Posts Tagged ‘mickey martin’
I was disappointed to hear Radical Russ Belville tell the tale of how NORML Network, which he produced, would be shut down because of lack of funding…even though they had raised their own funding. WTF? For a group dedicated to being an “informational resource” it begs to wonder why they would shut down a program that gets up to 5,000 downloads a day and which produced 13 hours of original cannabis content every week. In this day and age, it would seem that a project like the NORML network would be a natural evolution in providing cannabis education and information to the masses. Russ did a hell of a job, along with the other content creators there, to make entertaining and informative programming week after week. So what is the deal?
Here is what Russ says is the reason for shutting down the network:
We don’t have any money. There is no money at NORML. We don’t have enough to justify covering the expenses it takes to produce this network.
Russ goes on to tell about how National NORML pulled the plug after the network raised $5-6k to cover its own expenses and how they say they “just do not have it in the budget to earmark funding for any specific projects.” In the video below you can hear Russ tell the tale in his own words, and you can tell he is extremely pissed. I do not blame him, either.
Russ alludes to the real issue, which is the new Chairman of the Board, Paul Kuhn, does not see any real value in the network, and does not care for Russ being so “Radical.” He goes on to even state the jackass wants to “rechristen him Reasonable Russ.” Russ lets go a little and can be heard almost cringing as he talks about his “vision being too big” and how he “cannot have any of the money we raised.” I agree. Russ has all very valid points and has every right to be disgusted. Join the club.
National NORML is a joke at this point. I am not sure why they continue the charade and act as if they are actually accomplishing anything of value over there. On the reals, the NORML network was really the ONLY thing NORML had been doing that I saw to be of any value. Lord knows they are not organizing the community to make real impacts on policy. They are not winning the PR battle, with assholes like St. Pierre wandering around and damning the entire medical cannabis industry as evil profit-makers who are only about money. NORML has not made real and meaningful impacts to cannabis reform since the 70′s in my book….at least at the national level. Many of their local affiliates do most of the heavy lifting, while National NORML stands back and takes the credit.
I posed a challenge to Paul Kuhn the last time I mentioned the void of leadership at NORML during the WeedMaps debacle when he responded to a piece I wrote called Weedmaps Takes Over NORML. After Paul was kind enough to tell me my writing was not journalism, I challenged back that NORML was not really activism or reform, and begged him to show me a list of accomplishments for the last 40 years. I mean if you are running a policy reform group with almost a million dollar budget for 40 years, you should at least have 40 good accomplishments if you did one lousy thing a year….I responded:
So how exactly is it that you guys are “the major role players” in cannabis reform since 1995? I just do not see it. And after Keith ratted off Peter Bourne and blew any influence the organization had in National politics in the 70′s, the organization has done very little…..but you know that. I will be waiting for those accomplishments….
For the record, National NORML never responded with a list of accomplishments. Why? Because they have very little to show for the money they have gotten over the years. I hope Russ is right. I hope NORML doesn’t have any money. I hope whoever was funding that debacle took a step back and said “What the fuck are these losers doing with my cash?” 40 years of failure is not a great track record. No matter how much people like the NORML conference every year, at some point we have to realize as a community that these guys will not be taking us to the promised land.
Here was Kuhn’s bullshit defense of NORML then:
When I became active in NORML in 1971, support for legalization stood at 12%. Now it stands at 50%. I take pride knowing NORML played a major role, perhaps the major role, bringing this change about. If it wasn’t NORML, who was it? NORML and the board have faithfully (not always perfectly, but faithfully) represented the interests of marijuana consumers for four decades.
Um….no asshole. Standing around the water cooler does not count as an accomplishment….Here was my response then, which I stand by today:
As for NORML’s history of reform, and your “if not them who?” remark…I will go with Jimmy Carter and Dennis Peron….If you notice the timeline you guys are touting as your work (link below) there was a small spike in 1976; and from 1977 to 1994 we actually LOST ground. This was when NORML was in control of the entire message and was the primary resource of cannabis reform policy and operations. In 1994-95 the number began to steadily rise and most of the real progress has been seen since Dennis began to widely publicize the medical cannabis issue then and Prop 215 was passed in 1996. Going from 12% to 24% over 25 years is no great feet. I would almost bet that had NORML done NOTHING from 1969-1994 simple attrition of an older generation would have seen the same increase in support.
I also think MPP was created around 1995 as well, and then the Gallup chart really jumps on 2004 after ASA was created….. Coincidence? Hardly.
I will be waiting for that list of accomplishments and simply pointing to a 40 year Gallup poll number is not an accomplishment by any stretch of the imagination. I will say your conference is normally informative and resourceful….and also kind of like Groundhog’s Day….Maybe after another 40 years we will actually have some serious reform to brag about….
I have given NORML plenty of breaks and nobody ever said you had done nothing. I just do not recall and major accomplishments in the actual reforming of laws…..That is not being mean. That is me asking for a list of NORML accomplishments for the last 40 years that have resulted in less arrests for cannabis consumers. I do not think that is too much to ask.
My thought is that NORML IS BROKEN….not broke. I would hope they either begin to rebuild to actually be an accomplishment driven organization, or that they would simply cease to exist and that a new body of reform would emerge that is accomplishment driven and capable of leading this movement in the direction of true and meaningful reform. To continue to watch the monkey fuck the football is just painful. It is even more painful when you shut down the best thing you have going for you because Russ is too radical for your own personal taste.
NORML is stupid.
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.
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.
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:
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,
Even in the midst of a sweeping crackdown, there were people who said “I will start to worry when they start raiding Oaksterdam.” Well, start to worry because yesterday, April 2nd, hundreds of heavily armed Federal agents stormed the home and businesses of Oaksterdam founder, Richard Lee. This raid has sent shockwaves throughout an already terrified medical cannabis industry, and has brought many to the fateful decision of “Fight or Flight.” I will take FIGHT over flight any day, so I responded to the scene shortly after 8 am for what was to be an eventful day full of passion and excitement. If the Feds wanted a fight, they had come to the right spot.
Throughout the morning bands of local activists descended on to Broadway and 16th Streets in “The O” to defend the honor of patients and providers,and to show support for those being held by the Feds. Richard was detained at his home, while some staff was held in Oaksterdam University. The dumbass Feds had taken over part of the adjacent parking lot and had created a police line around the front of the building that stretched down the side of the building. It did not seem like they were entirely prepared for the response they received as several relentless activist and dedicated supporters peppered agents with questioning accusations, insults, and shame. These assholes know deep in their heart that this is all bullshit, and most of them did not look thrilled to be assigned shit patrol to hang out on the street with assholes like myself blurting obscenities and accusing them of betraying their fellow citizens.
But let’s be frank….THESE ASSHOLES ARE WAR CRIMINALS. When a bunch of “just following orders” grown-ass men and women pack the van armed to the hilt to suppress States Rights and to interfere with the basic human right of a person to feel better, they take responsibility for their own karma and fate. There is no pussy-footing on this one. The assholes decided that it was in the best interest of their paycheck and their desire to feed their families to trample the rights of thousands of patents and to ruin the lives of other families. They are lousy rank and file foot soldiers in a failed war on our own citizens, and their very presence embodies everything that is wrong with this fucking world.
As I stood on the street full of potholes, crumbling infrastructure, and abandoned buildings in a City where gun violence is rampant and dangerous drug violence is the norm, not the exception, I watched our Government pour hundreds of thousands of dollars in valuable resources down the drain busting people for gardening and activism. It was enough to make me hang my head in my hands an truly question the morals and values of our society. Here I was face to face with the assholes who just 4 years ago stormed my own home and tossed my kids’ rooms in the name of the war on drugs. All of those emotions come right back in that moment. When I am that close to tyranny it is difficult for me to keep my emotions in check, so I may have said some shit that was difficult for the faint of heart to absorb; but they will hopefully never understand the emotion and anger that creates those feelings. I stood there in awe of the sheer firepower these assholes brought out to bust a weed school and a dispensary. It was WAY over the top and was a clear sign that we do indeed live in a police state, where at any moment hundreds of armed thugs can show up in force to decimate your human rights and enforce bad laws that make zero sense in the moral code of what is right.
Hours of angry screaming and yelling for justice on a street corner fell on deaf ears. The bullies did what they were going to do, and could care less about the will of the people or the fact that cannabis has hurt none and helped many. It was as if we were in some alternate universe where other citizens did not matter, as they only existed to continue to feed the ever-growing machine of Federal overreach into the civil liberties of us all. It was scary to know that, in all reality, at the end of the day, there was very little we could do to change the course of history. Not for a lack of trying though….it was a colorful day of activism and it was almost cathartic being able to scream in the face of the assholes who ruined my life just a few years back.
Many awesome activists came out in support of Oaksterdam and medical cannabis. Some losers just showed up to do their normal “Look at me. I am important” press interviews; but for the most part the tried and true masters of the universe were there to take action aginst these thugs and to let them know that the whole world was indeed watching.
At about 9:30 am OPD arrived on scene to tell me that I could not use my bullhorn without a permit, but shortly thereafter we were able to secure a permit and continue our amplified sound. Right about that same time about a dozen riot gear wearing OPD thugs showed up to help the Feds escape with their bounty from Oaksterdam. We did our best to make it as difficult as possible, with several activist putting their body in harm’s way to try and slow down the inevitable trampling of our rights and the stealing of Oaksterdam’s property.
Shortly after they ran away like bitches from the University we all caught word that several agents were still located inside of the dispensary of 17th Street. Dozens of activists trapped the agents inside, and I screamed on the bullhorn, “We have you surrounded, War Criminals! Come out with your hands up.” They did not. Instead they called for reinforcements and the assholes who ran away had to come back and rescue them. They decided to storm the castle, pushing and shoving anyone in their way to save their brothers in arms. Longtime cannabis warrior, Hozay decided to push back and was tackled, assaulted and arrested by the Feds. Danielle Schummaker was also arrested, as she defied orders from the oppressors.
Video of the may-lay…
At the end of the day I sat under the large Oak tree at Oakland City Hall with my head in my hands and my heart bleeding for justice. I shed a brief tear of emotion, as it was hard for me to believe that we were still here fighting this same battle again. I understood clearly that the world was not a safe or reasonable place to live any more. These armed thugs took away my ability to trust that things would someday be alright. It is clear now to me that the reality is that unless our society rises above the madness and ends this insane war on drugs, we may all be doomed to lives where chaos, deception and fear rule the day. That can make it hard to get up in the morning, but alas, I do. And like a good warrior, I put one foot in front of the motherfucking other and march towards cannabis freedom, regardless if I am outgunned or not. I would rather die knowing I stood for what was right and just, rather than live a life where I terrorized my own community in the name of following orders.
So while we lost the day and could not stop that long arm of the law from violating the rights of our community, I still believe that we WILL win the war in the long run.
In the words of the great Bill Hicks:
“George Bush says ‘we are losing the war on drugs’. Well you know what that implies? There’s a war going on, and people on drugs are winning it! Well what does that tell you about drugs? Some smart, creative motherfuckers on that side.”
Yes, Bill…smart, creative motherfuckers indeed…
In July of 2009 I called Weedmaps out, as their owner, Justin Hartfield had this to say in a story ran in the Wall Street Journal:
“Mr. Hartfield, the Weedmaps impresario, has a doctor’s recommendation for marijuana “to ease my anxiety and help with my insomnia.” Mr. Hartfield says the med-pot system is really just a way of legalizing marijuana for anyone who wants to smoke. He says his anxiety/insomnia isn’t really serious enough to require treatment. “I’m fine. I don’t really have it,” he says. “The medical system is a total farce. I’m an example of that. It just needs to be legal.”
I thought then that the community should shitcan this organization and not support people who so blatantly disregarded the medical cannabis movement and was so ignorant about how to deal with the media. I still think this organization SUCKS and I still think organizations should find a better place to spend their advertising dollars.
Since this fateful piece in the WSJ Weedmaps has grown into a mammoth organization and has gone public with their stock. The organization is comprised of many “boiler room” type salespeople who are motivated by nothing more than the money they take in for advertising on their website. The slick and twisted sales force seems to be commission based, and they reportedly not only work to undermine other similar service, but also each other. Many collectives report multiple salespeople coming in at all times of the month demanding cash for their services and some former employees report that there is straight up stealing going on from the company and one another.
They continually threaten other sites, including their attempt to buy Leafly.com. When they refused to sell the site for stock options, Weedmaps threatened to clone their site and crush them. Nice. Love the ethics over there.
Let us be clear….Weedmaps took a shell company out of Vancouver called LX Luxuries and changed the name to General Cannabis to get their public stock trading identity. Their stock is overvalued and IMO is more of an affinity fraud than anything.
Their latest adventure is the take over of SC Labs and now they seem to be refusing to post lab results from other labs and pressuring their advertisers to use SC Lab services if they want to have lab results on their menu. The kicker is that SC Labs handles cannabis directly. Therefore it is unclear how a company who is regulated by the SEC can be directly benefited by a company that handles cannabis. I am no Federal regulator, but I think there is a line there somewhere.
I have never really cared for Weedmaps’ program. It is too plastic and gimmicky for my taste. I think that the community has much better organizations and places they can spend their advertising dollars where they are not intimidated to use only services that are related and are not put under immense pressure. I am sure that there will not be a mass exodus from Weedmaps any time soon, as many collectives do not care about the ethics as long as they get the exposure for their service. Such is life. But for organizations who do care about morality, ethics and fair business practices I would suggest moving your advertising dollars elsewhere and supporting organizations that have the best interest of cannabis in mind, and not just the interest of their stock holders. There are WAY better services out there.
So if you are happy with giving money to people who lack ethics and responsibility then keep giving to WM. If you give a shit about the movement and are tired of being pressured into purchasing ad space and using affiliated service, move your ad money elsewhere. It is really that simple.
The good Lord knows I do not normally waste a lot of time trying to figure out what the Federal government is up to. There is no rhyme or reason to their continued interference between people’s personal freedom to use cannabis and the their promotion of the ever-growing prison industrial complex. It is like a bad movie with horrible actors in roles they were never meant to play. The absurdity of cannabis prohibition continues to come to the forefront of the national dialogue and suddenly the Feds feel they need to justify their stance with erroneous bullshit excuses about saving kids and the dangers of medical marijuana. I call BULLSHIT!
The medical cannabis industry has blossomed over the past couple of years into an unstoppable powerhouse of outlaws, activists, business people, professionals, and cannabis users. The issue is more alive and mainstream than ever. I watched the movie 50/50 the other night, and was amazed at the gratuitous and pointed references to medical cannabis. The movie was very real to me, as I have just gone through a very similar experience with my best friend, and cannabis playing such an up front role in this major motion picture was refreshing. It let me know that regardless of the onslaught of negative press and government interference, that our message continues to break through boundaries of intolerance and is reaching the hearts and minds of our culture. It is not new that cannabis is portrayed in a movie, but the message and the tone of its appearance in movies like 50/50 and the movie It’s Complicated (Alec Baldwin and Meryl Streep use cannabis to liven up their drab mid-life crisis) shows that the dichotomy of how our society views cannabis is evolving. Cannabis is no longer seen as an activity for simple derelicts and outcasts; but is becoming more acceptable by those who see that cannabis is safe, enjoyable and helpful.
Which brings me back to my original question…WTF ARE THE FEDS THINKING? Our government often has its collective head up its collective ass so far that they either do not see what is happening right in front of their eyes, or more likely, they are influenced by such powerful lobbying forces and the big payout from prohibition that they continue to double down on lies and press misinformation and bizarre claims as their reasoning for ruining people’s lives over a fucking plant. It is unbelievable really.
In a recent interview, US Attorney for the Northern District, Melinda Haag attempted to justify the Federal crackdown on medical cannabis providers with a bizarre reasoning based on saving the children from the dangers of crime caused as a result of dispensaries. Here is what she said:
“When a dispensary comes to my attention that is close to a school, a park, a playground or children, that’s a line I’ve decided to draw.”
“There is a belief, backed by facts, that marijuana operations are often times the victims of criminal activity,” she added. “Armed robberies at dispensaries, armed robberies at grow operations, and people who are nearby are at risk [to wit: school children] as a result of that.”
Ms. Haag, respectfully, your “belief, backed by facts,” are first off simply unfounded, and secondly, if the standard for deciding if a business can operate is the potential for crime near schools or youth facilities, then I would expect for you to begin closing every bank, bar, liquor store, and pharmacy within 1000 feet of a school as well. ALL of these types of businesses are far more prone to criminal activity than a dispensary. If you truly want to use that you are saving the children with these actions, then your response would also have to encompass other businesses with similar risks. But we all know this is not really about that. You could give a shit about the kids, and frankly, if you did give a shit about the kids you would want a safe, regulated, and secured dispensary around for the added security measures they bring to an area.
Just admit it…your lies are based in deception and are a weak attempt at justifying what can only be seen as bad policy. For you to continue this attack on patients and providers by hiding behind some myth that children are in danger is fucking nuts. You are fucking crazy. That is right…I said it. US Attorney for the Northern District of CA Melinda Haag is fucking crazy. There is no other reasonable explanation to your actions and your poor excuse for taking those actions. It does not hold water, and you should be ashamed, Ms. Haag. I know, somewhere in there, is a bright and intelligent person who knows deep in her heart that this is a bad idea based on ideology and intolerance that are directly funded by those who are getting rich off of the drug war. That is some sad shit. When this all shakes out, and cannabis prohibition is repealed, you will be seen as a tool that allowed herself to be used by big business and prison lobbies into continue to oppress our citizens with nonsense and lies. If that is what you want your legacy to be, then so be it. You got it. You are continuing to defend misinformation and ignorance and put forth weak and non-factual talking points to defend your oppressive actions. You are still a human being, and have the right to speak truth to power and tell the big boys in DC that enough is enough and that you are tired of bullshitting people to keep their prohibition in tact. It is not working anyways. No one out here believe the dumb shit about how dangerous dispensaries are for kids…especially when dozens of far more dangerous businesses reside in neighborhoods with schools than dispensaries, and you could give a shit.
So spare me the defender of children arrogant bullshit responses in the future. If you believe what you are doing is moral and ethical then you should not need to justify them with such tomfoolery. It is disingenuous and makes you look like a boldface liar and deceptive con-artist working for the evils of our nation, rather than defending our citizens from real danger. You are better than that, and I would hope your future actions would reflect reality instead of some strange urban legend and regurgitated CA Police Chiefs lobbying info rather than actual statistics.
At this point “WTF are the feds thinking” is a mystery. I can tell you what they are not thinking. They are not thinking that their actions, a ruse to convince people that cannabis is evil, are seriously damaging the fabric of our society by creating a lie and imprisoning our neighbors for plants. The real dangers to the children are the Feds actions…not ours. One day history will hold you accountable. Just know that. Let that sit with you. You are a war criminal against your own people. Your place in history will be cemented by your willingness to carry out these actions against people who enjoy and provide cannabis. It will say “MELINDA HAAG: DRUG WARRIOR.” WTF are you thinking?
I woke up this morning to find out I have been involuntarily removed from the Drug Policy for California email list, after an email exchange with Steph Sherer from ASA, and some other “friends” of ASA and of prohibition. I cannot say I am surprised. In all actuality, I am somewhat astonished I have lasted this long, as my brash tone and unrelenting use of the “f-bomb” has often stirred emotion and has resulted in people begging Dale Geringer to have me removed. So all of those folks can dance a jig this morning in relief that they do not have to put up with my crap any more (I am looking at you Brett Stone).
For those of you who do not know, DPFCA is an activist email list that people in the community subscribe to. In it, activists post interesting topics and every day Brett Stone posts about a dozen news stories, and an advertisement to pay $50 to directly subscribe to his news feed. Sometimes there are spirited debates amongst the always colorful activist community, and I am no stranger to friendly banter and argument on this list. I think it is healthy to have a public debate on many of the issues facing the cannabis community, and for better or worse, I generally lay out my feelings just as they are with very little sugar coating. Many of my thoughts and writings do not even make the DPFCA list, as I understand there are limitations as to what is appropriate and what is not….
I suppose my blog entitled “You are fucking crazy” was a poor choice to post, but a message I felt was necessary. I risked posting it because my general frustration level with many in this movement has boiled to an all time high, and I felt posting something with a bunch of f-bombs was simply a better option than keeping my true feelings bottled up. To me, I would rather be known as a person who said what they meant and dealt with the consequences, rather than a Yes Man Son of a Bitch who tows the party line and fear speaking out because it might rub some the wrong way.
So after posting the You are Fucking Crazy piece, I got the most odd response from the Director of Americans for Safe Access, Steph Sherer. Here is what she said:
If you didn’t curse so much you could be the Ann Coulter of marijuana.
Now Steph and I were once close allies, and I have supported ASA for years; but recent developments in their action plan have made me rethink that alliance after several snarky remarks from ASA, similar to the one listed above. So I responded with this:
I am gonna let that slide…..I have too much respect for you, Steph to even go there with you. But I will say this….I expected better than some snarky bullshit response from the leader of ASA….I will take it with a grain of salt, as I do most of ASA’s work these days….
To which Ms. Sherer responded:
Let what slide. I was trying to be funny… How else does one respond to an email filled with the f-bomb and yet more threats for verbal destruction. You blog with conspiracy theories without actually thinking them through or talking to the sources that you are talking about, you don’t return calls because you prefer your version of the story, you hide behind this new
identity to bring people to your blog, and you feed on hate and dissatisfaction without solution (sounds like Ann Coulter to me if you didn’t curse so much).
The truth is you have benefited from ASA and my support in countless ways. Do you have any idea what ASA or I do anyway? You might if you return one of my phone calls.
So with the gloves off and not much left to lose, I responded with this:
Now that is comedy…..are you sure you have the right number? You have called me once, on a conference call, with several people in the background….I believe I still have the message…”Um…Mickey, this is Steph. I think you know what we want to talk to you about.”
That is the extent of the communication I haveÂ receivedÂ from you….or ASA for that matter. When I was helping with the case in Butte County, you told me you were too busy to discuss it. When you needed a person in Butte County for your lawsuit, I called the folks I knew and did my best. But for the dozens of times I have called and texted you or your organization with zero response, for you to say I do not return your call because I did not want you to try and sweet talk me in front of your group about a terrible initiative that was put forth hastily and with questionable intention is absurd. You have been too busy catering to your major donors to possibly stop and chat it up with us peons. All of the sudden you say I “do not return calls.” That is fucking hilarious. I did not want to condemn you in front of your groupies, so I did not take the call…
So now you want to dismiss my writing as simple “conspiracy theory?” That is awesome. Here is some conspiracy theory that a person who was in those meetings and on all of those conference calls had to say about your MMRCTA adventure with UFCW (just so you know it is not just me that thinks this crazy conspiracy theory shit).
“MMRCT- became a total joke, and there was NO money raised IMO, they got commitmentsÂ (supposedly) only after the 1st million was raised which it never was. On top of that UFCW or should i say Dan Rush, was discouraging everyone from working the capitol, because they (DAN) obviously wants to own anything and everything cannabis in CA, which I don’t agree with….I brought in some big players in the Sac/Politico scene to work on the MMRCT andÂ theyÂ wereÂ appalled at the way it was handled. No transparency, a lot of bullshit and lies and I must say I was not impressed with ASA bending over like that with UFCW…I think that Dan promised the sky to Steph and didn’t deliver….UFCW/ Dan Rush is and was a total joke IMO.”
I can truly go on for ages with testimonies JUST LIKE THIS from some of the most well-known folks in this industry, if you would like. I do not think they would care for it though, so I digress. There are literally DOZENS of folks who you assumed were with you all of the way, who simply were not and felt bullied by your’s, Dontel’s, and Dan Rush’s pressure. So before you go getting all righteous and stating “without thinking them through or talking to the sources you are talking about” you might want to really take a step back, look around you, and maybe have a heart-to-heart with Dontel about your accusations of me. I do not think many people would accuse me of not “thinking things through.” If anything, I may over think some stuff…
I hide behind this new identity? What is that? Cannabis Warrior? That is just a blog (which has been up for 2 years mind you), and I could care less about “bringing people to my blog.” My blog is cathartic for me. It allows me to lay the world in my head out into words and better understand my existence. New identity? That is funny….anyone who knows me will tell you, besides not drinking way too much booze any more, I am the same as I ever was. Maybe it is your position that has changed.
Maybe what was once a simple organization dedicated to advancing the cause of medical marijuana, has found major donors and underwriters to the effect that they could give a shit about the rank and file in this movement if they do not have a donation to give. Maybe what was once a group focused and centered is now overwhelmed and lacking real talent or leadership. Maybe you have taken for granted the average patient and have instead catered to the few who write you checks. I am not sure, but since we are throwing accusations around and stating that I “feed off hate and dissatisfaction,” let us just put it all out there.
Many people, and I am not alone in stating this by any means, believe ASA has sold out and does not have the best interest of this community in mind any longer. I think there is a level of arrogance and ignorance, a dangerous combination, that has tarnished the ASA brand you worked so hard to build. You can attempt to belittle me….like I said “grain of salt.” I am game. But know that there is an overwhelming level of distrust that is now associated with ASA that I hear from the many…not the few. If you want to attempt to paint me as some “Anne Coulter” personality, then it is just obvious. like usual, you have not been paying very close attention.
I have supported ASA since its inception. I understand how I have benefitted from ASA in the past. I have even written “conspiracy theory” blogs about how great you and ASA are. Here is one:Â http://cannabiswarrior.com/2011/04/17/many-thanks-steph-sherer/;I have several others, but why should I have to justify that. Everyone knows I haveÂ admittedly supported ASA without question to a fault. I have actual statements from Don’s employees that say how grateful Don is for how I have defended ASA over the years….I do not think anyone would accuse me of not being appreciative of ASA’s work. If that is what you, as the Director of Americans for Safe Access, wants to put forth on this email list, then so be it…but my loyalty to you and ASA for years speaks for itself.
Which is why some have taken notice, as I have begun to question your direction, motives, and operations. Because I was always your biggest supporter. Do you know how many activists have asked me “WTF is up with you and ASA?” All I can say at this point is “We do not share the same values, and have different goals, I suppose.” But what is clear is that my distrust is not some baseless conspiracy founded in madness….there is no shortage of questions about your mission and vision these days…But you do not need me to tell you that. Ask the 7 people who showed up to your Sacramento shindig at Montel’s spot because about half of them called me up afterwards asking WTF?
So if you think I am like Ann Coulter, then that is great. At least I know where I stand with you guys over there. So in the same bullshit snarky tone I guess I could get down and play the dozens, as well.
If you didn’t bullshit people so much you could be the Montel Williams of medical marijuana…oh wait. You kind of are the Montel Williams of medical marijuana…never mind.
I do know what ASA does…as for you, I know what you have told me you do, what I have seen you do, and what I believe you are trying to do. I just think that objective is off course from my calculations and where I think cannabis reform should be heading. But you know, I am just a wingnut conspiracy theorist…and a nobody.
I appreciate you taking the time out of your busy day to have this discussion though. If you still want to talk, I am game; but you might not like what I have to say…..
So after this there was a call from Brett Stone (again) to have me removed, and I guess that squeaky wheel finally got his oil. In another crazy move, long-time activist Mike Gray actually insinuated I was a Federal agent working to destroy the movement. That is so fucking awesome. I am not sure if I should be offended, or honored by this. Attorney Michael Krawitz agreed with Gray, stating “I am not sure whose side you are on.”
Honestly, Mike…with the way this movement is headed, I am not sure either.
But we all have our questions and concerns. I just happen to voice mine more directly and loudly than some care for. I can live with that. If you subscribe to the DPFCA list, enjoy your white-washed version of reality. I do not want to be on a list that believes a difficult conversation is not worth having. Good luck with your drab Brett Stone lame news feed of mostly irrelevant stories. I will continue to speak my mind, and get my message out. I can assure you this will not silence my lambs.
To me, it is insane that a group supposedly rooted in a cause for freedom would continue to limit and censor others in the community, and then wonder why they have such a hard time finding any real freedoms. One day the bullshit will end, and a dedicated and forward-thinking group of activists WILL finally achieve the goal of cannabis freedom. Hopefully this will come sooner than later, and hopefully this uncalled for removal of me from the DPFCA list will serve as a clear call to activists everywhere that the people running the reform game are as much to blame for our failures as the opposition we fight daily. The difference is that at least the opposition is open about their mission to defeat real reform, rather than the two-faced back room bullshit that is happening in some of these groups.
There is no easy way to say this, so let’s just cut to the chase. Cannabis reform is failing miserably. Try to think of Cannabis Freedom as a corporation, and we are all stockholders in that corporation. Instead of working to gain profits, like a normal corporation, we are trying to increase cannabis freedom. Nixon announced his “War on Drugs” in 1971. Since then, cannabis reform groups have been working to end the War on Cannabis. As you can see from the chart below, cannabis arrests in America continue to skyrocket to astronomical numbers. So it is pretty clear that cannabis reform is failing in a major way. As a stockholder in Cannabis Freedom, Inc., I no longer have faith that continuing down the same path will yield positive results. The proof is in the pudding. So, like any organization, if we are failing to meet our objectives, the answer is to find new leadership and new direction to change the course of failures; and hopefully find a path to begin achieving the goal of actual cannabis freedom. In order to do that, we must fire the failing power structure, and look for leaders willing to do what it takes to get the job done.
One of the main issues is that we have too many groups working against each other, and pretending they are working on the same goals. They are not. NORML hates MPP, and they both do not care for ASA,; and DPA tries to stay above the fray, but also can be a bit distant in their interactions in the community. It is a terrible jumblefuck power struggle that continues to hamper opportunities for real and meaningful reforms. Most people who have been sitting around watching the “Dance of the Ineffective” for so long have literally given up on trying to make sense of it all. Most try to justify some affection for this group or that group, but overall it seems like most of us rank and file activists and advocates look on wondering “What the fuck is going on?”
It is not any one group’s fault, or sole problem. It is all of the groups’, and all of our problem. Most of these organizations have substancial budgets dedicated to reforming policy related to the War on Drugs and ending cannabis prohibition. I guess my real question is “Why don’t we put all of the resources into one effort, and focus our collective resources and message on accomplishing our objectives?”
It makes no sense to continue to pretend that if we do the same things over and over that somehow we will achieve victory. 40+ years of failure tell us that we will not. It is time to restructure the cannabis and drug policy reform game, and find a way to overcome the many obstacles in our way. We can no longer afford to sit back and watch the monkeys fuck the football.
I, for one, am over the constant beauty pageant that is the cannabis reform movement. It is tiring to watch the same bullshit being put forth by the same folks year after year and hoping that if we keep watching long enough that something will change. I simply no longer have faith that it will. We are drowning in prohibition at this moment, and we hear very little comfort or reassurance out of any of the appointed leaders of this movement. If anything, I hear a lot of talk about 5 years and 10 years from now. How fucking depressing. The mentality and ambition of our movement is questionable at best. It is like we believe we are destined to fail, and that we have no power to change or influence the world we live in. It is like the message is, “Just wait. People will come around to us.” HUH?
I just cannot get behind the “wait and see” strategy of the current reform environment. I cannot bring myself to participate or support in such lame efforts and lack of charisma. I demand leadership that wants to fight and wants ultimate victory. I am tired of the passive aggressive bullshit that we pretend is real leadership.
Here are the facts….we are getting our ass kicked and we have no one with any position in our camp that has the passion or will to fight the real fight. We continue to see the normal “appearances” being made, but we see very little in the form of results. If A+B+C=Failure, then chances are it is time to replace A, B, and/or C. Results are important, and the results could not be more clear…..cannabis is more illegal than ever; and we are losing even the small pyrrhic victories we have won, which are coming back to blow up in our face. Yay!
So why are we continuing down this path? Why are the folks who fund these efforts not more interested in real results? Sure…maybe I am making it more simple than it actually is; but the reality is that we are fucking losing. Any good organization, like Cannabis Freedom Inc., would regroup and restructure the plan after continued failure….so why is there no demand for real results, or new leadership in absence of these results? Do the folks funding these efforts enjoy throwing good money after bad, and watching us continue to fail to provide real reform? I just do not get it….
I have not sat in any of these Board meetings to understand what the fuck goes on really, but I can tell you that I know people who have, and it seems like there is more strange bureaucracy inside of our movement, than there is with the fucking assholes we are fighting. We need to cut back on the red tape and organize a more lean and more dedicated effort if we ever hope to achieve victory.
Results are key. Our results are not great. The bottom line is that we cannot do this any longer. Tear down the chaotic and confusing structure of reform, and rebuild with passionate and charismatic leaders who can get us to the Promised Land. I have seen enough of the dumb shit. You are fired as my cannabis reform representatives. I would hope other would join me and demand that this movement consolidate its message and put our time, energy, and resources towards the simple goal of making cannabis legal for adults to use when they please for whatever they please. The rest of this bullshit is just nonsense and really needs to come to an end. Either we will evolve, or we will continue to lose ground in the battle for cannabis freedom.
Something is up over in the MMRCTA camp. Has anyone noticed that there has been very little messaging AT ALL about the Medical Marijuana Regulation Control and Taxation Act from Americans for Safe Access, UFCW, or any of the other “supporters” they have lined up? I was just reading ASA’s “California Weekly Round Up” and was startled that an organization promoting an initiative in CALIFORNIA would not even have a mention, or a link, or anything about their massive effort in their California Round Up. Nope…nada. There is information on the big March 1st LA rally, where Cypress Hill is promoting their “Smokeout for Safe Access” and there is a mention about a local Lake County election happening, but zilch about MMRCTA.
But do not just look at the round up for evidence. Check the ASA website. Nothing there either. It is a mystery. Why, if ASA is asking our community to support this ill-thought effort, are they not supporting it themselves? Why is there no messaging on this matter if it is so important that they believe we should all jump on board and kick in money for it? I mean it is one thing to not answer the many questions I have posed regarding the effort; it is another to act as if it did not exist at all and work to keep the topic out of the marijuana mainstream for some reason. What gives? Why the eery silence? If this is such a great thing for our community, why is there no ASA or UFCW vocal and active support for the cause? And don’t blame me, either….I am just not that powerful. Something else is afoot….
There was supposed to be a press conference at the beginning of February, with Dan Rush from UFCW leading the parade. He stated in an email, “We need ALL endorsements ASAP for our press conference (on the state Capitol steps) in SAC on the 11th or the 12th. President Lind has said that he can only attend in SAC on the 12th (the later in the day the better).” Well the 11th and 12th passed without so much as a peep, and there was no press release even, much less a conference on the capital steps.
Then there was the message that they were waiting for the Title and Summary to come back on February 14th. That date also came and went, the Title and Summary were released, but not so much as a press release or public message about the thing. NO, “Hey, we got our Title and Summary back and will begin gathering signatures,” or anything. Nothing. Silence.
Then there was the message that they were doing polling, and that by February 20th, my opposition would be a “moot point,” according to UFCW rep, Matt Witemyre. February 20th, came and went, and the point is anything but moot. Maybe mute, but the discussion about whether this whole thing is a good idea or not are more alive than ever.
One of their supporters said that it would be polled for pros and cons arguments, and they were expecting it to come back in the low 60% range. Well, I am sure if that were the numbers that came back, or if they were better, we would have heard about them. If there was a huge positive polling to show that this thing had legs, I am positive there would have been at least a mention of that by either ASA or UFCW, but nothing. No message, No response. No releasing of the poll numbers to help other campaigns possibly. Just nothingness.
And then there is the Ammiano bill that was introduced that mirrored the MMRCTA effort on most fronts, and looked like Ammiano straight up stole their homework, changed a few answers, and put it out as his own. But still no public response.What is even more telling is that there is no mention of the Ammiano effort by ASA on their website…why? Is a major piece of legislation entered by long-time medical cannabis supporter, Tom Ammiano, not a big enough story to even do a blog about or post a story about?
Well, I will not say nothing…..UFCW representative Dan Rush did put out an email trying to convince folks that “THE GOVERNOR NEEDS TO SIGN THE LEGISLATION INTO LAW. That means you need a Governor that is willing to sign the legislation… WE DON’T HAVE ONE!” He even went as far as passing this falsified information on to an SF Weekly writer, who stated “Even if the bill is passed, however, it’s highly unlikely it will become law: A bill passed last year allowing California farmers in select counties to grow hemp was returned without Gov. Jerry Brown’s signature, and it’s generally taken as a given that Brown will not sign any medical marijuana-related bills.”
Now Chris Roberts of the Weekly is a great writer, but he is just off base with this assertion, and I can only believe it was based on misinformation being put out by UFCW’s Dan Rush, who is also quoted in the story. But the FACT is that Jerry Brown signed the FIRST EVER medical marijuana ordinance, as Mayor of Oakland. Even CANORML Dale Geringer disagreed with Rush’s assertion, stating,
“Jerry’s veto message to the hemp bill reads:
“Federal law clearly establishes that all cannabis plants, including industrial hemp, are marijuana, which is a federally regulated controlled substance. Failure to obtain a permit from the U.S. DEA prior to growing such plants will subject a California farmer to criminal prosecution.” Jerry was concerned that the bill would expose farmers, and by extension the state, to new liability under federal law. This objection doesn’t necessarily apply to medical marijuana, since California voters have already exposed the state to liability in this area by approving Prop. 215.
So why would UFCW try to undermine Tom Ammiano’s effort before it even had a chance to get to Committee? Well, first off, unlike MMRCTA, Ammiano’s effort does not define Medical Marijuana Industry Union as a union “currently” serving the medical cannabis industry; in fact, it does not mention unions at all. Secondly, UFCW likely has a lot riding on getting MMRCTA on the ballot and they are working to convince their funders not to jump ship in favor of the Ammiano effort. One can not fault them for protecting their interests.
What is troubling is that the only messaging coming out are blatant falsehoods, or pure speculation that attempts to discredit a legislative effort. There has been no positive messaging, or even responses to concerns…at least not publicly where we can all learn from them. There is no real effort to educate the community or garner our support. The only person they are trying to convince of anything is whatever cat they are trying to get to pony up the cheddar to get the signatures. The rest of us do not deserve any real information, I suppose. We do not have any real money, so it does not matter what we think anyway.
I asked again last night about the polls that were done, and why there was nothing released? I was told, “Should have a definitive answer within the next few days on whether this thing happens or not.” That is it….no information really….just waiting to see if the money comes through for them. Awesome…
The eeriness of the situation is troubling. The fact that ASA has not released any messaging on the effort, lists no link or info on their site, and have made no public statements regarding the effort makes me think they are trying to protect their brand for some reason. Like they do not want to be publicly associated with this effort. Almost as if they were pushed into it, and now regret their involvement. To me, it lacks courage and conviction and makes me even more concerned that there are puppet masters at play in this whole mess. I can tell you that I see a different angle being taken by the organization, not just in this effort, but in many of their current strategies, that has left me asking “What has changed?”
I was once a huge supporter of ASA nan their vision, and would fight to the death to defend their honor. I just do not feel that affection for them any longer. It is not my position on medical marijuana that has changed. I always believed that medical cannabis is a real and meaningful thing, and I have always believed that unless we move for legalization that there will always be people not sick enough to use cannabis and real patients would continue to get caught in that crossfire. So it is not me. What has changed IMO are the motivations and direction of ASA and its staff. There is something much deeper than I can put my finger on that is happening over there, and to me it is just kind of creepy after all these years.
Or maybe it is just my mind wandering too far again; but when there is nothing but silence to go on, that is bound to happen….
Yesterday we got news that Colorado qualified an effort to legalize cannabis for the November ballot, and Washington State has also qualified an adult use measure there. As I sit here in California, the mecca of cannabis, I am ultimately frustrated with the lack of support for a legalization measure here, as I firmly believe that in a Presidential Election year with very weak Republican candidates, we have a real shot at getting that 50% + 1 voter out to support this cause. Even with the opposition to 19, in a non-Presidential year we got 46%, so I have no doubt California would pass a legalization effort if given the opportunity.
At this point, I am praying for a miracle. Well, not so much praying any more, as trying to take destiny into my own hands. I have decided that quite possibly our best shot for legalization is if I played the lottery. That’s right. I said it. I went to the store and bought lottery tickets for tonights big $94 million Mega-Millions lottery drawing. If I win, I commit to spending the vast majority of the winnings on legalizing cannabis, here in CA first and then the World. I would hope that others would do the same. I figure, if the big magnet in the sky and the controlling powers of the universe believe in cannabis and want to see it returned to our society as the safe, enjoyable, and helpful plant it is, that the skies will open up and I will win the lottery tonight…or maybe next week. Who knows? I am committed to playing every week until cannabis is legal. It is really all a little guy with no money can do at this point.
Maybe one day I will be the big bucks millionaire and I will be able to put my money up for a cause I truly believe in. I sure hope that we see real cannabis reform for adult use allowance far before then, though….so I am playing the lottery. It is the least I could do. I want to be the guy who won the lottery and used his winnings to change the world. That would be the shit.
Does this sound delusional? Well maybe it is, but that is about the most hope I have at this stage of the game for legalization in CA for 2012. That is sad. It is all of our sad realities. In our best opportunity to actually pass the fucking thing, we have no major angel donors, or real effort to get the signatures to qualify for the ballot. We will likely fall short, and be forced to dance the “who is sick enough to use cannabis?” dance for another 4 years. It almost makes me cry to say it out loud….but I am still very hopeful about my lottery ticket prospects. In fact, it is all I really have going at this moment that makes me smile in this Godforsaken industry and its ever-lasting volatility and uncertainty.
I believe in miracles, so I am still hopeful that even if the lottery does not work out, one of these rich people who love weed as much as I do because it makes the world a better place will step up to the plate and do the right thing in CA. It is not too late to be that person who drastically improves the lives of millions of people with one stroke of the checkbook. And….I will be your best friend (or not, whichever you prefer). But myself, and millions of others, will cherish you, name strains after you, and the whole nine yards. You will be our new Bob Marley.
Until then, though, I am playing the lottery.
Last night the three main proponents of the three main legalization initiatives being put forth in California, agreed on a Statement of Unity that if any campaign gets a cash infusion from an angel investors, that they will all support the other campaign 100%. Below is the statement for review. I think it is a great step in the right direction, and it is good to see everyone play nice in the sandbox. I hope that if a miracle happens, and an angel investor does take up this cause, that the other camps will unify behind that action and step aside until signatures are gathered.
So here we have it Big Money Players. It is like shopping for freedom. You choose the direction and you have our community’s unwavering support. You drop the coin and we will create the quan. Just select the initiative you believe is the best option, and we will fall in line. I promise.
SHOW ME THE MONEY!!!! I LOVE CANNABIS!!!! Let’s make it legal for adults in 2012. Be a hero….
Statement of Unity
Recognizing that to allow these oppressive prohibitionist laws to remain in place any longer would be a travesty of justice, we have come together in the spirit of unity to offer a challenge.
All three of the legalization initiatives trying to make it on to the ballot in November recognize that time is short.
It will take an expensive signature gathering campaign for any of these initiatives to qualify for the November ballot.
We invite any freedom loving American with some serious assets to take a look at all three of our initiatives.
Choose the one that you are willing to finance.
The other two initiatives will support the one you choose 100% to ensure a victory in 2012.
Steve Collett, Treasurer, RMLW
Bill Panzer, Proponent, RCPA
Buddy Duzy,Treasurer, CCHHI
So last night’s Cannadome debate went off without a hitch, was well attended by the community, and was the best birthday party I ever had. Many thanks to the folks who participated in the event, and those who came to try to find answers and agreement.
The two things I really learned last night was that Dale Geringer has “seen a lot of poles,” a fact he mentioned about a dozen times; and the rest of us want weed legal for the most part. I learned much more than that, of course, but those are the two major points I found to be of interest.
The four initiatives were represented by respectively, Steve Collett for Regulate Like Wine, Buddy Duzy for Jack’s CCHHI, Dale Geringer for ASA and UFCW’s MMRCTA, and Bill Panzer of Repeal Cannabis Prohibition. The format was a panel discussion, with the four initiatives presenting their case and questions submitted online or by the audience answered afterwards. There were no real fireworks or contentious moments, and the base line factor is that unless one of the initiatives get at least $2 million bucks, they are all dead in the water.
One of the most stark revelations of the night came from Dale Geringer in his approach to supporting the Medical Marijuana Regulation Control and Taxation Act. A member of the audience submitted a question asking why CA NORML, a group dedicated to legalization, was representing the MMRCTA effort, rather than an effort for adult use legalization. The answers he gave repeatedly were so depressing. “I have seen a lot of polls, and they show legalization is too controversial to back in 2012.” Huh? Is that right. The leader of the most prominent legalization organization in California has virtually thrown in the towel on legalization, and instead, is only actively supporting (through representation at events like this and as an advisory role, and maybe funding?) an effort to EXPAND PROHIBITION in CA through a medical system, that in his own admission is “short on specific detail” as to how it will affect the community?
His grasps for a system, “Like Colorado, but better” were not very well explained IMO, and I believe caused some to question the direction of NORML…again. I mean, if we cannot get the foremost legalization organization in the country on board to legalize cannabis in CA, then there is a real fucking problem. It is sad, when one of the leaders of the CA reform movement basically washes his hands of any effort to legalize cannabis because he has “seen a lot of polls” and he does not believe that legalization is possible. Well, I generally review most polls as well, and would be interested to see CA NORML release those polls and explain to the community why these polls have resulted in, at the very least, lackluster support and zero public endorsement of any legalization initiative. If you want us to believe your rhetoric, Dale, write a report based on these polls you have seen that explains to us why we should turn our back on legalization in 2012 in favor of an effort to expand prohibition. Otherwise, please do not insult our intelligence and expect us to just take your word for it. Many in this community look to NORML as a group fighting for the interest of all cannabis users, not just those deemed sick enough. If that mission has changed then it is your duty to let us know why…and just referring to all of the poles you have seen is not evidence enough.
The conversation with Dale spilled over into the parking lot after the debate, and I asked him directly, “Why was NORML not listed as a proponent on the initiative with ASA and UFCW?” His response almost made me throw up my hands and just walk away…he stated, “Because we are primarily a legalization group we did not feel it would be appropriate to be listed in public as a proponent.” WTF? Are you shitting me? Did you base your entire argument FOR supporting MMRCTA on the fact that you do not believe legalization has a prayer, but then DID NOT publicly endorse MMRCTA because your organization is primarily focused on legalization?” My head exploded for a brief moment, as many others pelted him with questions about his allegiance, and why he was there representing MMRCTA in public, and why he did not think legalization had a chance.
But in the midst of the confusion, another member of the CA NORML Board made a revelation. Dr. Frank informed me that another CA NORML Board member, the great Valerie Corral, also opposed MMRCTA because, and get this, it would put WAMM out of business. I believe she is 100% correct. Because of the registration process and the definitions for medical marijuana facility, Val’s organization WAMM would not be allowed to operate as it is now. THAT IS POWERFUL and very sad. Dr. Frank confirmed with his counterpart Bill Panzer that this was true, and has since pulled any support for MMRCTA. I think, like most everybody there, Dr. Frank wondered why Dale was standing in a parking lot defending an effort to expand prohibition and basically denouncing all legalization efforts as not having a snowball’s chance.
During the debate, Dale stated that the proponents and funders were going to spend the next week behind closed doors seeing if they are going to pony up the $2 million bucks for this half-hearted and lousily written wannabe response to Federal interference. He said they either “will cut the check and we will be on the ballot, or nobody would likely be on the ballot in 2012.” Here is my question…why is this secret money source not at least considering taking a shot at real adult use reform? Who is this “medical only money” that people are looking to? Why is this money only considering a program that expands prohibition through limiting who can provide medicine only to who and where? And why are those who we have charged with promoting legalization rolling over based on loose polling and regurgitated nonsense? It is frustrating to say the least for anyone who believes in cannabis freedom for all.
I think what is more telling is that NOT ONE person from ASA or UFCW had the nerve to show up and defend their initiative. NOT ONE. Why? Because they do not need, or want, our support. They are going to make this decision in the back room after reviewing more polls and assessing the situation for viability, and our input means very little. Their absence was telling, and I felt bad for Dale having to be the only one out there trying to convince people that MMRCTA was a good idea. Maybe all the other folks had some weak dinner at one of Montel’s dispensaries to go to and talk shit about community division with the 7 people who bothered to show up, instead of looking the activist community in the eye and explaining their positions.
That was too bad….so now that I went over all that medical only madness, on to the legalization efforts….
Steve Collett did a good job of representing “Like Wine” I thought, and was very open in his approach. He did a good job of complimenting the other efforts, and did his best to explain why Like Wine was a viable option. Some of his rhetoric seemed a bit defeated, especially after he told the crowd that RMLW has only until March 20th to pull it off, meaning they were less that 30 days away, and only had about 30,000 signatures so far. Also telling, was his call to form a coalition of the proponents from all the legalization efforts to basically convene for the next effort, almost stating that he felt this year was already lost. Considering their polling came out weeks ago, and nobody has cut a check, I can see why he would feel that. But he did a fine job staying on message and answering the questions, and if nothing else, he made me feel a little better about Like Wine.
Buddy Duzy made a passionate call to action for the Jack Herer initiative, based on his belief that the provisions for the hemp industry would force rescheduling, and also that we, as a community, should support Jack’s vision. There is no doubt that the CCHHI crew has the most grassroots energy, and continue to carry the fighting spirit of Jack Herer to every part of the state and nation. Those cats energy inspires me and warm my heart. And even if I do not think that the Jack initiative is our most viable option based on pure electability, I tend to agree with Buddy’s call to arms to pay homage to Jack and to put the initiative on the ballot. I would love to see a campaign where the great Jack Herer was front and center. I think that this would be a wonderful message for our community to come together and support ,and I would love to see an angel donor find the spirit of Jack and throw down some real cash to put this on the ballot. Maybe Peter Lewis or George Soros are at home rereading their copy of the Emperor Wears No Clothes and will cut that fat check to support the legacy of the man who gave the plant a voice and who inspired most of the modern cannabis and hemp movement, as we know it.
Bill Panzer made his normally solid legal arguments to support his drafting of RCPA. I still agree with Bill that this is the best written of the three legalization efforts, and will be the most viable option to actually accomplish the goal of ending prohibition. Bill was very forthcoming in his approach, and basically stated that if an angel investor does not put up the money, that there was no chance of any of the efforts, including RCPA, to make the ballot. Bill made some points that were valid and he also said he would support any of the efforts, should they make the ballot. I think his explanation of why and how RCPA would hold up to legal scrutiny was compelling, and I stand by my position that RCPA is our best shot to pass. But like Bill said, if any make the ballot this year they have a good opportunity to pass. He must be looking at different polls than, Dale….thank goodness. He made some valid criticisms of Prop. 19, but also praised the courage of Richard Lee and acknowledged the lessons we had all learned from that effort. And he said, on top of all of the opposition and BS during the campaign in an off election year “Prop 19 did quite well.” He believed that this showed that a legalization initiative could indeed pass on a more liberal Presidential election year, and I for one, agree.
But the bottom line is that unless a miracle happens in the next couple of weeks, we may not have a legalization effort to support. We may have a questionable and rushed medical prohibition effort to support, but I can assure you I will not be getting up early and writing anything to support that effort. It will be all I can do to not be critical of it should it make the ballot, so if this ends up being the case, and only the deep pockets in the back rooms of the UFCW/ASA (and kind of CA NORML but not really) MMRCTA effort get on the ballot, expect a lot of dead silence from me and some grumbling and bitching in person.
I thought the event was a smashing success, even though there was no real resolution. If I had to pick a team who won the debate I would call it a tie between CCHI and RCPA, with RMLW not far behind (yes…this is my bias opinion). And I think the MMRCTA effort came in dead last and had the least support and energy for it. I just do not think our community is ready to throw in the towel, turn over our industry to a mystery bureau that Dale G. “has confidence” will do the right thing for those in the industry. I do not think people are very excited to spend out time, energy, and resources to develop a murky detailed program that has zero real assurances in it, except that dispensaries already open would be grandfathered for 3 years. Nobody seemed excited to turn over everything to an effort where the organizations who are putting the initiative forward could not be bothered to show up. I just think it was a losing proposition, and from discussing the thing with Dale and many others afterwards, will be poison to the community and end up getting killed in public, thus putting the entire current industry on trial on the National stage.
What we learned was who was who, and what was what, which I thought was awesome. We are all adults, and can make decisions for ourselves, but I will tell you that I personally am deeply troubled by the organizations putting forth MMRCTA because they basically feel legalization cannot win and that they must do something…even if it is not necessarily a positive for the community. These organizations have mostly lost my support, as I can not in good conscious support groups that lack that much courage and who work to put forth efforts to appease their major donors, rather than do what is right for cannabis users. I learned that there is a void of leadership in the movement, as suspected; and that those we have donated to and given our time and energy to have decided to turn their back on progress. I just cannot get down with that.
What I did not learn was what is next; or if any angel donors out there had a big enough sack of nuts to help make history in the Nation’s largest and most cannabis friendly state. Only time will tell, but I still keep hope that there is a person out there reading this right now thinking about cutting that check. Maybe I am naive. I am okay with that. I would rather be naive for legalization than sophisticated for prohibition any day.
It was a good time and very educational. Many thanks to those who wished me a happy birthday. It was my best birthday since I was 7-years-old. I must have issues if a cannabis debate is my idea of an awesome birthday, but I just love cannabis and the politics surrounding it, that much. Call me crazy…everyone else does.
Wouldn’t that be a nice problem to have? But there are definitely some wealthy cats out there who DO have an extra $3 million sitting around who also want to see weed legalized, so this is an opinion piece on what I would do if I were them. Are you listening, Mr. Wealthy Person who has the ability to change history with one lousy check?
If I had the money I would not hesitate to sponsor a legalization cannabis freedom initiative in the State of California. Why? Because California is ground zero for cannabis, and also has almost 12% of the Nation’s population. Cannabis is part of the California mainstream, and there are very few in CA who do not know someone who uses cannabis, or are familiar with the cannabis culture here. In a Presidential election year, in a very blue state, where it looks like the Republican and generally more conservative ticket will seriously be lacking enthusiasm, I believe it is VERY POSSIBLE to get 50% + 1 person to vote for cannabis freedom. I think there will be a lot of support at the polls for more liberal issues, and I think adult use cannabis reform WILL pass if we can get it on the ballot.
So the question is “which initiative would I support?” I would donate $1.5 million to signature gathering to put the Repeal Cannabis Prohibition Act on the ballot. Why do I choose Repeal over the other efforts? Because I think it is well-written by people I trust, and I think it has the best opportunity to pass. I think the simplicity of it will help to get buy in from the cannabis community, and I believe that the initiative would be best received by voters after exploring all titles and summaries. Its Title and Summary reads more clearly and uses more positive and less questionable language…mostly because it is better written IMO.
I love the Jack Herer CCHHI initiative, as well; but I simply feel it would be a more difficult battle to actually pass given some of the provisions it sets forth. In a perfect world where there was not 40 years of misinformation about cannabis to overcome, and a more educated and understanding voter population, I would say the Jack initiative would be great. But I think RCPA simply would have more electability, which is important. I think after passing Repeal, many of the Jack provisions would come naturally anyways.
The only issue I see facing RCPA is the age limit, which I think is easy to overcome. This is where I would focus another $1 million. I would roll out a public education campaign that educates the average voter on why 19 is a good limit, focused heavily on the fact that people in the military should be able to use a safe, enjoyable, and helpful plant if they can go to the Middle East and shoot people for our freedom. I would make the campaign message clearly about cannabis freedom, and question the ability of the US Government to outlaw a plant that does not meet the burden of proof for harm, as there is little danger and zero fatalities. I would make it a simple referendum on freedom. They do not have the right to tell you that you cannot use this safe, enjoyable, and helpful plant. I would scream “show me the bodies!” just like Jack used to. Only I would spread that message more heavily through non-traditional media channels and create a major buzz around the fact that we have all been lied to and that the madness must end now.
That leaves me $500,000 to work with to hire a professional campaign staff to do the work, organize the effort, speak on behalf of cannabis freedom, and combat any opposition swiftly and effectively.
So there you have it, rich folks. $3 million bucks to change the world. That is not too much to ask….Wouldn’t you like to be the person, or group of people, who began the crumbling of the walls of prohibition? Don’t you want to be the person we think of every time we light up a joint without fearing arrest, prosecution or persecution? Wouldn’t it be cool if we all thanked you every time we used cannabis because it was YOU who made cannabis freedom a reality?
I think the reward FAR outweighs the risk. For you, rich person, the money is likely irrelevant. Many of the wealthy people who currently sponsor cannabis reform make $3 million a year in interest on their fortunes. So why not take a shot this election season? Why not look at the situation as a great opportunity to change the world now? I think we have the 50% + 1 person out there. I promise you that if you put a legalization measure on the ballot I will do everything in my power to rally the troops, get our voters to the polls, and ensure a victory for the effort. I can almost assure you victory in the current climate, as California is ready to make that step.
Just Do It! Write a check today, so that we may be the change we want to see in the world. You, very wealthy awesome person who loves cannabis, have the opportunity to cement your name in the history books and make the world a much safer and better place to live. So I will ask again…pretty please with sugar on top will you sponsor an initiative to make cannabis legal in California? You will be my hero, and millions of others. You got this. Take the plunge. If you got the scratch, let’s push this thing over the edge and end cannabis prohibition once and for all.
If you do not see the writing on the wall then it is because you are not paying attention. There is a cleansing of the industry happening and you can believe that it is far from over. There is a concerted effort to limit who can produce and provide cannabis, and my suspicion is that it is not just the Feds who are in on it. A story today in the SF Examiner by Chris Roberts that tells of the DEA filing public information requests to get the files of almost all San Francisco dispensaries, and very little opposition from what was once a very supportive and understanding local government. Where is the outrage, SF Board of Supervisors? But SF is far from alone…we see decimation of the industry all over California, and there is a thinning of the herd happening. The question is simple…”If all medical cannabis dispensing and production are illegal then why are only select groups being targeted?”
It makes little sense, except when you look at it more from a conspiracy theory angle. Is it possible that there is a dialogue happening between the Feds and local governments that have regulations in place? Could there be an underlying message, either directly, or through indirect channels, saying “Clean up your act or we will do it for you”…and to boot, like we have seen elsewhere, are there threats of charging public officials who do not comply?
It is not hard to see that there is a widespread panic in almost EVERY city with regulated dispensaries and distribution systems in place. Mendocino shut down its 99 plant program. Sonoma County just capped their permits, and spoke out strongly against deliveries. San Francisco, in addition to having files requested by the Feds, has begun telling dispensaries they cannot carry certain products (like Bhang chocolates) because State law does not allow for it, but they do not show where. SF has begun making dispensaries sign a letter under the penalty of perjury that their production is all done locally by single member patients who are only members of that collective. WTF?
But it does not stop there….there is also rumor that Sacramento has had similar requests made, and halted their licensing program altogether. Mysteriously, there have also been new rounds of landlord letters sent out after the City sent out inspectors to several locations. Add to this phenomena LA moving to outright ban collectives, Lake County moving to shut down their dispensaries, Redding shutting down their program, San Diego on the warpath, and other seemingly calculated steps by cities to “reel in” the local cannabis industry, and what you have is a hell of a lot of questions.
Where am I trying to connect the dots? I am not sure any more, but what I do see are clear patterns happening at the local level, and a call for reform at the state level. It almost feels as if there is an effort to cut many of the masses out of the picture, so that a new purified industry can emerge. I have wrapped my head around the issue for many days now, and I continue to see the fall out and wonder what the hell is going on?
But it is easy to see how the Feds could bully and threaten local and state governments into limiting and better controlling those who provide cannabis in their town. It is easy to see how a coordinated call from DAs, Sheriffs, City Council persons opposed, and concerned citizens would spark this type of action, and how the Feds could use their supreme authority to implement their desire to see a much less flamboyant and noticeable cannabis industry. What is hard to see is that there may be some of those who walk among us also in on the game….
This is where the “who” and “why” questions really become big. This is where the real question of selective enforcement comes into play. I will be honest…since about 2005 I have felt a large presence of Federal undercover and opportunists IN the cannabis industry. That is right, I said it. There are a number of folks who walk hand in hand with us, but also have loyalties to the Feds or whoever the larger puppet master may be. There is a lot of value in having a medical cannabis industry that is both illegal to make it easy to shut down folks who may be directly competing with the folks who are on the inside looking out, and working with rogue, or not so rogue, enforcement agencies. I have no evidence of this at all, so admittedly, it is nothing more than a gut feeling based on research into other social change movements of the past and strange shit I have seen in my decade standing around the water cooler; but none-the-less, I am sure that all is not right and all is not what it may seem.
So then one may wonder how the forces driving the current crackdown work. Here is my “theory.” What we have seen over the years is a grand experiment in allowing for the industry to flourish. What drives our government and defunct policies on cannabis are big business lobbyists, some of the biggest obviously being drug companies. By allowing for the industry to evolve seemingly in an organic fashion, it is easy for these companies to explore a market, its trends, and if there is viability through allowing it to build naturally. They have allowed for the fledgling industry to do the work, see what does and does not work, and have likely collected innumerable data on patients, purchasing behaviors, and the core of who is who and what is what. Data collected over time from places raided, including patient conditions, purchasing histories, and market patterns, are invaluable to a drug company that may be trying to figure out just how to make money of a plant that most anyone can grow….and I think we are coming to that fork in the road where a cool decade plus of hard data has allowed them to develop their strategies, and now it is time to clear the path for the big dogs.
But they will not be shutting down everyone….they need some of us. We are the ones who have direct connections with the patients and we have already built brands that nearly a million patients in CA alone are familiar with. That is something that will be necessary to transition into an industry where a few organizations control the majority of the market. There will need to be a certain level of cooperation with the existing infrastructure to allow for the takeover to happen smoothly.
But do not take my word for it…I am a nobody. Take Montel’s word for it. “I have been involved in every state passing medical laws since 2002……I HAVE NEVER BEEN, or will I ever be, in favor of full 100% legalization of marijuana.”
So Montel is no stranger to big pharma, as he was the spokesperson for Partnership for Prescription Assistance, an organization reaping the rewards of the Bush Administration’s revamping of the Medicare drug program. He lead the charge on selling America on what has now been called a huge give away to drug companies. So in addition to slinging juicers and payday loans, Montel has also developed many relationships in big pharma, no doubt. His financial support team is comprised of people involved in packaging drug and health products, and he has many connections at the state and federal levels.
Why do I single out Montel? Just as an example of how the industry may be working its way towards something none of us would recognize. Montel has recently partnered with Americans for Safe Access’ Co-Founder Don Duncan to help “consult” on his dispensary in West Hollywood. In addition, an email thread between the City of Oakland, where Montel is applying for a permit, shows a communication stating Don Duncan is indeed a “member of the management team” and took the exam required for Montel’s Abatin Wellness Center Oakland (AWCO). Here is a look at that communication:
Stay with me…..
So now it is clear that ASA’s leadership is in bed with a person whose goal is to have a strict medical only market, and is connected with 4 dispensaries in CA, at least, and has an application in for another one in Oakland and another two in DC. ASA’s mission has always been one of advocacy for the medical uses of cannabis, but there has never been an influence from a force that I know of who clearly has stated they will “NEVER be for legalization of cannabis.” So that, in my opinion, is a paradigm shift in thinking, and coupled with the crackdown happening, and ASA’s efforts to pass a regulatory initiative that appoints a Bureau of folks to decide our fate, I am straight worried.
UPDATE: ASA sent out their round up showing where patients can get free gifts for doing ASA stuff. Guess what? 3 out of 5 (that I know of) are dispensaries directly associated with Montel…Imagine that.
I am worried that we are seeing the death of an industry and the beginning of the end. My thoughts are that slowly over the year there will be more surgical strikes in removing people from the landscape and after Obama is re-elected, rescheduling will happen and there will be a transition, or handing over of, the entire industry to big business drug companies and investors.
I am not saying that ASA is evil and trying to shut down the industry, by any means. I still got mad love for what they have done for me and cannabis users all over. IMO, I think their hands are tied. I think there is a dialogue happening under the surface in the back rooms that says, “Either get on board or get out.” That is a powerful message when delivered by the right source. I think there is a lesser of two evils happening that may be what some see as the only path to preserving any resemblance of the current industry. I think there may be a major move to truly “close the loop” as I am hearing some very strange chatter from growers and providers about sweeping new programs being put in from some of the larger dispensing organizations. (More to come on that).
CALL ME CRAZY because that is how I feel, and I have no idea what tomorrow will bring in the Godforsaken movement. Maybe my tin foil hat is on way too tight, or maybe years of being followed by Feds, lied to by friends, and infiltrated by undercover agents has just gotten to me. Who knows? What I do know is something is afoot and something is not right. In my gut, I am worried about the future of cannabis and our movement in general. I have no idea what to do or who to trust, so just know I am skeptical of everyone.
Luckily, I have nothing to hide and everyone pretty clearly knows where I stand. While there is an ongoing coordinated effort to silence me, I will not go quietly into the night. We have come too far to lose now. I will never concede anything less than the right for any human on earth to use cannabis however they please as a safe, enjoyable and helpful plant. Anything less is just bullshit and I will fight to the death until cannabis freedom is real and meaningful. If we have to crack some eggs to make that omelet, then let’s do that. I am game…
ASA sent out their round up showing where patients can get free gifts for doing ASA stuff. Guess what? 3 out of 5 (that I know of) are dispensaries directly associated with Montel…Imagine that.
Where is the fucking courage in cannabis reform these days? What is with all of the backpedaling and weak efforts to appease the oppressors? If I hear one more “cannabis activist” cry like a bitch about how unfair things are and how we need to concede all of our freedoms to stop the Feds from attacking us, I am gonna spit.
Pull yourself together, people. Sure…we are under attack. Welcome to the show. Sorry that a minor lull in enforcement and a mixed-message memo from the DOJ allowed you to get all complacent and forget we are entrenched in a battle for freedom and justice. I apologize if you thought that the war was over and we had somehow won because of a failure in federal, state, and local enforcement procedures. The fact is that the war on cannabis is more alive and well than ever, and no matter who is President, or US Attorney General, or Health and Human Services Secretary, our fight is long from over.
But some of you got such a good taste of cannabis freedom through a lax medical system that almost resembled a truly legalized system with easy access and plentiful distribution, that you forgot that there was laws even prohibiting these activities still on the books. It is like many people thought that we need not work for any more freedoms because the medical system was so good that we did not need no stinking legalization. We saw this in the rejection of Prop. 19 from many in this community who said “Prop. 19 is not perfect, so we should wait for the perfect legalization bill to make the ballot.” Well, where are those assholes now with the money and signatures to make it a reality? If it is so easy to make the ballot that we gave up an opportunity for an adult use system, then where are the signatures? Where are the supporters? Where is this “let’s wait for perfection” crowd now?
Oh yeah….they are crying and moaning that the medical system they thought was so great is now being massacred as one of massive abuses and are crying that their dispensary is shut down, or they cannot sell their cannabis because the collective they worked with is now gone, or some other weak ass shit, based in a false sense of hope. It is ridiculous.
And even now, after seeing the writing on the wall, some want to double down on the debacle and hope that if we all straighten up and fly right that somehow this will all go away. Here is a newsflash for you…It will not. Until we push the ball further down the field, we will continue to see massive losses and hemorrhaging in the cannabis freedom effort. There is no turning back now and righting the ship, in hopes that somehow the world will be convinced that the medical system is now on the up and up. Maybe a few years ago we could have reeled shit in, but the massive expansion after the Ogden memo, coupled with increasing public outrage about a massively abused system, has left a bad taste in the mouth of lawmakers, enforcement, and the general non-cannabis loving public. The “we promise to clean up our act” shtick is reminiscent of a teenager caught sneaking out of the house begging for dad to not screw the windows shut. Yawn.
I am waiting for the cannabis movement to awaken and find some courage…to grow a sack of nuts if you will. We are better than this waffling bullshit we see going on now. We are as powerful as any special interest group. Take for instance the influence that the Jewish population has over our Nation’s politics. Every politician in America panders for the Jewish vote because their voice is powerful as a united group of people that share common beliefs. But Jews only make up a little over 2% of the population. Compare that with an estimated 10-13% of people who enjoy and use cannabis. Yet the fear and the legal, social, and political complexities of using cannabis have silenced our collective voices. Our common belief is there. We have a huge amount of people who support our cause. Yet we have a very small and weak voice in the national political scene. There is very little being done in the cannabis leadership circles to organize the cannabis political machine, and to get people to use their commonalities as a powerful force for cannabis reform. Why?
Because we have lost the propaganda war; and we have allowed for liars, thieves, and fear-mongering assholes to control the message, the politics, and policies of cannabis for too long. We have failed to find common ground on which to make our stand, and instead have spiraled into a jumblefuck of chaotic madness. The world of cannabis is very much a “fuck you, you are on your own” landscape, with very little direction and even less understanding of objectives and goals. There are no strategies and plans being developed to win the war. We continue to wander in the darkness and try to make our way by the flickering light of a dying Bic lighter that we used to light one too many bowls. It is like Plato’s Allegory of the Cave in real life…..I often wonder if any of us chained to the wall of prohibition can decipher reality from the weird shadows cast on our walls of darkness and minimal light.
Until we break free from the chains of the drug warriors reality, and demand our freedom by any means necessary, we will continue to be swept aside as a powerless mass of unformed potential. Until we grow a sack of nuts and begin to move forward instead of trying to hold our ground, we will continue to have the shit beat out of us. Until we can set aside our minor and major differences, and agree on a strategic path to victory, we will continue to just watch the monkeys fuck the football. I am hoping that sooner than later we will find that collective voice and that we will work to make cannabis freedom a reality and free our brothers and sisters from the clutches of tyranny.
We have a lot of work to do, and we cannot afford to waste our time, energy, and resources to move backwards and hope somehow, if we give up enough freedoms, our enemies will leave us alone. They will not. It will be OUR courage, and OUR sacrifice, that wins this battle for justice and morality. We either will grow a sack of nuts as a movement, or we will not. What is clear is that the current strategy is not working, and we have a choice to make. Grow a sack, or continue to get our asses handed to us….
I was forwarded a most interesting email from the great Steve Kubby that just gave me a good chuckle. You cannot make this shit up. Steve, if you are reading this, never stop being you, baby. Your shit is platinum.
In what I can only call a strange attempt at rallying the troops, the great Kubby points out that if we get rich people and conservatives drunk, they really like their initiative….or any initiative I assume. But this is the messaging from Camp Kubby that makes me giggle. I mean really? Why would anyone say this out loud, much less post it in an email? Some shit never ceases to amaze me, but I digress….read it for yourself. It is a classic entitled LIKE WINE FOR THE WIN by Steve Kubby:
‘Like Wine’ for the Win!Polling Shows Linking to Wine a Winning Strategy
There is magic and power in linking cannabis to wine. The recent 62% result in polling for our ‘Like Wine’ initiative reveals that voters have a warm spot in their hearts for regulating marijuana like wine. Voters trust the familiar wine regulatory model will also serve as a safe and effective way to regulate cannabis. Linking the regulation of marijuana to wine pushes our polling numbers into historic territory, where winning becomes a near certainty. However, this is just one aspect of what could be called, “Wine’s Triple Whammy.”
If you watch the video of one of our fundraising parties, you’ll see very conservative people, sipping wine, having a great time and, once they loosen up, enthusiastically supporting regulating marijuana like wine. That’s the second whammy, getting conservatives together and relaxing them with a few glasses of wine. After that, everyone has a great time and the donations roll in.Wine people are natural allies for us. They understand the difference between social wine drinking and abuse leading to impairment. To wine consumers, the idea of gathering together with friends or business associates and getting a bit buzzed is a relaxing and natural component to their social interactions. That’s the third whammy, because it turns out there are a lot of alcohol consumers in this state. In a CBS poll quoted by WebMD, we find that “a national sample of 1,007 people aged 18 and older, showed 64% of Americans say they drink alcoholic beverages. Compare that 64% result with the 62% result we get by linking wine and our initiative.There you have it. A triple whammy of strategic benefits that come from linking cannabis and wine:– Voters trust the familiar wine regulatory model as a safe and effective way to regulate cannabis.– Conservatives just need a little wine to loosen up and twenty minutes later they are supporting and donating to our cause.– To wine consumers, getting a bit buzzed is a relaxing and natural component to their social interactions.Linking cannabis and wine is the reason we are polling with such winning numbers and it should serve as a wakeup call to support this initiative and ensure it qualifies for the ballot. There is magic and power in this unique strategy for victory in 2012 and we invite you to become an active member of this historic campaign.
What I truly love is the irrelevant conclusion that because about 64% of people are boozehounds, and a supposed 62% of people support Like Wine (which is questionable at best, as they have not released the questions used to come to that number) that there must be a link there. “There you have it,” claims Kubby. I love that shit. Tarantino could not write this shit….
So the “Triple Whammy” fueled by “Magic and Power” derived from comparing weed to booze is apparently a great fundraising tool. So I will be waiting to see the armored trucks full of cash pull up to save the day any minute….that is if we can get the rich guys drunk enough. Although, every rich person I have ever met writes their checks stone cold sober, but what do I know? If we could only get over half of the population of California drunk on election day before the polls close, we should be golden….I do love the moxie of the Like Wine effort, no doubt. It is not the way I would do things, but hey…it takes a lot of people to make a world.
Now can we quit putting this picture at the bottom of every communication, though?…it is kind of creeping me out…
Go get ‘em, boys…..
by Chris Roberts, SF Weekly
Regulate Marijuana Like Wine, a marijuana legalization measure vying to get onto the November ballot, has only $80,000 in cash on hand, according to finance records. But in a poll released this week, it had potential support from 62 percent of likely voters — and that, ballot proponents say, is quite literally money in the bank.
“That shows funders we can win,” said Steve Kubby, a South Lake Tahoe marijuana activist and member of the Regulate Marijuana Like Wine’s campaign committee. “Anytime you’re polling over 60 percent, you command anyone’s attention.”
And history just might be on RMLW’s side: Those poll numbers are also close to where Proposition 215 was 16 years ago, before the nation’s first medical marijuana laws were approved by a million vote margin in November 1996, Kubby noted. Those are also rosier numbers than 2010′s Proposition 19 — which earned more votes than former Republican gubernatorial nominee Meg Whitman — enjoyed before its historic defeat.
It’s still going to be an uphill climb: Organizers have 30,000 signatures thus far, a fraction of the 504,760 validated signatures from registered California voters needed to qualify Regulate Marijuana Like Wine for the ballot (closer to 750,000 or more are in reality needed, allowing for invalidated scribbles and other snafus). Nonetheless, the poll means several billionaires are at this moment crunching numbers and deciding whether to bankroll the initiatives, Kubby told SF Weekly Thursday.
Regulate Marijuana Like Wine is one of several ballot measures concerning marijuana in the signature-gathering process. If passed, it would remove from the California law books all criminal statutes related to marijuana for adults 21 or older. Another ballot initiative, Repeal Cannabis Prohibition, would also undo criminal penalties pertaining to marijuana. A third, the California Cannabis and Hemp Initiative of 2012, would go even further, but has yet to commission the poll necessary to attract heaps of cash.
Another ballot initiative, called the Medical Marijuana Regulation, Control and Taxation Act, is sponsored by labor union UFCW and Americans for Safe Access. It seems to have a good shot at gathering the necessary money and signatures, but creates an updated regulatory framework for medical marijuana, and does not address adult legalization.
About $1.5 million is needed to obtain the required 504,760 valid signatures — if done a month before the April 20 deadline. If the signature-gathering is done in the final, crazy month — when everyone vying for the ballot is employing any paid signature gatherers they can find — signature-gathering firms’ prices quadruple, meaning it could cost as much as $5 million, Kubby noted.
“Right now, three different billionaires have our numbers, and are reviewing them,” said Kubby, who declined to name them — though very moneyed men, among them liberal make-it-rainer George Soros, Progressive Auto Insurance Chairman Peter Lewis, Napster cofounder Sean Parker, and Facebook cofounder Dustin Moskovitz, were tapped in 2010 for Prop 19. Are they willing to throw money after Regulate Marijuana Like Wine, too?
Lewis recently wrote an e-mail to cannabis activist Mickey Martin, who had asked Lewis for $1.5 million to fund a legalization ballot measure.
“I have done considerable research which leads me to conclude that the time has not yet come for legalization. I believe that if the issue you want to pass isn’t polling well above 60% in favor before the election, there is no chance to pass it. California is not there yet.”
Is 62 percent enough for Lewis? Time will tell. In the meantime, the campaign is celebrating its poll numbers.
“Everyone, including the polling company, was shocked,” Kubby said. “We owe a debt of gratitude to the United States attorneys, who pushed the voters this way with their ridiculous scare tactics. I can’t think of anything better for our campaign.”
So the Cannadome idea is gonna happen, kinda….meaning there will be a debate, but none of the groups will pull their effort if a vote is taken. That was completely expected. What was unexpected was the cowardice rejection by one of the campaigns. “Like Wine” proponents have refused to participate. Here is what Like Wine proponent, Steve Kubby had to say:
RMLW will not be attending any more activist debates. We believe that while this proposed debate may sound good in theory , in reality it will only ensure further fractionalization of the movement. In our view, activists are not addressing the issue of the voters outside the cause, that is the soccer moms, both the Republican and Democratic socially conservative women that voted against 19. -Steve Kubby
So there we have it. The lead proponent of Like Wine stating they do not want to be a part of the process of allowing those pesky “activists” to examine and question their efforts. Instead, they trust that they are right, and they will do what they want to do, and could give a shit about what the cannabis community thinks about it….They DO NOT want your opinion. They could care less. They want no feedback. They do not believe they should have to stand up and debate their initiative. They are right. We are all wrong…stupid activists and their stupid debates. What is funny is that Steve believes he can swing the soccer mom vote.
But this has been the problem with the RMLW effort from the beginning….the people involved. I do not necessarily think they have a horrible initiative, but when your spokespeople are a man who said he made a lozenge to cure Bird Flu, and a militant Canadian asshole who threatens and/or annoys everyone he speaks to, there is a fucking problem. In a campaign that is sure to be won or lost on messaging, RMLW sends the Goof Troop out to speak on behalf of cannabis users. Great.
It is no wonder they do not have the juice to show up for the debate. I have a great deal of respect for Judge James Gray, also a proponent of Like Wine; but I will have to say that from a “birds of a feather” standpoint, it is troubling that he would allow for his campaign to be represented by such poor ambassadors. For a minute I thought they had succeeded in controlling the message, as Kubby was silent for a period, at least in public and the press. But he has now begun to creep back in, so I imagine it should get interesting real quick. While Steve Kubby is undoubtedly a smart guy, one never knows what will come shooting out of his mouth at any moment. I love it, personally; but for a very public campaign on a very contentious issue, his random outburst potential I would find disturbing if I were thinking about funding the effort.
While it is disappointing that RMLW has chose to not participate, it is not completely unexpected. The RMLW campaign has been walking back their participation all week, as the discussion unfolded. Their lead spokesmodel is a CANADIAN, named DMV. He stated early on, “None of the more respectable people want anything to do with you or the cannadome.” I assured them I would have nothing to do with it, so now the reason is not because it is MY cannadome, but because they feel these “activist debates will further fractionalize the movement.” WHATEVER….why not just say “We are not coming because we do not have the juice to stand face to face with the community and debate our initiative.” That is the reality.
It is sad really, but NOT TO WORRY! We have been assured that the RMLW initiative will be debated. There WILL be a person assigned to be the proponent for this effort, as all of the real proponents have turned their back on the idea of an open and adult conversation about the four different initiatives. So, while the ACTUAL proponents will not be there, a qualified individual who knows the RMLW initiative will be there to help people understand what it is, and what it does. Obviously one of the real proponents would be better, but it is good to know that the organizers will still work to represent their side of the equation.
I am excited….Cannadome is scheduled for February 16th, 2012 at the MillValley Community Center at 6:30 pm. I am looking forward to it. That is ALSO medical marijuana week, and there are a number of cool things planned I hear. AND…Obama is in town that day too, so we can all go protest in the day, and discuss cannabis freedom by night. I am SO excited.
Many thanks to Scott Candell for picking up the ball and making this happen. I hope they can convince Like Wine to come to the table, as well. I was really looking forward to their presentation in context, and with people able to ask questions about it. Only time will tell…If you know the Like Wine folks, let them know you want them to be a part of the historic Cannadome debate. If they want the community to support them they should at least have the courtesy to attend an event that showcases their effortto the community….
I am writing you in hopes of getting you to donate some resources to cannabis reform in California, and across the nation, this election season. In California alone there are three valid and good initiative campaigns working to make the ballot that seriously need some funding to make them a reality. There are campaigns in Colorado, Washington State, Ohio, and Oregon ,which also could use your money to help make the world a better place for people, like yourself, who like weed.
I saw recently that Peter Lewis of Progressive insurance, who I have a great deal of respect for, was going to help fund an effort for medical cannabis in Massachusetts. I wrote an email to Mr. Lewis in November asking him to help fund an effort to end cannabis prohibition in CA. That is right…I wrote and asked him to drop $1.5 million on a campaign to legalize cannabis in CA. Mr. Lewis responded directly to me, which I found to be AWESOME, regardless of whether I liked his answer. Here was his response to me:
Thanks for your note. First of all, welcome a Progressive policyholder. Thanks for honoring us with your business.
I have done considerable research which leads me to conclude that the time has not yet come for legalization. I believe that if the issue you want to pass isn’t polling well above 60% 1n favor before the election, there is no chance to pass it. California is not there yet.
I will not be helping with your effort. My associate, Graham Boyd, can provide more detail.
Joy, Love and Peace
So, incredibly wealthy people are looking for more of a sure thing where weed is concerned…I get that. I am not naive enough to think cannabis reform would pass by a landslide in CA; but what I do believe is that with the right people and resources that we can get 50% + 1 vote of the electorate of CA to pass a legalization effort. I am asking for you to take a shot at reform now vs. waiting for four more years, while people continue to be persecuted for their choice to use cannabis. I am asking you to put your millions on an effort that could change the world. I am asking you to believe.
Sure….we have an uphill battle; but a well-run a thoughtful campaign based in freedom and justice can prevail if we act now. The public IS ready for cannabis legalization, but it has to be framed in the right public education campaign, and to do that it takes money. Which is why I am asking you, Incredibly Wealthy Person who likes weed, to use your enormous wealth to help reform cannabis in CA, and beyond, this year. The world IS ready to take this step, as the call for reason, and an end to the madness of the drug war, grow louder. Nothing would send a clearer message that the largest populated state in the nation voting to end cannabis prohibition. With your help and a lot of commitment, this could be a reality. It will be close, but with the right resources and message I believe we can change the world, and I hope that you share this belief.
Here is the message I would base a campaign on:
- Freedom- Cannabis is a safe and effective plant and the Government has no right to tell us we cannot use it
- Human Dignity- It is no longer okay to criminalize those in our community who use cannabis (including soccer moms’ kids)
- Wasteful spending- We waste billions chasing low level cannabis offenders instead of funding education, infrastructure, and building stronger communities.
In the words of the great Elizabeth Warren, “Nobody got rich on their own.” We educated your employees. Your goods go to market on our roads. We make up your success through our loyalty to your goods or services. So I am asking you to give some of that wealth towards an effort to end the madness of cannabis prohibition and to take a gamble on a cannabis campaign this election season. The time to write the check is NOW. Anyone can right a check two weeks before the campaign ends in a last ditch effort. The truly courageous step up and put their money on the vision and etch their name in history from the outset. You, Incredibly Wealthy Person who likes weed, have the ability to make history with a stroke of your pen on a check.
You have millions of dollars, and are likely making more money than we need off of the interest you make on your wealth alone. I am not asking you to give up your entire fortune like you were Warren Buffett or something. I am asking you to make a noble commitment to help fund an effort to end cannabis prohibition, and make the world a much better place for those who like weed. I do not think that is asking too much.
So this is my call to arms, Incredibly Wealthy Persons who like weed. This is where the rubber hits the road and you need to decide if you believe in cannabis reform and if you are willing to put your money where your mouth is to do what is needed to make it happen. Get off the sidelines. I am begging you. Show the world you are not a normal greedy 1%er; but one who uses their wealth to transform the world to end failed and destructive policies.
I promise to do everything in my power to ensure your money goes to victory in the fall; but the reality is that if none of the rich folks who like weed step up to the plate to fund an effort in CA, the window of opportunity is likely to pass, and CA, and likely the Nation, will continue to be a world of cannabis chaos. So please, IWP……cut a check to end cannabis prohibition today. I will be your best friend. Pretty please with sugar on top. Help me to help you…
Mickey Martin and millions of cannabis users who are currently considered criminals for our choice to use a safe, enjoyable and helpful plant.
With all that is happening in the world of cannabis, and California medical cannabis law and regulation I almost feel as if I am hallucinating, as the landscape continues to morph in front of my eyes. To be honest, at this very moment, I have no fucking idea what is and what it not legal for medical cannabis patients in California; and I am not sure any of us ever have.
Cities and Counties continue to alter, or even worse, suspend/ban their dispensary programs altogether because of the Pack case for the most part, citing the uncertainty of the legality of any regulation that allows, or assumes to approve, the breaking of Federal law. That is Pack in a nutshell…..Can a municipality take money for and instruct a person/organization on how they can sell medical cannabis, as it is in direct conflict with Federal law. The Pack decision decided that all a municipality could do was limit the operations and zoning, and in no way could permit or license. The Pack decision alone has sent the entire industry into a tailspin, add to that an increased and uncalled for crackdown by the Feds trying to do local zoning, and you get what we have here now; a clusterfuck of nothing meaningful and a bunch of know-it-alls attempting to wrangle in suckers who will do anything for some direction and answers.
The real truth is that at this very moment in time NOBODY HAS THE ANSWER. There is not one to be had. Medical cannabis in CA, and across the nation is in a completely different, yet sometimes paralleled, Universe. It is like a vortex of real information that is being filled with random bits of chaotic and misconstrued information from every different sector of the government, the community, and from patients and provider organizations. Not a day goes by that I do not get a bizarre phone call, tweet, message, or other form of communication about some new found way to fuck up the reality that there simply IS NO RIGHT ANSWER. That is what some refuse to admit. There is nothing more than myth, hypothesis, theory, and philosophies about what is medical cannabis laws anywhere.
The confusion and call for clarity has come to such a fevered pitch that the CA Supreme Court decided not to just review the Pack case, but also three other pending cases that deal with medical cannabis, and patients and municipalities rights vs. responsibilities. This is welcome news for medical cannabis activists because if nothing else it depublishes the Pack and Riverside cases for the time being, and like this movement/industry, or whatever it is, has always done- we have lived to fight another day. This is where the work of groups like ASA are paramount to the future of this community and medical cannabis. The other three cases deal with similar issues including the Riverside case, which seems to contradict Pack and is a bad decision for medical cannabis advocates.
So the good news is that it looks like the CA Supreme Court is going to help clarify how dispensaries/collectives/cooperatives and other medical cannabis organizations fit into the CA legal landscape…hopefully. The bad news is it could be a while, up to two years according to some; and generally pending cases at the Supreme Court will freeze a lot of decision making. This is good, since a lot of the current decision making is not going our way and we are seeing knee-jerk reactions across the state in municipalities suspending programs or banning medical cannabis altogether. So hopefully, for us, this will stop the bleeding in some areas, including the some of the State’s largest cities. It also means very little real progress is likely to take place, as many municipalities will use the waiting for this decision as reasoning to hold off on allowing for access. That is the unfortunate part. So it cuts both ways, but is most definitely a net win for the medical cannabis community IMO.
Below is ASA’s Press Release on the decision for the highest court in CA (pun intended) to hear these cases:
For Immediate Release: January 18th, 2012
California Supreme Court Grants Review of Controversial Medical Marijuana Cases
Advocates applaud decision to review Long Beach & Riverside dispensary regulation cases
Sacramento, CA — The California Supreme Court issued an order today indicating its intent to review two controversial medical marijuana cases that have resulted in the suspension of several local dispensary ordinances across the state. As a result of today’s order, Pack v. City of Long Beach and City of Riverside v. Inland Empire Patient’s Health and Wellness Ctr., Inc. have both been vacated in anticipation of the High Court’s ruling. ThePack decision held that some dispensary regulations may be preempted by federal law and the Riverside decision held that localities could legally ban distribution altogether.
“These cases were very problematic for patients and their ability to safely and legally access a medication that works for them,” said Joe Elford, Chief Counsel of Americans for Safe Access (ASA), the country’s leading medical marijuana advocacy group. “We’re very pleased that local governments will now be without the means to deny access to medical marijuana for patients in their communities, at least until or unless the Supreme Court has ruled otherwise.”
Arguing that Pack was erroneously decided, ASA along with the American Civil Liberties Union, the Drug Policy Alliance, and the County of Santa Cruz filed a brief on December 12th requesting that the California Supreme Court review the case.
Although the Pack decision, issued in October of last year, contradicted other appellate court rulings, several cities and counties across California have used it as a reason to suspend regulatory ordinances or completely ban local distribution. In its latest crackdown on medical marijuana in California, the U.S. Justice Department has even cited the Packdecision as a reason why localities should not adopt distribution licensing ordinances.
One of the cases that contradicted Pack was the Riverside ruling issued in November, which held that medical marijuana distribution was not preempted by federal law, but cities could lawfully ban it. However, now that both decisions are out of play, local governments will now have less cover with which to implement or continue such bans. “The Packdecision is a dead letter and can no longer be used to defy the implementation of state law,” continued Elford.
It will likely be at least a couple of years before the Supreme Court rules on the cases. In the meantime, advocates will be urging their local governments to adopt regulatory ordinances that establish the means by which California’s hundreds of thousands of patients can obtain a medicine that is legal under state law.
Another two medical marijuana dispensary cases, Traudt v. City of Dana Point andPeople v. G3 Holisticwere also granted review by the Supreme Court today.
Ruling in Pack v. City of Long Beach:http://AmericansForSafeAccess.org/downloads/Pack_v_Long_Beach.pdf
Ruling in City of Riverside v. Inland Empire Patient’s Health and Wellness Ctr.:http://AmericansForSafeAccess.org/downloads/Riverside_Decision.pdf
Amicus brief urging review by the California Supreme Court:http://AmericansForSafeAccess.org/downloads/Pack_Amicus_CSC_Review.pdf
There is no doubt that I am an extremely opinionated person, and I understand that my vocal presence in this industry (or whatever it is) is disturbing to some and refreshing to others. I have no issue with speaking my mind and calling shit like I see it; and in that respect I often find myself in moments of conflict. It comes with the territory.
But please do not use me, or my thoughts and writings, as a point of opposition, or as a selling point for one of your efforts. I do my thing. I say what I believe. People have a right to listen, or not to listen. I could care less. I do not write to appease others, nor do I write to illicit support or reactions. I write to get the incredible thought process that often clouds my brain into a medium where I can understand it better and find some therapeutic relief by sharing it with others. I am not here to make friends or to make enemies. I am just working to make cannabis legal for anyone to use as they please. I write about things I think can help that effort.
I do not have, nor do I wish to have, a bandwagon. I trust that most humans on this planet are strong enough to make their own choices in life, and if they want to agree with some of my thoughts super; but this does not make them a part of a bandwagon, or a groupie, or a follower. They are just allies in a quest for cannabis freedom. So I will undoubtedly continue to do my thing. I suggest you continue to do yours and leave me out of your bullshit conversations. I am a nobody in a sea of somebodies, so when in doubt just leave me out. Thanks.
In an article put out on the Huffington Post this week another poorly crafted strategy by the Weed Wars famous DeAngelo brothers was announced that confirms the desperation and lack of principle that their previous “I do not support legalization” bullshit alluded to. They are willing to say or do anything that will protect their own asses, regardless of if it destroys the world or not.
The article begins:
Medical marijuana activists have a message for President Obama: Defend us from the federal government’s crackdown, or else.
That seems as if we, as a group, somehow decided something. I am a medical marijuana activist and I can assure you I have no “or else” empty threat that includes the crazy shit these two are talking. So it is a bit disingenuous for the author, Lucia Graves, to make the reader believe that somehow we all are on board with these jaycats. Nothing could be further from the truth. I wouldn’t follow these dudes to the 5-o’clock free weed giveaway. So please, Ms. Graves, next time try the term “two nutjob activist brothers who run the world’s largest dispensary on the planet and are eligible for three death sentences according to the intro to their nationally televised show Weed Wars have a message for President Obama….” That is much more accurate and does not lump the rest of us level headed folks in with this insane hyperbole about all being Republicans for Ron Paul because we are “one issue voters.” What a shallow fucking existence, and one I will NEVER be a part of.
Here is what Stevie-D said that I found so disturbing:
“I will be voting in the Republican primary in California, and I will be voting for one of the candidates who supports our position on medical cannabis. I wouldn’t be surprised if a lot of other medical cannabis patients join me,” he told The Huffington Post. “There’s a real opening here for Republicans.”
A real opening? In California? You wanna put some money on that? You are basically promoting so much of what is wrong with our society as okay because at least some asshole promised to protect medical cannabis. Fuck the EPA. Fuck a woman’s right to choose. Fuck any regulation of business. End the Department of Education. End Medi-Care, Social Security, and any chance at single-payer health care. Fuck civil rights. Screw you all; every man for themselves and anything goes, just so long as you promise unequivocally to protect medical cannabis? HUH?
He goes on to state:
“Look, we are one-issue voters,” Steve DeAngelo said. “I’m not going to vote for anyone who thinks I’m a criminal and wants to put me in prison. I will vote for any one of the presidential candidates who will defend the rights of medical cannabis patients. If that person ends up being a Republican, I will vote for them. If they end up being a Democrat, I will vote for them.”
“We are one issue voters?” Are you fucking serious? Do you have a mouse in your pocket? Who is this “we?” You have seriously lost your mind if you think cannabis is the “one-issue” that makes or breaks your election, regardless of what the candidate thinks about the rest of our society. That is such a bullshit shallow statement I do not think I can even ever look at you as an even mildly decent human being again. It is so self-centered and crazy that is makes me want to scream.
And for the man who said “I do not believe in the legalization of cannabis for recreational use” on National TV, it is a bit odd for you to be all “who thinks I am a criminal and wants to put me in jail” when your statement basically says the same thing about all recreational, or adult enjoyable, users.
No, asshole…we are not one issue voters. First off, our lives and our major focus point are NOT more important than the sanctity of our nation or our planet. To disregard issues like human rights, civil rights, education, healthcare, income equality, fair practices, and any host of other SUPER IMPORTANT ISSUE facing our communities in the name of medical cannabis only is unacceptable. You can be a stupid one issue voter if you like, and you can end up with another George Bush shitting on the entire world for another 8 years. I am just not that big of an asshole to promote the Republican Party, just because one of them says he thinks people should be allowed to use medical pot. Mind you, Dr. Paul has NEVER said he supported cannabis, or medical cannabis, as good or positive things. He just said, as a freedom issue the Federal Government should not be involved, and it should be left up to the states. Newsflash: Leaving things up to the States in the long run will still result in many people going to prison. Not all States are cool like California, yo…..geez. One issue that is cool in my State, and fuck the rest of you losers.
But the now famous brother of the now famous Stevie-D, Andrew Deangelo could not let his brother’s hyperbolic bullshit stand on its own. He had to up the ante.
Here is what he said:
Andrew DeAngelo says he’d like to take it a step farther, mobilizing patients to “vote Republican, if that’s what it takes to get movement on our issue, to get the Feds off our back and to stop raiding places to stop doing these crazy things.
First off, Andy…this is California. If you think your 94,000 patients mobilized to vote Republican would even make a dent in the deep blue State of California I got a bridge in Florida to sell you. Now if you were talking all this shit from Colorado or New Mexico, definite swing states, you may have a better argument; but Obama won California before he was born in Kenya. LOL. Your idle threats and declarations of blind allegiance to whoever promises to love weed the most is just crazy talk. Also, remember…the last time a Republican was in office “these crazy things” were also happening.
I LOVE WEED MORE THAN ANYONE….but I am not even that blind to the rest of the world to declare it as the sole issue that we should base the future of our society on. I would not even call it the most important issue by far, even though my livelihood likely depends on it. I am not even sure it is a top 5 issue. Let me see….. Poverty, Education, Healthcare, War, and then maybe Drug Policy. The Republicans, including the Ron “say some crazy shit to get people to send money” Paul phenomena would be a disaster for this Nation. Obama has plenty of issues, but you are off your rocker if you think throwing the baby out with the bathwater is the best idea.
What is funnier is that you believe these public idle and super shallow threats that the world sees right through as evidence that our movement s nothing more than folks who care about weed, and weed only, are actually going to matter in any way whatsoever to Obama. Who they do matter to are the people reading, many who we will be asking to vote for cannabis reform in the future, because these one issue threatening statements clearly say that we are willing to sell everyone else’s issues down the river to save our own. That is bad policy. These statements say to the rest of these activists fighting for the many other causes that “Your issue is not as important as ours and we will ‘mobilize’ for candidates that will shit all over your issue, just to possibly, maybe, kind of have some sort of acceptance of our own only and most important issue.” Fuck you environmentalist. Fuck you women’s rights advocates. Fuck you immigration reform proponents. Fuck you Occupy. Fuck everyone except for “MEDICAL cannabis.” And not even to save all of cannabis, because we know the DeAngelos “do not support legalizing cannabis for recreational use.” So whichever candidate lies to them the best about “MEDICAL cannabis” is who they will be telling people to vote for regardless of if it would destroy the rest of the world. Super.
San Francisco ASA coordinator David Goldman had the MOST AWESOME STEMENT EVER at the end of the article:
“Obama risks many people, in California especially, sitting on their hands in the election,” said David Goldman, a core leadership group member with the San Francisco chapter of Americans for Safe Access. “But I would never vote for a Republican,” he added. “The Republican party is beyond hopeless.”
Yeah…What he said….
NOTE TO THE REST OF THE WORLD:
I AM NOT WITH THESE FUCKING “VOTE REPUBLICAN AGAINST LEGALIZATION FOR RECREATIONAL USE” ASSHOLES!!!! I HAVE NO IDEA WTF THEY ARE TALKING ABOUT. MOST CANNABIS PEOPLE I KNOW ARE NOT ONE ISSUE VOTERS AND STILL CARE ABOUT THE REST OF THE WORLD. I AM SORRY FOR PEOPLE LIKE THIS AND I ASSURE YOU THEY DO NOT SPEAK FOR ME OR MOST OF MY COLLEAGUES.
The essence of a shell game is based in the illusion that the sucker being duped by the Shell Man actually is participating in an honest game. The reality is that in any skilled shell game, there is no pea under any of the shells; and the other people there, betting along with you to make you feel like you are not the only dummy, are likely shills working with the Shell Man to get your money.
In this case the dummy is the City of Oakland and the Shell Men (and women) are the applicants vying for the four medical cannabis dispensary permits. After reviewing the applications for these folks it has become clear that the folks listed on these applications are actually the shills for some very familiar and well-connected Shell Men in Oakland.
The problem is that in the real world a shell game is nothing more than fraud, and the actions being perpetrated by the folks behind thee applications would be considered, for lack of a better term, RACKETEERING.
rack·e·teering- A pattern of illegal activity carried out as part of an enterprise that is owned or controlled by those who are engaged in the illegal activity.
Upon seeing the list of applicants I had to ask myself, “Why are some of these applicants not listed as managing members of their own projects, and why would some of these folks risk their entire worth on being involved with selling marijuana for a non-profit salary?” So I requested a copy of the applications from the City of Oakland and did some searching myself, since it seems the people working with the City have seemingly turned a blind eye to this obvious fraud.
Here is what I found:
G8 Medical Alliance, Inc.: The reason this application raises a huge red flag is because it is obviously a shell game being put on by the high profile self-proclaimed “potrepeneur” Dhar Mann, yet he is not listed anywhere on the application. Why? If you check the Secretary of State’s website he is listed as the person of service for the corporation but he is mysteriously absent from the application. Here is a screenshot from the CA Secretary of State’s site:
Yet there is not one mention of Dhar in the G8 Medical Alliance application. The address for the location is 70 Hegenberger Loop, the former home of Dhar’s failed WeGrow store, and a property owned by Dhar’s family’s MannEdge Property. The team of managing members includes Dhar’s attorney, Toni Mims-Chochran, Leo Bazille, the “chancellor” of Dhar’s UniCann project, and Dhar’s direct assistant and employee of MannEdge Properties, Ariana Patino. So why no Dhar Mann listed? Why is the kingpin of the organization nowhere to be found on the application? Why has he left his shills out in front, and has left himself out of the equation where the RFPA is concerned?
It is simple math really….MONEY. As the landlord for the organization, a person can make far more money than earning a simple non-profit salary. Submitted in the application is a letter of intent from MannEdge Properties, Dhar Mann’s real estate venture; but there is no lease included that discusses terms, nor are there terms laid out in what most real estate corporations would consider to be standard in any Letter of Intent. Why? Why is there no mention of what terms G8 Medical Alliance will pay for their rent and fees for the property? My guess is because it is substantial.
Also this property is definitely within 1000 ft. of Lighthouse Charter school and will likely draw the ire of US Attorney Melinda Haag, who has been sending out forfeiture letters to all dispensaries in the Northern District, including some well-known dispensaries in Oakland and SF. It is unclear why anyone would want to invest in a losing situation, but to each their own. The proof of capitalization is redacted from public info, so who knows where the money is coming from; but I have an idea.
In order to make it seem like this substantial rent payment is at an “arm’s length transaction,” it is necessary to leave Mr. Mann off of the application; but they probably should have thought of that when filing the corporation with the Secretary of State. But hey…the devil is in the details. The fact is that it is a text book racket, not to mention unethical and immoral. But Dhar and Co. are far from alone.
Tidewater Patients Group: Now here is where things get crazy interesting. Tidewater Patients Group is being proposed at the address 4709 Tidewater Ave. Public records show that this property is owned by “The Tidewater Group, LLC.” The grant deed for the property listed with the County of Alameda shows it was transferred on April 19th of 2011 from Ana Chretien, the Batarse Family Trust, Lily Hu, and Turquoise Villas. LLC, whose managing member is Carlos Plazola. The property is granted to “The Tidewater Group, LLC,” which consists of none other than Ana Chretien, Carlos Plazola, and Anthony Batarse. So essentially the ownership was by these people to themselves in a deal where the tranfer tax was $0.00. Interesting stuff, right?
This is not even the beginning of the interesting stuff. Let us begin with Mrs. Ana Chretien. She ownsABC Security, and until recently, had a very lucrative contract with the City of Oakland in the range of $2 million a year. After Mayor Jean Quan was elected, and power shifted in Oakland City Hall, she lost that contract. But here is the kicker. The address for The Tidewater Group is 1840 Embarcadero. If that sounds familiar, it is because it is the same address as HARBORSIDE HEALTH CENTER. That is right. Ana Chretien owns the building where Harborside is and they pay her a handsome fee for rent, rumored to be around $25,000 per month. Not a shabby rate for property on the East side of Oakland.
Carlos Plazola is former Chief of Staff and aide to then City Council President Ignacio De La Fuente, and the President of Terra Linda Development. The Tidewater Patients Group listsLaura Blair as the person of service, who also works for Plazola’s Terra Linda Development. Plazola and Blair ALSO operated (or still operate?) a business called “Cannsultant” which specializes in lobbying Cities on behalf of dispensaries. I have met Ms. Blair a couple of times at City Council meetings and she is impressive in her approach. She also used to work for the City of Oakland as Deputy City Attorney. Stay with me…I know this is getting complex.
In the Oakland RFPA application there is a letter from Ana Chretien that explains the nature of the agreement between Tidewater Patient Group, who has Ms. Blair listed as the person of service on the State filing, but has William “Bill” Koziol listed as the President. He is a Realtor from Richmond, which makes me wonder how he is qualified to be the President of a medical cannabis organization; but I digress. Several other Board Members for Tidewater Patients Groups also have ties directly to Carlos Plazola, and in turn, Ana Chretien.
The letter included in the application from Ana Chretien is phrased as if all these people had never met before, beginning with “It was good meeting with you and hearing your presentation.” The letter says Mrs. Chretien “agrees to lease 1407 Tidewater,” but the application is for 4709 Tidewater. Maybe this is a simple typo, but none-the-less raises question to the validity of the document as a requirement. But here is the kicker…..Not only is Mrs. Chretien nice enough to rent the property to them, she is nice enough to finance the construction of a brand new building to the tune of $950,000. The letter states, “We agree that the cost of this construction wil be repaid by (the collective) as anaugmentation to your monthly rent.” Anyone want to bet on the interest rate on that loan? But there is more…..in addition to the construction start up the letter states, “To help your organization fund its operating costs until it becomes self-sustaining (month 7 according to your proposal) we will provide you with loan based on the proforma you provided us. This loan will be repaid in addition to the agreed-upon rent and repayment of construction costs discussed above.” It says the loan is for “operational expenses plus 20%.” Now that is a sweet deal, man.
HOLY SHIT! The Tidewater Group is either the world’s most awesome and super nice landlord, willing to gamble well over a cool $Million bucks on this business that is Federally illegal and ran by people with zero experience in the cannabis industry;….or they are a shell company playing a shell game and extracting massive amounts of money from the “non-profit” through loans, rent, and ongoing fees. Conveniently there is no copy of that lease or discussion of those exact terms. It could be redacted, but I highly doubt it.
This kind of deal is unheard of in this day and age and in this economy. It is obviously clear that Ana Chretien and Carlos Plazola stand to make more money from these deals than they ever would listed as managing members of a non-profit organization. What is that called again? Oh yeah…A Racket. I wonder if the dumb-ass front people they have ran out as their shadow board know the possible implications of this type of bullshit. I highly doubt it.
Here is the funny part…I am not sure if it was an oversight or just a Freudian slip but Ms. Chretien signed her letter- Ana Chretien, Managing Member, Tidewater Patients Group, LLC, instead of The Tidewater Group, LLC, which is her company.
The entire thing is a shell game…..and to make things more complex, Ms. Blair, the person of service has her office listed as 19 Embarcadero Cove, a building owned by another applicant, Jeff Wilcox ofAgramed. To even muddy the waters just a little more, the City of Oakland website has Carlos Plazola listed as a lobbyist for Wilcox and Co. for medicl cannabis related issues.
Crazy right? Which brings me to my next applicant, none other than Jeff Wilcox himself.
Agramed: The sole Board Member listed on the Agramed application is Jeffrey Wilcox, CEO. Wilcox came to fame for proposing the mega-grow projects in Oakland after summoning Terra Linda and Carlos Plazola to do a study on how much revenue a 100,000 sq. ft grow would make for the City. What resulted was the plan for mega-grows with a $200,000 plus buy in fee for the City. Wilcox stated in the press that he was willing to invest $20 million bucks and make Oakland the Silicon Vlley of cannabis. Of course, the rest is history and this backfired greatly resulting in then Oakland City Attorney alerting US Attorney Haag, and her writing a stern letter. This letter then caught like wildfire across the Nation, and now programs in WA, AZ, RI, NJ, and other states are being held up in lieu of ambiguous threats of enforcement by the Feds. But where was I?
Oh yeah….Wilcox is the owner of the 7.3 acre gem that is Embarcadero Cove at 1820 Embarcdero…. Yes, right next door to Harborside Health Center. The property for the proposed dispensary and grow is owned by Wilcox Embarcadro Associates, LLC. As of August 31st, the property is in defaultaccording to records at Alameda County.
The property is definitely within 1000 ft. of a school, so I am sure US Attorney Haag will be sending letters about seizing the property like she has to others in range of a school; but the real interesting aspect is that because Mr. Wilcox has listed himself as CEO of this Federally illegal operation it would be very easy for the Feds to seize the property outright. There is not even an attempt at a shell game “arm’s length” transaction to protect the property from seizure. It is all right there.
To Wilcox credit, the letter drafted by his attorney, Jennifer L. Kassan, Esq. states
“However, due to the U.S. Attorney’s recent spate of warning letters sent to landlords and lien holders of dispensaries and the civil forfeiture lawsuits against properties housing dispensaries, Agramed may experience delays in commencing operations.”
Delays in commencing operations due to the Feds is something that should have been thought of LONG before submitting an application with the City. Nothing has changed with Federal law. It would be truly sad if the City awarded a permit to an organization who stated in their opening letter that they may not have the courage to really open should the be granted the permit.
But should they open, check out THIS sweet deal…In Table 1-11 of their application it lists “Percent Distribution of Expenditures” and “Rent” is listed as 10.2% of the expenditures of the organization. Mind you, it lists “Cost of Goods Sold” as just 13.3%, so the 10.2% being paid for “rent” directly to Wilcox is almost as much as the Cost of Goods.
BUT get this….the application says:
“Table 1-9 summarizes the financial analysis of the proposed Agramed project for the first three years of operations and includes a three yer total.In the first year of operations, gross revenues total about $6.5 million, increasing to $18.1 million in Year Two and $27.8 million in Year Three.”
So let us do the quick math….based on projections by Jeffrey Wicox, CEO and sole Board Member of Agramed, is going to pay 10.2% of his revenues to Jeffrey Wilcox of Wilcox Embarcadro Associates, LLC for rent? And he will make a non-profit salary I assume from being the CEO of the company? So in year one he will pay $663,000 in rent, increasing to $1,846,200 in rent in per year, then increasing to a whopping $2,835,600 per year in rent paid from himself to himself. It is fucking brilliant really. And you can be sure this does not include the handsome at least 10% loan of start-up fees he probably makes to the company to get going. Talk about a fucking racket. Damn, I need to get rich so I can do all of this twisted back room shit because I have a grip of cash.
Bottom line is that all is not what it seems in the Oakland application process. The entire thinglacks transparency and honesty. People who are business moguls, and most who were not even likely patients before wanting to get in the business, are invading the process in hopes of riches and fortune. It seems they plan on extracting those fortunes from the “non-profit” industry through property ownership and jacked up rent rates. None of these people have a lick of experience actually dispensing cannabis, and I would bet MOST HAVE NEVER EVEN USED CANNABIS IN THE PAST DECADE.
For those who are concerned about the big business interests coming in and raping the industry, you can be sure that this shell game is set up to do just that. There is no pea under the shell. There is no transparency. What is clear is that there are people with no experience in the cannabis industry using their contacts at City Hall and their extreme wealth to buy the “competitive” RFPA process. And the worst part is that there is little questioning of the applications for legitimacy.Lord knows how they scored them, but one thing is certain, if I can do this homework and connect the most obvious dots a Federal forensic accountant can too. If there is one thing I have come to learn about the Feds in my interaction with them, and through seeing them attack our industry, is that they do not appreciate being bullshitted. It is like trying to run from a Grizzly Bear. They love the hunt. The backdoor shell game shit is what they despise far more than just dispensing cannabis to patients.
If I were one of the folks who have been convinced by one of these property owners to act as the managing members of the collective, so that they could receive enormous profits from increased rent fees, I would be scared. Nothing is worse than getting a 10-year mandatory minimum for being listed as an “organizer/leader” of a company so someone else could make the real money. Food for thought.
So the debate rages on after Steve DeAngelo dropped the “I do not believe in legalization of cannabis for recreational use” card on the final episode of Weed Wars. The DeAngelo brothers have been called turncoats, hypocrites, and busters by America’s cannabis community for their inability to manage the message and willingness to throw the entire legalization effort out the window, in what one can only assume is an action of self-preservation under the attack of Federal pressure, and the pressure of being the new American TV sweetheart.
So then Steve tried to walk back his (and his brother’s) disastrous statements in major media outlets by stating this:
The term “recreational cannabis” was imposed from outside our movement. It’s time to define our own lexicon of cannabis. -Steve Deangelo
Is that what the fuck you were doing? Maybe that is what you should have said. Instead of saying “I do not support legalization of cannabis for recreational use,” you should have said “I do not like the term recreational.” And when you say “our” who exactly are you talking about? If I were to define my own “lexicon” of cannabis it would not be intertwined with the medical industry. The term “medicine” carries too much baggage in our society to deem all cannabis use as such. You may not like the term “recreational,” but that is the common terminology being used to define non-medical cannabis use.
So let us look at this evil word “recreation” that has been imposed upon us.
rec·re·a·tion/ˌrekrēˈāSHən/ (noun)- Activity done for enjoyment when one is not working.
Well I can see where your issue is. Your employees use cannabis for enjoyment WHILE working, so I can see why you do not like this terminology. I mean, when Terryn ate the edible in episode 4 while working he did not seem to be seeking health and wellness; nor when he sat there looking confused and messing up the ladies order did he seem well. He seemed confused and disoriented, while performing customer service…..so I can see how you think “recreational” does not fit because of the “not working” thing. But that does not seem to be the rub with you guys.
Here is what Andrew Deangelo said in a tweet that further confuses the situation:
Recreation is an activity, not a commodity. Try to ingest recreation, just try it. It cannot be done. -Andrew Deangelo
So this is where you want to hang your hat on this debacle? On the term recreation? So you are saying that because one cannot ingest “recreation” that your statement against legalizing cannabis for recreational use is somehow more valid or less offensive? I do not think so….under the same premise you cannot “ingest” health and wellness either. Just try it. It cannot be done. It is a state or condition…not a commodity. So what was the point you were trying to make again?
Word games never kept anyone out of jail. While you fuckers are over there dancing around the semantics of what is recreation and what is wellness, and if because recreation makes you feel well is it also medicinal and can we sell weed to anyone who wants to recreate because they are actually performing health and wellness activities?…blah, blah, blah. STFU! You cannot decide that you want to play word games in order to dance around the fact that you threw the entire legalization effort under the bus. America did not hear that you think recreational is a bad “lexicon.” What they heard is that you “do not support legalization.” That is it. You see…you actually have to change the lexicon BEFORE shitting all over it. You have to make the distinction between your displeasure with the term recreational and your preference for health and wellness; and on top of that, you have to get people to buy into that. NEWSFLASH: People are not buying into it.
Instead, you decided to shit on the term that most of America uses to describe non-medical and non-therapeutic uses of cannabis. The only impression that the public took away from the final message of your big show was “those guys do not support legalization.” They are not sitting there pondering your definition or disapproval of the word “recreational.” They heard the message….”DO NOT SUPPORT LEGALIZATION.” And that is a very dangerous message right now, as we inch closer and closer to that goal.
Look….I prefer the term “adult enjoyable use”; others prefer “social use” or “personal use.” The fact is that it is okay to like those terms and use them, but realize that this is not the term most people use. Me and my wannabe hipster friends call cars “whips”; but if I call my mom and say “Hey ma…I got a new whip,” she would politely respond with “what is a whip?” Why? Because this is not the common terminology most understood by wide portions of our society. We use the term “car” because everyone understands that. The same way everyone understands “recreational vs. medical” uses of cannabis…..well, everyone but you guys apparently.
You can continue to play the game of bullshit semantics if you like, but the fact is that you made a fatal error in your messaging. And instead of manning up and saying that you misspoke or were mistaken, you continue to take us on some unwanted field trip to the health and wellness factory that is Harborside’s dreamland. Instead of saying, “That is not what I meant,” you continue to try and convince us all that we are wrong and that your new found definition for being “whacked out on edibles” at a softball game is the right way to go. It just does not hold water and you guys should scrap the bullshit and stand up for what is right….legalization of cannabis for whatever fucking type of use you want…recreation, social, enjoyable, adult, health and wellness…whatever. We are grown ass people. We should not have to dance around some stupid word games to make people understand that legalizing cannabis is the right thing to do. You guys failed to bring that message. Your message instead was “Fuck legalization.” And that is what is so sad.
The simple answer is most likely…at least for now. As we watch 2011 wind down and begin to look to 2012 it is hard not to look around the cannabis industry and recognize a sense of doom and gloom. The Federal crackdown in California and other states has taken its toll and our movement is undoubtedly under attack. This is not a major surprise, given the cruel and ignorant policies of our government dating back hundreds of years. Where we are doomed at is in our approach and quest for resolution.
The entire industry is made up of many different minds with many different ideas about how we should get to where we want to go. There are the strict medical only activists who agree the dispensaries are evil and want to see them all shut down (I am looking at you Letitia Pepper). There are the “all use is medical” crowd who believes that if we justify everything as an illness and all use as therapeutic that somehow they will leave us alone. There are the union groupies and advocacy groups organizing an initiative to regulate the hell out of the industry in order to appease the crackerdowners. There are the many different legalization, adult use, social use, safer than booze tribes that are working in different directions on adult use measures. There are the folks who are happy the crackdown is pushing back up prices and who secretly root for chaos because it increases the bottom line. And there are a host of degrees of thoughts and emotions in between all of these groups.
The reason we are doomed is because there is no real understanding amongst ourselves what we really want. Me? I want to be left the fuck alone for cannabis period. I think the best way to do that is to end prohibition and help our society to better understand cannabis as a medicine and as an enjoyable substance. I think our communities would benefit immensely. I want to stop the charades of the who is a patient and who is not a patient nonsense and create an environment where patients are taken more seriously without the distraction of the “quasi-legalization” through medical exploitation that is currently causing issues to those in real medical need and support. I want cannabis to be legal to use and easy to find. That is my goal.
I wish I could convince everyone that this is the real direction we MUST focus our time, energy, and resources on. We can do this. We can create a public campaign to make our neighbors understand that cannabis is not evil but prohibition is. Momentum is with us. People understand that the laws against cannabis are not working. People are ready to have that rational conversation. It will take disciplined messaging, commitment from all, and willingness to put our money where our mouths are and fund an effort for change. There is no doubt we are a powerful group of folks who want to see real change in the way our nation and the world deals with weed. We know we can move mountains. But in order to do that folks must decide to create one strategic direction to work towards.
My thought would be to stand in solidarity for legalization measures, including Repeal Cannabis Prohibition here in Cali, and the efforts in Colorado, Washington, Oregon and elsewhere. I also believe local initiatives for medical access are the way to go, in areas where the need is most great. We should not waste our time and money on a statewide effort for medical cannabis, as we will be sure to relive every bad behavior the industry has ever experienced and it will not be pretty. It is easier to control the message at a local level and target areas in need of access.
I do not see the Cumbaya moment coming any time soon, and chances are that 2012 will come and go with us still being fucking criminals for weed. But I am hopeful that the great awakening will happen in this movement soon, and I will be proven wrong. I would love that. If not there is always 2016 to look forward to….
David Malmo-Levine forwarded an article he’s written as reaction to an online conversation in which many leaders in the marijuana movement are participating. Let’s call it the “Crossroads Debate.” Some folks, like Malmo-Levine, whom I’ll call “Medicalizers,” believe the proper strategy to fulfill our aim of ending adult marijuana prohibition is to continue expanding the the medical marijuana model under an “all use is medical” or “wellness supplements,” to keep broadening the conditions for which patients can get medical marijuana recommendations and to reduce the requirements for a patient to legally use cannabis until cannabis is treated as aspirin – a safe over-the-counter substance requiring no doctor and no registrations.
I and folks like Mickey Martin at CannabisWarrior.com, whom I’ll call “Legalizers,” disagree, believing that all use of cannabis is, indeed, not medical; it can be spiritual, recreational, and industrial, too, and we don’t need to have medical excuses to get high.
So in this “Crossroads Debate”, David Malmo-Levine concludes his article with:
The biggest mistake we could possibly make is to associate medicine only with the sick:
Mickey Martin – the “Cannabis Warrior” – makes that mistake in his latest blog. He argues that anyone who says “all use is medical” is also saying – in the same breath – that “every stoner is a patient”.http://cannabiswarrior.com/2011/12/17/know-when-to-hold-em-know-when-to-fold-em/
What some of us are ACTUALLY saying – and all of us including Mickey should be saying – is that “all use is medical and – when the war on cannabis finally ends and cannabis is first regulated like wine and then eventually like coffee beans – nobody needs to be a patient any longer.”
Doctors are a temporary buffer against the police – they are not the end goal of those who recognize cannabis as a medicine (and who recognize each user as someone taking a medicine and feeling the medicinal effects and thus being a “medicinal user” regardless of whether they are abusing it or having fun or blowing smoke-rings or whatever).
Until marijuana is regulated like wine, people will need to use doctors to protect them from the police.
You’re asking the reader to accept that medical = wine = coffee. Nobody I know calls their after-dinner wine or before-work coffee “medicine”. I get that you want to “inclusivize” cannabis like herbology, acupuncture, whatever non-traditional healing wellness thing, but none of those are also something young people do to get high.
If the end point is “it should be treated like coffee”, then face the public and say, “it should be treated like coffee”. If it is a substance we should be able to use because we want to _____ (stay well, treat illness, commune with Jah, get laid, enjoy Jerry Garcia solos) then just say so! Personally, I like “treat it like wine” better; I support age limits and location restrictions for cannabis use (of course, my “age limit” would be 16 and my restriction would be “anywhere there’s not a ‘no smoking’ sign”.)
All this dancing around holistic medical wellness makes the public feel like there’s something at the core we can’t be honest about and we have to dress it up with euphemisms. No matter how holistically medically wellnessy cannabis is, mom and dad still worry about their teenager becoming a wastoid. Folks worry about you wrecking your car into them on your holistically medically wellnessy cannabis. The core we’re dancing around here is that marijuana can get you high – whether it’s “relaxation”, “recreation”, “wellness”, “stress relief”, “enhancement”, “medicated”, “lifted”, “stoned”, the name we give it does not change what it is.
Now, WE KNOW there’s more to fear from drunk teenagers and drivers on Oxycontin or cell phones, but those facts don’t make folks feel any less scared of the marijuana. It’s like saying, “Don’t worry about your kid surfing in June – shark bite attacks are much more prevalent in August.” Read some Drew Westen, some George Lakoff, even Frank Luntz or Karl Rove… people don’t vote and think reasonably and rationally, they vote and think from fear and self-interest.
We played the self-interest card with medical marijuana. The voter was forced to decide whether he/she would allow cops to imprison sick people and let them suffer without pot. This was a self-interest factor greater than the “I gotta protect society / my kids from dope” self-interest factor.
But now our opponents are trumping it with their fear cards. Mexican gangs are growing in the forests to supply medical marijuana! Drivers are stopped with hundreds of pounds of California or Colorado medical marijuana on its way to your state! Your kids are smoking more pot than in thirty years because medical marijuana makes them think it’s safe! Your neighbor is converting his house to a grow factory to profit from medical marijuana! There’s also a self-interest factor of the voter who feels he was bamboozled when he/she voted for medical marijuana every time he/she sees a “Get Your Card $45″ placard or hears an ad for another medical marijuana expo featuring Kottonmouth Kings or Cheech & Chong.
Now is the time to get to the fear and self-interest that works in our favor. Until the voter fears the status quo of prohibition more than the mystery of a new legal substance, fear of medmj adding to the “drug problem” is going to keep us in a defensive posture of approving stricter and stricter medical marijuana regulations You can’t get the medmj for anxiety wellness approved outside California so long as voters think “druggies” can fake anxiety.
So we should make them fear the unregulated dealer who panders to kids far more than a regulated clerk would. Fear the violence in Mexico that will spill over our border (more), lead our troops into a drug war on our continent (more), and nobody’s shooting anybody over Corona or Dos Equis. Fear the over-militarization of our domestic police and inevitable corruption and racial profiling that results from trying to stop adults from smoking a joint. Fear that someone who could use medical marijuana won’t be able to get it, because no matter how you craft a medical use law, someone won’t be “sick enough”, be able to afford the doctor visit and state registry, or afford prohibition-priced marijuana. Fear that the truly sick legit patients now have to suffer shortages or live in fear of both the illegal gangs of rippers and robbers and the legal gangs of SWAT and feds due to prohibition.
Then ply them with the self-interest of increased tax revenues, reduced crime, new industries, yada yada yada.
Now, here’s where someone usually says, “but we tried all that and it didn’t work; only when we did medical did laws really change!” I disagree; I think we tried all that and it did work; that’s what got us medical.”
Beginning Nixon’s drug war, marijuana legalization support was 12%. By 1977, after nothing but a “I smoke pot and I like it a lot” strategy, 11 states decriminalized and support was at 30%. Then it hit the Eighties and many factors, including cultural ties to cocaine, rejection of 1970s malaise / 1960s culture war, and bipartisan escalation of the overall drug war, led to legalization support dropping to 16%.
But those polls began inching upwards in the late Eighties and early Nineties, before anyone outside of San Francisco was putting “medical” with “marijuana”. We went from 1987 and a Supreme Court nominee being sacked for admitting smoking pot at Harvard to 1992 and a presidential candidate winning after admitting (kinda) smoking pot at Oxford. I’d venture that rise owes to Baby Boomers whose kids had left the nest then rediscovering pot and remembering it’s pretty cool, actually. I’d note also the rise of hip-hop during that period spreading love of “the chronic” from the coasts to the rest of youth of America. And the only message being spread back then in the bleak Eighties was Jack Herer’s (and others’) preaching about free and unregulated hemp, with medical use as just one aspect of this marvelous plant.
Then it was possible to pitch medical marijuana to a public softened to the notion that personal marijuana use wasn’t a big deal. I doubt Prop 215 does so well in 1986 or 1988. (I also don’t think it would do so well in a 2012 vote, if this were sunsetting and California had to vote to keep it exactly as is. Interesting to think about until somebody polls it.)
Times change – there is enough evidence for most people, from medical use they see and read about to more people’s own personal use, that the strategy of the 1970s – legalize it! – doesn’t face the same perils today. Support now is 50%, not 16%. People under 50 who’ve tried it amount to 52% of the population, not 30%. More than half (51%) know now that it is a safer substance than alcohol. Three presidents have tried it and the greatest Olympic swimmer ever famously inhaled during his greatness. Google abounds with factual references on cannabis and its users.
But people don’t change without the pain of staying the same being greater than the fear of change. The public is at the precipice, ready to leap to legalization, knowing it is the right path, but scared of how to get there and whether it is worse than just staying here at the ledge. ”Medical” doesn’t make them leap; “medical” is some other guy/gal on the precipice with their own issues. I don’t even think “regulation” and “taxation” work as well, as many Americans think those two things are inherently bad (thank Frank Luntz). I like to say “control” – it rankles the choir, to be sure (“No corporate / government control of cannabis!”), but to the public it evokes the counter, “out-of-control”, that many of them feel about marijuana (medical or recreational). I think a wise initiative drafter would pen the “Marijuana Control & Revenue Act” and get votes from the ballot title alone.
We have come to a crossroads in cannabis reform and as a movement we must decide if we have the juice to push this thing over the edge to real cannabis freedom, or if we want to double down on the “all use is medical and every stoner is a patient” bullshit. I for one have had it. I am a firm believer that cannabis is a powerful and sacred medicine that helps many people find relief from their medical condition. I will never discount the medical value of cannabis, as I know firsthand what a benefit this plant is as a medicine in my own daily walk.
But I can also not sit back and watch as our movement self destructs in an effort to cling to the medical only aspects of cannabis, and tries to convince everyone that we are not full of shit and that everyone using cannabis in CA and beyond is a bona fide medical patient. Meanwhile the rest of our community calls bullshit on us. The time has come for this movement to recognize the clear difference between legitimate medical use of cannabis and the many enjoyable and practical uses of cannabis that are more indicative of what we see happening across the board in the “medical cannabis” movement. Is cannabis a medicine? Beyond a shadow of a doubt. Is smoking 6-foot bong rips until the sack is gone to enhance the enjoyment of whatever activity one might be doing at the time a valid medical application of cannabis?…normally not.
But do not try to tell this to a select group of activists and reform groups that want to double-down on strategies of yesterday by putting forth a voter initiative to regulate, tax and control dispensaries…..Where have I heard that “regulate, tax and control” before? Hmmm…let me think. Oh yeah…Prop. 19. How did that turn out? So not only are we doubling down on bad strategy, but we are using the exact terms from our last losing battle to do it. Super.
So Americans for Safe Access and CA Director Don Duncan (whom I normally agree with) has teamed up with UFCW and Ron Lind to put forth the “Medical Marijuana Regulation, Control and Taxation Act”; an effort to bring to the voters an initiative to allow for a tightly regulated system of limited dispensaries operate in CA, very similar to the program in Colorado. Recall that the regulations in Colorado forced many small mom and pop growers out of business, as they could not afford the upstart costs of commercial facilities, expensive State monitored surveillance systems, and heavy licensing fees. The program there took hold July 1st, and has been wrought with issues and compliance problems. But hey…let us throw a million bucks at an initiative that will bring that kind of success to California. Yay! (Eyes roll).
The real truth (if anyone grew a sack of nuts and took a minute to be honest with themselves) is that this backlash in the community and with public officials is not a product of people thinking that dispensaries and growers are not “regulated, controlled, and taxed” enough. It is a product of people looking at the industry and believing that a large portion of our existence has NOTHING to do with medicine, and that many of the “patients” are just full-of-shit liars who are gaming the system to smoke their weed. Most do not even give a shit that people smoke their weed at all…..They give a shit that the system is being gamed so heavily and that they feel they have been lied to. Outside of the magic bubble that is the cannabis reform industry, the vast majority of folks in our society do not agree that “all use of cannabis is medical” by definition. They see this as a cop-out bullshit justification that attempts to bamboozle the masses with some proclamation about this miracle medicine that cures everything and prevents any disease. They think the doctors are full of shit and the patients who choose to lie to them to avoid going to jail for a plant are also full of shit. If we were honest….if we really looked deep inside and looked around us once in a while…we too would understand that we might be full of shit, at least a little bit.
I go to dozens of City Council or County BoS meetings every year. I work to convince people that we are not full of shit on a daily basis. I have beat the drum so loud for medical cannabis for so long, that even I drank the kool-aid for a minute and believed we could justify all use as medical. But then I began discussing cannabis more widely with people who do not use cannabis. I began having long and drawn out conversations with the soccer moms, the local business owner, the parents on my kids’ little league teams, parents at their schools, and other generally supportive and nice people who understand the need for medical cannabis, but do not believe the current system is based in real medical practice whatsoever. They see the ads with half-naked girls. They see the questionable “patients” in their community who are “medicating” with the homies on the corner. They see the $40 everyone gets approved promotions from the doctors. They know people with medical cannabis cards who they know are not in need of medicine. They live in the community and see the not-so-medical applications of cannabis everyday. They see the abuses in the system, and think that because we do not admit to them, but instead try to justify the “phat blunt mentality” as some sort of medical procedure, that we too are clearly full of shit.
I also talk with a wide array of healthcare professionals and doctors. I have many doctors that are not affiliated with the cannabis industry in any way in my life. Between several knee and ankle surgeries and ongoing issues in my life, I have gotten to know many physicians quite well and I always have the “medical cannabis” discussion with them. I have been in more hospitals, including Stanford Cancer Center, over the past few months than any one person should ever be. When I discuss the issue with doctors who deal with very serious and true medical conditions, like at the Cancer Center, they understand cannabis is a medicine no doubt. They also believe that the current implication of the medical cannabis system is anything but truly medical, and they are hesitant to support the industry as a result. They too see the current “anything goes and everything is medical” mentality of our movement as a mockery to real medicine and therapy. It does not meet the standard for medicine, as far as they are concerned…and frankly, I agree with them.
But let us not address that issue. (Eyes roll) Let us put forth a voter initiative that whitewashes the issue, while attempting to preserve the existence of the medical system by limiting who can dispense cannabis where. The fact is that the “Medical Marijuana Regulation, Control and Taxation Act” will EXPAND PROHIBITION. There is no two ways around that. If they are limiting who can be a registered cultivator, producer, and dispenser of cannabis, then the obvious result is that the people who do not meet these standards or cannot qualify will be treated as criminals if they produce medicine for patients without a license, or whatever they want to call it. If they do succeed in limiting how physicians interact with patients, then the result would be less qualified patients, which equates to more criminal cannabis users. Why on earth would anyone support an effort to expand prohibition?
I am not saying that regulations for the medical cannabis industry are not necessary and do not make sense. I am saying that it is not our place to expand prohibition in a cowardice effort of self-preservation. We should not waste $1.5 million on gathering signatures for an effort that makes more people criminals. As a community we should support a legalization effort that increases cannabis freedom, and removes the abuses from the medical aspects of the industry, so that real patients and doctors can not be lumped in with the clearly adult enjoyable use of cannabis that we see being touted as medicine now. Lobby the State Legislature to do their fucking job and pass these regulations, and use our resources on EXPANDING CANNABIS FREEDOM. To put our own hard-earned cash up for an effort to expand prohibition is unconscionable. I am normally with ASA 100%, and I understand that their mission is strictly a medical one. I respect that. But if they truly are concerned about patient access then they should not be attempting to roll back the freedoms of the industry through strict and brutal regulation; but they should be working on an adult use measure that removes the perceived abusers from the medical system and clears the way for a more rational discussion on the medical uses of cannabis. As long as we have dispensaries on TV talking about how their staff is “too whacked out on edibles” to play a softball game, then we will never see people take this “medical” industry seriously.
The other big downfall of a Statewide medical cannabis initiative is that is sets the table for our opposition to use everyone of these bad behaviors and abuses in the system to condemn the entire medical system as a fraud. The press will eat up the California Police Chiefs Association’s long reports of massive abuses and there will be images of naked nurses and stories of high-school kids with cards, and the public will not support an effort to legitimize this behavior. Our leadership is failing to see the writing on the wall and address the real issue at hand. It is a sad day when those who promote cannabis think it is a good idea to expand prohibition and recoil our mission in an effort to appease the unappeasable.
As a community we must know when to hold ‘em, and know when to fold ‘em. For us to double down on a losing hand that is far past its life expectancy is insanity. I would seriously hope that this effort is rethought and that there is a more concerted effort to create real reform for cannabis consumers- medical or not. Anything less is just a “too little- too late” effort that will get crushed both in the movement and out of the movement. Good luck with that shit….I call for no confidence in the “Medical Marijuana Regulation, Control and Taxation Act” effort. Support the Repeal Cannabis Prohibition Act of 2012 or the California Cannabis Hemp and Health Initiative 2012 if you want to support an effort that expands cannabis freedom, while at the same time solving the real issues of the medical cannabis phenomena…..Putting medical cannabis on trial in an effort to limit the industry so that we can hopefully stop the bleeding from the Feds is a stupid gamble I do not think our industry should be taking.
Every gambler knows that the secret to surviving is knowing what to throw away and knowing what to keep because every hand’s a winner and every hand’s a loser and the best that we can hope for is to die in our sleep.