on May 30, 2013 at 9:56 pm
A new advocacy group called SAM
(Smarter Approach to Marijuana), co-founded by Patrick J. Kennedy, a former congressman and self-admitted alcohol and oxycodone addict, proposes treating marijuana use in the following manner: “Possession or use of a small amount of marijuana should be a civil offense subject to a mandatory health screening and marijuana-education program. Referrals to treatment and/or social-support services should be made if needed. The individual could even be monitored for 6-12 months in a probation program designed to prevent further drug use.” But is this forced treatment for marijuana warranted?
In Psychology Today’s “Is Marijuana Addictive?,”
the authors compared marijuana to other substances and found that it does not pose the same risks of dependence. It is estimated that 32% of tobacco users will become addicted, 23% of heroin users, 17% of cocaine
users, and 15% of alcohol users. Yet only 9-10% of regular marijuana users will ever fit the definition of dependent . Moreover, the other substances are objectively more harmful than marijuana. So what is the incentive for this push for treatment centers for marijuana use when Mr. Kennedy knows from available evidence and personal experience that alcohol and pharmaceutical drugs are far more harmful? Based on my own personal experience, I think I have at least part of the answer.
About a year ago, I was put through some marijuana re-education of my own when I had to attend court-ordered Deferred Entry of Judgment
classes. Every Wednesday night for 18 weeks, I met with a health department leader and other unfortunate drug war casualties. The class would start off with roll call and paying a weekly fee. We would watch a video on addiction or the teacher would read some course work to us. Then he would give us some questions that we were required to answer. Most of them were things like, “How does your addiction affect your daily life”?
At first I quietly just didn’t answer most of the questions or I just wrote in, “I’m not addicted. I use cannabis as a medicine. It helps me control my migraines.” The teacher started singling me out by reading my answers, thinking that I would buckle from public shame.
It’s important to realize that the attendees in the Deferred Entry of Judgment classes were given a free pass from the court and they are scared of going to jail. Defendants who are offered a DEJ have no prior record or they have stayed out of trouble for over 5 years and have no violent crime history. A DEJ means that after you complete the program, you can say that you were never arrested. It’s a way to run a LOT of drug related cases quickly through the judicial system using fear. If you don’t make it through the program the court will order you to jail for what ever the sentence was without any hearing because you have already plead guilty. Typically the DA overcharges a defendant in order to entice a plea deal so that is a scary prospect.
But I didn’t buckle when I was presented with quiz after quiz that asked me to admit to addiction. I stood up for myself. Without cannabis, my life would again center around debilitating migraines, which honestly were driving me toward suicide.
After I started speaking up, I was approached by almost everyone in the class. They all had heartbreaking stories and also felt like they were being herded through a BS program, but you do what you have to do and so they answered the questions as if they believed they were addicted.
In the end, the instructor graduated me early to get rid of me and didn’t even pee test me because he knew it would come up positive for THC. He was aware of my court documents stating that I could not only smoke cannabis but grow it.
Under the guise of “treatment,” what they were doing was working on creating statistics that would support a HUGE money grab for more services and create a story of crisis that doesn’t really exist!
Published in CNN Money’s Private equity’s rehab roll-up
In February 2006, Bain Capital (yes, the company that clean-livingMitt Romney used to run
) purchased an outfit called CRC Health Group for $723 million and proceeded to go on a shopping spree, snapping up nearly 20 new treatment facilities over the next two years. The company took a breather during the financial crisis, but in 2011 resumed its buying binge with the purchase of some smaller treatment centers.
Rehab, it turns out, is a pretty good business. Is rehab roll-up-able? In the most basic sense, the answer is yes. But are these treatment centers working to end addiction or is it all about the profit margin?
All treatment programs are not created the same. “CRC uses a cookie-cutter approach,” says Dr. Howard C. Samuels, an addiction specialist and licensed practitioner based in Hollywood. “It’s the assembly line of recovery.” Samuels, who runs his own 14-bed facility, the Hills Treatment Center, says that he used to refer patients to CRC, but ceased doing so when he felt that bureaucracy and the bottom line had overwhelmed concern for individual treatment.
One word I hear over and over again when cannabis activists get together is “WHY?” As in, “Why on earth do we continue to punish adults who simply choose to relax with marijuana instead of the more harmful substance, alcohol?” I think the answer is clear. Follow the money!!!!
by Susan Soares ~ Coalition for Cannabis Policy Reform Fundraising Chair
By Peter Hechtphecht@sacbee.com
Published: Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 3A
Last Modified: Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013 - 7:46 amCalifornia voters
favor legalizing pot for recreational use, strongly support the existence of medical marijuana dispensaries and want the feds to butt out of the California cannabis business.
In a California Field Poll released today, voters – by a 54 to 43 percent margin – say they want California to legalize marijuana beyond medical use with regulations similar to alcohol.
In the state with America's largest medical marijuana industry, the poll found that 67 percent of voters oppose an ongoing crackdown by the state's four U.S. attorneys on businesses selling pot for medicinal use.
The statewide poll was conducted little more than three months after voters in Washington and Colorado each passed measures to legalize marijuana as a mere pleasurable pursuit – upping the stakes in America's marijuana debate.
The poll results indicate continued strong support for medical marijuana as the stateSupreme Court
is deliberating on whether scores of California cities and counties can ban marijuana dispensaries.
Meanwhile, California voters
across party lines seem to be taking issue with federal threats, raids and prosecutions involving medical marijuana businesses.
The state's four U.S. attorneys have brought criminal cases against some medical marijuana providers and growers and sent letters threatening seizures of properties of others.
While all marijuana use
is illegal under federal law, U.S. prosecutors assert California's medicinal cannabis industries have been "hijacked by profiteers" violating both state and federal laws.
In the poll of registered voters in early February, 68 percent of Democrats, 55 percent of Republicans and 78 percent of independents said they oppose the federal crackdown.
"It's certainly not winning over the hearts and minds of Californians," state Field Poll Director Mark DiCamillo said of voters' reactions to federal enforcement efforts. "The getting tough policy by the feds is not impacting public opinion in a positive way."
Poll respondent Stewart Hintz, 47, a Republican from Rocklin who doesn't smoke marijuana, said the federal crackdown was inevitable because dispensaries appear to be drawing numerous people with little or no medical need. But Hintz said, it's time for pot to be legal – and for the government to back off.
"Once (alcohol) prohibition was repealed, the feds pretty much took their hands off – and I think that's the best model," he said.
Some 58 percent of Field Poll respondents also said they favor allowing medical dispensaries in their cities or towns, with the stores strongly supported by voters in Northern California,
the San Francisco Bay Area
and Los Angeles County
and modestly supported elsewhere in Southern California.
"I haven't seen any substantive negatives" about dispensaries, said Patrick Cole, an independent voter in Butte County
who last tried marijuana in college nearly four decades ago. "The executive branch gets on its high horse about how insidious this is and how it's corrupting our neighborhoods. Yet there is a liquor store
on every corner."
The poll results drew a spirited response from the director of California's largest medical marijuana dispensary.
"This poll … heartens me and makes me feel validated," said Steve DeAngelo, whose Harborside Health Center dispensary in Oakland is being targeted by federal prosecutors who have sued to seize the property.
He said the poll results also suggest that California politicians opposing medical marijuana and its distribution "are going to see serious consequences" at election time.
Richard Lee, who led Proposition 19, the failed ballot measure that would have legalized recreational marijuana in California in 2010, said poll results give momentum to advocates backing an initiative to legalize nonmedical use in 2016.
"I think it shows that it's going to win in 2016, and it's just a matter of writing the best law that we can."
Bishop Ron Allen of Sacramento's International Faith Based Coalition, a member of Californians Against Legalizing Marijuana, said the poll results show that "we have to do a better job of educating the community about the harms of marijuana."
Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/2013/02/27/5220454/field-poll-california-voters-favor.html#storylink=cpy
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KCRA) —A new bill is aimed at cracking down on people driving under the influence of drugs.
Under SB 289, introduced by state Sen. Lou Correa, it is illegal for a person to have in his or her blood any detectable amount of drugs while driving, unless it was taken in accordance with a valid prescription from a doctor.
The drugs are from those classified in Schedules I, II, III, or IV of the California Uniform Controlled Substance Act.
Former Sacramento Sheriff John McGinness, who represents the California Peace Officers Association, supports the bill.
“You’re talking about something that’s per se unlawful, prohibited -- so therefore, its mere presence, coupled with the operation of the motor vehicle, is a threat to the safety of the public,” McGinness told KCRA 3, adding that he is waiting for details on how the bill would be enforced.
The most current draft of SB 289 does not make an exception for marijuana, for which patients receive a doctor’s recommendation, rather than a prescription.
“It would impact thousands and thousands of patients across the state who are not impaired,” said Lanette Davies, a spokesperson for Crusaders for Patients Rights. “There’s nothing in their system that’s impairing them, but they would be driving illegally if this bill is passed.”
Davies said a better way to ensure safe driving would focus on the nature of impairment, rather than the medication in the driver’s system.
However, supporters believe SB 289 is a good start in getting drugged drivers off the roads.
“The goal is to minimize the likelihood of anybody operating a motor vehicle on the highways in California when there’s evidence to show they have some level of impairment that will compromise your safety and mine,” McGinness said.
According to a recent study released by the Office of Traffic Safety, more California drivers tested positive for drugs that may impair driving at 14 percent, than they did for alcohol at 7.3 percent.
Read more: http://www.kcra.com/news/politics/New-bill-aims-to-crack-down-on-drivers-impaired-by-drugs/-/11797268/18979288/-/7eiiaiz/-/index.html#ixzz2LMQevgyl
February 10, 2013 9:30 am • BY ELLEN KOMP California NORML
In Hillary Clinton’s farewell speech as secretary of state, she said, “We need a new architecture for this new world, more Frank Gehry than formal Greek.”
Clinton was referring to Venice, Calif.-based architect Frank Gehry, who molded a unique style of laid-back architecture and is the world-class architect of the Walt Disney Concert Hall in downtown Los Angeles and the forthcoming Dwight D. Eisenhower memorial.
Someone who worked with Gehry in the 1980s reported him “coming out of rooms with clouds of [marijuana] smoke behind him.” It wouldn’t be too surprising. Even Meghan McCain says pot smoking is everywhere in LA.
I raise this in answer to the op-ed you printed recently from an employee of a drug testing company touting her company’s services as the means of achieving a safe and productive workforce, even in the wake of marijuana smokers winning their rights back in Colorado and Washington.
I beg to differ.
First of all, drug testing has never been scientifically shown to be effective at improving workplace safety or productivity, and studies indicate that the great majority of drug-positive workers are just as reliable as others. Medically, the consensus of expert opinion is that drug tests are an inherently unreliable indicator of drug impairment. Dr. George Lundberg of the American Medical Association has called them “Chemical McCarthyism.”
Second, by screening out marijuana smokers, we’re weeding out (so to speak) some of our most creative and, I would argue, productive employees. If you doubt that marijuana smokers have contributed to our society, see veryimportantpotheads.com
. In the case of someone using marijuana for medical purposes, it’s downright discrimination to deny them employment for using what a doctor has legally recommended under state law.
Silicon Valley, the brainchild of entrepreneurs like Steve Jobs and Bill Gates (who both admittedly smoked pot in their youth), notoriously does not drug test its employees, knowing they’d lose much of their talent that way. Yet the region is responsible for much of California’s economic productivity, in one of the few nonmilitary industries the U.S. has.
Henry Ford’s method of sending investigators into his workers’ homes to observe their drinking habits seems outrageous today, yet employers are basically doing the same thing by demanding its workers pee in a cup on Monday to find out what they did on Friday night. Is it really their business?
There is an alternative called impairment testing that has been shown to be more effective than drug testing at assuring workers’ safety. But chemical tests are entrenched in our political process and with businesses and insurance companies, and the more forward-thinking ideas are, so far, crushed under the Greek architecture of the old days.
Carl Sagan, one of the many productive members of society who enjoyed marijuana, said, “The illegality of cannabis is outrageous, an impediment to full utilization of a drug which helps produce the serenity and insight, sensitivity and fellowship so desperately needed in this increasingly mad and dangerous world.”
It won’t do us much good to end the injustice of marijuana prohibition if only the unemployed can exercise their right to use it. And those companies that exercise drug testing will have only a piss-poor workforce.
Ellen Komp is the deputy director of the California chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. Her column is a response to an opinion piece supporting workplace drug testing that appeared in the Star-Tribune on Feb. 3.
~I love that William Lacy Clay signed a bill in 2008 "accidentally" but it ended up being a good thing for him politically! ss
By Chris Goo@c_goodFollow on Twitter
Feb 8, 2013 4:31pm
Image credit: Raul Arboleda/AFP/Getty Images
A new effort is under way in Congress to legalize marijuana.
After Colorado and Washington became the first two states to approve the sale and use of pot, marijuana advocates are turning their eye toward the federal government – something they don’t often do.
Members of Congress will introduce between eight and 10 bills to roll back federal marijuana restrictions and levy new taxes.
The first two were introduced this week by two liberal members of Congress. Reps. Jared Polis, D-Colo., and Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., on Monday rolled out a pair of bills that would legalize and tax marijuana at the federal level, while still allowing states to ban it.
Polis’s bill, the Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act, would remove marijuana from the list of banned substances under the Controlled Substances Act and regulate pot under a renamed Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Marijuana and Firearms. Marijuana growers would have to buy permits to offset the costs of federal oversight.
Blumenauer’s bill, the Marijuana Tax Equity Act, would levy a 50-percent excise tax on the first sale of marijuana, typically from growers to processors or sellers, plus annual “occupation taxes” of $1,000 and $500 on marijuana growers and anyone else engaged in the business.
Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., meanwhile, plans to introduce another marijuana bill sometime soon. He’s the only Republican to formally support either Polis or Blumenauer as a cosponsor.
Blumenauer’s office confirmed that a slew of bills are on the way.
“We are in the process of a dramatic shift in the marijuana policy landscape,” Blumenauer said in a prepared statement on Monday.
He may be right. Marijuana legalizers enjoyed unprecedented success in 2012, hitting on their two major legalization initiatives at the state level in Colorado and Washington. Since then, bills have been introduced to roll back marijuana restrictions in Hawaii, Oklahoma and Rhode Island.
It’s unlikely Congress will legalize pot anytime soon, despite polls showing broader public acceptance of pot. In December, 64 percent of Gallup respondents
said they don’t want the federal government stepping in to prevent pot legalization in states that allow it. In November, another nationwide Gallup poll showed that 48 percent think marijuana should be legal, while 50 percent think it shouldn’t be.
But Polis’s bill only has 11 cosponsors and must make its way through the Republican-controlled House Agriculture Committee. Blumenauer’s has two and must make its way through the GOP-controlled House Ways and Means Committee.
What’s significant about the new push, however, is that it comes on the heels of actual state-level policy change. State and federal laws now thoroughly conflict on the topic of marijuana, and never before has Congress considered legalization in that context.
In fact, Congress rarely considers marijuana legalization at all. The Washington, D.C.-based Marijuana Policy Project considers a 2011 effort by then-Reps. Barney Frank, D-Mass., and Ron Paul, R-Texas, to have been the first serious effort to end marijuana “prohibition” at the federal level. That bill went nowhere. Before that, Frank pushed a bill in 2008 that mostly decriminalized marijuana federally. In a Democratic Congress, that bill died in committee. One of its seven cosponsors signed on by accident
The present effort appears more coordinated. Along with their bills, Polis and Blumenauer released a 20-page white paper on the history of marijuana’s illegality. It’s the first time pot legislation has been introduced in such a multi-bill wave.
For decades, marijuana advocates have pushed medical-pot laws and decriminalization measures through state ballot initiatives and state legislatures. The federal push, unlikely as it may be, represents a new prong in their strategy.
Supreme Court Hears All Sides of Dispensary Case
Posted February 6th, 2013
February 5 - The California Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Riverside vs. Inland Empire Patients Health and Wellness Center, a case determining whether or not Riverside may ban medical marijuana dispensaries within its borders.
The justices, appearing at a special session
at the hundredth anniversary of the UCSF law school, were equally hard on attorneys on both sides of the case.
“The Legislature knows how to say, ‘Thou shalt not ban dispensaries,’ ” Justice Ming W. Chin told IEPHWC's attorney J. David Nick. Answered Nick, “If you were to allow bans, city by city, county by county, that is the opposite of what the Legislature was trying to accomplish.”
In questioning Riverside's attorney Jeffrey V. Dunn (pictured at podium), one of the justices pointed out that if all counties in California banned dispensaries, no one in California could visit a dispensary. Words like "consistent" and "establishment" weighed for their full meaning, and the letter as well as the stated purpose of the law was discussed.
Nick made it clear that locals have a great deal of authority over zoning of dispensaries, but that the Court has never ruled that locals may make illegal anything legal under state law (except perhaps in a single cited case). Much was made of the fact that state law merely offers limited immunity from state law only.
Dunn is a partner at Best, Best and Krieger, an Irvine-based law firm that has promulgated anti-dispensary ordinances throughout California and according to their website,
has now been paid to defend those ordinances in 30 municipalities. Dunn assisted in the drafting of a bill
last year giving cities more power to regulate dispensaries. A BB&K attorney recently gave a presentation
at the California Association of Code Enforcement Officers meeting.
A ruling is expected within 90 days.
This year is also the 100th anniversary of marijuana prohibition in California.
MEDIA ADVISORY Americans for Safe Access For Immediate Release:
February 4, 2013 California Supreme Court to Hear Medical Marijuana Dispensary Ban Case Tuesday in San Francisco Court is expected to weigh in on whether municipalities can ban distribution, deny patients a legal medication San Francisco, CA
-- The California Supreme Court will hear oral arguments tomorrow morning at University of San Francisco in a closely watched case that addresses whether local governments can lawfully ban medical marijuana dispensaries or should instead be compelled to adopt ordinances regulating them. The case, City of Riverside v. Inland Empire Patients Health and Wellness Center
, is one of at least six appellate court cases coming down on different sides of the issue. Although multiple appellate rulings have overturned bans on local distribution, the Riverside
court upheld that city's ban, claiming that the wellness center violated municipal code and was a "nuisance per se." What:
California Supreme Court oral arguments on the legality of municipal bans against medical marijuana distribution When:
Tuesday, February 5th at 10:15am Where:
University of San Francisco, 2130 Fulton Street, McLaren Conference Center (Rooms 250–251)
"Local dispensary bans thwart the will of the electorate and the State Legislature, and are therefore preempted by state law," said Joe Elford, Chief Counsel with Americans for Safe Access (ASA), the country's largest medical marijuana advocacy group. "Hundreds of thousands of California patients who are too sick or otherwise can't cultivate medical marijuana themselves rely on dispensaries for safe and legal access, a right they should not be denied."
case, which is being argued by J. David Nick, is the lead case on this issue currently before the High Court. However, several other appellate decisions from southern California on the same issue were also granted review, including County of Los Angeles v. Alternative Medicinal Cannabis Collective
, 420 Caregivers v. City of Los Angeles
, City of Lake Forest v. Evergreen Holistic Collective
, City of Temecula v. Cooperative Patients Services, Inc.
, and People v. G3 Holistic
. In most of these decisions, the court has sided with municipal governments in their effort to prevent regulated distribution, but two appellate rulings notably hold that local officials may not ban distribution and must develop regulations instead.
Specifically, the County of Los Angeles decision from July 2012 overturned a local ban on dispensaries, reversing the lower court’s preliminary injunction from the previous year. The appellate court in County of Los Angeles held that “medical marijuana collectives…are permitted by state law to perform a dispensary function,” and that “[Los Angeles] County’s total, per se nuisance ban against medical marijuana dispensaries directly contradicts the Legislature’s intent.” The Court further concluded that, a “complete ban” on medical marijuana is “preempted” by state law and, therefore, void.
Last year, ASA filed an amicus 'friend of the court' brief in the Riverside
case, arguing that the city's ban ought to be overturned. “While municipalities may pass reasonable regulations over the location and operation of medical marijuana collectives, they cannot ban them absolutely,” read ASA’s amicus brief. “These bans thwart the Legislature’s stated objectives of ensuring access to marijuana for the seriously ill persons who need it in a uniform manner throughout the state.” While more than 50 localities in California have regulated the lawful operation of dispensaries, over 170 cities have questionably banned their operation outright.
Despite some misconceptions, the Riverside
case will likely not address the legality of medical marijuana sales and distribution, which has been fully litigated and established as a right under state law. The most recent decision in this regard came from People v. Jackson
, a criminal case in which the legal sale of medical marijuana by a storefront dispensary was affirmed and a defense established for Jackson and other future defendants. The California Supreme Court refused to review or depublish the Jackson
decision, which now stands as the law of the state.
According to the California Courts, Tuesday's oral arguments are part of a special session, "the latest in a series of student outreach programs to improve public understanding of the state court system, [which] also commemorates the University of San Francisco (USF) School of Law Centennial Celebration." The hearing will be broadcasted by livestream on The California Channel at http://www.calchannel.com
. Further information:
Appellate decision in the Riverside
ASA amicus brief in the Riverside case: http://AmericansForSafeAccess.org/downloads/Amicus_Riverside.pdf
Links to other appellate decisions on this issue: http://bit.ly/XrfMBB
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Please forward this to everyone you know and send a letter to the judge:
Honorable Judge McGlynn
Tehama Superior Court
Juvenile Justice Division
445 Pine Street
Red Bluff, CA 96080
To the Honorable Judge McGlynn January 29, 2013 Tehama County, CA
RE: Daisy Bram
As a mother of a young child, I appreciate and share the concern the court would have for a child in a bad environment, unable to care for themselves. I would hope the court can also recognize when the only evidence of abuse appears now by the Butte County deputy district attorney Jeff Greeson, by tormenting this family repeatedly. Keeping a family with young children together must have more weight than the personal vendetta of a person of authority, who disagrees with personal choices that are allowed by law.
In the case of Drake M. (case # B236769), Division Three of the Second Appellate District, California Court of Appeal ruled on December 5, 2012 that while parents who abuse drugs can lose custody of their children, a parent who uses marijuana for medical reasons, with a doctor's approval, isn't necessarily a drug abuser. This ruling illustrates a growing recognition of the legitimate use of medical marijuana in this state and other states. The kids must be safe; however parents should be able to use legally prescribed medications when children appear not to be at demonstrated risk of harm.
DEA Administrative Law Judge Francis Young, after reviewing all the available evidence on marijuana, declared, “In strict medical terms marijuana is far safer than many foods we commonly consume. For example, eating 10 raw potatoes can result in toxic response. By comparison, it is physically impossible to eat enough marijuana to induce death. Marijuana in its natural form is one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to man.” When compared to the dangers of children consuming prescription drugs and alcohol, or the ramifications of a drunk or drugged parent, any home is actually safer if responsible parents utilize marijuana as a harm reduction technique from these other drugs.
The appellate court found that the record did not support the finding that the children would be at substantial risk of detriment if returned to that mother based on her use of marijuana. (Jennifer A. v. Superior Court, supra, 117 Cal.App.4th at p. 1346.) Medical marijuana use alone is not sufficient to take a child away. I truly hope that this ‘de facto’ policy of DCFS is changed, and that no more parents and children have to suffer needlessly. Please limit how authority figures can manipulate laws to separate children from their parents that use marijuana for medical reasons with your ruling.
As a nursing mom, I would also like to remind the court that for little humans, and the mothers who breastfeed their young, have a sacred right to be together, and these young families are now dependent on the court to keep mothers and her young together for nourishment, physical and emotional protection. Can you imagine how you might feel with the center of your universe disappeared for weeks without explanation, without connection, without trust that is so vital to the young years? Babies need constant attention from trusted caregivers to thrive. This situation would be enormously taxing for any adult, perfectly capable of expressing themselves, but a baby who is otherwise being cared for? The stress and emotional toll this has on a mother and child is damaging to say the least, and worst case scenario would produce life-long developmental problems.
I pray this letter will prevent some of the harm I have seen to these children in foster care, when they should have been with their loving parents. Daisy Bram is a loving and caring mother. Please return her children as soon as humanly possible.
Dale Sky Jones Executive Chancellor Oaksterdam University Oakland, CA 94612
Posted January 23, 2013 by JEFF PRINCE in News
The bar is well stocked at J.R.’s house, nestled quietly in a well-to-do neighborhood not far from downtown Fort Worth. Booze is in short supply — three dusty wine bottles sit forlornly on a shelf. This bar’s bounty is green, red, and gold flowery buds sprinkled on trays and in baby-food-sized jars. It’s a cornucopia of cannabis, enough to make any connoisseur’s toes curl.
Mexican dirt weed?
J.R. doesn’t touch it. He’s a trained budtender with a diploma earned at Oaksterdam University
, the pot college in Oakland, Calif. With a second home in California (and a medicinal marijuana permit in that state), J.R. buys nothing but the best pot, hydroponically grown with precise formulas of water, light, temperature, and nutrition for maximum effect. (Like all the pot aficionados interviewed for this story, he asked that his full name not be used.)
This ain’t your pappy’s weed. “Hydro” is several times stoner, er, stronger.
Domestically produced marijuana has been transformed into a major, sophisticated industry in this country, including in states like Texas, where pot is still illegal. People in the business are perfecting product development and growing techniques, and all over the country there are entrepreneurs like J.R., already clandestinely in business but waiting for the day when pot is legal –– a day they see rapidly approaching.
Five years ago, about 90 percent of the pot sold in North Texas could be categorized as Mexican weed. Now hydro has taken over about half of that market.
American pot farmers produced about 22 million pounds in 2006, worth about $35 billion, according to a report published that year in the Bulletin of Cannabis Reform
. Texas didn’t rank among the top 10 states in outdoor marijuana production, but came in at No. 5 for indoor growing (115,000 pounds annually).
The same report listed pot as the country’s No. 1 cash crop. Corn and other crops are grown in greater volume, but, according to the Bulletin
, none match weed’s production value — not corn ($23 billion), soybeans ($17 million), or hay ($12 million).
Of course, accurately determining how much pot is grown and smoked is kind of like trying to fence in a butterfly.
“It’s just a wild-ass guess,” said Terry Nelson, who spent three decades in law enforcement, including stints with the U.S. Border Patrol, U.S. Customs Service, and the Department of Homeland Security. Now retired, he’s a member of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition
(LEAP), a group of criminal justice professionals who disagree with current drug policies. They say legalization would cripple cartels and street dealers.
“If there is one [grower’s crop] you are stumbling on, there are probably a thousand that you’re not,” he said. “Cops always use the 10 percent rule: You catch 10 percent of people doing something wrong and know about 10 percent of what’s going on.”
Mexican weed still dominates the Texas market, he said, but hydro is making a big impact.
“We need to legalize these drugs so we can regulate and control them,” he said. “That will reduce about 80 percent of your crime and violence related to the drug trade.”
For Immediate Release: January 17th, 2013
CALIFORNIA SUPREME COURT DENIES REVIEW OF LANDMARK MEDICAL MARIJUANA CASE, AFFIRMS LEGALITY OF STOREFRONT DISPENSARIES
High Court also denied depublication of People v. Jackson despite request from League of California CitiesSan Diego, CA
-- The California Supreme Court denied review yesterday of a landmark medical marijuana dispensary case, which drew widespread attention from prosecutors and policymakers across the state. The Fourth District Court of Appeal for California issued a unanimous published ruling on October 24th in the case ofPeople v. Jackson
, reversing the conviction of former San Diego dispensary operator Jovan Jackson and establishing a clear defense for Jackson and other medical marijuana providers similarly prosecuted in state court.
Notably, however, the State Supreme Court took decisive action yesterday in the way that it did, despite requests to depublish the appellate court decision from the League of California Cities and an amicus brief supporting the High Court's review of the case from district attorneys in Los Angeles, Sacramento, and Sonoma Counties, as well as the Los Angeles City Attorney.
"Not only has the California Supreme Court rejected attempts to have it review theJackson
case, thereby affirming the legality of medical marijuana sales and distribution in the state, it also chose not to depublish this landmark ruling benefiting thousands of patients," said Joe Elford, Chief Counsel with Americans for Safe Access, who represented Jackson in his appeal. "Even though the appellate court decision garnered significant opposition, patients have prevailed in their struggle to protect safe access to medical marijuana."
Jackson was convicted in September 2010 after being denied a defense in San Diego Superior Court. However, yesterday's decision not to review his case now entitles Jackson -- and, by extension, other California dispensary operators -- to a defense in state court. By rejecting the Attorney General's argument that patients who utilize dispensaries must collaborate, or 'come together' in 'some way' to cultivate the marijuana they purchase, the appellate court ruling provided the elements for a defense in future jury trials across the state.
Specifically, the appellate ruling held that in mounting a defense at trial, "Jackson was only required to produce evidence which would create a reasonable doubt as to whether the defense provided by the [Medical Marijuana Program Act] had been established." The court further held that, "the collective or cooperative association required by the act need not include active participation by all members in the cultivation process but may be limited to financial support by way of marijuana purchases from the organization. Thus, contrary to the trial court's ruling, the large membership of Jackson's collective, very few of whom participated in the actual cultivation process, did not, as a matter of law, prevent Jackson from presenting an MMPA defense."
ASA appealed Jackson's conviction in late 2011, and his case quickly became a symbol of the effort by San Diego District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis and other prosecutors across the state to criminalize storefront medical marijuana collectives. However, today's decision by the High Court not to review the case deals a significant blow to that effort.
Jackson operated his storefront collective without incident until he was raided by law enforcement in 2008. Jackson was tried for marijuana possession and sales in 2009, but was acquitted by a jury. Dissatisfied with that result, District Attorney Dumanis tried Jackson again on the same charges stemming from a September 2009 law enforcement raid. It was at his second trial that Jackson was denied a defense and ultimately convicted. San Diego Superior Court Judge Howard Shore, who referred to medical marijuana as "dope," and called California's medical marijuana laws "a scam," gave Jackson 180 days in jail, a sentence that was later vacated.Further information:
Docket sheet for People v. Jackson
Landmark appellate court ruling in People v. Jackson
Jackson appeal brief filed by ASA:http://AmericansForSafeAccess.org/downloads/Jackson_Appeal.pdf
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