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Telling it like it is.

End in our life time, the bad propaganda, the hatred, prejudice, discrimination, ignorance, and arrogance regarding Marijuana. All around the world, end the draconian ways of thinking, regarding Cannabis/Hemp. Legalize and Legitimize it today!


Sorry that I ended up with way to many web sites--but never fear I am still here!


GO TO www.jackherer.com to learn more!
May You All become Enlightened.
May You All become Enlightened.


 Greetings to al my Nuggelts out there! Forgive the delay of new posts but I have been stuck in Facebook at Ima Hemp--which all of you are welcomed to join! May we continue this sacred struggle and soon the JUSTICE and RESPECT that we deserve will be here before you know it!

Please go to the Dr. Oz web site and VOTE YES to Medical Cannabis!  Tell Dr. Oz how MMJ has HELPED YOU! Thanks!



Much Love to One and ALL!
Jah Love,
the Holy hemptrress
May You All become Enlightened.

Trouble in Montana

May You All become Enlightened.
May You All become Enlightened.

I can not believe that there are IDIOTS out there, still against the Sit Lie Law.

I am a San Franciscan and I have been brutalized by aggressive panhandlers and Harvey Milk was a personal friend of mine. He would be appalled by this action. He believed in CIVIL SIDEWALKS!  Which is now in place, because of the last election in San Francisco CA.

City sidewalks are NOT meant for drunkards and hard drug addicts to show off on in front of children and the elderly on. They are NOT meant for people to be harassed day in and day out by people to lazy to go out and get a job. Or by people unable to work, on a social program, receiving money, bothering others for money that they themselves have little of. I am so happy to see that shit go away!

It WAS hell on Sixth, the Mission, the Castro, North Beach,  ANYWHERE on Market, the Haight, Golden Gate Park, and in the Tenderloin and nearly everywhere in San Francisco CA that had no extra protection, Crime in my neighborhood, out on the "sidewalks", have gone down, since the Sit Lie Law passed,. In my neighborhood, since the sit lie law was enacted it has gotten a lot better! Search your hearts and see the errors of your ways, those of you that are stuck on stupid wanting the law to go away. . BTW--I have noticed people still laying around and sitting around. The Sit Lie Law is intended for San Franciscan's Protection. AND IT IS WORKING! If you do not like that? PLEASE MOVE AWAY!

Public Parks are NOT places to camp out in and live. Those living in 'Golden Gate Park' have GOTTA GO! That park is meant for EVERYONE to ENJOY! Not a select few that make it filthy and dangerous!

The 'Needle Exchange' in conjunction with Junkies, is littering up 'Golden Gate Par' with "DIRTY NEEDLES!" GOOD JOB YOU FUCK WADS! The 'Needle Exchange' is only a machine for getting donations, while AIDS is on the rise! While more and more children and adults become JUNKIES!  The 'Needle Exchange' is one of those organizations that the city pays that has got to GO!

Did you know that San Francisco CA spent over 3 billion dollars on a bunch of strangers to our city? That came into our town already homeless?  Expecting us to give them everything. Which we did, while our schools. fire departments. libraries. etc closed?

These same  IDIOTS that back this program say NO to the sit lie law. Imagine that?

They are also for having a Sanctuary City for ILLEGAL KILLER CRIMINALS!

Thank goodness it is easy to spot these idiots and STOP them in their tracks with voting and now with the Lt. General of CA, the honorable mayor of San Francisco CA Gavin Newsom!

I am so over joyed that he has the power to finish the job of cleaning up San Francisco, after the hard core progressives nearly destroyed it!
Good JOB Gavin! Big Hug my friend!

May we as San Franciscans stand strong! KEEP the 'Sit Lie Law'! End the 'Sanctuary City' status for ILLEGAL KILLERS, And get rid of the 'Needle Exchange!'

I am a San Franciscan. I was born here. My family lived here. My friends are here. And I will stand strong!
May You All become Enlightened.

{Please help END the War on ME! I am a Sacred Healing Herb!}

Dr. Nora D. Volkow, director of the 'National Institute on Drug Abuse' proclaimed that the use of Medical Cannabis did major damage and harm to the brain? Gee, is that why I was able to graduate from the University of California, at Santa Cruz, [with honors] which is a federally funded and run university? Because I had become brain dead from using Medical Cannabis since I was 17? NOT A CHANCE! Every time this woman spoke I wanted to gag. Dr. Nora Volkow is paid to LIE about Cannabis which is NOT harmful to the brain. This kind of rhetoric must be addressed and this woman must be sent to court for her HATE CRIMES! So must all others that follow in her foot steps!

To learn more about how Cannabis HELPS and HEALS the BRAIN-- PLEASE LEARN FROM MEDICAL SCIENCE--and NOT from some Money Grubbing LYING DECEITFUL Organizations! 



Every time I see this bull shit about how bad Cannabis/Hemp  is it just makes me work harder towards it's total LEGALIZATION!

This MEDICINE has been given to us by G-d. If it keeps a kid that's 17 years old from killing himself/herself due to severe depression? I say LET THEM HAVE IT. I used the sacred herb myself.  I ended up with two very successful children. Graduating with HONORS, while making the Presidents of my Universities; Honor Roll and the National Deans List.

My Medical Doctors have been recommending this medicine to me since I was 17. When I told my doctors it helped me to get through my hard days at school and all the studying that I did. And witnessing; domestic violence, the war, seeing and hearing abut the depressing news; locally, nationally, and internationally, and all of the other hardships that I had to endure. They told me to use it. SO DID MY HOLY BIBLE. Therein it speaks about the Sacred Herb all the way through it.

If the people that say bad things about Medical Cannabis had their way, when I met Dr. Todd Mikuriya {RIP} back in 1992? The benign cyst in my breast  would have gone malignant and I would be without a breast. If the people that are delusional and sociopolitical, that lie about the sacred herb had their way? I would NOT have stabilized two serious heart conditions either. I did not use the blood pressure medications because I was allergic to them. I am allergic to pain medications too. Am I suppose to become bedridden because a person wants to get paid to be EVIL?

Dr. Todd was a kind doctor and one of my best friend's. He was one of the most intelligent and compassionate doctors on this planet. When Dr. Todd {RIP} took his Hippocratic oath, he NEVER became a hypocrite! When Dr. Todd {RIP} left, he left us a legacy. A legacy of Cannabis healing and freedom.

To learn about the Brilliant Dr. Todd please go to this URL.
http://www.google.com/search?q=mykura&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a#sclient=psy&hl=en&client=firefox-a&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&q=dr todd medical cannabis&aq=f&aqi=&aql=&oq=&gs_rfai=&pbx=1&fp=267856ed3ee60de5 Because of Dr. Todd and Medical Cannabis I am alive today.

The people that are blaspheming the Sacred Cannabis, along with CBS News {ALL of the White House and it's affiliations, news affiliates, FDA, politicians, law enforcement, and others that get paid to lie, etc. that have  been spreading bad propaganda about the Sacred HERBAL Medicine. Which is mentioned throughout the 'King James version of the Bible', the 'Book of Mormon', the 'Koran', and other sacred texts. And is recognized as being a medicine by the 'American Medical Association' as well as other Medical Affiliations throughout the entire world. Must STOP lying and being delusional about it. Your days of falsely imprisoning GOOD PEOPLE and EXTINCTING a Sacred Herb. Are coming to an END!

Like Dennis Peron {a man that had rumors spread around about him by an AXIS, but was totally VINDICATED once said} All we can do is be nice. All we can do is be compassionate. One day they'll come around." He said this to me one day as we were getting signatures for 'Proposition 215' in San Francisco CA, in 1996.

All I have to say people is-- That day is TODAY! The people that are trying to exterminate our sacred herb permanently. Will end up in hell. Even if you do not believe in it you will go there. These evil entities, that keep the medical cannabis down, would have everyone that is involved with medical cannabis in concentration camps, if they had their way. To think about it? They already do its called the prison system. People go broke fighting it. In the end some lose their homes creating homelessness. Children become orphans because their parents are in jail, and some parents never get to work again. At least here in CA. Plus the three strike thing for non-violent offense's keeps families ripped apart too.

The DARE program lies to our children about the sacred herb saying it is a bad thing. When G-d Our Holy Father created it for all of its uses. How do you know when there is a smart child in the class? They know everything there is to know about Hemp biomass. At least I know that I did and my children did. My daughter grew up to be a nuclear physicist in the Navy. Yes I was brave like my parents and told my children the TRUTH about the benefits of Cannabis/Hemp. I also asked them not to use it [unless they needed it as a medicine] until they were 18 and in college. One can honestly say that I was and will forever be a responsible parent.

No one that is using Cannabis for a medicine and responsibly belongs incarcerated! With prayer, education, the media, enlightenment and diligence! We will set Eddy Lepp, Marc Emery, Brian Eppis, and ALL CANNABIS POLITICAL PRISONERS FREE! FREE THE SACRED HERB TOO!

Please learn about how Cannabis/Hemp can save the Planet! My own father was a 'Hemp for Victory Veteran!' so was my daughter {RIP}!

Please write to CBS News, to the FDA, to the White House, to any and all news affiliates that speak lies about the Sacred Herb and spread viscous fear. To STOP DOING IT! Tell the head of the DEA that we are tired of her misrepresentations, being deceived and being betrayed. Their contact info can be found in the Google search engine.

The Jack Herer Initiative of 2012! VOTE FOR THIS AND MAKE IT PASS IN 2012! Please help to pass my friend Jack's {RIP} Initiative. Thanks! Learn about it at www.jackherer.com visit other URLs that talk to the TRUTH about the Benefits of the Sacred Herb!

BTW--Please let the Heart Association's and the Cancer Associations that hold the walk- a- thons know that we have found a CURE! It is called MEDICAL CANNABIS! 



If you meet anyone that spreads LIES about the Sacred Herb say a prayer for them. Because G-d does not allow those types in his kingdom where Cannabis is the TREE OF LIFE! Wherein the ONE TRUE G-D does dwell!

Today's news story on CBS--

WASHINGTON (AP) - America's teens are using more marijuana and less alcohol, according to an annual government study of eighth-, 10th- and 12th-graders across the country. Some 6.1 percent of high-school seniors reported using marijuana this year, up from 5.2 percent in 2009, according to the Monitoring the Future survey released by the National Institutes of Health. Marijuana use by 10th-graders climbed from 2.8 percent to 3.3 percent, and for eighth-grade students it edged up from 1.0 percent to 1.2 percent. "These high rates of marijuana use during the teen and preteen years, when the brain continues to develop, place our young people at particular risk," said Dr. Nora D. Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse. On the other hand, binge drinking is on the decline. While 23.2 percent of high school seniors reported having five or more drinks in a row, that's down from 25.2 percent a year earlier. The binge rate for this age group peaked at 31.5 percent in 1998. On other topics the survey found: - Use of ecstasy, which had declined in the early 2000s, is on the increase again. - There was a small increase in teens injecting heroin, but only among 12th-graders. - Use of cocaine remained low after declining from levels in the 1980s and 1990s. The survey conducted by the University of Michigan covered 46,482 students in 396 schools.

Teens are choosing to use a life saving herb, over a hard drug, and those that are getting bank for keeping it illegal, are saying that this is a bad thing? Seriously, I do not want to see teens using the sacred herb, unless they need it for a medicine. As responsible adults, that is their business. Over in Amsterdam NL Cannabis is accepted and they have a beautiful country. Teens over there do not use it as much as they do over here. The money for people going to prisons because of a Sacred Herb, goes to aide society as a whole.

The federal government in America, keeps states rights away from people which is what Prop 215 is and gets away with it? Talk about an enemy to the state!

This WAR on good people and on a sacred healing herb that can save the planet must end. Why must America be so daft?
No one has ever died using marijuana alone. ZERO DEATHS! Pus the benefits of Cannabis/Hemp are immense!


I write this out of love not greed. Peace--the Holy Hemptress

May You All become Enlightened.

"The American Medical Association


‎"The American Medical Association (AMA) voted today to reverse its long-held position that marijuana be retained as a Schedule I substance with no medical value." Thank you, Americans for Safe Access, for explaining and all the work you've done.
May You All become Enlightened.
May You All become Enlightened.

Happy Birthday CloudWatcher!

 Just sending out some LOVE to YOU  cloudwatcher Happy Happy Joy Joy Birthday!  Big HUG!
May You All become Enlightened.
Why Marijuana Is Central to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness

By Charles Shaw, openDemocracy.net
Posted on June 14, 2010, Printed on August 7, 2010

“Cannabinoids are good.”

Have you heard that truth before? – It’s something you will understand if you read any further. You see, science is a truth conspiracy. It’s a testing of reality and standing your ground when you find evidence.

In some ways, being American means confronting untruths. To voice “our” truth through language, to create a new set and setting, we turned to the founders and a collection of essays known as The Federalist Papers.

During 1787 and 1788, James Madison, Alexander Hamilton and John Jay wrote 85 essays in support of the US Constitution. They used the pen name "Publius" in honor of a famed Roman republican – someone they saw as a defender of liberty.

We became "Publius" for the same purpose: to make our sum greater than our individual parts. In doing so, we have created a series of 36 essays to detail the role of cannabinoids in Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. We began releasing the essays online in 2009 and will conclude this fall. The essays will then be available in book form as The Cannabis Papers: a citizen’s guide to cannabinoids.

Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness

The so-called drug war is becoming better known as a war on citizens – a civil war. It has been a war with two distinct federal laws. The first was the 1937 Marihuana Tax Act, which was ruled unconstitutional by the US Supreme Court in 1966. Into this vacuum was sucked Nixon’s contribution to 21st century drug policy: the 1970 Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act. This law contains the Controlled Substances Act (CSA), the law making herbal cannabinoids Schedule 1. This means in Bizarro World that herbal cannabinoids have no medical value.

Here we are in 2010 still living under Nixon’s law. That is our history: our tomorrow is much different. That’s because the tide has turned – and it’s a scientific tide. The endocannabinoid system (ECS) and the science surrounding this remarkable biological modulator, have transformed the battlefield and the logic of the CSA. This is no longer a civil war: it has morphed into a war between science and ignorance.

Science is the language of Publius. As Madison, Hamilton and Jay detailed the workings of the US Constitution, piece-by-piece and Article-by-Article, we have given the same care and effort to describing the role of cannabinoids and the ECS in our bodies. We found that cannabinoids shared a strong characteristic from the founding period: the similarity is found in the famous phrase summing up the basic rights of free people – Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.

It is no secret that many people think that there is a Life-giving quality to cannabis use. That is where we began – the anecdotal and lived cannabinoid experience. Since the 1970s, cannabis use has been defined by practice – some combination of the medical/patient model and the recreational/liberty model. We are describing something new – the idea that cannabinoids are necessary to life. The cannabis war will no longer be about use and ideology – about who is sick enough or free enough or responsible enough. What is new today is the science of cannabinoids – and you’ll find it more than compelling and often mind-blowing.

Liberty provides its own arguments. The war on cannabis users has compromised our liberty. It has been this way for so long that many of us don’t even recognize the unintended consequences placed on our collective liberty by cannabinoid prohibition – the collateral damage caused by the war. As this changes, as this prohibition comes to a close, we can look forward to a better culture – one with fewer invasions of privacy, fewer arrests, fewer imprisonments – and more human choices for relaxation, more affordable wellness/health care, more tax revenues, and, dare we say it – happier citizens. The days of Reefer Madness, when it was believed that marijuana smoking created homicidal maniacs, are behind us. The days of spaced-out tokesters are behind us. Clearer perceptions about cannabis are emerging. Someone like Montel Williams is the new face of the cannabis patient – a former Marine and successful talk show host who maintains his health through the use of cannabinoids while living with Multiple Sclerosis. Or even beyond any medical perception, someone like Rick Steves – a successful writer and host of travel shows on television and radio. Or even beyond celebrity – perhaps someone like you?

That brings us to Happiness. – Each individual citizen has their own definition of what makes them happy. Notice that the goal is not the “right to be happy” but the pursuit of happiness. This pursuit is intrinsically related to freedom of choice – the right to pursue one’s happiness without infringing upon another’s right to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. One doesn’t have to be a lawyer to understand this is a legal problem – but it is also more than a legal problem. What we have, and what most of us have been born into, is a system that makes the pursuit of happiness a legal problem – one to be policed. This is a relatively new phenomenon. Americans have not always thought the pursuit of happiness was something best handled by the courts. At one time we believed in the “right to be let alone.” In 1928, nine years before cannabis prohibition began, US Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis wrote of our constitutional right to be let alone in the case of Olmstead v. U.S.:

The makers of our Constitution undertook to secure conditions favorable to the pursuit of happiness. They recognized the significance of man’s spiritual nature, of his feelings and his intellect. They knew that only a part of the pain, pleasure and satisfaction of life are to be found in material things. They sought to protect Americans in their beliefs, their thoughts, their emotions and their sensations. They conferred, as against the Government, the right to be let alone – the most comprehensive of rights and the right most valued by civilized men.

The war on cannabis has been an assault on the right to be let alone. This means it is also an attack on the conditions favorable to the pursuit of happiness. In fact, federal cannabinoid prohibition has contributed to a net loss of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness – making its end clear.

One more thing: like the phrase Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness, we, Publius, have many forms – many selves, if you will. In reading the essays in The Cannabis Papers (TCP), you will find that we speak in many voices. That is because there are many voices to be heard.

Allied voices in the cannabinoid truth conspiracy

Publius considers pharmaceutical companies to be kindred spirits and not the enemy. Why? – Because in their hypotheses cannabinoids are good. They assume that a healthy body needs a healthy ECS. They are also science-based and therefore an ally in the war against ignorance.

Tom Brock, a researcher for the pharmaceutical company Cayman Chemical, speaks like an ally. In a 2009 marketing essay titled Cannabinoids: to the Neurons and Beyond, he writes highly of cannabinoids and what they are capable of doing. He asks us to imagine the blessings of healthy cannabinoid receptors:

Imagine what could be achieved if signaling through these receptors could be controlled: happy, slim, and healthy people who remember that they’re pain-free.

Here is a representative of the pharmaceutical industry writing like a flower-child and friend of Publius. Amazing! If Cayman Chemical understands the potential of the ECS, then they are not our opposition, and in many ways they know more about cannabinoids than most cannabis consumers.

As mentioned above, Publius chose the familiar revolutionary phrase from the founding – Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness – to frame this new debate. If we debate cannabinoids and the ECS with the prohibitionists, we always win. They can’t speak this language, the language of cannabinoid science. Like the founding phase of our country, this one involves changing the way we look at an issue. The founders had to deal with how to frame federal power: we have to deal with how to reframe federal power. Thus our objective is Nixon’s law – the 1970 Controlled Substances Act – which is factual wrong.

The error is that herbal cannabinoids are presumed guilty of having no medicinal value – while Marinol and Cesamet, two synthetic cannabinoids, get pharmaceutical passes. From the perspective of cannabinoids and the ECS, this is nonsense.

Here’s why: beyond holding a patent on a medicinal property of cannabinoids, US patent #6630507, a search of the government’s National Institutes of Health (NIH) website, Pub Med, shows that a revolution has taken place in the field of science. No longer are they looking at the evils of marijuana: the field as a whole has moved to a new understanding of cannabinoids and the ECS. Here are a few specific examples from TCP to support the idea that the endocannabinoid system is necessary to human health; the research is easily found on Pub Med:

Retrograde signaling

From TCP #4 DSI for dummies: getting to know cannabinoid history

DSI stands for – Depolarized-induced Suppression of Inhibition. This is one of the ways cells talk back to each other. This form of communication is the chemical process called “retrograde signaling.” In 2004, a Scientific American article titled “The Brain’s Own Marijuana,” put it this way – “endogenous cannabinoids participate in retrograde signaling, a previously unknown form of communication in the brain.” The phrase “previously unknown” explains a lot. That is why most Americans don’t know anything about DSI, retrograde signaling, or the ECS.


From TCP #5 Astrocytes and cannabinoids: reaching for the stars

2010 research in Cancer Investigation shows that THC “inhibited [cancer] cell proliferation, migration and invasion, and induced cell apoptosis.” Cell “apoptosis” is when a cell dies – like a cancer cell. By activating the cannabinoid receptor on the cancer cell, THC is able to tell it to die. Also, this isn’t new; the same thing was found in 1975. See “Anticancer activity of cannabinoids,” in the journal of the National Cancer Institute.

2010: S Leelawat, et al, The dual effects of delta(9)-tetrahydrocannabinol on cholangiocarcinoma cells: anti-invasion activity at low concentration and apoptosis induction at high induction, Cancer Investigation, May 2010:28(4):357-63.

1975: AE Munson, et al, Anticancer activity of cannabinoids, Journal of the National Cancer Institute, September 1975:55(3):597-602.


From TCP #10 “Cannabinoids” succeed where “marijuana” fails:

Research shows that the CB2 receptor “may assist in the treatment of neuropathologies by increasing neurogenesis.” This means cannabinoids support the growth of new brain cells. JR Rivers and JC Ashton, The development of cannabinoid CB2 receptor agonists for the treatment of central neuropathies, Central Nervous System Agents in Medicinal Chemistry, March 2010:10(1):47-64.

See also I Galve-Roperh, et al., The endocannabinoid system and neurogenesis in health and disease, Neuroscientist, April 2007:13(2):109-14.

In the forthcoming section Liberty and Pursuit of Happiness sections we work from more traditional cannabis reform ground. Topics include the 1972 Shaffer Commission, the arrests, getting high, healing, race, drug testing, economics and happiness – all through the science of cannabinoids and the ECS. Acknowledgement of the fundamental role of the ECS in human health – and other mammals we are fond of like dogs and cats and cows and pigs – makes the idea of arresting 800,000 citizens for exercising their ECS with an herbal cannabinoid absurd.

The essays on Liberty and Happiness take truths like "all human beings – in fact all mammals – use cannabinoids" and offers suggestions on how this will effect reform in the immediate future. Simply stated, cannabinoids and the ECS modulate other systems within the human body – and that fact alone represents a revolution in how we think about cannabinoids.

And it’s political! Meaning we need more than clarity. We already have clarity on Pub Med, our government’s science website. We need political focus. – And that focus is clearly Nixon’s law.

There is another important factor. We have a President who won an election based on the idea of change. The President of the United States is referred to by the acronym “POTUS” (www.potus.com

). The political response to finding the 1937 law unconstitutional was led by POTUS 37 (Nixon) and is the CSA. Today, with POTUS 44 (Obama) in charge, it’s time to put Nixon’s law in its place. Based on the scientific evidence, it’s clear to Publius that POTUS 44 should end Nixon’s legacy.

And yes, it’s about the arrests. Arresting citizens for self-medicating with herbal cannabinoids, given the scientific tsunami of good news, is politically untenable. Cannabis arrests went from just under 400,000 to nearly 750,000 by the last year of POTUS 42 (Clinton). That is nearly five million citizens arrested for cannabis violations under POTUS 42.

During POTUS 43 (Bush), annual cannabis arrests remained at the 750,000 level through 2006. In 2007 and 2008 arrests topped 800,000. That is over six million citizens arrested for cannabis under POTUS 43.

Now to the POTUS 44 – Will the legacy of Obama’s administration be more arrests given that cannabinoids are proving to be one of nature’s best-kept secrets? – Or will POTUS 44 end the madness of arresting millions of fellow citizens for possessing herbal cannabinoids? –

The essays in The Cannabis Papers support ending this madness. A search of cannabinoids on Pub Med reveals a world of scientific data supporting cannabinoids as medicine. That’s because the ECS is necessary to life. This is a fact of biology and part of the truth conspiracy. Nixon’s law is a legacy of lies, cruelty and ignorance. – What will Obama’s legacy be?


Publius 2010 is Bryan Brickner, Julie Falco, Dianna Lynn Meyer, Stephen Young, William Abens, Danielle Schumacher, Derek Rea (1954-2008), David Nott, Dan Linn, Dan S. Wang, Brian Allemana, Peter Vilkelis, and many others.

Links to Cannabis Papers essays cited herein:

main link




Charles Shaw is a regular contributor to Alternet, Huffington Post and Reality Sandwich, and the author of Exile Nation: Drugs, Prisons, Politics & Spirituality (2009, Reality Sandwich).

© 2010 openDemocracy.net All rights reserved.
View this story online at: http://www.alternet.org/story/147200/
May You All become Enlightened.

Gay Marriage Victory --plus--

Gay Marriage Victory =

Plus: Executing the Innocent = https://mail.google.com/mail/?shva=1#inbox/12a5b2ad04927dd7

• Confronting Hospital Discrimination = http://gayrights.change.org/blog/view/ball_memorial_hospital_responds_to_criticism_over_treatment_of_transgender_patient

• End Chimpanzee Research = http://animals.change.org/blog/view/great_ape_protection_act_gains_new_ground_in_congress

• Fraudulent For-Profit Colleges = http://education.change.org/blog/view/fraudulent_tactics_lure_students_to_for-profit_colleges

• Romanticizing Southern Slavery = http://race.change.org/blog/view/southern_plantations_werent_so_romantic_for_blacks

The past decade has seen a roller coaster of a ride for same-sex marriage in America. In dozens of states there have been court victories for equality, ballot measure defeats, and legislative equivocation.

But this past week, a court decision set in motion what may move forward a definitive and lasting push for nationwide marriage equality.

For the first time in history, a U.S. federal court judge has ruled that marriage bans like Proposition 8 in California are unconstitutional

, delivering a ruling which said there is "no rational basis" for banning gay marriage, and that barring gays and lesbians from the institution of marriage enshrines discrimination into law.

For Change.org writers Maia Spotts

, Cristian Asher

and Adam Amel Rogers

, this issue hits close to home. All three writers are among the tens of thousands of gay people who were married in California before the passage of Proposition 8. And all three make a compelling case that the issue of same-sex marriage is about more than just the law: it's about love.

As Cristian says

in reflecting on his own wedding: "Gay marriage is such a contentious issue, and inspires so much passion and anger and desperation that it's hard to remember, in the midst of the fight, just how blessed, joyous, and even godly the actual experience can be."

As the debate over gay marriage continues to unfold, we hope this above all can be remembered. Freedom and equality aren't abstract concepts. They affect real lives - of our neighbors, our friends, and our family and loved ones.

For more news from the world of social change, check out the weekly updates below.

Executing the Innocent


This September, a man will be executed in Ohio for a triple murder that evidence shows he didn't commit - unless the state's governor steps in to save him. So far, over 8,500 Change.org

members have written Gov. Ted Strickland asking him to commute Kevin Keith's sentence. The good news, as Criminal Justice blogger Matt Kelley writes, is that he seems to be listening. Help increase the pressure by telling Gov. Strickland to stop the execution of an innocent man today. Read more »

Confronting Hospital Discrimination


After an Indiana hospital ridiculed a transgender patient and eventually refused her treatment, the online LGBT community sprang into action. Gay Rights blogger Jordan Rubenstein writes that Ball Memorial Hospital in Muncie, Indiana received more than 2,000 emails and hundreds of messages on their Facebook page criticizing the way the hospital mistreated a sick LGBT patient. As a result, the hospital has announced that they will incorporate diversity training for all staff, and work with statewide LGBT organizations to review anti-discrimination policies. Witness the power of online activism to confront homophobia and transphobia, wherever it takes place. Read more »

End Chimpanzee Research


The U.S. is the only country in the world that still does large-scale invasive research on great apes. Earlier this year, the Change.org

community agreed that putting an end to chimpanzee experiments was one of the top ten Ideas for Change. Now, for the first time, the Great Ape Protection Act has been introduced in the Senate. Ask your senators to co-sponsor the bill; chimps in labs have never been so close to freedom. Read more »

Fraudulent For-Profit Colleges


It sounds like an oxymoron, or at the very least, a very bad idea. But ‘for-profit' colleges, run by private corporations and often charging far more than their public counterparts, are spreading faster than you can say 'massive debt.' Education blogger Rose Garrett writes that while for-profit colleges are seeing massive growth, there's renewed concern that the sector's rapid growth may be the result of fraudulent recruiting practices that mislead students and their families. Read more »

Romanticizing Southern Slavery


Who doesn't love the splendid plantation mansions from the antebellum South? Take a tour and step inside, where operators do brisk business repackaging history for eager tourists. You'll learn that slavery was a "relative thing," and that slaves slept in quaint, charming guest rooms. As Race in America blogger Tami Winfrey Harris writes, the vision is fantasy at best, but apparently in the South, it sells. Read more »

Have a great week,

– The Change.org Team
May You All become Enlightened.

Kevin Fagan's Piece

Fagan's piece appeared just in time for me to write a note about it
in O'Shaughnessy's, which goes to the printer tomorrow.

A San Francisco Chronicle reporter named Kevin Fagan called on
Monday, July 12, to get some quotes. He explained his angle: NIDA and
the prohibitionists cite studies showing that marijuana is harmful,
while “the pot people” cite studies showing that it’s helpful.
“And you’re going to provide a fair and balanced overview,” I said.
Fagan said yes, that was his goal —and wasn’t it a shame that Fox
news had appropriated that slogan. Fagan said he had already talked
to someone at NIDA and was due to talk to them again at length the
next day. He’d heard I could tell him about the “pro-pot studies.”
So I told him about Donald Tashkin’s finding that smoking marijuana
does not cause lung cancer. I called it “the greatest story never
told” and promised to send O’Shaughnessy’s piece about Tashkin, a
distinguished UCLA pulmonologist who is hardly “pro-pot.” And I told
him about Steven Sidney’s review of 65,000 Kaiser patients’ records
showing that marijuana use does not cause lung cancer or increase
mortality -another suppressed blockbuster. I told him about the data
that Tom O’Connell and other California doctors had compiled about
cannabis-using patients, and about the International Cannabinoid
Research Society...
Given that the medical marijuana movement was a local story of
national importance, I opined, the Chronicle’s coverage over the
years had been meager and superficial. Fagan said they were on it now
—he was one of four reporters assigned to cover Prop 19.
I emailed him my report on Tashkin’s findings along with some advice
about how to pursue the story:
“When you’re talking to the NIDA rep tomorrow, why not ask about the
decision not to feature Tashkin’s findings in NIDA Notes back in
2005? Who made that decision? Which editor(s)? Did they run it by
the director? (Who, BTW, is Leon Trotsky’s great-granddaughter.)
Tashkin’s findings are big news indeed on the science side. But who
suppressed those findings is an equally big story (on the political
Fagan’s piece ran on the front page Sunday July 12 under the
headline, “Healthy or Harmful? Pot debate rages on.” More than twice
as many column inches were devoted to the NIDA line than to studies
showing beneficial effect. Neither Donald Tashkin nor Steven Sidney
was mentioned. I was quoted saying that (Tashkin’s) photomicrographs
of bronchial tissue damaged by cannabis smoke could scare the
daylights out of you —but not quoted saying that (to Tashkin’s
surprise) the damaged cells don’t metastasize, they die off; or that
(Tashkin had concluded) the protective effects of cannabis more than
make up for any collateral cellular damage.
The San Francisco Chronicle should not have to assign a reporter in
July, 2010, to do a quick study on the state of the research on
marijuana as medicine. The Chronicle should have been the paper of
record all these years. And journalists should be fair, of course.
But there’s nothing admirable about giving equal weight to the truth
and to the lies in the name of “balance.”


On Jul 20, 2010, at 7:07 PM, Bruce Mirken wrote:

> Why, one wonders, did they have a general-assignment reporter like
> Kevin Fagan (whom I've talked to before, and who I think actually
> means well) do this story? It's baffling that they didn't have
> someone who covers health or science do it. That wouldn't have
> guaranteed a good story, but it couldn't have hurt. This is an
> inept piece of reporting by a journalist who simply didn't have the
> background to be doing it.
> Bruce Mirken
> ----- Original Message ----- From: "Dale Gieringer" <dale@canorml.org>
> To: <dpfca@drugsense.org>
> Cc: <paul@norml.org>
> Sent: Tuesday, July 20, 2010 1:22 PM
> Subject: DPFCA: SF Chron: How Healthy or Dangerous is MJ
>> ---------------------------------------------------------------------
>> ------
>> This story from Sunday's SF Chronicle exemplifies their low
>> standards of cannabis coverage. The reporter devotes most of the
>> article to NIDA propagandist Susan Weiss, countered by some brief
>> words from Fred Gardner. The reporter failed to consult Paul
>> Armentano, Dr. Donald Abrams or other published experts on marijuana
>> research in the Bay Area inc. myself. As a result, he missed the
>> amazing story about the mounting scientific evidence for marijuana's
>> safety.
>> - Dale G.
>> How healthy - or dangerous - is marijuana use?
>> Kevin Fagan, Chronicle Staff Writer
>> Sunday, July 18, 2010
>> Read more:
>> http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2010/07/18/

>> http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2010/07/18/

>> Proponents of legalizing marijuana say it's a fun-filled wonder weed
>> that relieves all manner of pain and may even cure cancer. Federal
>> researchers and other pot foes say it's the devil's drug, ruining
>> people's lungs and turning stoned drivers into wheeled killers.
>> So, which side is blowing smoke? Is pot healthy for you, or as
>> damaging as, say, tobacco?
>> With only sporadic research possible because marijuana is illegal
>> under federal law, the gray area between the two sides is a yawning
>> gulf - leaving foes and proponents of cannabis plenty of ground to
>> make claims.
>> The question of marijuana's health effects becomes more urgent as the
>> November election draws nearer and California voters consider whether
>> to pass Proposition 19, which would legalize recreational marijuana
>> use. With a recent Rand Corp. study finding that the number of pot
>> smokers would rise substantially if the measure wins, each side in
>> the health debate has all the more reason to convince people that the
>> drug is either damaging or harmless.
>> Devil weed scenario
>> Taking lead for the devil weed portrayal, the National Institute on
>> Drug Abuse - the main federal resource for information about harm
>> caused by narcotics - maintains that cannabis contains as much as
>> 70 percent more carcinogenic hydrocarbons than tobacco, jacks up a
>> user's heart rate by as much as 100 percent and can worsen anxiety
>> and depression.
>> The institute also says research by Harvard University and other
>> organizations shows that marijuana use is responsible for as many as
>> 14 percent of car accidents involving injuries, that people who
>> become addicted mostly say it's degraded their lives, and that
>> inhaling pot smoke damages lungs.
>> "Some people think marijuana is just something they may have used
>> when they were younger, and have different perceptions about its
>> harmfulness, but we want people to know that there are risks out
>> there," said Susan Weiss, a policy chief for the drug abuse
>> institute. "It's not just harmless, especially for young people."
>> This all sounds like the 1936 dope-scare "Reefer Madness" flick to
>> cannabis fans.
>> Pointing to studies conducted by Kaiser Permanente and others, pot
>> supporters say the weed is safer than tobacco because it doesn't
>> cause cancer and is less addictive, when used correctly it relieves
>> rather than exacerbates anxiety and depression, and it even shows the
>> promise of curing cancer.
>> Rather than demonize marijuana as damaging to one's health, advocates
>> say, it should be as celebrated as a drug that has brought relief to
>> hundreds of thousands since voters approved the use of medicinal
>> marijuana in California in 1996.
>> Not a single death has been traced directly to pot use, they say. And
>> as far as claims that stoned drivers get so disoriented they cause
>> car crashes - pro-weed researchers even have a study that disputes
>> that.
>> The National Institute on Drug Abuse "looks for the negative stuff on
>> purpose, and disregards anything positive about cannabis," said Fred
>> Gardner, managing editor of O'Shaughnessy's, a leading pro-cannabis
>> research magazine. "This medicine actually has great benefits, and
>> more people need to know that."
>> Limited research
>> With marijuana illegal at the federal level, research will remain
>> sparse even if the California measure passes. Study grants are small
>> and limited even on a local level, the state is conducting no major
>> research, and federal certifications from agencies such as the Food
>> and Drug Administration, which could authoritatively legitimize
>> claims of usefulness or harm, are impossible for an illegal
>> substance.
>> "There are some issues in doing research because it's illegal," Weiss
>> said. "It can be tricky territory."
>> That's not stopping her and other federal agencies from sounding
>> the alarm.
>> Worrisome studies
>> The chief detrimental aspects of marijuana cited by the national
>> institute and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration are the risks
>> of addiction, the doping-down effect heavy pot use has on a person's
>> physical and mental well-being, and the impairment it causes in the
>> brain that can lead to bad driving.
>> A 2006 paper issued by the DEA, based on research by the national
>> Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and other
>> agencies, contended that 14.6 million people had smoked or otherwise
>> ingested marijuana over a recent one-month period, making it the most
>> commonly used illegal drug in the nation. It also said more people
>> ages 12 to 17 entered rehabilitation treatment programs for marijuana
>> dependence than for alcohol and all illegal drugs combined.
>> Weiss cites a 1994 study by researchers from Johns Hopkins University
>> and the University of Michigan that found about 9 percent of pot
>> smokers become addicted. Although less than the 30 percent figure for
>> cigarette smokers, that's no cause for celebration, she said.
>> As for the self-esteem of those who have toked up heavily: A 2003
>> Harvard medical survey showed that 90 percent of those queried said
>> significant marijuana use had a negative effect on their cognition
>> and memory, and more than half said it hurt their careers, social
>> lives, and physical and mental health.
>> "What we seem to find is that using marijuana, like alcohol, can make
>> you feel good at first, but after you smoke it for a while it can
>> turn against you," Weiss said.
>> Driving while under the influence is another deal-stopper for federal
>> officials regarding pot legalization.
>> Testing for recent marijuana use mostly relies on blood tests,
>> because urine and breath tests aren't as accurate as they are for
>> alcohol. But Weiss's agency says statistics from several localities
>> in the United States, France and Australia over the past 20 years
>> show that, in addition to playing a part in up to 14 percent of
>> injury wrecks, marijuana is a factor in 2.5 percent of fatal
>> accidents.
>> "It causes increased weaving and slower reaction time, much like
>> having drunk beer," Weiss said.
>> Marijuana advocates say doing anything to an extreme can be harmful.
>> But they cite a study on pot and booze in car crashes by Australian
>> doctors Gregory Chesher and Marie Longo that concluded, "At the
>> present time, the evidence to suggest an involvement of cannabis in
>> road crashes is scientifically unproven."
>> The yin-yang contentions also ring loud on anxiety and depression.
>> Studies cited by Weiss' agency contend that marijuana users are more
>> susceptible to those problems. On the other side are medical cannabis
>> dispensers who cite studies such as one published in 2004 in the
>> Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes that said the effects
>> of marijuana include "relief of anxiety and/or depression."
>> Smoking hurts lungs
>> One thing both sides agree on is that sucking smoke into the lungs
>> is not good.
>> "We still don't know if marijuana causes cancer, but breathing in its
>> smoke causes coughing and wheezing and worsens asthma symptoms, like
>> tobacco," Weiss said.
>> Gardner, the marijuana-research magazine managing editor, concurs
>> that smoke damage to lung cells is nasty. "If you saw the photos,
>> you'd never want to take another puff again," he said.
>> But he cites studies at UCLA in 2005 and Kaiser Permanente in 1997 -
>> which, combined, examined the records of more than 65,000 patients -
>> that contended there was no evidence linking marijuana to cancer. And
>> there are always other ways of ingesting the weed, such as eating it,
>> that don't involve smoke, Gardner pointed out.
>> Limiting cancer
>> In fact, he and Steve DeAngelo, whose Harborside Health Center in
>> Oakland is the biggest cannabis dispensary in the country, say that
>> rather than causing cancer, recent studies show that marijuana's CBD
>> component - which unlike the plant's other main component, THC,
>> doesn't produce euphoria - has shown promise as a cancer-inhibiting
>> agent.
>> "Nature gives us everything for a reason," DeAngelo said. "It doesn't
>> make any mistakes. And with cannabis it gave us the single most
>> valuable plant on the planet - no plant can cure so many illnesses
>> and relieve so many symptoms. People need to know that."
>> Weiss agrees that the research showing anti-cancer potential is
>> "fascinating," but she doesn't bite on the "most valuable" bit.
>> "We don't have as good data as we have for alcohol, but the evidence
>> is already clear," she said. "Marijuana is not good for you."
>> E-mail Kevin Fagan at kfagan@sfchronicle.com

>> This article appeared on page A - 1 of the San Francisco Chronicle
>> Read more:
>> http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2010/07/18/

>> MNTQ1EEMAS.DTL#ixzz0uFu9hare
>> --
>> Dale Gieringer - dale@canorml.org

>> Please join me at 'Just Say Now!', NORML's 39 Annual National
>> Conference in Portland Oregon, September 9-11, 2010. For online
>> registration, accommodations, speakers & schedule, expo tables and
>> conference sponsorship opportunities, check out norml.org/conference

>> California NORML, 2261 Market St. #278A, San Francisco CA 94114
>> -(415) 563- 5858 - www.canorml.org
May You All become Enlightened.


Steve Cooley is the biggest threat to California's movement. He's running for attorney general and if he wins, he'll set medical marijuana back a decade.


ASA founder and executive director, Steph Sherer, is here from Washington DC and will be hosting a stakeholders meeting tomorrow night to talk about who Cooley is, what he'll do if he wins, and how we're going to beat him.  


Join Steph and the ASA staffers tomorrow evening, August 10th, at 7pm at 3543 18th St. San Francisco, CA 9411 Room B. Space is limited, please RSVP.


May You All become Enlightened.
"The charges, which have been dropped, involved running a house where
drugs, including marijuana and methampetamine, were used. Dennis has
yet to see the search warrant. He did not have a lawyer. (Terence
called the DA's office.) He has not fully recovered from the stroke
he had in LA in February (approx). Still slurring his words and
maybe not thinking clearly... He did not have a seizure during the
raid but says he couldn't breathe. He'd been having trouble
breathing and had gone to the ER the day before the raid and been
given inhalants, etc. Twelve people were arrested at the house
—"including one guy they pulled off the street," says Dennis... He
thinks the timing was SFPD's way of commemorating the 1996 raid.

On Aug 7, 2010, at 12:19 PM, Fred Gardner wrote:
The raid on Dennis's Cozy Castro Castle was not ENTIRELY about weed.
Among the people he puts up are troubled youths. Many of them are
tweakers, some of them are hustlers of one kind or another. Everyone
on the premises was arrested ( TWELVE in all), including the apparent

"It's true that the August 4, 1996 raid on Dennis's 'Cannabis Buyers
Club' by the Bureau of Narcotics was intended to influence the Prop
215 vote (and backfired, thanks to Doonesberry). But I doubt very
much that this one was intended to influence Prop 19.

I doubt with less conviction that the timing of the raid —just as the
Castro was celebrating Vaughn Walker's ruling that a ban on same-sex
marriage in unconstitutional— was coincidental. (Not that it had been
a night of celebration for Dennis. He has a word for friends who get
married: "SIGS." It stands for "straight-identified gays.")

Those who scold Dennis for allowing young hustlers to hang out at his
house should bear in mind that many of these kids have experienced
starvation and would otherwise be sleeping in alleyways.

Some will say the episode proves the wisdom of those who usurped the
leadership from Dennis in '96. I say being driven out of the
leadership was profoundly demoralizing and led to his present situation.

May You All become Enlightened.

Hi -- this is Jason Rosenbaum, a new campaigner at the PCCC. I've got some urgent news.

Google, who's corporate motto is "Don't be evil," is about to do something really, awfully evil: kill Net Neutrality, the First Amendment of the Internet.

As reported on the front page of the New York Times, they're in secret talks with Verizon "to speed some online content to Internet users more quickly if the content's creators are willing to pay for the privilege."

Click here to stand up for a free and open Internet and sign an open letter that we'll deliver to Google's DC headquarters next week.

The more people who sign by next week's delivery, the more pressure Google will feel -- so please pass this email to friends.

Many groups that organize over the Internet are joining together to save the Internet. This includes the PCCC, Free Press, MoveOn, CREDO, and Color of Change. Josh Silver at Free Press writes at Huffington Post:

The deal marks the beginning of the end of the Internet as you know it. Since its beginnings, the Net was a level playing field that allowed all content to move at the same speed, whether it's ABC News or your uncle's video blog. That's all about to change...

A problem just for Internet geeks? You wish. All video, radio, phone and other services will soon be delivered through an Internet connection. Ending Net Neutrality would end the revolutionary potential that any website can act as a television or radio network.

This Google-Verizon deal, this industry-captured FCC, and the way this is playing out is akin to the largest banks and the largest hedge funds writing the regulatory policy on derivative trading without any oversight or input from the public, and having it rubber stamped by the SEC. It's like BP and Halliburton ironing out the rules for offshore oil drilling with no public input, and having MMS sign off.

Google can still stop this deal -- click here to sign the open letter to Google and stand up for the free and open Internet.

Along with this letter, we're launching an ad campaign targeting Google, so they know people all over the country are watching this deal.

We need you to stand with us and tell Google to stop being evil.

Click here to sign the letter to Google.

Thanks for being a bold progressive,

Jason Rosenbaum and the PCCC team

May You All become Enlightened.



Copyright: 2010 The Sacramento Bee

Author: Peter Hecht, Sacramento Bee


John Wade, 43, a San Francisco commercial lighting specialist, takes a quick hit from a marijuana cigarette on the golf course to steady himself before putting.

Sarika Simmons, 35, of San Diego County, sometimes unwinds after the kids are asleep with tokes from a fruit-flavored cigar filled with pot.

And retiree Robert Girvetz, 78, of San Juan Capistrano, recently started anew - replacing his occasional martini with marijuana.

"It's a little different than I remember," he says. "A couple of hits - and wooooo...."

As California voters prepare to decide in November whether to become the first state to legalize marijuana for recreational use, a new Field Poll conducted for The Sacramento Bee reveals that weed already is deeply woven into society.

Those who use the drug, and their reasons for doing it, may be as diverse as the state itself.

Forty-two percent of adults who described themselves as current users in the July poll said they smoke pot to relieve pain or treat a health condition. Thirty-nine percent use it recreationally, to socialize or have fun with friends.

Sixty percent say marijuana helps them relax or sleep. Twenty-four percent say it stimulates their creativity.

Historically, marijuana use in California remains lower than during peak years of the late 1970s. But voters' approval of Proposition 215, the Compassionate Use Act - which made the state the first to legalize medical marijuana - is changing the social dynamic, according to poll results and interviews with users in 15 counties.

"It's certainly likely that post-Proposition 215, it has become more mainstream and the base of users has broadened",said Craig Reinarman, a UC Santa Cruz sociology professor who has studied marijuana in society.

Other measures back the Field Poll findings:

More than 400,000 Californians use marijuana daily, according to the state Board of Equalization. And state residents consume 16 million ounces of weed a year, from legal and illegal sources.

More than 3.4 million Californians smoked pot in 2008, according to the latest research by the National Survey on Drug Abuse and Health.

And, in the Field Poll, 47 percent of registered voters said they have used marijuana at least once in their life. That exceeds the registration of any political party in the state.

Breaking Stereotypes

Marijuana use in California extends well beyond any stoner stereotype.

"I don't walk around in Bob Marley T-shirts or have a marijuana flag in my room" said Kyle Printz, 44, a Marin County software engineer.

Printz occasionally smokes pot after writing computer code "and dealing with zeros and ones all day long." He said, "It alters your state of mind a bit and does help you relax"

Deborah Pottle, 56, a disabled former state corrections officer from Modesto, has a physician's recommendation for marijuana for her back injuries and a precancerous condition. She prefers cannabis in lozenges and brownies and melds pot flakes into spaghetti sauce and high-protein meals.

"I find it better by a long shot than ... trying to keep pills down" said Pottle, who sees marijuana only as a medical remedy - not recreation.

Nationally, more than 100 million Americans have tried marijuana, and 10 states - led by Rhode Island, Vermont and Alaska - have higher per capita use than the Golden State.

But in California, a proliferating industry of medical cannabis dispensaries, offering exotic strains such as "Blue Dream,"Train Wreck"or "Green Crack," helps supply a vast market, including many people who never venture inside a pot shop.

According to the state Board of Equalization, California marijuana dispensaries - intended to serve bona fide medical users, including AIDS, cancer and chronic pain sufferers - produce up to $1.3 billion in marijuana transactions for people reporting a vast range of ills.

"I'm sure there are people who suffer from any number of maladies that seek therapy from marijuana use,"said Sacramento County Sheriff John McGinness." But for at least as many, I think it's a ruse for healthy people who enjoy the effects of marijuana.

"That's how they obtain it without hassle."

Illegal Trafficking Persists

Ngaio Bealum, editor of West Coast Cannabis, a 50,000-circulation lifestyle publication that bills itself as the Sunset magazine of weed, says the dispensary evolution and sophisticated growing techniques are changing California's pot culture.

But he said illegal marijuana trafficking lives on to satisfy the demand.

"The old-school weed man still exists, but he's had to step his game up",Bealum said. "Now when you go to the clubs (dispensaries), you've got 50 different kinds of pot strains." The weed man now has to offer a few different kinds - and start making brownies, too."

California decriminalized marijuana use and possession 34 years ago. People caught with less than an ounce face a misdemeanor that carries a $100 fine. Those with medical recommendations now can legally possess up to 8 ounces.

Bealum says readily available weed - and the reduced stigma and penalties - make people less wary of consequences.

"As the boomers get older, those guys realized it is really no big deal," he said." And the younger kids don't think it's a big deal, because their parents used to do it."

The July Field Poll shows plummeting support for tougher marijuana laws and increased backing for softer penalties. Yet marijuana arrests continue to rise.

In 2008, California authorities cited 61,388 people on misdemeanor pot offenses and 17,126 for felonies such as illegal trafficking, cultivation or possession for sale. Total arrests were up by nearly one-third since 2003.

According to the Bee-commissioned poll, current marijuana use is most prevalent in the Bay Area and Northern California, including North Coast and Sierra Nevada counties with pot-receptive climates and cultures. Use is lower in the Central Valley and lowest in San Diego/Orange counties.

And, following previous trends, reported pot use is higher among whites than African Americans, Latinos and other ethnic groups.

All Ages and Lifestyles

Marijuana has found niches in the California lifestyle with young people starting their careers, affluent baby boomers and urban professionals.

Ryan Issaco, a 21-year-old San Jose college senior bound for law school, says he gets marijuana from friends with medical cards or from acquaintances who bring weed from North Coast pot-growing regions to the Silicon Valley.

He lights a water pipe and explores "different avenues on the issues" with companions. "I love to talk politics when I'm a little high," Issaco said.

Californians age 40 to 49 - people who grew up a decade or more removed from the hippie era and the Summer of Love - are most likely to have used marijuana at some point in their lives, the poll showed.

Though current use is highest among people between 18 and 29 and earning less than $40,000 a year, pot also is finding a significant foothold among many reaching their prime career earning years.

Steven Keegan, 40, a Los Angeles sporting goods designer, earns more than $100,000 marketing to Fortune 500 companies. He says he smokes pot before a typical weekend day spent with his girlfriend at L.A.'s Zuma Beach.

At bedtime, he relaxes with"Woody Harrelson"; - a popular cannabis strain named for the actor, an outspoken booster of marijuana use.

"I can come home from work and if I'm up at night thinking about various projects, I'll just take a hit and ... I can go to sleep," Keegan said.

John Wade, who does lighting and production for weddings and corporate events, uses his "one hitter" - a miniature pipe that looks like a cigarette - to sneak smokes at Giants baseball games, on ski lifts - and on the golf course.

"You don't want to smoke too much because it can make the game worse," he said. "But I've taken a hit and gone off and had a couple of good holes. I seem to be able to focus on my putting better. '

According to the Field Poll, the overwhelming majority of current pot smokers prefer to use it at home or a friend's house. Smaller numbers say they enjoy it at parties, concerts or outdoors.

Simmons, of San Marcos, sometimes retreats to a patio to relieve stress once her three daughters are asleep and won't notice.

"I don't even like the smell of it on my hands or body," she said. "I'm very discreet about it."

Some Share 'Medical Pot'

Dawn Sanford, a call center data entry worker from Sacramento, said she rarely buys marijuana herself. But she reaches out to friends with a ready supply or a medical recommendation.

Sanford has never seen a physician for a pot referral but suffers occasional panic attacks. Sometimes, she said, she calls a female friend who uses marijuana for anxiety to ask, "Can we do this please?"

The potential for pot purchased at medical dispensaries to be diverted for recreational use is prompting efforts to prevent patients from reselling or giving away pot.

Purchasers are limited to 2 ounces a week at Harborside Health Center, which serves 48,000 medical users through its Oakland and San Jose dispensaries. The Oakland outlet alone handles $20 million a year in marijuana transactions, according to the center.

Harborside bans cell phones or money exchanges on dispensary premises. It looks for people whose approach - such as buying up particular pot strains or purchasing in multiple quantities - suggest they may be planning to resell it.

"We've trained our staff to identify transactions that may be suspicious," said Harborside Director Steve DeAngelo." When you have dual markets, one legal and one illegal, existing side-by-side, you're going to have the issue of diversion."

Many marijuana users have friends who bring home dispensary pot as easily as picking up the groceries.

So in Riverside County, Annette Drennan, 30, an amateur astrologer who is taking a class on meditation, enjoys smoking with her boyfriend - a pot patient - because "when I get stoned I can really feel the present."

Sociologist Reinarman said, "The line that separates recreational use from medical use is blurred" by the infusion of medical pot into California's popular culture.

"There is no contradiction from people who sometimes use it for pain or sometimes use it for sleep or sometimes use it because it is fun and or stimulates their creativity," he said.

The notion offends Lanette Davies, who runs Sacramento's Canna Care dispensary, which serves 5,000 registered marijuana patients.

Davies believes many illicit marijuana users may be self-medicating for undiagnosed medical conditions. But she said,"I don't support people using strictly for recreation. If you want to take Vicodin simply because it feels good, that doesn't make it OK."

While many dispensaries pitch exotic pot strains, such as "Grandaddy Grape Ape" and "Brainstorm Haze" as if they were prize-winning vintages of wine, Canna Care rejected the common name of one popular variety. It changed "Green Crack"; to "Green Lady" avoid an appeal to recreational users.

"We will not put up 'crack,"Davies said.

Marketing Approaches Vary

Pot marketing is booming with the burgeoning medical marijuana industry.

MediCann, a California physicians network that has overseen referrals for more than 200,000 patients, portrays medicinal marijuana use as a mainstream experience.

Its "typical stoner" ad campaign features photos of real estate agents, marketing executives, veterans, community volunteers, professors and plumbers who find relief for anxiety, arthritis, nausea, sleeplessness or back pain.

By contrast, an advertisement for Los Angeles' Grateful Meds dispensary appears to pitch mind-altering rewards.

"The place where patients are high-spirited!" says an ad in a Los Angeles pot culture magazine. With depictions of semi-nude women, the advertisement offers free joints or pot brownies for each new "patient."

"This is what we've come to," said John Redman, executive director of Californians for Drug Free Youth. Such appeals attract young adults and make a drug culture attractive to teens, he said. "How is it that we as a society cannot look at that?"

Redman contends depictions of pot as a cool and natural alternative to other drugs are akin to the Joe Camel ads that were blamed for drawing kids to cigarettes.

According to national drug survey data, one-third of current California marijuana users are 18 to 25. Twelve percent - nearly 425,000 - are ages 12 to 17.

Lure Surprises Some

The complexity and lure of the contemporary pot market surprises even some veteran users such as Wade, who started smoking as a teenager.

As a grown-up, he cited occasional hives and rashes to get a physician's recommendation. That entitled him to shop dispensaries featuring scores of marijuana varieties. They include cannabis sativa plants - said to produce a cerebral high; indica plants - considered body relaxants; and crossbred plants said to offer both medicinal effects.

Some strains pack a greater psychoactive punch than Wade was ready for. "I found them too strong," he said.

Wade has a favorite - "Blackberry Kush," an indica strain he says has "great flavor "and crystal-like texture that"looks like someone took the buds and rolled them in sugar."

The new culture is luring back former pot smokers, too.

Robert Girvetz tried marijuana more than 40 years ago, indulged for a few years and moved on with little nostalgia. But then, well into his 70s and "very much retired "; from running a window-covering business, he was reintroduced by friends and relatives.

A cousin gave Girvetz a vaporizer that let him use pot without lighting up. Preferring marijuana to cocktails, he savors it" once every couple of months, just for kicks."

Girvetz did have one notable bad experience. "I ate a whole (pot) brownie when I shouldn't have," he said." I almost had to crawl out of my chair to get into bed."
May You All become Enlightened.

Copyright: 2010 The Sacramento Bee

Author: Dale Gieringer, Special to The Bee

Note: Dale Gieringer is the California director of the marijuana legalization group NORML, the National Organization for Reform of Marijuana Laws.


Critics of this November's Proposition 19 initiative to legalize marijuana are raising concerns that it could lead to an epidemic of road accidents by pot-impaired drivers.

Because accidents, unlike other purported hazards of marijuana, pose a risk to non-users, such concerns deserve to be addressed seriously.

Fortunately, there exists extensive evidence showing that marijuana, unlike alcohol, does not pose a major highway safety hazard, and that liberal marijuana laws have no adverse impact on highway safety.

Studies on marijuana and driving safety are remarkably consistent, though greatly under-publicized because they fail to support the government's anti-pot line. Eleven different studies of more than 50,000 fatal accidents have found that drivers with marijuana-only in their system are on average no more likely to cause accidents than those with low, legal levels of alcohol below the threshold for DUI.

The major exception is when marijuana is combined with alcohol, which tends to be highly dangerous.

Several studies have failed to detect any increased accident risk from marijuana at all. The reason for pot's relative safety appears to be that it tends to make users drive more slowly, while alcohol makes them speed up.

Thus legalization could actually reduce accidents if more drivers used marijuana instead of alcohol, but it could also increase them if there were more combined use of the two.

So what will happen if California approves Proposition 19? Contrary to the claims of some opponents, Proposition 19 does not change current laws against driving under the influence. Nor would it bar testing of bus drivers or other safety-critical workers, as some have alleged; in fact, it explicitly protects the right of employers to address consumption that impairs job performance. Nor would it override federal drug-free work-force rules any more than did Proposition 215.

Nor would legalization necessarily dramatically increase the number of pot smokers. Studies have consistently failed to find any relationship between marijuana laws and usage rates. In the Netherlands, where marijuana is publicly available in coffee shops, usage is only half that in the United States. The Netherlands also boasts one of Europe's lowest road fatality rates, well below its neighbors.

Similarly, California, despite having the freest medical marijuana regime in the nation, ranks 18th among states in marijuana use and boasts a highway fatality rate well below the national average.

Proposition 19 critics cite a recent report by retired researcher Al Crancer warning that the percentage of fatal drivers with marijuana in their blood has increased in California since 2004. (This doesn't mean that marijuana necessarily caused the accidents, just that the drivers had used it in the past hours or days). Crancer spuriously blames this on the legalization of medical marijuana, but that happened in 1996, not 2004. Moreover, his data suggest similar trends in other states.

In fact, California ranks 14th in the nation in the rate of marijuana involvement in accidents, well behind states with tougher marijuana laws such as South Carolina, Indiana and Missouri. Crancer's data also show that two of the state's most pot-friendly counties, San Francisco and Santa Cruz, had zero pot-related road fatalities in 2008. All of this shows that liberal access to pot doesn't necessarily mean more DUIs.

Still, it seems reasonable to assume that legalization would increase the number of pot users. A Rand Corp. report on legalization envisions a possible doubling in usage in California bringing us back to the same level as in the late 1970s, when marijuana use peaked.

You don't remember an epidemic of highway accidents back when pot was so popular? That's because it didn't happen. U.S. accident rates declined steadily throughout the 1960s and '70s, even while tens of millions of Americans were introduced to marijuana. Happily, accident rates have declined steadily since records were kept, thanks to improved technology, safer roads, better enforcement and public education.

Californians have little reason to fear an epidemic of auto accidents if Proposition 19 passes. New users would include many law-abiding persons who were previously deterred by its illegality and who would be more apt to respect DUI laws than today's scofflaw users. Other problems could be controlled by common-sense enforcement and regulations, such as discouraging combined sales of liquor and pot.

Long ago, the architect of marijuana prohibition, Federal Bureau of Narcotics Commissioner Harry Anslinger, warned that legalizing marijuana would mean "slaughter on the highways." Anslinger also warned that pot turned users into homicidal assassins, maniacs and addicts. Then as now, the public would be wise to disregard such reefer madness.
May You All become Enlightened.
New mechanism controls efficacy of marijuana-like substance in brain

Published: Saturday, Aug 7, 2010, 13:49 IST

Place: London | Agency: ANI

A newly discovered molecular mechanism helps control the amount and
effectiveness of a substance that mimics an active ingredient in

However, this substance is produced by the body's own nerve cells.

William R. Marrs of the Neurobiology and Behavior program at the
University of Washington (UW) and Dr. Nephi Stella, UW professor of
pharmacology and psychiatry conducted the study.

The find may improve treatment in people with multiple sclerosis,
Huntington's disease and other neurological disorders.

Specifically targeted treatments, for example, might give cancer and
AIDS patients the same medicinal benefits as marijuana without its
mind-altering properties.

Cannabinoid signalling systems use signals called endocannabinoids -
chemicals that mimic the effect of marijuana.

They are common throughout the body and affect a variety of functions.

Stella's team looked at an enzyme called ABHD6 that degrades 2-AG
nerve signalling substance by splitting it with water. 2-AG is an
endocannabinoid that is also implicated in brain cell migration and
brain tissue inflammation.

The broken down 2-AG was less effective in stimulating the microglia
- the brain defenders -- to get moving.

"The enzymatic steps that control the production and inactivation of
endocannabinoids constitute promising molecular targets for
indirectly modulating the activity of cannabinoid receptors," the
authors noted.

Designing treatments that manage the production and inactivation of
important enzymes like ABHD6 could thereby control such conditions as
brain inflammation or overactive brain signals.

For example, blocking a specific enzyme to heighten a certain signal
might ameliorate pain and also act as anti-anxiety and antidepressant
therapy, the authors explained.

Drugs that reduce the activity of the ABDH6 enzyme might prevent
brain damage from an overactive response to a virus.

The results were reported in the latest Nature Neuroscience
May You All become Enlightened.

Theresa Sparks!


In The Cut: Theresa Sparks for District 6--is telling like it is--6th street is even worse!


We NEED to get our troops OUT of an ILLEGAL WAR and Support them coming home SAFE! That's what I say!
May You All become Enlightened.

Smegma Witlessman!


"A president who doesn't acknowledge the virtually universal consensus among scientists that mankind is dangerously overheating its home planet stands to be upstaged by a governor -- a fellow Republican -- who does."

"Meg Whitman also wants to use the governor's executive power to put a one-year moratorium on AB 32, the climate bill which was signed into law by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, a fellow Republican."


Meg Whitmann is an ENEMY to California's Environment!
May You All become Enlightened.

Kamala Harris, the “Female Obama,” Wins Primary for California Attorney General--

May You All become Enlightened.

"I'm frustrated with myself on this one, to be truthful," Newsom added. "But I'm just not there yet. I hope to be there someday, though."

He nor she NEVER said that they HATED anything--they are both just sick and tired of people potentially abusing a good thing--we ALL are--but with some gentle persuasion they just might see the light! This article sounds like something to HURT their campaigns--I actually know them both and know that their minds can and will be changed!

Write to them, be nice and tell them both why this is such an important issue--thanks!

YES ON 19!


May You All become Enlightened.


May You All become Enlightened.
CA Prop 19: Legal, Regulated Marijuana Favored 50%-40% in New Poll

By: Jon Walker

Monday July 12, 2010 8:04 pm


3 Share



California’s Proposition 19, which will legalize, regulate and tax marijuana, is currently winning, 50 percent yes to 40 percent no, according to a new SurveyUSA poll

of likely voters sponsored by CBS 5 KPIX-TV



Prop. 19:
Certain Yes 50
Certain No 40
Not Certain 11
(Note: Because of rounding, poll does not always add up to 100 percent)

This is an automatic poll of 614 likely voters with a margin of error of 4 percent. The poll shows a substantially higher preference for marijuana legalization than other recent surveys from Field Research

and Reuters/Ipsos

, which both had the measure losing narrowly.

Digging deeper in the numbers, not surprisingly, we see that young voters, 18-34, overwhelmingly support Prop. 19 by a margin of 70-22, while voters over 65 oppose it 50-37. Republicans as a whole oppose the initiative, but Democrats and independents favor it by large margins. The race breakdown is the most interesting measure.

Prop 19 Whites Black Hispanic Asian
Certain Yes 50 52 46 53
Certain No 40 24 43 38
Not Certain 11 24 11 9

SurveyUSA does not show a large disparity in support for Prop. 19 between whites and minorities, while the Field Poll found racial minorities significantly more opposed to marijuana legalization than white voters were. For example, SurveyUSA found Hispanics as the racial group least inclined toward Prop. 19 but still showed them supporting it, 46-43. In the Field poll

(PDF) on the other hand, Latinos opposed strongly with only 36 percent supporting Prop. 19, and 62 percent against. Field also had only a bare majority, 52 percent, of young voters supporting Prop. 19. But SurveyUSA found 70 percent of young voters planning to vote yes. This is a significant difference between the two pollsters.
I have heard speculation that there might be a slight reverse “Bradley effect,” where some voters are embarrassed to be supporting Prop. 19 and are telling a live interviewer they oppose it. This might explain why SurveyUSA’s automatic poll, without a live interviewer, has Prop. 19 doing better. Looking at the cross tabs, if there is some type of reserve Bradley effect taking place, the likely source is possibly minorities and young voters who don’t feel comfortable telling a live interviewer they support Prop

May You All become Enlightened.
Mohammadi Ashtiani, an Iranian mother of two, could be executed as early as tomorrow.

As of yesterday, the Iranian government was set to carry out the barbaric use of stoning against Mohammadi Ashtiani for allegedly conducting an "illicit relationship outside marriage," despite the lack of any corroborating evidence against her.

Iranian officials were prepared to bury Mohammadi Ashtiani up to her chest and then throw stones at her head until she died. But after a major international uproar, Iranian officials changed their minds.

Mohammadi Ashtiani is now in danger of being executed by other means.

Stop Iran's execution of Mohammadi Ashtiani >

Iran's government just doesn't get it - execution is wrong no matter which means are used.

What's worse - Mohammadi Ashtiani has already been punished for her alleged crime. In May 2006, she received 99 lashes as her sentence and has been imprisoned ever since.

But the fact that Iranian officials have already changed their minds once about Mohammadi Ashtiani's fate proves that they are listening. Iran's draconian policies are not immune to international pressure.

Let them know the international community stands united against this injustice. Tell Iran to stop the executions >

At least 126 executions have taken place in Iran just this year. Each one was in defiance of international human rights standards.

But we can take action now to ensure that another cruel and senseless killing will not be added to the tally.

Please, the clock is ticking. Don't let Mohammadi Ashtiani be executed.

Thank you for your urgent action,

- The Change.org

team in partnership with Amnesty International USA
May You All become Enlightened.
The United States and Russia have over 9,000 nuclear weapons between them. Fortunately, we have an historic opportunity to reduce this threat.

Demand a world without nuclear weapons, START now. »

The two countries recently signed a treaty called the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) which will remove weapons from both countries' arsenals. This is the first step in moving towards a world without nuclear weapons, but the treaty needs the approval of the U.S. Senate.

With the world held in a delicate balance that could be shattered by an act of terrorism, failed diplomacy or a simple accident -- START must be ratified. Anything else would be a terrible mistake.

Act now to send a letter to your senators urging them to ratify the New START Agreement. »

Thanks for taking action!

May You All become Enlightened.


NAACP LEADER'S OUSTER IS SOUGHT More than 20 African American religious and community leaders called Wednesday for Alice Huffman to resign as president of the California State Conference of the NAACP after she and her organization endorsed a ballot measure that would legalize marijuana in the state. Bishop Ron Allen and other members of the International Faith-Based Coalition said Proposition 19 on the November ballot would hurt African Americans, and he criticized Huffman's backing of the measure. "Why would the state NAACP advocate for blacks to stay high?" Allen said at a Capitol news conference. "It's going to cause crime to go up. There will be more drug babies." Huffman said she would not step down, and she fired back at her critics during a later conference call with reporters that included African American leaders from throughout the nation who support her position. "Prop. 19 is about eliminating enforcement practices that are targeting and creating a permanent underclass of citizens, of African Americans, caught in a criminal justice system while other people, a more privileged class, go free," Huffman said. She cited a recent report by the Drug Policy Alliance, which supports legalization of marijuana. African Americans represent less than 7% of the population but 22% of marijuana arrests, according to Stephen Gutwillig, state director of the alliance. Huffman also read a statement from Julian Bond, former chairman of the national NAACP, in which he congratulated her for her stand on decriminalization. "It seems to me that you and the California NAACP are as right as you can be," the statement said. "The war on drugs is an absolute failure. It targets black people." Allen suggested that Huffman's position is influenced by financial considerations - in particular, perhaps, by money the national NAACP receives from billionaire George Soros' Open Society Institute. Soros helped finance the successful campaign to legalize medical use of marijuana in California. Huffman said her group "has not received a penny" of the more than $700,000 given to the national organization.
May You All become Enlightened.
San Francisco Establishes First Pot Brownie Regulations

Rules could help avoid trips to the emergency room.

By David Downs

The San Francisco Department of Public Health has established some of
America's first pot brownie and even milkshake regulations in
response to the growing sector of the medical cannabis industry.
Edible baked goods, as well as ice cream, lollipops, chewing gum, and
even olive oil tinged with THC, have become a smash hit in
California's dispensaries. But such edibles can lead to frightening
experiences and even emergency room visits when they are accidentally
ingested or improperly prepared. Anecdotal stories and news headlines
abound of grandmas, children, and pets accidentally eating some
unmarked baked goods and experiencing cannabis' sometimes harrowing

The city's new medical cannabis regulations call for labeling the
amount of marijuana on each individually marked, opaquely wrapped
cookie or rice krispie treat, and keeping pets and children out of
any kitchen where they're being made. No treats should resemble any
type of candy. And no dispensary can make hot or cold foods like
milkshakes or ice cream without a special permit from the Public
Health Department, which has designed coursework and an exam for

San Francisco's Green Cross delivery dispensary operator Kevin Reed
has implemented the guidelines and says they're necessary to prevent
accidental exposure to the psychoactive herb. "There are a million
different advantages to edible products, but then you have people who
turn around and put Snickers labels on it, and an average kid can't
tell the different between a Snickers bar and a pot Snicker bars," he
said. "There's still this Wild West mentality."

Reed's grandmother accidentally got into a plate of pot cookies at
his apartment four years ago and demanded to see an emergency room
doctor when the effects came on. "The first one was good, so thirty
to forty minutes she had another. She wasn't from here and didn't
have any education. When I came in, she said she ate these two
cookies and said she was feeling kind of funny. Her blood pressure
was up, her heart was pumping. She got paranoid and asked to be taken
to the emergency room.

She even accused Reed of wanting to take her insurance money and
inheritance. "I would definitely recommend that patients consider
cookies just like their medication, like their Vicodin," he said. "It
should all be locked up. If it's not labeled, you don't want to be
that one explaining to Mom why her heart is beating that fast."

According to David Byrnes with California's Office of Statewide
Health Planning and Development, the state does not track
cannabis-specific emergency room visits so there's no way to quantify
a rise related to the billion-dollar state industry.

Regarding animals, however, local vets say accidental cannabis
ingestion is fairly common. Dr. Chris Johnson, doctor of veterinary
medicine and intern at San Francisco Veterinary Specialists, says
accidental ingestion isn't really an issue in Oklahoma, where he's
from. In San Francisco, however, pot trumps other common poisonings
like Tylenol, insecticides, antifreeze, and blood-pressure
medication. "Of the top five sources of poisoning, I would have to
say certainly marijuana is at the top," he said. "I would have to say
chocolate is at the top but those two go hand in hand."
Johnson said animals present symptoms of stress when they've been
dosed, but, as with humans, it's never killed anyone. Pot makes
animals uncomfortable, and the course of treatment involves fluids
and observation.

"Most of the time they're really jittery and they're kind of
hyperactive. They're very sensitive to different stimuli like noise
and light," he said. "We may or may not give things like Valium to
kind of help and just relax them."

A San Francisco resident and edible cannabis consumer who wished to
remain anonymous said he accidentally left out a plate of pot
brownies overnight and awoke in the early morning to his beloved dog
vomiting and staggering down the hallway. The experience was
terrifying. "We thought he was having stroke," he said.
Rushed to a veterinary ER, the canine presented low blood pressure,
high pulse, and was kept overnight, costing his owner a couple
hundred dollars. "He ended up being fine, but it was spooky."

David Goldman, a spokesperson for medical pot group Americans for
Safe Access, said the drug is rather harmless, but people should
exercise some basic common sense. "Most people after they come down
from brownies they feel fine, they're hungry and okay," he said. "I
think the real onus is on parents and guardians of children to cook
and keep edibles in a safe place. It's just common sense."

Even experienced users need to pay attention to dosage, Goldman
added, who also sits on San Francisco's Medical Cannabis Task Force.
Back in January, Kinman Chan, a thirty-year-old man from San
Francisco, claimed he was high on a double dose of medical pot
cookies when he screamed, dropped his pants, and attacked crew
members on a cross-country flight from Philadelphia to Los Angeles,
forcing its diversion to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Seeds & Stems

Last week the NAACP threw its unconditional support to what is now
Prop. 19, the Tax and Control Cannabis Act. ... Grammy Award-winning
musician Ziggy Marley is the author of new comic book Marijuanaman.
The first issue hits shelves April 20, 2011, and will be published by
Berkeley-based Image Comics. In the meantime, Marley will make an
appearance at Comic-Con International on Saturday, July 24.


Attachment: http://drugsense.org/temp/tfO0K6QABQ3L.html
May You All become Enlightened.

Fairfax allows MCD to provide delivery

Fairfax allows MCD to provide delivery

Fairfax residents unable to travel to a medical marijuana dispensary can now legally receive home delivery.

The town Planning Commission approved the move and also granted the Marin Alliance for Medical Marijuana permission to serve minor patients who enter its School Street dispensary, and to sell cloned marijuana plants.

But the commission refused to allow the club to grow plants of its own, because founding director Lynnette Shaw has not yet said where the group would do so.

The decision marked a victory for Shaw, who has labored since February to change 40 of the 84 conditions the Planning Commission imposed on her business in 1997, when it became the first legally sanctioned medical marijuana dispensary to operate under California's Compassionate Use Act of 1996.

"I am proud of Fairfax," Shaw said in a statement. "I feel honored by all the support we have."

The town removed 12 of Shaw's conditions in 2001 and deleted nine more on June 17, agreeing to modify an additional 31. Under the new conditions, the Marin Alliance can make deliveries to customers in Fairfax in one of two trucks. A licensed, bonded driver must accompany a dispensary employee while making deliveries, and the dispensary must carry insurance that indemnifies the town from liability. Drivers can carry up to $2,500 in marijuana products and $2,500 in cash.

Shaw had sought the delivery service to allow the Marin Alliance to compete with unlicensed clubs from Marin County and licensed clubs from San Francisco, both of which had begun delivering marijuana to Fairfax residents.

That's a problem Kevin Reed can understand. For the past three years, Reed has operated The Green Cross, a medical marijuana delivery service based in his San Francisco home.

"Mine was the first dispensary in the city of San Francisco to get a permit to sell cannabis with the stipulation that it be delivery only - and they wanted it to be 'delivery only' because it was out of my home," Reed said. "All clubs (in San Francisco) that have a permit to sell medical cannabis can deliver, but most choose not to do so, because there's absolutely no money in it. It's easier to open a storefront and have people come to them."

During the past year, however, Reed has faced competition from illegal delivery services taking advantage of the shifting legal climate surrounding marijuana use.

After one attempted robbery early in its operation, The Green Cross developed a code of conduct for its employees and patients. "We drive unmarked cars," Reed said. "All of our drivers have panic buttons on their cars. And there are a couple of neighborhoods we just don't go into after dark."

Concerns about delivery safety led Fairfax Police Chief Ken Hughes to oppose the delivery provision, and Planning Commissioner Pamela Meigs to abstain from the commission's vote.

"The other (changes to the) use permit I felt OK with, but I could not agree with the delivery system," Meigs said. "I feel safety is a priority for the community."

The Planning Commission agreed to the changes on a vote of 5-1-1, following four consecutive meetings on the issue. While Meigs abstained, commissioner Peter Lacques cast the sole dissenting vote, objecting to the provision that allows minors to enter the dispensary.

"I feel very strongly there's absolutely no rational reason why minors should be allowed into the dispensary," Lacques said.

Aware that they were potentially blazing new legal ground, members of the commission spent many hours researching and debating the many aspects of the Marin Alliance's permit, with assistant town attorney Inder Khasla spending more than 20 hours on the case, at $195 an hour.

Yet town officials say it's unlikely the permit will serve as an effective blueprint for two other medical marijuana dispensaries that have applied to set up shop in Fairfax in recent months - or others who could apply in the future.

"We do not have an ordinance relative to this use," said Fairfax Planning Director Jim Moore. "We have to evaluate these requests on an applicant to applicant basis."
May You All become Enlightened.
How towns sort out medical marijuana facilities

Kevin Fagan, Chronicle Staff Writer

Tuesday, June 22, 2010
Massage and acupuncture are offered at the Peace in Medic...

Aimee Polacci, the center's garden resource manager, insp...

Rick Cheek smells a sample at the Peace in Medicine Heali...

Patients can choose from many marijuana varieties at the ...


Mention medicinal marijuana dispensaries and people tend to think of either the giant operations in Oakland or the hippie-tinged forests of the Emerald Triangle up north.

But sprayed throughout the state, in little towns where you wouldn't expect such a thing, are hundreds of cannabis dispensaries that have a special challenge.

In burgs like Galt in the Sacramento Valley, where cowboys and Republicans rule the zeitgeist, and even in the tie-dyed Sonoma County enclave of Sebastopol, dispensary operators have to work extra hard to make the neighbors feel comfortable with their businesses - because in towns that small, everybody knows everyone and attitudes are worn on everyone's sleeves.

Sometimes, as in Sebastopol, this works well. Sometimes, as in Galt, it's not so smooth.

Both experiences offer valuable glimpses into what may be in store in November if the Regulate, Control and Tax Cannabis Act initiative on the statewide ballot passes and legalizes recreational marijuana use for the first time in the United States.
Confusing territory

Those on the front lines of the small-town dispensary scene say anyone planning to sell pot should be prepared to bend over backward to meet local regulations and otherwise make nice with officials and neighbors. But sellers should also understand that in some places, there will be resistance no matter what.

It's confusing territory, by definition. The 1996 state law authorizing medicinal marijuana doesn't specify whether cities and counties can ban or even regulate local use, so it has been left to cities and counties to come up with their own playbooks.

To date, 141 cities and counties in California have banned marijuana dispensaries, and 41 cities and counties have passed laws regulating them, according to Americans for Safe Access, an advocate for medical marijuana providers. The other 354 cities and counties have either not addressed the situation or passed simple moratoriums capping the number of dispensaries at existing levels.

There's little doubt where the sentiments lie in Sebastopol.
Peaceful pot peddlers

"It's absolutely essential that local jurisdictions have control over the dispensaries, and that they make sure they are working well with their neighborhoods," said Sebastopol City Councilman Larry Robinson.

Exhibit A, he said: the Peace in Medicine Healing Center, the only dispensary in his town of 7,700 people. The collective opened in 2007 in a former Ford car dealership building. Before the first bud hit the counter, its managers made sure to knock on the doors of every neighbor in sight.

Executive Director Robert Jacob met with the police chief and other community leaders to make sure the center would be following city laws requiring that dispensaries provide their own security and verify that patients are eligible for medical marijuana.

Today, most people wouldn't know from the snappy, earth-toned exterior of Peace in Medicine that 3,800 medicinal cannabis users come in for everything from marijuana to pain-controlling acupuncture treatments and massages. From the road, it looks more like a high-end insurance office - with a smiling security guard unobtrusively posted at the door, and others posted less visibly around the complex.
Paying taxes

"They've been good citizens in our community, very scrupulous about the guidelines we established," Robinson said. "They're respectful of their neighbors and keep a low profile.

"Frankly, I'm happy to have them in the community, not the least for their tax revenue," the councilman said. The sales taxes paid to Sebastopol - $85,000 a year, the dispensary says - is more than the old car dealership used to pay.

"We want to give a positive healing image," Jacob said. "It's so sad when we have such a large segment of society living in shame, feeling they have to hide their use. Being good neighbors and setting a good example is how we counteract that negativity."

It hasn't gone as well elsewhere in Sonoma County, where a judge in December tossed out the county's dispensary permit law for unincorporated areas. The number of pot clubs since then has grown from four to nearly two dozen, and robberies and complaints have skyrocketed with them, authorities say.

"They're just popping up all over," said Dave McCullick, vice president of the 4,000-member Sonoma Patient Group dispensary in Santa Rosa, which had to adhere to city regulations when it opened two years ago. "And with no guidelines now in the unincorporated areas, you can have people selling methamphetamine on the side, or opening near a school with no security. It's bad for all of us."
Unwanted, but trying

About 80 miles east, in 24,000-population Galt, is an example of how nasty things can get under the haziness of state law.

There, the Galt Health & Wellness Center opened last month in a strip mall on an industrial stretch of the Sacramento County town - and instantly got in a fight with the city.

The City Council banned dispensaries in 2009, but the Galt center's managers said the ordinance was invalid under the state medicinal marijuana law. So they sued as soon as Galt officials told them to shut down. As the legalities have been grinding through Sacramento County Superior Court, the dispensary has picked up more than 200 patients.

At least two similar suits are pending in a state appeals court, where they were sent after local judges upheld pot-club bans in Anaheim and Lake Forest, both in Orange County.

"We are the only dispensary between Sacramento and Turlock," said the Galt dispensary's office manager, Katrina Mora, "so there is a great need for our services. Because this is a small town, we're really interested in helping the community, paying taxes, doing community outreach. We just have to get that conversation going."
Neighbors don't mind

Neighbors of the dispensary, including a smog-check shop and a cigarette store, said they have no complaints about the dispensary. "I've seen a few old people go in and out over there, but heard nothing from the place," said Smog Tech 3 technician Sonny Ayala. "It's not like they're a bunch of stoners."

That's not good enough for the City Council, though.

"It's disturbing that they just blatantly thumbed their nose at us and opened up like that," Mayor Barbara Payne said. "Every citizen I have talked to, including the historical society that I am a member of, is totally against this sort of business opening in Galt.

"The fact that one of the first things they did was put up bulletproof glass in their office indicates they think there might be a problem, too," Payne said.
City, county control

November's ballot measure to legalize recreational weed use would let cities and counties control the taxation and sale of marijuana, but it would also legalize the use of up to an ounce per person. That has Payne concerned.

"If this is how a dispensary behaves now, what can we expect in November if the initiative passes?" she said. "How are you going to enforce anything?"

The answer from Sebastopol's Jacob and others who have successfully integrated into their communities is to take things slowly and to work closely with the cities and counties before launching operations.

"If that measure passes, adult use of marijuana will go up 10 times or more," Jacob said. "The best thing to do is for cities and counties to get involved in regulation now, so it doesn't take anyone by surprise."
The Regulate, Control and Tax Cannabis Act of 2010

What it would do: Legalize possession of up to 1 ounce of marijuana for personal recreational use by anybody 21 or older, and allow each person to grow weed in a 5-by-5-foot space. It would permit local governments to regulate and tax commercial sale and production.

Who's for it? The medicinal marijuana industry, pot growers who see the potential for a wider market, some law enforcement officials and doctors, and a few politicians, including Oakland mayoral candidate Don Perata.

Who's against it? Major law enforcement organizations, including the California Peace Officers Association, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and the candidates to replace him, and some pot growers who believe it would drive down pot prices.

E-mail Kevin Fagan at kfagan@sfchronicle.com.


This article appeared on page A - 1 of the San Francisco Chronicle
May You All become Enlightened.
Yesterday, June 3, marijuana policy was on the agenda in the California State Legislature, and the results were mixed. One positive bill passed the Senate, one bad bill passed the Assembly, and one good bill was voted down in the Assembly.

Senate supports downgrading marijuana possession

In a 21-13 vote, the Senate approved S.B. 1449, which would reclassify possession of under an ounce of marijuana from a misdemeanor to a civil infraction. The penalty would remain a $100 fine. The bill — which is sponsored by Sen. Mark Leno (D-San Francisco), a longtime champion of sensible marijuana policies — is now in the Assembly, and will soon be assigned to a committee. Please call your Assembly member in support of this bill.

If S.B. 1449 is enacted, it would ensure that people accused of simple possession would not have to go before a judge, saving a substantial amount of tax dollars. It would also stop saddling low-level marijuana offenders with criminal records. Although MPP believes this bill is a step in the right direction, making possession an infraction also has some downsides: It would also eliminate the right to a public defender and a jury trial.

Assembly votes to undermine safe access to medical marijuana

The Assembly voted 54-15 to approve A.B. 2650, which would prohibit medical marijuana dispensing collectives from operating within 600 feet of a school. It now moves to the Senate. This bill, which is sponsored by Asm. Joan Buchanan (D-Alamo), usurps the authority of local cities and counties to set their own standards for medical marijuana. In addition, any restrictions on collectives should be accompanied by clearer recognition for dispensaries. MPP and our allies oppose this bill and have succeeded in making it less damaging. In its original form, the buffer was 1,000 feet and several other locations were included. A.B. 2650 also now grandfathers in dispensaries that are in localities with pre-existing ordinances that are less strict.

Bill to allow medical marijuana paraphernalia dies in Assembly

Also yesterday, A.B. 1811, sponsored by Asm. Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco), was voted down in the Assembly. The bill would have allowed marijuana paraphernalia to be knowingly sold for the medical use of marijuana. Many items used for medical marijuana, such as vaporizers, have to be sold as tobacco products, and retailers are not permitted to supply information about how these products work with marijuana. Even though 74% of voters support allowing medical marijuana, the bill was defeated in a 33-36 vote, with 12 members not voting.
May You All become Enlightened.

Not just a high

This is the cover story for the June 19th issue of "Science News".


Not just a high

Scientists test medicinal marijuana against MS, inflammation and cancer

By Nathan Seppa

June 19th, 2010; Vol.177 #13 (p. 16)


In science’s struggle to keep up with life on the streets, smoking cannabis
for medical purposes stands as Exhibit A.

Medical use of cannabis has taken on momentum of its own, surging ahead of
scientists’ ability to measure the drug’s benefits. The pace has been a
little too quick for some, who see medicinal joints as a punch line, a ruse
to free up access to a recreational drug.

But while the medical marijuana movement has been generating political news,
some researchers have been quietly moving in new directions — testing
cannabis and its derivatives against a host of diseases. The scientific
literature now brims with potential uses for cannabis that extend beyond its
well-known abilities to fend off nausea and block pain in people with cancer
and AIDS. Cannabis derivatives may combat multiple sclerosis, Crohn’s
disease and other inflammatory conditions, the new research finds. Cannabis
may even kill cancerous tumors.

Many in the scientific community are now keen to see if this potential will
be fulfilled, but they haven’t always been. Pharmacologist Roger Pertwee of
the University of Aberdeen in Scotland recalls attending scientific
conferences 30 years ago, eager to present his latest findings on the
therapeutic effects of cannabis. It was a hard sell.

“Our talks would be scheduled at the end of the day, and our posters would
be stuck in the corner somewhere,” he says. “That’s all changed.”

Underlying biology

The long march to credibility for cannabis research has been built on
molecular biology. Smoking or otherwise consuming marijuana — Latin name
Cannabis sativa — has a medical history that dates back thousands of years.
But the euphoria-inducing component of cannabis,
delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, wasn’t isolated until 1964, by
biochemist Raphael Mechoulam, then of the Weizmann Institute of Science in
Rehovot, Israel, and his colleagues. Within two decades, other researchers
had developed synthetic THC to use in pill form.

The secrets of how THC worked in the body lay hidden until the late 1980s,
when researchers working with rats found that the compound binds to a
protein that pops up on the surface of nerve cells. Further tests showed
that THC also hooks up with another protein found elsewhere in the body.
These receptor proteins were dubbed CB1 and CB2.

A bigger revelation came in 1992: Mammals make their own compound that binds
to, and switches on, the CB1 receptor. Scientists named the compound
anandamide. Researchers soon found its counterpart that binds mainly to the
CB2 receptor, calling that one 2AG, for 2-arachidonyl glycerol. The body
routinely makes these compounds, called endocannabinoids, and sends them
into action as needed.

“At that point, this became a very, very respectable field,” says Mechoulam,
now at Hebrew University of Jerusalem, who along with Pertwee and others
reported the anandamide discovery in Science. “THC just mimics the effects
of these compounds in our bodies,” Mechoulam says. Although the receptors
are abundant, anandamide and 2AG are short-acting compounds, so their
effects are fleeting.

In contrast, when a person consumes cannabis, a flood of THC molecules bind
to thousands of CB1 and CB2 receptors, with longer-lasting effects. The
binding triggers so many internal changes that, decades after the receptors’
discovery, scientists are still sorting out the effects. From a biological
standpoint, smoking pot to get high is like starting up a semitruck just to
listen to the radio. There’s a lot more going on.

Though the psychoactive effect of THC has slowed approval for cannabis-based
drugs, the high might also have brought on a serendipitous discovery, says
neurologist Ethan Russo, senior medical adviser for GW Pharmaceuticals,
which is based in Porton Down, England. “How much longer would it have taken
us to figure out the endocannabinoid system if cannabis didn’t happen to
have these unusual effects on human physiology?”

Beyond the pain

Today smoked cannabis is a sanctioned self-treatment for verifiable medical
conditions in 14 U.S. states, Canada, the Netherlands and Israel, among
other places. It usually requires a doctor’s recommendation and some

People smoke the drug to alleviate pain, sleep easier and deal with nausea,
lack of appetite and mood disorders such as anxiety, stress and depression.
Patients not wanting to smoke cannabis can seek out prescriptions for
FDA-approved capsules containing cannabis compounds for treatment of some of
these same problems.

Research now suggests that multiple sclerosis could join the growing list of
cannabis-treated ailments. More than a dozen medical trials in the past
decade have shown that treatments containing THC (and some that combine THC
with another derivative called cannabidiol, or CBD) not only ease pain in MS
patients but also alleviate other problems associated with the disease. MS
results from damage to the fatty sheaths that insulate nerves in the brain
and spinal cord.

“MS patients get burning pain in the legs and muscle stiffness and spasms
that keep them awake at night,” says John Zajicek, a neurologist at the
Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry in Plymouth, England. Patients
can take potent steroids and other anti-inflammatory drugs, but the effects
of these medications can be inconsistent.

Pertwee has analyzed 17 trials in which MS patients received some form of
cannabis or its derivatives. Reports from the patients themselves, who
didn’t know if they were getting real cannabinoids or a placebo in most of
the trials, show improvements in muscle spasticity, sleep quality,
shakiness, sense of well-being and mobility. Pertwee, who is also a
consultant for GW Pharmaceuticals — which makes a cannabinoid drug that is
delivered in spray form, called Sativex — reviewed the findings in Molecular
Neurobiology in 2007.

Sativex was approved in Canada for MS in 2005 after studies (some included
in Pertwee’s analysis) showed its success in relieving symptoms of the

GW Pharmaceuticals expects clearance for MS treatment in the United Kingdom
and Spain this year. Later, the company plans to seek U.S. approval of
Sativex for cancer pain.

Zajicek’s team has also compared MS patients who received a placebo with
patients receiving either a capsule containing THC or one with THC and CBD.
Both of the cannabis-based drugs outperformed a placebo, and the researchers
are now working on a multi year MS trial.

Calming symptoms such as muscle spasticity and pain is useful, Zajicek says,
but the true value of cannabinoids may exceed that. “To me, the really
exciting stuff is whether these drugs have a much more fundamental role in
changing the course of MS over the longer term,” he says. “We’ve got nothing
that actually slows progression of the disease.”

Fighting inflammation

CBD, the same cannabis component that proved beneficial alongside THC for
MS, may also work on other hard-to-treat diseases. Tests on cell cultures
and lab animals have revealed that CBD fights inflammation and mitigates the
psychoactive effects of THC.

Crohn’s disease, which can lead to chronic pain, diarrhea and ulcerations,
could be a fitting target for CBD. In Crohn’s disease, inflammatory proteins
damage the intestinal lining, causing leaks that allow bacteria in the gut
to spread where they shouldn’t. This spread leads to a vicious cycle that
can trigger more inflammation.

Karen Wright, a pharmacologist at Lancaster University in England, and her
colleagues have found that CBD inhibits this inflammation and can reverse
the microscopic intestinal leakiness in lab tests of human cells. Adding

THC doesn’t seem to boost the benefit, Wright reported in December 2009 in
London at a meeting of the British Pharmacological Society. The results
bolster earlier findings by Wright’s team showing that cannabinoids could
improve wound healing in intestinal cells.

CBD’s anti-inflammatory effect may work, at least in some cases, through its
antioxidant properties — the ability to soak up highly reactive molecules
called free radicals, which cause cell damage.

In the brain and eye, CBD slows the action of microglia, immune cells that
can foster harmful inflammation when hyperactivated by free radicals.
Working with rats whose retinas were induced to have inflammation,
biochemist Gregory Liou of the Medical College of Georgia in Augusta and his
team found that CBD neutralized free radicals, preventing eye damage. This
finding could have implications for people with diabetes who develop vision

Apart from being an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant, CBD tones down the
psychoactive effect of THC without eliminating its medical properties. CBD
also mutes the occasional anxiety and even paranoia that THC can induce.
This has been welcome news to scientists, who consider the “buzz” of
cannabis little more than psychoactive baggage.

But CBD has paid a price for this anti-upper effect. “CBD has essentially
been bred out of North American black market drug strains,” Russo says.
People growing cannabis for its recreational qualities have preferred plants
high in THC, so people lighting up for medical purposes, whether to boost
appetite in AIDS patients or alleviate cancer pain, may be missing a
valuable cannabis component.

Cannabis versus cancer

With or without CBD, cannabis may someday do more for cancer patients than
relieve pain and nausea. New research suggests THC may be lethal to tumors

Biochemists Guillermo Velasco and Manuel Guzmán of Complutense University in
Madrid have spent more than a decade establishing in lab-dish and animal
tests that THC can kill cancer of the brain, skin and pancreas.

THC ignites programmed suicide in some cancerous cells, the researchers
reported in 2009 in the Journal of Clinical Investigation. The team’s
previous work showed that THC sabotages the process by which a tumor hastily
forms a netting of blood vessels to nourish itself, and also keeps cancer
cells from moving around.

THC achieves this wizardry by binding to protein receptors on a cancerous
cell’s surface. Once attached, the THC induces the cell to make a fatty
substance called ceramide, which prompts the cell to start devouring itself.
“We see programmed cell death,” Velasco says. What’s more, noncancerous
cells don’t make ceramide when they come into contact with THC. The healthy
cells don’t die.

Many compounds kill cancer in a test tube and even in animals, but most
prove useless because they cause side effects or just don’t work in people.
The Madrid team is now seeking funding to test whether cannabis derivatives
can kill tumors in cancer patients. In an early trial of nine brain cancer
patients whose disease had worsened despite standard therapy, the scientists
found that THC injections into tumors were safe to give.

Early reports from other research groups suggest that THC also fights breast
cancer and leukemia. “I think the cancer research is extremely promising,”
Russo says. “Heretofore, the model for cancer was to use an agent that’s
extremely toxic to kill the cancer before it kills you. With cannabinoids,
we have an opportunity to use agents that are selectively toxic to cancer

Looking ahead

Testing of cannabis and its derivatives has also begun on type 1 diabetes,
rheumatoid arthritis, stroke, Tourette syndrome, epilepsy, depression,
bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. Pertwee is particularly optimistic that
cannabis will help people with post-traumatic stress disorder. Experiments
in rats show that THC “speeds up the rate at which the animals forget
unpleasant experiences,” he says. And a recent study in people with PTSD
showed that THC capsules improved sleep and stopped nightmares.

Despite these heady beginnings, medical cannabis still faces an uphill
climb. Although some states have sanctioned its use, no smoked substance has
ever been formally approved as a medicine by U.S. regulatory agencies.
Smoking cannabis can lead to chronic coughing and bronchitis, and smoking
renders a drug off-limits for children, Mechoulam notes.

THC pills don’t have these downsides, but the drugs have received only
lukewarm acceptance. Despite smoking’s drawbacks, “it is seen as better
because you can regulate the amount of THC you’re getting by not puffing as
much,” says pharmacologist Daniele Piomelli of the University of California,
Irvine. Capsules can cause dizziness and make it hard to focus. “Patients
suffering from neuropathic pain or depression don’t want to be stoned — they
want relief,” he says.

Controlled, randomized trials that seek to clarify whether smoked cannabis
delivers on its medical promise — with acceptable side effects — have been
hard to come by. But scientists in California have recently concluded
several studies in which patients with severe pain received actual cannabis
cigarettes or cannabis cigarettes with the cannabinoids removed.

In one trial, researchers randomly assigned 27 HIV patients to get the real
thing and 28 to get fake joints. All the patients had neuropathic pain, in
which neurons can overreact to even mild stimuli. About half of the people
getting real cannabis experienced a pain reduction of 30 percent or greater,
a standard benchmark in pain measurement. Only one-quarter of volunteers
getting the placebo reported such a reduction.

“That’s about as good [a reduction] as other drugs provide,” says Igor
Grant, a neuropsychiatrist at the University of California, San Diego, who
is among the scientists overseeing the trials.

While such studies provide evidence that smoked marijuana has medical
benefits, future trials are more likely to explore the benefits of cannabis
derivatives that don’t carry the baggage that smoking does.

Ultimately, the fate of medical cannabis and its derivatives will rest on
the same make-or-break requirements that every experimental medicine faces
— whether it cures a disease or alleviates its symptoms, and whether it’s

“We have to be careful that marijuana isn’t seen as a panacea that will help
everybody,” Grant says. “It probably has a niche.… We can’t ignore the fact
that cannabis is a substance of abuse in some people.”

Getting cannabis in

When most people think of medicinal cannabis, smoking comes to mind. Though
smoking works quickly and allows users to regulate their intake, it’s hardly
a scientific approach: Cannabis quality is often unknown, and inhaling
burned materials is bad for the lungs. These and other drawbacks have
spawned new ways to consume medical marijuana.

Some people inhale cannabis by using a device that heats the plant without
igniting it. This vaporization unleashes many of the same cannabinoid
compounds as smoking does, without the combustion by-products, researchers
say. Anecdotally, patients report that the effect is prompt, on a par with

Because cannabis derivatives can pass through the lining of the mouth and
throat, a company called GW Pharmaceuticals has devised a spray product
called Sativex. This drug contains roughly equal amounts of two key
cannabinoids — THC and CBD — plus other cannabis components in an alcohol
solution. A dose of Sativex is sprayed under the tongue; no smoking

In the face of these options, the “pot pill” seems almost passé. But
capsules of synthetic THC exist. One called Marinol has been approved in the
United States since 1985, and another called Cesamet was cleared more
recently. Doctors can prescribe the drugs for nausea, vomiting, loss of
appetite and weight loss. Though sales of capsules have increased recently,
many users complain of psychoactive side effects and slow action.

-Suggested Reading :

* Mechoulam, R., et al. 2007. Cannabidiol – recent advances. Chemistry &
Biodiversity 4:1678-1692.

Lakhan, S.E., and M. Rowland. 2010. Whole plant cannabis extracts in
the treatment of spasticity in multiple sclerosis: a systematic review. BMC
Neurology 9(Dec. 4):59. doi: 10.1186/1471-2377-9-59

Sparling, P.B., et al. 2003. Exercise activates the endocannabinoid
system. NeuroReport, 14(December):2209-2211.

Zajicek, J., et al. 2003. Cannabinoids for treatment of spasticity and
other symptoms related to multiple sclerosis (CAMS study): multicentre
randomised placebo-controlled trial. Lancet 362(November):1517-1526.

Blázquez, C. et al. 2008. Cannabinoids inhibit glioma cell invasion by
down-regulating matrix metalloproteinase-2 expression. Cancer Research
68(March 15):1945-1952.

Velasco, G., et al. 2007. Cannabinoids and gliomas. Molecular
Neurobiology (Dec. 6). doi: 10.1007/s12035-007-0002-5

Johnson, J.R., et al. 2010. Multicenter, double-blind, randomized,
placebo-controlled, parallel-group study of the efficacy, safety, and
tolerability of THC:CBD extract and THC extract in patients with intractable
cancer-related pain. Journal of Pain and Symptom Management
39(February):167-79. doi: 10.1016/j.jpainsymman.2009.06.008

Liou, G.I. et al. 2008. Mediation of cannabidiol anti-inflammation in
the retina by equiibrative nucleoside transporter and A2a adenosine
receptor. Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science 49 (December):

Liou, G.I. 2010. Diabetic retinopathy: Role of inflammation and
potential therapies for anti-inflammation. World Journal of Diabetes 1
(March 15):12-18. doi:10.4239/wjd.v1.i1.12

Holdcroft, A., et al. 2006. A multicenter dose-escalation study of the
analgesic and adverse effects of an oral cannabis extract (Cannador) for
post-operative pain management. Anesthesiology 104 (May):1040-1046.

Hoffmann, D.E., and E. Weber. 2010. Medical Marijuana and the Law. New
England Journal of Medicine 362(April 22):1453-1457.

Wade, D.T., et al. 2006. Long-term use of a cannabis-based medicine in
the treatment of spasticity and other symptoms in multiple sclerosis.
Multiple Sclerosis 12:639-645. DOI: 10.1177/1352458505070618

-Citations & References :

* A. Hazekamp and F. Grotenhermen. “Review on clinical studies with
cannabis and cannabinoids 2005 – 2009.” Cannabinoids. 2010.
* Gaoni, Y. and R. Mechoulam. 1964. Isolation, structure and partial
synthesis of an active constituent of hashish. Journal of the American
Chemical Society 86:1646-1647.

U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency. “Medical” Marijuana — The Facts.
[Go to]

Devane, W.A., et al. 1988. Determination and characterization of a
cannabinoid receptor in rat brain. Molecular Pharmacology

Devane, W.A., et al. 1992. Isolation and structure of brain
constituent that binds to the cannabinoid receptor. Science 258 (Dec.

Matsuda, L.A., et al. 1990. Structure of a cannabinoid receptor and
functional expression of the cloned cDNA. Nature 346 (Aug. 9):561-564.

Gérard, C. M., et al. 1991. Molecular cloning of a human cannabinoid
receptor which is also expressed in testis. Biochemistry Journal 279(Oct.

Mechoulam, R., et al. 1995. Identification of an endogenous
2-monoglyceride, present in canine gut, that binds to cannabinoid receptors.
Biochemical Pharmacology 50(June 29):83-90.

Abrahamov, A., et al. 1995. An efficient new cannabinoid anti-emetic
in pediatric oncology. Journal of the International Hemp Association
Pertwee, R.G. 2007. Cannabinoids and multiple sclerosis. Molecular
Neurobiology, 36:45-59. doi: 10.1007/s12035-007-0005-2

Zajicek, J. P., et al. 2005. Cannabinoids in multiple sclerosis (CAMS)
study: safety and efficacy data for 12 months follow up. Journal of
Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry 76:1664–1669.

Abrams, D. I., et al 2007. Cannabis in painful HIV-associated sensory
neuropathy: A randomized placebo-controlled trial. Neurology 68:515-521.

El-Remessy, A.B., et al. 2008. Neuroprotective effects of cannabidiol
in endotoxin-induced uveitis: critical role of p38 MAPK activation.
Molecular Vision, 14 (December):2190-2203. [Go to]

Salazar, M., et al. 2009. Cannabinoid action induces
authophagy-mediated cell death through stimulaitohn of ER stress in human
glioma cells. Journal of Clinical Investigation 119(May 1):1359-1372.

Borrelli, F., et al. 2009. Cannabdiol, a safe and non-psychoactive
ingredient of the marijuana plant Cannabis sativa, is protective in a murine
model of colitis. Journal of Molecular Medicine 87:1111-1121.

Wright, K., et al. 2005. Differential expression of cannabinoid
receptor in the human colon: Cannabinoids promote epithelial wound healing.
Gastroenterology 129:437-453. doi: 10.1053/j.gastro.2005.05.026

Wright, K.L, et al. 2007. Cannabinoid CB2 receptors in the
gastrointestinal tract: A regulatory system in states of inflammation.
British Journal of Pharmacology 153(October): 263-270.

Shen, L., et al. 2009. Mechanisms and functional implications of
intestinal barrier defects. Digestive Diseases 27:443-449.

Ganon-Elazar, E. and I. Akirav. 2009. Cannabinoid receptor activation
in the basolateral amygdala blocks the effects of stress on the conditioning
and extinction of inhibitory avoidance. Journal of Neuroscience 29(Sept.
9):11078-11088. doi:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1223-09.2009

Guzman, M., et al. 2006. A pilot study of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol
in patients with recurrent glioblastoma multiforme. British Journal of
Cancer 95:197-203.

Blake, D.R., et al. 2005. Preliminary assessment of the efficacy,
tolerability and safety of a cannabis-based medicine (Sativex) in the
treatment of pain caused by rheumatoid arthritis. Rheumatology (Nov. 9).

Fraser, G. 2009. The use of a synthetic cannabinoid in the management
of treatment-resistant nightmares in posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
CNS Neuroscience & Therapeutics 15:84-88.

Swift, W., et al. 2005. Survey of Australians using cannabis for
medical purposes. Harm Reduction Journal 2(Oct. 4):18. doi:

Ligresti, A., et al. 2006. Antitumor activity of plant cannabinoids
with emphasis on the effect of cannabidiol on human breast carcinoma.
Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics
318(September):1375-1387. doi: 10.1124/jpet.106.105247

Jia, W., et al. 2006. Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol-induced apoptosis
in jurkat leukemia T cells is regulated by translocation of bad to
mitochondria. Molecular Cancer Research 4:549–562. doi:

McAllister, S.D., et al. Cannabidiol as a novel inhibitor of Id-1 gene
expression in aggressive breast cancer cells. Molecular Cancer Therapeutics
6(November):2921-2927. doi: 10.1158/1535-7163.MCT-07-0371

Hazekamp, A., et al. 2006. Evaluation of a vaporizing device (Volcano)
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May You All become Enlightened.

Supreme Court Loosens Miranda Rule

This horrible ruling reminds all pro-cannabis folks of how important it is to invoke explicitly your Miranda rights to remain silent and to speak with an attorney if you find yourself in an encounter with law enforcement.


Supreme Court Loosens Miranda Rule

David G. Savage, Tribune Washington Bureau

9:46 AM PDT, June 1, 2010

Washington….The Supreme Court retreated from strict enforcement of the famous Miranda decision on Tuesday, ruling that a crime suspect's words can be used against him if he fails to clearly invoke his rights and instead, answers a single question after nearly three hours of interrogation.

In the past, the court has said the "burden rests on the government" to show that a crime suspect has "knowingly and intelligently waived" his rights.

But in a 5-4 decision Tuesday, the court said the suspect has the duty to invoke his rights. If he fails to do so, his later words can be used to convict him, the justices said.

The police are "not required to obtain a waiver" of the suspect's "right to remain silent before interrogating him," wrote Justice Anthony M. Kennedy.

In this case, Michigan police had warned the suspect, Van Thompkins, of his rights, including the right to remain silent. Thompkins said he understood, but he did not tell the officer he wanted to stop the questioning or to speak to a lawyer.

However, he sat in a chair and said nothing for about two hours and 45 minutes. At that point, the officer asked, "Do you pray to God to forgive you for shooting that boy down?"

"Yes," Thompson said, and looked away. He refused to sign a confession or to speak further, but he was convicted of first-degree murder, based largely on his one-word reply.

The U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals overturned Thompkins' conviction on the grounds that the use of the incriminating answer violated his right against self-incrimination under the Miranda decision.

The Supreme Court reversed that ruling and reinstated the conviction. "A suspect who has received and understood the Miranda warnings, and has not invoked his Miranda rights, waives the right to remain silent by making an uncoerced statement to the police," Kennedy said. He was joined by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Samuel A. Alito Jr.

Speaking for the dissenters, Justice Sonia Sotomayor said the rulings "marks a substantial retreat from the protections against compelled self-incrimination that Miranda v. Arizona has long provided." She said the conviction should be overturned because the prosecution had not "carried its burden to show that he waived his right to remain silent."

Justices John Paul Stevens, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen G. Breyer joined her dissent.

The majority ruling is in line with the position taken by the Obama administration and U.S. Solicitor General Elena Kagan. In December, she filed a brief on the side of Michigan prosecutors and argued that "the government need not prove that a suspect expressly waived his rights."

She said that "if a suspect knows and understands his Miranda rights," anything he says can be used against him in court.


Copyright © 2010, Tribune Interactive
May You All become Enlightened.
Marijuana Deliveryman Robbed in Richmond

$1,000 and one pound of pot missing

By Shoshana Walter on May 28, 2010 - 12:08 a.m. PDT

Getty Images
A San Francisco State student who delivers medical marijuana door-to-door was robbed at gunpoint just after midnight Thursday in Richmond. The assailants took $1,000 in cash and a pound of pot.

Aaron Chandler, 33, runs Alternative Rx Solutions, a business he describes as a mobile medical marijuana dispensary catering to lower-income, ill and disabled patients.

Chandler, reached later by telephone, said he received a delivery order through his website around 9 p.m. Wednesday for a pound of marijuana from a Richmond man. He traveled from San Francisco to an address on the 4800 block of Cutting Boulevard to deliver it. 

When he arrived at about 12:15 a.m., police say he and two friends were robbed at gunpoint of the product and their cash.

To become a member of Chandler’s collective, a patient must register using a medical marijuana identification number or upload a scan of a doctor’s recommendation. Chandler said he also asks for proof of identification upon delivery.

He said he never got that opportunity.

Chandler said he usually closes shop at about 7 p.m., but when he talked to the man on the phone, his story seemed credible.

“He claimed to have his own collective and said he had patients that were disabled and that he wanted to try to see me, but he had his daughter with him and his daughter was asleep and he had to leave early in the morning to meet a sick patient,” Chandler recalled. “He sounded really sincere, like a really good guy. I didn’t think it would be a problem to go help him out.”

Chandler said he, his girlfriend and a friend hopped into Chandler’s truck with the pound of marijuana the man had requested.

When he arrived, he saw a man in a black hooded sweatshirt standing outside a porch-lit home. He parked the truck on the street and walked toward the home. The man pulled out a gun and struck Chandler in the face.

Chandler said the man told him to turn around and kneel on the ground. While two others entered the truck and stole money from Chandler’s girlfriend and the friend, Chandler said the man rifled through his pockets and told him he wouldn't be able to find him because the medical marijuana ID number he'd used to place the order was stolen.

“And then they kind of surrounded me. They were just like, ‘Welcome to Richmond,’ and somebody hit me one more time across the back of my head and they took off running across the street.”

Having written about conducting safe transactions on his blog, Chandler said the robbery hurt his sense of trust more than his business.

Richmond police said the incident could have been avoided with common sense.

"We would dissuade people from trying to do these types of transactions, even if they're legal," said Lt. Mark Gagan of the Richmond Police Department.

"At face value, it's a very serious crime that these people are victims of. But if this was any type of transaction on eBay, you wouldn't be buying an antique at midnight under a carport."

Gagan said robberies at storefront dispensaries are not uncommon, but mobile dispensaries are particularly vulnerable to crime.

Chandler said he won’t make the same mistake again. “I really like to help people and I kind of get blinded by that sometimes.”

The San Francisco State student has already outlined new security measures.

“There are some places we just won’t go. Don’t do anything after dark unless you’re already familiar with the patient in your collective and only deal with patients in your collective,” he said.

Shoshana Walter Shoshana is the crime reporter for The Bay Citizen. Before moving to the Mission, she wrote about runaway monkeys, murders and all sorts of mayhem as a cops reporter for The Ledger in Lakeland, Fla., ...
May You All become Enlightened.


49% Support a State Ballot Measure. Of the 41% Who Oppose It, Most Believe It Will Worsen Social Ills.

California voters, by a modest margin, think they should be allowed to grow and consume marijuana, according to a new poll that also found more than 1 in 3 voters had tried pot and more than 1 in 10 had lit up in the past year.

The Los Angeles Times/USC poll found that voters back the marijuana legalization measure on the November ballot, 49% to 41%, with 10% uncertain about it. But support for the initiative is unstable, with one-third of the supporters saying they favor it only "somewhat."

"The good news for proponents is that they are starting off with a decent lead. The good news for the opposition is that initiatives that start off at less than 50% in the polls usually have a hard time," said Dan Schnur, director of USC's Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics.

The poll also points to a demographic group that is likely to play a key role -- women, particularly those who are married. Men favor legalization, but women are split. Among married women, 49% reject the measure while 40% are in favor of the initiative.

Denise Silva, a 55-year-old court clerk from Pleasanton, in Alameda County, said she is struggling with the issue. "I sway from day to day," she said. A mother of two grown children, she opposes drug use for moral reasons but knows people who have smoked for four decades with no apparent harm.

"It's still going to continue to be sold, so since it is, might's well let the government get their piece of the pie," she said. Both sides are likely to target mothers, Schnur said. The measure's backers, for example, could argue that legalization would bring more tax money for schools, while opponents could insist that it would put children at risk.

The poll found voters closely divided on those arguments.

The measure's supporters say marijuana taxes could raise more than a billion dollars in revenue; opponents dispute that. Among voters, 42% believe that estimate and 38% think it is wildly exaggerated. The November initiative authorizes cities and counties, but not the state, to legalize and tax sales.

In Los Angeles County, the epicenter of the Green Rush with more than 600 medical marijuana dispensaries, voters are most inclined to see pot taxes as a way to plug holes in local and state budgets.

Voters were also split over whether legalized marijuana would worsen social problems, such as increasing crime and triggering higher marijuana use among teenagers. Those concerns appear to have much more potency with voters than the debate over tax revenues. Among those who oppose the initiative, 83% think it would add to the state's social woes; 55% of married women also believe that.

Raul Martinez, a Democrat from Woodland, outside of Sacramento, said he smoked pot as a teenager. He believes the measure would end up being expensive for local governments. "It's going to turn around and cost them more money because more crime is going to come from it," the 47-year-old father said.

The survey of 1,506 registered voters was conducted between May 19 and 26 for The Times and the University of Southern California College of Letters, Arts and Sciences by the Democratic polling firm Greenberg Quinlan Rosner and the Republican firm American Viewpoint. The margin of sampling error was plus or minus 2.6 percentage points for the overall sample and slightly larger for smaller breakdowns.

Attitudes toward legalization diverge sharply by age, with support much higher among younger voters. A 52% majority of voters 65 and older oppose legalization. Among voters between 45 and 64, 49% support it. But among those 30 to 44, 53% are in favor, and that rises to 61% among those 18 to 29.

Chris Donnelly, a 25-year-old substitute teacher from San Diego, has never touched pot but strongly favors the initiative and believes it could support schools. "It wouldn't bother me one bit if marijuana were legal," the unaffiliated voter said. "I don't think it's any more harmful than alcohol."

The poll also offers an unusually detailed look at who is using marijuana in California.

Among those surveyed, 37% of voters said they had tried pot -- a figure roughly consistent with federal surveys of drug use -- and that group strongly supports the initiative. The 11% who had used marijuana in the last year favored legalization by a landslide, 82%.

By contrast, the 57% of voters who said they have never used marijuana oppose the initiative.

Though certain types of voters are more likely to light up, marijuana use cuts across all demographic slices, reaching beyond the cliches of skateboarders and aging hippies.

A matchup in the governor's race between Democrat Jerry Brown, who governed the state in the 1970s, and Republican Meg Whitman, the former EBay executive, clearly illustrates this. Voters who have tried marijuana make up 45% of Brown's supporters, and 37% of Whitman's. But both candidates oppose legalization.

Among Democrats and voters who decline to state a party affiliation, 12% had used marijuana in the last year, as had 7% of Republicans. About a quarter of the voters in each slice of the state's electorate said they experimented with the drug in the past, but not in the last year.

One of the biggest differences is between men and women. Among male voters, 45% said they had used marijuana, 14% in the past year. Among female voters, 29% said they had tried it, but just 8% in the past year.

The heaviest use of marijuana skipped a generation. The youngest voters, between 18 and 29, reported the highest percentage of marijuana use in the past year, followed by voters between 45 and 64, who could be their parents or even grandparents. Most of those voters came of age in the marijuana-hazed Vietnam War era.

The chance that a California voter has used marijuana is higher for college graduates than high school graduates and rises with income. Use is highest among single voters and lowest among married ones. Voters north of the Bay Area, home to the weed-raising Emerald Triangle, are most likely to have used marijuana, while voters in the Central Valley are least likely.

May You All become Enlightened.

Feds Move to Throw Pot Smokers in Prison for Impaired Driving

Kurt Nimmo
May 19, 2010

Did you smoke pot last month and drive a car this morning? Obama wants to arrest and incarcerate you.

If you smoked marijuana last week or even last month and you drive a car, you may be sent to prison under new guidelines drafted by the federal government.

The Obama administration released its National Drug Control Strategy guidelines last week. The federal government wants all of the states to adopt its authoritarian and draconian diktat and expand the drug war. From the guidelines:

Encourage States To Adopt Per Se Drug Impairment Laws [ONDCP]. State laws regarding impaired driving are varied, but most State codes do not contain a separate offense for driving under the influence of drugs (DUID). Therefore, few drivers are identified, prosecuted, or convicted for DUID. Law enforcement personnel usually cite individuals with the easier to prove driving while intoxicated (DWI) alcohol charges. Unclear laws provide vague signals both to drivers and to law enforcement, thereby minimizing the possible preventive benefit of DUID statutes. Fifteen states have passed laws clarifying that the presence of any illegal drug in a driver’s body is per se evidence of impaired driving. ONDCP will work to expand the use of this standard to other states and explore other ways to increase the enforcement of existing DUID laws.

Cannabis metabolites can remain detectable in the urine for up to 100 days or longer for a regular cannabis consumer and up to fifteen days for the casual consumer, according to NORML, the marijuana advocacy organization. In other words, even if a pot smoker is conscientious and does not drive while intoxicated, that person can be arrested and convicted for DUID days or weeks after consuming marijuana. It would not matter if you are sober as a teetotaler — if THC molecules are detected with a urine or blood test, you are probably going to prison. You can kiss the right to vote and own a firearm sayonara.

In 2007 there were 14.5 million current users of marijuana in the United States, compared with 14.6 million in 2002, while the number of Americans who have used marijuana increased.

The following states enforce “zero tolerance” draconian DUID laws:

Arizona: Zero tolerance for cannabis metabolites, mandatory 24 hours jail, up to 6 months upon conviction.
Delaware: Zero tolerance for cannabis metabolites.
Georgia: Zero tolerance for cannabis metabolites, mandatory 24 hours jail, up to 12 months upon conviction.
Illinois: Zero tolerance for cannabis metabolites, up to 12 moths upon conviction.
Indiana: Zero tolerance for cannabis metabolites, up to 60 days upon conviction.
Michigan: Zero tolerance for cannabis metabolites, up to 93 days upon conviction, vehicle immobilization for up to 180 days.
Nevada: 15 ng/ml for cannabis metabolites.
Ohio: 15 ng/ml for cannabis metabolites, mandatory 72 hours in jail, up to 6 months upon conviction, 6 month to 3 year license suspension.
Pennsylvania: DUID for cannabis metabolites, amount unclear.
South Dakota: Zero tolerance for cannabis metabolites for persons under the age of 21.
Utah: Zero tolerance for cannabis metabolites, mandatory 48 hours jail, up to 6 months upon conviction.

Obama’s new guidelines will criminalize and add to the system hundreds of thousands of people and add thousands of people to the prison industry slave labor complex. In 2007 an American was arrested on marijuana charges every 36 seconds. Obama will increase this criminalization rate significantly.

DUI checkpoints are on the rise around the country. In California, for instance, the state increased grants in 2009 by 47% for DUI checkpoints, including “roving” DUI patrols. 2010 was predicted to be “the year of the Checkpoint” in California. In California and elsewhere, these unconstitutional checkpoints are a highly profitable business for the state, netting billions of dollars every year.

Behavioral impairment is not the issue. Expanding the criminal class is the issue. Government will never rest until it categorizes most of us as criminals.

Video: Hypocrite Obama inhaled “frequently:"

May You All become Enlightened.
Marijuana Advocates Have Their Eyes On Federal Prosecution Of SoCal Pot Shop

By Dennis Romero, Wednesday, May. 19 2010 @ 6:00AM


Marijuana advocates will be watching what they're calling a test case
Wednesday as a San Diego County pot shop owner was expected to be court to
argue that he was complying with the law despite his prosecution on federal
drug charges.

The group Americans for Safe Access states that proprietor James Stacy's
case will be the first federal pot-shop prosecution in the nation to go to
trial after the administration of President Obama ordered the Drug
Enforcement Administration to stop raiding dispensaries in states where
medical weed was legal.

His Vista dispensary, Movement in Action, was raided by a
multi-jurisdictional task force on Sept. 9. In October, the Justice
Department directive was issued. Stacy is expected to argue that "he's
entitled to admit evidence of state law compliance" as part of his defense.

More than a dozen pot shops were raided during "Operation Endless Summer,"
but only two owners eventually faced with federal charges: Stacy and Joseph
Nunes, who pleaded guilty and received a one-year prison sentence..

"With a new enforcement policy on medical marijuana, the federal government
should not be trying this case at all," said Joe Elford, ASA's chief
counsel. "At the very least, Mr. Stacy's case should be tried in state court
where he's guaranteed a defense against his charges."

Stacy was charged with cultivation of marijuana, conspiracy to cultivate and
sell marijuana, and possession of a firearm. He could see 20 years behind
bars if he's convicted.

Another pot shop operator caught up in "Endless Summer," Jovan Jackson, was
acquitted by a local jury after he was brought up on state charges.

May You All become Enlightened.
Fairfax medical pot group seeking change in town rules

Rob Rogers

Posted: 05/02/2010 10:25:07 PM PDT


The state's oldest legally sanctioned medical marijuana dispensary is asking
the town of Fairfax to relax the rules under which it operates - including
allowing it to start home delivery.

"The town of Fairfax was brave enough to license us in 1997 with 84
conditions, and we haven't violated any of them," said Lynnette Shaw,
founding director of the Marin Alliance for Medical Marijuana. "We felt it
was time to open up the process, improve and modernize restrictions that no
other club in the nation has to obey, and make it more friendly for

The request by the School Street Plaza dispensary comes at a time when
Californians are considering a November ballot measure that could turn the
purchase of small amounts of marijuana from a felony to a source of tax
revenue for the state. Should the measure pass, it's possible that cities
and towns throughout the state could look to Fairfax - which collects sales
tax from the dispensary - as a model.

"If it does pass, it could really change the whole nature of dispensaries,"
said Fairfax Town Manager Michael Rock. "The initiative allows local
governments to make a decision whether or not to tax. It's all up to the
local outlets."

When the Fairfax Planning Commission became the first public agency to
authorize operation of a medical marijuana dispensary under California's
"Compassionate Use Act" of 1996, it did so with caution, placing 84
conditions on the business at the recommendation of the Fairfax Police

The town removed 12 of those conditions in 2001.

After 13 years of operation without an incident, Shaw asked the Fairfax
Planning Commission in February to relax another 40 of those restrictions,
including those that prohibit minors from entering the building.

"No other club would deny a young person in chemo from coming in and picking
out the kind of medicine that appeals to them," Shaw said. Both Sebastopol
and Cotati now allow minor patients to enter medical marijuana dispensaries,
said Fairfax Planning Director Jim Moore.

Another change would allow the Marin Alliance to provide home delivery to
its clients, something Fairfax police have opposed. Shaw says the request is
driven by competition from both unlicensed clubs in Marin County and
licensed clubs in San Francisco, both of which have begun delivering
marijuana to Fairfax residents.

"Ever since the Obama administration backed off, the Bay Area and Los
Angeles have been flooded with delivery systems," said Shaw, who plans to
provide both insurance and security for home deliveries. "Some of our
patients have been scared by the people who showed up when they called for
service: people with terrible police records, people who came in with stuff
that was old. We think it's important for patients to know who's coming to
their door."

Fairfax officials agree the club has stuck to the rules over the years, and
they appreciate its financial contribution; while Rock would not reveal the
amount the dispensary pays in sales tax, he acknowledged that it was "in the
top 10" of Fairfax businesses.

"She's a significant player," Rock said. "And she's run a good business. We
haven't had any police actions or problems ever since she opened."

Planning officials are proceeding slowly with Shaw's requests. The Planning
Commission debated the club's conditions at its March 18 and April 15
meetings, and is scheduled to take up the issue again on May 20.

"You can imagine with 40 requested revisions, each with its own menu of
issues, how challenging it is to get to the finish line," said Moore, who
acknowledged that Fairfax is also entering uncharted waters. "One of the
reasons we believe this dispensary has been operating without issues is
because of the hard work the town and the commission have put in to thinking
through all the ifs, ands or buts about how the dispensary could be

In addition, commissioners are aware that the success of the proposed "Tax,
Regulate and Control Cannabis Act of 2010" could change the nature of the
Marin Alliance altogether.

"It's conceivable that if the initiative passes in November, dispensaries
such as ours, depending on local regulations, could potentially increase
their sales by selling to non-medical marijuana users," Moore said.

Should Fairfax choose to simplify its qualifications for medical marijuana
dispensaries, it's also possible the change could attract others, bringing
Shaw some competition.

"I'm a little surprised by that, in the sense that this is a place where you
would expect (other clubs) to be," Rock said.

Shaw disagrees.

"Fairfax is a small town, and people there feel one medical outlet is
probably OK for the area," Shaw said. "They don't want to be the Amsterdam
of Marin."

Read more Fairfax stories at the IJ's Fairfax section.

Contact Rob Rogers via e-mail at rrogers@marinij.com

May You All become Enlightened.
Protect Local Access - Oppose AB 2650
Bill would impose statewide restriction on medical cannabis collectives

Cities and counties all over California are working to regulate medical cannabis collectives, but a bill before the Assembly Committee on Appropriations may infringe on their authority to make local decisions. AB 2650, which is sponsored by law enforcement lobbyists who oppose medical cannabis, would impose a minimum 600-foot buffer zone between schools and collectives.

Americans for Safe Access (ASA) needs your help to stop this bill in committee before they meet this Wednesday, May 19.

It is easy to make a difference right now! Just follow these simple steps:

1. If you don't know your state Assembly Representative, call 916-319-2856, or check online.
2. Check online to find out if your Representative sits on the Committee on Appropriations.
3. Call your Representative on the committee and ask him or her to oppose AB 2650.
4. If your Representative is not on the committee, call Chairman Fuentes at 916-319-2039.

Sample message: "I am a medical marijuana patient/supporter who lives in _____. I am asking you to oppose AB 2650 in the Appropriations Committee. This bill is unnecessary, and we do not need more barriers to safe access to medicine. Let cities and counties decide what is best for their neighborhoods."

Your call can make a big difference at this strategic moment in the process. Take a minute to call now, and then forward this message to someone else you know who believes in safe access to medical cannabis.

Visit the ASA Discussion Forum for more information about AB 2650 and how to help stop it.

Thank you for helping!


Don Duncan
California Director
May You All become Enlightened.


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