Weed Activist

INFILTRATED? Does Civil Rights FBI infiltration seem familiar?

September 16, 2010 in Feds, Legalization

As we continue to make progress in our own movement we continue to see these “so-called stoners” attempting to use their ability to infiltrate the movement to cause division and spread misinformation in the community. Have we been infiltrated by agents of prohibition? Quite possibly. We do not have to look far for evidence of this. As we read about the tactics used by the FBI and other arms of the government to get a front row seat for the Civil Rights movement, one must wonder how many of these moles have infiltrated our own movement. After all, racism was much less lucrative that prohibition. Yes. We can be sure there are certain people in this movement that are infiltrating and causing confusion to continue prohibition and serve their ultimate interest- THE MAN.

We can be sure that these folks are imbedded in our movement, portraying themselves as “one of us,” but deep down working against our ultimate goals of cannabis freedom. How far would they go? Ask yourself- “How far would the feds go to continue prohibition and continue to jail hundreds of thousands of would be law abiding citizens into entering “the system” and being less powerful because of their criminal behavior? This is a powerful way to control large segments of our population. The police use cannabis prohibition to search throught the cars, homes, live, and pockets of honest Americans everyday. With this “probable cause” often they are able to discover more things about people and identify people who have courageously participated in civil disobedience through cannabis reform. An enlightened cannabis user is a danger to the government. It is hard to control a person who thinks for themselves and the government knows it. As cannabis opens up the minds of a person and allows them to explore their hearts and minds for truth and reason. This dangerous element, along with innumerable amounts of money spent on prosecuting, jailing, enforcing, and drug testing people is A LOT of coin for the man to give up easily. So you can be sure, just like this photographer was able top penetrate so deeply that he snapped the most famous pictures of MLK’s death because he was in the mix, that we also have these types in our movement.

Notice the voices against Prop. 19 and ask yourself who they are and where they came from? Why are they using their platforms to create confusion and spread misinformation? Why do they feel the need to dress so abstractly that they look like they are playing a trippy, stoner girl in a movie? Why are they always available and seemingly do not hold a real job? What is their REAL name? Where did they go to school? Who can vouch for their past? Who the fuck are you? Chances are there is a fed or six amongst us reading this page right now and begging that they are not exposed for the frauds that they are. Don’t believe the hype. These dangers are REAL and if you believe that they are not then you have a strange reality coming…..

Report: Famed Civil Rights Photographer Ernest Withers Spied for FBI


Ernest C. Withers had been the photographer who chronicled the civil rights movement through the 50s and 60s. His photos of the gruesome racial murder of teenager Emmitt Till still resonate to this day; he was there when nine students integrated Little Rock Central High School; and his camera shutters snapped just moments after Martin Luther King was assassinated.

And all the while, according to the Memphis Commercial AppealWithers was betraying everything he knew about the civil rights movement to the FBI.

The report, released Tuesday, comes after the paper obtained records (through a Freedom of Information Act request) identifying Withers with an “informant number,” one of several people paid by the FBI to give information to the agency about civil rights leaders. Withers, who died in 2007 at the age of 85, owned a photography studio on the storied Beale Street and had traveled to some of the major scenes of the movement. But government documents show a different side of Withers, the Appeal said.

Those reports portray Withers as a prolific informant who, from at least 1968 until 1970, passed on tips and photographs detailing an insider’s view of politics, business and everyday life in Memphis’ black community.

As a foot soldier in J. Edgar Hoover’s domestic intelligence program, Withers helped the FBI gain a front-row seat to the civil rights and anti-war movements in Memphis.

Withers had been much revered as a photographer of history with displays of his work traveling the world, and also shown in many galleries. He was also famous for his photographs during the years of Negro League Baseball and four books of his work have been published.

Marc Perrusquia, projects reporter for the Appeal told NPR that his information came from 369 pages the government gave him relating to a public corruption scandal Withers was involved with during the early 70s. The references to Withers informant number, ME 338-R, were not obscured or censored and Perrusquia was able to make the connection.

Withers’ daughter, Rosalind, is withholding any comments, she says until she sees the documents. “This is the first time I’ve heard of this in my life,” she told the Appeal. “My father’s not here to defend himself. That is a very, very, strong, strong accusation.”

Read more: http://newsfeed.time.com/2010/09/14/report-famed-civil-rights-photographer-ernest-withers-spied-for-fbi/#ixzz0zgzhduNw

Weed Activist

Chris Conrad: DON'T BE FOOLED by wolves in sheep's clothing

September 16, 2010 in Legalization

Don’t Be Fooled:
Prop. 19 WILL protect Medical Marijuana Patients and Collectives


Here’s what Prop 19 proponents say in their official ballot argument: “Medical marijuana patients’ rights are preserved.” Here’s what its opponents say in their official ballot argument: “Proposition 19 makes no changes either way in the medical marijuana laws.” Both sides agree about this point, it’s that clear. So where’s the confusion coming from?

Letitia Pepper, for one. A “patient” and attorney who worked for Best, Best & Krieger — the same law firm that’s been advising cities on how to ban medical marijuana collectives — she is now trying to convince patients and collectives that Prop 19 overturns California’s medical marijuana laws. She is entitled to her opinion; it merits no particular weight in state Appeals court. However, she is giving out false information (see reverse side), and by discouraging voters from supporting Prop 19, she is working against medical marijuana, as well – just like her old law firm. Don’t you fall for it: This is a very well-written law. Vote Yes on Prop 19.

Please read the whole initiative, not just her lawyerly trick ‘interpretation’ written for her own purposes, whatever they may be. She wants you to vote against your own interests.

Remember, cannabis is not legal for adults yet; only qualified patients and caregivers have limited immunity and a court defense. Prop 19 protects their medical use (Prop 19: Purposes 6, 7, 8) and it also legalizes small, non-medical gardens and personal amounts for adults (Prop 19 11300[a]). Prop 19 creates a legal defense for greater amounts, even without a medical note (11304d(iv)[c]). It lets counties and cities regulate sales (11301[c]), which the medical marijuana laws are not clear about; and that’s exactly how Letitia’s old law firm has been shutting down dispensaries! So Prop 19 can save the dispensaries. It lets the legislature or state voters increase quantities and reduce penalties (Section 5). Vote Yes on Prop 19.

Read Prop 19: “Notwithstanding any other provision of law, it is lawful and shall not be a public offense under California lawfor any person 21 years of age or older to: (i) Personally possess, process, share, or transport not more than one ounce of cannabis, solely for that individual’s personal consumption, and not for sale. ii) Cultivate, on private property by the owner, lawful occupant, or other lawful resident or guest of the private property owner or lawful occupant, cannabis plants for personal consumption only, in an area of not more than twenty-five square feet …” (11300[a]). Does Prop 215 say you can’t possess an ounce or grow a 25 square feet garden? No, it already protects medical gardens, and the courts have ruled that voters approved a reasonable amount. Does SB 420 say you can’t possess an ounce or grow a 25 square feet garden? No, it allows patients 8 ounces and 6 mature plants. Since the legislature can allow more than an ounce, and did so in SB 420; would!

Prop 19 strike that down? No, it allows the legislature to do precisely that. Our medical use laws are protected by Prop 19, and it goes far beyond that to help all Californians, not just patients.

The facts: Prop 19 repeatedly protects patients rights, it legalizes non-medical use and it makes it harder for police to arrest patients as “not sick enough,” because if you are age 21 or above, it will be “lawful” to garden and possess marijuana. Vote Yes on Prop 19.

— Chris Conrad, Prop 215 community action coordinator, SB 420 advisor, court-qualified expert witness cited in Supreme Court’s Mower and Kelly decisions

Don’t Be Fooled by Letitia Pepper:
Prop. 19 WILL protect Medical Marijuana Patients and Collectives

Luckily for everyone, the courts won’t interpret Prop 19 based on the opinion of Letitia Pepper, “patient” and former associate at Best, Best & Krieger — a law firm that’s been advising cities on how to ban medical marijuana collectives. Courts will look first at the language of the law, then at the stated intent of the initiative and then at the ballot argument. Following that process, they will rule that patients are protected.

First, note that the official ballot summary does not mention medical marijuana, qualified patients, or collectives at all, since they are not affected. Prop 19 does not limit medical marijuana, it does not modify Prop 215, it does not modify SB 420 (Prop 19 C: Intent 2, statutes to be modified; they are not there). Prop 19 exempts medical use and cultivation from local control in its Purposes 7 and 8 (listed by statute as HS11362.5, 11362.7 – 11362.9). Purpose 6 is to “Provide easier, safer access for patients who need cannabis for medical purposes.” It’s reiterated in the official “Yes” ballot argument. Even the official “No” campaign admits in its official ballot argument: “Proposition 19 makes no changes either way in the medical marijuana laws.” J. David Nick and other medical marijuana defense attorneys agree that patients will benefit from Prop 19.

How flawed is Pepper’s legal analysis? Here are just a few examples of her sloppy work.

Letitia: “[Prop 19 Purpose] Paragraph 7 specifically leaves out the right to cultivate. Why? This is a very meaningful omission of an existing right held by MM patients.” Wrong, cultivation is not omitted.

Fact: Cultivation is not mentioned in paragraph 7 because … it is in the very next sentence. Did she even read paragraph 8 before making this false claim? Yes. She cited it earlier to opine that the courts won’t interpret it to mean what it says: Medical rights are clearly protected under Prop 19. Vote Yes on Prop 19.

Letitia: “Prop. 19 severely limits everyone’s rights to cultivate and distribute.” “Notice that [Purpose] 14 says nothing about allowing the cultivation of larger amounts for medical use.” Wrong, she simply ignores the following:

Fact: Prop 19: 11304d(iv)(c) “in a criminal proceeding a person accused of violating a limitation in this Act shall have the right to an affirmative defense that the cannabis was reasonably related to his or her personal consumption.” That is exactly the same quantity standard that California protects for patients under the People v Mower decision, and Prop 19 also legalizes non-medical adult sharing. Vote Yes on Prop 19.

Letitia: “Paragraph 6 of ‘Purposes’ then specifically refers to patients and cannabis for medical purposes – so this makes it clear the Proposition is intended to affect MM and patients. How? Only to make access “safer” and “easier,” it says — but not cheaper.” Are you kidding me?

Fact: Voters cannot pass a law and make medical marijuana “cheaper.” Is that a joke, does this attorney actually believe such nonsense — or is she just fear mongering patients? Let’s see what else she has to say:

Letitia: “Why would the Prop. 19 people set things up like this? It is going to be contrary to the commercial interests of whoever wants to create a commercial cannabis industry to let such a large group of potential cannabis consumers continue to cultivate and share with each other, via the collective system, cannabis – instead of being forced to buy it from the commercial cannabis industry. Something sneaky’s going on.”

Fact: The initiative makes it legal for patient and adult non-patient alike to cultivate and share cannabis for free, which shows that her fear mongering attack on the authors is both unwarranted and contrived.

So why is Pepper misrepresenting Prop 19? “Something sneaky’s going on,” she wrote. Let’s see: A lawyer who worked for a firm hired to shut down dispensaries is spreading false rumors to patients to get them to vote to keep cannabis criminalized except for patients who pay doctors and lawyers to defend them one by one. Maybe she doesn’t want cannabis to be lawful for adults age 21 and above to grow and use. Don’t buy her lies, the Appeals court won’t skip paragraphs or rule based on conspiracy theories.


The Key Fact: Prop 19 is a well-written law that protects patients and legalizes small personal cultivation and quantities for all California adults. After it is passed, the legislature can fix any minor defects; but this is the right approach and now is the right time. Vote Yes on Prop 19: Common Sense for Cannabis.

— Chris Conrad, Prop 215 community action coordinator, SB 420 advisor, court-qualified expert witness cited in Supreme Court’s Mower and Kelly decisions

Weed Activist

MPP's Morgan Fox calls for unity in the cannabis reform movement

September 16, 2010 in Legalization

It’s Time for Unity in the Marijuana Reform Movement

By Morgan Fox of Marijuana Policy Project

Marijuana users are an extremely diverse group. Whether it be medical or recreational use, they can be found in almost every demographic imaginable in America. As such, there are a wide variety of opinions on how marijuana should be treated by society at large, as well as how to achieve such goals. This shouldn’t be surprising, and there is always room for debate on what the best models and methods for reform should be. Recently, however, a disturbing trend has emerged.

It appears that there is a growing contingent of marijuana users and people associated with the industry, both legal and illicit, who are actively fighting against efforts to make marijuana legal for all adults. There are several arguments being thrown around to defend the status quo of marijuana prohibition. Some of those arguments are well intentioned but shortsighted. Some are downright malicious. The one commonality they have is their divisive effect on the movement at a time when unity is crucial to finally end the government’s war on marijuana users.

They are the cartels that heavily influence the market and bring death to our borders and our inner cities. They are the prison-builders that lobby for harsher sentencing so they can keep the cells full and the cash flowing. They are the pharmaceutical companies that stonewall cannabinoid research so they can keep pushing expensive pills.

Of course some big businesses are going to see opportunity in a newly legal and regulated marijuana market and will try to take advantage of it. And surely some of their practices will be detestable. Marijuana consumers have a right to choose, though. Big businesses cannot “ruin marijuana” any more than Coors has ruined beer. As with alcohol, with its thriving microbrew industry, there will inevitably be a large market for higher-quality, locally grown marijuana.

Another popular attack against potential reforms is that they do not go far enough. There are many people who feel very strongly about securing certain protections, whether they be the right to grow at home, amnesty for marijuana prisoners, personal possession limits, and so on. The most vocal among them feel so strongly that they would rather see a decent bill fail than pass without their inclusion.

While we can sit around dreaming about what the country would be like with “perfect” marijuana laws, the political reality is that we cannot get anywhere near there without taking incremental steps. We are fighting against more than seventy years of lies and propaganda, as well as entrenched corporate and government interests. By building on small victories, we can more easily pass improved laws and overturn bad portions of otherwise good laws. We cannot build on zero victories. While we sit around arguing about minor concessions and principles, people are going to jail or dying. We cannot afford to wait for the rest of the country to come around to the way of thinking of the more radical among us, even if we might agree with them.

The worst obstructionist arguments come from people who are doing just fine under prohibition. They come from the growers and dealers, who stand to lose a little bit of the tremendous amount of money they make in the illegal market. They come from the guys that think marijuana is only “cool” if it is unregulated, and don’t want to lose their status. They come from the young adults who simply do not care if it is legal or not, because they are going to do it anyway.

Never mind that their lifestyles come at the expense of others’ freedom! In all seriousness, if you want to be a cool, wealthy outlaw, here is some advice: develop a personality, and buy a motorcycle. The rest of us are sick of living our lives on the lam for you. If you cannot support marijuana reform because of such selfish reasoning, please remove yourself from the debate.

The time has never been better for making real progress in marijuana reform. As we propose new changes and laws, everyone should get a chance to voice their opinions or concerns. When we have a chance to pass improved marijuana laws, however, we need to present a united front. As long as someone can be arrested for marijuana in the United States, we need to support each other — even if we, as individuals, do not get exactly what we want. For registered voters in California, this means coming out to the polls on November 2 to vote yes on Proposition 19.

Source: http://www.alternet.org/story/148189/?page=1

Weed Activist

NYT: California's most powerful Union to support Prop. 19

September 16, 2010 in Legalization

A major force in the political dialogue has come out in favor of Prop. 19 and should provide a major boost to the cause. Much respect and appreciation to the folks at the SEIU for their courage and vision in backing this common sense measure to support cannabis freedom.

Marijuana Ballot Measure in California Wins Support of Union, Officials Say

Published: September 13, 2010

LOS ANGELES — A ballot measure to make California the first state to legalize the sale and use of marijuana has won the support of one of the state’s most powerful union, officials said Monday, offering the proposition a shot of mainstream legitimacy as well as a potential financial and organizational lift.

The decision by the executive board of the Service Employees International Union of California will be announced in the next few days, according to officials who have been briefed about it but were not allowed to speak publicly before it was announced.

The measure has faced strong opposition from law enforcement groups, including Sheriff Lee Baca of Los Angeles County, who said he would lead a campaign against it as a threat to public safety.

But the proposal also won support on Monday from some former law enforcement officials, including police officers, judges and prosecutors.

The measure, known as Proposition, 19 would legalize, regulate and tax the sale of marijuana. It has been promoted as a way to raise money for the financially beleaguered state, while dealing a setback to Mexican drug cartels.

The measure is quickly emerging as one of the top — and most contentious — ballot issues in the nation this November. Polls show that it has the support of a slight majority of voters. But political analysts said that this kind of measure, given the social stigma that comes with illicit drug use, could prove difficult to poll.

At the very least, the support by the S.E.I.U., which claims over 700,000 members in the state, could make it easier for other groups to rally around the measure. More practically, it means access to the union’s considerable campaign apparatus, which could finance mailings, telephone calls and leaflets.

Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/14/us/14marijuana.html?_r=2

Weed Activist

Cannabis Cowboy Spread the Word on Prop. 19

September 14, 2010 in Legalization

I LOVE THIS GUY!!!! I wanna feed the horse some carrots! Donate to LEAP today….

Cowboy rides through Lodi, pushing legalization of marijuana

By Maggie Creamer
News-Sentinel Staff Writer

While dressed in a cowboy hat, boots and Wrangler jeans, Howard Wooldridge sits on his one-eyed American Paint horse, Misty. He looks like he could be out of a scene from a Western movie. Instead he is waving down traffic at the intersection Cherokee and Kettleman lanes.

Describing himself as a modern-day Paul Revere, Wooldridge, 59, has taken to the streets on horseback to encourage people to vote for Proposition 19, a statewide initiative to legalize pot.

As people drive through the Lodi intersection, they honk horns, give thumbs up, wave coffee cups and cheer.

“A majority of Californians believe the war on drugs is nonsense,” Wooldridge said.

The former Lansing, Mich. police detective wears a shirt that says in large letters “Cops Say Legalize Pot. Ask Me Why.” He also holds a sign that reads: “Control and Tax Cannabis. Yes on 19.”

As Misty tries to grab a carrot from Wooldridge’s jeans, he describes how he has ridden across the country while advocating for the legalization of marijuana for at least seven years.

Wooldridge said he has not smoked weed since college, which was 32 years ago.

He said he is not advocating for Prop. 19 because he is pro-marijuana; he is fighting against the prohibition of marijuana.

“We need to do what our grandparents did and repeal prohibition, and have marijuana controlled by the state,” Wooldridge said.

Opponents of the proposition argue that it has too many loopholes, will put public safety at risk and will not raise money for the state, according to the No on Prop. 19 website.

In his 18 years with the Lansing, Mich. police department, Wooldridge never received a call complaining about marijuana. He did respond to 1,300 calls for alcohol abuse.

He understands people’s concerns about marijuana and knows people can be influenced from too much pot. He remembers a roommate who smoked every day, flunked out of school and was drafted for the Vietnam War.

But he said weed is safer than alcohol, and does not cause people to act violently.

“Marijuana makes you indifferent, so you don’t do anything reckless or stupid,” Wooldridge said.

His faithful companion, Misty, lost her eye when she was kicked by another horse about 11 years ago, but that has not stopped her from traveling.

“It’s a portable chair, and the horse grabs the attention,” he said.

Before taking her on the road, he spent 6 months training her to not react to city noise like fire engines, horn honking or gunshots.

In 2003, he completed a 3,100-mile horseback ride from Georgia to Oregon with just a tent and his T-shirts calling for legalization. It took him six months.

In 2005, he made another 3,300 mile trip from Los Angeles to New York.

“When (Misty) smelled salt water in Los Angeles, I think she said, ‘Not again!’” he said. “In Battery Park in New York, I promised her that was it. She was done with long-riding.”

Wooldridge started touring California on Sept. 1 and plans to continue through the election. While he still rides Misty, who is 16, on street corners, she now rides in a trailer, instead of him riding her from city to city.

During his travels, Wooldridge said he has met police officers from all over the nation also believe in legalizing marijuana, but they cannot be public about it. If they did campaign for legalization, he said people would think they are smoking marijuana or likely to not enforce the law.

“An active duty police officer cannot say, ‘I agree!’” Wooldridge said. “It’s career suicide.”

Source: http://www.lodinews.com/news/article_417511aa-2184-5658-8c91-5228a9622146.html

Weed Activist

Just Say Now and Eric Sterling tell DEA Drug Warriors top get real

September 14, 2010 in Legalization

Just Say Now Responds to DEA Hysteria on Prop 19

By: Jane Hamsher Monday September 13, 2010 9:02 am

Nine former DEA heads held a press conference this morning to promote their letter to Eric Holder, asking the Justice Department to intervene and challenge Prop 19 if it passes (PDF).  They claim that since the Justice Department moved so quickly to oppose the Arizona immigration law, it’s their obligation to do the same here.

The fact is that the DEA ignored Eric Holder’s directive, issued last year, to respect state medical marijuana laws.   Just last week, they raided 5 medical marijuana centers in Las Vegas.  The DEA will do what it wants, regardless of what Eric Holder does, and these people know it.  This looks like nothing so much as a blatantly political attempt to needle Holder (and Obama) and throw some gasoline on the already volatile Arizona situation.

The fact is that these 9 people shoulder a huge chunk of the blame for the utter and complete failure of the war on drugs that has made the situation on the Arizona border so critical.  It’s quite shameless that they’d make things even worse by demagoguing the immigration law in this fashion, but it’s symptomatic of a wasteful and counterproductive bureaucracy trying to protect its power — and its enormous budget.

The letter says:

[W]e note that the Department of Justice acted quickly to assert the Constitution’s Supremacy Clause in its recent suit to declare null and void certain provisions of an immigration bill passed by the state of Arizona.  We would expect the Department of Justice to act just as swiftly and for the same reason to uphold the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution and the preemption provision of the CSA to prevent Proposition 19 from becoming law.

Bruce Fein, member of the Just Say Now advisory committee who served in the Justice Department as Associate Deputy Attorney General under President Reagan, responds:

Nothing in the Constitution requires a state to prohibit as a matter of state law and prosecution what the federal government has chosen to prohibit as a matter of federal law and prosecution. Proposition 19 leaves the power of the federal government to enforce federal prohibitions on marijuana trafficking or use unimpaired. It would be flagrantly unconstitutional for Congress to attempt to force states to enact laws prohibiting under state law conduct that Congress has prohibited under federal law! DEA needs remedial education on the Constitution.

Says Aaron Houston, Executive Director of Students for Sensible Drug Policy and co-founder of the Just Say Now campaign: “This is the same ‘Reefer Madness’ rhetoric they used to fight against medical marijuana.  We’re talking about making sure they could continue to arrest sick and dying people who used medical marijuana. It’s the exact same argument we heard then, that the sky would fall, but it hasn’t.”

“As a 34-year veteran cop, I can tell you that the prohibition approach not only doesn’t work but actually causes violence in our cities by funneling tax-free money to vicious drug cartels and gangs,” said Neill Franklin, executive director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition and a former narcotics cops with the Maryland State Police and Baltimore Police Department.  “To these former DEA officials, I would like to say: ‘For 40 years we’ve tried your way. It doesn’t work.’ Now it’s time to try legalization and regulation, which will reduce violence and create new tax revenue, just like we saw with the end of alcohol prohibition.”

Over 28,000 people have been killed in the war between the Mexican government and the drug cartels.  Last week Secretary of State Hillary Clinton described the drug violence in Mexico as an “insurgency.”

Mexico’s National Security Adviser Alejandro Poire responded, saying that the drug cartels are “nourished by the enormous, gigantic demand for drugs in the United States.”  That demand is something that the nine DEA chiefs, and their failed drug war, have done nothing to diminish.

Source: http://fdlaction.firedoglake.com/2010/09/13/just-say-now-responds-to-dea-hysteria-on-prop-19/

Eric Sterling also responds:

Earlier today, a collection of former chiefs of the Drug Enforcement Administration garnered a lot of media attention for voicing opposition to California’s Proposition 19. As Jane Hamsher explained:

Nine former DEA heads held a press conference this morning to promote their letter to Eric Holder, asking the Justice Department to intervene and challenge Prop 19 if it passes (PDF). They claim that since the Justice Department moved so quickly to oppose the Arizona immigration law, it’s their obligation to do the same here.

I worked directly with DEA Administrators Bensinger, Mullen, and Lawn in the 1980s, and have had debates or conversations with Bonner, Constantine, and Hutchinson.

First, this letter is the clearest indication that the drug prohibition establishment recognizes the political attractiveness and unique importance of Prop. 19. I cannot recall any previous collaboration of former DEA Administrators of this kind. If our national marijuana prohibition policy were not so clearly failing and not so close to being replaced with real controls, they would never have mobilized in this way to defend it. If Prop. 19 were not proposing a system of control that is so logical and straight forward that it is widely politically attractive, they would not be mobilizing this kind of collaboration.

Second, this letter makes a most cursory defense of our failed marijuana policy in calling for an extraordinary remedy: block Prop. 19 in the court because it is a political challenge to premises of the federal law.

Do the former DEA Administrators defend the federal marijuana prohibition with evidence that marijuana’s harms to users are so great that users must be denied the liberty to take the minimal risks attendant to its use? No, they cite an annual “strategy document” that has historically been an instrument of political propaganda, and was never taken seriously a genuine policy or planning document for addressing public safety or public health problems.

Do the former Administrators defend the current prohibition policy because it reduces crime? Of course not.

Do they offer any argument that the United States will be harmed if California legalizes adult use of marijuana? No.

Do they suggest that the international prestige of the United States will be undermined in any respect of Prop. 19 passes? Of course not, for the opposite is true as suggested by the recent Washington Post commentary of Mexico’s former foreign minister, Jorge Castaneda.

Third, they are wrong on the key question regarding the merits of the lawsuit they desire the Attorney General to file. Proposition 19 withdraws California enforcement of its marijuana law which is its Constitutional prerogative. The Supreme Court ruled in the Printz case that Congress cannot “commandeer” state officials to enforcement federal laws. This is different from the Arizona immigration situation in which Arizona sought to authorize state conduct based on federal immigration status, and to create offenses based on federal immigration status. Immigration is explicitly a Federal power in Article I, section 8 of the Constitution. Marijuana prohibition is not in the Constitution. Federal power over marijuana is based on the commerce clause. Our law is filled with areas in which there is both federal and state regulation of various aspects of commerce. The Controlled Substances Act, unlike the Federal Communications Act, does not exclude states from regulation.

On its face, Prop. 19 is a completely different concept. Historically, Prop. 19 is akin to the act of the New York legislature repealing its alcohol prohibition law in 1923 which was perfectly lawful and Constitutional.

Eric E. Sterling is the President of The Criminal Justice Policy Foundation, a private non-profit educational organization that helps educate the nation about criminal justice problems. As a former Assistant Counsel to the U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee (1979-1989), Mr. Sterling was responsible for writing federal drug laws. He serves on the advisory board of Just Say Now.

Source: http://seminal.firedoglake.com/diary/71066

Weed Activist

Building a Great Cannabis Organization

September 12, 2010 in Miscellaneous

This is an informative article I wrote for WCC….

There is a great deal of interest in developing cannabis organizations these days as more cities are allowing for safe access in the community, more patients are realizing the benefits of cannabis as a medicine, and demand for high quality and unique cannabis products continues to grow. From senior citizens wanting to cultivate plants in their garage to supplement their incomes to business investors who want to develop chains of dispensing collectives across the country, it is clear that folks realize there is opportunity in cannabis.. No longer is it just people willing to be outlaws who are laying roots in the industry. Soccer moms, medical professionals, and regular everyday 9-to-5ers are taking a look at developing cannabis organizations. The industry has spawned a niche market that has emboldened creativity and created opportunity in an economy in desperate need of opportunity. An industry that has lived underground for the better part of a century is now emerging into a mainstream and accepted reality.

What has began to happen like never before in the cannabis industry is real competition and supply and demand. As more growers dig in and plant increasing numbers of plants every year the supply begins to catch up with the demand. As more collectives begin to open in areas competing for patient loyalty, patients are benefiting by expanded services and increased value. The market factors that affect most industries are beginning to take hold and producer and providers that are willing to evolve are continuing to prosper; while others who may lack the ability to market and sell themselves and their products are getting left behind. An era of professionalism has begun. While there is still a sense of “cooperative competition,” there is a definite competitive environment for resources. Even though cannabis businesses are supposed to be “not-for-profit” entities, there is still a certain level of income that has to be ascertained by an organization to enable it to operate smoothly, pay staffers, and expand. Cannabis organizations are competing for resources with branding, advertising, promotions, and public relations. No matter what the type of organization, there is a competitive market vying for limited resources, and great organizations will thrive where others will fail. This normalization of the market has caused some to long for the good old days, but the fact is that cannabis is becoming a serious business and with that comes success and failures. Learning to develop a great organization can help to avoid common pitfalls and create positive impacts on the community.

Types of Organizations

As the market expands and inventive folks use their ingenuity to fill the needs of the community we see more types of primary and support organizations being developed. Primary organizations would be considered those that directly deal with patients and medicine. These organizations consist of dispensing collectives, cultivation collectives, production collectives, delivery caregiver services, medical professional conglomerates, and personal cultivation ventures. Support organizations include patient activist organizations, legal services, consulting firms, public relations services, cannabis related goods companies, insurance providers, and even cannabis art producers. These organizations continue to evolve and push one another to provide better products and services. The cause and effect of this increased competition is more convenient, higher quality, and greater valued goods and services. Here are some brief descriptions of some cannabis organizations:

Medical Cannabis Dispensing Collectives/Cooperatives or Dispensaries: These are normally storefront organizations that facilitate the transactions between patients that produce cannabis and those who need cannabis. The defining factor that defines this type of organization is retail sales. In California, the State Board of Equalization demands that these collectives pay sales tax on patient transactions. In 200,8 Attorney General Jerry Brown wrote, “It is the opinion of this Office that a properly organized and operated collective or cooperative that dispenses medical marijuana through a storefront may be lawful under California law.” This affirmation has enabled hundreds of thousands in patients to access cannabis safely through well-lit and clean facilities that provide a variety of types of cannabis. Most dispensing collectives are filing as Mutual Benefit Corporations, clearly denoting their not-for-profit missions; but it is possible that any type of corporation or business can be operated as a not-for-profit organization so long as no individual or group of individuals is pocketing the income at the end of the day. The legality and proper operations have been a contentious issue. Patients, providers, and public officials struggle to understand laws and rights that are hazy at best. The dispensing collective creates a closed-loop system of providers and patients. This allows the organization to control the medicine supply and offer quality options to the patients they serve.

Cultivation Collectives/Cooperatives: A group of patients who collectively cultivate medicine in order to share the cost of operation and burden of labor in the cultivation process. Commonly a group of patients will share in the expenses of rent, supplies, equipment, and utilities to make the process more feasible and to produce a higher quality product through shared knowledge and experience. These collectives combine resources and benefit patients by allowing those who may be more talented in cultivation to handle the actual growth process, while others may commit financial resources, help to trim the finished plants, or handle administrative tasks. Whether indoors or outdoors there are many tasks that go into cultivating quality cannabis. Many patients rely on others to assist in cultivating their medicine, as they may not be physically able or have the time to commit to doing it right. At times, these collective members are also all members of a dispensing collective and may provide excess medicine to the larger dispensing collective to help recoup costs, thus lowering the financial burden of the group. Cultivation would seemingly be the most legal organization under State law, as the direct crop-sharing model does not involve retail sales.

Production Cooperative/Collectives: Much like the cultivation collectives, these are organizations of patents that produce medicines for patients to use. These collectives may focus on creating finished products for patients, such as cannabis foods, tinctures, topical medicines, or extractions. They specialize in converting raw materials into unique and desirable finished products. This sector has been traditionally overlooked by legal regulations, but many cities are beginning to figure out how to create a legal environment in which they can work. More than the whole plant medicines on the market, this sector of products is experiencing a marketing revolution. Traditionally these organizations provide their medicine to dispensing collectives that they are members of. These organizations continue to expand methods by which patients can ingest and use their medicines more safely, effectively, or discreetly. Many popular products have found small niches in the industry to create a foundation and have grown into great organizations.

Delivery/In-Home Caregiver Services Organization: These organizations care for patients directly in their homes, bringing medicine to patients in areas that have no dispensaries or to patients who are uncomfortable with, or unable to go to, a dispensing collective. Patients who wish to remain low profile or do not enjoy the traditional dispensary atmosphere often desire these services. Some live in areas where dispensaries have been banned, but delivery services have been tolerated to provide patients with access. These services range from a single caregiver that provides in-home care services or a collective of caregivers that distribute through online menus and customer service centers, and a fleet of delivery drivers. It is unclear whether these services should be classified as primary caregivers, based on the in-home care provided, or collectives that bring medicine to a patient in their home rather than a storefront. Either way the organization should operate in a not-for-profit manner and adhere to reasonable compensation standards.

Medical Professional Conglomerates: These organizations are groups of doctors who specialize in cannabis and help patients understand if cannabis medicines are right for them. While there have been perceived abuses in some of these organizations, many provide an understanding service to patients whose traditional care physicians may not understand the benefits of cannabis for their conditions. Most well run organizations these days provide 24-hour verification for law enforcement and collectives to verify patients’ status. The doctors help to educate patients and help them understand if cannabis can help them.

***With exception to organizations of doctors and medical personnel, all other organizations are considered illegal under federal law and it should be understood that these organizations are taking part in an act of civil disobedience in providing cannabis.***

Developing a Mission and Vision

The mission and vision statements of an organization declare why this organization is important and what its guiding principles are. A great mission statement tells what you do, why you are successful, and what the organization is driven by. It gives those involved a clear picture of what they are a part of and why that is important. Some say the mission of the organization is the single most important factor in success. Failure to clearly define or successfully implement the mission can create confusion and chaos. Efficient organizations will know the mission clearly and have a clear plan of how to make it happen. Think of the mission as the organizations reason for being.

The vision statement paints the bigger picture. It can define where an organization sees itself heading and what the important steps are that will get them there. It can establish morals and ethics for the organization to build upon. A great vision statement will explain what the organization is working to accomplish and how it will best interact with the world around. It provides a baseline introduction to the character of the organization. The company’s vision can give inspiration to the mission and help stakeholders to better understand why this organization is great.

Thorough Planning

The importance of planning is immeasurable. For an organization to successfully navigate the many nuances of the cannabis industry it is imperative that a detailed and informative plan be developed. Business plans and organizational analysis lays out clearly the strategies, structure, marketing, branding, goals, operations, core competencies, and other important details about the organization. This enables clear and open communication to happen and can help to get everyone on the same page. Whether a start-up or a business that has been established for decades, it is never to early or too late to begin planning for the future. A great business plan will inform, educate, and paint a clear picture of who the organization is, how they operate, and why they are successful.

A great organizational plan is an invaluable tool when presenting your business or organization to public officials, landlords, proposed business associates, employees, lenders, and loved ones. It let’s them know everything they need to know about why this is a beneficial organization. Failure to properly plan will always lead to confusion and misunderstanding. A plan can guide the organization smoothly and provide a reference to periodically check in on and measure the organization’s success. It is necessary to adjust the plans where needed and update the goals and mission regularly. No organization gets it completely right the first time around, no matter how hard they plan. A great plan will give insight to the reader about how this organization will be structured, how it will operate, and why it will be a success. It will map out goals and make clear the methods and standards by which the company will carry out its mission and vision. Thorough planning is a must.

Non-Profit and Not-For-Profit Operations

Americans for Safe Access has written at length on what these terms mean in relation to medical cannabis in California. As of now, Colorado dispensaries are not required to be not-for-profit, although they are heading in that direction. Laws vary from state to state, but organizations in California need to adhere to these standards. Below is ASA’s description of what this means for organizations:

California Health and Safety Code Section 11362.765(a) says that nothing in the law authorizes the cultivation of medical cannabis for profit. The Attorney General’s guidelines are very brief on this topic, stating “Nothing in Proposition 215 or [Senate Bill 420] authorizes collectives, cooperatives, or individuals to profit from the sale or distribution of marijuana.” There is no reason to assume that this brief passage from the guidelines mandates the establishment of a statutory nonprofit corporation as described in California Corporations Code Section 5000, et seq. However, operators may chose to organize a medical cannabis collective as a California nonprofit corporation, as discussed in greater detail below.

Regardless of the organizational structure, a medical cannabis collective should operate in a “not-for-profit” manner to comply with the Attorney General’s guidelines. Not-for-profit operation describes the behavior of a business or association that is not operated for a commercial purpose, or to generate profits for its owners. Any business, regardless of its formal structure, can operate in a not-for-profit fashion by reinvesting excess revenue (after salaries and other overhead) in services for members, advocacy for patients’ rights, or other noncommercial activity.

Operating in a not-for-profit manner does not mean that patients and caregivers who own or operate a collective can not be paid a reasonable wage for their services. Patients operating not-for-profit collectives should be aware, however, that the perception of excessive profits is what motivates this provision of the guidelines. Paying reasonable salaries is acceptable, but other indicia of excessive profits should be avoided – bonuses, dividends, conspicuous spending, etc.

Many collective operators choose to incorporate their collectives as California Nonprofit Mutual Benefit Corporations, as described under California Corporations Code 7110, et seq. Doing so gives the collective a bona fide nonprofit identity, something that resonates with elected officials, law enforcement, media, and neighbors. This is a sensible choice for most operators, and increasingly the norm for new facilities. Creating and operating a nonprofit corporation is more difficult than doing so with a commercial business model, and may present special issues around taxation and transfers in ownership. Operators should seek the advice of a qualified business attorney with experience in nonprofit law.

These guidelines will help an organization be in compliance with the law. It is possible that in the future this aspect may be clarified and that cannabis organizations may be able to realize a profit. As for now, excess income must be invested into the organization or community.

Staffing Great People

The people who make up an organization are what can make it great or can make it a complete failure. Creating a staff that is knowledgeable, that provides great service, and has a strong sense of work ethic will make an organization great. The staff is not just the face of the organization; it is the heart and soul as well. Look to hire people that believe in the mission of the organization and understand the importance of the work they do in the cannabis industry. Whether dispensing, cultivating, producing, or care giving, a highly trained and efficient staff will give your organization a competitive advantage. It is important to treat a staff with respect, while at the same time creating clear boundaries and expectations for their performance. Staff morale is the single most important issue, as happy employees perform their duties better and are less likely to be involved in shrinkage issues. Staffers enjoy being told that they are doing a good job and that the organization appreciates their work. People can be trained to be great, but they must have an intellectual curiosity, and be naturally motivated. Look to hire people that seem like they can follow instructions and have the desire to be an asset to the organization.

Morals and Ethics

Any great organization is founded on a sense of morals and ethics that guide the organization. Karma works the same for organizations as it does for people. If an organization does not do its best to be honest and good stewards of their community, they generally fall victim to lack of honesty and unsavory behaviors themselves. Giving patients great value, treating people with respect, helping people in need, operating transparently, and ensuring quality are all moral and ethical responsibilities that cannabis organizations should adhere to. In the cannabis industry there are still serious legal threats to our community, so unethical or immoral actions by competitors can be catastrophic and destroy livelihoods, as well as take away peoples’ freedoms. It is necessary to consider all of the ramifications of actions, as we work to enhance safe access in the community. For those dispensing medicine to patients it is important to consider what is a fair margin of income for the collective and adjust price points where possible. For producers and cultivators, it is important to take the necessary steps and avoid shortcuts in the production process to ensure patient safety. We all have a responsibility in the cannabis industry to provide safe and effective medicines at the best value to patients in need. Anything less is unacceptable.

A Great Industry to Be A Part Of

You have a responsibility to develop a great organization because you are in a great industry. Not many times in our lives do we see an emergent industry that provides opportunity in a new and exciting field. At the same time you get to provide health and wellbeing to patients in need. I love cannabis. I am thrilled to wake up in the morning and know I am in an industry that is revolutionizing the way people think and one that is changing the world. The cannabis industry is about far more than business. It is a social and political responsibility that we all share to present our industry in the best light. By joining this industry we take on a certain responsibility to fight the good fight and do our part to change the perception of this sacred plant. If JFK were a cannabis enthusiast (and he probably was), he would tell us, “Ask not what the cannabis industry can do for you, but what you can do for the cannabis industry.” This outlook will help ensure that an organization you develop, operate, or are a part of is a great organization. Now get to work.

Mickey Martin operates T-Comp Consulting providing “solutions for the emerging industry of cannabis medicines.” For help on making your organization great contact mickey@tcompconsulting.com.

Weed Activist

Dale G from NORML breaks it down on workplace safety.

September 12, 2010 in Legalization

Dale Gieringer: Proposition 19 is no threat to workplace safety

Opponents of marijuana legalization complain that Proposition 19 could endanger workplace safety. Employers, such as Ed Rullman of the Best Western Hilltop Inn in his Aug. 15 Op-Ed, object that Proposition 19 has a clause protecting employees against discrimination for private, adult use of marijuana.

However, this is qualified by an important provision protecting employers’ right “to address consumption that actually impairs job performance.”

Why then should Proposition 19 be a problem for employers? Because they want to test employees for behavior that doesn’t affect job performance by using the inherently flawed and inaccurate technology of urine testing.

Contrary to popular misconception, urine tests don’t measure the active presence of marijuana in the system, but rather non-active chemical by-products that linger for days or weeks after any impairing effects have faded. Urine testing routinely flags the most harmless, weekend use of marijuana, while completely ignoring the No. 1 cause of drug abuse, alcohol.

Urine testing is therefore a highly unreliable indicator of impairment or job fitness. In fact, it is perfectly possible to be high as a kite and still pass a urine test with flying colors because marijuana doesn’t show up in the urine until hours after smoking. Such problems can be avoided by other, more accurate screening methods, such as blood tests, which detect the active presence of drugs in the system, or the field sobriety checks used by law enforcement in DUI stops.

But aren’t urine tests still helpful in protecting workplace safety? Scientific evidence for this is conspicuously lacking. Urine testing has never undergone the kind of rigorous FDA “safety and efficacy” studies that are required for other medical devices and drugs.

Numerous studies have found that subjects who test positive for marijuana are no more accident-prone, and in some instances even safer, than those who don’t.

A recent expert review by the Canadian Center for Addictions Research recommended against use of drug urinalysis, concluding that “urinalysis has not been shown to have a meaningful impact on job injury/accident rates.”

A study of high-tech companies found that drug testing was associated with reduced productivity, apparently because it undermines worker morale and trust. Drug urinalysis may thus be an indicator of sloppy management by large corporations who exercise poor oversight over workers.

Until recent years, it would have been laughable to suppose that American workers should be forced to submit urine samples to prove their job worthiness. The U.S. is alone among developed countries in regarding urine testing as a routine practice. In the Netherlands, where marijuana is legally available to all adults, drug testing is hardly used, yet workplace safety is substantially better than in the U.S.

The bottom line is that marijuana residues in urine pose no risk to workplace safety. In many cases, it is even preferable to let employees use marijuana for medical purposes at home so as to help avoid pain and other problems that can impair their performance.

Of course, there may exist situations where some kind of drug testing is useful in protecting workplace safety. If so, Proposition 19 specifically permits it. In no case would Proposition 19 override existing federal drug testing rules, anymore than did Proposition 215.

In general, however, Proposition 19 would benefit countless workers — pot users and non-users alike — by sparing them the degrading indignity of submitting to intrusive, misleading urine tests that have no bearing on job fitness.

Dale Gieringer is director of California NORML.

Source: http://www.redding.com/news/2010/sep/12/proposition-19-is-no-threat-to-workplace-safety/

Weed Activist

This is who people trust with their freedoms? Come on. GET REAL!

September 12, 2010 in Feds, Legalization, Miscellaneous


Yes. This is just who I want representing my interests and doing legal commentary on the biggest cannabis vote of the last 40 years…Good luck with that….

September 10, 2010 in Legalization

NEWSWEEK: Home-Grown Reefer Madness

by Jessica Bennet

The California proposition to legalize recreational pot use may end up a ‘jumbled, legal nightmare,’ as opponents claim. But the main issue may be money.

The argument against Proposition 19, the Californiaballot initiative that would legalize marijuana, goes something like this: if the initiative were to pass, it would create a world where lackadaisical employees would show up to work with bloodshot eyes and slurred speech. In between responding to e-mails, operating machinery, or planning a classroom lecture, they could take a quick break—poking their heads out the closest door or window to light up, inhaling the sweet smoke of California skunk, without any consequences. Out on the streets, intoxicated drivers would weave in and out of Southern California palm trees, and the smell of cannabis would seep from local apartment complexes, where new dealers would be growing stock. Marijuana would slowly begin showing up in schoolyards where it wasn’t already; at parties, too. Ultimately, it would be a gateway drug to much, much worse.

It’s a haze-ridden portrait that opponents of the Regulate, Control and Tax Cannabis Act, which is inching toward a a statewide vote this fall, are doing everything in their power to make sure voters see. Their official argument, to be distributed to polling stations come November, warns that the measure will increase intoxicated driving, that schoolbus operators could arrive to bus stops already high, or that employers who let staffers sell candy bars at work would suddenly have to let them sell dope, too. To convolute things further, the California Chamber of Commerce issued a report last week suggesting that—should the measure pass—local businesses would be required to pay for marijuana-related accidents through workers’ comp, and that employers would have to permit employees to smoke pot in the office. Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the co-chair of the opposition campaign, meanwhile, has called Prop 19 a “jumbled, legal nightmare.”

The reality, of course, is more complicated than even Feinstein has alluded. And for anyone familiar with California politics—or the current debate over Proposition 8—“jumbled, legal nightmare” in California is a bit like business as usual. There’s no doubt that, if passed, Prop 19 would face interpretive challenges in court. (Indeed, California’s successful medical-marijuana measure, passed in 1996, is still facing such litigation.) But more important than the ultimate legal claims (or whether Prop 19 will ultimately face a “legal nightmare”), say advocates, is separating fact from fiction right now. In their eyes, the opposition’s portrayal of California as a dangerous, drug-hazed haven for lazy workers and intoxicated drivers sounds a lot more like a bad weed trip than anything the proposed law would actually do.

At the heart of the marijuana debate, in fact, is not the morals of pot use, or even the technical issues related to consumption on the job (we’ll get to that later). Rather, it’s what you might expect in capitalist (albeit pot-loving) California: the matter of cold, hard cash. Prop 19 would allow anyone older than 21 to cultivate a small amount of marijuana for personal use, and permit adult consumption in private—as long as no minors are present. But it would also permit cities to regulate and tax sales.

In a state that’s $19 billion in the red, where 400,000 residents already consume medical marijuana legally—and another 2 million do so illegally—you can imagine how $1.4 billion in annual tax revenue, as the State Board of Equalization has predicted, might sound appealing. Harvard economist Jeffrey Miron has estimated that cannabis prohibition costs the nation $7 billion in potential tax revenue; in Oakland, the one place in California where medical marijuana is already being taxed, city leaders say the funds will help save libraries, parks, and other public services. The bottom line? “People are no longer outraged by the idea of legalization,” former San Francisco mayor Willie Brown told the San Francisco Chroniclelast year. “And truth be told, there is just too much money to be made [from it].”

That cultural acceptance is already visible at home in California, where Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger proclaimed recently that it was “time for a debate” on marijuana taxation. It extends, however, all the way to the federal government, which has vowed—despite pot still being illegal on a federal level—to cease raiding medical dispensaries authorized under California law. In a state where the use of medical marijuana has been commonplace for upwards of a decade, recreational consumption is a virtual technicality—effectively legal since California became the first of 13 states to legalize medical cannabis, in 1996. But “medicinal” is something of an open joke in the state, since anyone over 18 with a doctor’s note—easy to get for ailments like anxiety or cramps, if you’re willing to pay—can get an ID card providing easy access to any of the state’s hundreds of legal marijuana dispensaries. (As one dispensary owner recently told NEWSWEEK: “You can basically get a doctor’s recommendation for anything.”) “This is a new world,” says Robert MacCoun, a professor of law and public policy at University of California, Berkeley, and coauthor of Drug War Heresies. “If you’d have asked me four years ago whether we’d be having this debate today, I can’t say I would have predicted it.”

Support for the current proposition, which is funded by Oakland entrepreneur Richard Lee, is roughly split, with the latest poll, by SurveyUSA, showing 47 percent in favor and 43 percent opposed. The pro-pot crowd may be ahead by a pin, but it makes the opposition’s cries that the initiative is “too vaguely worded”—or, worse, that it indeed forces employers to allow workers to smoke on the job—all the more damaging. When it comes down to it, though, much of this is fear-mongering—backed up by speculation that would likely be settled in court. “We’re not saying this is going to happen,” says Jennifer Shaw, a legal consultant for the Chamber of Commerce and the author of the group’s recent report. “But it could.”

Except: could it really? Two years ago, in the context of the medical-marijuana law, the state Supreme Court determined that pot use, legal or otherwise, could indeed be grounds for firing. Prop 19 specifically states that the initiative would not override “any law prohibiting use of controlled substances in the workplace”—a claim that’s since been backed up by the state’s Legislative Analyst’s Office, which provides nonpartisan policy analysis for the legislature. All of this could certainly be challenged in court, but the parallels are simply too similar to ignore. That 2008 Supreme Court ruling even noted specifically that claims that the state’s medical marijuana law would make workplace consumption legal were “disingenuous.” “You can be absolutely certain of at least two things if Prop 19 passes,” says Eric Sterling, the former counsel to the U.S. House Judiciary Committee who now serves as an unpaid legal adviser to the “Yes on 19” campaign. “No employer will be required to allow workers to smoke marijuana on the job, and the California Chamber of Commerce would fight all the way to the Supreme Court anyone who made such a claim.”

Still, it’s easy to see how voters might be confused. Which is why proponents say they want to make one thing clear: that nothing about Prop 19 would change the current legislation that bans marijuana on school campuses, and the initiative maintains strict penalties for driving under the influence. (Remember also: those who do smoke it must be over 21.) As for crops sprouting up all over sunny California apartment complexes, á la Showtime’s Weeds? Well, think of it this way: pets may not be illegal, but they can certainly be banned from an apartment complex. Landlords have the legal wherewithal to treat marijuana exactly the same way. “A landlord can pretty much do what they want, as long as it’s within reason,” says Tom Bannon, head of the California Apartment Association. “That’s just the way it works.”

The laundry list of other possible complications arising from the law certainly doesn’t end there, but proponents say they’ve heard many of the arguments before. “If you went back and looked at opposition arguments running up to the 1996 passage [of Prop 215, which legalized medical cannabis], many of them were the same—the kids, the driving, the lighting up on the job,” says Paul Armentano, the deputy director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Lawsand the coauthor of Marijuana Is Safer. “But none of those things happened. Almost to a fault, incidents of intoxicated driving went down; even youth consumption declined. Those claims weren’t true then, and they’re not going to be true this time around.”

As California debates the issue, residents say you can be sure about one thing: Where there’s smoke, there will certainly be litigation.

Source: http://www.newsweek.com/2010/09/09/prop-19-california-s-home-grown-reefer-madness.html

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