Posts Tagged ‘weed’
SAN DIEGO, June 1, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — Medical Marijuana, Inc. (Pink Sheets: MJNA)
From excerpts of an article written by the Medical Marijuana Business Daily; (click here to download full article)
Several prominent medical marijuana companies are focusing on what they see as the wave of the future in the MMJ industry: products infused with cannabidiol, or CBD.
The marijuana compound offers some of the pain-relieving benefits of THC, without the psychoactive effects. In other words, you don’t get stoned. Studies show that CBDs can help with a variety of medical conditions, including anxiety, nausea, inflammation and convulsions.
Just as importantly, hemp-based CBDs are legal in the United States, meaning patients don’t need to live in a state with MMJ laws and don’t have to worry about the government knocking on their door.
Publicly traded Medical Marijuana, Inc. last month paid $1.45 million to acquire Dixie’s intellectual property, formulas and recipes. The two companies have created a third, Red Dice Holdings, to license and market Dixie’s brand and NON-THC products in other states, focusing on hemp-based extracts.
Dixie Elixirs & Edibles is the latest firm in the medical marijuana industry to jump on the trend. The Denver-based company – which is now part of Medical Marijuana, Inc. – is preparing to roll out anew line of hemp-based CBD products including tinctures, salves and capsules. Dixie will officially launch the product line tomorrow and expects to add new CBD offerings at a rapid clip going forward, hoping to tap what it says is a $5 billion market.
The company initially will sell the products to dispensaries but then plans to make them available to the general public via mail order and an online e-commerce platform.
Other MMJ players are taking an interest in cannabidiols as well. Medical Marijuana, Inc. has taken an aggressive approach to CBD research, filing a patent last year for a process to extract cannabidiol and other cannabinoids from cannabis. It also inked a deal to distribute CBD-infused beverages. At the same time, individual dispensaries are producing high-CBD strains, and C3 Patients Associationis distributing a CBD-infused pill called Idrasil. Most of these products are only available to card-carrying patients in MMJ states however, as they contain CBDs derived from cannabis and in many cases also contain THC.
The company has plans for several additional product launches over the next few months and has nearly 600 retail stores now carrying its products.
About Medical Marijuana, Inc.
Our mission is to be the premier cannabis and hemp industry innovators, leveraging our team of professionals to source, evaluate and purchase value-added companies and products, while allowing them to keep their integrity and entrepreneurial spirit. We strive to create awareness within our industry, develop environmentally friendly, economically sustainable businesses, while increasing shareholder value.
Medical Marijuana, Inc. does not grow, sell or distribute any substances that violate United States law or the controlled substance act.
For more information, please visit the company’s website at: www.MedicalMarijuanaInc.com
This press release may contain certain forward-looking statements and information, as defined within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, and is subject to the Safe Harbor created by those sections. This material contains statements about expected future events and/or financial results that are forward-looking in nature and subject to risks and uncertainties. Such forward-looking statements by definition involve risks, uncertainties and other factors, which may cause the actual results, performance or achievements of Medical Marijuana, Inc. to be materially different from the statements made herein.
Investor Relations Contact:
Stuart T. Smith
DENVER (Reuters) – Throughout his presidency, Barack Obama hasn’t exactly been a friend to marijuana users.
Sure, he has acknowledged smoking pot as a young man, but he has disappointed marijuana advocates by opposing its legalization, regulation and taxation like alcohol.
And the Justice Department’s occasional crackdown under his administration on medical marijuana dispensaries, which 17 states and the District of Columbia allow, has angered others.
So now, with Obama facing a stiff challenge from Republican Mitt Romney in the November 6 election, it’s ironic that his chances of winning the key state of Colorado could hinge on marijuana legalization, supported by a growing number of Americans.
At issue is whether Obama will get a boost from young voters expected to be among the most enthusiastic backers of a Colorado ballot initiative that would legalize possession of up to an ounce of pot for recreational use – and give the state the most liberal marijuana law in the nation.
The initiative is a reflection of Colorado’s unique blend of laid-back liberalism and anti-regulation conservatism that helped make the state the birthplace of the Libertarian Party.
It’s a state where people of different political stripes see marijuana laws as an example of government needlessly sticking its nose where it doesn’t belong.
It’s also a proving ground for advocates who see legalization as a way to ease crowding in prisons, generate much-needed tax revenues, create jobs and weaken Mexican cartels that thrive on Americans’ appetite for illegal drugs.
The Rocky Mountain State already allows the use of marijuana for medical purposes such as severe pain relief, and some communities have embraced it enthusiastically.
The prevalence of medical marijuana dispensaries in Denver has moved pot into the mainstream in Colorado’s capital city.
In Denver County, home to about 600,000 people, one in every 41 residents is a registered medical marijuana patient, leading to chuckles about the “Mile High City.” Denver is roughly a mile above sea level.
The number of places licensed to sell medical marijuana products has reached 400 here, according to the Denver Post. That means there are more dispensaries in the capital than there are Starbucks coffee shops (375) statewide.
A similar bill is on the ballot in Washington, another state that already allows use of medical marijuana. If approved, the initiatives would put the states squarely in the crosshairs of federal law, which classifies cannabis as an illegal narcotic.
PATH TO THE WHITE HOUSE
It’s unclear precisely how the U.S. Justice Department – whether led by Obama or Romney – would respond if Colorado, Washington or other states legalize marijuana for recreational use. Both politicians oppose legalizing the drug.
But in a close presidential election in which Colorado could be a tipping point – and with polls showing Obama has up to a 30-point edge over Romney among voters age 30 and under – the state’s marijuana initiative could be a factor if it inspires waves of young voters to cast ballots on November 6.
“This is an issue that is really meaningful to young people, people of color, disenfranchised communities,” groups that typically lag in registering and showing up to vote, said Brian Vicente, 35, executive director of Sensible Colorado, a group seeking less restrictive marijuana laws.
“Democrats and Obama need these groups to win,” Vicente said. “The path to the White House leads through Colorado. We feel we can motivate these groups.”
Last winter, Public Policy Polling found that 49 percent of Coloradans favored legalization, while 41 percent opposed it.
As much as some Democrats feel they have the wind at their backs, they are fighting history in Colorado. Obama won the state in 2008, but he was the first Democratic presidential contender to do so in 16 years.
And even though a majority of the delegates at the Colorado Democratic Party’s convention last month said they supported legalization, some party officials are skeptical the politically diverse movement will help Obama much this fall.
They note that Colorado voters rejected such a legalization measure in 2006, and that Californians blocked a similar initiative two years ago.
“If they get 40 percent” of voters supporting legalization, “they should throw themselves a party,” said Matt Inzeo, spokesman for Colorado’s Democratic Party.
Others see more potential in the legalization debate’s impact on the presidential race.
Tom Jensen of Public Policy Polling said that if the state-by-state race for the 270 electoral votes needed to win the presidency comes down to Colorado’s 9 electoral votes, marijuana “could be a difference maker.”
During a recent visit to Colorado, Romney seemed irritated when a local television reporter quizzed him on his views about gay marriage, immigration reform and marijuana legalization.
“Aren’t there issues of significance you’d like to talk about?” an exasperated Romney asked.
In Colorado, however, marijuana is significant. And its acceptance hasn’t been limited to more liberal areas.
Colorado Springs, home to the U.S. Air Force Academy and the evangelical Christian group Focus on the Family, is one of the most conservative cities in the United States. But the city of 400,000 about 70 miles south of Denver has nearly as many marijuana dispensaries as churches, according to city records.
Supporters of Colorado’s initiative point to a broadening coalition of those who support legalization, including local civil rights and union leaders.
Those opposing marijuana legalization often cite the drug’s impact on youths.
Roger Sherman, a strategist for the campaign against Amendment 64, said “there’s a tremendous amount of enthusiasm and a high level of concern” among those who oppose legalization. His group cites increased drug use among children and increasing cases of impaired driving.
Nationwide polling on marijuana legalization, although sparse, suggests that support now equals support for marriage equality, which just found a new backer in Obama.
In October, 50 percent of Americans said “yes” when asked by Gallup, “Do you think the use of marijuana should be made legal, or not?” When Gallup asked that in 1969, 12 percent said yes.
Last week, a Rasmussen Reports survey said 56 percent of likely U.S. voters favored legalizing and regulating marijuana.
Supporters of legalization also argue that regulating marijuana – and capturing tax revenue from its sale – could help governments, cities and towns face increasingly tight budgets.
In 2011, taxes for medical marijuana generated $5 million for Colorado. Denver-based political strategist Rick Ridder said that depending upon the cost of an ounce, legalization would likely generate $20 million to $80 million in annual tax revenue for Colorado and local communities.
As designed, Amendment 64 would designate its first $40 million in tax revenue for rebuilding public schools. As part of a bond issue, that amount could turn into a treasure chest for public education funding in Colorado.
Legalization advocates see Obama’s crackdown on some medical marijuana outlets as hypocritical, noting that in his memoir “Dreams from My Father” he acknowledged smoking pot as a youth.
“It’s really insulting with this president. He actually smoked pot in high school and college. The only difference is he didn’t get caught. If he had gotten caught, he would not be president,” said Wanda James, 48, whose business, Simply Pure, supplies 300 Colorado dispensaries with edible marijuana.
She tells community leaders that legalization is not just about pot smokers having a good time, legally. She sees it as a way to ease prison crowding, help cash-strapped governments, provide jobs and weaken drug cartels.
Legalization, of course, would mean a larger market for James’ indica sesame brittle bars and sativa peppermint cups.
To James, legalizing marijuana boils down to what could be a good slogan for this year’s elections: “Jobs, jobs, jobs.”
(Editing by David Lindsey and Todd Eastham)
by Melanie Eversley, USA Today
A New York State Supreme Court judge out of Brooklyn is generating buzz because of his public appeal to legalize medical marijuana, as outlined in an opinion piece that he wrote forThe New York Times.
The plea from Judge Gustin Reichbach to the New York State Legislature, which is debating a medical marijuana bill, has prompted follow-up pieces in the New York Daily News, The American Bar Association Journal and Reuters, among other news organizations.
Support among New York State officials is mixed, and Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, has said the problems with medical marijuana outweigh the benefits, according toMetroFocus, a site produced by New York City-area public television stations.
Reichbach writes that three and one half years ago, on his 62nd birthday, doctors told him he had Stage 3 pancreatic cancer and that he had four to six months to live. His grueling treatment has included “chemotherapy, radiation hell and brutal surgery,” he writes. The cancer disappeared but returned, prompting doctors to prescribe a more aggressive course of chemotherapy.
Reichbach writes about the constant nausea and pain, about forcing down food, and about the side effects of the many drugs to treat the disease and ease the symptoms of chemotherapy, including loss of appetite, constipation, insomnia and raised glucose levels.
“Inhaled marijuana is the only medicine that gives me some relief from nausea, stimulates my appetite, and makes it easier to fall asleep,” Reichbach writes. “Rather than watch the agony of my suffering, friends have chosen, at some personal risk, to provide the substance. I find a few puffs of marijuana before dinner gives me ammunition in the battle to eat. A few more puffs at bedtime permits desperately needed sleep.”
Reichbach notes 16 states have legalized medical marijuana and that Connecticut and New York are weighing bills.
“I implore the governor and the Legislature of New York … to join the forward and humane thinking of 16 other states and pass the medical marijuana bill this year,” Reichbach writes. “Medical science has not yet found a cure, but it is barbaric to deny us (cancer patients) access to one substance that has proven to ameliorate our suffering.”
by Maia Szalavitz, Time Magazine
Among the voluminous evidence released Thursday in the shooting death of 17-year-old Florida high school student Trayvon Martin is a toxicology report showing that the teen had trace levels of THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, in his blood and urine.
The evidence includes abundant new information: conflicting witness statements, an autopsy report showing that Martin, who was black, died from a single gunshot wound to the chest and medical records documenting that Hispanic neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman, who will stand trial for second-degree murder, had a broken nose the day after Martin’s death. Yet the media is focusing on the marijuana findings.
That’s a mistake that only serves to distort an already contentious case. The levels of THC detected don’t reflect Martin’s character or even his state of mind the night he was shot. For one, they are so low as to almost certainly not be connected to recent intoxication: 1.5 nanograms of THC were found as well as 7.3 nanograms of THC-COOH, a metabolite of THC that can stay in the system for weeks after cannabis has been smoked. Immediately after inhaling, THC levels typically rise to 100 to 200 nanograms per milliter of blood, although there can be a great deal of variation.
“THC in blood or urine tells us nothing about the level of intoxication,” says Carl Hart, associate professor of psychology at Columbia University and author of the leading college textbook on drug use and behavior. “That would be like someone going to have a beer some evening, and when he goes to work the next day, you can find alcohol metabolites in his bodily fluids. That says nothing about his functioning.” (Full disclosure: Hart and I are working on a book project together).
Moreover, even if Martin had been stoned out of his mind, it wouldn’t predispose him to violence. “I have given hundreds of doses of marijuana to people in the lab, and no one has gotten violent ever and everyone has been able to respond to the situation in an appropriate manner, when given low or large doses and single or repeated doses,” Hart says.
The night of the killing, Zimmerman began following Martin, who had gone to a 7-Eleven to get Skittles and an Arizona iced tea during a break in the NBA All-Star game. Zimmerman told a 911 operator that he was worried about Martin because he “looks like he’s up to no good, or he’s on drugs.” He was informed that the police would handle the situation and that he should not take further action. Zimmerman didn’t heed that advice; an altercation ended with Zimmerman shooting Martin in what he says was self-defense. He was charged months after the Feb. 26th killing, following widespread public outrage over the perceived lack of an appropriate criminal justice response.
“If people are trying to discount the acts of Zimmerman or excuse him because [Martin may have smoked] marijuana, they need to think about their own marijuana use and think about whether they ever get violent,” Hart says. “More than half the country has used marijuana and they really need to use some common sense.” The drug that has the strongest pharmacological link to violence is the legal one, alcohol.
And despite the fact that black youth are actually equally or even less likely to use — or sell — marijuana compared to whites, they are arrested for drug crimes at a rate ten times higher. In New York City, a recent analysis found that 80% of those arrested for marijuana were black or Latino, despite whites outnumbering them by far.
As Michelle Alexander points out in her book, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, our drug laws have become little more than a pretext for arresting, imprisoning and disenfranchising people of color in a way that is no longer permissible to do based on race alone. Once someone is charged with a drug crime, liberty, property and voting rights can all be rescinded— in a manner that appears colorblind if you ignore the selective enforcement.
Says Hart: “If Trayvon was a white kid, we wouldn’t be here talking about drugs. George Zimmerman would have long been in jail.”
Hopeful pot-shop owners will have until 5 p.m. on May 25 to submit the applications. Besides paying a $5,000 application fee, weed-trepeneurs must include a business plan and details on how they’ll control their inventory.See the state Department of Health Services checklist for applications by clicking here.
Under Arizona law, the stores will be able to grow and sell marijuana legally for a growing population of qualified patients, now topping 28,000. After the close of the application process, DHS will evaluate the submissions and make their approvals or denials. Some stores are expected to open by late summer, offering patients a wide range of cannabis strains, pot-infused foods, tinctures and other concentrates.
DHS has begun a Web page that shows the public where the potential shops can go. Rural Arizona appears to be getting a head start. The number is small enough so far to list them here:
Sedona, Williams (2), St. Johns, Yavapai County South/Bagdad, Prescott, Paradise Valley Village (These are the names of the “CHAAs” — the designated areas where dispensaries can go), Camelback East, Mesa West, South Mountain, Ajo, Tucson East Central
The first thing you probably noticed is what’s not on the list yet. A dispensary in Ajo before Tempe? Really?
In fact, officials expect most of the 100-plus CHAAs to be filled up with applications in the next 10 days, meaning it’s likely the Valley will have several dispensaries to choose from.
At the least, these first 15 pioneers demonstrate that the dispensary industry is far from dead, despite problems caused by the ongoing conflict between federal law and the wishes of state voters. Last month, a Maricopa County Superior Court judge allowed a Colorado dispensary to blow off a $500,000 loan from a Valley couple simply because marijuana is against federal law. That was just one unwelcome sign that spurred local lawyer and bloggerRichard Keyt to write a “warning” for people considering investing in or running a dispensary.
Though the medical-marijuana industry has more than its fair share of obstacles, it’s also necessary to serve the thousands of registered patients in the state — many with bona fide medical conditions they use the drug to treat — who can now possess marijuana legally under Arizona law.
by Marc Benjamin, The Fresno Bee
A murder warrant has been issued in the disappearance of Sammy Mercado, the Sanger teenager who vanished after attempting to steal marijuana from an outdoor growing site last month, the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office said.
Sheriff’s investigators say Ernie Chanmany, 21, of Fresno is wanted on suspicion of murder, attempted murder and weapons charges.
Chanmany was identified three weeks ago as one of the suspects possibly involved in Mercado’s disappearance.
Mercado’s body has not been found, sheriff’s spokesman Chris Curtice said.
Mercado, 16, has been missing since April 12 when authorities say he and two friends attempted to steal marijuana from an outdoor grow at Annadale and Willow avenues.
Two men emerged from a hut, and one of them started shooting at Mercado. His two friends drove away, leaving the boy lying on the ground. When they returned, Mercado was gone, but evidence at the scene indicated the teenager might have been shot.
Chanmany is described as Laotian, 5 feet 6 inches tall and weighing 135 pounds. He has black hair and brown eyes and tattoos of a dragon on his left shoulder, “Chanmany” on his chest, and “01-01-10″ on his left wrist.
It’s not known where Chanmany is, but his last known address was on South Chance Avenue in Fresno. Chanmany has relatives in Las Vegas and Memphis, Tenn., Curtice said, but it’s not known if he is in either city.
Anyone with information on Chanmany’s whereabouts is asked to call the Sheriff’s Office at (559) 488-3111, or CrimeStoppers at (559) 498-STOP(7867).
The classification of cannabis as a schedule one narcotic is among the least defensible aspects of prohibition.
Dr. Jody Corey-Bloom, director of the Multiple Sclerosis Center at UC San Diego, recently helped run a study that provided multiple sclerosis patients with either a marijuana joint or a placebo that looked, smelled, and tasted like marijuana. After smoking whichever substance they were given, patients were tested to see if it reduced their muscle spasticity — an affliction, common to MS patients, that causes painful, uncontrollable spasms of the extremities. Spasticity was unaffected among the placebo patients but dropped 30 percent on average among the patients given real marijuana. The side effects? “Smoking caused fatigue and dizziness in some users,” says Reuters, “and slowed down people’s mental skills soon after they used marijuana.”
The UC San Diego study is just the latest to suggest that marijuana has some medical benefits. Sixteen states, thousands of doctors, and tens of thousands of sick people concur in that judgment. It is dramatized by the personal testimony of sick people who are offered much more powerful drugs, but nevertheless insistthat consuming marijuana was most effective at helping them. (Don’t miss the video at the top of this post, as powerful a testimonial for medical marijuana as you’ll find.)
Marijuana is nevertheless classified under the Controlled Substances Act as a Schedule One drug. Under the law, drugs placed in that category must meet all of the following criteria (emphasis added):
- The drug or other substance has a high potential for abuse.
- The drug or other substance has no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States.
- There is a lack of accepted safety for use of the drug or other substance under medical supervision.
Critics of the Obama Administration’s drug policy, myself included, have focused on the president’s broken promise about federal raids on medical marijuana dispensaries in jurisdictions where they’re legal. But an even less defensible aspect of Obama’s drug policy is how marijuana is scheduled.
As John Walker points out, the Controlled Substances Act gives the executive branch the power to unilaterally change a drug’s classification:
Obama can instruct the relevant agencies under him to take an honest look at the research and reschedule marijuana so it qualifies as having legitimate medical uses. The Obama administration could easily and justifiably move marijuana to, say, schedule III, which happens to be the same schedule that synthetic THC is in, making medical marijuana legal under federal law.
There would be nothing unusual, extraordinary or legally suspect about Obama doing this. The executive branch has often moved certain drugs to lower or higher schedules based on new data without Congressional involvement. In fact, multiple sitting governors have petitioned the Obama administration asking him to move marijuana to a lower schedule, so he should be aware of the flexible authority he has. Obama is not some hapless victim whose actions on this issue are constrained by congressional law. The truth is pretty much the exact opposite. Under current law Obama effectively has the power to unilaterally make medical marijuana legal.
His failure to do so is frustrating and to his discredit because it’s what the language of a law duly passed by a bygone Congress and signed by a past president demands. There just are accepted medical uses of marijuana today. Pretending otherwise is every bit as much an affront to science and empiricism as the most ill-informed denial of evolution or climate change.
Yet here is how the Obama White House touts its drug policy:
Congress also bears substantial responsibility for the anti-scientific, anti-empirical aspects of American drug policy. If Mitt Romney and Barack Obama are able to define the terms of the upcoming presidential election, this issue won’t come up. But voters have consistently shown interest in the subject when permitted to directly question politicians, and Gary Johnson, the Libertarian Party nominee, is eager to challenge Obama and Romney on this issue given the chance. When opportunities for these challenges arise, the classification of marijuana is one of the most vulnerable parts of the status quo to attack.12 states have pending medical marijuana legislation.
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.
Walking Buster was the hardest part of watching his friend’s house. It meant he had to walk around the neighborhood with the dog, without making eye-contact with the neighbors.
“Just don’t offer any information,” Jake lectured. “I don’t even know their names,” he added. “And they don’t know mine, and that’s the way we all like it.”
Jake said there were a lot of grow houses here in Cutten. The town was an old, established neighborhood in Humboldt’s County seat, and still considered a family neighborhood with parks, a school and a town center.
This was just one of Jake’s houses and no one lived here. A four bedroom California ranch-style, with four grow rooms for the ladies and a false room in the garage for growing babies. Nick was just one of several house-sitters keeping watch at any given time.
Unlike other neighborhoods he worked in, you could still see the occasional mom walking with a stroller, and parents walking kids to school in the morning.
Nick quickly led the dog out of the cul-de-sac and onto the busier street of Walnut. “Less people wondering who I am on this street,” he thought, averting his eyes from a passing car.
School was letting out and he had a moment of dread as carpool mom’s filed past him in a sea of mini-vans. “Note to self: don’t walk dog during school rush.”
Back at the house Nick rinsed out Buster’s water dish and filled it up again, reminding himself to dump the humidifier in the big room.
“It was nice outside, eh boy?” he said, patting him on the head. If only he could open a window or the blinds for some light. But that wasn’t going to happen.
The list of have and have-nots lie face-up on the kitchen table. “No open curtains or shades, no open blinds. When opening front door, make sure hallway curtain is pulled shut. When opening grow room door, make sure other doors to outside doors are blocked…” The list went on and on.
The house was always too warm from the hot lights in the grow rooms, and no matter how many fans were on back there you could still smell the green of thriving plants. Well, thriving except for the occasional spider mite, but that’s another story altogether.
Nick propped pillows on the open futon in the living room and eyed the cover of an old North Coast Journal, “Best Weed Strains.”
“How would they know,” he laughed to himself. “Let’s see what they think…‘OG Kush’ and ‘Headband,’ well, I can agree with Headband – that’s stuff’s killer. Wonder if they even know what the ‘OG’ stands for. Obviously not, or they wouldn’t spread the lie of its So Cal creation. Ocean Grown in Petrolia, on Humboldt soil, assholes.
The futon felt hard as a rock. Jake said he could sleep in the bedroom, but the noise from the fans was deafening, so he slept on the couch in the living room. Not that he slept much. All of the work was done at night when the lights in the rooms were on.
Last night was exhausting, first pinching back larger plants, then spraying babies with Neem for the never ending mite situation, then fertilizing. Feeding the plants was a bear, as Jake’s notes were always sketchy and each set of plants had different requirements at various stages.
Nick stuck the pH tester into the runoff water in the drain dish under the more mature ladies and checked the meter. “Six-point-eight, time for vinegar,” he whispered to himself.
There were at least 15 gallon jugs of fertilizers to choose from in Mike’s garage and he used them all – Tiger Bloom, Big Bloom, Open Sesame, Beastie Bloom, Bio Bud, Bio Weed, you name it. He was always amazed at the amount of stuff needed to get a few pounds out of this small,
The money was good at a hundred bucks a day, but his better side felt guilty about the waste, the runoff and the energy consumed. He read that grow houses use sixty percent more than the average household. And most of the growers he worked for didn’t recycle all those big, plastic jugs of “organic” fertilizer for fear of being found – either at curbside, or at the recycle yard.
Regulations are out the window too, with spraying without a mask or bending over in cramped spaces a given – with no complaint department, and no Christmas ham.
Yes, everything about this gig was bleak with no future, sans a bigger black market grow to tend.
Nick pulled the brochure from the Small Business Center out of his backpack. “Developing a Business Plan,” he read the first entry aloud.
Outside a car door slammed. The dog began to bark wildly. Inching the curtain away from the blinds, he carefully peeked out and held his breath.
In an op-ed yesterday in the Huffington Post, Steph Sherer touts the Rohrabacher-Hinchey-Farr Amendment to the appropriations bill H.R. 5326 as a tool “to deny funding to DEA raids against dispensaries operating in accordance with state law”. While I agree that limiting appropriations is a great tool to control federal agency behavior with, I do not believe that the Rohrabacher-Hinchey-Farr Amendment will effectively end DEA prosecution of marijuana dispensaries operating legally under state law. There are two core reasons for this: I do not believe the text of the amendment will close off federal prosecution of marijuana dispensaries, and the amendment does not touch non-appropriated funds, particularly funds contained in the Department of Justice Asset Forfeiture Fund.
Will the Rohrabacher-Hinchey-Farr Amendment End DEA Raids of State-Legal Dispensaries?
The Amendment reads:
None of the funds made available in this Act to the Department of Justice may be used, with respect to the States of Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington, to prevent such States from implementing their own State laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession, or cultivation of medical marijuana.
If this amendment passes, I predict that the DEA will continue raiding state-legal marijuana dispensaries. The justification will be that while any state can “implement their own State laws” regarding medical marijuana the amendment does not (explicitly) prohibit the enforcement of federal law criminalizing all aspects of marijuana, and a court is likely to sanction the interpretation that a federal agency can enforce federal law without “preventing” states from “implementing” their own laws. Nor does the Rohrabacher-Hinchey-Farr Amendment provide an affirmative defense for defendants caught in the federal medical marijuana crackdown. In other words, the Rohrabacher-Hinchey-Farr Amendment provides only the barest of restrictions on the actual conduct of the Department of Justice and its subsidiary agencies towards medical marijuana. And before we finish beating this horse, I should note the Amendment does not reach non-DOJ agencies like the IRS, who are also currently part of the federal crackdown on medical marijuana.
And…this Amendment would also not prevent state or local agencies from enforcing the federal law at the behest of the Drug Enforcement Administration. How is this the case? Keep reading…
Beyond Appropriations: Asset Forfeiture Allows for Agency Independence
A basic, structural feature of Drug War funding are the federal asset forfeiture laws that drive hundreds of millions of dollars of seizure revenue into funds not appropriated by Congress but by the Department of Justice itself. I’ll excerpt this overview from the FY 2013 Performance Budget of the Asset Forfeiture Fund of the Department of Justice:
The Assets Forfeiture Fund was created by the Comprehensive Crime Control Act of 1984 (P.L. 98-473, dated October 12, 1984) to be a repository of the proceeds of forfeitures under any law enforced and administered by the Department of Justice (see 28 U.S.C. 524(c)).
The primary purpose of the Fund is to provide a stable source of resources to cover the costs of an effective Asset Forfeiture Program (AFP), including the costs of seizing, evaluating, inventorying, maintaining, protecting, advertising, forfeiting, and disposing of property seized for forfeiture. Prior to the creation of the Fund in 1985, the costs of these activities had to be diverted from agency operational funds. The more effective an agency was in seizing property, the greater the drain on its appropriated funds. The creation of the Fund is responsible, in large measure, for the growth in the Department’s forfeiture program over the past decade. A secondary benefit of an aggressive and well-managed forfeiture program is the production of surplus revenues to assist in financing important law enforcement programs. If the forfeiture program ceases to function effectively in its primary role, these surplus revenues will not be generated. The AFF’s mission has as its primary strategic goal to enforce Federal laws and prevent and reduce crime by disrupting, damaging and dismantling criminal organizations through the use of civil and criminal forfeiture. The program attempts to remove those assets that are essential to the operation of those criminal organizations and punish the criminals involved by denying them the use of the proceeds of their crimes.
Table 1 on page 2 displays the functional activities of the participating agencies. For the full names of the participating agencies, see footnote 1. These agencies investigate or prosecute criminal activity under statutes, such as the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970, the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations statute, the Controlled Substances Act, and the Money Laundering Control Act, or provide administrative support services to the program.
Note again that line from the Rohrabacher-Hinchey-Farr Amendment…”None of the funds made available in this Act”…that is, funds appropriated by Congress. But this ignores the river of non-appropriated forfeiture revenue controlled by the DOJ, implying that in the case that this law is read to substantially affect appropriations for federal marijuana law enforcement, DOJ agencies will just find their revenue from non-appropriated sources. Moreover, the federal Equitable Sharing program is slated to distribute close to half a billion dollars in forfeiture revenue to state and local law enforcement agencies participating in a federal seizure in 2013. Another $147 million in forfeiture revenue is budgeted for joint operations between state and federal law enforcement operations. In other words, the DEA and any other federal agency that still deems it worthwhile to enforce federal law against state-legal medical marijuana operations still has plenty of funding…and motive…to do so.
by Bob Oakes and Lynn Jolicoeur, Boston NPR (WBUR)
BOSTON — Voters in Massachusetts may get to decide by ballot question this November whether to legalize medical marijuana. It’s already legal in Vermont, Maine and Rhode Island.
But in Rhode Island there is continuing controversy over the law.
In that state, we met 62-year-old Ellen Lenox Smith of North Scituate. She’s one of more than 4,500 Rhode Island residents with state-issued medical marijuana cards.
Living With Pain
“I don’t think I know what life is like without pain,” Ellen says. “I live with it all the time.”
Short and thin, Ellen weighs just over 100 pounds and is wearing braces on her upper back and neck.
She suffers from Ehlers-Danlos, a rare disease that makes her collagen defective and in turn weakens her ligaments and tendons.
As she describes, “they’re like over-stretched elastic bands,” which eventually snap and fail to hold her bones in place. She’s had 20 surgeries to stabilize them, some of those operations involving tendons transplanted from cadavers.
With a doctor’s approval, Ellen manages her chronic pain with marijuana, which she grows, legally, at home.
Ellen and her husband were both so amazed at how marijuana helped Ellen manage her pain and sleep better that they decided to become state-authorized “caregivers.” That means each of them can grow marijuana for up to five other patients.
Ellen and Stuart cultivate marijuana plants at various stages of growth inside three big, well-lit cabinets in their basement.
The marijuana plants inside a small room they built in their basement are about 3 feet tall and are maintained with a system of fans, lights and a dehumidifier. They require daily labor.
I ask Ellen and Stuart if they feel uncomfortable about growing, or in Ellen’s case, using, a drug that for most of the population is illegal.
“This is keeping me alive, so I don’t have any guilt trip here,” Ellen says. “And we became instant advocates for it. I mean, I was scared to try it. I’m not going to lie to you. I hated it in college. I didn’t like the feeling of being stoned. I don’t get stoned as a patient. I get pain relief only.”
“Once you see what the drug does for people, and then you see what other drugs do to people, medicinal marijuana is so benign relative to Oxycontin, Percocet, all these other things,” Stuart says.
Dispensaries On Hold
Those who can’t grow, or don’t want to grow marijuana themselves might eventually turn to a dispensary, or “compassion center” as they’re called in Rhode Island — if the three centers authorized by state law get the final go-ahead.
The problem? U.S. Attorney for Rhode Island Peter Neronha has a big issue with those operations.
“I have some real concerns, in a state where I believe there is an appetite for drugs, illegal drugs, that the use of marijuana here could really explode,” Neronha says.
And Neronha has the authority to shut down compassion centers and prosecute those involved. That’s because although medical marijuana is legal on the state level, under federal law it’s not.
“The concern is not with individual patients and their individual caregivers,” Neronha says. “What the department does have concerns about are large, commercial grows of marijuana that are done for profit.”
Last year, Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee, who supports medical marijuana, stopped the centers from opening out of concern over what steps Neronha might take.
Seth Bock, director of the planned Greenleaf Compassionate Care Center in Portsmouth, R.I. (Lynn Jolicoeur for WBUR)
So now, Rhode Island lawmakers are working on a compromise amendment they hope will appease the federal government by further restricting the number of marijuana plants each center can grow — centers like the one Seth Bock plans to open.
Bock, who’s an acupuncturist with a master’s degree in herbal medicine, won a state permit to open the Greenleaf Compassionate Care Center in a Portsmouth, R.I., industrial park. He insists — no matter how many plants he’ll be allowed to grow there — it will be a nonprofit, as state law requires.
Bock says he’ll have to weigh the chance of being arrested by the feds against his desire to help patients.
“I have a long history of working intimately with people that have benefited from this,” Bock says. “You know, I’m not a pothead. I’m not interested in the marijuana culture. That’s just not my thing.”
Medicine, Not Pot
Back in North Scituate, Ellen and Stuart Smith grow an organic garden, sell eggs from their free-range chickens to Whole Foods and have no plans to stop growing medical marijuana.
Ellen has a half dozen jars filled with pot — which she never calls pot, only medicine. And like many other patients, she says she does not smoke it. Rather, she heats some of hers with olive oil, strains it, and then swallows it about a tablespoon at a time.
“This is a night-time sleeping medication for me,” Ellen says, “and I have found ingesting it this way, getting it into my system, it carries me through most of the day.”
And though she’s seen news accounts of some registered caregivers and patients selling marijuana illicitly, Ellen insists that no one other than patients has ever come to her or her husband asking to buy the drug.
“We want to try to continue to keep this program as clean as we can and eliminate those people that are abusing it, because that’s not what it’s here for,” Ellen says. “We’ve met the real people that need this, and they have a right to dignity and quality of life, and this is giving it to them.”
Mass. Ballot Initiative
The U.S. attorney and Rhode Island State Police tell us they have made some arrests of people involved in the program, as have local police in Rhode Island. Rhode Island does not keep statistics tracking those arrests.
Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley’s office has certified the medical marijuana ballot initiative here in Massachusetts. Backers now have to gather about 11,000 signatures to get it on the November ballot. Coakley is not taking a public position on the issue.
by Shannon Young, Associated Press
HARTFORD, Conn. — Connecticut lawmakers’ approval of the use of medical marijuana includes strict regulations for the cultivation and distribution in an attempt to avoid problems other states have run into when legalizing the plant for medical use.
The bill, passed early Saturday by the state Senate, is headed to Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, who said in a statement that he plans to sign it, as he believes the law would “avoid the problems encountered in some other states.”
Sixteen states and the District of Columbia have laws authorizing the use of medical marijuana. Since California passed the country’s first such law in 1996, states have struggled with disorganization and clashes with the federal government, which considers the drug illegal and of no medicinal value.
“Everything from California back is trying to get away from chaos,” said Allen St. Pierre, the executive director of the National Organization to Reform Marijuana Laws.
Advocates say the Connecticut proposal goes further than any other state in regulating the drug.
Under the legislation, marijuana would be sold in multiple forms at dispensaries, which must have a licensed pharmacist on staff. It would be marketed only to patients authorized to use it. The measure also outlines diseases that would be treated by the drug, establishes a registry for patients and caregivers and restricts cultivating the plant to growers with permits.
“Experience has shown that having statewide structures in place makes it easier for everyone to understand what the rules really are,” said Alan Shackelford, who serves on a state advisory work group for medical marijuana in Colorado and helped advise Connecticut lawmakers on their proposal.
Opponents in Connecticut, however, point to a letter from U.S. Attorney David Fein, who wrote that while the Department of Justice would not go after seriously ill patients who use the illegal drug, federal laws would be enforced against those who manufacture and distribute it.
“The violation of a federal law to me is a big stop sign and I just can’t bring myself to go through it,” said Rep. Steven Mikutel, a Griswold Democrat who voted against the legislation when it passed the state House.
In addition to federal efforts to shut down dispensaries in California and, to a lesser extent, Colorado, problems with regulation have arisen in states where the drug was legalized through ballot initiatives and the system was implemented without regulations in place, advocates say. Likewise, some states don’t allow medical marijuana dispensaries and patients are left to grow their own.
Because of this, several states have been taking steps to strengthen regulations.
Colorado imposed tight regulation and state government control over dispensaries in 2010. New Jersey and Delaware also have passed laws to strictly regulate medical marijuana.
California state Sen. Mark Leno said he was working to enact legislation that would further clarify that care providers be exempt from prosecution for providing the drug to patients.
But Leno said he is uncertain how states’ attempts to improve regulation will succeed in reducing federal scrutiny. He points to small patient-owned and patient-run dispensaries in his district that the federal government has shut down.
Allison Price, a DOJ spokeswoman, said in a statement the department “is focusing its limited resources on significant drug traffickers, not seriously ill individuals who are in compliance with applicable state medical marijuana statues.”
When I was growing up in New York in the ’60s, my family liked to take weekend trips to the Amish Country in Pennsylvania. One time we stayed at the Howard Johnson’s Motor Lodge in York. It had that great entrance way, all orange and blue, and of course a restaurant attached. Best of all was the heated pool.
So whenever we went back, we always asked if we were going to stay at the the Howard Johnson’s.
By the early ’70s, the Howard Johnson’s in Times Square had became a favorite hangout. The all-you-can-eat fried chicken or clams pulled us in. And for dessert, you could choose from 28 different flavors of ice cream.
I bring this all up because of the latest episode of Mad Men (“Faraway Places”). It’s an extraordinary episode with Roger and his wife Jane trying LSD, Peggy smoking pot with a stranger in a movie theater, and Don and Megan have a marriage-threatening argument. While the acid subplot may draw more attention – three couples dose in a Manhattan apartment – I keep flashing back to Don’s obsession with HoJo’s.
After the melodramatic tripping session during which Roger decides it’s time to dissolve his marriage, Don (above) invites Megan to take a drive to the brand-new Howard Johnson’s just north of the city. Confused about her work relationship with Don, Megan rains on his parade and even has the nerve to tell the waitress that she doesn’t like their signature orange sherbert.
It’s 1966, so Mad Men is becoming more psychedelic, with drugs and garish colors like those displayed at Howard Johnson’s getting more attention.
As for Peggy, she’s the office pothead. Taking in Born Free after a tough pitch meeting, Peggy smells a joint being puffed behind her by the handsome male stranger. He passes it to Peggy and is quick to take a seat next to her and slip his hand up her dress. Peggy’s response is liberated to say the least.
Though couples LSD therapy may have pushed Roger and Jane to the edge, Don and Megan better try it before their marriage does fall apart (and LSD is prohibited).
Now about that orange sherbet…
I am not writing this because I have an answer to that question. Far from it. I am writing this to try and flush an answer out of my spinning brain.
I have never understood this reality. Medical cannabis seems like a no brainer to me. I just do not get living in a world where other humans would deprive sick people of a safe and effective plant to serve some strange ideology, or to create wealth from its prohibition. When I stood in Santa Cruz in 1996 collecting signatures for Prop. 215, I never imagined over 16 years later we would still be fighting this battle. I have grown old watching patients and providers struggle to find their place in this society. The evolution of the medical cannabis movement has been astonishing at times, but more so, it has been plain weird.
I cannot wrap my head around the concept that because Nixon, the Nation’s most corrupt President, ignored reports that warned of the dangers of prohibition and decided to outlaw weed through the Controlled Substances Act, that some how we are stil trying to reverse that insane decision decades later. What is more appalling is the real lack of a conscious and meaningful conversation on the obvious failures that cannabis prohibition has resulted in.
Law enforcement, elected officials, community leaders, and every citizen should be very concerned with the incredible harm cannabis prohibition has created in our communities. Our world is far less safe as a result of the lucrative black market we have created for illegal weed. We have made criminals out of millions of our friends and neighbors in what we can only call a huge failure by any metric used. We lock up mostly poor people and use “the system” to create income for corporations who have bought our prison system, forced us to be tested regularly for drug use, and who have law enforcement in their pocket. It is an absurd police state we live in. When Nixon first outlawed weed it was the conservatives who thought he was nuts for telling people what they could and could not do to their own bodies. But as these assholes turned archaic laws into huge profits, their understanding of liberty changed and now they only believe in those freedoms for certain issues…like education, healthcare, and finances. On those issues, fuck it…you are on your own. Too much big government, ya’ know? But not for weed…for weed we have all the government you need.
So that is where we are as a society. In some fucking alternate universe where grown ass people are afraid to have an open and honest discussion about weed because we have brainwashed people for decades to think a safe, enjoyable, and helpful plant is evil. Even the rational people who know this is not true do not want to get accused of being a dope lover or, God forbid, a Liberal. We continue to dance the medical weed dance and allow for the “who is sick enough for weed” game to go on. Instead of demanding our society just stop the madness and cut the shit, we allow the squeaky wheels to get the oil, and the prohibitionists have created quite the machine to ensure that their profits from making criminals out of innocent people does not go away. It sucks.
So the “what now?” question is a difficult one to answer. I can assure you the answer is not to run and hide. I can assure you the right thing to do is not to start stuffing the mattress and heading for the hills. It is time for our community to double down on the progress we have made and ensure that the future is not one where we continue to see almost a million people a year in trouble for weed. We must put aside our internal issues to rise up and ready for battle. We continue to see support swell for cannabis freedom and we must not let the continued attacks by those who make their living off weed being illegal stop us. We are the many. We are mighty. Weed is bigger than all of us.
Understand that I, or anyone else, can not truly answer the “what now?” question. Fate is seldom wrong. We all have a responsibility and a duty to work to create the society we want to live in. I do not want to live in a society where we lock up 25% of the world’s prison population, but only have 5% of the actual population. I do not want to live in a society where we allow people to suffer and where we compromise people’s health for money. I do not want to live in a world where we authorize militarized local police forces to violate people’s right to privacy because they smell weed. My WHAT NOW has a lot to do with changing those things, and making our community one where we do not continue to oppress people for their personbal choices. I hope you will join me.
by Tom Howell Jr., The Washington Times
Unsuccessful applicants to the District’s medical marijuana program are asking the courts to force the reconsideration of their submissions, claiming they were rejected by a review panel despite meeting or exceeding stated criteria.
Three firms filed a total of five civil complaints to contest the way officials, led by the D.C. Department of Health, scored and rejected their applications to open a cultivation center to grow the drug or a dispensary center to dole it out to qualified patients, according to the D.C. Office of the Attorney General.
A spokesman for the office said each of the petitions “raise the same allegations, namely that the scoring of their applications was inappropriate.”
Among them is plaintiff Dr. Michael D. Duplessie, of Bethesda, who filed a civil complaint last week in D.C. Superior Court claiming the scoring “has been done improperly and not in accordance with relevant laws and regulations.” He wants the court to send his applications from his firm, the Health Company, back to the health department and appoint an “independent, third-party observer” to oversee its second review.
City health officials are getting ready to begin the medical marijuana program in earnest this summer, more than a decade after D.C. residents approved it through a referendum. Since the issue passed, the program has been delayed by congressional interference and the complex rule-making process. The city has tread carefully in rolling out the program, hoping to avoid the regulatory pitfalls that roiled programs in other states. It also requires applicants to acknowledge that growing and selling marijuana is technically illegal under federal law and they cannot hold the city liable for prosecution.
In late March, the health department notified six applicants they can register to grow medical marijuana in the city. Five of them will be located in Ward 5. A sixth – Phyto Management – has been forced to move from its Ward 7 site because the D.C. Council passed legislation by council member Yvette M. Alexander, Ward 7 Democrat, that prohibits medical marijuana business in “retail priority areas.” Ms. Alexander and the company’s principal have recently said they are working to find a new spot for the cultivation center.
Health officials are scheduled to approve up to five dispensaries – where the drug is doled out to patients – on June 25.
Dr. Duplessie’s attorney, Jason D. Klein, said he filed a pair of “almost identical” civil complaints for another hopeful firm, Compassion Centers of America, after it unsuccessfully applied to open both a cultivation center and a dispensary in the District.
A third firm, the Free World Remedy led by Jonathan Marlow, also has sought help from the courts, according to the attorney general’s office.
In an email, Dr. Duplessie said he does not agree with the health department’s assessment of his firm’s financial status and site plans. He also disputes the department’s criticism of his business partners’ level of experience, citing their backgrounds in banking and federal law enforcement.
“It appears that the D.C. Board of Health has either not read my application or the playing field is not level,” Dr. Duplessie said. “I think the process is beyond flawed.”
Dr. Duplessie, in his email, touted his experience as an eye-care professional and said 100 percent of his profit from the medical marijuana business “was to be devoted to eye charity.”
In an interview Friday, Mr. Klein said city health officials need to defend their decision beyond saying “it’s just our right.” He also argued the application process has lacked transparency and communication between the department and applicants.
“We’re sort of shooting bullets in the dark here,” he said.
by Norimitsu Onishi, The New York Times
VALLEJO, Calif. — On a suburban block with six family homes, palm trees and views of the surrounding green hills, nothing at 110 Windsor Court stood out. Its occupants, who had moved into the foreclosed house a few years earlier, were quiet types.
On a street in Vallejo, a burned-out house that had been used to grow marijuana. Unsafe wiring for lights for the plants often causes such fires.
Until the noise from falling roof tiles alerted neighbors to a fire there one recent morning, and Stephen Snowden, who lived nearby, banged on the front door. Nobody was inside, but firefighters discovered that the house had been converted into a type of illegal business found increasingly in suburbia: a marijuana grow house.
The entire second floor of the five-bedroom, 2,251-square-foot home, as well as parts of the first floor, was used to cultivate marijuana plants.
“They just blended right in,” Mr. Snowden said of the residents. “They left early for work and came back late in the afternoon. They mowed their lawn, took out their trash and got groceries. There was never any extra foot traffic.”
Organized marijuana growers are shifting to the suburbs from rural and commercial areas, helped by a housing crisis that created a glut of affordable, spacious houses and a stream of new residents to previously more stable communities. Houses that sold for $1 million before the crisis have been turned into grow houses, equipped with the high-intensity lights, water and air-filtering systems necessary to produce potent, high-quality marijuana.
Many grow houses go unnoticed, even by next-door neighbors, until there is a fire, typically caused by unsafe electrical wiring. Local police forces, especially in California, which has permitted the limited cultivation of marijuana for medical use since 1996, have stopped seeking out grow houses.
Rusty Payne, a spokesman for the Drug Enforcement Administration, said crime syndicates used to concentrate production in low-income areas. But now, he said, “you’re hearing more and more in middle-class, upper-middle-class, high-end neighborhoods.”
“They either buy them or rent them,” Mr. Payne said. “They’re buying them in places like Northern California, where the real estate market’s really taken a turn for the worse.”
In Northern California, grow houses have been discovered in older suburbs hit hard byforeclosures, including Vallejo, a city 25 miles northeast of San Francisco that declared bankruptcy in 2008. They have also been found in newer communities that mushroomed during the housing boom, like Elk Grove, near Sacramento.
“They were located in suburbia, pretty much,” Officer Christopher Trim, a spokesman for the Elk Grove Police Department, said of the grow houses discovered there. “Residential streets, kids playing outside and going to soccer practice, folks going to and coming from their work.”
California accounted for more than 70 percent of all marijuana plants confiscated nationwide in 2010, the last year for which statistics are available, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration. The authorities seized 188,297 plants at 791 indoor grow houses, compared with 107,047 plants at 572 locations in 2005.
Vietnamese-American crime groups have specialized in running grow houses, which produce marijuana that can fetch up to twice the price of the outdoor kind, Mr. Payne said.
Law enforcement officials, especially in local forces that have been downsized during the financial crisis, say they lack the resources to go after grow houses. They also say that California laws have created an environment tolerant of marijuana cultivation in general.
“Ten years ago if there was a grow house, we’d seize all their equipment and lamps, and they would be prosecuted,” said Sgt. Jeff Bassett, a spokesman for the Vallejo Police Department. “Now the chances of being caught, or of being prosecuted if you are, are substantially less than they were 10 years ago.”
No one has been arrested in connection with the grow house at 110 Windsor Court or at another previously foreclosed house that also caught fire in Vallejo recently, the police said. Firefighters responding to that house — a one-story, 1,304-square-foot house on Evelyn Circle — quickly realized that it was a grow house.
Like other neighbors, Tim Langford, 54, said nothing aroused suspicion about the occupants, who had been spotted at the house for a couple of years. But Mr. Langford said the housing crisis had weakened the social ties on his block.
“You have a much more transient population now, so you mind your business,” he said. “It’s not the day when you take an apple pie over and say, ‘Hi, I’m your neighbor.’ ”
The housing crisis also led to the emergence of grow houses in new real estate developments, creating lasting problems for those communities.
In Pittsburg, a city about 40 miles northeast of San Francisco, marijuana growers occupied a five-bedroom house on Pilar Ridge Drive, across the street from an elementary school. The house, part of a sprawling, luxurious community that was built about a decade ago, sold for nearly $1 million in 2007 but went into foreclosure three years later.
In June 2010, acting on a tip from a neighbor, the police found that the house had been transformed into a grow house. Last fall, Stephen Tucker and his wife, Tomasita, bought the property from a bank for $363,000, Mr. Tucker said, after looking at hundreds of other places.
“My daughter came to this house, and she’s the one who said, ‘That’s the house I want,’ ” Mr. Tucker, 51, said of his daughter Veronica, 8.
Mr. Tucker said he learned after the purchase that the house had been used as a grow house. He began discovering mold and other damage under the new carpet and in the drywall.
Not all stories involving foreclosed houses and grow houses have ended unhappily, though. Mr. Snowden, who banged on the door of the house on fire, said that despite the discovery of a grow house on his block, he did not regret moving there three years ago. In 2009, he purchased his house — which had been foreclosed the year before — for roughly 60 percent of what it had sold for in 2004.
“It was cheaper than renting,” he said. “This is actually a pretty quiet, decent neighborhood.”
by Michael Steininger, The Christian Science Monitor
For visitors to the Netherlands who enjoy the relaxing effects of marijuana, life has just become a little less easy going, particularly for those Germans living just west of the border who used to just pop over for a fresh supply. New legislation is restricting the sale of cannabis to residents of the country and banning tourists from purchasing the drug at the coffee shops, famous for selling it.
The new law, drafted by the center-right government of Prime Minister Mark Rutte, officially came into effect on Jan. 1. It demands that the approximately 700 coffee shops in the country, where the sale of small amounts of soft drugs is tolerated, turn into members-only clubs, allowing only Dutch residents 18 and older and over to apply for membership.
“The ‘open door’ policy currently pursued by coffee shops will come to an end,” Mr. Rutte said in a statement. “The objective is to combat the nuisance and crime associated with coffee shops and the trade in drugs.”
The lax approach to drugs in the Netherlands has irritated its European neighbors for some time.
Officially, the possession and sale of cannabis is illegal in the Netherlands too, but under the so-called gedoogbeleid (policy of tolerance), owning a maximum amount of five grams for personal use is not prosecuted. Under that same policy, coffee shops are allowed to stash a maximum of 500 grams at any given time and sell that in amounts of up to 5 grams.
The practice led to a flourishing of coffee shops as drug outlets and a tourist industry depending on them. An estimated third of all visitors to urban centers like Amsterdam and Maastricht are believed to be looking not just for museums full of Dutch masters or a boat ride on a canal but also for pot, according to the Amsterdam City Council. In the border town of Maastricht, some 70 percent of coffee shop customers are non-residents.
Given the possible effect the new rules could have on tourism, and the likelihood of legal procedures against the discrimination against fellow Europeans, the Dutch authorities opted for a slow start – enforcement of the law began only this month in three southern provinces, next to Belgium, France and Germany. Those are the locations outside the capital where so-called drug tourism is busiest. The rest of the country is meant to follow in January 2013.
Coffee shops and the political opposition are putting up resistance.
In a last-ditch attempt to stop enforcement of the new law, 19 coffee shop owners took the government to court, arguing that the exclusion of tourists discriminated against EU rights of free movement and infringed on people’s privacy. However, the Hague court ruled last week that it could see no such discrimination and that the law aimed to reduce drug tourism and drug-related crime.
The mayor of Amsterdam, Eberhard van der Laan, said his city had no problems with drug crimes and that a compromise was needed. He is also expected to stage a legal challenge before implementation in his city.
Lea Bouwmeester, a member of parliament (MP) with the opposition Labor Party, argues that the tolerant approach to possession has worked well at keeping drugs in check. “It is the supply side that we need to control,” she says. “The growing of cannabis and the wholesale supply take place in the illegal circuit.”
The outcome of the policy change is uncertain and could be influenced, of all things, by the eurozone crisis. Last month Rutte’s minority government collapsed after it lost the support of the populist Freedom Party in a debate over a new package of austerity measures. What course on drugs a new government ( when it comes in after September elections) is still up in the air.
by Tom Jensen, KATU News
In just Oregon and Washington there are nearly 100,000 medical marijuana patients.
Now this once fringe culture has taken another step towards the mainstream – growers and grower cooperatives can now buy insurance policies to protect their crops and marijuana inventories against losses.
Insurance agent Dan DeChynne is one of the first to sell the pot policies in Oregon and Southwest Washington.
“It covers every kind of possible case; fire, rain, or wind, theft, even raids,” he told KATU On Your Side Investigator Thom Jensen.
We met DeChynne outside one of the new store fronts where patients buy medical marijuana insurance in Kalama, Wash.
The policy at Releaf Medical Marijuana growers cooperative covers the brick and mortar, but it also protects the pot against losses from bugs, theft, fire and yes, even raids by local or state police.
As he pushed a cart loaded with some of Releaf’s potent pain killer and sleep disorder pot called AK-47, manager Nate Hewitt told KATU the insurance protects patients more than anyone.
“It’s priceless for me because of the value it is to the patients,” he said.
Without the insurance, Hewitt said there are just too many variables that can ruin a marijuana crop or leave then vulnerable to raids and thefts. He said the insurance policies will help restore inventories more quickly after a loss so he can start delivering the medicine to patients.
The Director of the Oregon chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, or NORML as it is more commonly known, said the insurance idea is also taking off in other states.
Still, Madeline Martinez said it’s too expensive right now for many smaller growers.
“Once the insurance goes down a little bit, I think everybody will have it,” she told KATU.
Some marijuana providers question how much the insurance will actually help.
“Will it protect against the DEA? It depends on how good the attorney really is,” said the owner of a cannabis catering service in Vancouver, Wash.
He goes by names like “Dustin Ethan Andrews” or “Frank Bradley Iverson.” The initials of those names are evidence that he is primarily concerned about the two federal law enforcement agencies.
He told us the FBI and DEA are the greatest threats to his marijuana supply because they can take everything in a single raid.
He may have good reason for his concerns, even if he has an insurance policy.
The man who helped author California’s medical marijuana insurance statutes said the insurance will only protect against state or local raids, not against those conducted by federal agencies like the FBI, DEA or the U.S. Department of Revenue.
Michael Aberle of Statewide Insurance in Sacramento said his company underwrites between 3,500 to 4,000 marijuana policies right now. He said the industry cannot protect clients against federal raids because marijuana is still considered a controlled substance at the federal level.
If insurance companies reimburse growers for their losses after federal raids, Aberle said, agents and insurance companies could be charged with aiding and abetting a crime.
DeChynne said the policies begin at about $1,200 to $2,000 a year with a $5,000 deductible.
Representatives of state agencies that govern the insurance industry in Oregon, Washington and California told KATU they do not know the total number of policies sold to date.
A spokeswoman for the Oregon Insurance Division says she does not know of any policies actually called Medical Marijuana Insurance in Oregon, but she said they may be sold as a product called “surplus line insurance.”
Courtesy of the Chicago Tribune
Clemson freshman wide receiver Sammy Watkins was arrested by Clemson, S.C., police and charged with simple marijuana possession and possession of a controlled substance, the university announced Friday.
Also arrested was men’s soccer player Amadou Tidane Daniel Dia. Both men, 18, were arrested early Friday morning, according to a police report.
Police officials said Watkins’ car was pulled over after officers witnessed the vehicle scrape against a curb on campus. The officer smelled marijuana upon approaching the car and the vehicle was searched. Both athletes have been released on bond.
The controlled substance charge relates to two schedule-2 non-narcotic pills found on Watkins for which he did not have a prescription.
Last season, Watkins led the Tigers with 82 catches for 1,219 yards and 12 touchdowns.
by Rob Kampia, Special to the Washington Post
Rob Kampia is executive director of the Marijuana Policy Project.
During the 2008 campaign, Barack Obama raised hopes among those who support medical marijuana by pledging to respect state laws on the issue. But his administration has reversed course and massively escalated the federal government’s attacks on medical marijuana businesses, most of which are legal under their states’ laws.
This is perplexing because medical marijuana is far more popular than Obama is. A Washington Post-ABC News poll from January 2010 found that 81 percent of Americans supported legalizing medical marijuana. A CBS News poll from October found that 77 percent of Americans support allowing doctors to prescribe marijuana for serious medical conditions. By contrast, the president’s approval rating last October hovered around 42 percent — and is currently about 47 percent.
The shift has been clear. Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. announced in March 2009 that the Obama administration would end the Bush administration’s practice of raiding medical marijuana providers that violated federal statutes. A memo from the Justice Department later that year said the department would not prioritize prosecutions of individuals acting in compliance with state medical marijuana laws.
But last year the tide turned. Obama’s Justice Department authorized a series of letters from U.S. attorneys across the country threatening to “vigorously” prosecute individuals acting in compliance with state medical marijuana laws. In some cases the U.S. attorneys suggested that government employees who help regulate their states’ medical marijuana systems could be prosecuted for “facilitating” a crime.
There was more. The IRS cracked down on medical marijuana dispensaries, refusing to allow them to deduct such standard business expenses as rent and payroll. Last September the National Institute on Drug Abuse refused to provide federally grown marijuana to a Food and Drug Administration-approved research protocol seeking to measure the extent to which marijuana helps combat veterans with their post-traumatic stress disorder. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives outlawed gun sales to medical marijuana patients. And federal prosecutors in California announced that they would crack down on dispensaries across the state, saying that they intend to seize the property of landlords who lease space to these businesses that are legal under state law.
Last month Obama clarified his position on medical marijuana, saying on a late-night show that “we’re not going to be legalizing weed . . . anytime soon.” This after he had recently told an interviewer: “I never made a commitment that somehow we were going to give carte blanche to large-scale producers and operators of marijuana — and the reason is, because it’s against federal law. I can’t nullify congressional law.”
Simply put, Obama has become more hostile to medical marijuana patients than any president in U.S. history.
To put Obama’s implosion in perspective, consider what Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) wrote in his 2010 book “Fed Up!”: “When the federal government oversteps its authority, states should tell Washington they will not be complicit in enforcing laws with which they do not agree. Again, the best example is an issue I don’t even agree with — the partial legalization of marijuana. Californians clearly want some level of legalized marijuana, be it for medicinal use or otherwise. The federal government is telling them they cannot. But states are not bound to enforce federal law, and the federal government cannot commandeer state resources and require them to enforce it.”
Perry also wrote, “If you don’t support the death penalty and citizens packing a pistol, don’t come to Texas. If you don’t like medicinal marijuana and gay marriage, don’t move to California.”
The five presidents from Richard Nixon through George H.W. Bush allowed medical marijuana research to proceed unhindered.
The three presidents from Jimmy Carter to George H.W. Bush allowed patients to apply to the federal government for waivers to use medical marijuana legally under federal law.
Obama appears to be to the right of Ron Paul, Gary Johnson, Ronald Reagan and even George W. Bush on this issue. It’s hard to imagine how this helps Obama politically, and it’s easy to imagine how forcing patients to purchase their medicine from an illicit provider instead of a regulated business hurts people who are suffering from cancer, AIDS and multiple sclerosis.
Courtesy of the New York Times
HARTFORD (Reuters) — The Connecticut Senate passed a bill on Saturday legalizing the use of marijuana for medical purposes, with tight restrictions intended to avoid the problems that have plagued some of the other states where it is now legal.
After nearly 10 hours of debate, the Senate voted 21 to 13 in favor of the measure, which has already cleared the House.
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, a Democrat, is expected to sign the bill. Once he does, Connecticut will join 16 other states and the District of Columbia in allowing the medical use of marijuana.
Connecticut’s legislation calls for tight regulation and seeks to avoid disagreements with the federal government.
Under the bill, patients and their caregivers must register with the Department of Consumer Protection. In addition, their doctors must certify that there is a medical need — for instance, debilitating diseases like cancer, glaucoma, AIDS, Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis or epilepsy — for marijuana to be dispensed.
The medical marijuana would be dispensed only by pharmacists with a special license.
by Jeff Barnard, The Associated Press
After scraping together a mound of zucchini, broccoli, beef, pineapple and noodles on a big round Mongolian grill, Kevin Wallace measured out a shot of grapeseed oil infused with hashish and poured it over the steaming food, setting off a sizzle.
Thirteen years after Oregon became one of the first states to make medical marijuana legal, Wallace and business partner Michael Shea think they’ve found a way to fit in the big gray area between making a living from medical marijuana and going to jail.
Marijuana is indelibly associated with food, whether it is chemotherapy patients using the drug to try to develop an appetite, or, farcically, a couple of stoners with an overpowering case of the munchies in “Harold & Kumar Go To White Castle.” Secret “herb dinners” with appetizers, entrees and desserts are reported in newspaper food sections. One restaurant chain, CHeBA HUT, is based on a marijuana theme. And patrons of the World Famous Cannabis Cafe in Portland can get a burger or lasagna packing a pot punch in between choruses of karaoke.
But restaurants where marijuana is the focus have had trouble gaining traction. The customer base is, after all, limited to medical marijuana cardholders. And any enterprise associated with medical marijuana will quickly come under scrutiny.
At the Earth Dragon Edibles Restaurant & Lounge in Ashland, Wallace and Shea are trying to bring Mongolian barbecue dosed with medical marijuana to a higher level, though they are still feeling their way through the fuzzy legalities of it all.
An Oregon medical marijuana card is required to get in the door. Inside, the place looks and operates pretty much like any other little Asian-style restaurant, with the smells of teriyaki and sounds of the grill filling the air. A wall hanging at the back depicts ganja guru Bob Marley. Diners go through a check list of vegetables, sauces, meats and tofu, and whether their bowl will be regular, large, or unlimited. One difference is the boxes to check for medicated or unmedicated. If medicated, there are three strengths. Cheesecake, candies and cookies, medicated or not, are also available.
While they wait, diners can use the hash bar, choosing from an assortment of glass pipes, a vaporizer, or a bong, hashish or bud. Marijuana donations are encouraged.
Operating under the theory that it is no crime for one patient to share medicine with another, all the marijuana — whether in the food or at the hash bar — is free. And unlike the marijuana cafes in Portland, there is no membership fee.
“I know it’s a little weird,” said Shea.
Ashland itself could be considered a little weird. Close to the California border and home to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, it is an outpost of liberalism in conservative southwestern Oregon. Think of it as a little Berkeley in the middle of Orange County. It is also within the Green Triangle, one of the nation’s best marijuana-growing climates. This corner of Oregon has the highest per capita rate of medical marijuana use in the state.
Wallace and Shea render their medical marijuana into hashish, infuse that into oil or glycerin, and eat it, believing that is healthier than smoking. With few patients able to do that, they felt they should share their skills to help others.
“That’s how Mommy raised me,” said Wallace.
by Connor Friedersforf, The Atlantic
Nominated for a Supreme Court seat in 1987, Douglas H. Ginsburg withdrew from consideration when it was revealed that he’d tried marijuana decades earlier as a student. Five years later, America elected Bill Clinton to the presidency despite his admission that he tried marijuana. The taboo against the drug was still powerful enough that he hedged his answer by claiming that he never inhaled. It was the last time we’re likely to hear an excuse so absurd, for everything started changing very quickly after that. Presidential candidates began candidly admitting marijuana use. Sixteen states enacted laws legalizing marijuana for medical use, starting with California in 1996. An additional 12 states are now considering similar legislation. And Obama took office having said that inhaling was the whole point when he was a young marijuana user, and promising that Department of Justice resources wouldn’t be used to thwart state cannabis laws.
Of course, President Obama has governed as an unreformed drug warrior, even breaking his promise about federal behavior toward states where medical marijuana is legal. Early in his presidency, he also treated questions about marijuana policy as if the subject was somehow a joke. It’s a dodge that doesn’t work anymore. Jann Wenner asked him about the issue in Rolling Stone. Reform advocates immediately seized on the misdirection in his answer. Jimmy Kimmel raised the subject again at the White House Correspondents Dinner Saturday, polling the room to see how many people had used the drug and stating in a moment of seriousness, “Mr. President, I hope you don’t think I’m out of line here but marijuana is something that real people care about.”
The new reality: 70 percent of Americans favor legal medical marijuana, and half think the drug should just be legal. As Gallup notes, “Support for legalizing marijuana is directly and inversely proportional to age, ranging from 62% approval among those 18 to 29 down to 31% among those 65 and older.” Eventually, the drug warriors are going to lose, and the country is going to win.
All of which brings us to Gary Johnson.
Widely expected to emerge from this weekend’s Libertarian Party convention as its presidential nominee, the former New Mexico governor has announced that he wants Judge Jim Gray to be his running mate.
Who is Jim Gray?
Among other things, a former prosecutor turned outspoken critic of the War on Drugs. See for yourself:
The kicker: “The best thing I can do for my country is to help us repeal drug prohibition. It’s the most patriotic thing that I’m able to do.” It’s an opportune moment for a libertarian ticket to offer a serious, forceful critique of drug policy, for beyond fortuitous changes in public opinion, there’s an incumbent with broken promises and a lackluster record on the issue; and a Republican challenger who is even more of a drug warrior in his avowed positions and such a teetotaller personally that he eschews even caffeine.
Are Johnson and Gray the right team to make this critique? Whatever their shortcomings, they’re ideal in this respect: one is an extreme athlete and health nut; the other is a veteran, former prosecutor, and judge who used to be a drug warrior and switched sides based on what he saw in his own courtroom. Can they succeed in injecting the issue into the general election campaign?
Only time will tell.
Six men have been charged in the first federal prosecution in Oregon of medical marijuana growers, accused of growing much more pot than patients needed and conspiring to sell the excess on the black market.
The arrests follow harvest-time raids in Southern Oregon last fall when federal agents ripped out hundreds of plants with backhoes and hauled them off in dump trucks.
The government said the haul was 4,000 pounds.
Federal authorities have complained that pot grown under the state’s medical marijuana law has been turning up as far away as Florida. An affidavit filed with the new charges says some of the pot involved was sent north to Washington state.
The six are accused of conspiring to grow and distribute thousands of pounds of marijuana from four gardens in Jackson County.
“We would hope that this sends a message and has a deterrent effect on other would-be drug dealers who would operate under the medical marijuana law,” U.S. Attorney Amanda Marshall said.
Oregon’s law allows users of medical marijuana to designate growers who can supply them with up to 1.5 pounds a year.
A U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration affidavit filed in federal court said medical marijuana growers in the Southern Oregon use drip irrigation, fertilizer, support structures and harvest techniques to grow plants ranging from 6 to 10 feet tall and, at the allowed rate of six plants per patient, yielding much more than the state law allows.
The affidavit said agents dried and processed a few plants from last fall’s raids, with yields ranging from 5 to 11 pounds each of marijuana bud.
Growers and medical marijuana advocates say the raids had an impact. State records this spring showed that the number of gardens planted to supply multiple patients will be down markedly, especially among those growing for 15 or more people.
Two of the six suspects made initial appearances Tuesday in federal court in Medford: Michael Grantski, 50, and Clifford Ruhland, 32. Two more were expected to appear Wednesday, and the final two later this week.
Arraignments for Grantski and Ruhland were scheduled for later in May. A federal public defender who represented them Tuesday did not immediately return a call for comment.
Courtesy of Tennessee News Channel 9
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) — Police in Winston-Salem have cited rapper Wiz Khalifa and members of his band and staff for possession of marijuana following a concert.
Local police were patrolling the parking lot at the Joel Coliseum Annex where the rapper was performing Tuesday. An officer approached the tour bus and smelled either burnt or burning marijuana. The officer said in a search warrant that the smell got stronger when he opened the bus door,
A search warrant said an officer seized a quantity of marijuana and drug paraphernalia, but police wouldn’t say how much marijuana or paraphernalia was found.
The rapper, whose real name is Cameron Jibril Thomaz, is scheduled to appear in court in Winston-Salem on July 27.
Thomas was cited for misdemeanor marijuana possession in Nashville, Tenn., last month.
Today is Wednesday, April 25. I have 805 days to go to my release. Ten days from now, on Saturday, May 5 – on the day of the Global Marijuana March, and on the occasion of my great friends Chris Goodwin and Erin Gorman’s wedding in Toronto after the march – I’ll have put in 795 days in prisons serving out this 1,825 day sentence.
With my 235 days good time credit, I’ll have 1,030 days behind me, and 795 days to go. On that day, I’ll be at the exact halfway point of the experience, with as much time remaining as I have put in.
So the 66 days in Canada I spent waiting to be extradited, the 5 1/2 months I spent at Sea-Tac Federal Detention Center in Washington state, the 4 weeks at Oklahoma Transfer Hub, 3 weeks at Nevada Southern Detention Center, 4 1/2 months at the immigrant concentration camp D Ray James, and 12 1/2 months at Yazoo Medium, in all, 795 days; I just have to do it one more time! And then I’m home.
When I write it like that, it seems like a long time I’ve been gone, and a long time to go. But then I think of the more than 12 months so far here at Yazoo and it’s gone by very quickly. My daily work out on the bass guitar and being in my band Yazoo has aided the passage of time immensely.
You can see a photo of me and my bandmates in a 2-page newspaper spread by columnist Jon Ferry in this upcoming Sunday’s “The Province” newspaper in British Columbia. (A one-page article appeared on Friday April 27 in the same paper, seen here.) Jon visited me here last weekend in order to write this exclusive story. The two-page feature will discuss my political opinions, the continuing fight against prohibition, and life here at Yazoo, with several photos. I did take some photos with Jon Ferry that are kind of fun but they will not be back in my hands for a week, so they do not appear in the Sunday edition.
[Update: see images and links to the Sunday edition of The Province newspaper's cover story and 2-page feature at the bottom of this page!]
Jon Ferry told me he thinks I look so healthy, youthful and relaxed because I am “drug free”! I explained that on the outside, I had the stress of imminent extradition weighing on me, legal bills, money problems, closing the print version of Cannabis Culture magazine, sleep problems from all that accumulated tension. So, here I am fit, I eat modestly, and try to eat only the good foods I can get, drink only water, read and write extensively, no watching TV, play music and work with my band every day.
Right now on the bass guitar I am getting down Back in Black by AC/DC, Sharp Dressed Man by ZZ Top, and Jumpin Jack Flash by the Rolling Stones. The air here is terrific and smells nice, every day is sunny and warm, when it rains it tends to do so at night, the water out of the taps is very good, I sleep like clockwork from 11:30pm to 7:30am, and I walk 3 miles around the track daily. Our next concert, my 6th here at Yazoo, is on May 26, on the Memorial Day weekend.
I have been on the TV here this week as Discovery Channel aired the National Geographic episode “Marijuana Nation” again, of which I am in a fair bit of that episode. The documentary “A NORML Life” was also seen by of the C.O.’s (correctional officers). I have had 8 letters published in newspapers in Canada signed “Marc Emery, Yazoo City Medium Federal Prison, Mississippi” since I have been here at Yazoo, and the most recent two letters, published in the last two weeks in the Globe & Mail and National Post newspapers (the two cross-Canada newspaper publications), have been read aloud on the National Public Radio (NPR) affiliate Mississippi Public Broadcasting (MPB). MPB must think its interesting a Canadian in Mississippi gets letters about the drug war published from his Mississippi jail cell.
The 4/20 celebrations in Vancouver and Toronto saw record numbers of people in attendance, and good weather to make it all pleasant. My friend in Adelaide, Australia, Rhiannon Lynch, put on a 4/20 in her hometown too. It’s so cool that an event that’s now a worldwide phenomenon started with my store staff in April 1995 (read about the history in this Huffington Post article I wrote, “The Origins of 4/20 as a Day of Celebration and Protest”), and eighteen 4/20′s later I can confidently say is witnessed by millions of people around the world who meet that day for political and herbal inspiration and fellowship. It doesn’t get any better than that!
In my original hometown of London, Ontario, the police announced in advance they would disrupt any 4/20 celebrations, the only Canadian police force that did so, and 250 people responded to the police disruption of the 4/20 at Victoria Park by marching to a major intersection and chanting ‘Fuck The Police’ for an hour. Absolutely right, London. The London, Ontario police dept. is still in good need of an enema, twenty years after I left there.
My fabulous wife, Jodie, had what I would call a career week last week. She appeared alongside my prosecutor, former District Attorney for Western Washington state, John McKay, as well as former BC Attorney General Geoff Plant, at a joint press conference in Vancouver hosted by the amazing new pro-legalization organization Stop The Violence BC.
McKay articulately denounced the drug war and marijuana prohibition, and Jodie was extensively interviewed across Canada for days; headlines appeared in all media across the country, such as “Prosecutor of Prince of Pot Marc Emery wants to legalize marijuana”. You can see news coverage here, and video of the press conferencehere, as well as a Canadian Press video here.
My wife’s major week of accomplishment continued. On Thursday, April 19, the day after the McKay press conference, Jodie had her first Op-Ed (opinion editorial) piece published in the nationwide National Post newspaper, titled “Victims of the Drug War”. There was a critic of Jodie’s Op-Ed the next day, columnist and editor Matt Gurney, writing in the same National Post “A Grass Bed of his Own Making”, and then I had a letter rebutting him on the day after that, Saturday, April 21, titled “Immoral Pot Prohibition Laws”.
Jodie was also profiled in an article in the Vancouver Sun newspaper on Saturday, written by “Bud Inc.” author and columnist Ian Mulgrew, called “Jodie Emery Rises to the Occasion” (click image on the right, below, to read it). I was so pleased with this feature on her, published in between the two Province articles about me. Team Emery was on it like white on rice! (Or like ink on paper?)
The great news continues. My former prosecutor John McKay, not content with just being a lecturer on the evils of the drug war, is also co-sponsor of an excellent legalization initiative on the Washington State ballot this November. Apology accepted, Mr. McKay! What’s really disturbing though, is the number of the ‘grassroots’ activists in Washington state who are absurdly opposing the I-502 legalization bill because of a clause that allows police to issue DUI’s if a very high level of THC is in the bloodstream while driving. Otherwise, adults can possess, transport, and buy at licensed outlets a huge range of cannabis buds – all legally, without fear of arrest or prosecution. That’s incredible!
Currently 10,000 people in Washington State get arrested for pot possession each year. That would end under this legislation. How ironic that I currently have far more respect for my former prosecutor and his proposed legislation than I have for those activists who would foolishly and dangerously oppose this great step forward over trivialities, much the same way as done by many so-called members of the movement who killed Prop. 19 in California in 2010. Much of the Washington state opposition to I-502 is rooted in adversarial jealousy, because after three attempts, some activists just can’t get an initiative of their own on the ballot, so resent McKay, the ACLU and their backers who did manage to get I-502 on the ballot. Sometimes the famous quip Pogo Possum said in the eponymous cartoon is correct: “We have met the enemy, and it us.”
I implore all Washington State activists and concerned citizens to support I-502. Read the very important editorial in the NY Times by Seattle activist Dominic Holden called “Smokeless in Seattle” and NORML’s Russ Belville’s blog on why supporting I-502 with your vote this November is essential. I think Russ Belville is the best commentator out there regarding our movement, and all his writings are very, very good.
To show you the kind of momentum the campaign to end prohibition has, an all-political-party panel called“Speaking Truth from Within Power: Passion, Politics, and Drug Policy in Canada” takes place in Vancouver on the evening of May 4th, the day before the Global Marijuana March. From Canada’s Parliament, Conservative Senator and chairman of the 2002 Special Committee on Cannabis, Pierre Claude Nolin, will speak along with Liberal Senator and former Vancouver Mayor Larry Campbell, and NDP Member of Parliament and deputy leader Libby Davies about their attempts to get modernized drug law legislation passed or promoted. All three favor various legalization models. They will be joined by provincial BC NDP legislator Nicholas Simons. If you live in the Greater Vancouver area, please consider attending.
Our movement is gaining momentum where it’s needed most – beyond the activist grassroots. While I count down the days in prison for my “crime” of selling seeds to finance major activism efforts and campaigns with millions of dollars from 1994-2005, it’s comforting to know that my work continues not only in the grassroots cannabis community, but also in the political and mainstream sphere where real change has to happen. When I get home in just over two years, there might not be anyone left to convince about legalization! Keep the pressure on, fellow activists and friends.
The Sunday edition of the Province newspaper had Marc on the cover, and two pages inside. Read the articles here, and click the images to enlarge:
The Province cover, Sunday April 29, 2012
Province feature, page 1
Province feature, page 2
Courtesy of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Police in Nashville, Tenn., cited Pittsburgh rapper Wiz Khalifa for marijuana possession or casual exchange and arrested a Hazelwood man accompanying him for the same offense.
According to police reports, officers responded to a Holiday Inn in Nashville on Saturday night receiving complaints of marijuana odor.
When police knocked, Lonnie Howard, 27, of Hazelwood opened the door and Mr. Khalifa, 24, of East Liberty, threw a marijuana cigarette out the window, police said.
Mr. Howard was arrested at about 8:30 p.m. Mr. Khalifa, whose birth name is Cameron Jibril Thomaz, is due to appear in court June 14.
Mr. Khalifa was arrested in November 2010 when police found pot on the rapper’s tour bus after a concert at East Carolina University.
He and nine other men were charged with trafficking, maintaining a vehicle for sale or storage of marijuana and a misdemeanor offense of possession of drug paraphernalia.
All additional charges against him and six of the others were dismissed when three of the men said the marijuana belonged to them and pleaded guilty to misdemeanor possession.
by Paige Lavender, The Huffington Post
While delivering his remarks at the 2012 White House Correspondents’ Dinner, comedian Jimmy Kimmel addressed the issue of marijuana legalization.
“What is with the marijuana crackdown? Seriously, what is the concern? We will deplete the nation’s Funyun supply?” Kimmel said. “Pot smokers vote too. Sometimes a week after the election, but they vote.”
“I would like everyone in this room to raise your hand if you’ve never smoked pot,” Kimmel said.
Few hands went up.
Noting the crowd’s reaction, Kimmel addressed President Barack Obama directly.
“Marijuana is something that real people care about,” Kimmel said.
Obama, who recently said he doesn’t “mind a debate” about drug legalization, has increased the crackdown on medical marijuana producers across the nation, including a recent high-profile raid on a California training school. He addressed the crackdown and attempted to clarify his 2008 comments that he was “not going to be using Justice Department resources to try to circumvent state laws [on medical marijuana]” in a recent interview with Rolling Stone:
Speaking with Rolling Stone, the president tried to explain his original comments, claiming that the recent pressure on dispensaries and providers was in line with his intent.”What I specifically said was that we were not going to prioritize prosecutions of persons who are using medical marijuana,” Obama said. “I never made a commitment that somehow we were going to give carte blanche to large-scale producers and operators of marijuana — and the reason is, because it’s against federal law.”
The president continued: “I can’t nullify congressional law. I can’t ask the Justice Department to say, ‘Ignore completely a federal law that’s on the books.’ What I can say is, ‘Use your prosecutorial discretion and properly prioritize your resources to go after things that are really doing folks damage.’ As a consequence, there haven’t been prosecutions of users of marijuana for medical purposes.”
Attorney General Eric Holder was a guest of The Huffington Post at the correspondents’ dinner. Before it began, a HuffPost reporter noted to Holder that Obama’s reference to “congressional law” was misleading because the executive branch could simply remove marijuana from its “schedule one” designation, thereby recognizing its medical use.
“That’s right,” Holder said.
After Kimmel’s speech, a Holder deputy told HuffPost that there was no coordinated war on medical marijuana, but that some individual clinics were breaking both state and federal laws.
This story has been updated with remarks from Attorney General Eric Holder and a Holder deputy.
Ryan Grim contributed to this report.
Two of the three Boulder dispensaries that received warning letters from federal prosecutors have closed shop, and the third is offering deep discounts on its remaining product in preparation for closing by the May 7 deadline.
The dispensaries — Fresh Republic, 1335 Broadway, the Hill Cannabis Club, 1121 Broadway, and The Med Shed, 4483 N. Broadway — were among 25 Colorado dispensaries to receive letters from the U.S. Attorney’s Office that gave them until May 7 to shut down.
The letters were part of a second wave of federal enforcement targeted at dispensaries within 1,000 feet of a school. Earlier this year, the first wave of enforcement forced the closure of 23 dispensaries, none of them in Boulder.
City and state officials cannot stop the federal government from enforcing federal drug law. Under the Obama administration, the Justice Department initially said it would not enforce federal law against people who were complying with their state’s medical marijuana laws. However, as the medical marijuana industry exploded, especially in California and Colorado, federal enforcement has increased.
State and local rules require that dispensaries not locate within 500 feet of a school.
The letter advises dispensary owners that federal prosecutors can still enforce marijuana law in states where medical use is legal and that enhanced penalties apply to drug sales within 1,000 feet of a school.
Signs in front of The Med Shed and Fresh Republic inform customers that the stores are closed, while the Hill Cannabis Club advertises a going-out-of-business sale.
“We’re done,” said Cannabis Club co-owner Michael Mathis, who ran the dispensary on University Hill since 2009. “There’s nowhere to move in Boulder.”
The dispensary is offering deep discounts on its remaining marijuana before planning to close Sunday. Mathis, who also owns The Root of the Hill, a hip-hop clothing store above the dispensary, said the letter’s timing at least allowed him to avoid planting a new crop that he wouldn’t be able to harvest, but it’s still upsetting to have to close his business.
“Some patients will lose the strains they’ve come to rely on,” he said. “It’s a bummer that our patients who we’ve worked with over the years to find something that works with their symptoms will have to go somewhere else.”
Mathis said he feels singled out for enforcement — city records indicate there are nine other dispensaries within 1,000 feet of a school — but in this situation, he’s not hoping for equity.
“I don’t hope that other people get shut down,” he said. “I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy.”
Pete Johnson, owner of The Med Shed, said he and his family invested more than $400,000 in his north Boulder dispensary. He, too, is “done” with the medical marijuana industry.
“You can’t win,” he said. “It’s crazy. I had all my money, my family’s money, riding on this place, and you get a letter in the mail, and that’s it.”
He closed his dispensary in early April, soon after he got the letter.
Signs outside the dispensary direct customers to the 8th Street Wellness Center, a not-yet-open dispensary near Eighth and Pearl streets. Johnson said his longtime manager, Kevin Hooper, will be working there. He said he hopes customers who liked and trusted Hooper will find him at the new location, but he stressed that he has no business ties to the new venture.
Courtesy of Fox News
A Harvard instructor who was caught with a small amount of marijuana hidden in her underwear at this British territory’s airport was released Monday by a judge.
Mey Akashah, an environmental health instructor at the Harvard School of Public Health, admitted bringing 6 grams (0.21 ounce) of pot into Bermuda for a weekend trip with her husband, but said a doctor prescribed it for medical reasons.
Prosecutors said a small plastic bag containing the marijuana was stuffed in her underwear. She was detained after her Friday flight when sniffer dogs alerted airport authorities.
At her court hearing Monday, the Boston resident acknowledged that she knew marijuana was illegal in Bermuda but she “responded illogically due to the amount of pain I was in.”
She could provide no proof for the magistrate hearing the case that she had legally been prescribed marijuana for post-operative pain and nausea. She said her doctor in California had all the documentation.
Making note of her education and position at Harvard, Senior Magistrate Archibald Warner said he found it “strange” she could provide no proof, but he discharged her from custody with no fine. He said a conviction would have an “overwhelming effect” on the visibly emotional Akashah.
Julie F. Rafferty, a spokeswoman for the Harvard School of Public Health, said Akashah graduated with a doctorate last year and holds a temporary appointment as an instructor that’s due to end May 31. Citing privacy rules, Rafferty would not discuss if there would be any disciplinary action.