Posts Tagged ‘harborside health center’
by Steve DeAngelo, Courtesy of CelebStoner
I can understand how people who are unfamiliar with my career, or my writing, could draw the wrong conclusion from one of the closing comments I made on Weed Wars: “I do not believe in legalization of cannabis for recreational purposes.” I’d like to thank my old friend Steve Bloom for raising the issue in the post entitled, “Say It Ain’t So, Steve DeAngelo,” and for providing me this opportunity to clarify my position.
Cannabis is one of the safets – possibly the safest – therapeutic substance known to mankind. As such, any and all criminal penalties against those who use it are unjust and immoral, and should have ended a long time ago. Furthermore, and for the same reasons, adult Americans should be empowered to make their own decisions about whether and how to use cannabis, in the context of a taxed and regulated distribution system. It’s my personal view that people should (when possible) consult with their physician before using cannabis – or any other therapeutic substance. But I don’t think anybody should be subject to criminal penalties for failing to do so.
At the same time, it’s my strong belief that our movement’s use of the concept and terminology of “legalization for recreational purposes” has caused us tremendous damage. Our opponents have used the term to paint us as unrestrained hedonists who advocate a society-wide lifestyle of self-indulgence. In the ’80s, this kind of propaganda succeeded in undoing all the accomplishments our movement had made up till then – and kept us on the defense until medical cannabis reinvigorated the movement in the mid-’90s. But the anti-recreational propaganda left a bitter legacy of workplace urinalysis, housing discrimination, transplant denials, student-aid denials, interference with parent’s custodial rights and more horrors sadly still with us.
There was a time, before our discoveries of industrial hemp and medical cannabis, when an individual-rights argument was the main tool in the activist toolkit. Today, we have more compelling and effective reasons to advance for changing the laws than an individual’s right to get high. The discovery of the endo-cannabinoid system has established a sound scientific basis for the incredibly widespread therapeutic efficacy of cannabis, and almost two decades of experience has taught us that the vast majority of cannabis consumers are using it for wellness purposes. In addition, dozens of public opinion polls have shown that Americans support medical cannabis in numbers far greater than “recreational” cannabis.
For me, all of this points us in the direction of emphasizing the use of cannabis for wellness purposes, rather than for “recreational” purposes. That’s why I’ve said I don’t believe in legalizing cannabis for recreational purposes – and still believe that. But I do believe adult Americans should be empowered to make their own health and wellness decisions about cannabis. Several months ago I released a paper, “Wellness Not Intoxication,” in which I called on the movement to reevaluate its use of the recreational-cannabis concept.
However, since I’ve begun to advance the wellness strategy in the news media, I’ve learned it’s vulnerable to creative editing. That’s what happened on Weed Wars, where Discovery editors kept in the one line about “legalization for recreational purposes,” but edited out my other companion comments denouncing all criminal penalties, and calling for a regulated system of distribution.
Read entire post at CelebStoner.com
DeAngelo is the star of Weed Wars, which Discovery has been accused of stealing. Even worse in my mind is his (and his brother Andrew’s) blatant hypocrisy.
Years before they started Harborside Health Center in Oakland, DeAngelo was a marijuana activist/pot dealer in Washington, DC. In fact, he was arrested for possession shortly before he left DC for the West Coast.
I wouldn’t dredge this up if DeAngelo (or Stevie D as he’s know in cannabis circles) wasn’t such a turncoat.
He’s made millions selling pot to medical patients in California. His mantra is “cannabis should be used for purposes of wellness.” Nice spin. Now let’s get back to reality.
Just last year DeAngelo proposed a legalization initiative for California. When Richard Lee beat him to it with Prop 19, DeAngelo pulled back and said he’d wait for 2012. Now it appears that he’s not in favor of taxing and regulating marijuana for all uses any longer.
To his credit, DeAngelo and his then partner Eric Steenstra founded the hemp clothing line Ecolution in the mid-’90s. Unfortunately, business didn’t go well and they soon closed up shop.
After his arrest and the subsequent dismissal of the case, DeAngelo made his move, opening the uber-slick “WalMart of pot” in Oakland. He aimed to blow away the competition and to some extent has, raking in $20 million dollars in 2010.
I was excited about Weed Wars. Why not a reality TV show that focuses on the inner workings of a major medical-marijuana dispensary?
Allegedly, a producer named Kylie Krabbe pitched the idea to Discovery in 2010. She lined up The Farmacy, based in Los Angeles, as the featured dispensary. According to her complaint, Discovery thought the concept was “too edgy” for them and rejected her proposal. Then, lo and behold, Discovery inked a deal with Harborside instead. If that’s true, it’s really sleazy.
During their rounds to promote Weed Wars, Andrew DeAngelo, who has glaucoma, told Bill O’Reilly, “We do not support the legalization of cannabis for recreational purposes.”
I winced when I heard that, but figured it was just his opinion. Then, as the show’s brief season came to a close, Steve parroted his brother.
That’s the same stance taken by Montel Williams, who was booed at the NORML Conference DeAngelo speaks at during Episode 4. It’s sad to see someone who hails himself as “an agent of change to bring the truth about the cannabis plant to the rest of the world” take such a giant step backwards.
Weed Wars certainly serves an important purpose – to reach beyond the converted, to the heart of mainstream America, with a message of medicinal use. But the series proved to be a DeAngelo family vanity project. Now we know Steve DeAngelo has a closet filled with colorful suits, hats and ties. We also know that he’s officially turned his back on the cause he’s championed for “almost 40 years.”
If Steve DeAngelo’s old compatriot Jack Herer were still alive he’d call him a lot worse names. I’m just going to call him a hypocrite and leave it at that.
by Matt Reynolds, Courthouse News Service
“Discovery ‘passed’ on plaintiff’s pitch, saying the subject matter was ‘too edgy’ for it. Yet, either simultaneously or within days of uttering these pretextual reasons for rejection, Discovery approached another producer to create a show using all of plaintiff’s ideas. ‘Weed Wars’ premiered on the Discovery Channel one year later.”
A woman claims the Discovery Channel “flat-out” stole the idea for its “Weed Wars” show from a pitch she made it in June 2010.Kylie Krabbe sued Discovery Communications in Superior Court.
Krabbe claims she pitched her idea for a show called “Greener Pastures,” at Discovery’s offices in Maryland, after winning a national contest sponsored by CINE, the Council on International Nontheatrical Events, which was later headed by Discovery executive Rita Mullin.
Krabbe claims that Mullin and other industry executives were on the panel to whom she made her pitch.
“It turns out that this so-called ‘contest’ and ‘award’ was merely an elaborate ruse by Discovery to identify and target the best novel ideas to steal under false pretenses-in direct violation of established California law,” the complaint states. “Discovery ‘passed’ on plaintiff’s pitch, saying the subject matter was ‘too edgy’ for it. Yet, either simultaneously or within days of uttering these pretextual reasons for rejection, Discovery approached another producer to create a show using all of plaintiff’s ideas. ‘Weed Wars’ premiered on the Discovery Channel one year later. Not only is the general concept of ‘Weed Wars’ identical to plaintiff’s ‘Greener Pastures,’ but so are numerous concrete details regarding the plot, themes, characters and sequence of events.”
Krabbe’s attorney Devin McRae told Courthouse News that the case was “a textbook case of idea theft.”
“It’s indisputable that Ms. Krabbe submitted her ideas to Discovery on the condition of payment for their use. Discovery unarguably had access to Ms. Krabbe’s ideas. There are several specific concrete similarities between Ms. Krabbe’s pitch materials and ‘Weed Wars,’” McRae said.
Krabbe claims that before Discovery ripped off her idea, Mullin encouraged her to cast the show and to get a production company attached, so as to protect her interests as an unproven producer. Krabbe followed that advice, “spending considerable time, energy and resources” to cast the show and attach a producer, GOTV, according to the complaint.
Krabbe says she cast Joanna Laforce as the owner of three medical marijuana dispensaries in California. Members of Laforce’s family were also cast to appear in the show, she says.
Krabbe says she pitched the show to Mullin and another executive at Discovery’s Los Angeles office in August 2010. They passed on the show but Mullin introduced Krabbe to another executive at Discovery’s Planet Green Channel, according to the complaint. That executive also rejected the project, citing concerns that the show would turn off advertisers, Krabbe says.
“Discovery simply decided to steal plaintiff’s ideas and had initiated, or soon thereafter did initiate, contact with another producer, Chuck Braverman, to make a show using plaintiff’s ideas, but rather than casting Laforce who was under contract with plaintiff, casting D’Angelo, who was identified in plaintiff’s pitch materials as, in essence, Laforce’s mirror image in Northern California,” according to the complaint.
The complaint cites several ideas in “Weed Wars” that it claims are “unique to ‘Green Pastures,’” including the use of a family-run dispensary, a head of family who is a “visionary and political activist,” and the risk the family faces “because of the illegality, on the federal level, of medicinal marijuana, as well as the possibility every day that the entire business empire could be shut down at a moment’s notice.”
McRae told Courthouse News: “It has been reported that Discovery approached Braverman’s production company with the idea to produce ‘Weed Wars’ at the same time Discovery told Ms. Krabbe that the subject matter of medicinal marijuana was ‘too edgy’ and of no interest to it.”
Krabbe seeks damages for breach of implied-in-fact contract, plus screen credit and royalties. The only defendants are Discovery Communications Inc. and Does 1-20. Discovery declined to comment.
McRae is a partner in Early Sullivan Wright Gizer & McRae.
Leading up to the promotion of their new Discovery Channel reality show, Weed Wars, brothers Steven and Andrew DeAngelo appeared on the Dylan Ratigan Show (on the left-leaning MSNBC) and on The O’Reilly Factor (on the right-leaning FOX News Channel). Steven and Andrew run the world’s largest cannabis dispensary, Harborside Health Center in Oakland, CA, serving over 98,000 patients and grossing in excess of $20 million annually.
First, Dylan Ratigan asks Steven whether he would be “presumptuous in suggesting that you guys would be in favor of legalization?”
Steven DeAngelo: “Yes, you would. I don’t believe that any psychoactive substance should be used for recreation.“
Steven DeAngelo: “Wine and cannabis… you know, I support any effort to change the cannabis laws that’s going to get the people who are in prison out of there, and if we can do it by repeal, great, if we can do it with a wine analogy, great.”
So… uh… you do support comparing cannabis to wine, a psychoactive substance, all of which you believe should not be used recreationally, but only for “health and wellness”? I’m confused… does this mean wine should be treated like medical marijuana or that marijuana should be treated as wine and both require a doctor?
Next on The O’Reilly Factor, Bill O’Reilly pushes the brothers on the medical aspect of California’s Prop 215, with his familiar bloviating about his “undercover report” that showed how easy it is to get a medical marijuana recommendation. He acknowledges Steven’s degenerative disc disease and Andrew’s glaucoma as serious ailments in need of cannabis treatment, but points out that cannabis in California can be recommended for anxiety and that it is ludicrously easy to find a doctor who will find you anxious enough to need a weed card. O’Reilly dangles the fish-hook of “isn’t this quasi-legalization?” and Andrew takes the bait (cue video to 3:35):
Andrew DeAngelo: “We will say right here on this show, Bill, that we do not support the legalization of cannabis for recreational purposes.“
As you can imagine, a statement like this has drawn some heat. In response,Harborside has posted a clarification:
“The mission of Harborside Health Center is to advocate for full access to cannabis for purposes of health and wellness. While it is not our mission to advocate the legalization of cannabis for recreational purposes, we do feel criminal penalties for cannabis are unjust and should be repealed.”
Did that clarify anything? OK, so people who use cannabis for “health and wellness” ought to granted full access. People who use cannabis for recreational purposes should not be criminally penalized. So, does that mean cops leave all pot smokers alone, but only ones who claim “health and wellness” uses get to shop at Harborside? And what do you call it when there are no criminal penalties for recreational marijuana use, other than legalization?
It doesn’t get any clearer when you read Steven’s latest treatise, “Wellness, not Intoxication“:
Rather than positioning recreational cannabis as being in opposition to medical cannabis, my fellow activists might instead recognize that promoting recreation is one of the many health and wellness benefits provided by cannabis. Recreation itself has long been recognized in America as an essential ingredient for health and wellness….
The soccer moms of America are never going to buy the argument that their kids need one more thing to get high on, no matter how safe or natural that thing is. But they might vote in favor of allowing adult citizens to make their own health and wellness decisions. Legalization of marijuana for recreational purposes–a strategy that emphasizes cannabis as an intoxicant– plays right into the hands the prohibitionists, who are itching for another opportunity to portray cannabis users as decadent hedonists. And at this time, in this place, the legalization strategy is not merely misguided-it is dangerous.
…Instead, advocates of legalization should recalibrate their understanding of medical cannabis from the illness model to the wellness model; and focus their energies on expanding the umbrella of medical cannabis to include all users of the plant.
…Instead of accepting the limitations and inaccuracy of the illness model of medical cannabis; our movement should ensure that all legislation embraces the wellness model of medical cannabis, and is therefore expansive enough to bring all adults under its protection.
So, cannabis promotes recreation, recreation is good for wellness, all adults who want to use it for recreation as part of their wellness should be entitled to do so, so long as they don’t call the use recreational?
Apparently it is only “misguided” and “dangerous” to be campaigning for recreational use of marijuana in 2011. In 2010, on the other hand…
Steven DeAngelo: “As someone who has dedicated his life to the cause of medical cannabis, Prop 19 is going to advance the cause of medical cannabis and not set us back.”
Now I truly believe that Steven and Andrew DeAngelo think deep inside that cannabis should be as legal for me to access as anybody. But $2.5 million in tax attacks from the IRS and threats of raids and prison time growing more real, combined with the spotlight of Weed Wars, have the DeAngelos parsing “legalization”, “recreational”, “medical”,and ”wellness” to a degree Bill Clinton would applaud.
And that, my friends, is the real misguided and potentially dangerous mistake for our movement – blowing any shred of credibility we may have with the general public. Medical support does still outweigh legalization support, but that medical support number has stayed constant since Prop 215 in 1996, while legalization support has doubled now to 50% in that time. But polls are also showing that a majority of Americans believe “most medical marijuana is used for something else” (52%) and thatonly 31% believe it is being used for “serious medical illnesses”.
It is too much to expect the world to completely redefine their concept of “medical” to fit uses of marijuana that are clearly recreational. As every other state after California has shown, “medical” means restrictive condition lists, doctors harassed by medical boards, ridiculously low possession limits, and dispensary monopolies with tight government security and controls. We have a world that understands and supports recreational use of alcohol. Won’t it be easier to convince someone an adult can be trusted with an intoxicant safer than alcohol than to convince them the Prop 215 area at the Cypress Hill show is something “medical”? Instead of “Wellness, not Intoxication”, how about “Honesty, not Euphemisms”? A path of “health and wellness” always leads to a place where someone gets to decide if I’m not sick enough to keep out of a prison cell. A path of full legalization includes all medical (and all spiritual and all industrial) uses along with recreational.