Posts Tagged ‘california marijuana’

Who Is Your Marijuana Hero?

drug warHeroes come in all shapes and sizes, from a soldier that would jump on a grenade to that person that lets you in while changing lanes. My heroes as of late are the drug war heroes. Making every smoker a criminal from occasional to daily, the war on drug has created a different type of soldier – from grower to end user, anyone can go to jail.

The war on drugs has created a violent and life threatening environment for normal people who just want to smoke (like having a cocktail after work) and be left alone. They smoke to ease pain and to gain appetites, to feel stabilized and overall okay with the world, there’s no mystery behind this. I’m not the only one that is pissed off that weed is still an issue in our American way. People in very important positions carry on life day to day, all while partaking in the weed and yet here we are.

I ‘m nobody, just a dude that talks a lot of shit by pointing fingers at our current and past political system by stating how insane it is that anybody’s life is altered by weed. There’s been a consistent hypocrisy in my America, before the War on drugs it was “get them damn hippies” but with a War we can “get ‘em all”, I just wonder why a bunch of farmers and stoners are the target for somebody’s animosity. One can get by in life by shutting the fuck up, by not stirring the pot, by not having an opinion but I think that’s more of an insult to ourselves and our children.

Cop With WeedIn Southern California I was caught with weed 3 times (less than an ounce is a misdemeanor, a.k.a just a ticket in other states it’s a felony a.k.a jail time). Two times I was cited and the third he let me go. When I was younger on the East Coast I would smoke in downtown Atlantic City, off the bus in the land of crack heads, cops had bigger things to worry about then. These days I’m less bold and casual with my smoking simply because I have more to lose now but if one of those things in the past took a worse turn I don’t know where I would be now.

These days I have more respect for a grower than a politician – farmer vs. lawyer. These days I’m more fearful around cops and my pot – smoking harmlessly vs. going to jail and being a waste of mine and other tax payers’ money.

Heroes come in all shapes and sizes; mine are the soldiers and victims of today’s ignorant drug war. Mine are normal people put into extra-ordinary positions. When I heard Rob Cantrell’s joke about smoking with a world renowned violinist and getting busted in a back alley than serving 3 days in jail, I thought it was just a joke – not a personal reality, than there is the story of Jaime Rutowski.

Jaime Rutowski recently won a lawsuit against the city of New York. She was detained against her will where she nearly died. She suffers from diabetes and as her levels rose the police did nothing for her ‘till she got to a near death situation.

The politicians live in the land of double-talk which is clearly seen here in a video (start at 1:30 but the whole thing is badass) with Congressman Charles B Rangel saying he can’t think of a single person being arrested in New York, are you fucking kidding me! I never thought there would be a time when I recognize Tennesse as more progressive thinking than New York.

Or what about the heros serving time for something I smoke in a day like Patricia Spottedcrow. A 10yr sentence for less than a quarter ounce! Somebody needs to remind the judicial system and all those against it, it’s a plant not a meth lab. Do we endanger our children with tomato plants or worse yet, jalapeno plants?

 

Lately, I agree with the mad hat tea partiers but I’m afraid some don’t know what they’re mad or even scared about. Half the shit I hear them scream and yell about doesn’t affect a guy like me, making under 40 thousand, living paycheck to paycheck ,inclined to drink and smoke excessively, after I’ve worked my ass for 8 or plus hours off that day.

What this thing in life is really about, what we should fight for or be against is the attack on our personal space. It’s the personal space we call our own to do what we want, not harming others. Whether it’s a 1500 square foot house, 10 x 10 closet, or even a mansion in the hills your rights can more than be potentially violated tomorrow, this is not the American way. Imagine your rights taken away for having a six pack in the house, what makes this different than a bong or a pound?

Dana Walker

Take Dana Walker for example. A Washington State badass who has made a stand against the state for the equivalent of smoking a cigarette, even after having already served time in a Federal Prison for the same thing, weed. He stood up to the ass-war mongers and said I refuse to pay anymore debt to society. And why should we be paying debts to society for smoking herb.

Our country is run by fear mongering sycophants that would rather run prison systems and make revenue being a police state instead of taxes and licensing. Coming out against drugs does America one the biggest disservices the people – nobody is being rescued, we’re just handed blinders. Kind, non-threatening, people are arrested and penalized everyday from a joint to truckloads with no disregard.

I personally know of a woman who lives in Colorado and smokes pot to help her get by since she has no spleen. Somehow police got involved in her life and they called social services, now her children are taken away for something less harmful than legal shit. Having your children taken away is like living in your own personal prison, it doesn’t get much lower than that. One example of somebody losing their child’s rights that I can document for the record is that of Nicholas Pouch, proving a bitter ex can ruin your present.

When I read reports of kids dying in jails after being pulled over for an out light on their bicycle, I wonder how the other side sleeps at night. How do you call yourself good when bad shit happens because of your freaked out conservative policies?

Humans, people, Americans and everyone else on this planet have a predisposition to get away (mentally and physically). Whether you’re an American Indian on a spiritual journey eating peyote or a distinguish business man of 1839 self prescribing has always been a way of life. News flash Mr. and Mrs. America: We like to get fucked up.

Whether people want to smoke for recreational or medicinal, it should be up to them. The government recently came out and said marijuana has no medicinal value but this contradicts the fact that there have been 8 federal marijuana patients. More and more people smoke to help ease aches and pains, there’s even research showing it helps with cancer. Personally I lost my father to cancer and if I thought smoking some joints with him would give me another day with him, I would. So I think before the government puts on its blinders they should reclass marijuana and give it a chance.

Most of what I write is idealistic hippie crap but its how I feel. Life isn’t complicated for me, I work, I come home, I work at home, and I enjoy my herb – only one of these can put me in jail. Millions of people agree with me to, so I wonder why we’re still here in this position. Of all the things that could put me jail I would rather have it for something I’ve done or am willing to do, rather than for a joint or even a crop but we all take some chance just for a little piece of mind and its those people who are my marijuana heroes.

California Judge Rules Medical Marijuana Not An Agricultural Product

marijuana CaliforniaBy Steve Elliott of Toke of the Town

Yes, marijuana is a plant you grow from the ground. No, it’s not an agricultural crop. Confused yet?

In what is believed to be the first ruling of its kind in the state, a judge in California has ruled that a marijuana collective can’t operate on land zoned for agriculture, reports Lewis Griswold of the Fresno Bee.

In his ruling last week, Tulare County Superior Court Judge Paul Vortmann dismissed a property owner’s argument that a medical marijuana collective’s cultivation of marijuana is legal because it is in an agricultural zone.

“In this state, marijuana has never been classified as a crop or horticultural product,” Judge Vortmann wrote in his ruling. Marijuana is a controlled substance, the judge said.

“The court finds as a matter of law that growing marijuana … is not an agricultural use of property,” the judge wrote.

It’s the first time a court has addressed whether medical marijuana might be an agricultural crop, according to Tulare County Counsel Kathleen Bales-Lange, whose office sued a property owner and collective on behalf of the Board of Supervisors.

Marijuana plants are “agricultural in nature” because they grow like any other crop, according to lawyer Brandon Ormonde of Tulare, who represented the property owner. He acknowledged that medical marijuana has never been legally acknowledged as an “agricultural plant.”

“If it’s not a crop, I don’t know what it is,” said Dale Gieringer, director of California NORML, reports the Associated Press.

The case involved the Foothill Growers Association medical marijuana collective, which rented a building south of Ivanhoe in an agricultural zone. The collective grew plants inside the building and operated a dispensary.

Tulare County sued the collective and the property owner last year, arguing that marijuana dispensaries are only allowed in specified commercial and manufacturing zones.

Hash PlantThe group has until Friday to stop using the building. Hanford attorney Bill Romaine, who represents Foothill Growers Association, said on Thursday that he believed the cooperative had negotiated a new site to use in unincorporated Tulare County, reports David Castellon at the Visalia Times-Delta.

Five years ago, an estimate that marijuana was the top cash crop in the United States at $35.8 billion a year made headlines nationwide. The crop’s value is more than corn and wheat combined, according to legalization advocate Jon Gettman, who prepared the 2006 report.

But never mind all that. Marijuana is not recognized by the California Department of Food and Agriculture as an “agricultural commodity.” (Maybe it’s time they catch up to reality.)

No agricultural commissioner in the state — not even in Mendocino and Humboldt counties — lists cannabis in is annual crop reports.

“We don’t regulate or track marijuana at all and regard that as a law enforcement issue,” said Steve Lyle, speaking for the state agriculture agency.

That could all change, though, under a proposed ballot initiative that plans a farming future for marijuana. Among other things, it proposes to apply “existing agricultural taxes and regulations to marijuana” and would prohibit zoning restrictions on cannabis cultivation.

It was recently approved by the Secretary of State’s office for signature gathering in an attempt to get it on the 2012 ballot.

Article From Toke of the Town and republished with special permission.

‘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.

Regulate Marijuana Like Wine Act Of 2012

regulate cannabis like wineThis is the language from the Regulate Marijuana Like Wine webpage:

Section 1. Findings, Declarations, Purpose, Directives, and Orders

Section 11362.95 is added to the Health and Safety Code:

11362.95. This section shall be known as and may be cited as the “Regulate Marijuana Like Wine Act of 2012,” known hereinafter as the “Act.”

(a) The People of the State of California find and declare all of the following:

(1) Outlawing marijuana has not reduced its availability and has resulted in making it easier for minors to acquire. Adults 21 years and older are responsible to use and cultivate marijuana, and should not be subject to sanctions or criminal penalties.

(2) Marijuana is an untapped revenue source for the State of California, and that the best way to tap into that source for the benefit of all Californians is to tax and regulate it.

(3) The regulation of marijuana will benefit the People of the State of California by reducing criminal gang and cartel activity, promoting agriculture, creating jobs by creating a new hemp industry in the State of California, and reducing the fiscal and overpopulation burdens on courts, jails, and the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

(b) This Act does the following:

(1) Amends California Health and Safety Code sections 11357, 11358, 11359, 11360, 11366, 11366.5, 11469, et seq., 11485, Vehicle Code section 23222(b), and all other statutes that restrict or prohibit persons 21 years and older and/or qualifying business entities, from all activities approved herein; such that persons 21 years or older, and approved business entities, shall no longer be prohibited from the use, possession, trade, packaging, gifting, sales, distribution, storage, transportation, production, or cultivation of marijuana. All said statutes state, Òexcept as authorized by law,Ó and this section, notwithstanding any contrary statute or provision, provides exceptions.

(2) Marijuana, THC, and CBD explicitly and/or by inference, are removed from Health and Safety Code section 11054.

(3) This act does not control, repeal, modify, or change statutes pertaining to:

(A) Operating a motor vehicle;

(B) Using marijuana or being impaired in the workplace or public nonsmoking areas;

(C) Providing, transferring, use, possession, cultivation, processing, sales, distribution, transporting, or storing on premises of marijuana to or by persons under 21 years of age;

(D) Medical marijuana statutes as set forth in Proposition 215 (H&S11362.5) and its progeny.

(4) Amends statutes that criminalize the use, possession, cultivation, processing, transportation, storage, distribution, gifting and/or selling of marijuana in any form, or method of ingestion by persons 21 years of age or older. Legalizes all such for-profit or non-profit activities by these persons, groups, and approved business entities, and does not subject these persons/entities to search, arrest, prosecution, seizure, asset forfeiture, and/or any criminal or civil penalty or sanction. Adds to each statute referenced above in Health and Safety Code Section 11362.95 (b) (1) (in this Section 1): ÒThis statute and its provisions do not apply to any person 21 years or older, or to qualifying business entities and approved activities in Section 11395.Ó

(5) Qualifying or approved business entities include those operated by individuals 21 years and older, any recognized business entity, farm, processor, packager, broker, wholesaler, distributor, retailer, winery, or on-sale and off-sale wine and beer business. To the extent of appropriate jurisdiction, these commercial enterprises or businesses shall be regulated by, and fees paid to, the state Alcohol Beverage Control or Agricultural Commissioner, just as with farming businesses, and alcohol licenses and sales. However, no such agency or employee shall act to delay, defeat, or limit the number of commercial cultivation licenses, nor charge higher fees than in the alcohol or winery industries, for any activity or provision granted herein. Unless by regulating local alcohol sales, local zoning to regulate, limit, or defeat any activity approved herein, shall not be considered by these agencies and shall have no effect on this industry. The Agricultural Commissioner shall be responsible for true weights and measures.

(6) The adult activities for this class enumerated herein have no victim(s) and are not subject to sanctions nor punishment.

(7) All pending court actions under said amended statutes that conflict with the provisions of this Act shall be dismissed with prejudice.

(8) The state and/or local jurisdictions may regulate the processing, distribution, sales, and outdoor use within 600 feet of a public school, and in residential zones.

(9) Experimentation, development, research, testing, cultivation, sales, or possession of genetically-modified (GMO) marijuana, hemp, and its seeds, shall be banned throughout the state of California.

(c) The People of the State of California hereby declare that this Act expressly prohibits the following:

(1) This Act adopts the definitions of marijuana and THC as they are presently set forth in Health and Safety Code Sections 11018 and 11006.5, but those definitions shall be broadly interpreted to include and allow the species Cannabis Indica, Ruderalis, and Americana, as well as any plant part, form, derivative, interspecies hybrids or cross-breeds, and all non-genetically-modified strains of the Cannabis genus and plant.

(2) Existing taxes and regulations which may be similar and may apply in the grape farming and wine industries, produce and processed agricultural products and brokerage industry, distribution, retail sales, and wholesale transactions of agricultural crops and products shall apply to marijuana, regardless of THC level, using the grape farming and winery industry as an example, so long as the results support these declarations, purposes and goals.

(3) All wholesale and retail products with a final THC level below 0.1 percent shall be authorized for sales as hemp products. All marijuana or hemp products with a THC level of 0.1 percent or above shall be restricted for sales to persons 21 years or older and regulated in a manner similar to wine, so long as the results support these declarations, purposes and goals.

(4) The State of California, and all branches of its government, shall liberally construe the meaning and implementation of this Act to favor and benefit individuals, and qualifying business entities as follows:

(A) No taxes, fees, laws, rules, regulations, local city or county zoning requirements may be adopted or enacted to defeat, deny, or prohibit the purposes of this Act, or to defeat, deny, or prohibit persons 21 years or older, associations, organizations, commercial, agricultural, or industrial businesses from engaging in the activities protected by this Act. Willful violations of this act shall be considered violations of civil rights as they apply to support these activities and which can result in serious civil fines and penalties.

(B) Adult alcohol manufacturing and use in the winery and beer industries allow for non-commercial home brewing. Any person, association, or collective group not producing more than 12 outdoor flowering plants per adult, or 25 indoor flowering plants per adult, shall be exempt from commercial regulations of the alcohol industry model, excises, fees, and taxes, except for income taxes and sales taxes, if they apply. This act creates and requires statewide standards and preempts and nullifies any conflicting local regulations, while allowing local jurisdictions limited regulation over cultivation in residential zones. However, no local residential regulation shall disallow a maximum total of 12 outdoor or 25 indoor plants per residence in a residential zone.

(C) No regulations, taxes, or fees shall be enacted or imposed for marijuana for qualifying persons and entities, which are more severe or restrictive than those comparable and reasonable in the commercial wine grape farming and winery regulations of the alcohol industry model, including but not limited to, farming, planting, cultivating, irrigating, harvesting, processing, brokering, packaging, processing, storing, selling, distributing, and establishment of retail businesses, cooperatives or collective associations

(5) Regardless of jurisdictional arguments, all state, local, elected, appointed, hired employees, officers, and officials shall refuse to and shall not cooperate with or assist federal, state, or local officials, volunteers, or employees who eradicate marijuana, act for seizure or forfeiture, or defeat any liberally construed purpose of this Act, or to operate under any contract or arrangement to repeal or circumvent this Act directly or indirectly, or to follow or abide by any federal laws or regulations that are in conflict with this Act. Further, no such person acting alone, or with any other person, judicial, legislative or executive body, may contract or agree to cooperate with or assist federal officials, employees, agencies or departments to obtain any revenue, reimbursement, money, property, gain, or advantage by the arrest, prosecution, conviction, or deprivation or seizure of property of anyone acting within the age/qualifying business entity provisions of this Act. This does not apply to federal lands.

(6) Within 30 days of passage of this Act, the offices of both the state Attorney General and the Department of Public Health shall inform the United States Department of Health and Human Services, the United States Attorney General, Congress, Drug Enforcement Agency, and Food and Drug Administration that in 1996 the state of California recognized the current medical use of marijuana in treatment in the United States, and since 1996 has approved a state-regulated physician medical marijuana practice. Physicians have evaluated thousands of patients who have used marijuana with no reported addiction or adverse consequences, and for that reason demands or petitions as is appropriate (see 21 CFR 1308.43, 21 USC 811-812) that marijuana and tetrahydrocannabinols as defined in §21 USC 802(16) be removed from Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act, 21 USC 800 et seq., where it is currently listed as an addictive drug with no accepted medical use in treatment in the United States.

(7) The State of California is ordered to protect and defend all provisions of this Act from any and all challenges or litigation, whether by persons, officials, cities, counties, the state or federal governments.

(8) Any and all commercial advertising for sales, distribution, and use of marijuana, except for medical marijuana and products that contain less than 0.1 percent THC. This provision shall be enforced hereafter by penalties to be set forth by the Legislature.

(d) This Act shall become effective immediately upon passage.

Section 2. Severability

If any of the provisions of this Act, or any part thereof, is for any reason held to be invalid or unconstitutional, the remaining provisions shall not be affected, but shall remain in full force and effect, and to this end the provisions of this Act are severable.

SECTION 3. Conflicting Measures

If this Act is approved by the voters but superseded by law by any other
conflicting ballot measure approved by the voters at the same election, and the
conflicting measures are later held invalid, this Act shall be self-executing and
given the full force of law.

Pot Grows, Yet California Judge Rules It Isn’t A Crop

And the stupidity continues with stupid decisions like this going on. Who knew a plant wasn’t a plant apparently?
It grows in the ground, requires sunshine and water to blossom and earns California growers an estimated $17 billion a year. But don’t call marijuana an agricultural crop in Tulare County.
The Fresno Bee (http://bit.ly/pwDIGg) reports that a judge ruled this week against a medical marijuana-growing collective that wanted to operate on land zoned for agriculture.
Tulare County Counsel Kathleen Bales-Lange says it’s the first time that courts have addressed whether marijuana can be classified as an agricultural crop. California voters legalized pot for medicinal purposes in 1996.
The case began when the county Board of Supervisors sued the Foothill Growers Association, which operated in an agriculture-zoned building.
In a ruling finalized Tuesday, Judge Paul Vortmann said the act of growing a controlled substance is not an agricultural use of property.
(Source) http://www.mercurynews.com

The Emerald Triangle Is California’s Marijuana Wonderland

Humboldt County signA Look Inside The Emerald Triangle

By Kim Pacilio

With medical marijuana legal in 16 states and counting, there is little doubt that legalized medical marijuana will soon become the norm all across the United States.  And there is no better example in the entire United States of how successful and profitable medical marijuana can be then in a tiny area in Northwestern California known as the Emerald Triangle.  Tucked away in beautiful Northern California, between the Pacific Coast and the Redwood forest, the Emerald Triangle has risen to prominence in recent years and has become infamous for having some of the highest quality medical marijuana in the world.

The Emerald Triangle consists of three notorious California counties Humboldt, Mendicino and Trinity.  With a population of just 225,000 spread sparsely across this beautiful woody hills Northern California landscape, it is almost impossible to imagine that this small area of the country is one of the best areas to grow marijuana in the Northern Hemisphere.  While there aren’t many plants that will flourish in this hilly, tucked away Northern California landscape, the cool winds and the fertile soil make it an ideal place for growing cannabis.

Since the middle of the 1960’s the infamous Emerald Triangle has become a ground zero of sorts for people looking to make a comfortable living in the cannabis growing industry.  Even though growing marijuana is still illegal at the Federal level, California’s friendly medical marijuana laws enable citizens all over the Emerald Triangle to make a small fortune growing and selling marijuana.  The Marijuana trade has even become so lucrative that in most areas in the Emerald Triangle one half to 2/3 of their entire economy is based off marijuana.  With this kind of volume comes enormous profits, not to mention enormous scrutiny.

Dank Marijuana NuggetWith over 1 billion dollars funneling into the Emerald Triangle every year, it is little wonder why the government has begun to take a second and third look at the impact of medical marijuana and the legalization of pot altogether.  With the United States government in complete fiscal crisis, the $40 billion dollar a year marijuana industry could bring substantial revenue back to the government.  Legalizing marijuana would not only bring substantial tax revenue back to the state, but the government would also save an additional $13 billion a year by simply not enforcing marijuana prohibition.

Taking out marijuana from the Emerald Triangle economy would be a devastating blow not only to the local residents who rely on the growing and selling of weed to support themselves, but also to the local and state governments who rely heavily on their tax revenue.  And with new medical marijuana dispensary’s popping up all across California every day, the medical cannabis industry has become a large and integral part in California’s diverse economy.

While many Emerald Triangle citizens walk a fine line between growing marijuana legally and triggering a legal crackdown from the federal government and DEA, many Emerald Triangle growers are undeterred.  In an area still reeling from the decades long decline of the timber and manufacturing industries, marijuana has become a mainstay in the Northern California economy and a lifesaver for many Emerald Triangle residents.

Activist Steve Kubby Wants to Regulate Marijuana Like Wine in California

CANNABIS CULTURE – Long-time pot activist Steve Kubby is back with a new marijuana ballot initiative for California. In this interview with Cannabis Culture, he explains why the Golden State should regulate marijuana like wine.

Proposition 19, the ballot initiative to legalize marijuana in California, was narrowly defeated during the November 2010 election. At the time, we figured tenacious activists would start building the next legalization campaign right away. We were right.

Steve Kubby, one of the activists responsible for the successful Proposition 215 that legalized medical marijuana in California in 1996, is back with a new initiative that is already gaining support and making headlines, thanks to the help of some big-name supporters like former US Judge Jim Gray.

In July, Kubby and his team were cleared to begin circulating ballot petitions after the title and summary of their new initiative, The Regulate Marijuana Like Wine Act of 2012, was accepted by the California secretary of states’s office.

Cannabis Culture Editor Jeremiah Vandermeer is pleased to present this interview with Steve Kubby, recorded on Thursday, July 28, 2011.

Cannabis Culture: Great to see all of the positive media attention payed to your proposed initiative in recent weeks. This must be giving the campaign quite a boost.

Steve Kubby: Were pretty happy – I mean we were in USA Today, The Washington Post. I saw a report in Turkey. We were even on a Spanish-language channel in Southern California, so we know there’s a pretty high level of interest.

CC: Does submitting early give you guys an advantage over other ballot initiatives?

SK: We planned all along to submit an initiative in August. I was concerned about how the attorney general would respond to an initiative, and what kind of language they would use, so we submitted this version and sure enough they tried to change our “regulation” initiative to a “legalization” initiative. We know “legalization” doesn’t test at all as high as “regulation”, so we’re going to go back and make sure they give us “regulation”. We’re going to change some terms in our initiative so that it’s more clear-cut that it’s going to be regulated by California’s Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, just as wine is regulated. So it was really very shrewd of us to submit early. We will file early in August which means will be done by the middle of February and the election cycle doesn’t really begin until March. We want to end right there because after March the price for signatures can double and even triple.

Right now if we can complete by March we know that we’ll pay $1.86 a signature, which comes to $1.4 million. We’d rather pay that than $3 or $4 each, which we could get stuck with if we started too late. At the same time we need time to wrap up our fundraising. We have a signed contract with one of the top political fundraisers on the West Coast, we’ve got the Libertarian party helping out, and we’ve got our own network of individuals who believe in our kind of politics.

CC: Have you been in touch with Richard Lee and the activists who ran the Prop 19 campaign? What are their thoughts?

SK: The old Prop 19 folks have created a new organization called the Coalition for Cannabis Policy Reform. We’ve been in touch with them and we’re looking forward to working with them. They have informed us that none of the funders seem interested in funding a California initiate again; they want to put their money in Colorado and Washington. They’re going after the old funders that I was the first one to get when I ran the Proposition 215 campaign in 1996 and I’ve gone on to other funders. We have our own circle of funders and were not under the same restraints that the other reformed organizations are all under.

CC: Why is the wine regulation model the best one suited for regulating cannabis in California?

SK: First and foremost, wine is something that people understand that can be used in moderation and doesn’t automatically lead to violence or impairment. People are used to the idea of a group getting together, having some wine and then going home or whatever else they’re going to do. So we wanted to put it on that level because that, in fact, is how cannabis is used as well.

If you were an alien from another planet and you came to earth and you suck people doing different activities you would classify pot smoking and wine drinking as highly social interactions with a low potential for violence or injury. So we wanted to put it in that context because that’s where it belongs. It doesn’t need to be regulated like nuclear plutonium. Plutonium is probably easier for researchers to get than marijuana. We didn’t want to put it in the category of hard booze because that would be wrongfully portraying what cannabis is all about – and it would be opening us up to attacks as another form of teenage drinking and abuse. So out of those possibilities, treating it like wine makes the most sense.

In addition to that, Judge Gray and deputy police chief Steven Downing from the LAPD told me their buddies are all telling them privately, “why don’t you just regulate it like booze”. They understand this. Well we compromised and said “how would you feel if we treated it like wine” and Judge Gray and chief Downing agreed. So that was the great unification model for bringing police, judges and activists together.

David Malmo-Levine has done an absolutely fantastic job for us and has published a comprehensive article comparing the California wine and cannabis industries. He has helped to educate Judge Gray and Chief Downing. Chief Downing even told him how much he had learned reading his paper. David is our official online director of communications and we all really appreciate having him on our team.

CC: Has the acceptance of the title and summary boosted the campaigns credibility? How much do public perceptions play into things at this stage and are you being taken more seriously?

SK: I probably have the best track record of anyone in town because I’ve only worked on the successful Prop 215 campaign. Of course, when we started that up, not only were people convinced that we wouldn’t succeed, but nobody, not even the sleaziest sex tabloid, would agree to use the term medical marijuana. They wouldn’t print it and wouldn’t say it. Absolutely wouldn’t tolerate it. So when we finally qualified for the ballot I remember getting some of the staff together and sitting down in front of the television. I remember saying “they’re going to have to say it, they’re going to have to say medical marijuana”. We were all just kind of transfixed about the possibility they would actually say that on television. So they did Prop to 213 and 214 and when they got to 215 they said “medical marijuana” – and then they said it again and again and again. They said it like it was just a regular word and our jaws were on the floor. We were just staring at the TV. Ever since, of course, it’s become an everyday word. But there was that day that it went from the taboo word to the everyday word. So I’ve seen firsthand how people’s perceptions can change once you qualify something for the ballot.

And certainly we are very grateful for all the hard work and trail-blazing that Prop 19 has done for us, because they have paved the way. When we came out, we didn’t qualify for the ballot, we just qualified for the title and summary. That should be a non-event but 260 different media outlets picked it up. We were in all of the media we wanted to be and we are now being taken very seriously.

CC: How does the Regulate Marijuana Like Wine initiative differ from others like Prop 19?

SK: Everything the reform movement is currently working on is limited to one ounce. Washington: one ounce. Colorado, recreational legalization: one ounce. California – I’ve seen the draft that one of the reform organizations is working on and honest to God, they are going for one ounce again. Now, one ounce in California is currently an infraction. Who the Hell is going to raise millions of dollars to turn an infraction into a non-infraction for just an ounce? We have no limit on how much pot is legal. It’s all legal. There’s is a 12-plant limit on growing indoors, but that is it – and no criminal penalties for cultivation, period.

CC: And dried personal amounts?

SK: We’re not even getting into that. We don’t want anyone coming around measuring dried amounts. It’s all legal under our system -– or regulated, as we like to call it. The only way you can screw up is if you sell marijuana and don’t pay the regular sales tax, like you do on anything else that you sell. Unlike Prop 19, we don’t invent any new laws or any new taxes. Sales tax is already in place so there is no need to introduce a new tax.

It’s light-years beyond everybody else but it really sounds reasonable when you read it.

CC: Right now, what’s the best way for people to help you?

SK: Everyone wants to get an initiative petition and start signing up people right away, but we are still 60 days away from that stage. When we’re ready to get signatures, we’re not going to have any volunteer signatures. A very painful lesson that I learned during the Prop 215 campaign is that volunteer signature-gathering does not work. Professional signature gatherers are a must.

So what can people do? They can go to our website and they’ll see we have installed the sign-up form where we can get basic information on them and then there in the system. Then they’ll get the latest updates and can take part in our proactive system. What can they do once their in? Well, this is all about money – I’m sorry but that’s just the reality.

What they can do is help us raise the money. Every $1.80 buys a signature – a validated signature. That’s someone who doesn’t just get the signature but also validates that it’s a registered voter. We need 800,000 signatures, so do the math. We need to raise $1.4 million.

We’ve got the big money coming in later on, but right now it’s really critical that the media sees how much money we can raise each day. Giving us money now in the first few weeks of this campaign is going to determine how respectful and interested the mainstream media is going to be in this campaign. If you don’t send any money later but can just send money in the next week or so, you’ve made the biggest impact you could possibly make. The biggest bang for the buck. And what you’ll be making is a contribution to history.

Read the The Regulate Marijuana Like Wine Act of 2012

Read the CC article “Crystal Clear Glasses and Unbleached Rollies”, a comprehensive comparison and contrasting of the California wine and California cannabis industries by activist David Malmo-Levine.

Stay tuned to Cannabis Culture for more information about the Regulate Marijuana Like Wine initiative in California.

Jeremiah Vandermeer is editor of Cannabis Culture. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter.

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