Posts Tagged ‘orange county medical marijuana’

Garden Grove Drops Pot Dispensary Ban, Starts Registration

Medical marijuana dispensaries must register with the city or they will not be able to operate, according to a new ordinance passed by council members Tuesday night.
The City Council voted 5-0 in favor of the ordinance, which city officials say will not only help regulate the number of pot dispensaries in the city but also ensure that they are located in commercial zones as opposed to residential or school zones.
Garden Grove city council members unanimously passed an ordinance, which will require all medical marijuana dispensaries in the city to be registered in order to operate. The city estimates that there are about 30 dispensaries currently operating in Garden Grove despite a ban that was passed in 2008.
Senior Planner Erin Webb said the ordinance will go into effect immediately and only those dispensaries that have registered with the city can be potentially eligible for a future permit. About 30 medical marijuana dispensaries are operating in Garden Grove, she said. The ordinance will also effectively deter illegal operations from sprouting in different parts of the city, she said.
Council members said they support the registration process.
“This is needed for our city to have some control over the facilities and to make sure our children and families are protected from illegal activities,” said Councilwoman Dina Nguyen. “Unless we define what is legal or illegal, it will not be possible for police to enforce the law.”
Longtime resident Verla Lambert asked the council how the city intends to enforce the ordinance.
“With more business licenses, the city will get more revenue,” she said. “But you will also need to hire more people to enforce these codes. We’ve worked hard to keep this environment drug-free. If it has to be done, we better do it right.”

Proposed Tracking Program Has SF Medical Marijuana Growers In Fear Feds Or Criminals Could Obtain Addresses

Its a trap!

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.

Marijuana Patient Cop

“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.”

Weed Control

Weed control

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.
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.

© Copyright 2006 Globe Newspaper Company.

Dispensary Video: Vale Tudo Cafe

Cafe Vale Tudo
24601 Raymond Way, Suite 9B
Lake Forest, CA 92630

S.F. Pot Shops Must Release Names & Addresses Of Growers

cop reading list flip 159504cop2_011941.jpg
​The San Francisco Department of Public Health, which licenses and polices the city’s 26 storefront medical marijuana dispensaries, announced on Friday that it will ask every dispensary to provide a list — with names and addresses — of every grower with which it does business.
The result would be a disaster for the city’s burgeoning medical marijuana industry, according to Kevin Reed, president of the Green Cross medicinal cannabis delivery service, reports Chris Roberts at the S.F. Weekly.
“It’s unacceptable,” Reed told the Weekly. “It would be a disaster.”
The list of grower names and addresses is needed, claimed Rajiv Bhatia, head of DPH’s Occupational & Environmental Health, for safety and legality reasons.
“DPH is trying to ensure that permitted MCDs [medical cannabis dispensaries] comply with all state and local laws,” Bhatia said. “By ensuring this, the industry will be best situated to be protected from code enforcement and criminal prosecution.”

kevin reedcc2009.jpg
Photo: Luke Thomas/The Green Cross
Kevin Reed: “It’s unacceptable. It would be a disaster.”
​ But that isn’t sitting so well with the city’s medical marijuana growers, who have noticed the increasingly threatening nature of letters of U.S. Attorneys in medical marijuana states. All that saber-rattling by drug warriors within the Obama
Administration doesn’t exactly make turning over a list of names and addresses seem like the best idea ever.
According to Reed, the list would push legal operators underground while doing nothing to change the habits of illegal cultivators.
And if the list were publicly available, it could be used as a “shopping list” by rip-off artists, thieves, and, of course, the federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), since the feds still consider cannabis illegal, even for medicinal purposes, regardless of state laws.
“There’s no way anyone on the city or state level can provide us protection from the federal government,” Reed said.
Theories regarding why the S.F. Health Department is suddenly concerned about whether dispensaries comply with state and local law — more than a decade after the City By The Bay passed its Medicinal Cannabis Dispensary Act — include taxes, police, and in industry takeover, reports Roberts at the Weekly.

Reed said he believes the DPH wants a list of all the city’s legal growers so that it can eventually tax them. But the city also wants addresses of grow sites located outside San Francisco.
Some growers believe the DPH is being strong-armed by the S.F. Police Department.
And then there are the conspiracy theorists who say the stricter regulations would make it easier for a few mega-operators to take over the medical marijuana industry.
“I understand DPH’s frustration of being thrust into the middle of this confusing and contradictory system, but there is way too much risk to force full transparency in cultivation,” said Brendan Hallinan, an attorney handling permitting for medical marijuana dispensaries.
“After the federal government specifically told Oakland ‘no way’ on their permitted-cultivation sites, it is ridiculous to ask SF MCDs to go right ahead and do the same thing,” Hallinan said.

Tourist Fined $2,000 For 3 Grams Of Marijuana In Bermuda

DRUGS bermuda.jpg
Photo: Cruise Law News
Don’t carry your weed to Bermuda.

An American tourist who said she smoked marijuana for medical reasons was fined $2,000 on Thursday in Bermuda.

Teresa Sheridan, 53, or Oregon, pleaded guilty in Magistrates’ Court to one count of importing cannabis, reports Mikaela Ian Pearman of the Bermuda Sun.
Sheridan arrived on a flight from New York to Bermuda on May 23 at 2:10 p.m. She was selected for a search by Customs officers because a drug-detecting dog had alerted to her seat on the plane.
In the ensuing search, a Customs dog alerted on Sheridan’s groin area. When asked if she had any drugs, she said, “Yes, in between my legs.”
Officers searched her luggage and discovered a black container, a clear herb grinder with traces of plant material, rolling papers and a ceramic pipe made to look like a cigarette.
In a private search room, Sheridan removed a white sock from her groin area. The sock contained two plastic bags, one with coffee grounds and another with three grams of cannabis.
She was arrested on the spot for importing drugs into Bermuda.
Counsel Marc Daniels told the court that Sheridan used cannabis as a treatment for depression. “She uses weed to calm her nerves and should be dealt with by way of a fine,” Daniels said.
“The fact that she had it hidden between her legs would indicate she knew it was contraband,” remarked Senior Magistrate Archibald Warner. “She knew it was illegal.”
Warner fined Sheridan $2,000, to be paid immediately.
Just one day before, Edith Lord Wolffe, a tourist from California, was given 30 days in jail and a $3,000 fine for importing 35 grams of cannabis. The court heard that Wolffe’s physician had recommended cannabis for her chronic illness, Ménière’s disease.
Wolffe’s lawyer, Mark Pettingill, has launched an appeal and a bail application.
Bermuda is notoriously unfriendly to marijuana and tourists who possess it, although politicians there last year called for a debate on decriminalization.

Stoner Photo: Hotbox Helmet

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.

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