Posts Tagged ‘high’
by Maia Szalavitz, Time Magazine
Among the voluminous evidence released Thursday in the shooting death of 17-year-old Florida high school student Trayvon Martin is a toxicology report showing that the teen had trace levels of THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, in his blood and urine.
The evidence includes abundant new information: conflicting witness statements, an autopsy report showing that Martin, who was black, died from a single gunshot wound to the chest and medical records documenting that Hispanic neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman, who will stand trial for second-degree murder, had a broken nose the day after Martin’s death. Yet the media is focusing on the marijuana findings.
That’s a mistake that only serves to distort an already contentious case. The levels of THC detected don’t reflect Martin’s character or even his state of mind the night he was shot. For one, they are so low as to almost certainly not be connected to recent intoxication: 1.5 nanograms of THC were found as well as 7.3 nanograms of THC-COOH, a metabolite of THC that can stay in the system for weeks after cannabis has been smoked. Immediately after inhaling, THC levels typically rise to 100 to 200 nanograms per milliter of blood, although there can be a great deal of variation.
“THC in blood or urine tells us nothing about the level of intoxication,” says Carl Hart, associate professor of psychology at Columbia University and author of the leading college textbook on drug use and behavior. “That would be like someone going to have a beer some evening, and when he goes to work the next day, you can find alcohol metabolites in his bodily fluids. That says nothing about his functioning.” (Full disclosure: Hart and I are working on a book project together).
Moreover, even if Martin had been stoned out of his mind, it wouldn’t predispose him to violence. “I have given hundreds of doses of marijuana to people in the lab, and no one has gotten violent ever and everyone has been able to respond to the situation in an appropriate manner, when given low or large doses and single or repeated doses,” Hart says.
The night of the killing, Zimmerman began following Martin, who had gone to a 7-Eleven to get Skittles and an Arizona iced tea during a break in the NBA All-Star game. Zimmerman told a 911 operator that he was worried about Martin because he “looks like he’s up to no good, or he’s on drugs.” He was informed that the police would handle the situation and that he should not take further action. Zimmerman didn’t heed that advice; an altercation ended with Zimmerman shooting Martin in what he says was self-defense. He was charged months after the Feb. 26th killing, following widespread public outrage over the perceived lack of an appropriate criminal justice response.
“If people are trying to discount the acts of Zimmerman or excuse him because [Martin may have smoked] marijuana, they need to think about their own marijuana use and think about whether they ever get violent,” Hart says. “More than half the country has used marijuana and they really need to use some common sense.” The drug that has the strongest pharmacological link to violence is the legal one, alcohol.
And despite the fact that black youth are actually equally or even less likely to use — or sell — marijuana compared to whites, they are arrested for drug crimes at a rate ten times higher. In New York City, a recent analysis found that 80% of those arrested for marijuana were black or Latino, despite whites outnumbering them by far.
As Michelle Alexander points out in her book, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, our drug laws have become little more than a pretext for arresting, imprisoning and disenfranchising people of color in a way that is no longer permissible to do based on race alone. Once someone is charged with a drug crime, liberty, property and voting rights can all be rescinded— in a manner that appears colorblind if you ignore the selective enforcement.
Says Hart: “If Trayvon was a white kid, we wouldn’t be here talking about drugs. George Zimmerman would have long been in jail.”
The classification of cannabis as a schedule one narcotic is among the least defensible aspects of prohibition.
Dr. Jody Corey-Bloom, director of the Multiple Sclerosis Center at UC San Diego, recently helped run a study that provided multiple sclerosis patients with either a marijuana joint or a placebo that looked, smelled, and tasted like marijuana. After smoking whichever substance they were given, patients were tested to see if it reduced their muscle spasticity — an affliction, common to MS patients, that causes painful, uncontrollable spasms of the extremities. Spasticity was unaffected among the placebo patients but dropped 30 percent on average among the patients given real marijuana. The side effects? “Smoking caused fatigue and dizziness in some users,” says Reuters, “and slowed down people’s mental skills soon after they used marijuana.”
The UC San Diego study is just the latest to suggest that marijuana has some medical benefits. Sixteen states, thousands of doctors, and tens of thousands of sick people concur in that judgment. It is dramatized by the personal testimony of sick people who are offered much more powerful drugs, but nevertheless insistthat consuming marijuana was most effective at helping them. (Don’t miss the video at the top of this post, as powerful a testimonial for medical marijuana as you’ll find.)
Marijuana is nevertheless classified under the Controlled Substances Act as a Schedule One drug. Under the law, drugs placed in that category must meet all of the following criteria (emphasis added):
- The drug or other substance has a high potential for abuse.
- The drug or other substance has no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States.
- There is a lack of accepted safety for use of the drug or other substance under medical supervision.
Critics of the Obama Administration’s drug policy, myself included, have focused on the president’s broken promise about federal raids on medical marijuana dispensaries in jurisdictions where they’re legal. But an even less defensible aspect of Obama’s drug policy is how marijuana is scheduled.
As John Walker points out, the Controlled Substances Act gives the executive branch the power to unilaterally change a drug’s classification:
Obama can instruct the relevant agencies under him to take an honest look at the research and reschedule marijuana so it qualifies as having legitimate medical uses. The Obama administration could easily and justifiably move marijuana to, say, schedule III, which happens to be the same schedule that synthetic THC is in, making medical marijuana legal under federal law.
There would be nothing unusual, extraordinary or legally suspect about Obama doing this. The executive branch has often moved certain drugs to lower or higher schedules based on new data without Congressional involvement. In fact, multiple sitting governors have petitioned the Obama administration asking him to move marijuana to a lower schedule, so he should be aware of the flexible authority he has. Obama is not some hapless victim whose actions on this issue are constrained by congressional law. The truth is pretty much the exact opposite. Under current law Obama effectively has the power to unilaterally make medical marijuana legal.
His failure to do so is frustrating and to his discredit because it’s what the language of a law duly passed by a bygone Congress and signed by a past president demands. There just are accepted medical uses of marijuana today. Pretending otherwise is every bit as much an affront to science and empiricism as the most ill-informed denial of evolution or climate change.
Yet here is how the Obama White House touts its drug policy:
Congress also bears substantial responsibility for the anti-scientific, anti-empirical aspects of American drug policy. If Mitt Romney and Barack Obama are able to define the terms of the upcoming presidential election, this issue won’t come up. But voters have consistently shown interest in the subject when permitted to directly question politicians, and Gary Johnson, the Libertarian Party nominee, is eager to challenge Obama and Romney on this issue given the chance. When opportunities for these challenges arise, the classification of marijuana is one of the most vulnerable parts of the status quo to attack.12 states have pending medical marijuana legislation.
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.
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 Norimitsu Onishi, The New York Times
VALLEJO, Calif. — On a suburban block with six family homes, palm trees and views of the surrounding green hills, nothing at 110 Windsor Court stood out. Its occupants, who had moved into the foreclosed house a few years earlier, were quiet types.
On a street in Vallejo, a burned-out house that had been used to grow marijuana. Unsafe wiring for lights for the plants often causes such fires.
Until the noise from falling roof tiles alerted neighbors to a fire there one recent morning, and Stephen Snowden, who lived nearby, banged on the front door. Nobody was inside, but firefighters discovered that the house had been converted into a type of illegal business found increasingly in suburbia: a marijuana grow house.
The entire second floor of the five-bedroom, 2,251-square-foot home, as well as parts of the first floor, was used to cultivate marijuana plants.
“They just blended right in,” Mr. Snowden said of the residents. “They left early for work and came back late in the afternoon. They mowed their lawn, took out their trash and got groceries. There was never any extra foot traffic.”
Organized marijuana growers are shifting to the suburbs from rural and commercial areas, helped by a housing crisis that created a glut of affordable, spacious houses and a stream of new residents to previously more stable communities. Houses that sold for $1 million before the crisis have been turned into grow houses, equipped with the high-intensity lights, water and air-filtering systems necessary to produce potent, high-quality marijuana.
Many grow houses go unnoticed, even by next-door neighbors, until there is a fire, typically caused by unsafe electrical wiring. Local police forces, especially in California, which has permitted the limited cultivation of marijuana for medical use since 1996, have stopped seeking out grow houses.
Rusty Payne, a spokesman for the Drug Enforcement Administration, said crime syndicates used to concentrate production in low-income areas. But now, he said, “you’re hearing more and more in middle-class, upper-middle-class, high-end neighborhoods.”
“They either buy them or rent them,” Mr. Payne said. “They’re buying them in places like Northern California, where the real estate market’s really taken a turn for the worse.”
In Northern California, grow houses have been discovered in older suburbs hit hard byforeclosures, including Vallejo, a city 25 miles northeast of San Francisco that declared bankruptcy in 2008. They have also been found in newer communities that mushroomed during the housing boom, like Elk Grove, near Sacramento.
“They were located in suburbia, pretty much,” Officer Christopher Trim, a spokesman for the Elk Grove Police Department, said of the grow houses discovered there. “Residential streets, kids playing outside and going to soccer practice, folks going to and coming from their work.”
California accounted for more than 70 percent of all marijuana plants confiscated nationwide in 2010, the last year for which statistics are available, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration. The authorities seized 188,297 plants at 791 indoor grow houses, compared with 107,047 plants at 572 locations in 2005.
Vietnamese-American crime groups have specialized in running grow houses, which produce marijuana that can fetch up to twice the price of the outdoor kind, Mr. Payne said.
Law enforcement officials, especially in local forces that have been downsized during the financial crisis, say they lack the resources to go after grow houses. They also say that California laws have created an environment tolerant of marijuana cultivation in general.
“Ten years ago if there was a grow house, we’d seize all their equipment and lamps, and they would be prosecuted,” said Sgt. Jeff Bassett, a spokesman for the Vallejo Police Department. “Now the chances of being caught, or of being prosecuted if you are, are substantially less than they were 10 years ago.”
No one has been arrested in connection with the grow house at 110 Windsor Court or at another previously foreclosed house that also caught fire in Vallejo recently, the police said. Firefighters responding to that house — a one-story, 1,304-square-foot house on Evelyn Circle — quickly realized that it was a grow house.
Like other neighbors, Tim Langford, 54, said nothing aroused suspicion about the occupants, who had been spotted at the house for a couple of years. But Mr. Langford said the housing crisis had weakened the social ties on his block.
“You have a much more transient population now, so you mind your business,” he said. “It’s not the day when you take an apple pie over and say, ‘Hi, I’m your neighbor.’ ”
The housing crisis also led to the emergence of grow houses in new real estate developments, creating lasting problems for those communities.
In Pittsburg, a city about 40 miles northeast of San Francisco, marijuana growers occupied a five-bedroom house on Pilar Ridge Drive, across the street from an elementary school. The house, part of a sprawling, luxurious community that was built about a decade ago, sold for nearly $1 million in 2007 but went into foreclosure three years later.
In June 2010, acting on a tip from a neighbor, the police found that the house had been transformed into a grow house. Last fall, Stephen Tucker and his wife, Tomasita, bought the property from a bank for $363,000, Mr. Tucker said, after looking at hundreds of other places.
“My daughter came to this house, and she’s the one who said, ‘That’s the house I want,’ ” Mr. Tucker, 51, said of his daughter Veronica, 8.
Mr. Tucker said he learned after the purchase that the house had been used as a grow house. He began discovering mold and other damage under the new carpet and in the drywall.
Not all stories involving foreclosed houses and grow houses have ended unhappily, though. Mr. Snowden, who banged on the door of the house on fire, said that despite the discovery of a grow house on his block, he did not regret moving there three years ago. In 2009, he purchased his house — which had been foreclosed the year before — for roughly 60 percent of what it had sold for in 2004.
“It was cheaper than renting,” he said. “This is actually a pretty quiet, decent neighborhood.”
by Peter Hecht, The Sacramento Bee
ARCATA – The pot market is crashing in California’s legendary Emerald Triangle.
The closure of hundreds of marijuana dispensaries across California and a federal crackdown on licensing programs for medical pot cultivation are leaving growers in the North Coast redwoods with harvested stashes many can’t sell.
Some pot cultivators who sought legitimacy through the medical market are fleeing to the black market. So much cheap weed is getting dumped in the college town of Arcata, some local dispensaries say business is down 75 percent. Even the region’s itinerant and colorful bud trimmers are going broke.
By the scores, people have long trekked into the marijuana fields and indoor greenhouses of Humboldt, Mendocino and Trinity counties. Workers used to earn as much as $200 a pound meticulously cutting leaves from marijuana buds, prepping them for display at dispensaries or for sale in a purely illicit market.
These days, a 47-year-old man called Mover, a dreadlocked migrant from Ohio who is a fixture in downtown Arcata, says the tedious work isn’t worth his trouble as the per-pound pay rate has dropped to $100 or often just a few nuggets of pot.
“I got paid in weed,” Mover, who refused to give his real name, said of his last trimming job. “It’s worthless here. You can’t give it away. And I’m not going to transport anything. I’m too old, and I don’t want to go to jail.”
The region’s pot pilgrimage had accelerated in recent years as people were drawn by local cannabis traditions and dreams of cashing in on the medical marijuana market. They planted marijuana in the backwoods and in rewired houses with high-intensity grow lights.
But the saturation of pot growers set off a price tumble by 2010, as a pound of prime Emerald weed slipped from $5,000 to the $3,000 range for marijuana grown indoors and to the $2,000 range for product grown outdoors. Lately, prices are in free-fall.
“Last I heard, a pound of marijuana is $800 for outdoor grown,” said Mendocino County Sheriff Tom Allman in Ukiah. “That’s plummeting. You might do better with tomatoes.”
The marijuana meltdown could have major regional effects. In Humboldt County, a recent study by a local banker estimated marijuana accounts for more than a fourth of the county’s $1.6 billion economy.
In recent years, many locals already thought the influx of pot growers exceeded demand in the state’s sanctioned medical pot market. When U.S. authorities in October announced a crackdown on medical marijuana businesses that they contended were profiteering in violation of federal and state laws, it darkened growers’ fears.
Raid heightened fears
Lelehnia Du Bois, 41, was one who thought she had found a safe niche. A former fashion model in Southern California, Du Bois started growing marijuana indoors in Eureka after rupturing her spinal cord. She supplied her unused home-grown “Sweet God” to a Eureka dispensary, earning $5,000 a year on top of her disability income, she said.
Du Bois had spent her childhood in Trinity County and remembers growers having “a big potluck” meal after the outdoor marijuana harvest. She said the weed culture changed markedly as indoor growers in Arcata and Eureka competed for access to the medical market – and many went into illegal trafficking.
As indoor pot prices dropped as low as $1,800 a pound, “People started taking risks. All of a sudden, people were not farmers. They were drug dealers,” Du Bois said.
Last year, months before federal prosecutors began targeting California dispensaries for closure, Du Bois got out of the pot business and moved out of Humboldt County. She now lives in Utah.
At Arcata’s Humboldt Patient Resource Center, a dispensary that grows its marijuana on site, cultivator Kevin Jodry said fewer people are coming to buy seedlings for this year’s outdoor marijuana crop or quarterly indoor yields.
“Many people distributing in the medical marijuana market didn’t get into it for the risk situation,” he said. “The people who were formerly in the black market were able to stay functioning. People who were not criminals can’t move their product.”
Pressures on growers intensified after federal Drug Enforcement Administration agents raided a marijuana farm that had been licensed by Mendocino County and was considered a model for establishing local compliance rules for medical cultivation.
The raid prompted Mendocino County supervisors in January to rescind a program that allowed the sheriff to enforce a 99-plant limit on pot farms by attaching $50 zip ties to each plant and inspecting the gardens of nearly 100 growers who provided documentation to show they were serving medical pot users.
The program, which also offered cheaper tags for smaller quantity growers, brought in $630,000 in county fees in two years.
Sheriff Allman said it allowed his department – which spends 30 percent of its $23 million budget on pot enforcement – to target major cultivators who he says are illegally growing thousands of plants, diverting water and fouling the environment.
Humboldt County had sought to put a similar program in place last summer as District Attorney Paul Gallegos called for licensing to ensure “sustainable and responsible cultivation.” After the federal government launched its crackdown, supervisors tabled work on the plan, and Eureka and Arcata placed moratoriums on new dispensaries.
Outdoor growers struggle
Among the most worried cultivators are the outdoor growers who increasingly struggle to compete with the exotic strains produced in climate-controlled indoor grow rooms.
Alison Sterling Nichols, executive director of the Emerald Growers Association, which seeks to protect the Emerald Triangle’s sun-grown pot traditions, said outdoor growers were most directly affected by the collapse of local licensing programs. The group backs legislation to regulate medical marijuana statewide as long as it would preserve growers’ ability to supply dispensaries.
“People shouldn’t have to sleep with one eye open,” Sterling Nichols said. “People should be able to move from the black market into the light. We haven’t been able to bridge that gap. We have hills of healthy outdoor product we can’t take to the market.”
Meanwhile, many worry that the Emerald Triangle will go back to being the hub of California’s illegal marijuana trade.
Last month, authorities in Pennsylvania arrested the former operator of a Humboldt dispensary for allegedly shipping more than 25 pounds of pot in heat-sealed packets to a home he was visiting. State officers in Nebraska also stopped a Mendocino County man and a companion with 62 pounds of weed stuffed in duffel bags.
On consecutive days in late February, Humboldt authorities conducted two separate raids on growers suspected of criminal distribution, seizing nearly $700,000 in cash and 7,000 plants.
In Mendocino, Allman said his officers last year eradicated 642,000 plants, some loosely tied to Mexican trafficking networks but most involving Californians or residents from other states who secretly grew on public lands and private property.
With a federal crackdown and a shrinking market, Allman said, many out-of-towners may leave and “everything is going to go underground.”
Courtesy of the Daily Mail
Smoking marijuana was ‘part of the culture’ at classic children’s TV programme Play School, according to a former presenter.
Rick Jones revealed the scale of drug use at the show, following claims by ex-presenter Johnny Ball that Jones and another presenter, Lionel Morton, were ‘stoned out of their minds’ before filming a nativity scene during the 1970s.
Jones, now 75, who went on to present children’s show Fingerbobs, told The Sun said that the drug was ‘part of the culture, definitely’, adding: ‘Marijuana was like cornflakes.
‘The BBC was really liberal. Once you were in all laws were forgotten. I had a wonderful time.’
He said around ‘half a dozen’ were doing it – and that toys on the programme, Humpty and Hamble, were even put in sexual poses on the set.
Earlier this week, Ball revealed the use of marijuana behind the scenes of the seemingly-innocent show, when he told a BBC4 documentary: ‘There was Rick Jones, Lionel Morton and myself. They got stoned on the biggest joint you’ve ever seen – in the studio.
‘We were in silhouette as the three shepherds with our crooks. They were absolutely stoned out of their minds. So when we recorded, who cocked his lines up? Me.’
Ball, 73, father of TV and radio presenter Zoe, insisted he had not used the drug on air himself as it would have left him incapable of working – a claim supported by Jones, who told the newspaper Ball was a ‘good egg, but he was too dull to do it’.
Play School ran from 1964 until 1988 and its presenters also included Brian Cant, Floella Benjamin and Derek Griffiths.
Revelations: Childrens’ television presenter Johnny Ball has told how his co hosts on Play School got stoned before one scene
On a high: Presenter Lionel Morton smoked a joint before filming one of the scenes from Play School
Each episode included a film about the outside world to which access was gained through one of three windows, with viewers asked to guess which it would be: round, square, or arched.
The documentary, Lights! Camera! Action! Tales of Television Centre, lays bare the liberal atmosphere at the BBC in the late 1960s and 1970s.
Presenter Joan Bakewell is also seen confessing that many of the pop groups of the time were stoned when they appeared on shows.
At times the aroma was so strong in the corridors of the BBC’s West London studios that Sir David Attenborough, who was controller of the BBC2 at the time, complained about it.
He recalls on the programme how he told staff: ‘Look, please don’t smoke that stuff openly so we can all smell it. Just be sensible.’
There are also revelations about the rampant antics of stars who used dressing rooms and green rooms for sex because ‘nobody cared if you did’.
Former Doctor Who actress Katy Manning, who played Jo Grant, says: ‘People were bonking all over the BBC. Everybody was doing it on the premises.’
Former Blue Peter and Going Live presenter Sarah Greene confesses that she enjoyed such trysts with Radio 1 DJ Mike Smith, whom she went on to marry.
The show features interviews with BBC staff and personalities including Sir Terry Wogan, Jeremy Paxman and Penelope Keith along with archive clips from hit shows such as Till Death Us Do Part, Top of the Pops and Doctor Who.
Barry Norman also gives an interview for the programme in which he reveals he was almost fired because a corporation executive thought he was wearing a wig on screen and took a dislike to it.
He said: ‘I wasn’t actually wearing a wig, I was just having a bad hair day.’ Lights! Camera! Action! Tales of Television Centre will air on BBC4 on May 17.
by Tom Jensen, KATU News
In just Oregon and Washington there are nearly 100,000 medical marijuana patients.
Now this once fringe culture has taken another step towards the mainstream – growers and grower cooperatives can now buy insurance policies to protect their crops and marijuana inventories against losses.
Insurance agent Dan DeChynne is one of the first to sell the pot policies in Oregon and Southwest Washington.
“It covers every kind of possible case; fire, rain, or wind, theft, even raids,” he told KATU On Your Side Investigator Thom Jensen.
We met DeChynne outside one of the new store fronts where patients buy medical marijuana insurance in Kalama, Wash.
The policy at Releaf Medical Marijuana growers cooperative covers the brick and mortar, but it also protects the pot against losses from bugs, theft, fire and yes, even raids by local or state police.
As he pushed a cart loaded with some of Releaf’s potent pain killer and sleep disorder pot called AK-47, manager Nate Hewitt told KATU the insurance protects patients more than anyone.
“It’s priceless for me because of the value it is to the patients,” he said.
Without the insurance, Hewitt said there are just too many variables that can ruin a marijuana crop or leave then vulnerable to raids and thefts. He said the insurance policies will help restore inventories more quickly after a loss so he can start delivering the medicine to patients.
The Director of the Oregon chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, or NORML as it is more commonly known, said the insurance idea is also taking off in other states.
Still, Madeline Martinez said it’s too expensive right now for many smaller growers.
“Once the insurance goes down a little bit, I think everybody will have it,” she told KATU.
Some marijuana providers question how much the insurance will actually help.
“Will it protect against the DEA? It depends on how good the attorney really is,” said the owner of a cannabis catering service in Vancouver, Wash.
He goes by names like “Dustin Ethan Andrews” or “Frank Bradley Iverson.” The initials of those names are evidence that he is primarily concerned about the two federal law enforcement agencies.
He told us the FBI and DEA are the greatest threats to his marijuana supply because they can take everything in a single raid.
He may have good reason for his concerns, even if he has an insurance policy.
The man who helped author California’s medical marijuana insurance statutes said the insurance will only protect against state or local raids, not against those conducted by federal agencies like the FBI, DEA or the U.S. Department of Revenue.
Michael Aberle of Statewide Insurance in Sacramento said his company underwrites between 3,500 to 4,000 marijuana policies right now. He said the industry cannot protect clients against federal raids because marijuana is still considered a controlled substance at the federal level.
If insurance companies reimburse growers for their losses after federal raids, Aberle said, agents and insurance companies could be charged with aiding and abetting a crime.
DeChynne said the policies begin at about $1,200 to $2,000 a year with a $5,000 deductible.
Representatives of state agencies that govern the insurance industry in Oregon, Washington and California told KATU they do not know the total number of policies sold to date.
A spokeswoman for the Oregon Insurance Division says she does not know of any policies actually called Medical Marijuana Insurance in Oregon, but she said they may be sold as a product called “surplus line insurance.”
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.
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.
by Connor Friedersforf, The Atlantic
Nominated for a Supreme Court seat in 1987, Douglas H. Ginsburg withdrew from consideration when it was revealed that he’d tried marijuana decades earlier as a student. Five years later, America elected Bill Clinton to the presidency despite his admission that he tried marijuana. The taboo against the drug was still powerful enough that he hedged his answer by claiming that he never inhaled. It was the last time we’re likely to hear an excuse so absurd, for everything started changing very quickly after that. Presidential candidates began candidly admitting marijuana use. Sixteen states enacted laws legalizing marijuana for medical use, starting with California in 1996. An additional 12 states are now considering similar legislation. And Obama took office having said that inhaling was the whole point when he was a young marijuana user, and promising that Department of Justice resources wouldn’t be used to thwart state cannabis laws.
Of course, President Obama has governed as an unreformed drug warrior, even breaking his promise about federal behavior toward states where medical marijuana is legal. Early in his presidency, he also treated questions about marijuana policy as if the subject was somehow a joke. It’s a dodge that doesn’t work anymore. Jann Wenner asked him about the issue in Rolling Stone. Reform advocates immediately seized on the misdirection in his answer. Jimmy Kimmel raised the subject again at the White House Correspondents Dinner Saturday, polling the room to see how many people had used the drug and stating in a moment of seriousness, “Mr. President, I hope you don’t think I’m out of line here but marijuana is something that real people care about.”
The new reality: 70 percent of Americans favor legal medical marijuana, and half think the drug should just be legal. As Gallup notes, “Support for legalizing marijuana is directly and inversely proportional to age, ranging from 62% approval among those 18 to 29 down to 31% among those 65 and older.” Eventually, the drug warriors are going to lose, and the country is going to win.
All of which brings us to Gary Johnson.
Widely expected to emerge from this weekend’s Libertarian Party convention as its presidential nominee, the former New Mexico governor has announced that he wants Judge Jim Gray to be his running mate.
Who is Jim Gray?
Among other things, a former prosecutor turned outspoken critic of the War on Drugs. See for yourself:
The kicker: “The best thing I can do for my country is to help us repeal drug prohibition. It’s the most patriotic thing that I’m able to do.” It’s an opportune moment for a libertarian ticket to offer a serious, forceful critique of drug policy, for beyond fortuitous changes in public opinion, there’s an incumbent with broken promises and a lackluster record on the issue; and a Republican challenger who is even more of a drug warrior in his avowed positions and such a teetotaller personally that he eschews even caffeine.
Are Johnson and Gray the right team to make this critique? Whatever their shortcomings, they’re ideal in this respect: one is an extreme athlete and health nut; the other is a veteran, former prosecutor, and judge who used to be a drug warrior and switched sides based on what he saw in his own courtroom. Can they succeed in injecting the issue into the general election campaign?
Only time will tell.
Six men have been charged in the first federal prosecution in Oregon of medical marijuana growers, accused of growing much more pot than patients needed and conspiring to sell the excess on the black market.
The arrests follow harvest-time raids in Southern Oregon last fall when federal agents ripped out hundreds of plants with backhoes and hauled them off in dump trucks.
The government said the haul was 4,000 pounds.
Federal authorities have complained that pot grown under the state’s medical marijuana law has been turning up as far away as Florida. An affidavit filed with the new charges says some of the pot involved was sent north to Washington state.
The six are accused of conspiring to grow and distribute thousands of pounds of marijuana from four gardens in Jackson County.
“We would hope that this sends a message and has a deterrent effect on other would-be drug dealers who would operate under the medical marijuana law,” U.S. Attorney Amanda Marshall said.
Oregon’s law allows users of medical marijuana to designate growers who can supply them with up to 1.5 pounds a year.
A U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration affidavit filed in federal court said medical marijuana growers in the Southern Oregon use drip irrigation, fertilizer, support structures and harvest techniques to grow plants ranging from 6 to 10 feet tall and, at the allowed rate of six plants per patient, yielding much more than the state law allows.
The affidavit said agents dried and processed a few plants from last fall’s raids, with yields ranging from 5 to 11 pounds each of marijuana bud.
Growers and medical marijuana advocates say the raids had an impact. State records this spring showed that the number of gardens planted to supply multiple patients will be down markedly, especially among those growing for 15 or more people.
Two of the six suspects made initial appearances Tuesday in federal court in Medford: Michael Grantski, 50, and Clifford Ruhland, 32. Two more were expected to appear Wednesday, and the final two later this week.
Arraignments for Grantski and Ruhland were scheduled for later in May. A federal public defender who represented them Tuesday did not immediately return a call for comment.
Courtesy of Tennessee News Channel 9
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) — Police in Winston-Salem have cited rapper Wiz Khalifa and members of his band and staff for possession of marijuana following a concert.
Local police were patrolling the parking lot at the Joel Coliseum Annex where the rapper was performing Tuesday. An officer approached the tour bus and smelled either burnt or burning marijuana. The officer said in a search warrant that the smell got stronger when he opened the bus door,
A search warrant said an officer seized a quantity of marijuana and drug paraphernalia, but police wouldn’t say how much marijuana or paraphernalia was found.
The rapper, whose real name is Cameron Jibril Thomaz, is scheduled to appear in court in Winston-Salem on July 27.
Thomas was cited for misdemeanor marijuana possession in Nashville, Tenn., last month.
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.
¼ cup Hemp Seeds Soaked overnight and drained
¼ Cup Brazil Nuts Soaked overnight and drained
6 dates soaked overnight and drained
2 Tablespoons Coco Powder (Organic is best)
1 Avocado pitted
.5 gram of RSO style oil
¼ cup Medicated glycerin
2 cups water (Alkaline water is best here.) Or more to your liking.
Makes 1 super strong smoothie or 2 couch locked ones.
In a clean blender place all ingredients in and blend until smooth. I like this recipe to not be strained
so you can get small Hemp seed crunches with each sip. If you wish to have a smoother version, place
all the seeds and nuts in with just the water and blend. Strain through a nut bag and follow the original
steps. Enjoy!! Eat well, Detox Regularly and Ingest Cannabis.
Courtesy of CBS Money Watch
AMSTERDAM — Dutch coffee shops owners went to court Wednesday in a last ditch bid to block a government plan to stop foreigners from buying marijuana in the Netherlands.
Lawyers representing the coffee shops oppose what would be the most significant change in decades to the country’s famed soft drug tolerance: turning marijuana cafes into “members only” clubs open solely to Dutch residents.
Members would only be able to get into the coffee shops by registering for a “weed pass” and the shops would only be allowed a maximum of 2,000 members.
The move comes into force in the south of the country May 1 and is scheduled to roll out nationwide on Jan. 1, 2013.
Whether it will be enforced in Amsterdam, whose coffee shops are a major tourist draw card.
The city has strongly opposed the pass idea and mayor Eberhard van der Laan says he wants to negotiate a workable compromise with the country’s Justice Minister Ivo Opstelten.
Lawyers for the cafe owners told a judge at The Hague District Court that the move — aimed at reining in problems caused by foreign “drug tourists” who buy marijuana in the Netherlands and resell it in neighboring countries — is “clearly discriminatory.”
Lawyer Ilonka Kamans argued that Dutch drugs policy gives citizens “the fundamental right to the stimulant of their choosing” and should not deprive visiting foreigners of the same right.
Another of the coffee shop lawyers, Maurice Veldman, told The Associated Press outside the court that the problem of drug tourism is confined to southern provinces close to the Dutch border with Germany and Belgium and should be tackled with local measures, not nationwide legislation.
But government lawyer Eric Daalder defended the measures.
“Fighting criminality and drug tourism is a reasonable justification” for the crackdown, Daalder told the court.
He said the government wants to bring coffee shops back to what they were originally intended to be: “small local stores selling to local people.”
Marc Josemans of the Easy Going coffee shop in Maastricht said he expects the government will lose because it hasn’t thought through consequences or tried other ways of achieving its aims.
“We understand that this topic is something that’s of interest to tourists, but it’s equally important to our Dutch customers, which is most of them,” he told the AP ahead of Wednesday’s hearing.
“The limits on membership are going to lead to immediate problems in cities that don’t have enough coffee shops.”
Josemans said that if the court’s April 27 ruling goes against them, the Maastricht coffee shops plan to disregard the ruling, forcing the government to prosecute one of them in a test case.
Though the weed pass policy was designed to resolve traffic problems facing southern cities, later studies have predicted that the result of the system would be a return to street dealing and an increase in petty crime — which was the reason for the tolerance policy came into being in the 1970s in the first place.
The cities of Tilburg, Breda and Maastricht have now said they oppose the pass system, though Eindhoven plans to move ahead with it and the eastern city of Dordrecht wants to adopt it in anticipation of an influx of foreign buyers — even though it is not yet required to do so.
Marijuana cafes are a major tourist draw for Amsterdam, with some estimates saying a third of visitors try the drug, perhaps in between visiting the Van Gogh Museum and other major attractions.
Mayor Van der Laan says the Dutch capital doesn’t suffer major problems from pot smokers, and it doesn’t make sense to apply the same policy developed for the border cities here.
According to U.N. data, the use of marijuana by Dutch nationals is in the mid-range of norms for developed countries — higher than in Sweden or Japan but lower than in Britain, France or the United States.
In the face of growing evidence linking marijuana smoking with mental illness, the Dutch government has been placing new restrictions on coffee shops for a decade. It has set limits on the amount of active chemicals that can be contained in weed and hash; refused to renew licenses for shops that cause problems or are located too close to schools; and banned tobacco smoking at coffee shops in 2008.
Corder reported from The Hague.
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 Tomika Anderson, CNN
(CNN) — Seeing that Rihanna shared photos of herself partying at Coachella last weekend, it makes sense that the singer isn’t concerned about reactions.
MTV posted images Thursday of the pop star messing around with some sort of substance while at the music fest, writing along with it, “Yikes. @Rihanna’s marijuana photos from Coachella spark controversy.”
The tweet’s since been deleted, but not before Rihanna could write back, “@MTV Yikes… @rihanna ran out of f***s to give.”
“Well played,” was the music network’s response. (Well, would you look at that? A truce, just in time for 4/20.)
Rihanna’s been shrugging off the responses to her Coachella photo session all week. On Tuesday, she appeared to write in response to fan comments about the photos, “I’m crazy, and I don’t pretend to be anything else.”
by Jennifer Abbey, ABC News
A California company hopes to make medical marijuana a little easier to obtain and to control.
Dispense Labs, a division of the Dispensary Group, unveiled Autospense Friday, an automated dispensary that distributes medical marijuana and looks like a vending machine.
All that is needed to tap an Autospense machine is a registration card and unique PIN number, said Joe DeRobbio, Dispense Labs’ founder and CEO.
After swiping the card, the patient is granted access to a caged, camera- monitored room. From there, a patient swipes his or her card again and is given a menu to choose medicinal variety and quantity, DeRobbio said. Payment can be made with cash, credit or debit card. Once payment is received, the door to the machine opens, much like an ATM machine, to allow patients to remove their medicinal marijuana.
During after hours, Autospense is open only to patients who have agreed to the fingerprint option – they run their prints through a scanner and swipe a registration card, DeRobbio said.
Autospense offers a secure, “businesslike” way to distribute and obtain medical marijuana, said DeRobbio. With cameras, locks and sensors, the machines are difficult to break into.
“The facilities are secure,” DeRobbio said. “There are cameras outside and inside. There are alarm sensors around and in the machine. If there’s any type of forced entry, it sets off an alarm.”
And there are consequences for tampering with the system.
“If you’re going to go in and try to rob that machine and do something silly, your membership and access to the machine is revoked permanently,” said DeRobbio.
The machine records all transactions and inventory 24 hours a day and seven days a week while securely managing a patient’s information.
The idea for the machine came when DeRobbio noticed a lack of control regarding medical marijuana. Autospense, which is currently allowed only in dispensaries in California and Colorado, is designed to mitigate problems surrounding medical marijuana distribution, including theft and the black market, DeRobbio said.
“It’s a difficult culture,” DeRobbio said. “This provides a solution. It’s manageable, it’s controllable, and it’s transparent. Taxation comes right from the machine and every dollar is accounted for.”
Although Dispense Labs supplies the machines, it is not involved in growing the product, DeRobbio said.
“We are not associated with the industry,” he said. “We do not provide the medicine that goes in the machine.”
Medicinal marijuana has been legal in California since Proposition 215 was passed in 1996.
DeRobbio believes the Autospense system is the perfect place for medical marijuana in society.
“Medical marijuana, we believe, is here to stay,” DeRobbio said. “Here’s a way that you can control that 800-pound gorilla.”
by Paul Egan, Detroit Free Press
WHITE PINE — In this hard-luck town in Michigan’s western Upper Peninsula, rumors persist of a company growing pot deep in the bowels of a former copper mine nearby.
In 2010, the rumors got so bad, the State Police contacted the owners and asked to inspect the White Pine Mine sometime in the next couple of days.
“No, right now,” SubTerra official Mark Pierpont said he told them, not wanting lingering suspicions that he had spent a day hiding a stash of marijuana.
Trooper Timothy Rajala later reported how he “entered the mine in a vehicle which we drove approximately 1 mile underground” before reaching a sealed and brightly lit chamber he could only enter after washing down his feet and putting on clean clothes.
Inside, Rajala “noted several plants that were not narcotic,” he wrote. “There was no evidence of marijuana nor any signs of suspicious activity.”
Still, Rajala’s tip had a grain of truth.
The mine’s owners want to use its underground chambers to create the state’s largest pot farm with a potential market of 131,000 Michiganders (about 1 in every 75 residents) who hold medical marijuana certificates. The company, Prairie Plant Systems (PPS), already has a contract to supply medical marijuana in Canada.
Michigan voters legalized medical marijuana in 2008, but few people think the regulatory system is working. “Chaos” is a word frequently used by editorial writers and other critics.
Officials with PPS and its Michigan subsidiary, SubTerra, which now uses the White Pine Mine for other plant-based pharmaceutical research, granted exclusive access to the mine and the company’s plans to a Free Press reporter and photographer. They say their methods would stress security, safety and science, treating pot as a pharmaceutical, rather than a street drug.
“There’s a need to bring this under the proper reins of appropriate manufacturing for patient safety and for public safety,” said Brent Zettl, president and CEO of PPS, a plant-based biopharmaceutical company based in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.
But Zettl acknowledges he has major state and federal hurdles to clear before he can convert the mine, which closed in 1996.
The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, the Food and Drug Administration, the Legislature and Gov. Rick Snyder would all have to sign off, and in the case of the first two agencies, reverse direction on policy. Federal agencies consider marijuana illegal. DEA agents have not cracked down on small operations to supply licensed patients but almost certainly would view SubTerra as a major bust opportunity.
The FDA supports research to capture marijuana’s benefits in tablet form, but opposes “the use of smoked marijuana for medical purposes,” spokeswoman Shelly Burgess said.
Growing marijuana hundreds of feet underground — the same way the company started its Canadian operations in 2001 — provides security, constant temperature, controlled light and humidity, and protects the plants from bugs and diseases, eliminating the need for harmful pesticides and herbicides, Zettl said. He said any medical marijuana sold in Michigan should be subject to the same regular and rigorous testing as is found in Canada.
To help get around a federal ban on the sale of controlled substances, state law relies on the legal fiction that licensed caregivers provide patients with marijuana for free and get paid for helping patients register.
Canada, with a population of 34 million, has 17,000 patients approved for medical marijuana. Michigan, with less than a third as many people, has nearly eight times more cannabis patients, and a few physicians have been accused of indiscriminately approving patients to use the drug.
An explosion in medical marijuana dispensaries caused control headaches for cities. The shutdown of most dispensaries as a result of a Michigan Court of Appeals ruling in August broke the supply chain.
But Zettl says there is a more fundamental problem in Michigan.
With no testing or standards, nobody knows what Michigan patients are smoking. In Canada, Zettl’s cannabis is tested not just for active ingredients such as THC, but for mold, fungus, pathogens — including bacteria — and metals, such as lead, cadmium, mercury and arsenic.
“We’ve breached the first cardinal rule of pharmaceutical manufacturing,” Zettl said. “It doesn’t have any safety bells or whistles.”
PPS began in 1988 developing disease-free berry trees and other products aimed at farmers. It later moved into medical cannabis and plant-based pharmaceutical research. The company had to leave the leased facility where it grew its medical cannabis in Manitoba in 2008 because the owner wanted to resume mining. It now grows the plants above ground at a location kept secret at the request of the Canadian government.
Zettl, who has a farming background and a bachelor’s degree in agriculture from the University of Saskatchewan, said the company had 2011 sales of $7.6 million, about 75% of which came from medical cannabis contracts with the Canadian government. Its SubTerra subsidiary acquired the White Pine Mine in 2003.
A bill is expected to be introduced in the Legislature before summer to establish testing standards similar to Canada’s that would go into effect if and when medical marijuana is approved for sale in Michigan. SubTerra hired former House Speaker Chuck Perricone, a Republican, as its lobbyist.
“Neither the physician nor the patient have a clue what it is that is being ingested,” and high mold content and pesticide residue is common, Perricone said. “Michigan needs to protect its citizens. Proper testing will do that.”
Tim Beck of Detroit, a leader of the movement to legalize medical marijuana in Michigan, said PPS may offer “the gold standard in an ideal world,” but “until federal law changes, it’s just not viable.”
Also, “to some degree, this testing issue is overblown,” Beck said. “There is a free market, and people tend to know who the good” suppliers are.
Even if the bill is approved, SubTerra would be far from the starting gate.
Experts may differ on the therapeutic use of morphine, but they at least agree it’s a medicine. Not so with marijuana.
“We don’t give people a plant and call it medicine,” said Joel Hay, a professor in the School of Pharmacy at the University of Southern California. “You’ve got a product with thousands and thousands of compounds, some of which are unknown what their effects are,” he said.
“It’s lunacy to call this medicine. It’s like going back 100 years.”
But Dr. Lester Grinspoon, associate professor emeritus of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, said in a 2006 article that marijuana “will one day be seen as a wonder drug,” as penicillin was in the 1940s. It’s “remarkably nontoxic (and) has a wide range of therapeutic applications,” he said in a column in the Los Angeles Times.
Before the FDA approves new drugs, it requires clinical trials with blind tests in which some patients receive a placebo. Because it’s smoked, finding a marijuana placebo is tougher than using a salt tablet to replace a pill.
Some complain of a Catch-22. The FDA won’t approve the drug’s use without more research, but researchers face legal obstacles and a lack of support because the drug is banned.
Dr. Mark Ware, associate medical director of the McGill University Health Centre Pain Clinic in Montreal, one of a small number of experts who has published extensive cannabis research, said many doctors don’t take medical pot seriously and physicians like him must “deal with the perception that you’re really just looking to get people stoned and high.”
But “there has to be a mechanism for patients with genuine medical needs to have access to cannabis until such time as something better comes along,” Ware said, adding that other treatments should be explored first.
Those include certain marijuana compounds that have been approved in tablet form, but have significantly different properties from smoked cannabis.
The approach used by PPS gives patients comfort because the cannabis has been standardized and “tested and been shown to be free of impurities that may be hazardous to health,” whereas Michigan patients have “no way of knowing what they’re getting,” Ware said.
But cannabis is generally safe. The extra safety standards are positive, but not essential to producing safe cannabis, he said.
PPS is the only authorized mass supplier of medical marijuana in Canada, but serves only about 2,000 of the 17,000 approved patients. Others can grow their own or get their cannabis from small growers.
Particularly in the early years, the company was dogged by complaints from patients who said they didn’t like the taste or the quality.
Zettl said a court ruling forced the Canadian government to rush medical cannabis onto the market sooner than it wanted. The company’s product had a THC content of about 14%, but the government ordered it to dilute it with leaf material to bring the THC content down to what the Canadian government believed was the norm for street marijuana: 10%.
It was that required blending, which has since been relaxed so that PPS can provide marijuana with 12.5% THC content, combined with the fact that the Canadian government would allow the company to supply only one variety of cannabis, despite a wide range of needs, that led to complaints, Zettl said.
“In 12 years, we’ve made several evolutionary changes.”
Ted Smith, founder of the Cannabis Buyers’ Club of Canada in Victoria, British Columbia, said quality concerns persist: “It doesn’t smell very good; it doesn’t look very good.”
But Adrienne Baker-Hicks, 53, of Warkworth, Ontario, said the PPS product has been “wonderful” for her because the company irradiates it to ensure it is germ-free.
“I have autoimmune deficiencies, quite a few,” said Baker-Hicks, who uses medical cannabis to help with a spinal condition, a blood disorder and tremors. “If I smoke something that isn’t clean, it can make me really sick.”
by Susan Nielsen, The Oregonian
Something strange happened on the way to the May primary. Ellen Rosenblum became the darling of the marijuana legalization community, and Dwight Holton became the enemy.
The differences between the two candidates for Oregon attorney general aren’t nearly that stark. Yet the heat around this issue shows how sensitive it is to talk about pot in this state — even to acknowledge the glaring problems with existing marijuana laws.
Rosenblum and Holton are both Democrats, former federal prosecutors and on record as supporting the intent of Oregon’s voter-approved medical marijuana law. Both say they have reason to believe marijuana can have medical value for people in pain. And both think Oregon’s law could be better.
Yet Holton worked recently as acting U.S. attorney for Oregon, presiding during a period of toughening federal enforcement, including raids on so-called “monster grows” in southern Oregon and crackdowns on illegal dispensaries in the Portland area. In 2010, he sent a stern letter to Reed College about the dangers of illegal drug use, including recreational marijuana consumption, after two students died of heroin overdoses.
Because of his recent role, Holton was already viewed with suspicion among marijuana activists when he referred, during a recent debate in Eugene, to Oregon’s medical marijuana laws as a “train wreck.” Now there are several homely Web pages devoted to his defeat, including the “Not Dwight Holton for Attorney General” Facebook page with 178 “likes” and counting.
Meanwhile, Rosenblum is seen posing with a prominent marijuana activist in a photo posted on The Weed Blog — the same blog that breathlessly describes Holton as “one of the most raging anti-medical marijuana crusaders on the planet.” The former court of appeals judge further promises on her campaign site to “make marijuana enforcement a low priority.” Her full pledgeon marijuana is longer than her pledge on every other issue, including fraud and child endangerment.
Holton, by contrast, says, “I don’t think it makes sense to pander to the marijuana legalization crowd.”
So yes, the two candidates show real differences of both style and substance on marijuana. Still, I’m not convinced their approaches as attorney general would wildly diverge. Holton says he would “happily enforce and uphold the state law,” which he says voters approved for compassionate reasons. Rosenblum admits the law’s rollout has been a bumpy ride. In separate interviews late last week, both said the law could use tweaking to clear up the gray areas and improve patient access to marijuana without inviting new problems.
In true Oregon fashion, both appear more willing to join a conversation than lead a crusade. Though they dutifully trade jabs, they mostly seem eager to avoid a no-win bickerfest about pot.
I don’t blame either candidate for wanting to change the subject. Drug policy is extremely complex and ripe for misunderstandings. Marijuana laws aren’t easily discussed during election season, when most every conversation is a variation on, “Hey! Are you for it or against it?”
I can also understand why the next attorney general might prefer to take a supporting role on medical marijuana, given the divided public opinion on dispensaries and full legalization.Proposing changes to the state’s medical marijuana law is a thankless job, as many lawmakers have learned.
Still, I’d love to see the next attorney general lead the public debate on marijuana’s next phase instead of follow it. It’s tricky: Oregon’s medical marijuana law will remain a mess until Congress re-classifies marijuana as a drug that can be prescribed, like morphine, instead of a dangerous street drug like heroin. But at the least, the next AG could be more vocal about the current law’s triple role as an aid for sick people AND a form of backdoor legalization for recreational pot smokers AND a contributor to the global drug trade.
If voters want those things, fine. Oregon will deal with it. But we could all stand to drop the euphemisms and aim for a more honest approach.
The alternative is for Oregon to keep staggering along like a mini-California: reacting to the latest initiative, inviting public backlashes and breeding more cynicism about the rule of law.
Now that would be a real train wreck.
– Associate editor Susan Nielsen, The Oregonian
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:
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.
I have spent the last couple of weeks organizing and fundraising for the Patients Access to Regulated Medical Cannabis Act of 2012 in Sac County, CA. This effort will lift a ban there that makes any patient who currently grows cannabis an outlaw in their community. The proposed initiative also allows for about 20 registered dispensaries to serve the unincorporated part of the county, which is a huge land mass with over 500,000 people, which are currently forced to drive long distances or access their medicine on the black market. It is also going to be a huge victory for medical cannabis, as it will show that our community WILL coome together and use our civic responsibilities to pass laws that represent the true will of the people. But in order for any of this to happen WE NEED MONEY!
In the last year Sacramento County lost over 100 dispensaries that created dozens of jobs and served tens of thousands of qualified patients. They have also lost the right to cultivate personally, or as part of a collective. Medical cannabis is banned outright there, with no exceptions. It is a devastating blow to the cannabis community, and an injustice of mega-proportion. This initiative will roll back this injustice and create a legal framework for patient access to personal choice medicines. When deciding whether to support an effort like this, I would think it was a no brainer; but alas, not all humans are create equal. My experiences have been more difficult than expected in some areas, but refreshing and inspiring in others. I guess it just shows that in this world we have three types of folks…the good…the bad…and the stupid.
Let us start with the good. I have been extremely lucky to work with some true cannabis warriors, who understand the magnitude of the effort at hand and have stepped up to help make this idea into a reality. Amazing people, groups and collectives have put their money, time, energy, and resources where their mouth is and have helped us get this thing off of the ground. The great ones never hesitate for a moment to do the right thing and put what is right for the community before what is most profitable for them. These folks are the heroes…the good guys, if you will. Some are gooder than others, but when you are working to raise $100,000 it is hard to split hairs and say this guy is better than the other because he has done more or given more. It is all relative and debatable; but the fact is that folks know in their hearts if they are doing what they can really, or if they are just doing the bare minimum. That is between them and their karma, but the big magnet in the sky will surely bless those who are the good and the universe will reward them for their actions. The fact that people are willing to step up and put their resources on the line is inspiring to me, and I look forward to becoming better friends and associates with the folks who I now know are the pure of heart and willing to be soldiers in this army for cannabis freedom. It is relatively clear to me who is who at this time, so it is easier for me to understand the landscape and not waste time on those who are simply unwilling to do what it takes to make the world a better place. So to the good out there, I just wanted to say “Thanks.” It is you guys who have kept me from losing my fucking mind completely, and for that I am very grateful.
Then there are the bad. It is no secret that there are some bad operators in the medical cannabis game. There are bad players in ANY game, but the lack of meaningful regulation and the possibility of fame and fortune have brought more seemingly bad folks to the table than I am really comfortable with. In my recent fundraising experiences I have been downright flabbergasted at some of the self-centered and egotistical responses I have gotten when asking people to contribute to the cause to lift the ban and expand safe access. For instance, as I went door-to-door at collectives yesterday to sell tickets to our BBQ Bonanza Fundraiser, a super fun event that goes directly to gathering signatures for our initiative, I was taken aback by some of the responses I got. I went to a collective and spoke to a person named “Billy.” I told him about the fundraiser and the initiative and how it would directly help the patients he claims to be serving. His response was a flat “We are not interested.” HUH? How is this possible, I thought? How could a person who runs a dispensary in Sacramento, who serves hundreds of patients from the unincorporated county not be “interested” in an effort that returns his patients’ right to grow their own medicine and allows them to have access points closer to their home, so they can save time and resources in accessing their medicine. I was astonished at the response, and even had to ask twice…”Are you sure?” The response was unwavering..”Yup.” I point this out not just because this person did not want to buy tickets to the event, but because several other local activists have told me that these folks have also made statements to the effect of “We do not want places to open in the county. Our business is just picking up again.” It is these types of self-centered and inconsiderate statements that make me wonder about some people. Obviously some do not have the game required to compete on a level playing field and feel their interests are better served by forcing people to drive long distances to spend their money with them, rather than having safe and convenient access where they live. Super. I am not sure how people like this sleep at night, as my theory is that patients deserve options and there is enough market for everyone. Here is the first clue…If you have good medicine, good prices, and a friendly and caring staff you can succeed anywhere, regardless of how stiff the competition is. Obviously, anyone who is so worried about their success that they would not support, and seemingly work to undermine, an effort to lift a ban on their own patients right to cultivate because of the thought that they might actually have to step their game up to compete, likely is missing one of those key elements. Maybe their medicine is lacking, as often the great growers gravitate towards collectives that treat them well. Or maybe their service stinks. Who knows? God knows these cats are not alone, but are representative of a larger underlying issue in our community….the desire for people to get ahead at the expense of others.
It is shameful really, and breaks my heart to think there are actually people who would sacrifice an effort to lift a ban on local patients rights in hopes of gaining market share for themselves. I am sure the karma faerie will be buy to meet these folks soon enough though, so I digress. Just know that there are people out there who would sacrifice your rights for their own benefit, and that this is very sad. When you go to pick up your medicine, do yourself a favor and look around. Does it look like your collective is a group that supports efforts to advance cannabis freedom and/or goodwill in the community, or does it just look like a weed store who wants nothing more than to sell you their goods and use their resources to benefit their own. That is a big deal. If we, as Americans, took more time to research where we spend our money based on the conduct of the companies we patronize, chances are a lot of these companies would do more to make the world a better place, and medical cannabis is no different. I have not shopped at Target in months because of their political affiliations and their policies, and while it can be inconvenient to go elsewhere, it makes me feel better about where I spend my money and in turn makes it more difficult for Target to spend my money on their causes that I do not agree with. So if you look around your collective and notice that it is devoid of any signs of activism, support, and outreach to make the world a better place for YOU, the patient, find a new collective whose morals are more in line with your own. It is really that simple.
Then there is the stupid. Some might say you have to be stupid to even be in the medical cannabis game…or at least a little crazy. I mean who wakes up everyday to go to work in an industry where any day armed gunmen can take you to prison, and where you constantly have to defend your right to even exist from the evils of cannabis prohibition. It can be a difficult existence at times, but that is no excuse to be stupid though. In an industry like this, people need to be educated and intellectually curious. Ignorance can get you into some hot water, as we have seen time and time again. Many are just too caught up in their own mess to see the bigger picture, I suppose. It amazes me sometimes that folks cannot see that we are all an inter-connected group of people that share mutual goals and similar objectives. We are all fighting for the right to exist and be contributing members of our community…at least most share those goals. For a person not to make a real effort to understand how their piece makes up the whole is unacceptable. When we, as a community, do not understand how our actions affect others and how others’ efforts can help or hinder the people we serve, we lose.
This industry is WAY deeper than selling medicine. This is a political and social fight for justice that tears at the fabric of our society. We are on the front lines of a battle for the hearts and minds of our community. It is our duty to be an active and informed member of that community. So in my recent experiences in fundraising for a very worthy cause, I guess I have been a bit taken aback by some folks pure lack of knowledge. Now I do not expect everyone in medical cannabis to be as obsessed with cannabis policy and politics as I am. Very few are. But I would expect for people to know the basics about the law and be aware of what is happening in their own communities. Many do, but there is definitely a constituency of those who do not, which makes me feel a bit dismayed. I almost feel responsible. Have I not done enough to reach out to people and to offer my knowledge for them to be more informed? It is almost like when I used to tutor college students in English at Laney College. There were some cats in college who literally could not make a sentence, much less a paragraph, and the were in college. I could only think to myself, “The system has failed these people.” I somewhat feel like our system has failed many operators, or that the operators have just failed to make any effort to be more knowledgable. That is a harsh reality, and unfortunately for the rest of us, a very dangerous situation. We, as a movement, are often held to our lowest common denominator in the press and in the court of public opinion. So when ill-informed people operate organizations that have the ability to seriously damage the reputation of an entire industry, one can see how there might be a real problem. Most of the public does not discern between good and bad operators. All they hear is that this stupid pot club did some really stupid shit and they think “Those dispensaries are bad for the community.” If people do not see that and work to be more informed, then I suppose the movement will continue to be hampered by the ignorance of those who make up the ranks of the stupid.
Fortunately, there are MANY very good people in this movement and I have been heartened by those experiences. Sacramento is a great microcosm of the entire state and the entire industry. The community is learning to come together to solve the bigger problems and it seems as if some of the inherent division is going away. Nothing like Federal interference to make people put aside differences and be more open to working together…myself included. I have come to learn that I do not dislike some people as much as I did, and that some others were not as great as I once thought they were; but overall I have been impressed with my experiences and have learned a hell of a lot. Each person and organization that make up the fabric of this community are unique and interesting in their own right. But when you can step back and assess the community as a whole you see a mosaic of beauty and inspiration that can touch your heart. Sure, it is tattered and torn in some areas; but the beauty of this industry, and the people who are willing to put their asses on the line to make it happen is inspiring. Yes…there are the good, the bad, and the stupid. But as a whole, there is mostly the good and the stupid are coming around, as we educate and inform them of their duties and responsibilities to activism and social change. I look forward to working with these folks and helping them to grow in their journey. We should all be interested in seeing the movement grow and grow up. Together we are a mighty force to be reckoned with. Never forget that.
If you are good…be better. If you are bad…get good. If you are stupid…get educated.
On this Easter I sit here thinking about the parable of Jesus’ dying and then rising from the dead to save his people. It is a common story woven throughout the fabric of our religions and beliefs across the world. Regardless of your religion or thoughts on Easter, the story is a valuable one. Jesus was persecuted for his beliefs to the point they actually killed him, but the inherent good of the universe could not be stopped; and three days later Jesus arose from the dead. Why is this an important story? Because it is meant to teach us that no matter how much the evils of this world can seem to overtake us and bring down our spirits that our existence and purpose transcend the secular world, and that the spirit and powers of the universe trump those who would use their powers to try and overcome what is good and right in the world.
Now I am not saying Richard is comparable to Jesus in any way, of course. That would be silly. But the story of the crucifixion and the rising from the dead is an important story for our community to understand in this current cannabis climate; and what happened to Richard Lee this week parallels the injustices that Jesus faced in his day and age. The reason Jesus was arrested was that chief priests and pharisees saw him as a threat to their self-proclaimed authority. That is right. Jesus and I are both convicted felons, so that helps me to feel better. But can you see how Jesus, like Richard and thousands of other people being persecuted for cannabis, was convicted and tried because his thoughts and sermons threatened the core power structure of the time. Richard also has posed a threat to the current power structure by succeeding in changing the dialogue and showing the world that not only is cannabis safe, enjoyable and helpful, but it is also a positive benefit for our society.
Cannabis itself poses a huge threat to the power structure of this country and world because it opens people’s minds up and gives them the ability to think more clearly for themselves. Prohibition of cannabis is one of the biggest lies that our society has ever told, and we have ruined millions of lives as a result of these deceptions. Richard’s work has made it much harder for these oppressors to carry on with their lies and their profitable drug war. Richard’s Oaksterdam University has trained over 4,000 people to understand, love, and respect cannabis. Those 4,000 folks are taking their knowledge and passing that on to others, and thus a wildfire has been created. It has been so awesome to watch. I remember when Rich came up with the genius of Oaksterdam U, in a small room on 15th St. It was more of a publicity stunt that was meant to show the world that the cannabis industry was legit; but what was born was one of the greatest ideas that cannabis reform has ever known. Oaksterdam has brought cannabis WAY out of the closet and into the living rooms of middle America. Which is why when armed gunmen stormed the OU castle the other day over a hundred of this industry’s brightest and best came out to defend her honor. We did not have militarized forces, but we had our voice and our presence. At the end of the day, while the thugs made off with plants and evidence, we came away the victors- and we have Richard Lee to thank for that.
How did we win you might say? Read the paper. Watch the news. Google Oaksterdam right now. Almost EVERY story is slanted in the favor of the cannabis community and seems to question the validity of our Nation’s continued failed war on cannabis. Because Richard pioneered so many aspects of this industry, he is a difficult target for them to understand. He is more than a weedhead. He is more than a patient. He is more than an activist. He is more than a businessman. He is more than a leader. He is more than your run-of-the-mill weedlebrity. He is a fucking cannabis icon. Richard Lee is a real life cannabis hero and I am glad to know him.
What I love about Richard Lee is that regardless of the topic or the strength of the opposition, he ALWAYS tells the fucking truth. That is rare in this day and age. Most people can blow in the wind for one reason or another; but not Richard. He will not bullshit you and he will not sugar coat things. He understands the value of an honest dialogue and is not afraid to have the tough conversations. I have a hell of a lot of respect for the way Richard goes about his business. There is a cool and calming confidence that I have always admired from afar and have worked to emulate. Richard has always been a powerhouse in cannabis reform, and there are many times when we have not seen eye-to-eye on things, but I have always respected his opinion because I knew it was well-thought and researched. I knew that Richard had done his homework. Regardless of where we personally sit regarding a particular issue you can be guaranteed Richard knows his shit.
His vision and implementation has been astonishing to watch in the place we all now know as Oaksterdam. Richard Lee is the Mayor of Oaksterdam, whether he wants the job or not. No one has done more to revitalize an entire section of a major city than Rich, his crew, and the other many soldiers who put their asses on the line and made this part of Oakland more legendary than Amsterdam. His effort to legalize cannabis through Prop. 19 was a paradigm shift in the way our community views cannabis. People know that it is just a matter of time before we cross that threshold the victors and the drug war criminals are held responsible for their actions.
So maybe we should dub what happened this week GOOD MONDAY, and we will also have a divine resurrection on whatever the cannabis equivalent of three days is (stoner time). While our community is down and a little out right now, we are bigger than the evils of this government that clings to power in an effort to control a large portion of our society that enjoys a safe, effective and helpful plant. The first Monday of April every year I will now observe GOOD MONDAY, the day the evil bastards crossed the line so far that they changed the world and helped us to win the battle for cannabis freedom. We are in the final days of this prohibition and they know it. We know it. The whole fucking world knows it. The toothpaste is out of the tube and it will be nearly impossible to put back. You can thank Richard Lee for getting a hell of a lot of the toothpaste out of that tube.
The bastards tried to crucify cannabis users on GOOD MONDAY. We rose up to meet them and let the world know that they cannot kick in the door of one of our most cherished institutions without a fight, and without having to answer for their actions. They have lost the battle. I would say 95% of the stories of the Oaksterdam raid have called bullshit on the continued waste of resources by the Feds and have praised OU’s work.
The school shooting and murder of 7 innocent people in Oakland that day at a different college juxtaposed the injustice for the world to see. Why are we chasing weedheads around and not focusing on real issues, like illegal guns? The world has just about had it with the dumb bullshit and the wasteful policies that are cannabis prohibition. The raid of Richard Lee and his historic institution is a huge black eye of the Federal policy of interfering with regulated medical cannabis. It shows that our priorities in this country are all fucked up. While hundreds of heavily armed federal zealots performed a military style raid on a man and a school that have hurt no one and have helped so many, so many died at the hands of gun violence that day across town, and the world watched in disgust. Once again, Richard Lee was leading the charge and educating the world on why cannabis prohibition is not working.
So MANY THANKS to Richard Lee and I look forward to fighting in the trenches with him until we end this fucking prohibition once and for all.
Here is a message and call to action from Richard himself:
Dear Friend,On Monday, April 2, my school — Oaksterdam University in Oakland — was raided by the DEA, IRS, and US Marshals. Oaksterdam provides training to the medical cannabis industry, and is fully compliant with state and local law.President Obama promised at the beginning of his administration to respect state medical marijuana laws. He has broken this promise time and time again — and the consequences have been devastating.This was a senseless act of intimidation. But I’ve been an activist far too long to become intimidated — and with the majority of Americans and common sense on our side, I know this is a fight we can win.With our government trillions in debt, why is our government using taxpayer dollars to come after me, Oaksterdam, and the thousands of patients who need medical marijuana just to get through the day?Tell President Obama and the DEA: Enough is enough. Keep your campaign promise, and stop the raids on the medical cannabis industry!
Thanks for your support,
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 Patrick McGreavy, Los Angeles Times
A proposal that could make it easier to open medical marijuana shops in California was approved Tuesday by the Assembly’s Public Safety Committee despite objections from cities and law enforcement agencies that it unreasonably ties their hands.
The measure by committee Chairman Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco) would shift the regulation of the industry from local governments, some of which have banned the dispensaries, to a new state Board of Medical Marijuana Enforcement that would adopt rules and set fees for medical pot cultivation and sales.
The measure would require that no fewer than one pot dispensary be allowed per 50,000 residents. Ammiano said statewide rules are needed because dispensaries have been harassed by law enforcement in some areas even though they were legalized by California voters more than 15 years ago.
“The worst public policy choice for California is to sit idly by doing nothing and let this failed war on medical cannabis continue unchecked,” he said before the committee vote. “The point of regulation is to bring these activities above board to guarantee safe and effective access, with clear rules for those involved in the industry.”
The panel voted 4-2, with Republican members opposed, to approve AB 2312, which now goes to another committee before it can reach the Assembly floor. The League of California Cities and the California Police Chiefs Assn. opposed the bill in part because of concern that it takes control over the clinics away from cities and counties.
“It forecloses the ability of local government to take control over their own destiny,” said John Lovell, government relations manager for the police chiefs’ group.
Assemblyman Stephen Knight (R-Palmdale) voted against the measure, saying it puts local law enforcement at odds with federal law, which still prohibits the sale of marijuana. “This is still an illegal activity,” he said.