Posts Tagged ‘orange county medical marijuana’
Proposed Tracking Program Has SF Medical Marijuana Growers In Fear Feds Or Criminals Could Obtain Addresses
San Francisco officials want to keep a record of all suppliers of medical marijuana dispensaries, an idea that has some members of the pot community fuming.
“If there is a list, it’s available to the public, and it’s available to the feds,” said Kevin Reed, a member of The City’s Medical Cannabis Task Force and owner of the Green Cross, a medical cannabis delivery service.
Reed said most members of cannabis collectives and cooperatives grow small amounts of pot in their homes, warning that a city record of their names and addresses could be accessible by anyone — including federal law enforcement officials or criminals who rob grow operations.
Despite statements by the Obama administration that it would not go after medical marijuana dispensaries that comply with state laws, cannabis supporters say such raids have continued, and Reed remained wary about a public record of growers.
“It just goes against everything that we’re doing,” Reed said. “What we do is federally illegal. As long as The City is offering patients no protection, it’s just absurd.”
According to a written statement from the San Francisco Department of Public Health, officials announced at a May 20 task force meeting that they “anticipated maintaining a record of all sources/cultivators for each [dispensary].”
Public health officials would only answer questions about this proposal in writing, and a spokeswoman did not respond to a question about whether the list would be publicly available.
The statement noted that the department, which issues permits for medical cannabis dispensaries, is tasked with ensuring that the cannabis such dispensaries cultivate and distribute is in compliance with state and local laws.
There currently are 26 permitted dispensaries in The City, and nine more have applied for permits.
Dr. Rajiv Bhatia, the director of environmental health, said such dispensaries get their products from “diverse sources” and that the department needs to ensure those sources are legal. California law requires that marijuana distributed by medical cannabis collectives or co-operatives be cultivated only by their members, and not for profit.
“Over the past few years, there has been a proliferation of cultivation in many San Francisco neighborhoods,” Bhatia said. Some of these sites violate city planning and building codes, and create fire or hazardous materials dangers, according to his statement.
“The department’s overarching aim is to steer [medical cannabis dispensary] practices towards conformity with California and San Francisco law,” Bhatia said. “In this way, we reduced the likelihood for MCDs of community concerns and criminal prosecution.”
The idea is apparently just in its formative stages, however, and no decision has been made.
“We are open to alternative ways to ensure the safety and legality of cultivation,” Bhatia said. “We will be discussing this with the dispensary community.”
Community activist and task force member Stephanie Tucker called a public list “a deal-breaker.”
“DPH historically has always been very good at protecting safe access, and balancing that with public safety,” Tucker said. “Obviously, as a community, we have concerns about that information becoming public.
“We need to find a solution, a happy medium.”
Research on the medicinal benefits of marijuana may depend on good gardening–and some say Uncle Sam, the country’s only legal grower of the cannabis plant, isn’t much of a green thumb
A greenhouse in the Netherlands, where the cannabis grown for medicinal use is far more potent than that grown legally in the US. (The New York Times Photo)
By Jessica Winter | May 28, 2006
LYLE CRAKER HAS a number of plants on his mind. An agronomist and professor in the Department of Plant, Soil & Insect Sciences at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, he’s currently analyzing the active ingredients in black cohosh, which is used to alleviate symptoms of menopause. He is also studying goldenseal, a native American plant that shows promise as a treatment for some skin irritations, and exploring the possibility that certain Chinese medicinal plants could be cultivated in Massachusetts for research purposes.
There is another medicinal plant that Craker would like to grow and study, but in this instance, his prospects will be determined in a courtroom. Since 2001, Craker has been seeking a license from the Drug Enforcement Administration to establish a medical-marijuana growth facility at UMass-Amherst. It would be the second such facility in the US; at present, the National Institute on Drug Abuse, a federal agency, produces the only legal supply of cannabis in the country at the University of Mississippi.
The DEA lists cannabis as a Schedule I drug, meaning that it has a high potential for abuse and no accepted medical uses. However, marijuana is unique on the Schedule I roster-which also includes cocaine, LSD, and MDMA (Ecstasy)-as the only substance that is not available from multiple independent producers for clinical research purposes.
“There are two issues here: quality and access,” says Rick Doblin, the Belmont-based founder and president of the nonprofit Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), which is sponsoring Craker’s suit against the DEA. The government holds that its Mississippi operation obviates the need for a second crop. Craker and MAPS counter that NIDA cultivates a product of poor quality and does not make it readily available to qualified researchers, and point to NIDA’s previous refusals to supply cannabis to two scientists with FDA-approved protocols as grounds for establishing an independent facility.
On April 20, the Food and Drug Administration released a controversial statement declaring that marijuana “has no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States.” The outcome of Craker’s case-especially if it reaches federal court, as is likely-could realign the terms of the national debate over medical marijuana. For now, the suit, which has the expressed support of Senators Edward Kenedy and John Kerry, as well as 38 members of the House of Representatives, is in the hands of DEA Administrative Law Judge Mary Ellen Bittner, who’s expected to make her recommendation to the agency on the application sometime this summer. Final briefs were filed on May 8.
There is abundant anecdotal evidence and personal testimony to support myriad uses of cannabis to treat symptoms of cancer, AIDS, multiple sclerosis, and other ailments. As the FDA reiterated in its statement, however, scant clinical evidence exists to back these claims-or, for that matter, to contradict them. Paradoxically, the controls on official research of cannabis in America undermine both the medical-marijuana movement’s efforts to prove the drug’s benefits and the government’s assertions of its dangers. Strangely enough, the case for pharmaceutical cannabis may, in the end, come down to good gardening-and may depend on whether the government is willing to give up its monopoly on marijuana.
. . .
Cannabis sativa was once widely recommended by American physicians as a mild sedative, much as the popular herbal treatments valerian and camomile are used today. By 1937, however, the drug had been effectively outlawed by the Marihuana Tax Act. The Federal Bureau of Narcotics had aggressively pursued this ban with Congress, and cited marijuana’s perceived popularity as a smoked narcotic among Mexican farm laborers, hysterical tabloid reports on its deranging effects, and results from tests on canine subjects.
Punishments for pot-related offenses remained light into the 1980s, and President Carter favored decriminalization. It wasn’t until the War on Drugs gathered momentum midway through the Reagan administration that penalties became fearsome enough to drive marijuana growers indoors-which, it turned out, was the best possible place for a cannabis plant to thrive. In “The Botany of Desire: A Plant’s Eye View of the World” (2001), author Michael Pollan has an epiphany while visiting a “grow room” run by an acquaintance. “[I]t dawned on me,” he writes, “that this was what the best gardeners of my generation had been doing all these years: They had been underground, perfecting cannabis.”
From the standpoint of both the scientist and the connoisseur, perfect cannabis can be achieved with unseeded, genetically identical female plants. The original crop is harvested from seeds, and subsequent generations are bred from cuttings. Characterized by the “buds” from which marijuana derives one of its many slang names, these virgin female plants carry high levels of molecules unique to the cannabis plant, called cannabinoids. The two most well-understood cannabinoids are THC and CBD, which many physicians and patients believe can alleviate nausea, stimulate appetite, ease pain and anxiety, and lessen the muscle stiffness and spasms associated with MS.
In the UK, the GW Pharmaceuticals company has a government license to grow cannabis under highly regulated conditions. At a secret location in southern England, in greenhouses that are computer-controlled for temperature, humidity, and light, the GW research team has compiled a veritable library of plant strains, with precisely determined ratios of cannabinoid content.
The upshot is Sativex, a liquid extract of equal parts THC and CBD that is sprayed under the tongue to treat neuropathic pain. Britain permits the use of Sativex in MS patients, and the drug has been approved for marketing in Canada. Cannabinoids also have a presence on the US market, in the recently approved Cesamet, a synthetic cannabinoid, and in Marinol, a THC extract in pill form that the FDA approved back in 1985. But Marinol contains no CBD, and ingested THC is metabolized differently from smoked marijuana-the palliative effects take much longer to kick in, and the psychoactive effects are far stronger.
Craker’s intentions for a Massachusetts site are similar to the GW template: an indoor facility housing female clones, with strains made to order for researchers according to exact cannabinoid content. In contrast to the methods practiced by GW and by America’s outlaw gardeners, however, NIDA grows the majority of its marijuana outdoors, under conditions that result in unwanted pollination and, according to some users, a harsh product. The Institute harvested its most recent marijuana crop in Mississippi in 2002, and stockpiled the supply in vaults and freezers. Cannabinoid content of NIDA pot is highly variable, and a THC potency of 6 to 8 percent is about as high as researchers can hope for. By contrast, Canada distributes medical marijuana to patients at 12.5 percent, and medical marijuana in the Netherlands ranges from 13 to 18 percent potency.
“I’ve spoken to patients who have used [NIDA marijuana], and they’ve said it’s everything from worthless to other descriptions I should not use,” Craker says. “The patient has to smoke one cigarette after the other to get any effective relief from pain.” Ethan Russo, a neurologist and now a senior medical adviser to GW Pharmaceuticals, conducted patient studies with NIDA marijuana and reported, “A close inspection of the contents of NIDA-supplied cannabis cigarettes reveals them to be a crude mixture of leaf with abundant stem and seed components.. . .The resultant smoke is thick, acrid, and pervasive.”
Then again, it’s not in NIDA’s job description-or even, perhaps, in NIDA’s interests-to grow a world-class marijuana crop. The institute’s director, Nora Volkow, has stressed that it’s “not NIDA’s mission to study the medicinal use of marijuana or to advocate for the establishment of facilities to support this research.” Since NIDA’s stated mission “is to lead the Nation in bringing the power of science to bear on drug abuse and addiction,” federally supported marijuana research will logically tilt toward the potential harms, not benefits, of cannabis.
Under these circumstances, evidence in support of medical marijuana tends to materialize as a byproduct, not a primary goal, of official research. For example, Donald Tashkin of UCLA intended to demonstrate via a NIDA-supported study that marijuana smoke increases the risk of lung and upper-airways cancer. But the findings of the study, announced this past week, indicate that heavy marijuana smokers actually show lower cancer rates than tobacco smokers, indirectly supporting claims by medical-marijuana proponents for the tumor-inhibiting properties of cannabinoids.
. . .
At the moment, federal law prohibits pot cultivation even in those states (11 at last count) that have passed medical-marijuana referenda. In 1996, Californians voted in favor of the Compassionate Use Act, also known as Proposition 215, which permitted the use and cultivation of marijuana by qualified patients. According to the act, patients with a referral from a physician can obtain medical marijuana from one of some 200 dispensaries or “buyers’ clubs,” which procure their high-grade stock from tucked-away farms and discreet greenhouses. Despite the ever present threat of a crackdown from the federal government, these companies are thriving-some clubs even offer their employees healthcare benefits and 401(k) plans-and have created a market for medical marijuana.
“For evidence in support of the healthy competition fostered by a marketplace economy, you need only to look at the quality of marijuana available in California,” says Mark Blumenthal, who directs the nonprofit American Botanical Council of Austin, Texas. “Pluralism and economic competition are good for the consumer. We generally don’t allow and empower monopolies in our culture-it’s contrary to the tenets of our economic system.”
The invocation of a government monopoly on marijuana helps to explain the strange bedfellows on the pro-cannabis side of this issue. The conservative historian Richard Brookhiser and the late Reagan aide Lyn Nofziger both spoke out in favor of medical marijuana, and supporters of Craker’s suit against the DEA include not only several nurses’ associations and the United Methodist Church but Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform and a staunch defender of small government and an unfettered free market.
“The use of controlled substances for legitimate research purposes is well-established, and has yielded a number of miracle medicines widely available to patients and doctors,” Norquist wrote in his letter of support. “This case should be no different. It’s in the public interest to end the government monopoly on marijuana legal for research.”
Given Norquist’s many successes on the lobbying circuit, perhaps all medical marijuana needs is a new pitch man.
Jessica Winter is a freelance journalist in New York. She writes for The Village Voice, the Guardian (UK), Time Out London, and other publications.
|Photo: Luke Thomas/The Green Cross|
|Kevin Reed: “It’s unacceptable. It would be a disaster.”|
Who has tried this with marijuana? It is just like a gas mask. Every time I have tried it, it usually takes about three or four inhales/exhales to clear out the helmet. It’s always fun to try when your smoking some with friends. It always seems to give someone a over powering buzz and knocks them out.
What’s good Greenies and welcome to another insightful Wisdom Wednesday from me, ThisBuds4You. This week we’re going to check out an often left out but CRUCIAL and CRITICAL final step of growing and producing high-grade bud, curing. Curing is important because it allows us to receive cannabis buds at their greatest potential. Curing increases the potency of cannabis, creates a much smoother smoke and it also greatly improves the taste of the buds. Curing is done once harvested cannabis buds have finished drying; typically after 5-7 days drying time. Once the buds have been dried they are placed in glass mason jars with sealable lids. Once the buds are placed in jars the remaining moisture gets evenly distributed throughout the bud. This re-moistens the buds and the jars need to be “burped” or opened to allow some air exchange and then re-sealed. This action should be performed 2-3 times a day for the first week, then once a day the second week. Doing this over time will dry the cannabis buds out slow, creating a nice and smooth smoke. The cannabis buds should be ready for smoking at the end of the second week cure. Check out the video for more info on curing below.
Keep it green Greenies and OVERGROW THE WORLD!!!
Every pot smoker comes with a different set of preferences: Where they smoke, what kind of weed they like, what they watch/listen to while smoking, and most importantly: how they consume the magical herb. Stoners, take up your weapon of choice!
In this day and age, the blunt may very well be the most preferred way to smoke weed. Why? There are numerous reasons: It lasts longer than a joint, is more convenient for mobility than a bong or bowl, and gets you super stoned, super fast. It’s also great comic relief when you try to explain to anyone over the age of 30. The blunt didn’t become popular until fairly recently, so any potheads left over from previous generations have no idea that you can crack open a cigar and fill it up with weed.
Now, there are infinite methods to rolling a blunt. Everyone has their own strategy: Some prefer the long “pencil” that can extend the blunt’s life but can be too tight to hit if rolled incorrectly. Some enjoy the “doody stick,” an ugly monstrosity that burns quickly, hits harshly, and leaves you with large pieces of nug in your throat. And still others prefer the epic and genius “cone” (my personal favorite) which balances the positives of both of the previous blunt types, without many of the negatives.
But customization doesn’t end there: Many different types of cigars can be used: Dutchmasters, Games, Phillies, White Owls, and Swisher Sweets, among many others. The downside to any blunt is that it’s the stinkiest way to smoke, as well as one of the least efficient ways…Not to mention totally unhealthy – You aren’t supposed to be inhaling cigar paper that way.
The joint is the geriatric cousin of the blunt: Smaller, weaker, and less impressive in every way. In fact, the only real pros to the joint are 1. lack of tobacco (unless you’re rolling a spliff, which negates that pro) and 2. higher stealth factor than its big, brown relative. If you’re trying to go to a concert or some other place where you get searched on the way in, you have a higher chance of getting in with several well-concealed joints than with one large blunt. They can be rolled in similar ways to blunts, with papers of various different brands, sizes, flavors, and materials.
So what’s so bad about the joint? For one, the smell of burning paper is far more irritating to me than burning tobacco (personally). It also happens to be the LEAST efficient way to blaze, burning your herb at an incredibly high temperature and speed.
If stealth is what you’re going for, then this may be for you. These pieces are super easy to smuggle into venues, and fairly discreet to smoke in crowds. You can buy a metal or wood one-hitter with a dugout, or invest in a artistic glass chillum that packs a little more but is bulkier and more fragile.
Although there’s a certain amount of convenience to this method, it’s also my least favorite way of burning. There are numerous reasons why: 1. You can’t see what your lighting, 2. There is no carb to clear the chamber of the piece, 3. Some of the time you have to tilt your head up to take a hit in an attempt to not lose your bowl packing, and 4. Way too many burning embers (otherwise known as scooby snacks) jetting down the back of your throat at breakneck speeds.
The bowl is the bat’s big brother, and the second of four glass siblings. Although you can buy metal, wood, or corncob pipes, most weed connoisseurs prefer glass over anything else.
Bowls come in sorts of shapes, sizes, and colors. You could say that it’s the most artistic of the brothers, most of the time doubling as a beautiful conversation piece. You can buy a bowl that is shaped like an animal, or one that changes colors as you smoke it more and more, or one with a unique shape or pattern. You might even give it a name because it’s a work of art – and every piece of art needs a title. I prefer to give my pieces really meaningful names: Corrinado (named after a character from a Disco Biscuits rock opera), The Seussaphone (it resembles an instrument out of a Dr. Seuss book), and Keanu Reeves (long story as to how this one got its name, I’ll go into it some other time).
The bubbler is a hybrid that combines the convenient size of the bowl with the science of the bong. You get to keep the basic structure of its little brother, but with the added element of water filtration. Diffusion not only keeps you from getting ash in your mouth (gross), but also maximizes the THC you take in while minimizing miscellaneous chemicals and substances that come with burning plant matter. The more times the smoke filters through water, the more concentrated the THC content becomes and the smoother the hit becomes.
The negative impact: There are none. The bubbler is really the perfect smoking device – That’s why I personally own a double bubbler named Littlefoot (if you couldn’t guess, it resembles the young Brontosaurus from The Land Before Time), as well as a traditional bubbler swirled with the colors of the rainbow, hence its name Roy G. Biv.
If you can afford it, the bong is the way to go. Like bubblers, bowls, and chillums before it, the bong comes in all kinds of shapes, sizes, colors, and materials. They have massive ranges in price: a rubber-stopper mini-bong can cost $20, and a top-shelf name brand glass-on-glass bong with percolators (the more percs, the more filtration/diffusion) and a frozen coil chamber can potentially run you thousands of dollars.
The bong would be considered the scientist of the four brothers – and that’s what you’re paying for: Machine-cut glass and wonderful technology make it the BEST way to puff by far. Bongs are the most efficient and conservative way to smoke (notice I say SMOKE, you’ll see why soon).
The downside of the bong? There are two: 1. The most easily broken of the glass pieces – being both tall and skinny means a high center of gravity and the significant chance of a friend’s leg making direct contact, and 2. They can be quite large and heavy, making them inconvenient as a group smoking device. If you go this route for today, I recommend you stick to personal bong use only, or at the very most three people.
And so we come to the disowned, retarded bastard of the pieces. We’ve all undoubtedly had to whip together a quick bong or bowl at some point in our years smoking cheeba. Half Baked promoted the use of “an avocado, an icepick, and my snorkel” but there are much easier materials around your house with which to make a bong.
When I was a young lad of 14, my friends and I would make bongs by inserting a hollowed out pen in a hole we burned in the side of a soda bottle, and then shaping tin foil into a cone over the pen. Looking back, it was totally unhealthy in every way, but it was cheaper than buying glass.
You can also use soda bottles in conjunction with large pretzel containers and ratchet heads to make a gravity bong or waterfall bong (look them up), which get you stupid high and make you cough until you’re purple in the face. There’s also the apple bowl, which is even simpler to construct. All it takes is an apple and something to jab into it to create the bowl, the carb, and the mouthpiece.
If you’re extremely desperate you can always come back to these hoodrat smoking methods, but I haven’t run into a situation that calls for them in years.
Oh the wonders of the vaporizer! It is a far departure from any previously mentioned smoking method in that you aren’t really smoking at all. Vapes use a heating element to bring your nugs right to the point where the water molecules on them evaporate and turn into a milky steam. Attached to that gas is the highest amount of THC that you can get. It is THE most efficient way to consume THC (though is NOT classified as smoking, technically), as well as the healthiest.
Not only does it not take a toll on your lungs, but it actually has been known to clear up congestion, as THC is a natural expectorant. Notice how you cough when you smoke weed, but not when you smoke cigarettes? There’s a reason for that. You’ll cough even harder when you get a really good, slow, and steady hit from a vaporizer – It’ll clear you right up.
There are many different kinds of vapes, and technological advance is bringing about new ones every day, but only a couple are really famous: The Volcano is both an expensive and complicated piece of machinery, which allows for incredibly accurate vaporization, but puffing out of a bag is kind of weird. “Pencil Sharpeners” are aptly named for their striking resemblance to pencil sharpeners, and are far simpler and cheaper than the former, with the other plus being that pulling on a hose feels more like a hookah, and thus closer to the act of actual smoking.
Many people claim that vaporizers don’t do it for them because they really just enjoy the act of smoking. Smoking is just as much of a social act as it is inhaling a drug, so anyone who says that is not without reason. But when you’re feeling bored and lonely, the vape is the perfect device to whip out for a bowl to the face.
Like the vaporizer, edible THC is in a category all its own. It also has few to no negative effects – well, besides getting way, way too high. The best part is that you can basically cook it into anything. The first step is melting down the weed in either butter or oil, and then filtering out the nasty wet leaves, leaving behind a nice dark liquid. Then go to town.
You could be a traditionalist and stick to baked goods like brownies, cakes, and cookies, or you could get creative with it. You can make rice crispy treats or milkshakes, or you can put it in sauce and then toss it with pasta. Throw that butter back in the fridge and let it solidify, then spread it over toast. You can seriously find ways to get it into any food or snack.
And if you do it right, it will get you baked out of your skull for many, many long hours. It’s almost as if it’s your first time getting high all over again. Sometimes you can get high almost to the point of hallucination and delusion: You get all introspective, then you have a small panic attack, and in the end you fix everything by forcing yourself to sleep until you’re no longer stoned. It works, I’ve done it once before.