Posts Tagged ‘medical marijuana’

Should Marijuana Be Regulated Like Alcohol or Tobacco?

The marijuana legalization debate has gained a whole new momentum ever since the economy took a dip. Cities, counties, and states are cash strapped, and see their budgets dwindled with every revenue report. This has obviously been horrible for the job market, but it has been a big factor in converting citizen’s and politician’s opinions towards marijuana legalization. I remember when it was just consumers and sympathizers that were calling for legalization. Now, even some staunch conservatives are looking into the idea. They don’t consume marijuana at all, but are all about taxing the S out of it. I hope it doesn’t result in marijuana being taxed to death before it gets off the ground, but hopefully we can win that battle after we win legalization.

 

A question that has been popping up on TWB lately is whether or not marijuana should be regulated like the tobacco industry, or the alcohol industry. I just posted an article this week about regulating marijuana like wine, which is a revolutionary idea, but I am still waiting to see how much traction it gets. Don’t get me wrong, I love the idea, but I’m just not sure about the logistics of the campaign strategy. More will obviously be known as 2012 approaches. But for the sake of this article, we will look at the alcohol industry, and the tobacco industry.

 

When most people think about marijuana legalization, they picture the regulations being like that of the tobacco industry. After all, you smoke both tobacco and marijuana, right? Just as someone goes to the local corner market to get a pack of cigs, they would be able to get a pack of Camel greens or Marlboro danks. I have long pointed out the difficulties of such a business model. For starters, marijuana is not like the tobacco plant. Tobacco can grow from the Carolinas to the Caribbean and for the most part, the quality will only variate slightly. A tobacco farmer would argue that there is distinct differences, but let’s get serious, it’s not nearly on the same level as marijuana cultivation.

 

Cultivating and selling marijuana on the same scale as tobacco is nearly impossible, unless it was grown entirely indoors by a large company, which is unrealistic. All of the football stadiums in the country couldn’t house the amount of marijuana plants that the market would require if it were legal and sold by a big tobacco company. It would have to be cultivated outside, year round, on a very large scale if it were done by just a handful of large companies. This is also unrealistic. Marijuana can vary from room to room inside of a house, let alone outdoors.

 

Outdoor marijuana plants that grow in the State of Jefferson (Southern Oregon, Northern California) are going to be starkly different than plants that are grown in Pennsylvania. For that matter, even outdoor grow ops in the State of Jefferson are not all created equal. It would be too hard, if not impossible, to market so many kinds of marijuana the same way as cigarettes. Right now you go into a store and there are just a handful of types of cigarettes. There are different brands, but the type of actual cigarette you can buy is fairly limited. Compare that with a dispensary, that has in some cases hundreds of strains. That’s a big reason why corporate America hasn’t harnessed the cannabis market; it’s just too hard to get a consistency that it would take to launch the industry on a huge scale.

 

And with all of that being said, would we really want those blood sucking bastards in charge of the marijuana industry? Look at what they have done to society with their research and development already. Can you imagine what they would do to marijuana to make it super addictive? It wouldn’t even be marijuana anymore; the product would be some Frankenstein herb that is meant to take your dollars instead of providing comfort, recreation, and relief. Marijuana is a cottage industry, and I really hope it stays that way forever. I love going to different areas and seeing what their stuff is like. If it was just bland budget weed sold across the nation, it would really make me sad.

 

I picture some slick talking tobacco executives sitting down with members of Congress. The executives explain that they can grow marijuana on an enormous scale, that it would all be under the close watch of the government, and that they can provide tax dollars out the wazoo. They give the politicians large sums of money in exchange for marijuana becoming legal. On the surface, marijuana consumers are stoked because the marijuana plant is finally free. They don’t care how it happened, they just know that they have been waiting for this for a long time. It will only be after they see what big tobacco has done to the beloved marijuana plant that they realize the whole thing was f’d since jump street.

 

The alcohol industry is a better representation of what I think marijuana regulations will look like after legalization. There will still be large companies trying to corner the industry, much like Budweiser and Coors do today. However, there will also be a large cottage community producing marijuana, like the micro brew industry. Large companies will produce massive quantities of low grade product, much like Coors and Budweiser do with their beer. But, people that actually like flavor and quality will go for the cottage industry products, much like people go for a micro brew. Instead of making regulations to cater to the top companies, regulations will be more flexible to accommodate the small businesses. There will be more wiggle room for entrepreneurs to enter into the market as a result, and consumers will benefit from the buffet of deliciousness that will result.

I think the big debate that people run into when they get into this conversation is not necessarily the regulation structure for large and small businesses, so much as the age requirement. If marijuana is regulated like tobacco, it would have an 18 or older age requirement. Of course, if marijuana is regulated like alcohol, it would have an age requirement of 21 or older. Again, marijuana is smoked, so people naturally gravitate toward the 18 year old requirement. However, marijuana is an intoxicating substance, so this has to be considered. Marijuana doesn’t impair a person nearly as much as alcohol (unless they are a total rookie), so I personally think that an ‘in-between’ age would be sufficient. Whether that is 19 or 20, I will let the policy makers decide. Somewhere there is a recently graduated high school student praying that it is 19 instead of 20 – my prayers are will you buddy! I remember what it was like to be too young before I got too old to be hip ha ha.

What do TWB readers think? I know there will be a bunch of you that say ‘it should have NO regulations!’ That would be great in a perfect world, but politics is an incremental game, and getting a grand slam straight out the gate might be asking for two much. We are going to have to give a little in order to get what we want in return. With that in mind, what is an appropriate age to start consuming marijuana legally? Would you prefer that large companies get into the movement in order to speed up legalization? Or do we want to keep those fascists out in order to keep things pure, even though it might take an extra election or two as a result? Do you want marijuana to be regulated more like tobacco, or alcohol, or something else, like grapes!? I look forward to the discussion.

Using Marijuana To Treat Pain

Medical Uses of Cannabis: Pain

By Alan Shackelford, M.D.

pain and spasms cannabisAccording to a paper published in the Journal of Opioid Management in 2009, more than 15,000 peer-reviewed scientific and medical studies of cannabis were published world-wide between 1960 and mid-2008. A number of those studies showed that cannabis can be an effective treatment for a variety of different medical conditions such as glaucoma, muscle spasms in multiple sclerosis, neuropathic and other kinds of pain, nausea, weight loss in wasting syndrome and several psychological conditions including PTSD and Tourette syndrome. Others showed that compounds found in cannabis may prevent or treat Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and HIV-related dementia, and may limit neurological damage in strokes and trauma. This month, we will look at some of the evidence supporting the use of cannabis to treat pain.

Recent studies (the earliest documented use of cannabis as an analgesic was in China some 2,800 years BCE ) have demonstrated the efficacy of cannabis in alleviating acute pain resulting from chemical exposure, mechanical injury such as surgery, and burns. Other studies have shown that cannabinoids are very effective treatments for chronic neuropathic pain and pain caused by inflammation such as those associated with rheumatoid and osteoarthritis. Cannabis has also been found to be an effective treatment for migraine headaches and to enhance the effects of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory and opiate pain medications.

In addition to its remarkable effectiveness in relieving a variety of different kinds of pain, two other factors make cannabis a particularly good treatment option: its incredible safety and low toxicity. There has never been a verified report of a death due to a cannabis overdose in its more than 4,000 years of use as a medicine. The same cannot be said of narcotic pain medicines, nor can it be said of prescription and over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications. Deaths from opiate overdoses rose nearly 97 percent between 1997 and 2002, to more than 12,000 a year in American metropolitan areas. Today, some nine years later, narcotic overdoses are the second leading cause of accidental death in the United States, just behind traffic accidents, according to the CDC. Furthermore, in the late 1990s a conservatively estimated 16,500 patients with rheumatoid and osteoarthritis were thought to have died each year from the effects of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications, according to the June, 1999 New England Journal of Medicine. That number has continued to rise each year since then. Given these kinds of statistics, maybe cannabis deserves more than a just a fleeting glance as a treatment option for pain.

Please join us again next month as we continue to explore the use of cannabis as a treatment for a variety of different medical conditions.

Courtesy of Culture Magazine

Alan Shackelford, M.D., graduated from the University of Heidelberg School of Medicine and trained at major teaching hospitals of Harvard Medical School in internal medicine, nutritional medicine and hyperalimentation and behavioral medicine. He is principle physician for Intermedical Consulting, LLC and Amarimed of Colorado, LLC and can be contacted at Amarimed.com.

Can Adam Assenberg’s Story Help Change Federal Medical Marijuana Policy?

Adam AssenbergBy Adam Assenberg

Please let me introduce myself to you,

My Name is Michael ( ADAM ) Assenberg and here is my story,

Even with me not living in your State my STORY will have impact on anyone in any state who needs MEDICAL MARIJUANA.

I used to be a Security Guard for a Company down by Riverside, California back in 1985 and on Jan. 25, 1985 was a day that would change my life forever. I was Guarding a place in Corona, California called the 3-m plant and they had TNT on the site. Well, while on patrol I went and checked the “shack” like I always do on my drives and found a white pick-up by the shack, as I started to drive up to them they spotted me and started driving to the back of the complex where they ran out of road and tried to cross a train bridge in there pickup truck. They started driving half way across and stopped in the middle.

As they acted this way I knew there would be trouble so I took my night stick in one hand and my Mace in the other ready for action if needed. I wanted to get a good look at them so I could give the police the best info, while I talked to them a number 3 man came up from behind and hit me in the middle of my back with a baseball bat, then pushed me backwards off the train bridge 15 feet down into a dry riverbed full of boulders.

I did not black-out when I hit but I acted like they killed me as I knew if I moved they would end what they started. After they left I tried to get up and found that I could not move from my waist down so I crawled up a 45 degree embankment and 2.5 miles on my hands and elbows to get to a phone where I called 911. Next thing I remember is waking in the hospital.

I ended up with breaking nine bones in my spine and crushing my Cervical Process at the base of my neck. It took six months to get some feeling back into my legs and seven years to walk again. Now I suffer INTRACTABLE PAIN 24 hours a day seven days a week. After years of different treatments and medications I have tried everything known to mankind. A friend of mine in 1987 told me about the GREAT benefit he gets from the Medical use of Marijuana, I tried it and the PAIN SPASMS and the blackouts stopped just about over night, When it became legal under STATE LAW under the 10Th Amendment that Doctors are to be allowed to act in anyway that a STATE so deemed fit to have them act, signed my paper under Washington State LAW I-692 and I became legal to use MEDICAL MARIJUANA.

Now, unlike California that has it legal to have ” Clinics ” for people needing Medical Marijuana, Washington state has it to where you need to find it on your own. Or you are allowed under State LAW to grow up to a TWO MONTH SUPPLY. Also it is also written into Washington State LAW that few people know about that it is legal for the police to give out MARIJUANA that they get from grows that are not from medical users to the sick that need it. The ONLY TRICK is they wrote it in the law that they MUST wait for the FEDERAL GUIDELINES for passing it out and that we all know will not come unless we fight for what is right. Reference: WA State Initiative – 692.

Now in 2004 my Mother passed away from Cancer and there was no one Left that was around to worry about me or for me to care about, so in Nov. of 2004 I made up my mind to end the suffering of going through what looks like GRAND MAUL SEIZURES, all RELATED to the level of PAIN I was SUFFERING from. I go through at least a dozen of them a day all related from pain when I don’t use the Medical Marijuana. The way I went about trying to end my life may seem shocking to some but to them I say, ‘you have never suffered the way I do each and every day of every week.

I stabbed myself in the heart four times and one of those times was in front of many police officers. They tried to ‘tazer’ me with three of their guns. The pain I suffer is far greater then anything those can pump into me so, I pulled the wires off of me and took the 4Th plunge, I only had a 20% chance of pulling through, The Doc’s evaluated me and found The ONLY reason I did this is due to pain. Now, without the use of Medical Marijuana, each and every day is a living hell even with the doc’s giving me 500MG of Morphine a day as well as 60MG of endocet a day for pain.

Now here is where my story is going to hit EVERY STATE that has MEDICAL MARIJUANA LAWS.

Washington State MarijuanaIn March of the following year I was living in Tacoma, Washington and was on the Internet where I met this Wonderful woman and two Children who lived many miles away from me in Anacortes, Washington. She had raised these children since they were babies all by herself.

Then she meets me and we fall in love and the kids just about right away start loving me like I have always been there dad, Well she ends up asking me to move in with her and her two children. TheresaMcCallum the Director of Anacortes Housing Authority gets wind that I have a legal service animal plus I use Medical Marijuana with a doctor’s note under I-692. She asked me about it and I gave her my Doctors Statements. After she has these letters from my doctor she still gives us an eviction for using a controlled substance plus the use of a service animal and she said this exact thing on the eviction letter.

I fought this eviction in Federal Court and Federal Judge Lasnik, with our right to a Jury trial even with the power of what my doctor statement said about my medical need, said that no matter how much a person suffered they could not use marijuana for medical reasons, what about the right to a life or a right not to live in never-ending suffering? The way I suffer amounts to nothing less than torture without the medical use of marijuana. Another item Lasnik overlooked when he tossed out my case, without a Jury Trial, is the right not to live in Torture and without the Federal Government allowing for my Medical use amounts to the Federal Government Torturing me for as long as I live.

With the power of my doctors statement it is very clear that, no matter what our Federal System has to say about MMJ, all levels of the Federal and State Government will not allow the medical use of Marijuana for any reason, no matter how sick or disabled a person is.

My case should be a ‘wake up’ call to all people that our ‘votes’ do not count anymore. When I called the Governor of Washington State and informed them of what was going on, they hid behind the AngelRaich case. Even the Attorney General would not help protect the rights of what was voted into State Law. Judge Myers, out of Mount Vernon ‘STATE’ Court said, in open court, he does not believe in the State Law, even with him being informed of the State laws that Housing was violating by throwing my family out onto the street, said he does not feel I-692 was a good law and was not going to up-hold State Law. At the end of this letter is the case numbers if you wish to look anything up.

Also at the bottom is my phone number and web site should anyone wish to contact me. Considering this is an election year and with it being about throwing out a family over the Medical use of Marijuana with the power of my doctors statement it could kill Medical Marijuana for everyone, Everywhere. As we all know Marijuana is not legal in the United States for use in any way, under Federal Guidelines. This came to be in 1937. Schedule I drugs have the highest abuse potential and have no accepted medical use. Now, if this is the case then why, from 1850 until 1942, was Marijuana prescribed for various conditions including labor pains, nausea, and rheumatism listed in the United States Pharmacopoeia?

Now Marijuana dates back way before that even. Take a look at the Chinese medical compendium, traditionally considered to date from 2737 BC. Marijuana use spread from China to India and then to N. Africa and reached Europe at least as early as AD 500.

Not only has Marijuana been used as Medicine from way back but also as a intoxicant, giving the non-medical user a feeling of euphoria, Marijuana in all this time has never contributed to killing anyone. Can the same be said for drinking alcohol? If we take a look at the reasoning the Government gives for it’s ban on Marijuana, why aren’t Cigarettes, that are full of additives that get you hooked, as well as alcohol, banned by the Federal Government? If you want to argue that the reason the latter two are not banned is because they are not drugs, then look at the listing of chemicals that are used to make Cigarettes.

If you take a good look at the things that Marijuana is helping with today, you need only to look at the States who are helping the sick and disabled right now. Take a good look at California, at Proposition 215, The People of California voted in Medical Marijuana to help the sick in their State. Since the Federal Government did not like what California did they, the Federal Government, have chosen to give many of the sick a quicker death sentence, like they did to McWilliams who choked to death on his own vomit, because the Government did not allow him access to his Medical Marijuana. Now I don’t know about you but, how would YOU like it if the Federal Government gave your Father, Mother or your Child that sentence?

THAT sentence HAS been given to me, by a STATE judge who did NOT OBEY the LAW under I-692 Washington’s Medical Law. PLUS again by a FEDERAL JUDGE who did not allow for a JURY trial with respect as to how powerful my doctors statement was that MEDICAL MARIJUANA WAS the ONLY thing that really worked for me and that I would suffer a great deal more without it’s use.

marijuanaThe ONLY reason Marijuana is still listed as a Schedule I drug today is because Congress is getting ‘Donations’ from pill manufacturers. They and not looking at the facts that Marijuana helps the sick. Congress in DC is no longer for WE THE PEOPLE and the US Department of Justice is hiding behind Congress. The FDA is unwilling to act on behalf of the people. Looks like poli-tricks is the norm in DC.

You don’t have to go far to read about scandals going on in DC. While the folks in DC sit back with their donations, WE THE PEOPLE suffer to the point of wanting to die. All because money was more important to the Government than the lives of WE THE PEOPLE. Money is the ONLY reason that Marijuana is not legal in the United States under Federal Law. In California, Marijuana is listed as Medicine for: Cancer, Anorexia, Aids, Chronic pain, Spasticity, Glaucoma, Arthritis, Migraine or any other illness for which marijuana provides relief.

In Oregon Marijuana is used as medicine for: Cancer, Glaucoma, positive status for Human Immunodeficiency Virus or acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome, or treatment for these conditions, Cachexia, Severe pain, Severe nausea and Seizures, including but not limited to seizures caused by Epilepsy, and Persistent muscle spasms, including but not limited to spasms caused by Multiple Sclerosis.

There are 11 states in the United States that have accepted marijuana as medicinal. We are now waiting for the Federal Government to acknowledge that marijuana has medical properties. If you were to look at the Law in Washington State, where I live, it’s used for: Chemotherapy-related nausea and vomiting in cancer patients, AIDS Wasting Syndrome; severe Muscle Spasms, associated with Multiple Sclerosis and other spasticity disorders, Epilepsy, Acute or Chronic Glaucoma and some forms of Intractable Pain.

I suffer from Intractable Pain. Every pain medication that can be used for me has been tried. During a twenty-four hour period, there is not a moment that I don’t suffer. The pain is so intense that it feels like my head wants to rip off my body and by the bottom of my spine it feels like a 500 pound weight is sitting on my back. I feel like this 24 hours a day, 7days a week, etc. So if you look at these few States that I have listed you will see that there is plenty of accepted medical use. ONLY at the Federal Level is it still a crime to use Marijuana.

When have the Members of Congress started becoming doctors? All you need do is look at the money trail. How much have manufacturers in the pharmaceutical industry donated to the Members of Congress?

Look at the congressional corruption going on with Abramoff and the sleazy way the Superior Court in California hid behind the Commerce Clause, stating that the private growing of Medical Marijuana would upset the market on Marijuana sales. Well first off, there are two items wrong with the choice the Court made. The First mistake is that there is NO legal market for the sale of marijuana so how can a market be said to be upset when there is no legal market. Plus the fact that if the person growing it for medical reasons has the grow operation in their own home and it never hits the street, then how is it adding to the market of sales be it legal sales or the black market?

The Second mistake: with all the congressional corruption, how can the Government be trusted to do what is right by the American people when so many people are sick and/or suffering and being mis-led by OUR Government?

Anacortes Housing Authority is trying to hide behind the Gonzalez v. Raich ruling of June 6, 2001 over my use of Medical Marijuana. The Gonzalez v. Raich ruling is about the Oakland Marijuana club and NOT about end users like myself. If our State Government from the Governor’s office on down the line will not protect the laws that WE THE PEOPLE put into effect then at that point we then live in a dictatorship as is VERY clear in this case.

Another item to note, when we were thrown out of our home we had to move across Washington State into Eastern Washington because I am so sick that no shelters were willing to take me in. Since our move to this side of Washington, I have NOT found any doctor that is willing to sign my paperwork. Since I am so willing to stand up for my rights, I am forced to drive to Anacortes to see the one doctor on the other side of WA that signed my paperwork.

Now by state law, with the Medical coupons I have, they are to pay to get me to my doctors appointments. At this point in time, I am having to drive to my doctor appointments on the other side of the state with out help from the state. I am now fighting that battle as well. I think it it is very important to point out that I took this to Federal Court under the right to life, Right not to have to live in Intractable pain and the right for a doctor to act in accordance with State Guidelines. ALL of which Federal Judge Lasnick as well as State Myers turned down.

Another item of interest to readers of ALL Medical Marijuana States, is that because I lost the first round in Both Federal Court and State Court I am getting ready to file a Multi-Billion dollar Class Action Lawsuit for violating what the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled we have a VERY BASIC right to above all other laws and that is a right to LIFE in ANY way that needs to be met for that person to be able to live a basic life.

This has been violated in all lower Courts all with the Court System never allowing me a Jury Trial. I am asking for anyone in Any State that would like to take part on this Class action Suit to give me a call as soon as they can. I file this suit Dec. 1, 2006 and after that I will not allow anyone else in on the suit that I am filing. The ONLY reason for that rule is that I am doing all the paperwork myself without the use of a Lawyer.

Because Washington State, starting from the Governor’s office and on down, has not supported I – 692, and because of the State and Federal Governments not supporting this law, I now have to file in Federal Court the right to end my life due to the Federal and State Government forcing me into a life of Intractable pain and daily torture, without being able to use Medical Marijuana as was guided by my Doctor under article 10 of the United States Constitution. My family also suffers from my disability, (the pain I go through, the spasms, etc) because of the Federal Governments decision.

Case numbers,

1st Federal case # Case No. C05-1836RSL ( Now in the ninth circuit court of appeals )

State Case Number No. 06-2-00999-4

2nd Federal Case # No. CV06-0987 ( Soon to be in the ninth also. )

To get a hold of me by phone please call 509-288-0830 or check out his website: http://www.marijuanafactorfiction.net/

Most Americans Want To Legalize Marijuana: New Poll

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Graphic: Misplaced In The Midwest

​Just give me the ganja. A new Angus Reid Public Opinion poll has found that a majority of Americans continue to believe that marijuana should be legalized, but don’t support the legalization of other drugs.

In the online survey of a representative sample of 1,003 American adults, 55 percent of respondents support the legalization of cannabis, while 40 percent oppose it.
Democrats are the group most supportive of legalizing cannabis in the United States, with 63 percent in favor of ending the war on marijuana. Almost as many Independents, at 61 percent, also support the move.
Republicans were out of step with the majority on the legalization issue, with just 41 percent supporting marijuana legalization and 56 percent opposed.
Marijuana legalization enjoyed big majorities among men (57 percent) and respondents aged 35 to 54 (also 57 percent).

However, when it comes to other drugs, the numbers shrink rapidly.
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Graphic: Angus Reid Public Opinion
Clear majorities of Democrats and Independents support marijuana legalization, while a clear majority of Republicans opposes it.
Only 10 percent of Americans support legalizing MDMA, or “ecstasy.” Smaller proportions of respondents said they would approve of legalizing powder cocaine (9 percent), heroin (8 percent), methamphetamine (7 percent) and crack cocaine (7 percent).
Across the country, 64 percent of respondents said they believe America has a “serious drug abuse problem” which affects the entire United States. One in five (20 percent) believe the drug abuse problem is confined to specific areas and people (this would include the racist contingent who are blithely ignoring the facts).
Only one in twenty Americans — 5 percent — think America does not have a serious drug abuse problem.
The War On Drugs has a serious public relations problem, according to the poll.
Only nine percent of respondents believe the Drug War — the efforts of the U.S. government to stymie the illegal drug trade — has been a success. Two-thirds, 67 percent, say the Drug War has been a failure.
“The survey shows a country that is concerned about the effects of drugs, and at the same time deeply disappointed with the efforts of the U.S. government to deal with the drug trade,” Angus Reid Public Opinion offers in the “Analysis” section of their press release.
This is the third year in a row that Angus Reid Public Opinion surveys have shown majority support for marijuana legalization in the United States. The 2009 (53 percent) and 2010 surveys (52 percent) also found a majority of Americans calling for pot legalization.
“Cannabis is definitely not seen as a substance that is as harmful as other illegal drugs, as evidenced in the minuscule level of support for the legalization of cocaine or heroin,” Angus Reid Public Opinion noted.
The margin of error on the poll is plus or minus 3.1 percent, according to Angus Reid Public Opinion.
To see the full report, detailed tables and methodology of the survey, click here [PDF].
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Graphic: Angus Reid Public Opinion
Marijuana legalization enjoys majority support across the board when it comes to genders and age groups.

Ten Years After Decriminalization, Drug Abuse Down by Half in Portugal

Drug warriors often contend that drug use would skyrocket if we were to legalize or decriminalize drugs in the United States. Fortunately, we have a real-world example of the actual effects of ending the violent, expensive War on Drugs and replacing it with a system of treatment for problem users and addicts.

Ten years ago, Portugal decriminalized all drugs. One decade after this unprecedented experiment, drug abuse is down by half:

Health experts in Portugal said Friday that Portugal’s decision 10 years ago to decriminalise drug use and treat addicts rather than punishing them is an experiment that has worked.

“There is no doubt that the phenomenon of addiction is in decline in Portugal,” said Joao Goulao, President of the Institute of Drugs and Drugs Addiction, a press conference to mark the 10th anniversary of the law.

The number of addicts considered “problematic” — those who repeatedly use “hard” drugs and intravenous users — had fallen by half since the early 1990s, when the figure was estimated at around 100,000 people, Goulao said.

Other factors had also played their part however, Goulao, a medical doctor added.

“This development can not only be attributed to decriminalisation but to a confluence of treatment and risk reduction policies.”

Many of these innovative treatment procedures would not have emerged if addicts had continued to be arrested and locked up rather than treated by medical experts and psychologists. Currently 40,000 people in Portugal are being treated for drug abuse. This is a far cheaper, far more humane way to tackle the problem. Rather than locking up 100,000 criminals, the Portuguese are working to cure 40,000 patients and fine-tuning a whole new canon of drug treatment knowledge at the same time.

None of this is possible when waging a war.

 

http://www.forbes.com/sites/erikkain/2011/07/05/ten-years-after-decriminalization-drug-abuse-down-by-half-in-portugal/

Picture of the Day: Peace Cross Joint

SO DOPE!

Here’s Why Legalizing Marijuana Makes Sense

Guest editorial: Here’s why legalizing marijuana makes sense
By Alex Newhouse

For the Yakima Herald-Republic

The call to legalize cannabis continues to grow louder despite all of the other problems our country is currently facing. Mainstream polls indicate almost 50 percent of Americans favor full-out legalization, and nearly 80 percent believe that marijuana should be available for medicinal purposes.

No one has ever died from simply using marijuana. In 1972, then-President Richard Nixon appointed the Shafer Commission to study the nation’s rising drug problem. It reported the following: “Neither the marihuana [sic] user nor the drug itself can be said to constitute a danger to public safety.” The commission’s findings have withstood the test of time.

The more we learn about marijuana, the more benign it becomes. Marijuana does not cause cancer. Sound scientific studies, such as those done by UCLA’s Dr. Donald Tashkin, have clearly demonstrated this. We also know that marijuana is legitimate medicine. If marijuana has no medicinal benefit, why are so many terminally ill patients turning to it to improve their quality of life? Why, after countless legislative hearings and initiatives, have 16 states and our nation’s capital legalized marijuana for medicinal use? And why does an expensive prescription drug called Marinol, which is a synthetic form of the active ingredient in marijuana, exist? Even the federal government owns a patent for the medicinal use of marijuana. (The patent number is 6630507.)

Marijuana is medicine to many people. The Drug Enforcement Administration’s own administrative law judge, Francis L. Young, held that “marijuana has been accepted as capable of relieving the distress of great numbers of very ill people, and doing so with safety under medical supervision. It would be unreasonable, arbitrary and capricious for DEA to continue to stand between those sufferers and the benefits of this substance in light of the evidence in this record.” Studies done by the California Center for Medical Cannabis Research and the recent breakthroughs highlighting the antibacterial properties of cannabis extracts also clearly demonstrate marijuana’s potential as a natural and inexpensive medicine.

Unlike most medicines, it is quite safe for marijuana to be used recreationally by responsible and healthy adults. According to the White House’s Office of National Drug Control Policy, over 100 million Americans have tried or use marijuana. If this market were taxed and regulated, crime rates would go down and agriculturally based communities would profit. We easily forget how much disrespect for the law vanished when alcohol prohibition was repealed, or that well over 30,000 Mexican citizens have died since 2006 as a direct result of a drug war fueled in large part by demand for marijuana, or that the U.S. has spent approximately a trillion dollars and 100,000 lives on a drug war that could be reined in considerably with marijuana legalization.

Regulating marijuana would also protect our children. It is easier for kids today to get marijuana than it is for them to get alcohol or tobacco, which is a fact supported by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse. Drug dealers simply do not ask for ID. Regulation would also lessen the burden on the criminal justice system, making it easier to keep violent criminals behind bars. Washington currently has mandatory minimum sentences for marijuana possession, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reports more people are being court-ordered into treatment for marijuana than ever before under threat of incarceration. This is a huge waste of resources.

The legalization movement is not about persuading people to use marijuana, but for giving the sick and responsible the liberty to consume a relatively benign product. Proposed policies within the spirit of the movement are worthy of our consideration.

 

* Alex Newhouse is a lawyer who lives in the Sunnyside area.

‘Marijuana Is Sexy': Talking Pot with Mendo Sheriff Tom Allman

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Photo: Santa Rosa Press Democrat
Mendocino County Sheriff Tom Allman:
“We are, of course, supportive of legitimate medical marijuana here.”
By Jack Rikess
Toke of the Town
Northern California Correspondent

The Coming of the New Prophet
Rikess: Last time we spoke in August of last year… (See Toke of the Town’s 2010 interview with Sheriff Allman here.)
Sheriff: Seems like yesterday…
Rikess: (laughs) I know and still…you don’t write and you don’t call…
Sheriff: (laughs) Okay…
Rikess: So last time I was here, you said something that was incredibly right on. You said that there was going to be very little difference between George Bush’s administration and Obama’s, when it came to medical marijuana. You said that someone big in the attorney general’s office sat in the chair I’m sitting in and said, and I’m paraphrasing, “He guaranteed me that it was going to be the same under Obama as it was with George Bush. In the end, Eric Holder will handle medical marijuana the same way [the] George Bush [Administration] did.” 
Sheriff: It wasn’t Eric Holder. It was a U.S. attorney. The chronological order was, the U.S. attorney came up here and said, (this is definitely under George W.), saying, “ummm, the U.S. government will not get involved with any marijuana cultivation, distribution, what-ever-you-want-to-call-it, that falls within the boundaries of California’s medical marijuana.”
Okay, thank you very much. And, you know, he took his dog and pony show and went somewhere else.
Then the presidential election happened, okay. Then in the primary or maybe it was before the general election, Obama just mentioned something about medical marijuana.

Rikess: I have the quote. [Regarding federal raids on medical marijuana facilities in states which have approved its use, Candidate Obama said,] I would not have the Justice Department prosecuting and raiding medical marijuana users. It’s not a good use of our resources.
Sheriff: Then all the people started, “Oh my gawd, the prophet has arrived. Y’know, he’s here!” And then after he won the election and took office, Eric Holder came out and said, “The U.S. government will not get involved in any violations that fall within the state guidelines.” People are going  “That’s brilliant, that’s wonderful! Thank you sooo muuuuch!”
And those of us in law enforcement are going, “Huh?” It wasn’t even any different wording [than the George Bush people used too], it was the same, um, so I tell people that on a regular basis, not to be criticizing Obama at all, because…
Rikess:  When I was here last, a little positive that things were going to change surrounding medical marijuana and you set me straight with…again I’m paraphrasing, you said to me, “Whatever you think is going to happen with Obama, there’s going to be very little change between George Bush’s administration and Obama’s, when it comes to medical marijuana.” 

And at the time, I thought you were wrong. And you were…1000 percent correct.
Sheriff: Only because…honestly…What I really try to do is get down to the root…no pun intended… of where we’re going on this.
Y’know… I’ve heard many times in my career that our United States constitution is a living breathing document. Y’know, when you’re a kid you go, “Really? Well, I’ve been watching it for five years and it just sits there.” And you don’t understand the depths of a living, breathing [document, then it changes] …such as, what happen to the second amendment a few weeks ago.
Guns and Cannabis
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Photo: Herald Democrat
Rikess: What’s new with the 2nd amendment?
Sheriff: Well, what happen was there were some pro-gun people in the Bay Area. They were going to Starbuck’s with unloaded guns on their hip, fully exposed, because it wasn’t a violation of carrying a concealed firearm, because it was exposed. And it wasn’t a violation of carrying a loaded firearm in public because it was empty. And because they were pushing the envelope so much, yesterday the California Legislature said, “Ixnay, no, you can’t do that.”
And one of the things the 9th district just said was, and I don’t agree with…is…Sheriffs absolutely have the right to say, ‘no,’ to concealed weapons.
Rikess: Does that mean, you judge who has the right to carry a concealed weapon or not?
Sheriff: Yeah. But now the law allows the sheriff of the county or the chief of police, to issue concealed weapons permits. In Mendocino County we’re really weird…Okay?
Rikess: You’re preaching to the choir brother.
Sheriff: [Laughs] Monty Python was…uh…born here, okay, maybe not born here but conceived here.
We are, of course, supportive of legitimate medical marijuana here. But we’re also very supportive of concealed weapons here. Due to the recent population shift, I’m down to 87,000 people and I have 2,400 concealed weapons.
Rikess: How many?
Sheriff: 2400. Here’s the best news…25% of those 2400…are females. Jack, that’s great stuff right there.
Rikess: Because they’re not threatening like men?
Sheriff: No, because I want women to be able to protect themselves. The former sheriff said, “Tom, as sheriff of the county, you have the legal ability to empower someone to take care of their own personal safety.” Wow, that’s some pretty heavy words there.
Rikess: Okay my next question is…it seems like violence has increased here in the last year…
Sheriff: A very specific type of violence… Other violence hasn’t, road rage hasn’t, child abuse hasn’t [increased.]…
Rikess: But why would you want to introduce more guns into the community? What benefits you by doing that? [I say] the more guns [you introduce] into the community, some of those guns don’t find their way back to where they’re supposed to.
Sheriff: Right. So I have 2,500 concealed weapons approximately out there with people who have gone through the 16 hour course, they’ve been finger-printed; they’ve paid a total of about $300. They’ve been interviewed by my command staff.  I’ve reviewed their file. Now out of those 2,500, seriously Jack, I want you to really think about this one, on an annual basis, how many people with concealed weapons get in the eyes of law enforcement because of they’re carrying a concealed weapon.
Rikess: I would say a very small percent.
Sheriff:  Three a year, when I say they come on the radar of law enforcement, it’s not because they’re brandishing a fire arm. When they come up on the radar [it is usually because of what's written] on the bottom of the concealed weapons permit. It says, “Not valid if under the influence of alcohol or drugs.” We have probably about three people per year who get arrested for DUI that have their concealed weapon and we say, you were illegally carrying a concealed weapon.
Rikess: Do you feel, are you supportive of the use of concealed weapons in America?  Let’s say in Arizona? Arizona where they can bring ‘em into bars and such.
Sheriff: Well, I disagree with Arizona’s policies, because their screening is not as serious as what I just said we go through.
Rikess:  So you’re saying guns in your point of view is a little like medical marijuana, it’s up to the states and the locale to work out the  . . .
Sheriff:  Concealed weapons, fire arms, are a states’ rights issue, so much so, that right now, this is scary, Utah is saying, if we manufacture guns in Utah, if we sell guns in Utah, ATF has no legal authority to restrict what is made and sold in Utah because there’s no state borders that are crossed.  You know what? They’re right!  Oh my god, it’s pushing the states rights issue all the way up the line!
I got off topic. Because you’re here to talk about Medical Marijuana.
Rikess: And also, I’m here to talk about violence.
Sheriff: Ok, let’s talk about violence.
Rikess: What are your thoughts on a 31-bullet clip and amour-piercing bullets? 
Sheriff:  Well, I mean there are limitations.  Do I believe there is a need to prevent armor piercing rounds from entering the public? Of course I do.
My question for the average NRA member is, and I’m a very pro Second Amendment person: “Tell me where the line is.” I say, we start with a bb gun and we go to a nuclear bomb of weapons. Where is the line of what a citizen can have? Is it a nuclear bomb?”
Of course not, that’s crazy. Alright, well, we’re getting somewhere, you know, Let’s get down to a grenade, what about a grenade? And then we get to machine guns, what other…
Rikess: Their fear is that, and just like the marijuana people, if you take away their 31 [bullet] clip, you’re going to come after something else next.
Sheriff:  Is there a slippery slope?  The difference between gun ownership, I believe, and medical marijuana, is gun ownership is clearly defined in law.  When I send a deputy out on the street, and he finds a gun that could be illegal, he can look in his book and say, what’s the law, it is illegal. And I’m taking you to jail. However, when he goes out and stops a car with 20 pounds of marijuana in it and the guy has a recommendation from a doctor that says he can have 20 lbs of marijuana, he goes, “Oh”.
Rikess: Well my response to that is we [as a society] understand guns but we don’t understand marijuana.
Sheriff: Okay, I’m gonna change that…in my opinion…We as a society have grown up with guns since the Revolutionary War…
Rikess: …[You're saying] Incorporated guns into our lifestyle…
Sheriff: …Since you know we beat the British. And marijuana has always been…Shhhh.  It is only in the last few years we’ve been able to talk about it openly.
Da Feds and Those Damn Black Helicopters
Rikess: In the last three weeks, the Federal Government has really amped up their busts and how they are treating the medical marijuana industry…
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Photo: The Fix
Sheriff: …Where?
Rikess: San Francisco. San Jose. The state of California. The weird thing is north of Cloverdale, all of a sudden, you guys are getting your stuff together. You’re doing cooperatives, dispensaries, and paperwork. [Still] A lot of people are not feeling good because they don’t trust the Feds.
Sheriff: Sure, okay. Whatever. And let me make sure I read this to you…
[The Sheriff reads the agreement of the collectives, ending with the phrase, “This does not give me [the collective] immunity from prosecution under Federal law.”
Rikess: Yes, we get it.
Sheriff: We have to say that.
Rikess: Sure, we can say that here. Even joke about it. We want to bring more people into your permitted zip-tie program. We’re trying to get people out of the shadows and say, “The time is right to come out.”
Sheriff: Sure, that’s what we’ve been saying too.
Rikess: Well, the same thing goes for your people. Your people are freaking us out.Your people are raising the bar with what it takes to come out. You’ve asked the growers to let go of 40 years of bad blood between the law enforcement and the growers. We know you’re a cop and you answer to authorities higher than us. 
Sheriff: No, I don’t. Please don’t say that. The voters are my boss.
Rikess: My point is, you just don’t answer to the growers but all the citizens of Mendocino. With that being said, this ‘Operation Full-Court Press,’ The War on Drugs,…The war…
Sheriff: …Please don’t use the War on Drugs, it’s not a good analogy…
Rikess: I disagree, what is it then?
Sheriff: The War on abusers of public land.
Rikess: Or how about another way to spin it, this a revenue stream for you guys…
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Photo: Democratic Underground
Sheriff: What???
Rikess: This is a revenue stream for you guys to create a false war on drugs by saying there are cartels in these national forest when they may be just the same as the other opportunist who are heading to Mendocino to get in on the ‘Green Rush,’ just like the Russians, Israelis…
Sheriff: Bulgarians, Germans…
Rikess: Right, so I’m saying that these Mexican growers in the forest might be just like those people, and not necessarily a cartel, but more in the vein of the other opportunists who come here. We also know when you find 10,000 seedlings in the National Forest; there is some organized syndicate behind it. Those grows take a lot of people to run. Whether it is a cartel, disorganized crime, or a group of gangsters, we’re not saying they are angels, but they might not necessarily be the Mexican mafia cartels as they are being painted in the papers and news. 
Sheriff: Okay, okay…Let me boil this down for you…Number one, you’ve never heard me use the word, ‘cartel,’ other than to correct people to never use the word, cartel. ‘Cause I’ve never said the word ‘cartel,’ in that sentence. What I say is…organized crime.
Rikess: Okay, we know there is …a certain build-up going on in Mendocino…
Sheriff: Okay, let’s talk about those black helicopters…The Blackhawks…
Rikess: Okay…
Sheriff: The Blackhawks… Why are they here?
Rikess: Okay, let’s start there. Were they here?
Sheriff: They were here, two of them.
Rikess: Okay…
Sheriff: They were here. Why were they here?
Rikess: Should I tell you what my people say? 
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Photo: Ganja Farmer’s Emerald Triangle News
Sheriff: We did a press release on this but go ahead…
Rikess: I tell you what my people say…Homeland Security is here and they’re not leaving.
Sheriff: Oh well…wait, your people are right.
Rikess: Huh? Really?
Sheriff: So, why are they here?
Rikess: ?
Sheriff: You didn’t answer my question.
Rikess: Cause they got their foot in the door…
Sheriff: …Really? Of what?
Rikess: …I tell you what…What they are doing here is….They are equating what is going on here, with terrorism. And if they can equate it with terrorism, then they got Homeland Security. And if Homeland Security can get a foothold…
Sheriff: C’mon, Jack. [Laughs at Jack's logic, shaking his head] The drugs of the Sixties were too good.
Rikess: …Let me finish…Then you can tell me where I’m wrong…
Sheriff: …You’re wrong already…
Rikess: Okay, when you can equate the organized crime going on in our national forest with terrorism, once you can do that…You can win the hearts and the minds of the people and then you guys can get as much money as you need to do your job. It starts getting to be about money. And this is a smokescreen to amp up the war on drugs, which we are trying to deflate and change, and you guys are doing business as usual. And this is a revenue stream. The war on drugs doesn’t work, and you guys don’t know it.
Sheriff: I’ll send you a bill for counseling…’Cause you got a lot of stuff off your chest… And the three words I’ve heard from my wife many times — I’ve been married 26 years — You are wrong.
And it’s very basic. You are wrong.
Rikess: To be very clear, tell me exactly what I’m wrong about.
Sheriff: Do you know what revenue we’re getting? Do you know what money we’re getting?
Rikess: Yes, I read about it…I got it here. [Jack pulls out article detailing the Sheriff's budget.]
Sheriff: No, no, stop. Don’t have a preconceived notion of what my budget is…
Rikess: I have the answer here… 
Sheriff: No you don’t, because you don’t know the question.
Rikess: Sorry to cut you off, [checks notes] but you guys received $236,000…
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Photo: StoptheDrugWar.org
Sheriff: That money is only going to be used to reimburse Mendocino County for the cost associated with overtime and logistics for this operation.
Rikess: So was I right?
Sheriff: If the Federal government said, “Tom, we have $236,000,” and I don’t know if that is the correct figure…
Rikess: It is, roughly.
Sheriff: “…We have $236,000 and it is yours, but are you going to use it for marijuana or methamphetamine? I would be out of that office in a thirty second because I would answer one word, “Methamphetamine.”
Rikess: That’s what we want too! To change the focus…
Sheriff: First of all, Blackhawks. The Blackhawks were not transporting soldiers or law enforcement other than the pilot was a military guy. They were transporting biologists to Lake County, and environmentalists, because they were doing reclamation of some of the older gardens that were not covered with snow…
Rikess: Couldn’t you say, “Boys, couldn’t we get a couple of nondescript helicopters in here because of as soon as you bring in black helicopters, my people are going to get paranoid.” 
Sheriff: Oh Jack. Tell me what the price of a helicopter is? Tell me what the price is? I can I tell you? If I got a helicopter the size of a Blackhawk that can transport stuff and lift up stuff. I’d have to pay around $2,000 per hour. Y’know the price that military helicopter cost me?
Rikess: You’re talking logic. I’m talking about Mendocino people. When you have these Blackhawk military helicopters landing, people are going to talk. 
Sheriff: As far as Blackhawk helicopters go, I can’t afford other helicopters. I can’t afford them.
Those helicopters were doing reclamation in Lake County and the national forests. They were really and truly improving the quality of land when a Lake County sheriff’s sergeant, two weeks ago…didn’t even know the Blackhawk helicopters were there. He’s driving up to the national forest to do good, sees a van on the side of the road. Gets out of his car, watches three Mexicans with guns run into the bushes. Gets one Mexican with a gun and takes him into custody. Finds probably a thousand dollars worth of water fittings. I don’t know if I could fit a thousand dollars of water fittings in this room? Okay?
And so…was the Blackhawk helicopter involved? Were they involved with the enforcement action that day? Of course they were! But we can’t predict what is going to happen? Are there going…
Rikess: …Tom…
Sheriff: Hold on; let me ask the question you’re going to ask…
Rikess: Okay.
Sheriff: Are there going to be Blackhawks this summer in Mendocino? Absolutely there are… [Editor's note: This was about a month before this year's eradication effort, Operation Full Court Press began.]
Rikess: Are there going to be Blackhawks in Covelo?
Sheriff: Of course there are. I cannot afford other helicopters.
Rikess: Are you saying this is a government thing? That in the rental pool, all you got to choose from is those darn Blackhawks? 
Sheriff: Yeah, Air National Guard. This is what they got.
Rikess: So you’re saying if there was another helicopter to choose from, you would? That you don’t have another choice.
Sheriff: I don’t have choice. Air National Guard. This is it.
Rikess: So that’s your answer. 
Sheriff: That’s it. They are taxi cabs. They’ll be used for transport of some of the Federal officers…
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Photo: In The Pines
Rikess: One more question. I have reports of drones being seen in Covelo.
Sheriff: Those reports are wrong.
Rikess: Just one more time. The people who reported this to me, didn’t have pictures, [so I don't have proof] but there are all these people worried, and part of the reason I’m here is to defuse paranoia, and I trust you, Tom Allman.
[Sheriff Tom Allman stands and retrieves a picture of wife and kids.]
Sheriff: This is a picture of my family. I’m going to put my right hand on the picture and say, “From the bottom of my heart, nobody on god’s green earth has given my any information that there is unmanned aircraft patrolling any part of this county.
Rikess: Okay, I wouldn’t be doing my job if I didn’t ask this question. Would they keep you out of the loop so you wouldn’t have to answer questions like this? 
Sheriff: No, that would seriously damage the relationship between local and federal government.
Rikess: Third thing…then I’ll leave it. Would you tell them [the federal government] that you are adamantly against drones being used anywhere in my county?
Sheriff: Okay, let’s talk about that before I say that…
Rikess: Okay.
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Photo: Business Insider
Sheriff: When this program first started, I asked about drones. Because the purpose of intelligence gathering, is to find out where in the national forest…there’s a hotbed of activity. Okay? In other words, where people are? So…drones may be the right answer. And I thought it was a legitimate question and then I was clearly told by the FAA. Drones inside the political boundaries of the United States of America, are illegal, except for on the American-Mexican border. I can’t fly drones even if I wanted to.
Rikess: That’s great. That is the most concrete logical answer. So we can say if there ever was actually a drone within this area…that would be illegal activity. So it wouldn’t happen.
Sheriff: Period. End of statement.
Trust
Rikess: We want people coming out. We want to be able to trust, I don’t know if that’s the best choice of words…to trust the Sheriff’s Department…That when they [the growers who will register] come forward…it’s going to be okay for them…
Sheriff: …And all of that’s true right there…All of that’s true.
Rikess: That’s not true [for some]. Some people said, “I came out in 2008 [registering and doing the paperwork for the zip-tie program, e.g. giving the police department my name and that I'm growing] and when it didn’t happen in 2009 (the program was suspended for that one year and has functioned every year since), I got very scared.” And I’m crossing my fingers for 2010, and now, 2011, and hopefully, 2012.
Sheriff: We didn’t bust any of those people, did we?
Rikess: Right.
Sheriff: Sounds to me like its working, huh?
Marketing Tools
Sheriff: The Five Percenters…
Rikess: What? 
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The Pot Republic
Sheriff: Here’s the Tom Allman’s unofficial survey. Five percent of the population believes…if you have a marijuana cigarette, marijuana seed, marijuana plant, you should go to federal prison for the rest of your life. Okay, five percent of the population on the other side believe… You can do anything you want with marijuana, heroin, any natural drug… Smoke it until your head caves in.
I have learned through my 29 years of law enforcement, there’s nothing I can say to those two outlets at this point to get them to change anything. All they want to do is try to change me and harden my stance, one way or another. So I’ve come to the conclusion… I hardly listen to these people. [But] The 90 percent in the middle…The ones who want to make change, all right.
Rikess: And that’s what I’m doing here today, representing the 90 percent… Y’know…We…
Sheriff: …Can’t we all get along?
Rikess: Well, more so than that is…We’ve stuck our necks out supporting you…
Sheriff: Whoa…
Rikess: You don’t owe us anything for that…
Sheriff: (Shakes his head)
Rikess: But, we want things in return…And…and…we understand as the Big Cop, you can’t always give us things we want, like when we say, we don’t want you to smash the Mom and Pop’s on the way to the big grows….
Sheriff: …Right…
Rikess: That can’t be guaranteed. 
Sheriff: Here’s what I will guarantee…
Rikess: Okay. I think I got a scoop.
Sheriff: No.
Rikess: Oh…
Sheriff: There will be no 25-plant gardens eradicated this summer. I think that’s a really, reasonable guarantee.
Rikess: I had this conversation with somebody last night and I was unclear with this…with 25 plants, they don’t need to get it permitted. [Editor's note: You still need a medical marijuana card in order to grow.]
Sheriff: No.
Rikess: Right…So what they told me is…They can be hassled by your deputies for up to three hours to determine [if they have a doctor's recommendation]…So I said to someone…is it beneficial for you…someone to get the permits…the zip-ties on your 25-plant garden? 
Sheriff: You’re confusing permits and zip-ties…Just to let you know. You don’t need a permit to get 25 zip-ties.
Rikess: Right.
Sheriff: You just need cash.
Rikess: Sorry. And I said, is it worth it for you to get zip-ties on your 25 plants for peace of mind?
Sheriff: Yep, that’s it.
Rikess: They said yes because lot of times, these helicopters will come into our compounds, they look around, if they see the zip-ties, they just take-off. 
Sheriff: Isn’t that amazing?
Rikess: I say that is incredibly amazing. 
Sheriff: Yep.
Rikess: That is just amazing. And it’s progress. 
Sheriff: Last year probably the biggest marking tool we had is when a guy got stopped by one of our law enforcement officers, who is one of the most aggressive against marijuana going…[this guy] was stopped with thirty thousand cash [on-board and he told the officer that he was part of a permitted cooperative.] On his cell phone, the officer called Sergeant J. to inquire if the stopped gentleman was indeed part of a legitimate cooperative? Sergeant J. said, “Yes, he’s permitted.” And the guy and his cash were allowed to continue southbound. And that word got out… One step further.
Marijuana Is Sexy
Rikess: Alright. I’m going to end with this…
Sheriff: All right. The hardest question of the day. (Tom in an announcer’s voice)  “Ladies and gentlemen, could you please stand-by for the hardest question of the day.”
Rikess: This isn’t even the hardest…this is…Why is…Why is this thing so god-damn confusing?
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Photo: Stop Pop Culture
Sheriff: Let me tell you why… One of my goals has been to take marijuana off the front page. So now the question is…Who wants to take it off the front page?
Because…Or… How about this? Who doesn’t want it taken off the front page? And who doesn’t is… is a longer list than who does. Because the media does not want it off the front page. Marijuana is sexy. Marijuana is just… everyone wants to read about marijuana. Whether you’re pro, con or whatever…
It is on the front page. You want to read it. It is on 60 Minutes. You want to look at it.
All these things — it’s sexy.
Second thing of why it is confusing… In my humble opinion, there are so many nuances to 9.31, that we had radicals, and that’s a strong term I rarely use, from both sides…Those five-percenters, okay? [And they] pick and choose what they’re talking points are…and they use those talking points… And 90 percent of the middle says, “What about this?” When they’re trying to have an educated argument.
And the five percent who say, “You shouldn’t ever have anything.” Here are their talking points: Number one, “Because the Federal Government says it is illegal.” [And above these growers] “These people don’t pay taxes. You and I pay taxes. These people should pay taxes.”
For the other five percent… [The Sheriff uses his holier than thou voice] “It’s a God-given herb. Why can’t you let us have it?” Then they’ll start to use the alcohol thing. You know what? Radiation is God-given element on this Earth. So I’m surely not going to agree with what their talking points are. If these people keep throwing their talking points out there to confuse the mix, and all I say…and all these 90 in the middle says, “You know what? I think we can come up with a happy medium. So we are. We’re coming up with a happy medium.
Find Your Own Solutions
Rikess: A person has asked me to ask you this. Someone is growing 25 plants on a parcel…
Sheriff: And they end up with 100 pounds…
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Photo: Science Daily
Rikess: No, just the opposite. This person is growing with a collective because he or she can’t grow on their property or cannot be part of a 99-plant grow, and is under the umbrella or part of cooperative that is growing 25 plants. There’s 12 people part of this collective.
At the end of the season because of bugs, mildew, theft, what have you, and for my readers, this is a legitimate operation. At the end of the season things don’t go right for these people. Now then there are 10 plants for 12 people.
The people who are trying to grow their own marijuana are down to one and half plants each. And in six months’ time, they’re searching out for other…means to grow marijuana. It isn’t realistic…
Sheriff: Well, it is actually…If they’re from the northern part of the county it’s realistic because the plants we eradicated out of Laytonville were seven pound plants. But go ahead…
Rikess: Okay. We want to understand that you do realize 25 plants for 10 people is unrealistic. We understand it is advancement. We understand it is a first step. Then there is this Kelly law which I don’t understand because it seems it directs the answer to that question but it never answers that question directly. Tom, do you know what I mean…
Sheriff: Keep talking. I know exactly what you are saying…
Rikess: So, you’re doing the best you can. Some people can’t get into the 99 plant because of water, electricity, blah, blah, blah. Some can’t grow for whatever the reason, so they grow with a collective. So like I said, they are forced to seek out other means to grow this medicine.   
So the plan has a hole in it. If the plan is to be realistic, and we’re not with that five percent that says, let me grow as much as I need, for as many people…There has to be regulations…But do you understand where we’re coming from…
Sheriff: Number one, let’s get off straight. You ask me a question. Don’t I realize that 25 may not be enough? Well… Listen, if it was up to me, a lot of things would change in this world. But the world according to Tom is not what fills up law books. Okay? So… Do I realize that? I realize that…however; let me tell you why I’d throw the bullshit flag on this if someone wanted to challenge me in public on this.
Okay, there’s 12 of you. I want to make sure there’s 12 of you. Yeah. This is 25 plants per parcel. This is per parcel. Are you saying between the other 11 of you, there is no other place to grow it?
Rikess: Yes…
Sheriff: Because I would follow by saying…Remember when I told you about the one-percenters? The single digit percentage of people who are legitimate? That means there is a double-digit high percentage of people who are illegitimate. And they just waiting for someone to come to them and say, I have a recommendation, I have cancer. And I don’t have a place to grow.
And they go, hallelujah. I’ve legitimized my marijuana. Please come on in! And they welcome them in. And they take care of it.
All you have to do in a marijuana community is talk to other people and you can take care of your problem. But if you want to lay awake at night and find a kink in the system, hell, you can do it. These 12 people, I’m going to say, have not ventured out to find out what they can do. I don’t know of any real situation that you just said, unless the people cannot venture out and cannot figure out what to do…
Why Permits Work
Rikess: When it comes to the purchasing of permits and zip-ties, I’ve encountered two schools of thought from growers who are coming forward. One belief is they do it for civic pride and peace of mind. That once they’re permitted and legit: they’ve done away with the local law enforcement intangible. There’s another school of thought that’s more cynical, that calls it blood money. They believe it’s what they have to pay to law enforcement to grow their medicine. What do you do with the money you make from permits and zip-ties?
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Photo: News Junkie Post
Sheriff Tom Allman has been supportive of medical marijuana patients who go by the rules.
Sheriff: My business shows that if I have a hundred of these files, I’ve collected $600,000 from these people. The rules state that the money I take in can only be used for what impacts this office. People think that this money goes to just keeping on deputies or that it is some kind of revenue stream. By law, I can only use this money for what impacts this office. I could give you a lot of figures, real numbers that would stagger your mind. Okay?
Marijuana impacts Mendocino County. And we’re just not talking medicinal, okay? So from April 20th to October, marijuana impacts this county greatly, not to mention the rest of the year, but spikes during this period. That’s what this money is used for. To try to keep up with the bad guys and do right for the good guys, okay? Again, we support legitimate medical marijuana. Everything costs money.
The money I’ve taken in so far only reimburses about a third of my expenses. Again, I’m operating on the same size budget that the Mendocino County Sheriff’s office had during the LBJ era.
Remember, some of the most vocal opponents to marijuana in Mendocino County complain that these marijuana growers don’t pay taxes like the rest of us good folk do. The money from permits and zip-ties silences that argument.
So I have this business plan, you take money in and you also understand that with the money comes that obligation… We’re trying to do the right thing for all residents of Mendocino County. So far we’ve found a pragmatic solution that seems to be working. And what we’re going to do is… everything we can do… to protect the legitimacy of the operation.
Packaged Marijuana Good, Live Marijuana Bad
Rikess: I don’t know if you know about this…What am I saying? You know everything.
Sheriff: You mean that ticket you didn’t pay in ’88? I know all about it…
Rikess: Wow, you’re good.
Sheriff: I know it…
Rikess: I had to change my name to get out of that…So…Joy Greenfield. 
Sheriff: Oh, yeah, okay.
Rikess: I want to hear it from the cop’s mouth. 
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Photo: Fark
Sheriff: ‘Kay.
Rikess: This is what my people tell me…
Sheriff: (laughs) My people? My peeps?
Rikess: Sorry, I just love saying that. (Both laugh) And again, I want to be really clear. I represent no one. 
Sheriff: Okay…Joy Greenfield…
Rikess: Okay, here’s the deal up here…is Joy Greenfield got busted.
Sheriff: Yes…By? Finish the sentence…
Rikess: DEA. 
Sheriff: DEA.
Rikess: And she got her crop taken…
Sheriff: Yep…
Rikess: Not returned…
Sheriff: Well…
Rikess: Hey, hey, hey.
Sheriff: How can you return grown marijuana?
Rikess: It was told that it was a bad bust and it should be returned. And the people up here say, “What we do is, because we do not want to accrue legal expenses, we take the loss with the weed…”  
Sheriff: Cost of doing business.
Rikess: Cost of doing business, right? They say she should have got her medicine back. 
Sheriff: …By the federal government?
Rikess: Yes. 
Sheriff: I’m not aware of the federal government ever returning marijuana.
Rikess: They do.
Sheriff: THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT?
Rikess: The federal government. 
Sheriff: Happens all the time?
Rikess: Not all the time…but on busts…that are inappropriate…
Sheriff: I’m assuming… when they return it…they’re returning the package processed product, not the live plant. Because we take those out and destroy them.
Rikess: I didn’t know that…
Sheriff: And its unknown how we destroy them…No one knows that…It’s unknow
Rikess: What do you mean?
Sheriff: Well…I’m not telling you…
Rikess: You mean besides for burning them in the backyard?
Sheriff: We don’t burn them…
Rikess: Okay…Can we do 20 questions? Number one, do they go into a container?
Sheriff: No. We destroy them.
Rikess: How do you destroy them? 
Sheriff: In the accordance of law.
Rikess: C’mon tell me…
Sheriff: C’MON, JACK!
Rikess: No, this is cool. How do you destroy marijuana? What could you possibly do different than incinerate it? 
Sheriff: Okay, you’re talking to Tom Allman. So how would Tom Allman…?
Rikess: Encase all that seized marijuana in a thick glass box with glue all over it… So you can have those… those hippies look at stuff that they could never touch… And catch the ones that do touch it.
Sheriff: This isn’t for public dissemination. Stop the tape recorder and I’ll tell you…
(tape recorders stops)
[The Sheriff tells Jack one of Mendo's biggest secrets.]
[Tape recorder comes back on.]
Rikess: You were worried about me writing about allowing the Vets in your jail to celebrate Veteran’s Day with a BBQ while dressed in their uniforms. Nothing happened with that and that was published…So why I don’t come out with how you get rid of marijuana?
Sheriff: I can’t.
Rikess: But Tom, you do so many good programs here. You should come out about them.
Sheriff: BREAD’S my favorite.
Rikess: What’s that?
Sheriff: When I took office, I was walking through the jail …And I went into the kitchen…I created a baker’s program. The inmates learn how to make breads, cakes, pastries, mostly their learning a trade. So now we’re up to 16 [accredited bakers] and we had one guy come back, but we put him right back into the Bread program, because…he’s a good inmate.
Rikess: Alright. I’m going to end with that…Thanks a lot.

The Need For Weed and The Persistent Myth of the Gateway Drug

Obama, gateway drug, stereotypes, stories, Reese Rose

I initially wanted to start this story as a discussion surrounding the various stories that weed smokers have about our shared indulgence. As I was reading this New York Press article by Reese Rose I was pulled into her intricate and comforting description of the world of pot. It was only after I had written a few lines before I realized that Reese Rose’s story is also a perfect example of how some people try weed and then they just as abruptly stop using it.

It is not that I had some spiritual or moral awakening. And the run-in with the law that night did not exactly amount to a sobering moment. But in time, I moved out of the house, the DJ and I stopped being friends and the endless supply of weed was no longer available or free. Being a pothead is a lot less appealing when you have to start working at it.

This story clearly dispels the myth that marijuana is a ‘gateway drug‘; actually marijuana has been shown to be among the drugs that a person will abuse if they have the potential to be a drug abuser over all. Meaning that if they couldn’t get their hands on marijuana they may be just as likely to sniff glue or huff aerosol cans which is a whole ‘other issue.

Either way, Reese Rose told a good pot story and I’m sure she’s not the only one with a great toke story to tell. That got me to reminiscing about my best weed smoking story. Do you have an ill weed story? If so let us know, tweet it, blog it or Tumblr-er it and don’t forget to use the hashtag #HMJ or #MyHMJWeedStory so we can find your story. Because we all love a good weed story, right?

NYPD Forms A Unit To Track Whoever They Want On Social Networks

The NYPD has formed a new unit to track troublemakers who announce plans or brag about their crimes on Twitter, MySpace and Facebook.

Newly named Assistant Commissioner Kevin O’Connor, one of the department’s online and gang gurus, has been put in charge of the new juvenile justice unit. He and his staff will mine social media, looking for info about troublesome house parties, gang showdowns and other potential mayhem, sources said.

The power of social media to empower both criminals and cops has been on full display in London this week, where riots and looting have been spreading dramatically.

Full NY Daily News Story Here

Sorry to kill your buzz NYC greenies but the NYPD announced that they created a unit to help them track criminals who snitch on themselves via social media networks facebook, twitter, and myspace (make sure you are following us). I don’t really feel like this is any different than what is already going on.  If the police, an employer, or even the FBI wanted to track any of us they would have no problems by simply typing in a google search.

What do you guys think?  Should the citizens in NYC be afraid of this new development?

- http://www.hailmaryjane.com

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