DENVER – The nation's largest marijuana policy organization, the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), slammed former Congressman Patrick Kennedy's plan to force marijuana consumers into treatment and marijuana "education" classes, which his new organization, Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM), is scheduled to unveil in Denver on Wednesday. 

 "The proposal is on par with forcing every alcohol user into treatment at their own cost or at a cost to the state," said MPP communications director Mason Tvert. "In fact, it would be less logical because the science is clear that marijuana is far less toxic, less addictive, and less likely to be associated with acts of violence."

MPP is calling on Kennedy, whose family made a fortune selling alcohol, to explain why he wants to keep an objectively less harmful alternative to alcohol illegal. Specifically, MPP is asking Kennedy to address the question on SAM's website and provide facts regarding the relative harms of marijuana and alcohol. MPP also launched an online petition this morning asking Kennedy to provide an explanation or resign as chairman of SAM, which received more than 1,500 signatures within the first hour of being posted –

"Former Congressman Kennedy's proposal is the definition of hypocrisy," Tvert said. "He is living in part off of the fortune his family made by selling alcohol while leading a campaign that makes it seem like marijuana – an objectively less harmful product – is the greatest threat to public health.”

"If this group truly cares about public health, it should be providing the public with facts regarding the relative harms of marijuana and discouraging the use of the more harmful product," Tvert continued. "Why on earth would they want keep a less harmful alternative to alcohol illegal? Former Congressman Kennedy and his organization should answer this question before calling on our government to start forcing people into treatment programs and throwing them into marijuana ‘education’ camps."

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Filner halts prosecution of pot shops
By Craig Gustafson12:02 P.M.
JAN. 10, 2013

Mayor Bob Filner is congratulated at the end of Monday's ceremony. Monday was the swearing in ceremony for San Diego's new mayor Bob Filner and several new and returning council-members. San Diego Mayor Bob Filner ordered a halt Thursday to the prosecution of marijuana dispensaries in the city by directing the end of targeted code enforcements against the shops.

The move comes two days after he promised medical marijuana advocates that he would take on City Attorney Jan Goldsmith over the issue to which Goldsmith responded that Filner need only assert his authority over the police and neighborhood code compliance departments to end the prosecutions.

Filner sent a Thursday letter titled “Stop the Crackdown on Marijuana Dispensaries” to Kelly Broughton, director of the Development Services Department, which oversees code compliance. He told him to stop code enforcement against marijuana dispensaries and to stop forwarding such cases to the City Attorney’s Office for prosecution.

Filner inferred in the letter that other violations unrelated to marijuana could still be pursued at the dispensaries.

“To be clear, if there are general code enforcement or health and safety issues arising from these businesses, you are expected to enforce those laws against these businesses in the same manner you would any other business,” Filner wrote.

The mayor’s decision likely won’t lead to a proliferation of dispensaries in the city because it only blunts one law enforcement tactic to shut them down. The District Attorney’s Office and the U.S. Attorney’s Office can still proceed with prosecutions of those businesses.

It is, however, a positive sign for medical marijuana advocates who view Filner’s election to mayor as a fresh opportunity to pass an ordinance that would allow dispensaries to open their doors again within city limits. Filner has promised to work with them to create an ordinance in the next few weeks and has offered to testify on behalf of shop owners in court.

Filner appeared before the San Diego chapter of Americans for Safe Access on Tuesday night and criticized the city attorney for not being helpful on the issue and referred to him as a “a little guy” that could be intimidated.

Goldsmith responded Wednesday with a letter to Filner.

“Rather than pursue the drama last night and call for a demonstration, you could have achieved your goal in less than 30 seconds,” Goldsmith wrote. “Neighborhood Code Compliance and San Diego Police Department are under your authority. As you know, you can direct them to stop sending cases to us and, instead, direct us to cease and dismiss all enforcement actions against marijuana dispensaries. We will, of course, comply with that direction.”

More than 200 medical marijuana collectives have been closed down in San Diego and Imperial counties since U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy and her colleagues announced in 2011 sweeping enforcement actions aimed at distributors in California. Some closures were attributed to settlements with the City Attorney’s Office — before and after medical marijuana activists in the city failed to qualify a regulate-and-tax initiative for the November ballot.

The legal limbo for dispensaries dates to 1996 when state voters approved an initiative to allow people with recommendations from state-licensed physicians to possess and cultivate marijuana for personal use. The drug remains illegal under federal law and any change in city policy would not have direct impact on the U.S. attorneys’ crackdown.

Good work San Diego American's for Safe Access ~Susan Soares


Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom said he supports the legalization of marijuana in California.

In a New York Times article about the fading stigma of the drug in the Golden State, Newsom told the New York Times' Adam Nagourney, "These laws just don't make sense anymore. It's time for politicians to come out of the closet on this."

Newsom, a former mayor of San Francisco who challenged Jerry Brown for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination in 2010, is the highest-ranking state official to endorse legalization of marijuana.

Under Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, the state passed laws lowering penalties for possession of small amounts of marijuana, making possession of less than an ounce similar to a routine traffic violation.

In 1996, California voters passed Proposition 215, which authorized the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes. But state voters narrowly rejected a measure in 2010 an initiative to decriminalize the drug.

I've never been to the Emerald Triangle and was very excited to be invited to attend the Emerald Cup this year. I flew into Oakland and was lucky enough to be able to hang out with Richard Lee at the student union for a few games of pool and shuffle board. I hitched a ride with Dan Rush of UFCW. 

The ride was amazing! I had a huge smile on my face from about Ukiah on up. Not only is the landscape spectacular, but the kinds of businesses, billboards, fences & gates, architecture  and the like were truly a reflection of the cannabis community. Look closely at the photo below. One of the store's name is Mendo Trim Tools :)

Checking into the hotel was interesting to say the least. I felt like I was on a movie set. This city is no melting pot. I'm not saying there was no ethnic diversity. I'm saying the culture was POT!!! Check out this sign at the front desk. Come on you guys. You know you have to have at least one credit card in 2012!!! As much as you want it to be so, we are not an all cash society.

One of my heros, SubCool hooking me up with some yummy kief. He's got a rule that if you want to discuss serious business with him, you must share a bowl with him first. I LOVE talking about the science of growing with our communities best and brightest. There were so many people there sharing knowledge. I've never felt so much energy, light and love in one place. SubCool mentioned that Los Angeles is such a different place and I agree. I LOVE LA. Don't get me wrong, but we need to raise the bar in the Southern California cannabis community. 

Here's SubCool's recommendation for a dispensary in Southern CA that is doing it right. 

There's so much more to say 
but I'll have to save it for another day!!!!
Cannabis as a substitute for alcohol and other drugs: A dispensary-based survey of substitution effect in Canadian medical cannabis patients

Posted online on November 20, 2012

All contact for The Vancouver Dispensary Society should be directed to Dori Dempster, Executive Director.

*Correspondence: Philippe Lucas
, Centre for Addictions Research of BC, PO Box 1700 STN CSC, Victoria, BC V8W 2Y2
, Canada, 250-370-0981

Background: This article examines the subjective impact of medical cannabis on the use of both licit and illicit substances via self-report from 404 medical cannabis patients recruited from four dispensaries in British Columbia, Canada. The aim of this study is to examine a phenomenon called substitution effect, in which the use of one product or substance is influenced by the use or availability of another.

Methods: Researchers teamed with staff representatives from four medical cannabis dispensaries located in British Columbia, Canada to gather demographic data of patient-participants as well as information on past and present cannabis, alcohol and substance use. A 44-question survey was used to anonymously gather data on the self-reported impact of medical cannabis on the use of other substances.

Results: Over 41% state that they use cannabis as a substitute for alcohol (n = 158), 36.1% use cannabis as a substitute for illicit substances (n = 137), and 67.8% use cannabis as a substitute for prescription drugs (n = 259). The three main reasons cited for cannabis-related substitution are “less withdrawal” (67.7%), “fewer side-effects” (60.4%), and “better symptom management” suggesting that many patients may have already identified cannabis as an effective and potentially safer adjunct or alternative to their prescription drug regimen.

Discussion: With 75.5% (n = 305) of respondents citing that they substitute cannabis for at least one other substance, and in consideration of the growing number of studies with similar findings and the credible biological mechanisms behind these results, randomized clinical trials on cannabis substitution for problematic substance use appear justified.

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I just got back from a unity meeting in Oakland. The focus was coming up with a strategy for California that works and keeps people out of jail for cannabis. The meeting was attended by many that have been advocates for various initiatives and strategies. I think that the long time advocates have finally begun to realize that we must all compromise and work together. California WILL be a leader in how cannabis legislation should work. 
There are a few people out there that are upset that they weren't invited to the meeting and are starting to spread rumors that there is conspiracy in the air. It just isn't true. The meeting was fairly spontaneous. I was there because I was going to be there anyway on another matter. The first thing our movement needs to do in 2013 is to STOP BEING MARINOID!!!! This movement is like a big tent. The stakes can be moved to make it larger and bring everyone in. What we can't afford is to work against each other again. We need to be realistic and we all need to be able to compromise. And we all need to raise money and have a role in the grass roots effort. Will you be a unity star?  Please make a commitment by commenting with your email address. You will be put on a list of volunteers for the effort in 2014 and 2016 and kept in the loop. Let's get this done!!!