritual aspect of it.
In the evening, I plan on making the trek up to Sacramento for a rip-raging event at Harlow’s with Arden Roots and the great Selekta Lou playing. CSPARC will have a booth set up and I am sure there will be plenty of cannabis being smoked out back. Some great local collective groups have tables up there, so I am gonna join some friends for a cool evening of vibes and good times. After that I will drive my tired ass back to the house….sounds action packed right? It is a lot for me. I am not the young player I once was, but I will give it my best today for sure…for the cause.
So here are some events I have seen advertised happening in Cali and beyond. Hope to see you all out and about there today getting active and getting stoned.
THE RALLY WILL START AT 11:30 AM, NOT 11 (WE CAN’T GET A PERMIT FOR AMPLIFIED SOUND EXCEPT BETWEEN NOON AND ONE.)
CALIFORNIA’S BAY AREA PACKS IN 4/20 EVENTS
Galvanized rather than defeated by the recent federal actions in Oakland, California and throughout the state, activists are staging a protest and a film festival in the town known as Oaksterdam this Friday, April 20.
Supporters will gather at 11:30 AM (NEW TIME) at the Federal Building in Oakland (1301 Clay St.) to protest the federal attack on Oaksterdam and medical cannabis. At 12 PM we will go on the march to make our views known to the President’s campaign. Participants are invited to drop by the Oaksterdam Student Union, 1915 Broadway for refreshments after 1 PM.
At 3 PM, a 4/20 Film Festival will begin, with a showing of “A NORML LIfe,” a terrific film that should be widely seen by reformers and others. It’s an upbeat, well edited, educational and entertaining movie that features interviews conducted at NORML conferences and elsewhere. Ray Manzarek of The Doors as well as activists, doctors and others make a strong case for reason and for taking action.
At 4:30, “California 90420″ will hit the screen, as it will at theaters across the nation. Directed by one of the guys who produced the hit comedy “WAITING…” starring Ryan Reynolds and Justin Long, ”California 90420″ is a character-driven, informational comedy about real people, and a glimpse into the world of weed through the eyes of Cannabis College Students and Oaksterdam University’s Chancellor and Prop 19 Spokeswoman, Dale Sky Jones. “Digging deep into California’s pot culture, ‘California 90420′ is a thoughtful document of a moment in time and a growing American sub-culture,” writes The Puffington Host.
At 6 PM, “The Green Goddess” will be shown as a sneak preview. The ”almost true” story tells of four Northern California marijuana growers, who flee to Switzerland and grow six football fields of pot on an old Swiss farm. Their adventures take them across Europe: to a music festival in Germany, a medical marijuana clinic in London, and the coffeeshops of Amsterdam. And all the while, the Green Goddess - the divine feminine spirit that lives within the THC crystal - watches over them, choosing one lucky individual to meet her. This special screening of “The Green Goddess” will feature a Q&A with filmmaker Chris Iverson and other members of the cast and crew.
Tickets are $10 for the Film Festival, which benefits Oaksterdam University and California NORML.
The event will kick off the second annual Deep Green Festival on the following day in Richmond, held by the organizers of Earthdance and full of good music and speakers.
Tickets to The Film Festival
Hippy Hill will be popping at 4:20, I am sure….Golden Gate Park is a lovely time and it looks like it will be a lovely day….
The SF Guardian is also hosting a Stoned Soul Picnic (a benefit for Americans for Safe Access)
Please join the Guardian for a Stoned Soul Picnic , our contribution to Cannabis activism where all proceeds from the evening – including bar proceeds from 4-6pm, donations, and raffle ticket sales – will go directly to Americans for Safe Access. ASA is the largest national member-based organization of patients, medical professionals, scientists, and concerned citizens promoting safe and legal access to cannabis for therapeutic use and research.
The Guardian’s Stoned Soul Picnic will feature:
- DJ Carnita (Hard French) spinning stoned soul grooves as well as a special 420-themed reggae set from DJ Mr. Lucky (I&I Vibrations)
- Stand-up comedy from Travis McFarland (LA), George Chen (SF), and Jesse Fernandez (Berkeley)
- Safe Cannabis resources and outreach from dispensaries and activist organizations, including American for Safe Access, Sweetleaf Collective, Oakland 420 Evaluations, and more
- Raffle tickets with awesome prizes, including Roughneck skate brand goodie bags, museum tickets, restaurant gift certificates, stoner paraphernalia, medical marijuana evaluations, and more
- A free LiveFoto photo booth with marijuana-themed props
- Three kinds of stoner-friendly grilled cheese sandwiches made by Apothocurious for purchase
Friday, April 20 from 3:30-7pm @ El Rio, 3158 Mission, SF | FREE (donations encouraged), 21+ w/ID | Find our event on Facebook here .
Happening In Sacramento
Also…Sacramento late night film festival…
“420 Triple Feature” Presented by Apprehensive Films
Friday, April 20, 2012
For all you Sacramento/Northern California residents there is no better way to celebrate 420 than at the Crest Theatre on 4/20/12 with Apprehensive Films at the screening of the 420 Triple Feature!
Apprehensive Films will be hosting the 420 Triple Feature screening at the Crest Theatre on April 20th at 11pm, 2012. The Crest Theatre is located at 1013 K Street in Downtown Sacramento. Tickets are $10.50 each. The event will be hosted by Stand-Up Comedian Keith Lowell Jensen. This screening is proudly presented by Common Roots Medical Marijuana Collective and Trade School.
The 420 Triple Feature: 420 is an internationally recognized holiday and daily excuse for Stoners, Pot Heads and even the recreational marijuana user to light up, toke up and blaze a blunt on their way to the euphoric High-Way of mental freedom. Or is it an evil path to mental anguish, despair, desperation, crime and even death? The 420 Triple Feature takes on a trip down memory lane with some of the best, most idiotic, hilarious and downright absurd “educational” films on the subject of marijuana use. The three films to be shown are Drug Addiction (1951), Keep Off the Grass (1969) and Marijuana (1968) hosted by Sonny Bono!
420 Triple Feature Trailer: http://youtu.be/JzFY22qkZn8
Doors open at 10:15PM for 11PM show.
Tickets $10.50 on sale now tickets.com, Crest, 1-800-225-2277.
Playing in Theatre 2
Boulder, CO always has the biggest 4-20 event on the planet. Word is the Colorado University cops will be trying hard to dampen the spirits of the weedheads. Good luck with all that:
HT Cannabis Cup:
DEEP GREEN FESTIVAL in Richmond on 4/21:
Probably everybody who is reading this blog has seen the Kony 2012 video that went viral, amassing 28 million hits in its first day. When we say “viral” we think of something spreading instantaneously over a wide swath of demographics. However, some things spread more like cancers. They dont necessarily infect a large swath of people but when they do they have profound effects. It is especially important for our government to consider this spread when it trys to engineer social behavior. A good example is when the government started a program forcing welfare fathers to work, inadvertantly promoting single parent families. See you babe! Government programs have unanticipated impacts all the time.
I have mentioned that when Dennis Peron’s dispensary, the first in the world, was shut down in San Francisco more dispensaries exponentially metastasized in its place. so what is going to happen with Richard Lee’s dispensary now that it has been shut down (although the school has vowed to remain open)?
There are a few early indications. Oakland has approved operating permits for four new dispensaries and more underground Measure Z Clubs are operating all over the city. Now rather than a center hub it is more of an independent network system. You can close down one source or several sources but they cant close the network, it is too large. The risk is relatively low, with so many dispensaries the chance of any single dispensary being harassed is relatively low.
If I were writing a press release for the Cannabis Medical Dispensary Association which cannot be reached because it does not exist it would go something like this:
The unfair and unwarranted destruction of the Blue Sky Dispensary by the federal government was despicable, however, it remains ineffectual not one medical marijuana patient is without medicine because of this raid. The government faces a losing choice whether or not it prosecutes Lee. By taking Lee out the government created a big hole in the forest, its fertile soil and its well seeded. So we would like to congratulate the Federal Government for helping out industry grow.
But, getting back to that metastasis, Lee has trained hundreds of people as employees or interns who will now be able to go out and use their entrepreneurial training to open up their own cannabusinesses.
So to all my readers, go forth and prosper. Happy 420!
by Matt Stevens, LA Times Blog
People across Southern California (and the nation)will celebrate what they consider an important holiday Friday by getting comfortable on a couch or finding a nice forest before entering a state of deep relaxation.
That might explain why the underground holiday known as “420,” aimed at celebrating the virtues of marijuana ingestion in all its forms, is not attracting any special attention from Los Angeles law enforcement: Most “Weed Day” celebrants plan to be very, very mellow.
Authorities from the Los Angeles Police Department and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said they aren’t planning any special measures to seek out those getting high. Spokespeople for the departments said they were personally aware of the significance of April 20.
“We’re not doing anything special,” LAPD Officer Rosario Herriera said. “We always have a sufficient amount of officers out on a daily basis.”
The origins of celebrating marijuana on April 20 are hazy. Observers speculate that it started with the numbers of local penal codes related to marijuana possession or to a random date selected by weed enthusiasts.
The Wall Street Journal reports that there were 17.4 million marijuana users in 2010, up from 14.4 million in 2007, all signs that the underground pot holiday may be gaining more steam.
Some Southland residents will be celebrating 420 with music and discounted cannabis.
Outside of Coachella, the music festival where many have indulged themselves without the holiday,Festival 420 is set to hit the San Bernardino County Fairgrounds on Saturday with a musical slate chock full of bands and DJs. The festival explicitly states that no illegal drug use or possession is allowed.
A 420 Hangover Festival is also scheduled to be held at the Observatory in Santa Ana, though a day after the big holiday.
And according to local cannabis websites, some retailers are offering discounted product on Friday.Kushmart in Hollywood, for example, is advertising a “Huge 420 sale,” with 50% discounts and more.
by Rema Rahman, The Associated Press
DENVER (AP) — The pungent smell of pot that blankets a popular quadrangle at the University of Colorado-Boulder every April 20 is being replaced by the stench of fish-based fertilizer Friday as administrators try to stamp out one of the nation’s largest annual campus celebrations of marijuana.
After more than 10,000 people — students and non-students — attended last year’s marijuana rally on Norlin Quadrangle, university officials decided this year to apply the stinky fertilizer to the quad to deter pot-smokers. They’re also closing the campus Friday to all unauthorized visitors and offering a free campus concert by Haitian-born hip-hop star Wyclef Jean timed to coincide with the traditional 4:20 p.m. pot gathering. His contract bars him from making any direct references to marijuana, other drugs or to 4/20.
The measures pit Colorado’s flagship university, which has tired of its reputation as a top party school, against thousands who have assembled, flash mob-style, each year to demand marijuana’s legalization or simply to have a good time.
With more than 30,000 students, Colorado was named the nation’s top party school in 2011 by Playboy magazine. The campus also repeatedly ranks among the top schools for marijuana use, according to a “Reefer Madness” list conducted by The Princeton Review.
“We don’t consider this a protest. We consider this people smoking pot in the sunshine,” said university spokesman Bronson Hilliard. “This is a gathering of people engaging in an illegal activity.”
“I do not see any justification for the university shutting it down,” said student organizer Daniel Ellis Schwartz, who contends the measures infringe on First Amendment rights to protest. Schwartz, a physics major, and other supporters of the 4/20 smoke out plan to move it to a nearby park off-campus. He suggests there also will be some form of off-campus protest against the measures.
“We do have to play a game of chess with the authorities,” Schwartz said.
Cynthia Hardey, who works in the library on the quad, thinks the university is overreacting and said the event would go by largely unnoticed if not for the crackdown.
“You know, I go home, they got the pot in the air, big deal. Next day everything is forgotten. But now they’re making a big thing about it, and this is going down in history. So we’re having police state tactics here for what? Because a couple of people want to protest the laws, these pot laws? I don’t get it,” said Hardey, a library technician.
Many students at the University of Colorado and other campuses across the country have long observed 4/20. The counterculture observation is shared by marijuana users from San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park to New York’s Greenwich Village.
In Austin, Texas, country music legend Willie Nelson, who’s open about his marijuana use, was expected to help unveil an 8-foot statue of himself in downtown Austin at 4:20 p.m. local time on Friday.
The number 420 has been associated with marijuana use for decades, though its origins are murky. Its use as code for marijuana spread among California pot users in the 1960s and spread nationwide among followers of the Grateful Dead.
Like most counterculture slang, theories abound on its origin. Some say it was once police code in Southern California to denote marijuana use (probably an urban legend). It was a title number for a 2003 California bill about medical marijuana, an irony fully intended.
Others trace it to a group of California teenagers who would meet at 4:20 p.m. to search for weed (a theory as elusive as the outdoor cannabis crop they were seeking). Yet the code stuck for obvious reasons: Authorities and nosy parents didn’t know what it meant.
In Colorado, recent 4/20 observations have blossomed alongside the state’s medical marijuana industry. Approved by Colorado voters in 2000, medical marijuana boomed after federal authorities signaled in 2009 they would pursue higher-level drug crimes. All marijuana is illegal under federal law, though Colorado voters this November will consider a ballot measure to legalize it for recreational use by adults over 21.
A larger rally is planned for Denver near the state capitol on Friday and Saturday. Police have suggested they’ll be taking a hands-off approach to the gathering, which could draw tens of thousands of people, said chief organizer Miguel Lopez.
Others are rebelling against the gatherings.
In Colorado, several high schools across the state are hosting drug-free events on Friday. The University of Colorado’s student government supports the university’s anti-4/20 actions this year. And other Colorado students created a Facebook campaign urging their colleagues to wear formal clothing to school on Friday to repudiate the party-school reputation.
Campus police officers will be stationed at school entrances, allowing in only those with university IDs or permission. Anyone on campus without proper ID could be ticketed for trespassing, which carries a maximum $750 fine and up to six months in jail, said campus police spokesman Ryan Huff.
Anyone caught smoking on campus will be ticketed, just as they would any other day, Huff said. That includes anyone with a medical marijuana card, which requires that consumption be in private.
As ground crews applied the fertilizer early Friday, numbers were put up on light poles around the quad to help police keep track of potential problems. Signs were also posted warning trespassers they will be prosecuted.
Philosophy major Julian Hirschbaum said it smelled like “somebody cut up a bunch of fish” and watered it.
“It’s pretty gross,” he said.
Off campus, Boulder police could also issue tickets for people smoking pot, and the Colorado State Patrol will be watching for any motorists under the influence, Huff said.
“This is not about the war on drugs. It isn’t even about marijuana per se,” insisted Hilliard, the university spokesman. “Ten thousand to 12,000 (people) doing anything in the academic heart of the campus would be a problem.”
Associated Press writers Kristen Wyatt and P. Solomon Banda contributed to this report.
What’s the difference between a traditional cookbook and a Cannabis cookbook? Dosage and a “Legal Heads Up” are two obvious distinctions.
In fact, dosages in Cannabis as medicine is a deal-breaker for many divided on the topic of good medicine vs. plants for pleasure, and why big Pharma is chomping at the bit to get a piece of the pie – with good reason – the stuff works.
Chef and author Cheri Sicard penned “The Cannabis Gourmet Cookbook” after discovering Cannabis at the never-to-late-to-medicate age of 40. She went from a closet smoker to an all-out activist within six months of discovering its benefits, which is a common tale in the Canna world.
“There is no such thing as a “typical Marijuana user,” Sicard said, repeating an old mantra. “We are everyone – all ages, races, and all political persuasions.”
Sicard suffered a good portion of her life from a medical condition of chronic nausea with digestive issues. Already a professional recipe developer and cookbook author, Sicard easily fell into the role of Ganja Chef with her first effort, and is already working on the second edition.
With edibles barely covered by city, county or state ordinances, the cookbook goes out on a limb as a proponent of concentrates – ground Hash in particular – a misunderstood ingredient often frowned on by authorities as a “manufactured substance.” It works well in many foods, without the strong Canna flavor found in oil-based concentrates such as butters or oils.
Research indicates there is more medicine in ingesting than smoking, and patients are hungry for education on how to do it, but flavor has always been a downfall of Cannabis and the sensitive palate.
Sicard took on the task head-on, creating tasty dishes such as “Apple and Cornbread-Stuffed Pork Chops,” “Asian Shrimp Salad Rolls,” and “Chocolate Peanut Butter Tarts,” with the flavor of the food, not the medicine, shining through.
Humboldt County Chef Lauren Sarabia, owner of Comfort of Home Catering, is a Locavore and co-Author of “Locally Delicious: Recipes and Resources for Eating on the North Coast.” Sarabia, who already markets her own line of Cannabis salves, was more than happy to test a few recipes from the cookbook in her beautiful home in the woods. Using all local and organic ingredients, she prepared “Cornish Game Hens with Peach, Sausage, and Rice Stuffing,” with a side dish of “Over-Stuffed Twice-Baked Potatoes.”
Both dishes called for ground Hash and it’s important to note that Hash is not measured by the teaspoon-full, but by weight, so a handy gram scale would be advised for proper dosage.
Aside from insisting on local and fresh ingredients, Chef Sarabia observed that Sicard’s recipes were easy to prepare, and includes recipes for making butter and oil.
“All the ingredients were easy to obtain,” Sarabia shared. “In Humboldt County we grow a lot of our own food and I can for winter. We had peaches left over from our summer harvest and homemade peach preserves to use in the stuffing – and, of course, we used local Humboldt derived Cannabis concentrates – the best in the world!”
Sarabia said she Loved the use of orange juice in the rice, and was able to use Cara Cara oranges – a winter ripening citrus with a red center and wonderful flavor.
“Citrus in the rice is inspiring, and I was thinking that rose water might be a nice addition, as well,” she added.
Sarabia cooked the hens longer than the recipe allotted for a rich, brown presentation and enhanced flavor.
“This cookbook gives easy ways to ingest cannabis,” Sarabia surmised. “The flavors of the other ingredients totally hid the flavor of the Cannabis, and that night sleep came easily.”
For desert this author prepared the “Mini Pineapple Upside-Down Cakes,” but in a cake pan rather than individual custard cups. The cake was so moist it was like pudding, and while you could taste the Cannabis in the butter, it wasn’t the typical, overwhelming green found in most Canna baked goods.
This recipe called for butter and I made a batch to Sicard’s specifications in a crock-pot, using water to absorb the color of the Cannabis – giving a cleaner, lighter color and flavor.
Sicard’s past effort, “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Easy Freezer Meals,” came in handy for her gourmet Cannabis cookbook, as freezing and storing medicated foods is imperative. I mean, I could have eaten that entire cake it was so good, but it is medicine, after all, and saving portions for later is much needed.
That kind of control is what Sicard said preparing your own medicine is all about.
“When you make it yourself you control the amount of medication as well as the type, so you can really customize the edibles for your specific needs and conditions,” Sicard explained. “You also have control of the rest of the recipe, meaning it can be customized for your needs and tastes. Whether you have Diabetes, are a Vegan, or need gluten free, it’s no problem.”
For those who have lost the fine art of cooking at home, making medicine just might be the way back into the kitchen. Chef Sarabia agrees, “I enjoyed looking over the recipes in the book and I would definitely make most of them with or without the cannabis.”
“The Cannabis Gourmet Cookbook” is self-published by Z-Dog Media, LLC, and can be purchased online via its Web site, www.cannabischeri.com for $24.95.
by Chris Roberts, SF Weekly’s The Snitch
Not every innocuous schoolboy joke becomes a worldwide cultural phenomenon, but this one — 4/20, 4-20, four twenty — has had legs since it began 41 years ago at San Rafael High in Marin County.
This year, the universal code for marijuana use is being co-opted by everyone’s favorite “hacktivist” collective, the masked men and women at Anonymous. The group announced an “operation” for this Friday called Operation Cannabis, stylized as #OpCannabis.
It may be worthwhile to note that #OpCannabis first appeared on the web last summer, when a pair of YouTube videos claiming association with Anonymous appeared in August. Since then, Anonymous announced Phase 1 of Operation Cannabis last week, with some website hacking announced as Phase 2 over the weekend.
In its latest OpCannabis video, Anonymous decries marijuana’s subjugation by the corporate and political establishment, and urges participants in the operation to go visible with turning their social media profiles green. That’s not quite like hacking into government websites or shutting down a few BART trains — two actions Anonymous has been associated with recently.
But it may be enough. And what can the general citizenry do to assist, aside from attend drum circles, visit a favorite medical cannabis dispensary, or flaunt the magic plant?
Some might call this slacktivism — to sign a petition demanding President Barack Obama undo the War on Drugs, reschedule marijuana, and halt the attacks on state-legal medical marijuana as well as turn their Facebook profiles green for the day. But consider this: Even with the full legal protection offered by medical marijuana states, this is a substance that can get a person removed from employment, disqualify them from housing, and otherwise wreck a life if the authorities so decree.
Would it be so easy if everyone who disagreed with the country’s marijuana laws chose to go visible? Considering the movement favoring legalization of marijuana in America appear inching closer to a majority every year, probably not. But the code words used in 1971 to gather teenagers in front of a statue continue today in furtive language and general uneasiness with owning marijuana use. As blogger and activist Mickey Martin put it, marijuana users are still in the closet.
The metaphor is fitting: The modern-day medical marijuana movement was born out of the general LGBT movement, where gay men dying from AIDS found relief in marijuana. That led to Dennis Peron’s first cannabis clubs in the Castro District, even before the establishment of the 1996 Compassionate Use Act.
Gay rights only came after LGBT people came out of the closet. Will marijuana follow the same script?
Quite possibly. At the very least, it’ll keep the conversation going — though lately, the federal government’s been its own hatchet man.
Thus far, websites have been hacked, YouTube videos have been uploaded, and cannabis smokers have been asked to turn their social media profiles green. But what else can we expect?
by Keith Coffman, Chicago Tribune
BOULDER, Colo. (Reuters) – The University of Colorado warned on Tuesday against lighting up at an annual marijuana party on its campus, saying “strong measures” would be taken against offenders.
The party has traditionally been held every April 20 in a large field surrounded by student dormitories. It attracts thousands of smokers to the Boulder campus, which is often cited as one of the country’s top party schools.
In past years, the university has tried to disrupt the event by turning on the field’s water sprinklers, but to no avail.
This year it warned that police would fine people caught smoking cannabis with $100 fines, and students found with the drug would face disciplinary sanctions by the school.
“This imposition on the campus significantly disrupts the university’s operations – including teaching, learning and research,” University Chancellor Philip DiStefano said in a statement. “It needs to end.”
The move comes as federal authorities are cracking down on cannabis dispensaries in several mostly western states, including Colorado, one of two states where voters will decide in ballot initiatives in November whether to be the first to legalize marijuana for recreational use.
Colorado is already one of 16 states and the District of Columbia that allow medical cannabis. Officers with the state’s medical marijuana enforcement division will be deployed throughout Boulder to ensure that cannabis dispensaries are complying with the law on April 20, the university said.
“We are not looking for violent confrontation with anyone at any time,” CU-Boulder Police Chief Joe Roy said. “We will be courteous in working with students and the public, but clear in enforcing the law.”
The student government is urging students to attend an on-campus concert featuring hip-hop artist Wyclef Jean instead of joining the smoke-out.
(Editing By Cynthia Johnston and David Brunnstrom)
by Matt Volz, Great Falls Tribune
HELENA — Four of the six medical marijuana providers who are suing the U.S. government over last year’s raids of pot businesses across Montana have been arrested on federal drug charges, their lawyer in the civil lawsuit said Tuesday.
The medical marijuana businesses of the four plaintiffs arrested Tuesday and last Thursday were among more than 26 homes, businesses and warehouses searched in sweeping raids last spring that shut down many providers and cast a pall over Montana’s booming pot business.
The lawsuit, which challenges the constitutionality of raiding medical marijuana providers who were operating under a voter-approved Montana law, is before the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals after a district judge rejected their claims in January.
The attorney in the lawsuit, Paul Livingston of New Mexico, said he did not know why the plaintiffs in the lawsuit are being targeted now.
“It seems senseless to us. It’s as if the government wants to show how devastating they can be to people’s lives because they’re involved in this business,” Livingston said.
One of those arrested, Randy Leibenguth of Belgrade, said he does not believe the timing of the arrests has anything to do with the civil lawsuit. His business, MCM Caregivers, was raided in March 2011.
“They were taking a year to gather information to come up with a good case and make it hard for us to fight back,” he said Tuesday.
U.S. Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Jessica Fehr said federal prosecutors did not have comment on the new arrests. Federal prosecutors have repeatedly refused to comment on the raids and subsequent prosecution of medical marijuana providers.
Leibenguth and another Belgrade medical marijuana provider, Luke Mulvaugh, were arrested last Thursday along with Leibenguth’s wife, Stephanie. They spent five days in jail before being released on Monday, Leibenguth said.
They were indicted on charges of conspiracy to manufacture marijuana, manufacture and distribution of marijuana and possession with intent to distribute marijuana, according to court documents. The conspiracy charge carries a minimum of 10 years to life in prison and a $5 million fine if convicted, while the two other charges carry a punishment of at least five years in prison each.
by Dave Birkett, Detroit Free Press
A third member of the Detroit Lions’ 2011 draft class is facing drug charges, after defensive tackle Nick Fairley was arrested on Tuesday in Mobile, Ala.
Fairley, a first-round pick out of Auburn last year, was cited for second-degree possession of marijuana on Tuesday afternoon, after he was pulled over at 12:30 p.m. following a citizen complaint that his Cadillac Escalade was speeding through a Mobile neighborhood frequently, Mobile police information officer Ashley Rains said.
Fairley was booked into Mobile’s Metro jail facility and released on $1,000 bond around 3 p.m., Rains said.
A police report was not immediately available, and Rains said she did not know how much marijuana Fairley was in possession of when he was arrested.
Two other Lions have been cited for a total of three drug-related offenses this off-season.
In January, offensive tackle Johnny Culbreath was arrested for simple possession of marijuana after he was spotted on a hotel surveillance camera putting two blunts in the drawer of a hallway dresser.
And running back Mikel Leshoure pleaded guilty March 1 to a charge of use of marijuana after he was stopped for speeding by Benton Township police. Leshoure was cited for possession of marijuana 11 days later, when the rented 2012 Mitsubishi SUV he was a passenger in was pulled over by Baroda-Lake Township police.
All three players could face discipline under the NFL’s drug policy, which allows for a maximum of a four-game suspension the first time a player has a non-alcohol-related substance-abuse legal offense, and a maximum of a six-game suspension for a second offense.
Fairley, Leshoure and Culbreath all missed time during their rookie seasons with injuries.
Fairley, who did not return a phone call seeking comment Tuesday afternoon, played in just 10 games after breaking his foot in training camp. Leshoure, a second-round pick out of Illinois, and Culbreath, a seventh-round pick out of South Carolina State, spent all of last season on injured reserve.
Leshoure missed a scheduled arraignment Monday in Berrien County District Court. He faces up to two years in prison on his possession charge, a felony offense, and is expected to appear at a walk-in arraignment Wednesday.
Berrien County prosecutor Art Cotter said in an email that Leshoure could have a bench warrant issued for his arrest if he doesn’t turn himself in by Thursday.
The Lions did not immediately return phone messages seeking comment on Tuesday. They did issue a statement, however:
“We are aware of the incident involving Nick Fairley. We hold all of our players to a high standard of behavior, and the recent charges against Nick and Mikel Leshoure are not consistent with those standards. We are extremely disappointed. We will continue to gather information and will have further comment at the appropriate time.”
Photos and story by Angela Bacca
APRIL 2, 2012- At 8am the DEA took Richard Lee, the iconic wheelchair-bound founder of Oaksterdam University and the man behind California’s failed 2010 legalization initiative into custody and raided two of the buildings affiliated with his college. It is also being rumored that Todd McCormick, the man behind the first THC Expo in Los Angeles, also had his Oakland home raided and is in custody.
By 8:15 Oakland Americans for Safe Access (ASA) sent out messages to thousands in the Bay Area through their local raid alert system encouraging them to come down to the main campus at 1600 Broadway to protest and show support.
Officers gave the press conflicting messages about whether would be a press conference and who would be making comment to the press. All public officers from the IRS and DEA are refusing to comment, saying the investigation is sealed. It is unclear if Oakland Police were notified about the raid, however it is clear that they were not participants.
“If the Federal Government has extra resources to spend in Oakland they should be using them to get illegal guns off our streets,” said Jason Overman the Communications Director for Councilwoman Rebecca Kaplan. Kaplan was a mayoral candidate in the last election cycle and an outspoken supporter of Oakland’s cannabis industry.
Supporters from the community and other cannabusinesses in Oakland quickly came to support Oaksterdam and show their disapproval.
“In ten years the public has become more educated but the federal government hasn’t,” said Jane Klein co-owner of Quick Trading Company, an Oakland-based company that has been publishing marijuana books since the 70s. in 2002, Klein’s Oakland home was raided in a similar show of force by the DEA and her husband, cannabis-writer Ed Rosenthal, was arrested and put on trial. He was famously sentenced to a day in jail with credit for time served.
by 9:30am the crowd had more than tripled. Attempts by officers to exit the adjacent parking lot were met with crowds of angry protestors surrounding them, their vehicles and preventing their exit. As the crowd slung insults at the officers, rumors spread throughout the crowd. It is being assumed that no employees of Oaksterdam University were in the building at the time of the raid and there is fear among alumni that student records may be a DEA target as well as cash and marijuana.
Local business owners were confused and amazed by the strong show of force on the local campus. “There are so many adverse factors, like crime, here in Oakland. We should not be disposing of good businesses [like Oaksterdam], we should be encouraging them,” said Rosanna, an employee at the pizza shop on the corner, which has a good relationship with the school and its students.
Around 1pm, the crowd, which had grown to a few hundred, followed officers to 17th and Webster where they were raiding Coffee Shop Blue Sky, the former home of the Oaksterdam Dispensary. Blue Sky has been closed since the move but still under Oaksterdam ownership.
The crowd surrounded the door, which had been blocked off from the inside by sheets to prevent the public from seeing the action inside. Bella Eiko, a media promoter from Occupy Oakland was able to move her iPad up to a break in the sheets and display to the crowd the officers inside. The officers all wore medical masks covering their mouths and noses.
“Since you aren’t smoking in there you can take your masks off!” someone in the crowd yelled. A group of about 5 US Marshalls pushed their way into the crowd amid loud boos to get to the door. “Get the fuck out of Oakland!” another crowd member yelled. As the situation heated up, glass from the storefront exterior shattered. Many in the crowd believe the police smashed it from inside, as the glass fell out to the street on a few protestors.
“This system has got to die, HELLA HELLA OCCUPY!” many in the crowd chanted, a direct reference to the riots in the same part of Oakland in late 2011 surrounding the eviction of the Occupy Oakland camp.
The situation quickly devolved into chaos as officers gathered on street corners were swarmed by the mob. A van pulled up and parked in the intersection of Franklin and 17th and officers exited brandishing batons. Another officer moved through the crowd with a rifle strapped to his chest and his hand on the trigger.
Protestors followed DEA agents as they tried to flee the scene in cars. Four protestors were arrested and others were rumored to have been run over by DEA vehicles. Officers walked three blocks away with protestors behind them and jumped in the back of two pickup trucks to get away from the crowd.
Protestors then moved to City Hall, a block away, the site of the Oakland Occupation. An impromptu press conference was held by marijuana supporters in anticipation of the formal conference, to be held at 6pm at the Oakland Police Headquarters.
The conference, led by local cannabis union leader Dan Rush of the UFCW featured Steve D’Angelo of Harborside Health Center and Weed Wars fame, Dale Skye Jones, chancellor of Oaksterdam University and husband of activist Jeff Jones, California NORML Director Dale Gieringer, Mickey Martin, ASA Director Steph Sherer, Chris Conrad and Mikki Norris of the West Coast Leaf, Jane Klein, wife of Ed Rosenthal who was raided in a similar fashion exactly 10 years ago in Oakland and Rob Raich, ex-husband of famous patient Angel Raich.
“This is the new Jim Crow… revolutions do not happen in reverse, we will win,” said Dale Skye Jones, infant son Jackson Jones in tow.
“This attack was not just on Richard Lee, it was on us all,” said Steve D’Angelo “at the same time Federal agents were twiddling their thumbs here at Oaksterdam, five others lost their lives here at an Oakland University.” D’Angelo is referring to the shooting that happened simultaneous with the raid at Oikos University in Oakland, where seven are now confirmed dead.
“This whole thing is backwards, at Oaksterdam University we pride ourselves in teaching our students to follow the law,” said Chris Conrad, instructor at Oaksterdam and cannabis expert witness on criminal cases, “Nixon couldn’t stop us, Reagan couldn’t stop us, Bush Senior couldn’t stop us, Clinton couldn’t stop us, Bush Junior couldn’t stop us and I’ll be damned if–”
“Obama’s gonna stop us!” the crowd finished for him.
A press conference scheduled for 6pm at Oakland Police Headquarters was diverted to instead discuss the shootings at Oikos academy. Oakland Police say they have no plans to discuss the raid and that it did not involve their department.
San Francisco ASA had previously planned a protest tomorrow in front of San Francisco City Hall, protestors from today’s events in Oakland plan on joining the protest.
Courtesy of CBS HealthPop
(CBS/AP) A company dubbed the “Walmart of Weed” is putting down roots in America’s capital city, sprouting further debate on marijuana — medical or otherwise.
Just blocks from the White House and federal buildings, a company that candidly caters to medical marijuana growers is opening up its first outlet on the East Coast. The opening of the weGrow store on Friday in Washington coincides with the first concrete step in implementing a city law allowing residents with certain medical conditions to purchase pot.
Like suppliers of picks and axes during the gold rush, weGrow sees itself providing the necessary tools to pioneers of a “green rush,” which some project could reach nearly $9 billion within the next five years. Admittedly smaller than a big box store, weGrow is not unlike a typical retailer in mainstream America, with towering shelves of plant food and vitamins, ventilation and lighting systems. Along with garden products, it offers how-to classes, books and magazines on growing medical marijuana.
“The more that businesses start to push the envelope by showing that this is a legitimate industry, the further we’re going to be able to go in changing people’s minds,” said weGrow founder Dhar Mann.
Although federal law outlaws the cultivation, sale or use of marijuana, 16 states and the District of Columbia have legalized its medical use to treat a wide range of issues from anxiety and back pain to HIV/AIDS and cancer-related ailments. Fourteen states also have some kind of marijuana decriminalization law, removing or lowering penalties for possession.
Nearly 7 percent of Americans, or 17.4 million people, said they used marijuana in 2010, up from 5.8 percent, or 14.4 million, in 2007, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. A Gallup poll last year found a record-high of 50 percent of Americans saying that marijuana should be made legal, and 70 percent support medical uses for pot.
For many states, there’s no way to tell how many people have medical marijuana cards. California only has 9,637 valid card holders, but registration is voluntary. In Colorado, where you have to sign up, there 82,089 valid ID cards since December 2011. If Californians signed up at the same rate as Colorado, more than 615,000 would have had cards by now.
Marijuana advocates also tout revenue benefits, as well as cost and efficiency savings for not prosecuting or jailing people for pot.
But a recent push from the federal government to crack down on medical marijuana dispensaries has led several states to delay or curtail their dispensary programs for fear of prosecution. It means some medical marijuana users may seek to grow their own– paving the way for companies like California-based weGrow to open a budding number of locations across the country to help legal users and larger cultivators grow their own pot plants.
WeGrow doesn’t sell pot or seeds to grow it. The store, however, makes no secret that its products and services help cultivators grow their own plants for personal use or for sale at dispensaries. Selling hydroponic and other indoor growing equipment is legal, but because those products are used to cultivate a plant deemed illegal under federal law the industry has tried to keep a low profile.
“For the longest time, it’s been a don’t ask, don’t tell industry,” Mann said. “Most people still want to hide behind that facade.”
Mann, who opened the first store in Sacramento last year, said he started his venture after he was kicked out of a mom and pop hydroponics store in Berkeley, Calif., just for mentioning marijuana. HealthPop reported the first 10,000-foot weed emporium grew out of a warehouse called iGrow.
WeGrow has since opened a location in Phoenix and also will open stores in San Jose and Flagstaff, Arizona, in the near future. The company has franchisees in New Jersey, Delaware, Pennsylvania, and plans to expand into Oregon, Washington state and Michigan.
The frankness of the business comes as public attitudes toward marijuana use and legalization in the U.S. transform. But federal pressure on customers means companies catering to the marijuana industry could take a hit — in their wallets and with jail time.
“There’s a whole host of risks associated with investing and opening up shop here,” said Jason Klein, a D.C. attorney who represents medical marijuana operators. “These entrepreneurs see themselves as doing yeoman’s work, putting themselves in personal risk … to get medicine to the sick people who deserve it.”
D.C. officials on Friday are set to announce those eligible to apply for permits to grow and sell medical marijuana to dispensaries under the district’s 2010 law. Applicants must sign a statement saying they understand a license doesn’t authorize them to break federal law.
“They do so at their own peril because I can’t imagine that the federal government is going to allow marijuana selling for any purpose right in their backyard,” said Kevin Sabet, a former senior adviser to the president’s drug czar and a fellow at the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for Substance Abuse Solutions.
“Whether it’s D.C. or all the way out in California, the government’s been pretty clear that medical marijuana doesn’t pass the giggle test.”
Sabet said the idea of dispensaries trying to be passed off as a medical establishment is a joke, adding that the grow store will be the first in a series events where people are going to try to “make big money off an illegal drug.”
The national medical marijuana market was estimated to be worth $1.7 billion in 2011 and is projected to reach $8.9 billion within five years, according to an economic analysis done for the American Cannabis Research Institute. The study also says that nearly 25 million Americans are potentially eligible to use medical marijuana based on current state laws.
“There’s great potential for the industry across the country,” said Steve Fox, a spokesman for the National Cannabis Industry Association, a D.C.-based trade group representing marijuana-related businesses. He said support for the businesses has emerged in states like California, Colorado and Washington state. “They are showing that just like any other industry, there’s a demand for a product and these businesses are sprouting up to address the need.”
The issue of marijuana in the nation’s capital isn’t new. A public referendum to legalize medical marijuana overwhelmingly passed in the late 1990s but Congress blocked it from taking effect for years. Allowing the city’s latest move on medical marijuana use could also indicate an attitude shift on a federal level.
“The political winds on a federal level really affect our ability to get things done on a local level,” said Brendan Williams-Kief, spokesman for D.C. councilmember David A. Catania, who co-sponsored the medical marijuana legislation. “When the (legislation) was passed, it happened at a time when there was a Congress that was less-inclined to exert their will on the District. … But they’re always up there on the Hill looking down.”
Klein believes that, despite being next door to Congress, the Drug Enforcement Agency and the Department of Justice, the D.C. medical marijuana program will avoid the ire of the federal government because it was crafted to tightly control the industry.
“It’s the sort of thing the feds will probably just look the other way elsewhere, but given the fact that it’s right under their noses, is going to really be unique conundrum,” Klein said. “I’m really looking forward to getting a couple of Congresspeople in a cab and caravaning them over to a dispensary … so that they can see that this is not the danger that they imagine it might be.”
For Alex Wong, the franchisee of the D.C. weGrow store, his involvement in the industry is both personal and professional. The mid-40s entrepreneur was drawn to the business after seeing the firsthand effects of his mother’s colon cancer and learning that medical marijuana might have made her more comfortable during treatment.
“It is a viable medicine,” said the. “All I can do is use my small business expertise to lend a hand in this movement.”
Rafael Lemaitre, spokesman for the Office of National Drug Control Policy, issued a statement saying science and research — not politics — should drive the approval process for medicine, and to date the “smoked form of marijuana has not met the modern standard” established by the Food and Drug Administration.
“Chronically ill and suffering patients deserve access to modern medicine that is proven to be effective and safe,” Lemaitre said. “We ardently support continued research into medical uses for the components of marijuana and will continue to do so.”
Mann, however, says medical marijuana cultivation and distribution is going to happen with or without federal government approval.
“Regardless of how rigorously they want to enforce intervention, it’s not going to stop the industry,” Mann said.
Jake Sternberger, Keystone Politics
APRIL 1, 2012 –Late yesterday evening, Governor Tom Corbett stunned both liberals and conservatives alike when he drafted and signed an executive order that legal experts believe legalizes the possession, cultivation, and distribution of marijuana, commonly referred to as “weed.”
Corbett, who served as Attorney General before he was elected Governor, had generally been known as hard on drugs and an advocate of zero tolerance by law enforcement personnel. Sources close to Corbett are stating on condition of anonymity that the Governor has been under a lot of stress lately in his tenure, receiving criticism from virtually every group except wealthy drilling executives.
In recent months, these same sources report, Corbett has taken to locking himself in his office for hours at a time, blasting Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, and King Crimson to “deal with the stress for just a minute.”
The order legalizing marijuana was reportedly written during one of these hours-long sessions.
The text of the order, which aides say was personally drafted last night by Corbett himself, has an unprecedented length of a mere single sentence. The full text of the order is as follows:
“As Governor of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania I hereby order that weed is now totally legal, like for everybody.”
Republican House Leadership was quick to respond to the news, and House Majority Leader Mike Turzai immediately advocated the privatization of all future marijuana sales.
“Government has many responsibilities–providing a good education, ensuring safe streets, clean air and water,” said Turzai. “Selling marijuana is not one of them, and we should leave this to private corporations and businesses. I will be adding marijuana privatization to my next round of PLCB hearings.”
State Representative Stephen Bloom (R-Cumberland), author of H.B. 1424 which made “Pennsylvania Preferred” the official trademark of agricultural goods produced in Pennsylvania, said in a statement to Keystone Politics that “Pennsylvania farmers are ecstatic about the possibility of converting their corn farms into cannabis fields. I personally can’t wait to see the PA Preferred label on dime bags.”
“PA Preferred is a marketing tool that consumers associate with quality products, and I know Pennsylvania farmers will produce the bombest, headiest fire ganja in the Mid-Atlantic Regional of this great country,” Bloom added.
The entire Democratic delegation was unavailable for comment with the exception of Mark Cohen (D-Philadelphia) who answered a phone call from Keystone Politics but quickly hung up after laughing uncontrollably for over 12 minutes, for no apparent reason.
UPDATE: Sources at the PA Department of Transportation are confirming that Corbett also has filed to legally change his middle name from “William” to “Hannibal” so that his initials can now be THC, apparently a reference to Tetrahydrocannabinol, the active chemical in the marijuana plant.
by Irma Widjojo, The Times-Herald
For the second time in 30 days, a Bay Area marijuana dispensary was raided Friday afternoon.
At about 4:25 p.m., Vallejo police officers served search and arrest warrants at Better Health Group, 3611 Sonoma Blvd., police said.
During the raid, owner Jorge Espinoza, 25, and three other workers at the dispensary were arrested on suspicion of selling marijuana, police said.
They were identified as Jeffrey Hughson, 38, of Novato; Aaron Castillo 21, of Daly City; and Jonathan Linares, 22, of Vallejo.
It was not immediately disclosed if any marijuana or other products were seized Friday, which marks the fourth marijuana dispensary raid since Feb. 21. There may be as many as 20 other dispensaries operating in Vallejo.
Better Health Group, located inside a former Chinese restaurant, was first raided on Feb. 29. At that time, police said they seized about 400 plants from the dispensary, and booked into evidence about 340 marijuana food products, an ounce of hash and 30 pounds of “processed” marijuana, during that raid. Espinoza was also arrested then.
However, the dispensary recently opened its doors again to its members.
In an interview earlier this week with the Times-Herald, Better Health Group’s attorney said no cease and desist order was ever issued, and that the collective believes it is doing nothing wrong, at least under state law. Federal law prohibits marijuana possession and sales.
On March 20, Vallejo City Manager Dan Keen released a memo addressing concerns about what he viewed as the mixed message the city was sending by passing measures to tax dispensaries, while at the same time raiding them. Keen also cited a number of conflicting court cases dealing with medical marijuana.
At the same time, Keen also suspended the city’s plan to begin issuing business certificates to those dispensaries that have paid a $500 city business fee. The fee was authorized under a ballot measure voters overwhelmingly approved in the November election. The measure’s passage has also led to the city approving a 10 percent tax on medical marijuana sales.
Times-Herald staff writers Jessica A. York and Tony Burchyns contributed to this article.
by Bill Laitner, Detroit Free Press
It may seem odd that one of the top national advocates for the legalization of marijuana is a young lawyer who doesn’t like the drug.
Karen O’Keefe, 33, said she tried pot a few times as an undergraduate at Michigan State University but that “it just made me feel stupid and want to go to sleep.”
Still, O’Keefe — who grew up in Grosse Pointe Farms and graduated from Grosse Pointe South High School — is adamant that Michigan and the nation should “treat marijuana like alcohol — regulate it and tax it.”
Some people are “surprised, and don’t see why it’s an issue I’d work on. But more and more people realize that there are a lot of reasons to change the policies” other than wanting it for personal use, she said.
“I’ve been involved with a number of social justice issues over the years — opposing torture, opposing the death penalty, opposing wars that I thought were unjust. And this is another situation like those.”
Keeping the drug illegal, she said, is “a bad policy because it causes a huge amount of suffering without actually achieving a positive purpose.”
O’Keefe is director of state policies for the Marijuana Policy Project, a nonprofit group based in Washington, D.C., though she works from an office in West Hollywood, Calif. Her new hometown is “extremely marijuana-friendly and very well-regulated,” with seven licensed dispensaries selling pot, she said.
In 2006, the West Hollywood City Council passed a resolution directing police to make marijuana possession their lowest priority, “similar to what passed recently in Kalamazoo,” she said about the enforcement ordinance voters approved in November.
She has close at hand data from countless studies, including a recent Harvard study that estimated the combined cost of enforcing marijuana laws in the U.S. and the loss of possible tax revenues to be more than $20 billion.
She also has the University of Michigan’s latest data from its long-term “Monitoring the Futures” study of youth drug use. It shows marijuana use among teens is on the rise — a finding that opponents of legalization say portends ominous results if the drug is legalized.
“At present, 1 in 15 high school seniors is a daily or near daily user of marijuana,” said Lloyd Johnston, principal investigator at U-M for the study. Teens’ perception of the risk of using pot declined in the past five years, tempting more of them to use it, Johnston said.
The same study showed that 80% of 12th-graders surveyed across the nation said marijuana was “fairly easy” or “very easy” to get. O’Keefe said legalizing it would allow for regulation and more parental oversight, as with alcohol, instead of the current dangers of the illegal marketplace.
“Right now, the situation with marijuana is just like it was in the days of alcohol prohibition,” she said. “Back then, you had people getting killed — sometimes by law enforcement, sometimes killing law enforcement and sometimes killing each other — over alcohol.
“Now, people don’t go robbing each other’s houses and shooting them for alcohol. But they used to.”
CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — Proponents of a medical marijuana bill are trying to line up enough votes for the measure to withstand the governor’s likely opposition before it debuts in the New Hampshire Senate.
Two of the bill’s sponsors, state Sen. Jim Forsythe, R-Strafford, and state Rep. Evalyn Merrick, D-Lancaster, led a news conference Tuesday to promote their home cultivation approach to medical marijuana. With Gov. John Lynch’s historical opposition to medical marijuana bills, supporters are looking for a veto-proof majority in both chambers.
The proposed law would allow patient with “debilitating medical conditions” or their designated caretakers to possess up to 6 ounces of marijuana, six mature plants and 12 seedlings at a single, registered “cultivation location.” They could also avoid penalties for possessing up to two ounces of marijuana elsewhere.
The patient would need a registry identification card, which would require written certification from their doctor that medical use of marijuana would help treat a “debilitating medical condition.” Qualifying conditions include cancer, HIV, AIDS and post- traumatic stress disorder. Some symptoms or treatment results like severe pain or severe nausea would also qualify.
Patients with a qualifying condition visiting from out of state could also possess marijuana without a card, but not cultivate it.
Caretakers would need a card as well and would be subject to a background check.
Merrick lent her personal experience as a cancer patient to the debate.
“The fact remains it was medical cannabis that proved to be what ultimately gave me the strength to live,” said the third-term representative.
Supporters said the bill’s home cultivation approach would reduce the risk of abuse or federal prosecution. Caretakers would be volunteers — most likely family members, they say. The law permits compensation for actual costs like electricity, but not labor, which supporters say eliminates the business aspect.
“We very purposely made this bill so it doesn’t have a profit incentive,” said Forsythe.
Forsythe said Vermont has similar restrictions to those in the bill and has several hundred patients.
The bill would not legalize marijuana possession for anyone beyond registry identification card holders or visiting qualifying patients. Card holders who provide marijuana to anyone not allowed to have it would have their cards revoked and face a class B felony, punishable by up to seven years in prison. Additional penalties for illegal marijuana sale would also apply.
The proposed law also would expire after three year unless lawmakers acted to renew it.
The bill is coming before the Senate on Wednesday with the Health and Human Services Committee’s unanimous support, including that of Senate Republican Leader Jeb Bradley. Both chambers would need a two-thirds majority to pass the bill over a near-certain veto by the governor.
Lynch vetoed a medical marijuana bill in 2009 to establish three dispensaries to provide severely ill patients with 2 ounces of marijuana every 10 days, citing his concerns over cultivation and the possible availability of the drug beyond the dispensaries. Although the House voted to override his veto, the Senate fell two votes short.
Another medical marijuana bill last year passed the House but died in the Senate after Lynch promised a veto. He has also said he will veto a decriminalization bill that narrowly passed the House this month.
Although Lynch spokesman Colin Manning said the governor’s position is unchanged, Merrick said she is still hopeful for a change of heart.
“I am going to anticipate the governor will realize this is not about the legalization of marijuana but that it is a medical matter for the sickest and neediest patients,” said Merrick.
by The Associated Press, USA Today
Police Lt. Alan Henley told the San Gabriel Valley Tribune the victim had just made a delivery to a patient on South Sunset Avenue and was headed to his car when the pair confronted him and chased him with batons.
Henley says the attack took place just before 10 p.m. Friday.
Henley says the victim, in his 40s, was scared and dropped a bag containing marijuana and money and the attackers took it.
The lieutenant says he knows of no other ninja-style thefts recently.
or trial since July 8, 2010 at the Federal Detention Center in Honolulu, Hawai’i for failing to cease and
dismiss distribution of his THC Ministry’s Holy Sacrament of Cannabis to ministry members. A series of
court dates have come and gone, with the next set for August 8, 2012.
Christie sites the multiple postponements as being “inconvenient, uncomfortable and unfair,” but said
that time may work in their favor, for a few reasons.
“For one, this coming election day might have as many as six states voting to legalize ‘marijuana,”
Christie said in an e-mail from the detention center. “All that upcoming publicity might help to sway a
jury in our favor. Also, the progressing time factor has us getting clearer on our defense as time goes by,
and attracting more support. ”
Christie’s Hilo-based store front Ministry was first raided in March, 2011 and Christie was arrested and
released with its “Green Fourteen” ministry members. The sting included a farm and other residences
where members were growing Cannabis for the ministry, well above State mandates for Medical
Cannabis. Christie said the church was never run as a dispensary, nor did its workings fall under the
State’s compassionate care laws.
A plea bargain offered to Christie and now wife, Share (St. Cyr), was rejected by the couple on January
18, 2012, and Christie explains, “Share and I were legally separated from the other twelve defendants of
our ‘Green Fourteen,’ and offered a plea together.”
The deal would have given Christie a mandatory Federally imposed five year prison sentence (less time
served), with a two to three year sentence for Share (less time served, 18 months).
The Federal Prosecutor’s bargain also included half of a forfeiture sale of the couple’s condo in Hilo, a
$6,000 I.R.S. fine for failing to file (as a Ministry, Christie holds firm it was exempt from paying taxes),
and five years’ probation each.
“Realistically that meant about 18 more months in prison for me at a Federal ‘Camp’ (minimum security
facility), and about 18 months at a Federal Camp for Share, plus the other stuff,” Christie surmised.
While most opt to plea, the couple is going forward with a trial on principle, and the hope the Federal
Government will acknowledge Cannabis Ministries as any other organized religious group in this
In 2009 USA Today (http://www.usatoday.com/news/religion/2009-03-09-american-religion-
ARIS_N.htm) ran a story on the decline of religion in America, citing “2.8 million people now identify
with dozens of new religious movements, calling themselves Wiccan, pagan or Spiritualist.” Many are
recognized by the Federal Government, including Wiccan’s who are allowed its five-pointed-star symbol
on Veterans gravestones at Arlington National Cemetery.
“We are a determined, activist couple,” Christie informed. “To live in the land of the free requires us
to be the home of the brave. The arrest has brought us closer than ever, and although physically apart,
we are spiritually strong and deeply committed to the shared dream of a happier, healthier and more
harmonious world with Cannabis freely available for all those who deserve its many benefits.”
Roger and Share were married at the detention center on January 6, 2012 in an intimate ceremony that
included a kiss with no opportunity for consummation.
Other items lacking were a hemp prayer shawl and the now infamous Holy Anointing Oil, mandatory
in all marriage ceremonies associated with the ministry. The Cannabis-based oil is made from a recipe
found in the Bible (Exodus 30). Christie opted for oil without Cannabis, but was denied either.
Religious accoutrements, such as prayer chapels, kneeling pews, Bibles, and other items necessary in
accompanying and completing spiritual rituals are often a given for those incarcerated. So far, Christie
has had to file grievances, but to date, has not been allowed even the simplest icon.
“So far, I have been denied my religious rights; access to my religious diet of hempseeds, my hemp cloth
prayer shawl and holy anointing oil – with or without the Cannabis, he lamented.”
Seemingly abandoned by key groups such as The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana
Laws (NORML), and ignored largely by mainstream media, Roger prepares a motion to dismiss, while
amicus briefs are still needed. The cost of preparing from the center is $600 a month, and the Ministry’s
remaining “Green Fourteen” members are working round the clock to raise it (www.the-last-marijuana-
Their defense is dual with a focus both on “religion” and “necessity,” stating that Cannabis was the
lesser evil to “ice” or the “meth” that flooded the islands after the U.S. Government’s failed “War on
Drugs” eradicated fields of green from the islands in the 1990s.
“We look forward to presenting a ‘defense of necessity’ as a lesser of evils comparing Cannabis to toxic
pharmaceuticals, and as a barrier of sorts to alcohol and ‘meth.’ Does Cannabis build and protect brain
cells? Science says ‘yes.’ We say that the proper dosage of Cannabis is mandatory to good health and
Christie believes there is a larger picture than simply having all charges dropped. The religious freedoms
this country was founded on based on the First Amendment; the right to “… every seed bearing plant”
(Genesis 1:29); the Tenth Amendment, allowing Christie to practice his “Cannabis Sacrament, as granted
by the State of Hawaii more than 10 years ago.
There is also the world to save, as he and Share both believe “Ganja-nomics” is nature’s economic
stimulus, and a Cannabis/Hemp future is desperately needed to turn current world-wide fiscal calamity
“Where did Moses meet his God? In the smoke and fire of a burning bush,” Christie surmised. “I was
licensed for life by the State of Hawai’i to marry people specifically as a ‘Cannabis Sacrament’ Minister
many years ago. My new wife Share and I are dedicated to the bigger picture, we willingly risk some of
our precious time on Earth, for the goal of liberty and justice for Cannabis, for all.”
Hawaii’s Marijuana Minister, Roger Christie, with Share (St. Cyr) Christie. The couple married at the
Federal Detention Center in Honolulu, Hawai’i, where Roger has been held without bail or visitors since
July 2010 on Marijuana charges.
by Shannon Young, Norwich Bulletin
A bill that would allow Connecticut adults to legally use marijuana for medical purposes, if the drug is prescribed by their doctor, has cleared its first legislative hurdle. Members of the General Assembly’s Judiciary Committee voted 35-to-8 in support of the bill Wednesday, after an hour-long discussion of the measure.
This year’s bill proposes a system for licensing medical marijuana producers, dispensing the drug, and registering qualified patients with debilitating conditions. Under the proposed bill doctors could prescribe marijuana to patients who suffer from certain specified illnesses. Additionally, the bill would limit medical marijuana prescriptions to a one year supply and require all drug manufacturing and distribution to be done in Connecticut. Many Connecticut lawmakers have said the bill is the best that has been presented before the committee, and even the legislature, as it addresses many concerns that opponents have raised in previous years.
Bill supporters said marijuana should be legalized for medical purpose to help state residents who are suffering from debilitating diseases. Sen. John Kissel, R-Enfield, a ranking member of the committee, said the issue comes down to a matter of human compassion. “When you sit here year-in and year-out and you listen to these individuals facing these really horrific circumstances in their lives, who are we to not allow them to access this if it gives them some comfort?” he said. Despite this, some committee members voiced concerns on how the potential state law legalizing medical marijuana could be affected by the federal intervention.
Rep. John Shaban, R-Redding, said because the issue is in violation of the federal law, it would create a dual policy where the drug is not illegal under state law, but federal law. Other opponents raised concerns that federal intervention under the law could result in arrests of state employees and doctors who prescribe or distribute the drug. Committee co-chair,
Rep. Gerald Fox III, D-Stamford, said he is not concerned on with federal intervention, however, as the legislation is careful to operate within state law. “We have crafted a bill that is very controlled and it’s our hope that it will alleviate a lot of the concerns people have had in the past,” he said. The bill’s passage comes shortly after a new poll shows a sizeable majority of Connecticut voters support allowing legalizing the drug for medical purposes. According to the poll conducted by Quinnipiac University, 68 percent of registered voters said legalizing medical marijuana for adults is a good idea while 27 percent said it’s a bad idea.
The survey of 1,622 registered voters has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 2.4 percentage points. Mike Lawlor, the undersecretary of Criminal Justice Policy for the Office of Policy and Management, said Gov. Dannel P. Malloy supports the concept of the legislation. He said he is confident the governor will sign the bill if it reaches his desk this session. A bill legalizing the medical use of marijuana in Connecticut failed during last year’s legislative session.
Courtesy of the Huffington Post
Marijuana-like drugs can do more for AIDS patients than simply help them with their nausea or loss of appetite, according to a new study.
Researchers told Doctor Tipster that they already know “cannabinoid drugs” like marijuana can have a therapeutic effect in AIDS patients. But they wanted to further understand how they “influence the spread of the virus itself.”
The study found that “cannabinoid receptors” are triggered by marijuana-like compounds and can actually block the spread of the HIV virus throughout the body.
Now, the researchers who conducted the study are planning to test a marijuana-like drug in mice infected with late-stage AIDS, according to Zee News.
Americans For Safe Access, a pro-medical marijuana organization, cites various studies which suggest medical marijuana also helps HIV and AIDS patients who suffer from pain and weight loss.