Posts Tagged ‘oakland’
Courtesy of Oakland North
After a federal raid in early April on Oaksterdam University, an education center located in downtown Oakland that trains students to work in the marijuana industry, founder Richard Lee has decided to step down as head of the institution. His successor will be former executive chancellor Dale Sky Jones, which will officially be announced on Wednesday morning.
“It is safe to say that I will be taking over the lead position at Oaksterdam University to ensure that the institution will go on,” Jones told Oakland North in an interview.
Oaksterdam University, the first cannabis college in the United States, was founded in 2007. Ever since visiting the cannabis college in Amsterdam, Lee had wanted to open a trade school for the cannabis industry in the US. Medical marijuana has been legal in California since the 1996 passage of Proposition 215, although it remains illegal under federal law. Lee, who has been working to end cannabis prohibition for over 20 years now, put his idea into practice by creating a school with a curriculum that focuses on the entire cannabis trade, offering classes such as Legal Issues, Politics, Cooking, Concentrates, and Horticulture.
“I started the university to promote the cannabis industry and to create jobs in this industry that pay taxes,” said Lee. “The other reason was to teach people who want to get involved in the cannabis industry and politics but did not know anything about it.” In 2008, a satellite school was launched in Los Angles and classes were also held in Michigan in May, 2009. (Both locations are now closed due to financial shortfalls.)
Lee, who moved to Oakland in 1997, played a huge part in passing Oakland’s Measure Z, making private sales, cultivation, and possession of cannabis local law enforcement’s lowest priority. He was also a supporter of Proposition 19, a failed 2010 ballot initiative to control, tax, and regulate recreational marijuana use in California. Even though Proposition 19 did not pass, Lee considers the effort, which he helped finance, a success. “It was successful in moving the legalization debate forward,” he said. “One of our main goals was to get people to talk about this issue. And it just was on the agenda with the presidents down in South America. Columbia and Guatemala have come out for legalization of cannabis now.”
You can read Oakland North’s complete coverage of marijuana-related issues in Oakland here.
by Scott Morgan, Stopthedrugwar.
The recent multi-agency federal raid of Oaksterdam University, a respected medical marijuana trade school in Oakland, has many people struggling to understand the Obama Administration’s escalating campaign against medical cannabis. Most pernicious among these theories is an idea I’ve heard repeatedly from medical marijuana supporters in recent weeks: that Obama needs to take a tough stance as he gears up for the general election.
It’s an easy enough thing to say, but it’s wrong, and people who want to change our marijuana laws would be wise to stop talking this way. The truth is that the American people don’t want a war on medical marijuana at all, and we’re steering our leaders in the wrong direction — both morally and politically — when we suggest that voters support the reckless drug war posturing of the past.
Sure, there was a time when politicians fanned the flames of anti-drug hysteria to powerful political effect. Knowing this history is important, but equally critical is the recognition that history, by definition, lies behind us. The “crack epidemic” of the ’80s, the death of Len Bias, the “soft on crime”attack ads that ravaged democratic nominee Mike Dukakis’ 1988 presidential campaign; these were events of political significance, but they’re a terrible measure by which to assess the implications of an issue like medical marijuana in an election nearly a quarter century later.
In fact, the question of whether Obama can safely stand up for medical marijuana is incredibly easy to answer. He already did. The president was elected on a platform that included pulling the plug on federal interference with state medical marijuana laws. Everyone knew that was his position, many supported it vigorously and perhaps more significantly, no one criticized him for it.
To even suggest that Obama has to appear “tough on drugs” in order to deflect political attacks is preposterous. What political attacks? When have we ever heard him criticized for any such thing? There is literally no constituency in the American electorate that is pressuring Obama to wage war against medical marijuana. The president could, in all likelihood, speak passionately in favor of medical marijuana from now until November without losing a single vote (and picking up more than a few for his trouble). To explain this, one need only look to the polls showing that eight out of 10 Americans support medical marijuana.
If anyone in the Obama Administration actually believes they’re scoring political points by waging war on voter-approved medical marijuana laws, they’ve got another thing coming. In 2012, the smart political approach to marijuana policy is to look at today’s polling, not yesterday’s posturing.
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Medical marijuana advocates on Tuesday vowed to reopen a San Francisco-area college devoted to cannabis cultivation and known as the “Princeton of Pot” a day after federal agents shut down the school in a raid.
Hundreds of protesters rallied in front of San Francisco’s City Hall, some on crutches and in wheelchairs and smoking hand-rolled joints. The demonstrators carried signs that said, “Cannabis is medicine; let states regulate” and chanting “Feds off my meds.”
Monday’s raid on Oaksterdam University, which offers courses on growing and dispensing of marijuana, turned the Oakland-based school into the latest flashpoint between federal law enforcement and medical cannabis advocates in states where pot has been decriminalized for medicinal purposes.
Federal authorities also searched the home of veteranmedical marijuana activist and Oaksterdam founder Richard Lee, as well as a nearby medical marijuana dispensary he runs.
Lee, confined to a wheelchair by a spinal injury, was a leading proponent behind a failed California ballot initiative in 2010 that would have legalized possession and cultivation of small amounts of marijuana in the state for recreational use.
“In a wheelchair, he’s a threat,” Wayne Justmann, an adviser for medical pot supply shops, said facetiously as he spoke to Reuters at the rally. “He’s a guy who’s helped so many people.”
Rather than targeting Lee, Justmann added, “Go after that guy who killed seven and injured three.” He was referring to the former student of a private, Christian college who killed seven people and wounded three others in a shooting rampage on Monday.
Lee himself said he worried that he might be prosecuted.
“They can indict me any day,” he said, recounting how he was awakened by federal agents armed with assault rifles appearing at his Oakland apartment with a search warrant. “They can arrest me any day.” Agents briefly detained but did not arrest Lee.
The school was closed after agents searched it, but it will reopen Wednesday, Lee’s lawyer, Laurence Jeffrey Lichter said.
Although marijuana remains classified as an illegal narcotic under federal law, 16 states and the District of Columbia have enacted some sort of legalized medical-cannabis statutes, according to the Drug Policy Alliance.
In those states, including California, the U.S. government has sought in recent months to shut down storefront dispensaries and greenhouses deemed by federal investigators to be drug-trafficking fronts, as well as those that are located close to schools and parks.
The Obama administration has said it would not single out individual patients who possess or grow their own marijuana in states with medical pot statutes. But federal prosecutors have warned they will continue to go after operations that support for-profit, illegal drug dealing under the guise of medical pot.
Federal action has led to dozens of medical marijuana dispensaries being shut down in California, but so far no one has been charged with criminal activity in connection with the crackdown, Lichter said.
by John Hoeffel, Los Angeles Times
LOS ANGELES – Richard Lee, whose bid to legalize marijuana in California brought him international attention, plans to give up ownership of his Oakland-based marijuana businesses after a federal raid this week seized many of their assets, including plants, bank accounts, records and computers.
“I’ve been doing this for a long time. Over 20 years. … I kind of feel like I’ve done my time,” Lee said Thursday. “It’s time for others to take over.”
Lee said he would remain an outspoken marijuana advocate. “I believe that cannabis prohibition is unjust and counterproductive,” he said. “What I’ve done is ethical, and I tried to use the resources that I had to do everything I could to change the laws.”
In some of his most extensive comments since the raid, Lee acknowledged that he was worried he could face major federal drug charges. It’s a risk he has lived with for many years, first as an underground pot grower and then as the leader of a serious legalization effort, which drew vigorous opposition from the federal government.
“I never wanted to be the quote unquote leader of the legalization movement,” he said in a telephone interview. “I saw myself as just one small soldier in a big war. But I look at it as a battlefield promotion.”
Lee’s Oaksterdam University, the first marijuana trade school in the nation, remains open, although its classes have been scaled back. Lee’s dispensary is also open. He plans to transfer the businesses to new operators. But he will shut down his marijuana nursery because his stock of mother plants, which he had nurtured for years, was confiscated.
The former rock-band roadie is one of the highest-profile marijuana activists in the nation, if not the world. His school drew wide-eyed media coverage after it opened in 2007, helping him promote his vision that marijuana could be a legitimate business.
A paraplegic who uses a wheelchair, Lee, 49, became the telegenic spokesman for ending pot prohibition after he spent more than $1.5 million trying to pass Proposition 19 to legalize the drug in 2010.
He is a well-known and highly regarded figure in Oakland, where city officials praise his businesses for resuscitating a shabby downtown area embarrassingly close to City Hall.
Lee was detained during Monday’s raid by the Internal Revenue Service and the Drug Enforcement Administration, but not arrested. His allies had feared he would be arrested in 2010, when he spoke frequently, candidly and enthusiastically about his pot ventures.
On Thursday, Lee suggested that, if he is charged, it could become another watershed event in the march toward legalization by turning more Americans against the drug war. ”In some ways, I see the possible prosecution of myself as another Proposition 19,” he said.
Federal penalties for growing marijuana increase with the number of plants. More than 60,000 can bring the death penalty, Lee noted. He said he did not know how many plants were seized. “We didn’t have 60,000 plants on site, but they can add up …,” he said.
Lee said his operations had been audited by the IRS, but he did not know what triggered the raid and seizures. “The company is bankrupt,” he said, suggesting that employees, who could lose jobs, and Oakland, which could lose revenues from taxes on marijuana, were also victims.
Until he knows whether he has to mount a legal defense, Lee said, he plans to work on a book and a television series about his career. “I think the nationwide coverage of the raid shows that there is a story here that a lot of people would like to see and like to hear about,” he said.
Lee also said he would consider helping legalization efforts in other states: “This may free me up to be able to go campaign.”
He noted that Oaksterdam University has trained about 15,000 marijuana experts and activists who are now at work around the country, suggesting that he has marshaled an army for the legalization fight. “We are getting very close to a tipping point on this issue,” he said.
On the April 5 episode of NORML SHOW LIVE we spoke live with Richard Lee, founder of Oaksterdam University. Click this link to hear the interview.
Richard told me he’s doing as well as can be expected when federal agents violate your home and business. He tells us the nature of the federal warrants that were served Monday in early morning raids.
Richard was “treated well” by the authorities – “they didn’t even break anything,” he told us – and he was not arrested, though that possibility still exists.
Most remarkably, Richard expressed an optimistic view that these actions will galvanize the public opinion even more in our favor for ending this tragic medical marijuana crackdown.
Richard reminded us that juries cannot be punished for their verdicts and urged everyone to work hard to get on jury duty so we can begin to dismantle the prosecution of prohibition.
In closing, he lamented the IRS tax charges being used against him and others in the cannabis industry. ”They can’t have it both ways,” he complained about the government’s claim he owes taxes on something that is illegal. ”No taxation without legalization!”
Join with Richard Lee and NORML in demanding an end to federal raids. Make President Obama keep his campaign pledge to not devote federal resources to prosecuting medical marijuana providers that are in compliance with state law.
by Carly Schwarz, Huffington Post
SAN FRANCISCO — Hundreds of medical marijuana activists gathered on the steps of City Hall Tuesday to support California’s multi-million dollar cannabis industry, under siege since the federal government launched an aggressive crackdown last fall.
A handful of local legislators and cannabis patients addressed the heated crowd before marching down the street to the federal courthouse to address U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag, who has championed anti-marijuana actions in the Bay Area.
“We’re patients, not criminals!” the protesters chanted, along with cries of “DEA, go away!” and “Fire Haag!”
“Today, we are all green,” said San Francisco Board of Supervisors President David Chiu in a fiery speech. Chiu and fellow city supervisors who attended the event pledged to expedite the permitting process for local pot shops that have been forced to close and wish to reopen elsewhere.
California’s medical marijuana industry has been struggling since federal prosecutors began targeting dispensaries in October. More than 100 California busineses have been forced to shut down, and hundreds more have received threatening letters claiming their landlords could be jailed if they continue to operate.
Five cannabis clubs in San Francisco have shuttered, leaving employees without work and patients without access to their medicine. Haag sent the same threatening letters to roughly a dozen more (some dispensaries won’t go on the record as to whether they had received a warning). On Monday, federal authorities raidedOakland’s world-famous Oaksterdam University and the home of its founder, Richard Lee, one of the state’s most outspoken medical marijuana activists.
The U.S. attorneys’ actions mark a sharp departure from the Obama administration’s 2009 Ogden Memo, which declared that prosecutions in states that have legalized the plant for medicinal purposes would not be a priority. Advocates argue the federal government should direct its energy elsewhere.
“It’s a total waste of federal resources,” Stephanie Tucker, spokesperson for theSan Francisco Medical Cannabis Task Force, told The Huffington Post. “They’re attacking a peaceful, regulated community and it’s wasting money. Shame on them.”
Though the drug remains illegal under federal law, California became the first state to legalize cannabis for medicinal purposes when voters passed Proposition 215 in 1996. Studies have shown that California’s medical marijuana industry generatesupwards of $100 million in annual tax revenue.
Haag has remained relatively mum on the issue, repeatedly citing dispensaries’ proximities to schools and parks as justification for the crackdown. “I hope that those who believe marijuana stores should be left to operate without restriction can step back for a moment and understand that not everyone shares their point of view,” she told HuffPost in a statement. “People are deeply troubled by the tremendous growth of the marijuana industry and its influence on their communities.”
But advocates said they believe Haag’s argument thin. Cathy Smith, co-founder and manager of HopeNet, a dispensary in San Francisco’s SoMa neighborhood, told HuffPost that the neighborhood has become dramatically safer in the nine years since her business opened its doors. Crime has dropped significantly, largely due to the increased presence of lighting and surveillance cameras her store installed in order to adhere to the city’s strict regulations surrounding cannabis clubs.
“Nine years ago I wouldn’t be open past 5 p.m. because I was worried about our female customers,” Smith said. “Now we’re open until 9. The neighborhood has improved that much.”
So much, in fact, that a few years ago, a private school opened around the corner. And now HopeNet’s landlords have received their own threatening letter from Haag because of the shop’s proximity to that school.
“Haag says she can’t tell the difference between a good club and a bad club,” Smith said. “I’m here to show her the difference. We are the club that is different; there’s no question about it.”
In addition to selling medical marijuana and related supplies, HopeNet offers a series of weekly community events, including a veterans’ support group, a ladies’ afternoon tea and various life skills workshops. “We like to think of ourselves as a family,” Smith said. “We don’t just sell pot here — we help people.”
And the family is willing to fight. Supporters of Smith’s business have sent hundreds of handwritten letters to Haag’s office demanding she back off, and others have tried (unsuccessfully) to schedule in-person meetings.
Similar to the HopeNet’s community’s outpouring of support, he actions of Haag and her counterparts have served to strengthen the ties of pot proponents across the Bay Area. “It’s only emboldening us and bringing us together,” said Tom Angell, spokesman for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, a coalition of active and retired police officers, prosecutors and judges who actively speak out against the drug war. “People who used to compete in the marketplace are now standing shoulder to shoulder.”
Advocates have drawn the endorsements of a fair share of legislators, as well. California Assemblyman Tom Ammiano (D-S.F.) recently introduced a measurethat would establish uniform regulations for pot shops throughout the state based on San Francisco’s strict and successful standards for operating dispensaries. On Monday, a coalition of lawmakers from five states penned an open letter to the Obama administration demanding an end to the crackdown.
Meanwhile, as some San Francisco cannabis clubs close down, others plan to open. Last month, the planning commission approved three new dispensaries for the city’s Excelsior district, and another opened in the Mission last week.
Those targeted by federal authorities vow to defend their businesses and the industry until the end. “They can indict me any day. They can arrest me at any time,” Lee said during Tuesday’s rally. “One way or another, Oaksterdam will fight on.”
So will San Francisco.
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…
by Mathew Artz, Mercury News
OAKLAND — Oakland moved to double the city’s medical marijuana dispensaries Wednesday, but a federal crackdown on the industry has cast doubt on whether any new dispensaries will be opening anytime soon.
With far fewer applicants than expected, and nearly half of the finalists losing the consent of their prospective landlords, the city approved four potential dispensary operators, only one of which also has an approved location.
The other three will be given four months to find a new location that satisfies city rules requiring dispensaries be located at least 600 feet from schools, parks and youth-serving programs. If they fail, the city also approved one alternate dispensary group.
Oakland received more than 100 inquiries last year when it announced it would issue permits for four additional medical marijuana dispensaries. The city’s existing four dispensaries generate about $1.68 million a year in tax revenue.
But in October, shortly before the application deadline, federal prosecutors announced stepped-up enforcement efforts against the commercial marijuana industry. In the ensuing months several Bay Area dispensaries have closed, and one of Oakland’s four dispensaries, Blue Sky Care Center, was forced to move to a temporary location farther away from a school.
Prosecutors have also sent notices warning dispensary landlords that they risk losing their properties if their tenants are found to be involved in illegal drug sales.
Oakland took federal concerns into account and was merely implementing the City Council’s directive in expanding the number of dispensaries, said Assistant City Administrator Arturo Sanchez.
United States Attorney Melinda Haag’s office declined to comment about Oakland’s move Tuesday to increase its dispensaries, but medical cannabis advocates said stepped up federal prosecution was the primary reason that the city got only 12 permit applicants.
“I think that people are understandably being cautious given the federal crackdown that’s going on,” said Dale Gieringer, California coordinator for the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.
Even the co-owner of the lone dispensary that received city approval for its ownership group and location is proceeding with caution. “It’s a possibility we open; it’s a possibility we don’t,” said Salwa Ibrahim, who’s collective would be located at 21st Street and Broadway.
The other three groups greenlighted for dispensary permits — Agramed, Tidewater Patients Group and G8 Medical Alliance — face additional hurdles.
Agramed’s Jeff Wilcox said he will try to find a new location after lenders balked at his current property at 1820 Embarcadero.
Representatives for the other two groups could not be reached Wednesday. The city rejected Tidewater’s proposal because it would have been located within 600 feet from East Bay Regional Park District land and G8′s because it would have been within 600 feet from a school.
Both groups had strong ties to the owners of those properties. Tidewater’s proposal was based on it getting a new building and startup loan from the property owners, who include City Hall insiders Carlos Plazola and Ana Chretien. G8 was to occupy a building at 70 Hegenberger Loop, owned by Dhar Mann, whose cannabis supply shop had failed at the same location.
“Their funders and investors are associated with those properties, so it will be interesting to see if they can get another location,” said Mickey Martin of the blog Cannabis Warrior.
The alternative dispensary group selected by the city is Magnolia Wellness, Inc., which also would have to find a new location. The city rejected AMCD, Inc., which had proposed a dispensary at 578 West Grand Avenue for “questions about truthfulness and compliance with (city) requirements.”
Leading up to the promotion of their new Discovery Channel reality show, Weed Wars, brothers Steven and Andrew DeAngelo appeared on the Dylan Ratigan Show (on the left-leaning MSNBC) and on The O’Reilly Factor (on the right-leaning FOX News Channel). Steven and Andrew run the world’s largest cannabis dispensary, Harborside Health Center in Oakland, CA, serving over 98,000 patients and grossing in excess of $20 million annually.
First, Dylan Ratigan asks Steven whether he would be “presumptuous in suggesting that you guys would be in favor of legalization?”
Steven DeAngelo: “Yes, you would. I don’t believe that any psychoactive substance should be used for recreation.“
Steven DeAngelo: “Wine and cannabis… you know, I support any effort to change the cannabis laws that’s going to get the people who are in prison out of there, and if we can do it by repeal, great, if we can do it with a wine analogy, great.”
So… uh… you do support comparing cannabis to wine, a psychoactive substance, all of which you believe should not be used recreationally, but only for “health and wellness”? I’m confused… does this mean wine should be treated like medical marijuana or that marijuana should be treated as wine and both require a doctor?
Next on The O’Reilly Factor, Bill O’Reilly pushes the brothers on the medical aspect of California’s Prop 215, with his familiar bloviating about his “undercover report” that showed how easy it is to get a medical marijuana recommendation. He acknowledges Steven’s degenerative disc disease and Andrew’s glaucoma as serious ailments in need of cannabis treatment, but points out that cannabis in California can be recommended for anxiety and that it is ludicrously easy to find a doctor who will find you anxious enough to need a weed card. O’Reilly dangles the fish-hook of “isn’t this quasi-legalization?” and Andrew takes the bait (cue video to 3:35):
Andrew DeAngelo: “We will say right here on this show, Bill, that we do not support the legalization of cannabis for recreational purposes.“
As you can imagine, a statement like this has drawn some heat. In response,Harborside has posted a clarification:
“The mission of Harborside Health Center is to advocate for full access to cannabis for purposes of health and wellness. While it is not our mission to advocate the legalization of cannabis for recreational purposes, we do feel criminal penalties for cannabis are unjust and should be repealed.”
Did that clarify anything? OK, so people who use cannabis for “health and wellness” ought to granted full access. People who use cannabis for recreational purposes should not be criminally penalized. So, does that mean cops leave all pot smokers alone, but only ones who claim “health and wellness” uses get to shop at Harborside? And what do you call it when there are no criminal penalties for recreational marijuana use, other than legalization?
It doesn’t get any clearer when you read Steven’s latest treatise, “Wellness, not Intoxication“:
Rather than positioning recreational cannabis as being in opposition to medical cannabis, my fellow activists might instead recognize that promoting recreation is one of the many health and wellness benefits provided by cannabis. Recreation itself has long been recognized in America as an essential ingredient for health and wellness….
The soccer moms of America are never going to buy the argument that their kids need one more thing to get high on, no matter how safe or natural that thing is. But they might vote in favor of allowing adult citizens to make their own health and wellness decisions. Legalization of marijuana for recreational purposes–a strategy that emphasizes cannabis as an intoxicant– plays right into the hands the prohibitionists, who are itching for another opportunity to portray cannabis users as decadent hedonists. And at this time, in this place, the legalization strategy is not merely misguided-it is dangerous.
…Instead, advocates of legalization should recalibrate their understanding of medical cannabis from the illness model to the wellness model; and focus their energies on expanding the umbrella of medical cannabis to include all users of the plant.
…Instead of accepting the limitations and inaccuracy of the illness model of medical cannabis; our movement should ensure that all legislation embraces the wellness model of medical cannabis, and is therefore expansive enough to bring all adults under its protection.
So, cannabis promotes recreation, recreation is good for wellness, all adults who want to use it for recreation as part of their wellness should be entitled to do so, so long as they don’t call the use recreational?
Apparently it is only “misguided” and “dangerous” to be campaigning for recreational use of marijuana in 2011. In 2010, on the other hand…
Steven DeAngelo: “As someone who has dedicated his life to the cause of medical cannabis, Prop 19 is going to advance the cause of medical cannabis and not set us back.”
Now I truly believe that Steven and Andrew DeAngelo think deep inside that cannabis should be as legal for me to access as anybody. But $2.5 million in tax attacks from the IRS and threats of raids and prison time growing more real, combined with the spotlight of Weed Wars, have the DeAngelos parsing “legalization”, “recreational”, “medical”,and ”wellness” to a degree Bill Clinton would applaud.
And that, my friends, is the real misguided and potentially dangerous mistake for our movement – blowing any shred of credibility we may have with the general public. Medical support does still outweigh legalization support, but that medical support number has stayed constant since Prop 215 in 1996, while legalization support has doubled now to 50% in that time. But polls are also showing that a majority of Americans believe “most medical marijuana is used for something else” (52%) and thatonly 31% believe it is being used for “serious medical illnesses”.
It is too much to expect the world to completely redefine their concept of “medical” to fit uses of marijuana that are clearly recreational. As every other state after California has shown, “medical” means restrictive condition lists, doctors harassed by medical boards, ridiculously low possession limits, and dispensary monopolies with tight government security and controls. We have a world that understands and supports recreational use of alcohol. Won’t it be easier to convince someone an adult can be trusted with an intoxicant safer than alcohol than to convince them the Prop 215 area at the Cypress Hill show is something “medical”? Instead of “Wellness, not Intoxication”, how about “Honesty, not Euphemisms”? A path of “health and wellness” always leads to a place where someone gets to decide if I’m not sick enough to keep out of a prison cell. A path of full legalization includes all medical (and all spiritual and all industrial) uses along with recreational.
Starting early this morning, Canadian and American cities along the North American West Coast have been Occupying and closing down ports. The protests are said to span from Anchorage, Alaska down to San Diego, California.
This is the second time since the Occupy Wall Street Movement began that the Port of Oakland has been closed by Occupy protestors.
The Occupy Oakland camp is holding a General Assembly now at Frank Ogawa Plaza, better known among Occupiers as Oscar Grant Plaza, which will be followed by a march to the already closed Port of Oakland, the nation’s fifth largest.
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Cannabis Warrior Mickey Martin: So last week Oakland named the top ten finalists for their medical cannabis RFPA permitting process and the names at the top of the list read like they were scored according to campaign contributions, no doubt. The odd part is there are some very well connected people with a hell of a lot to lose near the top of the list, and it begs to wonder if any are having second thoughts after the onslaught of news regarding asset forfeiture and criminal charges relating to the recent crackdown of the medical cannabis industry. I have to wonder why some of these rich folks and ex-city officials would risk their fortunes and careers to sell weed in Oakland? Add to that the attention of the Weed Wars, and it would seem that there is a magnifying glass on Oakland cannabis these days, and all of these folks are bound to end up on front street as contenders to be the next Stevie-D in Oakland’s wild world of medical cannabis.
It is one thing to submit an application, and use your finances and connections to push your application through the City. It is an entirely different thing to open the doors and actually break Federal law and risk decades in prison to run a retail store that happens to sell cannabis. It is a sticky-wicket for sure and the jury is still out in Oakland, but we are just weeks away from the City choosing the final four. After that these folks will either have to shit or get off the pot. It is time to break Federal law and risk everything in a game we in the industry like to call “Who wants to not be a millionaire but risk everything for a non-profit salary?” I know my place in the world. I am an outlaw. I will work in the medical cannabis industry through thick and thin and will stand in the face of agression to fight for what I believe in. But even I, after armed gunmen stormed my castle and decimated my life with fear and threats of decades in prison, am weary about being out front on a major project in this day and age with all that is happening. So it begs to wonder if all of the folks who committed to opening a state of the art dispensary in Oakland, investing heavily in an unknown market, and risking their freedom and fortune, actually have the juice to pull it off. We shall see….
So here is a breakdown of the top ten applicants so far, their locations, and their board members as reported on the City of Oakland website:
1.) Oakland Community Collective- (2101 Broadway): The Board consists of some well-known faces in medical cannabis, most notably Salwa Ibrahim of Oaksterdam (General manager) who has helped Richard Lee to be a success in his ventures for many years. Also involved is Derek Peterson (CFO), the owner of GrowOp Technologies and former partner of Dhar Mann at WeGrow. Also listed on the Board is Latanya Linzie (Member Manager), and administrator at Oaksterdam University. It would seem that this group is well aware of the risks going in, but Derek Peterson recently had a child and there has to be some concern there. As with any of us who have kids in this industry, as people like Bryan Epis sit in prison today serving out decade long prison terms watching their kids grow up in a prison visiting room, it is a big commitment to make and a big risk to take by any measure. I can vouch firsthand that this is always a factor in weighing one’s decision to sell cannabis openly in this legal and political climate.
Their facility is an old bank building on Broadway directly across from the Paramount. It is a nice building, but is listed as outside of the preferred “allowable area” on the City’s map.
2.) G8 Medical Alliance, Inc.- (7o Hegenberger Loop): The most telling thing about this Board of Directors is not who IS on it, but who is not. The location is owned by the family of Dhar Mann called Mann Edge Properties. It is the same building where WeGrow once was and Dhar Mann has stated his desire to have an Oakland permit in the press repeatedly; but he is not listed as a Board Member on this project for some reason. Why? Is this a shadow Board of Directors? Are we supposed to believe that somehow this organization has no ties to self-proclaimed “potrepeneur” Dhar Mann, while renting his space and being headed by folks who have been directly involved with him for years? I am not falling for it, and believe the Oakland City Council should investigate this relationship further, as it is obvious they are being bamboozled.
The Board is supposedly headed by Toni Mims-Cochran, a local attorney who seems to work with eviction law a lot and has represented Dhar Mann in the past. Normally lawyers steer clear of sitting on Boards of dispensaries because any legal action can result in them losing their State Bar credentials. Also on the Board is former City Council member and attorney Leo Bazille, who was also University Chancelor for Dhar Mann’s now defunct wannabe Oaksterdam called Unicann. Also on the Board in Ekundayo Sowumni, listed as the President of Ackland Realty in Oakland, as well as Joel Elliott who I believe is with Priority Focus Security Group, LLC out of Oakland. Another Board member, which shows clearly that this is indeed a Dhar mann project, is Ariana Patino who is listed as a real estate agent for Mann Edge properties and is Dhar’s assistant. Another member listed is Aaron Goodwin, which is famed sports agent and local Oaklander Aaron Goodwin who was once shot by Oakland police, and is apparently best friends with Oakland City Councilperson Desley Brooks, who also is a “big fan” of Dhar Mann you might say. If you look up www.re-electbrooks.com the registrant is… who else? Dhar Mann. Was this disclosed as a campaign contribution?
The biq question is, “Why are all of these people willing to stand out front and catch the arrows for Dhar Mann?” It is a huge risk to take and it is obvious that the entire Board is just a front for the Dhar Mann WeGrow empire.
The building, as noted, is the old WeGrow location that did not make it. It is located just a stone’s throw from Lighthouse Community Charter school, which begs to wonder how they too expect to overcome the wrath of Melinda Haag and her strict no schools or playgrounds policy. Does the family owned MannEdge Properties know that they could possibly lose this building, like has recently happened in Fairfax and other parts of the state? Who knows? What is obvious is that something is rotten in Oakland if they cannot see through the shadow Board of this organization and their obvious links to Mann who is mysteriously missing from the application.
3.) Tidewater Patients Group- (4709 Tidewater Ave.): This is another one of those situations that begs to wonder what is actually going on. It is well-known that Terra Linda Development President, Carlos Plazola, is directly involved with this project, yet he is not listed as a Board member. Instead, a real estate agent named Bill Koziol is listed as the President of Tidewater Patients Group. Alexis Parle is listed as the managing member, who is unknown. Also listed as Board members are David Koziol (unconfirmed: google shows this name at Marin Monument a cemetery stone maker from San Rafael), Jay Dodson found as the owner of Mestizo Construction (who coincidentally is co-listed on several projects with Terra Linda Development), and Michael Stewart who conveniently sits on the Board of the Oakland Builder’s Alliance with Carlos Plazola). So what it seems we have here is another group seemingly unfamiliar with the medical cannabis industry looking to risk all of those bold credentials at a shot of fame and fortune in the outlaw world of medical marijuana. God Bless them…..If I had all of that to risk, chances are I would stick with what I know and not gamble on this unknown industry, but heck, what do I know anyway?
The facility is down on the industrial Tidewater Avenue, off of High Street and the 880. It is not a very desirable area for patients to travel to for their medicine and the building is listed as a warehouse facility. Good thing all those developers are on board to make it happen. It is just mysterious why there is a most definite connection to Mr. Plazola here, but no mention of him in the application.
4.) AMCD, Inc.- (578 W. Grand Avenue): This is a group that once had a permit in Oakland and blew it for illegally dispensing in Oakland and failing to meet building codes. Their permit was then awarded to Steve D’Angelo and Harborside and the rest is history. When they were open, vendors were outraged as they seemingly owed every grower in the movement and refused to pay them. People literally used to throw eggs at their place repeatedly. Also, when turning in his application, Executive Director Carl Anderson did not have his check with just minutes before the 4 pm deadline, so it is questionable how he was able to get to a bank and get a cashiers check issued and turned into the city on time. An exception had to have been made and I know more than one organization that will be appealing based on this should they be granted a permit.
As stated, the Executive Director is listed as Carl Anderson and his son Forrest is also listed on the Board. These folks already have a bad reputation in the industry, but have spent the years since being shut down greasing the wheels at City Hall and enlisting anyone and everyone on their Board to legitimize their efforts. Chairman of their Board is Minnie Watson, also on the original Board of the organization when it was shut down by the city. Their Vice President is Geri Murphy, a licensed psychologist who is risking her career to dispense medical cannabis. Also listed is George Iaconis, a person who has operated his own security company for 30 years and is now venturing into the industry (although he is not listed on their website). David King is listed as an information officer and from his experience with Cisco systems is managing the IT aspects of the operation. Rounding it out is Kisha Jackson, the California Director of the NAACP, who is entering the outlaw world of medical cannabis as the “Executive Spokesperson.” Who IS listed on their website as a Board Member and who I believe took their test, but is not mentioned on the application as such, is Hank Levy CPA, who has several clients in the industry.
Their location is the same location they previously operated out of at 578 West Grand. It is not in the preferred allowable zone of the city, likely because of its proximity to New Day Pre-School and Learning Center just a few blocks away. Word is that they were so sure of their getting this permit that they have already built out the entire facility. They are so sure that they will get it that they do not even have to bother to turn in their check on time. Must be nice.
5.) Agramed- (1820 Embacadero): Agramed’s sole listed Board member is Jeffrey Wilcox, who gained recognition in the industry for putting forward the “mega-grow” program that was interfered with by the Federal government in writing the first of many letters to municipalities warning of their desire to be involved in cannabis business. More info on that can be found in my article entitled “Why is Jeff Wilcox such a prick?” What is crazy is that Jeff Wilcox is continuing to pursue this permit as a sole incorporator, and is risking quite a vast fortune that he made when selling his construction company. He has three teenage children, who he claims are his reason for getting into this business, but it is unclear if they are aware of the great risk their dad is taking with the family fortune and property. It is people like Jeff Wilcox, with so much to lose, that would make a seemingly huge target for Federtal enforcement. If he is running a dispensary out of a property he owns then it is a slam dunk for asset forfeiture if they press criminal charges ever. Besides him being such a gigantic asshole, it begs to wonder why he is attempting to enter an industry with so many questions in order to make a measly non-profit salary.
His location is a plot of land near Harborside at 1820 Embarcadero, which should be interesting should he get the permit. It is literally right next door. It is also near Beacon Day School and is not in the preferred allowable zone as listed on the City’s mapping. It begs to wonder why a person with zero experience in dispensing cannabis would want to take such bold risks with his freedom and property, but I suppose some people get a Camaro for their mid-life crisis and others get a dispensary.
6.) East Bay Conscious Collective- (1155 3rd St.): This is a group spearheaded by members of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, the drag queen nuns charity group. How fun would it be to have these folks running a dispensary in Oakland? Yay! Edward Huser, aka Sister Barbi Mitzvah, is listed on the application as the CFO. He is joined by Eric Wesson (manager) and Nick Davis (manager). Board Members John Anderson and Jon David Petras (owner of Cafe Flore in San Francisco) are also listed on the city’s website.
Their facility is on 3rd and Adeline near the Port of Oakland in the same building as Nellie’s Soul Food. The space is a two story office building and is in the allowable zone.
7.) South Bay Apothecary Collective- (9821 Kitty Lane): Why ever would a group applying in Oakland use the name of their San Jose location called “South Bay Apothecary Collective” in the East Bay? But that is their call. Their facility in San Jose is a quiet one amongst 100+ and it would seem they are looking for greener pastures in Oakland. Their Director is listed as Johnny Nguyen and Steve Vinhm is listed as their manager. Kiet Tran is listed as in charge of “collective development.” The group’s person of service on the Secretary of State website is Vanessa Quan. This group is not very active in the cannabis scene overall, and even though they have been in business since November of 2009 (right after the Ogden memo), they have made little impact in the industry. Most asked had never heard of them.
Their facility is located off of 98th Ave on the Kitty Lane and seems to be in an allowable zone. They do not currently test their medicine in San Jose, so it will be interesting to see what they wrote in their application for testing in Oakland. If they list that they will be testing medicine it begs to wonder why they do not do that now? The facility is a 6000 sq. ft. warehouse building, that will need to be built out, so if nothing else they are well-financed. I looked at this building for a grow site for a client and the landlord was not interested in a cannabis business. I wonder if they purchased the site?
8.) Magnolia Wellness Inc.- (3421 Telegraph Ave.): This is a group who has made its name providing medicine to patients in the Sacramento area since 2009. They won best booth at last year’s HT medical cup in San Francisco and were listed as the “Best Compassion” program by Sacramento News and Review’s Best of Sacramento 2011. Executive Director David Spradlin is originally from the East Bay. He is joined by local Oakland business owner Harold Rogers, and Community organizer Eli Austin. Steep Hill CEO AnnaRae Grabstein is also an advisor on the Board.
Their facility is located at 34th and Telegraph in a mixed use commercial building. It is located near Grove Shafter park, as a sensitive use. Grove Shafter is a rundown park under the freeway interchange and is home to a lof of criminal activity. The group hopes to turn a large portion of it in to a community garden that provides food to the community according to their director. Magnolia Wellness is one of the most popular collectives in the Sacramento area and it will beg to see if they can bring that reputation for quality and compassion to Oakland.
9.) Abatin Wellness Center of Oakland- (8440 Enterprise Way): This is the project of my friend and yours, TV Celebrity Montel Williams. He is the only one listed on the application, which is odd because I do not believe he is a resident of California. He is also saying he is a resident of DC in order to get a dispensary there. What is also odd is that he is listed as a “consultant” to the Abatin Group in Sacramento, as they renamed another collective; and on this Abatin Wellness he is listed as the President. Huh? So he is not the President in Sac but is in Oakland? And it begs to wonder why his partner in Sacramento, well-known activist Aundre Speciale, is not listed on the Oakland application either? Also it is reported that Americans for Safe Access Director Don Duncan took the test for him, which is supposed to be done by a “member applicant” according to the City’s RFPA request and ordinance, yet Montel is the only one listed as an applicant.
The facility is down off of Hegenberger and was a former landscaping company. It is in the allowable zone, which begs to wonder why their application is ranked so low?
10.) Green Light District- (721 98th Ave.): Listed as “co-owners,” Brian Basillo and Jaysen Jacinto are the main applicants. The person of service for their corporation is Timothy Flaherty, a lawyer from Pleasant Hill and planning commissioner there. According to the google Jacincto seems to work or have worked with Telekenex and is in the telecommunications game. There are several listings for Brian Basillo, but there is a local one who used to work for AT&T.
Their facility seems to be a house on 98th Avenue, but it is hard to tell on Google maps. This address was reportedly a house for sale for $185,000 at one time according to a real estate website.
So there we have it folks…..the TOP 10 Candidates for opening a dispensary in Oakland. Read them and weep. It is amazing to me that after all that has happened that there are even 10 people left in the race. There is a lot of heat out there, and the unsurity of this industry is at an all time high. It is clear that some of these big wheels are willing to risk it all, and I can appreciate that. As I go over the list and understand how these applicants have given (or not given) to many City officials causes and campaigns, it is hard for me not to think things are rigged. What is clear is that if some of these applicants (or shadow applicant organizations) do indeed get the permit, there could be a lot of investigation and questioning of the entire application process. Only time will tell. Maybe all of them will throw up their hands and walk away, as the Feds continue to escalate the war on providers and their property. I wonder if some of these folks understand the risks involved and know clearly what the potential hazards of having a leading role in a cannabis dispensing organization really are. As a person who had his life turned upside down and was threatened with decades in prison just for making medicated foods, I know firsthand the real dangers of being in the cannabis industry. It is just hopeful that the leadership for all of these organizations has taken the time to explain the situation and has been honest with everyone involved. Anything less would just be sad.
So in about a month there will be public hearings, which should be exciting for sure. From here on out it is a pants-off dance-off and it is anyone’s guess who will actually open a dispensary in Oakland next year. The only thing for certain is that whoever gets the permits better bring their A-game because the competition level will surely be at an all time high….
Weed Wars, the new four-part series on the Discover Channel debuted on Dec. 1st and will run through Dec. 22nd. So set your Tune in tonight at 10 PM – I’ve been told by cast members that episode #2 has some tense moments.This documentary follows daily life in the world’s largest marijuana retail shop. Harborside Medical Center, which services patients in San Francisco’s East Bay, provides medicine to 1,000 patients a day and has cash-flow of about $25,000,000 a year, and growing.
Here it is folks, marijuana being bought and sold shown on national TV just like it was “PawnStars.” It’s so outrageously blatant that it’s like a gauntlet thrown directly at the federal attorneys. That’s why this show presents a Hobson’s choice to the feds, who have been trying to restrict California dispensaries. The feds can ignore or prosecute. Both are losing positions. If they ignore Harborside it will stoke the fire of entrepreneurship the same way that NBC’s “Marijuana Inc.” did a year ago.Many recently unemployed will follow the lead and make a decision to join the marijuana industry, regardless of whether their state has medical exemptions to the laws. There are already dispensaries in non-medical states such as New York and Wisconsin. This will fuel the trend, making federal control more problematic.The other choice, to indict and prosecute, is also perilous. In my federal trial eight years ago, we were very close to a juror rebellion. Actually it occurred, but after the verdict was delivered. This time the government is not likely to be so lucky. The defense team will be honed by years of trial, the public is better informed and jurors will take marijuana’s medical qualities and Harborside’s upright position with the state into account. The feds are more than likely to lose and if they do, the fed’s breath will no longer intimidate the dispensaries. New ones will spring up.If Harborside should lose, the situation is even worse. One thousand customers a day will be looking for medicine. Will they be forced to go back to street or home dealers who provide virtually no choice of medicines? Is this what city and state governments want in their community?
Harborside is run by Steve DeAngelo, who has an independent background and sophisticated political analysis developed by close association with the Yippies! People associated with the movement tend to be very self-sufficient, insightful, and determined, even when they are faced with seemingly insurmountable obstacles. As a result, in most encounters with the law, they usually gain the upper hand.
I suppose most people would say they wouldn’t like to be in Steve’s position. I wouldn’t relish being in Attorney General Holder’s. He doesn’t realize the ideological zeal of medical marijuana adherents, their frustration with the Democratic Party and with the Obama Administration in particular. So that surge of internet donations he received in 2008 won’t be floating in from potheads this time. Their votes will be reluctant rather than enthusiastic. And now there’s a trend that can be stated as “I pledge not to vote for any candidate that wants to put me in jail, even for a short time.” The rock is about to meet the hard place.
Cannabis consumers are about 13% of the population (a fair chunk) and most are not the super wealthy aristocrats that have come to be thought of as the one percent (1%). Maybe their kids smoke herb, but it is generally frowned upon at the Country Club. But for the most part those who use cannabis tend to be just regular folks like you and me….The 99%. Many of our cannabis concerns parallel the concerns of the larger Occupy 99% movement that we see becoming a powerful voice in the National dialogue. As a movement, we should embrace this cultural revolution and help to call for change in the systems and a renewed democratic republic.
Believe Wall Street, and more specifically their lobbying groups, are 100% responsible for the lack of progress we have seen in reforming cannabis laws. Big Pharma, Big Tobacco, and Big Booze all work to keep prohibition alive and they continue to use their political influence to bribe politicians and scare them into believing they will never be re-elected if they vote for cannabis reform. It is Wall Street’s bottom line that is directly responsible for the drug war. A great deal of our prison system is owned by Wall Street. They are the one’s directly benefiting from us imprisoning 25% of the World’s population while only having 5% of the global population. It is absurd. They have established this huge, mostly privately owned, Wall St. prison complex that they must continue to fill to keep profitable, so to them the drug war makes sense. To our 13% of the 99% it means being a criminal.
It is only a matter of time before people say enough. I have a great thought; maybe we can just turn some of the prisons into indoor cannabis farms. That would be ideal. The simple fact is that we cannot afford to keep feeding the beast of the prison system by imprisoning people (minorities at a much higher rate) for cannabis and other drugs. We are creating a whole generation and society of prisoners and convicts, and the madness has got to stop; and that begins with getting Wall St. money out of Government so that lawmakers can be free to make more educated decisions based on scientific fact and common sense, and not special interest money.
Another way the Occupy call for income equality affects cannabis is that the Feds are denying tens of thousands of people jobs, as their baseless policies attempt to shut down our movement. They are trying to squeeze out the movement and push the entire cannabis industry back to the black market. They are forcing people who use medical cannabis to access their medicine in a Wal-Mart parking lot instead of a clean, well-lit and tax-paying business. It is a damn shame.
And THE BANKS! The banks refuse to give our community accounts because of the Feds outdated and archaic position on medical cannabis. Many large collectives and patient groups depend on bank accounts to pay their staff, their taxes, and to account for their non-profit funding. But the banks are refusing to handle cannabis accounts due to pressure from the Feds. This is not okay. We need the First Bank of Cannabis. Let these too big to fail and too big to take cannabis money institutions become dinosaurs. Hopefully people will all take their money elsewhere, as the Occupy movement and other social change groups are calling for. I am moving my accounts on Saturday.
The 99% are us and we are the 99% at least 13% of it. Many of the issues facing the larger economy can be related to the cannabis cause. Because we waste so much time and resources arresting and jailing cannabis consumers and growers, we fail to educate our kids, provide healthcare and housing, fix our roads, and perform basic functions of a civilized society. This is no longer okay and the whole world is watching.
As a movement we are asking a good portion of the 99% to support cannabis reform. If an initiative makes the ballot we will need more than just our 13% to pass adult use. We will be asking our sensible neighbors and friends to stand with us to help re-establish cannabis freedom in this Country and to stop prohibition. We are asking others to stand up for us so that we can quit being treated as second class citizens, and quit being arrested or having our property searched because we smell like cannabis. We are looking for the 99% to support us, so we should in-turn support the 99% movement. The peaceful resistance that is happening across the Nation is powerful and it would bode well for us to stand in solidarity, get out of our house and into the streets, and form alliances with the larger call for change. I think you will find that there is a great deal of support for the cannabis issue and it is a great place to meet with other activist groups to establish partnerships and like-minded strategy.
I saw many great cannabis activists at the General Strike movement yesterday, which was nice. It would be nice to see more at future gatherings. I think we can use this powerful message to help voice our similar concerns for change to the system. Be a part of the tidal wave of passion and understanding that is now occupying the streets of our country, especially Oaksterdam, which is Hella Hella Occupied….
from Cannabis Warrior