Weed Activist

#UNACCEPTABLE: A Direct Action Demanding the State of Massachusetts Put Patients Before Politics

October 7, 2014 in ACTION ALERTS, Activist Tips, Cannabis Freedom, Ethics and Morality, Local Regulations, Medical Cannabis, Support, Weed Activism, Weed Politics

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Medical Cannabis Patients, Families and Supporters to Protest Massachusetts Department of Public Health on Tuesday, October 14th to Let Them Know Their Inaction is #UNACCEPTABLE. Protest, Press Conference, and Solidarity March.

Boston, MA, October 7, 2014 – On November 6, 2012 Massachusetts residents voted overwhelmingly to allow citizens to have access to medical cannabis. Nearly two years later the will of the people has still not been implemented and patients are still forced to go without cannabis medicine, or to seek it out from often dangerous black market sources. It is unacceptable.

The program has been hampered by incompetence and seemingly political positioning. The DPH received millions of dollars in fees to vet applications, and failed to do so. It took media sources reviewing the applications and publicly acknowledging their shortcomings to realize many inconsistencies and politically charged issues. The DPH was forced to delay the program and rescinded nearly half of the original 20 dispensaries that were selected for approval. Because of their inability to review the most basic of issues in the applications, this has resulted in them dragging their feet resulting in thousands of patients being forced to suffer needlessly.

To date, patients still do not even have a simple identification program for law enforcement to verify their patient status. The planned caregiver program is non-existent due to cumbersome and unnecessary regulations. Patients cultivating their own cannabis have no way to know if their gardens are legal or if they are violating the law, as DPH has no guidelines or registration. Dispensary groups approved for the inspection phase continue to be limited by unsure direction and confusion from the DPH. Patients with serious and life-threatening illness are being denied access and are suffering diminished quality of life (and even death) as a result of the State’s failure to implement the program.

This is no longer okay and we demand the Department of Public Health immediately begin to open up the program and allow for patients to access safe and quality cannabis medicines through experienced caregivers able to serve multiple patients; and clean, well-lit dispensary facilities.  We demand DPH limit restrictions on hardship cultivation and allow more patients the opportunity to grow their own safe medicine. We demand the DPH expedite the current dispensary applications waiting for approval, immediately issue permits in counties without access as required by law, and allow for at least 35 dispensaries statewide to serve the needs of the tens of thousands of Mass residents who qualify for medical cannabis. Hundreds of patients and activists will gather on October 14th to make these demands heard at the MA Department of Public Health offices in downtown Boston.

What: #UNACCEPTABLE: A Direct Action demanding the State of Massachusetts put Patients before Politics.

When: Tuesday, October 14, 2014: 11:00 a.m.- Protest Rally • 11:30 a.m.- Press Conference (Community Leaders, Physicians, Patients and Families to speak out) • 12:00 p.m.- Solidarity March to State House

Where: Massachusetts Department of Public Health • 250 Washington Street Boston, MA 02108

Why: To demand the DPH and state quit putting politics before patients and implement access to medical cannabis immediately. To bring public awareness to a cause that has forced people to suffer needlessly, including children and families dealing with major health issues. To call for immediate change and progress.

END

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Weed Activist

Separate Togetherness- How cannabis cowards and wannabe politician activists with funding agendas have made the prohibitionists argument for them

October 3, 2014 in ACTION ALERTS, Activist Tips, Cannabis Freedom, Ethics and Morality, Legalization, Medical Cannabis, Messaging, Reform Groups, Weed Activism, Weed Freedom, Weed Politics

deception

Cannabis reform is difficult. Finding methods and strategies to overcome decades of lies and deception is no easy task. Add to that the entrenched tribal views of the folks involved who have aligned themselves with this group or that organization and what you generally end up with is a bunch of egoheads infighting about who is the best and most worthy of funding.

Do not get it twisted. The goal of most reform groups and organizations is not cannabis freedom… it is funding. It is the same slutty whore dance that politicians do to finance their campaigns. It is a willingness to say and do whatever it takes to get some well-to-do prick to give you a boatload of money so you can further your mission, which again is to raise more money. It is cyclical. A lot of the reformers we see do very little in the way of actual reform and spend most of their time and resources raising money.

I am not naive about this. I have written about it many times at the national level. I have watched the shit show for too long not to see the writing on the wall. But I still like to give most people the benefit of the doubt when I first meet them. I would like to believe that there are some folks left whose ultimate goal is making the world a better place for cannabis users and patients.

So as I began to organize a direct action protest in Massachusetts I was confident that I could enlist the support of the many small local groups who make up the activist landscape there. After watching the entire system implode on itself for the last two years, it was obvious there was a need for a coming together and raising our voices in disapproval. Motivated by the desperate and frustrated pleas of several patients who were left in the cold by the MA Department of Public Health’s bungling of the program, including the parents of sick children who deserved access to safe and effective medicines to treat their child’s health issues, I began to organize #UNACCEPTABLE.

Unacceptable.DirectAction.10.14.14

The Direct Action event will be held October 14th at the DPH beginning with a rally, followed by a press conference, concluding with a solidarity march through downtown Boston ending up at the MA State House. I began organizing the event with some local activists and patients who were suffering. The action is clear in its mission… “Demanding that the State of Massachusetts put PATIENTS Before Politics.” Nearly two years after citizens overwhelmingly voted to allow patients access to medical cannabis the State has failed to implement a safe and convenient program. Patients are still forced to access dangerous black markets for medicine. This is unacceptable…

Simple enough, right? Seemed like a no-brainer to me. Here is a statement that the entire community should be able to stand behind and support. So I began to enlist the help of the local organizations in Massachusetts.

I sent out an email to Matt Allen, the head of the Massachusetts Patient Advocacy Alliance (MPAA), as his recent press conference was in line with the action we were planning. We also contacted MassCann, the local SSDP chapters, the Cannabis Reform Coalition, and any other folks we believed could help us get the word out. The idea was to make it an open and inclusive event where groups and individuals could speak out about what has been an absolute nightmare in implementing a program for medical cannabis patients. I expected that these groups could find a way to put their differences in opinion aside for one day and work towards pressuring the DPH into actually implementing a safe and sensible program as was voted on by the citizens of the Commonwealth by a whopping 63% in 2012.

I was a bit taken back when Matt Allen and MPAA responded:

“Not sure if it makes sense for us to collaborate on this or if it would be more effective to keep doing stuff on parallel tracks, which can sometimes be even more effective- like if we can get the administration from all sides.”

So I followed up by responding:

The goal of collaboration would be to show a unified front. It would simply be you sharing the event on your network, and speaking if you would like. If organizational obligations keep you from doing so I certainly understand. I just wanted to give you the opportunity to be a part of this further action to put some pressure on DPH.

Yesterday I received a follow up call from Matt Allen on this matter and it became clear what his underlying issue was. He informed me his “advisory board” had decided not to participate or support the #UNACCEPTABLE Direct Action event because they could not be sure that since the event was “not in their control” that the other participants involved would be capable of representing the values of the organization. He stated, “We can’t be involved with people smoking in public. We have a reputation to uphold to allow us to continue to work on policy issues.” He then kept going on about how he did not want MPAA’s delicate image to be tarnished by the confusion of associating with other groups who support legalization. He mentioned MassCann no less than 5 times before I had to kindly remind him that I was not a part of MassCann, that they were not organizing the event, that it was a patient focused action, and that his wanting to be considered separate and seemingly above their group was short sighted, as adult use legalization would make medical access a no-brainer.

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The guy even had the nerve to tell me, “Well the Boston Freedom Rally is not a very good look for the community.”

The Boston Freedom Rally has been an amazing event creating awareness for cannabis freedom for 25 years, and has helped more to push real reform in the state than any of the sad sell-out strategies that Mr. Allen believes his organization is responsible for. He went on to say that if it were not for MPAA there would have been no Question 3, which is utter bullshit. That law was funded and orchestrated by Peter Lewis and his liaison Graham Boyd, and they simply used MPAA to give the effort that grassroots and folksy feel. Matt Allen, who at that time was the only Board member for MPAA and the sole beneficiary of any funding it received, wrote ZERO parts of the law that was enacted by the voters. His willingness to claim credit for the effort is laughable at best.

But let’s let him have the credit, as I politely did yesterday on the phone with him. So if this is the law YOU got passed and two years later NOTHING has come of it, then you too would be responsible for the shitty implementation of said law, no? I mean if this was your baby, and it left so many holes for the DPH to drive their “I hate marijuana” truck through, then do you take responsibility for that too? If you are taking credit for getting the thing passed then do you also take credit for it sucking? If not, why? You can’t have it both ways, Matt.

What I found striking in every time I have spoken with Matt is his outward and shallow effort to raise funds for his pathetic organization. He actually began his conversation yesterday by telling me how frustrated he was that “all of the dispensary groups who are trying to get approved in the state won’t give MPAA money, when he knows they pay lobbyists $10k a month.” The jealousy in his voice was undeniable and it was obvious that his sales approach to these folks was not working. Which is why he has taken up shelter under the flag of the local ACLU now… yes, the same group responsible for the limiting legalization law in Washington State, another effort funded by Lewis.

Funny… I wonder why their involvement with legalization efforts is okay and MassCann’s is not?

But I digress… Here is a group who has done virtually nothing to defend the rights of patients in the state for the last two years. They have bent over to appease the Department of Public Health and have made concessions in the regulatory process that have ended up in the ZERO access that we see now. No legal action. No protest. Nothing. Finally after pressure from people in the community wondering why they were doing nothing they decided to do a press conference a couple weeks back and finally pretend that they were disappointed in the process. Well way to go. It has only been two years of you sitting on your hands, but alright… you did something. The organization has not even updated its website in the past year plus, and has been sporadic in its efforts at the local level.

Let me guess…. the Newton dispensary is the only one who is paying your ransom right now because that is the only effort you have worked on at the local level since your other marks lost their permits. Does that sound right? You run a pay to play operation, and so if a group does not give you the money you do not have the time and energy to do the work. But you still want to say this is about the patients? That is laughable….

Which gets to the bigger picture philosophical discussion I hope we can have as a community. How can we demand that public officials and lawmakers quit playing politics with patient rights when those who claim to represent our community are as, if not more, guilty than them? When an organization such as MPAA only puts its time and energy into helping in areas where the dispensary stakeholders have given them funding, what does that say about us as a community? When a group decides to exclude their efforts from cannabis legalization in an  effort to appear holier than thou in the eyes of regulators who could give a shit, how does that help our cause?

MPAA is not alone. There are many organizations that take part in selective support and “we are not with those weedheads” bullshit efforts. I know Matt Allen has long been courting Americans for Safe Access for funding after his organization was cut off from MPP funding a couple years back. I am not sure exactly where his funding is coming from right now, but it is easy to guess based on the effort put forth. I would call on the organization, a nonprofit corporation filed as both MPAA and MPAA Foundation with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, to make their funding records public so we may all really see who and what is driving the organization. I believe what you will find is a puppetmaster.

The sad reality is that MPAA, and many other organizations who claim to be working for “patients” and “reform” are simply not. They are working for funding and are willing to sell you out to achieve that funding. Many of the people and organizations that are put forth to protect us are the very ones making the prohibitionists arguments for them. They are willing to concede your right to access and use cannabis freely to go out of their way to make the point that cannabis is somehow dangerous and in need of more regulations. They continue to help lawmakers and regulators build the barriers to entry to the industry that has resulted in rich money hungry and politically well-connected being the only people who can afford to pay to play any more… and if those rich bastards do not cough up some money to their organizations they will not represent them in public either. It is sad and pathetic, and more unethical than the politicians themselves who take money from people to help their company make more money by fucking over the public. At least the politicians do not pretend they are some sort of activist here to help you.

So as we move forward on what is sure to be a historic direct action demanding that the Commonwealth implement a program that allows those in need access to cannabis medicine, we will not miss the participation of those who believe they are better than the rest of us and who will not be seen in public with us. We do not need some sell-out wannabe politician activists who are too worried about their image to get their hand dirty as a part of our effort anyway. Their inaction and limited support over the past two years proves that they have no respect from actual patients, the groups seeking licensing, or the DPH. They are nobodies who have sold themselves a bill of goods in hopes of getting one of these big money player to cut them a check.

With friends like that who needs prohibitionists?

P.S. Mat Allen can feel free to continue to disparage me to others behind closed doors. I will not take it personally. I am no wallflower. I embrace the controversial nature of my activism and stand behind my beliefs.. which is more than I can say for him and his group.

 

Weed Activist

Overcoming Adversity in the Age of Long and Preposterous Bullshit

September 28, 2014 in Activist Tips, Art of War, Cannabis Freedom, Ethics and Morality, I Like Weed, Weed Freedom

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Sometimes it feels like the walls are closing in. While I still am very much embattled with the ending of prohibition and the need to fight off the last of the drug warrior bullshit, I am also engaged in trying to fight off the wave of preposterous bullshit coming from within the cannabis ranks. There is no rest for the wicked. I am burning the candles at both ends, and often the fight seems like too much to overcome.

But then there is weed….

At the end of the day, weed is what I gauge my victories and losses by. Did I make the world better for weed and people who love weed today? Did the effort and energy I put forth move the ball down the field for Team Weed?

Most days I can clearly say, “Yes.” But there are some days when the adversity that needs to be overcome is overwhelming, and it wears on a person’s soul. When my one step forward is counteracted by some other person’s two steps back, it is frustrating. I often find myself stressed and angry over things I have very little control over.

For me, it is personal. It exhausts me at my core and makes me question why I continue to fight a battle that, on it’s face, just does not make sense any more.

Prohibition has never made sense to me. That is what is so infuriating about it. How can our society be so fucked up about something that is so black and white? Weed is a safer and more desirable option for many of our friends and neighbors, yet for some reason we want to make it impossible for many to use, thus forcing them to booze it up or look for more legal pills and whatnot to take their edge off. Furthermore, cannabis medicines have the ability to greatly increase the quality of life for many, yet we see politics and ignorance continuing to force people (including thousands of children) to suffer greatly by denying people access and limiting supply greatly. Add to that the fact that we have decided to lock up 25% of the world’s prison population while only having 5% of the actual population, and it is enough to make one’s head explode.

But that is a battle and an argument I am used to having. That is one that, even though progress is often slow, it is a battle we are winning on the daily. More and more people are waking up to the fact that weed prohibition is utter bullshit. I still cannot get a bank account for my trade school because of the word cannabis, so there is inevitably A LOT of work to do, but at least I feel like we are winning a long and drawn out war. I can see the light at the end of that long and dark tunnel. Like I said, this is a battle I have always knew was there and that needed to be fought.

But dealing with the clear sabotage and trickery that has become the cannabis movement these days is something I did not anticipate having to overcome. I did not foresee the level of treachery that has become this movement’s current face. It is a different feeling that I can only describe as a disease that is eating us alive from the inside out. At least in battling drug warriors and prohibitionists the battle lines are clear and the enemy is pronounced.

Because I know clearly that we have been infiltrated by those who have zero respect for how we got here, and who would sell us out at any moment to further their career or products, I am having a hard time finding a comfortable and secure place within the movement that I can depend on. It seems every day there is another person who I once trusted and believed in that has been sucked in by the gimmicks and the promise of great riches. It is demoralizing.

“When there is no enemy within, the enemies outside cannot hurt you.”

― Winston Churchill

Beyond my very small tribe of dedicated cannabis warriors, I have lost my ability to believe in people.

I no longer trust that there is an army of people who want to make the world a better place for those of us who love weed. I often feel betrayed and hurt by those I once were proud to call my colleagues. People are willing to sell out their morals and ethics quicker than I can keep up with these days, and the entire deal makes my stomach hurt.

Where the fuck is the passion? What happened to you? Why do I feel like the real enemy is within, and that I must walk virtually alone if I want to keep on the path of the righteous? Who are all these hucksters standing around the cannabis water cooler these days, and what have they done with my friends?

But alas, no one ever said it would be easy. No one ever said that life was fair.

Overcoming adversity in the age of long and preposterous bullshit is where we are. It is no longer an “Us vs. Them” scenario. It is an “Us vs. Us and Them.” The calls you hear for “unity” and “togetherness” are normally just a mask for “shut up” and “don’t look at what I am doing.” As I sit back and assess the situation on the regular, what I have come up with is that most of these folks masquerading around as the “cannabis industry” and “activists” are simply the wolves in sheep’s clothing we were all warned about.

My reality is that I am not naive enough to sell myself a bag of goods that this is going to be okay. It is going to be hard. It is going to be difficult. It is going to be the battle of a lifetime….. and that is fine. I’m your huckleberry.

The bottom line is simple… You are with weed or you are against weed. If your objective is anything less than cannabis freedom, then you no longer have a seat at my table. If you are willing to concede the mission to line your own pockets you will be treated like an enemy. There is no middle ground here. I do not have time to decide what degree of a sellout these kids are any more. You either are or you are not. You will be dealt with accordingly.

I might be exhausted from fighting the battle on all fronts, but at the end of the day, it is you who is your own worst enemy. It will be you who knows where you stood and what you did to either, make the world a better place, or to destroy it with your corruption and bullshit. You can count on me kicking your ass at every moment you show your pathetic head if you are deemed an enemy within.

So as you plot and scheme to deceive and get rich, just know it is a gamble. It is only a matter of time before it all collapses around you and you are left wondering what happened. Your agenda should be simple…. Cannabis Freedom. Anything else is just a slippery slope to disaster and will be treated as such. See you on the battlefield. Time to storm the castle.

CANNABIS.AGENDA.1.0

Weed Activist

A Great Time at the Boston Freedom Rally

September 19, 2014 in ACTION ALERTS, Activist Tips, Cannabis Freedom, I Like Weed

I was honored to be a part of the Boston Freedom Rally. Here is some footage of my speech. It was a great weekend. The kids at MassCann did an amzing job. I cannot thank them enough.

WAAF-FREEDOMRALLY edits

Weed Activist

The Sky Has Not Fallen So Get On With It…

August 31, 2014 in Cannabis Freedom, End the Drug War, I Like Weed, Law Enforcement, Legalization, Mass Incarceration, Weed Activism, Weed Freedom, Weed Politics

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So close and yet so far…. I am growing tired of fighting for the inevitable.

Weed is going to be legal. Everyone knows it. Even our staunchest opponents agree legalization is inevitable. So what are we waiting for? Why is there this awkward transition into what we all know is much better for our society…. an end to the drug war and the militarized police state it has created.

As we watched Ferguson explode over the unnecessary death of an unarmed black teen, it was a stark reminder that the role of policing in this country has drastically changed over the years, as the drug war has escalated and targeted mostly poor and minority communities. We lock up 25% of the world’s prison population but only have 5% of the actual population. That is a pretty big red flag for a country that calls itself the “Land of the Free.” Maybe it should be the “Land of the Free Unless You Are Poor and/or Brown.”

We see the call for reform and a change in policy from everywhere these days, and there have certainly been efforts by groups to end the draconian methods of enforcing so-called justice that have gotten us into this mess. The US Justice Department has made some efforts to change policy and reform sentencing, but it is a far cry from where we need to be.

An easy start would be to just make weed legal. There is an overwhelming shift in public opinion towards allowing for cannabis to be grown and sold, and the ongoing quasi-legal state mandated programs across the country have proven to be anything but the disaster that law enforcement and drug warriors promised would happen.

For nearly 20 years medical marijuana has been a staple of the California landscape, and many other states have followed suit in one way or another. In Colorado and Washington State we have seen clear benefits of adult use legalization, with very little harm to report. What we have seen instead are good paying jobs, tax revenues, and an increase in public safety as more people shift from booze to weed because they can.

This is not rocket science. This is clear benefit to harm ratio stuff. To simply put it, is there more good than bad happening? The answer is clearly yes.

The sky has not fallen. People have not lost their minds, or given up on life. There has not been an outbreak of dangerous crime surrounding cannabis. Addiction rates are not through the roof. Youth use of weed is not increasing drastically, as predicted.

The lies we have been told for decades about why weed should be kept illegal are falling on deaf ears. The numbers don’t add up.

Those who oppose legalization continue to try and retard the growth of the developing cannabis industry, and clear move for social change in drug and law enforcement policy. There are many who see their meal ticket threatened and are working feverishly to preserve some level of status quo so they can keep making criminals and drug addicts out of your average weedhead. These days are ending and they know it as much as anyone.

We like weed. We are good people. This is bullshit. The sky is not falling, asshole. Let’s wrap this shit up and legalize weed. Then we can talk about all these tanks and other petty drug crimes that we have created a war on our neighbors over.

The time is now. Let’s knock off the bullshit already.

LIKESWEED.GOODPERSON.1

Weed Activist

SB 1262 is BAD for weed and BAD for California

August 13, 2014 in ACTION ALERTS, Art of War, Cannabis Freedom, Fuck You, Lame Shit, Law Enforcement, Local Regulations, Medical Cannabis, Reform Groups, Weed Activism, Weed Politics

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Reasons why SB 1262 sucks:

  • Leaving regulation to local authorities will ensure very few will be able to be licensed for cultivation and production licensing, which are currently non-existent. It will create opportunities for corruption in every local jurisdiction in the state.
  • The Department of Consumer Affairs is a terrible regulatory agency for a comprehensive system for cannabis. They do not even want the job, which will ensure they are hostile and limiting in their approach.
  • The requirements for provisional licensing will ensure most growers and producers will not be able to meet the requirements by January 1, 2015 as there are currently NO licenses for production anywhere in the state, leaving the entire program likely to fail with no licensed supply to meet the demand of dispensaries.
  • The destruction of the collective and cooperative model will make it difficult for patients in areas without dispensary services to access low cost medicine conveniently.
  • Patients cannot share medicine any more without it being a crime, unless they are licensed. Creates criminals out of nearly everyone.
  • Caregivers who serve more than 5 people need a license, meaning many who depend on collective providers will be without access.
  • Those who do not meet the rigid requirements for licensing, including needing local authorities to sign off on all grows that have operated in the shadows until now, will ensure most people producing today will be forced back to the black market…thus creating far more criminals.
  • Requiring all deliveries be made by two or more people is unnecessary.
  • All weed must be stored in a locked room, safe, or vault. This makes zero exception for retail displays or stock, meaning every time you buy cannabis a person has to go into the locked room to get it for you. This creates a security risk with every transaction.
  • Reporting on inventory discrepancies within 24 hours means every .5 gram that goes missing must be reported, creating an administrative nightmare.
  • Posting all applicants info on line puts everyone at risk, and creates a public database to be accessed by press or employers that can be used against applicants.
  • Edible regulations are an absolute burdensome nightmare based in fear.
  • Lacks protection for property owners

The bottom line is this will be an absolute disaster and decimate the current industry. It will make new cannabis criminals where there currently are none and is a desperate hail mary by groups like ASA and CCIA who beieve something is better than nothing. I support sensible regulations, but not regulations where barriers to entry are too high to include most people currently involved in the industry. This will be the beginning of the end should it pass.

I would suggest you contact your state legislators today and encourage them to not support this legislation. Fuck SB 1262. Bad for weed. Bad for California.

Weed Activist

DPA Calls For Action to Stop SB 1262

August 10, 2014 in ACTION ALERTS, Activist Tips, Cannabis Freedom, Ethics and Morality, Lame Shit, Law Enforcement, Local Regulations, Medical Cannabis, Messaging, Weed Activism, Weed Freedom

It is nice to see one of the major reform organization working to stop the SB 1262 Debacle. All others should join them immediately. This will be terrible for cannabis freedom.

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Dear Mickey,

California bureaucrats are trying to pass unworkable regulations that could ruin medical marijuana across our state. And we need your help to block the legislation.

Urge the Assembly Appropriations Committee to oppose the bill that will jeopardize medical marijuana in California.

This harmful legislation would maintain the unworkable bans and local regulations that have denied seriously ill patients access to their medicine. And it also does not protect cultivators or providers from prosecution by making licensure almost impossible in some areas of the state.

And it discriminates against hardworking Californians who were previously incarcerated by barring them from legitimately participating in the medical marijuana industry. This would unfairly impact people in low-income communities of color, because although there are similar rates of involvement in marijuana sales across racial lines, the overwhelming majority of people who are arrested, charged, and convicted are poor, black and/or Latino.

The proposed rules in the bill are worse than what we have now and would completely disable the program. Yet it’s gaining support with lawmakers and could be passed into law if we don’t act fast.

Time is running out to kill this bill and it could be voted on by the Assembly Appropriations Committee at any momentTake action and write the committee today.

There are major problems with this legislation. And police chiefs are encouraging lawmakers to support it because they want to use this as an opportunity to stifle the progression of medical marijuana policy.

At a time when federal prosecutors are cracking down on medical marijuana and putting patients’ access to their medicine in danger, this bill being considered by lawmakers is the opposite of what California needs right now.

Write our lawmakers today and tell them to oppose unworkable regulations and protect medical marijuana across California.

Sincerely,

Lynne Lyman
State Director, California
Drug Policy Alliance

Weed Activist

Wolves in Wook Clothing. Why ASA continues to want YOUR cake and wants to eat it too. The SB 1262 DEBACLE.

August 3, 2014 in ACTION ALERTS, Activist Tips, Art of War, Cannabis Freedom, Ethics and Morality, Fuck You, Full of Shit, HOLY SHIT..., HUH?, Law Enforcement, Local Regulations, Mass Incarceration, Medical Cannabis, Reform Groups, Weed Activism, Weed Business, Weed Freedom, Weed Politics

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I have been here since nearly the beginning. I unfortunately know the story all too well. I have seen the California cannabis landscape evolve at every step and have been knee deep in politics and activism across the state for many years. Which gives me a unique perspective on the proposed regulatory bill making its way through the CA Legislature known as SB-1262.

I wrote a piece detailing my issues with SB 1262 entitled “You are all criminals. Welcome to the new California. SB 1262 must die.“ In this article I went over many points of major issue in the proposal that will make more criminals out of CA patients and providers, and create a liability for physicians that will ensure many less people qualify as patients. Since then most reform groups have pulled their support for this effort, but not Americans for Safe Access. They continue to cheer lead for the end of the CA cannabis community and the making criminals out of thousands of people. It is bizarre to say the least.

In May, Americans for Safe Access put out a piece encouraging its supporters to blindly follow this Bill that would make it more difficult to get their medicine and would likely make most of them out to be criminals. The article was entitled “Support SB 1262 in California.” In this article they state the following:

ASA recognized the potential in SB 1262 early in the process. We worked with the Sen. Correa and other sponsors to significantly improve the bill, and ASA was the first in the medical cannabis field to endorse it. SB 1262 is a milestone in the medical cannabis debate in the state legislature. This is the first time that the California Police Chiefs Association and the League of California Cities have not opposed medical cannabis regulations. Having these two powerful lobby organizations standing beside patients and behind a regulatory bill is unprecedented. ASA regards this broad and influential coalition as a key strength of SB 1262, and we call on advocates and lawmakers to join us in supporting SB 1262.

NOTE: This endorsement has since been removed from their article. What remains is the following:

Contact your California State Senator and ask him or her to vote yes on SB 1262 this week. SB 1262 is a bill by Senator Lou Correa (D-Santa Ana) that would regulate commercial medical cannabis activity in the state. In its newly amended form, the bill places state regulatory control and licensing in the Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) and sets common-sense standards for cultivation and distribution. ASA supports SB 1262 because our research and experience show that sensible regulations preserve safe and dignified access to medical cannabis for patients, while reducing crime and complaints in neighborhoods.

It is funny when cowards run from themselves, but the bottom line is that Americans for Safe Access is still supporting this effort as detailed in David Downs’ article entitled “Do or Die for Mystery Pot Law.” In this article Down’s details how all other group’s of notable mention have pulled their support, while ASA remains steadfast in their undying love for this debacle:

“It’s a little unsettling given how important this is and how little time we have,” said Don Duncan, California coordinator for the 30,000-strong advocacy group Americans for Safe Access.

But ASA is staying on-board with SB 1262, which is sponsored by state Senator Lou Correa, a Democrat from Southern California. The bill is scheduled to be taken up by the Assembly’s Appropriations Committee in August, and has to be approved by the entire Assembly by the end of the August, or it’s over for this legislative session.

Now to hear Don Duncan say it is unsettling because of how little time we have is simply disingenuous. Americans for Safe Access have worked fr years to block the work of Tom Ammiano’s efforts to provide a regulatory framework that makes sense because they did not like the licensing agency, which was the Alcoholic Beverage Control,” as this would erode their position of “medical only access.” They understand like we all do that cannabis will be legal for adult use very soon and decided to retard that move by ensuring ABC could not regulate cannabis and easily make the transition to adult use.

Down’s article goes on to state:

As of press time, the most recent version of the bill is still supported by the police chiefs, the league, and ASA. But California NORML, the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA), and Law Enforcement Against Prohibition oppose it unless it’s amended.

The DPA argues that the current version of the bill would make things worse for Californians. For one, anybody with a past drug felony would be disqualified from getting an industry license. That provision would place additional burdens upon many Californians — particularly African-American and Latino residents — who’ve already paid their debt to society.

In addition, many of the industry’s biggest and best actors wouldn’t qualify for a license, for technical reasons, such as an outstanding federal case (Harborside Health Center in Oakland) or the lack of official city permission to grow (which is pretty much every urban farmer in California). The bill also provides statewide approval of controversial new city bans on medical pot dispensaries.

“The issues are extremely glaring, and, frankly, I’m not sure they can be resolved,” said Amanda Reiman, DPA’s California policy manager. “The police chiefs think medical marijuana is a sham and look at this as an opportunity to stifle the progression of medical marijuana policy. The rules are worse than what we have now and would completely disable the program.”

It is good to see that at least some reform organizations have the courage to make statements that tell the truth.  Amanda is 100% right in stating, “The rules are worse than what we have now and would completely disable the program.” Furthermore it would make criminals out of thousands of law abiding citizens, create mass confusion at the local level of government, and ensure less people were able to access their medicine. Why the fuck any organization who was supposedly on the side of patients and providers would support this debacle is beyond me, but then I have long suspected Americans for Safe Access was indeed the Wolves in Wook clothing.

For a little historical perspective on my position on Americans for Safe Access, just know at one time I was their biggest supporter.

In 2007, our company donated tens of thousands of dollars in merchandise and literature to the organization when they were in the midst of their rebranding. I worked closely with the organization, even housing and distributing their merchandise in our own company offices in Oakland. I traveled throughout the state on their behalf soliciting dispensaries for donations to support their mission. I still respect Steph Sherer and Don Duncan for what I learned about activism and organizing while we worked together. I also appreciate the work Americans for Safe Access did when we were raided by Federal agents in 2007, and I owe them a debt of gratitude for helping me organize a response to the charges and allegations that were made against me and my company during that most difficult time. Their timely and organized response likely resulted in my not going to prison, and I will always be grateful for that.

But 2007 was  long long time ago, and Americans for Safe Access was a much much different organization. Besides the powerhouse figureheads of the organization, Sherer and Duncan, there is little remaining of what was at that time. In those days ASA got the lion’s share of their donations from medical cannabis providers like myself and many dispensaries throughout CA. They had just established their Washington D.C. office and were working to expand their political horizons to serve the folks who paid their bills. As they rebranded the organization and began to work towards doing more political lobbying and fundraising work over grassroots on the ground activism, they began to solicit money from more of the big name donors who were known to fund major projects in the cannabis reform movement. It was obvious they were shifting focus to encourage more large money donors, as it was difficult depending on dispensaries and medical providers who were under constant attack and being forced to shut their doors.

The initial shift was subtle, as a lot of the same names and faces were still in their roles with the organization. But over time their was an obvious sea change in who the organization was serving and what they wanted their image to look like.

Fast forward to late 2011, when I began to notice the most drastic of the change that I now clearly see as impeding cannabis freedom. When the Federal government announced their “crackdown” on the medical cannabis and began targeting high profile providers who donated to them regularly, the sky literally fell over there. Panic ensued and there was a call to circle the wagons to avoid losing everything. You could see it in Steph Sherer’s eyes, as she was on the ground in California a lot working to organize one response or another to what they viewed as an assault on not only patients and providers, but also their revenue. Purse strings were pulled quick by every organization in the state, as no one knew if that day may be their last. DEA raids were happening, including the high profile raid of Oaksterdam University and their dispensary. Letters were being sent to the biggest names in the game, including Harborside, BPG, Vapor Room, and many more, forcing them to close their doors and/or fight Federal charges. The IRS began a systematic crackdown charging incredible tax rates based on decades old drug kingpin tax laws. It was a highly volatile time for sure.

fuckthefeds.odam

As the calendar of 2012 began to pass, there were several efforts to put an initiative on the CA ballot to legalize cannabis for adult use on the heels of a narrow loss in a non-Presidential election year by Proposition 19. Three campaigns were working to secure funding for language that would have made cannabis legal for adults over 21. Money was being thrown at campaigns in Colorado and Washington to do just that, and it was obvious CA would have had a chance at also making history if funding groups came to the table.

Enter Americans for Safe Access with United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) in tow stating that they had the funding to put a medical cannabis regulatory initiative on the ballot and intended to do so. The  California Medical Marijuana Regulation, Control and Taxation Act was filed by Don Duncan of ASA and Ron Lind of UFCW in January 2012 that would have created erroneous regulations for the industry and cemented UFCW’s place at the table as the only union allowed for the industry. It would have drastically reduced who could afford to pay to play in the industry and would have made a nightmare web of bullshit that probably wouldn’t have even passed if it did make the ballot. It literally LIMITED ACCESS across the state.

UFCW.ASA.filing.2012

But I do not believe there ever was funding for the initiative and the entire thing was a smoke screen to run out the clock on the other efforts towards legalization for adult use.  For the price of a shitty website and a few lofty press releases, they created enough doubt in potential donors to definitely not back any of the adult use efforts, thus ensuring cannabis would only be medical in CA for the foreseeable political future. California has 1/10th of the population of the nation and by far produces the most cannabis. When a lot of the interests you serve make their money on the status quo, it is easy to see how this could influence organizational decision making.

Mysteriously during this time Don Duncan also gave up his controlling interest in his West Hollywood dispensary to a well-funded group fronted at one time by TV star Montel Williams and funded by people with deep deep pockets who had also bought the controlling interests to dispensaries in Sacramento and Berkeley, and were applying for a dispensary in Oakland for which Duncan sat on the Board and even took their required regulations test for them. So is it a coincidence that this happens and ASA begins serving the interests of the few more prominently? I think not. There is collusion happening behind these closed doors at a level any honest person simply cannot comprehend.

Here is communication from Abatin’s attorney stating so:

Abatin.Communication.DonDuncan

Don’t believe me about their initiative efforts? That is fine…. Let’s talk Los Angeles and Measure D. Here is what weed journalist David Downs said about Measure D the day after it passed:

Los Angeles voters chose to drastically reduce the number of storefronts selling medical marijuana yesterday, passing Measure D…. Measure D supporters – including the City Council, advocacy group Americans for Safe Access, and a dispensary union the UFCW Local 770 — celebrated the win for regulations in the biggest medical marijuana city on the planet.

So here we have ASA nd UFCW celebrating “drastically reducing” the number of places for people to get their cannabis. They put an effort on the ballot behind closed doors that was aimed at shutting down the majority of dispensaries besides a select few who were operating before an arbitrary and illegal deadline was placed by the LA City Council. These groups worked in conjunction with hostile lawmakers and the chosen few dispensing groups to put their competition out of business and again LIMIT ACCESS.

I wrote a piece about this seemingly bullshit move in 2013 called “More IS Better.” In it I detail my opposition the the ASA/UFCW’s coalition to LIMIT ACCESS in LA. I wrote:

The first is Measure D. This is the MOST restrictive and MOST expensive measure. It limits the number of collectives to an arbitrary 135 that were listed in 2007 on the City’s illegal moratorium and Interim Control Ordinance (ICO) and raises the tax rate for weed by 20%.

It was crafted by the ultra-corrupt City Council who has recently voted to ban dispensaries altogether and was written by cannabis enemy LA City Attorney Carmen Trutanich. The LA Times has suggested that instead of opposing all three, that Measure D is the closest thing to accomplishing NO medical marijuana. Here is their quote on that:

It would be easy enough to urge a no vote on all three, and to call on the city to impose a full-scale ban instead. After all, The Times opposed Proposition 215 from the outset, partly because it was sloppily written and partly because it set up an inevitable conflict with the federal government, which continues to classify marijuana as illegal and dangerous….

Measure D will come the closest to accomplishing that goal, or at least will put us on the right road.

Most important, it would impose limits on the number of marijuana businesses in the city, allowing about 135 dispensaries to remain open — those that were operating and registered under city laws in 2007 and that sought to re-register in 2011.

Source: http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/endorsements/la-ed-end-marijuana-measure-d-e-f-20130510,0,448078.story

So get that…the super conservative LA Times who thinks dispensaries should be outright BANNED, and the City Council, who also thinks dispensaries should be BANNED, agree that the closest thing to an outright ban they can get passed is Measure D, and they are supporting this effort to severely limit and cripple the local market.

This is and was a glaring reason to assume that the goals of expanding access for patients was no longer the focus of Americans for Safe Access, and instead a shift to focus on providing a competitive advantage for a select few who can compete is their new objective. What they did in LA was unnecessary and counter productive to cannabis freedom. Did I mention that the current version of CA SB 1262 mentions several times Measure D directly, ensuring it’s ability to limit access? Yeah. It is like that.

But let’s get back to where we are now with CA SB 1262.

Tomorrow ASA is organizing a lobbying day at the CA State Capitol. They are calling on medical cannabis supporters to come out and let lawmakers know how they feel about the proposed regulations. They have walked back their full-throated support for the bill, now even calling it “controversial.” As noted earlier they are still publicly supporting the bill and encouraging lawmakers to do so.

Here is their statement on their Lobbying Day scheduled for tomorrow (Monday Aug. 4):

citizenlobbyday.ASA.duncan

 

It is clear that they have gotten a lot of feedback, as they make sure to state “It does not matter if you support or oppose, or are undecided….” They are hedging their bets wherever possible, while continuing to support an effort that will literally shut most every aspect of the current cannabis system in CA down and turn it over to only a very few who can afford to play the game and meet the slim requirements of the bill.

They continue to call for their legion of blind supporters to make their voice heard, while literally selling us out to the interests of the few, the connected, and the opposition. It is an amazingly underhanded effort at the core, and one I can only relate to absolute treason. There is no reason any person who supports cannabis freedom should ever give a dime of their money, any resources, or energy to supporting. It is clear that the new name of the organization should be Americans for Limited Medical Only Access (ALMOA).

ASA.screwed.1

I strongly encourage anyone who cares about cannabis freedom to come out and voice their opposition to this crap. If you can make the ASA Citizen Lobby Day event super. If you cannot, contact your state legislators by phone and email immediately. Let’s organize direct action responses to this Bill while we still have time. Things will move rapidly. It is up to us to ensure we do not have to live under a homogenized rich person’s vision of what the industry should look like.

We must ensure any regulations being put forth take into consideration the current network of small batch producers and friendly patient services that exist everywhere in the state. 

We cannot let the only voice being heard is those who are in bed with the CA Police Chief’s Association and the CA League of Cities, who have openly opposed any sensibility in the CA legal process year after year. ASA should be treated with the same disdain and opposition with these groups as long as they are supporting this effort to LIMIT ACCESS and MAKE CRIMINALS out of thousands of people for doing what they do this very minute. The time to act is NOW, or do not be surprised when this piece of shit is your reality in a few days.

I hate to say it, but our biggest enemies these days are within. The people we need to worry about are right here, pretending to be your friend while selling you down the fucking river for thirty lousy pieces of silver. I just do not get it. But regardless, BEWARE OF THE WOLVES IN WOOK’S CLOTHING. They are everywhere.

Weed Activist

Unrivaled Bullshit: @Lab_Tested_Edibles is a Fraud. Korova and CW Analytical Hack Job.

July 21, 2014 in Ethics and Morality, Fuck You, Full of Shit, HUH?, Lame Shit, Uncategorized, Weed Business

labtested.tryingtohelp.1

So in April this adorable and seemingly awesome Instagram account popped up that began testing edibles and publicly posting results #FORTHEPATIENTS. This no name anonymous Instagrammer would have you believe that they are just a patient who happens to spend thousands of dollars to get edibles tested so that patents know what they are getting. They go to random dispensaries and purchase products, and out of their own pockets and good heart, spend money for the edible and then to get it tested so that they can bring you “the real results.”

Here is their Instagram:

labtested.1

So get this… this whole deal popped up in April, right? Here is a screenshot of their first posting being from April:

lab-tested-edibles.April.1

 

But here is a post that was soon deleted from FEBRUARY from the kids at Korova Edibles:

korova.testing.feb.4

Notice the eerie similarity? Crazy right? Three months before this Dudley Do-Right @lab_tested_edibles Instagram page popped up this highly competitive edible company who is close friends with the owner of CW Analytical labs; and who is in a close knit group of other edible makers looking to gain competitive advantages in the marketplace, Korova edibles had almost an identical comparison model posted on their social media that was removed shortly thereafter? WOW!!!!! What are the chances?

So here is the ruse. Korova Edibles, in conjunction with CW Analytical labs have created this Instagram count to provide a clear competitive advantage for their clients and people who they are in bed with.  They can anonymously post skewed results that discredit some of their bigger competitors and support that the people who are doing business with CW and Korova themselves are the only ones being “truthful” with patients. But it is all bullshit.

Here is a look at some of the edible companies who use CW labs according to the scrolling logos on their own website:

usingCW.1

 

usingCW.2

I know it is shocking, but the companies who happen to test with CW as clients edibles were all reported very favorably on the @lab_tested_edibles site, while other companies such as Cheeba Chews and Auntie Dolores (and my own Compassion Edibles) all came in well below listed cannabinoid levels. Hard to believe, right?

So here is how I confirmed my suspicions. Most all of the results on the site are done by CW, with the exception of a few done by Steep Hill. I have a good relationship with the Steep Hill kids, as their co-founder is publicly known as on of my good friends. I notices the results for the Actibliss Syzurup product were done by Steep Hill. Knowing about the Korova posting from February, I took a wild stab in the dark and went on @lab_tested_edibles Instagram page accusing Korova of dropping those samples off at Steep Hill. I never contacted Steep Hill once. Believe it or not, those guys never give me any information because they know the conflict of interest. They actually go out of their way to keep secrets from me because they have a business to run. But I figured if I made an accusation that someone would contact Steep Hill blaming them for telling me who dropped off the samples.

Sure as shit I was right! I get an angry text message from Steep Hill on why their lab was being accused of this shit in public when they had not done anything. The owner of Korova contacted them stating “Is there no confidentiality between lab and client?!?!…. Only employees at Steep Hill lab would know I dropped off these edible samples.” Yes…. I pissed off my friend to elicit a response, and it worked. Luckily my friend is understanding and knows what an asshole I am.

So there is a clear admission that Korova is indeed the one sending edible samples and anonymously posting them under the name @lab_tested_edibles. I never said that they did work at CW. I said they were in bed with CW, the same way Bhang and other edible makers have had relationships with CW that are more than third party verification relationships.

The Instagram account is complete bullshit and is no more valid than other anonymous websites that attempt to malign other companies to promote their own. These sloppy losers should be ashamed of themselves. If you want to pull this off you need to be less obvious whose interests you are serving. It is a pathetic attempt at catfishing and should not be thought of as a credible source.

A truly credible source would post WHO they are making these claims and investing in this grand experiment. They should post TRANSPARENT AND COMPLETE results that can be verified with the labs. They SHOULD NOT be another edible maker and lab that serves edible makers.

The entire overlap between lab companies and the clients they serve is gross and does nothing to serve the end user. CW is not alone in their intermingling with their clients and working to provide advantages for them, but this is a clear and gross misrepresentation of the service that quality assurance testing is supposed to be.

It is deceitful and wrong and the folks at Korova should be ashamed. It is bad enough that your products taste like dogshit. If I wanted to taste that much plant material I would just suck on a tube of RSO. But this is just sad and pathetic.

They should shut down the Instagram page and come up with a better ruse that does not unravel so easily on them. You guys are funny. Not really… but sort of. You are terrible at fraud. Maybe just try making better products?

It is even sadder that CW Analytical is still pulling bullshit schemes like this with losers this late in the game. They do not deserve to be anyone’s lab in the cannabis industry. They are the epitome of what is wrong with lab testing in cannabis and probably one of the reasons that lab testing will be turned over to state authorities sooner or later.

Way to go fellas… way to go.

initfortepatients.labtested.1

 

We will take a closer look at what the issue is with edible testing in the near future. For now, let this unsavory business practice and absolute fraud disgust you. There is no place in the cannabis community for overt shady underhanded bullshit like this.

Weed Activist

What to do when you are friends with snakes…

July 8, 2014 in Activist Tips, Art of War, Ethics and Morality, Fuck You, Reform Groups, Uncategorized, Weed Activism, Weed Freedom, Weed Politics

snake2

It happens to the best of us. One minute you are just kicking it with this seemingly cool person, and the next minute you realize they are really a snake. It is a tough pill to swallow.

First there is a sense of disbelief. You can’t believe your one time friend could actually be a down and dirty low-life snake in the grass. It can’t be, can it? Could this person, or group of people, who you trusted and admired sold you out for some financial compensation and fancy trinkets? Have you been lied to this whole time? Do ethics and morality mean nothing?

Do not worry. We have all been there. It is difficult to admit that we were wrong about people and supposed goodwill organizations. We often deny the truth because we do not want to have to admit that we were so incredibly wrong; but generally in the end we have to come to grips with the fact that our one time friends are snakes.

Like with any dangerous and poisonous snake working to destroy everything that is right and just, the best solution is to cut the head off.

It might sound harsh and be difficult to imagine, as you have probably grown sorta fond over your snake friend over time. But a snake is a snake, and will do what snakes do. Snakes do not care about you, and in fact prey upon your seeming affection for them.

There is the parable of the old woman and the snake to reflect upon:

An old woman was walking down the road when she saw a gang of thugs beating a poisonous snake.  She rescued the snake and carried it back to her home, where she nursed it back to health.  They became friends and lived together for many months.  One day they were going into town, and the old woman picked him up and the snake bit her.  Repeatedly.  “O God,” she screamed, “I am dying!  Why?  I was your friend.  I saved your life!  I trusted you!  Why did you bite me?”

The snake looked up at her and said, “Lady, you knew I was a snake when you first picked me up.”

Do not be naive where snakes are concerned. There is no room for error. You cannot afford to risk everything you have worked for to foster some perceived affection for a snake. We have come too far to allow a bunch of snakes to wander in and destroy the fabric of this community.

Make no mistake… divide and conquer is happening. Big money and wannabe big shots are infiltrating every sector of this community and exploiting as many as they can to help them in their snake missions.

Do not be fooled. Your gut is right.

Yes… it is true. That person has lost all integrity and joined the legion of snakes working to control and manipulate the market through fraud and corruption. they will try to ease your fears and tell you that this is “just business.” It is anything but. It is fraud. It is unsavory business practice. It is evil. Do not be a sucker.

Demand ethics and morality in every person you deal with. There are many great people woven into the fabric of this community that will stand with you. The snakes are not your friends. They never were and they never will be.

They are snakes.

The human experience is full of disappointment, and none are so difficult as the feelings of betrayal and mistrust. I am sorry this is happening to you, but understand that it is better for you to find out now before the snakes could do their damage.

Now chop their head off…

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