Because Fuck You

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I will not be silenced.

My reality is that I face a lot of attacks for my writing, and for my ability to transcribe the crazy shit that happens in the cannabis movement into understandable and digestible pieces that people seem to enjoy. My writing is not exceptional by any means, but it is real. People read what they do here because they know that, like it or not, I am going to tell the fucking truth.

The truth is a scary proposition for many, especially when it can be told by a person who has the ability to express themselves. The truth becomes dangerous when people knowing it can cause others to lose money and/or face. This, in turn, angers many and forces them to lash out in bizarre, and sometimes violent, ways.

Because of my writing I have had tracking devices put on my car, and have been threatened and followed. I have had all of my tires slashed. I was violently pepper-sprayed as I left a dispensary one day. My wife and kids have been followed, and pictures of them were sent to me with a letter stating if I cared about them I would “stay off of the internet.”  I am threatened by some chump who is mad about something I posted or wrote on social media at least weekly.

I am no stranger to being attacked and threatened. It has become par for the course. When people listen to what you have to say and value your opinion, those who you say it about cower in fear.

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“Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.”

-MASTER YODA

There are plenty of hate-filled people in the cannabis movement. Because of the current “quasi-legal but not really” scenario that is the cannabis industry these days, the environment is ripe for fraud and abuse. We have a far higher percentage of con-men and shysters running around due to the perception of easy money by people who can basically do nothing about it when they get fucked.

Which is why the call for unity always makes me laugh. Who the fuck would want to unify with this band of crooks for real? No thanks. I will pass.

Save your unity for the folks who deserve it, and not just any jackass who gets off the boat spewing bullshit about how awesome they think weed is so they can sell their fancy “next big thing” weed product. Gag. They are getting off the boat faster than I can keep up these days, most with some money to buy off this group or that influential individual to get their foot in the door.

It is a sad reality.

There are a lot of fucked up people and organizations running around the game right now. There are a lot of great ones too. My point in writing about this industry has been to examine the trends and which way the political winds are blowing, and try to educate people on what is happening, and what needs to happen, for this movement to be successful. I am not perfect, but I do my homework. Most of the pieces I write are on target and accurate.

I pull no punches. I have never found that beating around the bush was a good angle for me. I am terrible at masking my feelings and thoughts to make them more palatable for the world. Generally what you get from me is pure unadulterated reality. I know that if I lay out the absolute truth, no matter what that might be, that I have the ability to make sense of complex issues.

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In telling these truths there are often those who become angry. Not like a little angry. Like super angry. Like shaking angry. Like cannot even speak clearly anymore angry. Like I think I will do some crazy revenge shit angry.

Which is why I was not surprised to learn that Cheryl Shuman and her lapdog Kevin Saunders, in conjunction with Attorney Matthew Pappas, had begun spreading the godawful lie that I was a pedophile. Now I am generally all for some good old-fashioned name calling; but this shit crosses a line.

I am a hard-working father of two kids whose wife is lucky enough to not have to work and can raise our children. Our family is about as vanilla as it comes besides my activity in the world of cannabis. We try to raise our two sons the best we can in a world that is often a pretty fucked up place. It is certainly not easy and we know the dangers of the world we live in.

Both myself and my wife were molested when we were younger. Needless to say, these were life-changing events for both her and I. Nothing is more vile than destroying a child’s innocence and affecting the trajectory of their life forever. These incidents have certainly altered who my wife and I are as people, and how we view the world.

We do not take these falsified charges of me being a pedophile in some sort of twisted act of revenge lightly. It is disgusting and incredibly sad. I must be getting pretty close to sinking a person’s battleship if they are willing to stoop this low.

I have two sons. I worry daily about them being manipulated and attacked by sexual predators. My sons are not allowed to spend the night at people’s houses that we have not known for a long long time. If there is a sleep over event happening with their school my wife has to attend with them. There is no exceptions there. Because of my experiences I refuse to leave my kids in any sort of vulnerable situation until they are old enough to understand and do something about it.

So for me to be called a pedophile by some people who are so desperate for revenge that they will literally do anything to silence me is absurd. It is so transparent and pathetic that many have told me to “just let it go” or to “get over it.” Easier said than done. I am terrible at letting things go.

Things affect me deeply and I have a tendency to work to destroy things I perceive as threats. I rarely just walk away and let things be….especially when people want to accuse me of raping children. So you can be sure that not only will I not be silenced, but that I will be more vocal and willing to crush these folks by any means necessary. Game on, bitches.

What is hilarious really is the website they put up to try and scare me. I will not link to it here because I do not want to give it traffic, but there is a screenshot below:

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Nice, right? What a bunch of losers. Yes…I am a convicted felon. This is true…FOR PROVIDING MEDICAL CANNABIS EDIBLES. It is always nice when folks who claim to be in the movement want to kick a person for being convicted for providing cannabis. Especially when the people making the accusations have been convicted of fraudulent activities and are admitted heroin junkies. But alas, I digress.

What I though was hilarious is here is a site charging me with being a pedophile complete with a “VICTIMS” tab; but when you click on the VICTIMS tab not only is there not one child who I supposedly molested on there, it reads like a Who’s Who list of fraudsters and charlatans. Check it out:

SUPPOSED VICTIMS

  • Rick Simpson
  • Phoenix Tears
  • Steve DeAngelo
  • Harborside Health Centers
  • Rob Kampia
  • MPP
  • ​Serra Frank
  • Moms for Marijuana
  • The Stanley Brothers
  • Josh Stanley
  • Realm of Caring
  • Incredibles Edibles
  • Bob Eschino
  • Cheryl Shuman
  • Aimee Shuman
  • Shari Peterson
  • Dragonfly Lyoness
  • Med Men
  • Charles Vest
  • Michael Llamas
  • HempMeds PX
  • ​MJNA

Yes….I have written negative pieces about each and every one of these folks at one time or another because of their nefarious activities and willingness to defraud our community. They forgot a few chumps like Russ Belville and Allen St. Pierre; but I guess #bitchface only listed the folks she had in her coalition of the willing to fuck you out of your money. But I stand wholeheartedly behind my “attacks” on “some of the most beloved and successful leaders in the cannabis community,” as the site puts it.

Now as we take this deal to the next level and really begin to heat up the nail of life on this matter, I wonder how many of the folks on this list are ready for another dose of reality and for me focus on their bullshit again?

As far as I am concerned, while I am 100% positive this site was created by Cheryl Shuman herself, every person who is on this list at a site that accuses me of raping children is guilty by association. Anyone on this list who is not working to have this site shut down and removed are part of the fucking problem and will be dealt with accordingly.

Why? Because FUCK YOU is why.

I will never sit down and/or shut up. You fucking losers should know that by now.

Shit like this just makes me grow louder and stronger. i will work 10x as hard to make sure you never work in cannabis again. There are no bounds as to what I am capable of when I am falsely accused of such heinous bullshit.

Some people may notice that I have removed them from my FB feed. Below is an explanation about that in case you were wondering WTF?

Hey there….Sorry you got caught up in a mess. I have been falsely accused of being a pedophile by Cheryl Shuman, Kevin Saunders, Attorney Matthew Pappas, and a profile named Jennifer Brown Johnson (which is also Cheryl Shuman). In order to insulate myself from these folks I am not accepting any friends who have mutual contact with these folks. These threats have put myself, and my family in danger. I am more than happy to be your friend and I am glad you value my input. But I have to draw a line here somewhere and begin to move past what has become extremely messy…and now dangerous. Below is a list of the pages I have deleted, and will continue to delete mutual friends from:

https://www.facebook.com/CherylShumanInc
https://www.facebook.com/CherylShuman
https://www.facebook.com/Coasterdam
https://www.facebook.com/matthew.pappas.73
https://www.facebook.com/matthewpappaslbcityattorney
https://www.facebook.com/DesireeBrownJohnson
https://www.facebook.com/BeverlyHillsCC
https://www.facebook.com/shaman.therapeutics
https://www.facebook.com/Cannalebrity.Magazine
https://www.facebook.com/Beverly.Hills.Society
https://www.facebook.com/PotWives

If you go through and remove these folks and or no longer “like” their pages, I am more than happy to add you back on. Once again, I apologize for the inconvenience and have simply drawn a line in the sand for myself on this issue to protect myself. I appreciate your understanding. I can assure you it was nothing personal. I even deleted some very close friends and even one of my staff. It is just how it is, and has to be, for me right now. No exceptions will be made.

Be Well,
Mickey Martin

So I have begun to take necessary steps in my life to shield myself from this bullshit. It is a defensive strategy to circle the wagons and eliminate areas where these issues lie.

Then will come the offensive attack. We will take this shit to the next level. I can assure you that. For those of you who just wish it would all go away because you hate conflict, I apologize in advance. This is likely going to get even more messy.

I am not completely innocent. I admit that since Cheryl Shuman went on Huffington Post Live and originally made these veiled attacks on me I have been on a mission to destroy any and all credibility she may have left. In this battle, names have been called and memes have been posted. While some of the things I might say seem mean spirited and uncalled for, just remember this bitch went on a national media outlet and accused me of luring school-aged girls in with my weed candy, doing meth, being an armed robber, and stating that I went to prison for these crimes. All absolute fabrications. But these losers have doubled-down and have begin to directly attack my dignity with louder and more prominent bullshit accusations of pedophilia.

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Believe that my first reaction was to pack a van of motherfuckers and to go turn out a good old fashioned ass whooping on each and every one of these coward fucks. But that is probably what they want. Cheryl Shuman, Kevin Saunders, and Matthew Pappas are all miserable people who would probably thank a person for putting them out of their misery and taking them away from their pathetic existence. I am not one to do them any favors.

But what I can assure them is that at every corner they turn, and at every point they try to make, myself and my associates will be there to meet them. They will no longer be able to con people and make a living off of their bullshit. Our foot will be on their neck for the rest of their time on this planet, making sure that whatever they want to do they are challenged and exposed.

Cheryl wants to be famous more than anything. Notice she has not done a major media appearance in over 6 months. People will be sure to encourage producers that she never sees the other side of a TV camera again. Anyone who hires this #bitchface will be a target and i will make sure their business loses money.

Kevin Saunders wants to operate a cannabis collective. He is facing charges for selling a pound to undercover cops in the Monterey area and is facing over 20 charges of harassment from a school he used to attend for threatening staff and students. As one goes before the court, they generally look for support from the community. What is the opposite of court support? That is what Saunders has coming.

Matthew Pappas is running for Long beach City Attorney. I have been working to outreach people in Long Beach through media channels and friends in the area to ensure I lose him at least 10 votes a day. Pappas is the asshole whose arrogance and bullshit legal strategy nearly shut down the entire industry in the Pack case, in case you were wondering. He claims to be supported by this community, but the reality is he has done more harm than our opposition in his self-centered work.

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Each of these fucking people are scumbags who are actively telling people I rape children. It is beyond bullshit, and I will not be just letting anything go. These fucks have no idea of the Pandora’s Box of bullshit they have opened with their pathetic smear campaign against me and my family.

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So before folks get all holier-than-thou with their tales of “being the bigger person” and “turning the other cheek” just put yourself in my shoes. Not only is it gross and disgusting, it is very damaging to my work and my reputation. It is not something I am going to walk away from, and you can be sure all bets are off going forward.

Because FUCK YOU.

Progress is always difficult and often messy…

MESSY

There is a lot happening in the world of cannabis right now. the walls of prohibition are crumbling faster than most had ever imagined and the cannabis reform “movement” is experiencing a lot of growth and change. With that comes some difficulty and at times things can certainly get a little messy. No one ever said ending prohibition was going to be quick and painless.

As the movement evolves from the underground into a working industry there are bound to be some growing pains. Many people who have worked on this cause for decades are being overrun by folks who just showed up to reap the rewards. There is no shortage of people pushing the “next big thing” and embellishing who they are and what they have done to dig deeper into cannabis circles. The sharks smell blood in the water.

People’s lives are being fucked with and their businesses are being attacked to create competitive advantages for wannabe business moguls. We have moved beyond a place where the people in this movement are here because they love cannabis….many do not. A lot of the folks we see coming on board as of late are people who like money and could give a shit about your weed, or how we got here beyond how they can profit from our hard work.

In this environment there is no real camaraderie. There is no trust and loyalty. It is all business; and in business the rules are a lot different. Personal and ethical responsibility to the cannabis plant go out the window. Business is about one thing…money. How much of it can we make to satisfy our investors? That is the only question. Nothing else matters.

So are we surprised to see clashes and situations where tempers boil over? Is it really surprising to think that when the buzzards begin circling overhead that we might want to take a shot or two at them before they swoop down and pick the carcass of our movement dry? Or in the name of “unity” should we all just bend over and take it like good soldiers for the cause?

I can assure you I will never bend over willingly.

One of the greatest, and one of the worst, things about this movement is that the people who make it up for the most part are non-confrontational hard-working folks. Weed brings out the best in people, and some find the soothing nature of the plant a pathway to passiveness and a desire for peace and love. Many people in this movement cringe at the first sign of conflict or trouble, and just beg for it all to go way. Many would rather let the predators have their way instead of doing the hard work of confronting and exposing them.

There is no question that this is a messy process. In order to confront those who prey on our immature industry one must speak up and take on the fight. A lot of these power-hungry charlatans are well-funded and have bought off some influential people in the industry to do their bidding. It is certainly an uphill battle….but a worthy one nonetheless.

Cannabis legalization and acceptance is happening rapidly. It is hard to really grasp and comprehend what we are seeing here. Progress is coming faster and harder than anyone wants to believe, and the folks looking to cash in know it. We have a choice as a community. We can stand back and let these folks rule the day in order to preserve some false sense of security through “not rocking the boat.” Or we can decide to take the task head on and demand more from the people who want to stand next to us and be a part of our “movement/industry.”

The second choice is difficult and often messy; but in the end, if we can stand our ground enough we may give birth to one of the most historic developments in business history; and create an industry that has a fucking conscience, and which respects the history of where we came from. A lot of people have lost their lives, their freedom, and their standing in the community fighting the evils of prohibition. It would be extremely disheartening to see all of those people’s hard work and sacrifice be traded in for just another cut-throat industry where profits overcome quality and dedication. 

We can decide if we want to sit down and shut up, or if we want to stand and fight. I choose the latter. If watching these battles is just too much for you to bear, then I apologize. In the end, maybe you will thank me though, if all goes according to plan. Selah.

Why do we put so many people in jail in the US?

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This is an excellent video that spells out the evils of mass incarceration and how the war on drugs has led to us locking up more of our own citizens than the entire rest of the world. That is sad. We must change and evolve. Watch the video and be educated. Let it depress you and make you angry, and then do something to put an end to this madness.

 

It is not me. It is YOU.

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If prohibition isn’t completely over yet, don’t blame me. It is not me. It is YOU.

I like to think I can end prohibition by myself if I work hard enough, but I cannot. I have tried. I have spent more hours working on it than I like to admit, and we still see the slow wheels of progress moving. It is happening. Progress continues, but it is not enough. We must do more. All of us have got to get moving if we really want this to end now.

This is not meant to disparage others, and make it seem like I am doing the work and others are not. Far from it. There are actually a lot of people giving their hard work and energy to the cause, and I am deeply grateful for them.

But there is also a contingency of folks who are just standing around waiting for everyone else to do the work for them, and who want to call themselves an “activist” with little or no real action to show for it. YOU know who YOU are. YOU are the loser who doesn’t have the time or money to give to the cause when it is needed, but shows up for all of the victory parades and parties like clockwork. YOU are the asshole who likes to look down his nose at another person’s effort and say how much better they would have done this or that. YOU are the lazy bastard who never writes a letter, calls anyone, or does anything to advance the conversation; but then wants to take all of the credit for those who did actually take the time out of their life to make a difference. And there are plenty of YOU . Swing a dead cat around and you are bound to hit one.

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There will always be the 80/20 rule. Twenty percent of the people in this movement do eighty percent of the work and give eighty percent of the resources. A lot of folks are just along for the magic carpet ride. They have no real intention of getting off of their asses or breaking bread for this cause. They just want to feel like they are a part of the “movement” without doing anything to actually make it move. They are energy suckers for the most part who will eat all of the free food, smoke all of the free weed, and go home to being the same selfish losers they were. It is human nature, but not one that I want to be associated with.

You think we do not see you either. You think you can dip in and out without being detected, and have your weed cake and eat it too. But I see you. I see you working the system for personal gain. I see you hitching your wagon to our star and telling everyone it is your star too. Enjoy the ride for now because you are in for a rude awakening. It is going to be funny when I expose you as a fraud in front of everyone…but just keep hanging on tight. It could get a little bumpy around the turns.

What I really love are the folks who are not just lazy, but financially motivated. Those who play activist on the weekends as a business opportunity for their networking possibilities are the worst. Nothing is sadder than a person motivated by nothing more than money pretending that they really give a shit about weed. It is so plastic and fake at times that I actually want to kick people in their shins for shits and giggles. These wannabe moguls try to camouflage themselves among the group; but they are so obviously just money hungry whores who are looking for acceptance so that they can eat your young when you are not looking. Do not be fooled by the wolves in wook gear. They are the enemy within.

We have a lot of work to do, and there is no question that we are surrounded by folks who have zero intention of doing any of it. These assholes will be there to collect the spoils though. Believe that.

I am not saying I am perfect. Not at all. I have a lot that I could do better. I can be more effective and I will. Speaking of, I need to write letters to POWs. That is one area I am lacking for sure. I am going to get that done this week. I know where my shortcomings are, and I work to overcome them. But it is work…and it is hard work. At times, my wife and kids think I am crazy and obsessed because I focus on this issue so much. Maybe they are right. Maybe I am. But I am compelled to see this through to the end. I am in too deep at this point to ever turn back.

Just know I am watching you. I see you in the midst of the action doing nothing and taking all of the glory. I see you preparing for your victory dance for everyone else’s hard work. I will be there to greet you, and if you are lucky, you might get a pie in the face before this is all said and done. So you have that going for you, which is nice.

Or…..you might want to just do the work and begin to make a difference. It is not as hard as you think. Instead of creeping in for some credit for everyone else’s hard work, how about you do some of your own work for once? We are waiting. We have been waiting a long time. You talk a big game, now do the work.

I will continue to do the work regardless. But the next time you think of messaging me and stating “Why don’t you do this (enter hairbrained activist scheme)?”, why don’t you just do it your damn self and do it well? I assure you I have a plate full of shit to do over here. Feel free to reach in your own pocket and put your money where your mouth is every once in a while too, ya cheap bastard. It is your turn already. Quit thinking we all are going to cover you.

This is all of our responsibility, and I for one am tired of doing the work, only for some other asshiole who has done little to nothing taking the credit for it. I will begin to point you out and make a spectacle of you. I am over it. It is not me. It is YOU.

Do the work, or get out of the way of those who do. Thanks……Management.

2014: Year of the KILLSHOT. How we finally end this thing.

History is a funny thing. It is hard to predict and happens in short rapid bursts.

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But make no mistake….history is being made. As the news of Colorado’s first sales of weed to non-medical patient adults over 21 floods the airwaves, the walls of prohibition crumble. America is absorbing this slow-moving revolution. As people watch responsible adults purchase their weed at well-lit and clean facilities, their vision of the criminally shady element that cannabis has been portrayed as melts away. The sky has not fallen; and when the sky continues to not fall after being told by prohibitionists for decades that it would, Americans will wake up to the fact that they have been lied to.

People hate being lied to. That is why this thing ends this year.

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The toothpaste is WAY out of the tube. There is no putting it back. It is over. We can work out the details of what it all looks like in real time, but the writing is on the wall. It is only a matter of time now before this is all a distant memory, and cannabis is returned to its rightful place in our society as a safe, enjoyable, and helpful plant. But there is still a lot of work to make that happen in a way that is reasonable and fair. There is a lot to overcome in a short period of time, but I think we are up for the task.

Now is the time to go for the killshot. We should be applying every ounce of pressure we have to the neck of these drug warrior assholes. There is no looking back. It is time to storm the castle for the final time. This will end; and it will end very soon if we are effective in our strategic planning.

Do not listen to the voices that say “Be patient. Just wait.” There are reformers within our movement that would have you believe that we must wait and not create real tension. These folks would have you believe that “if we play our cards right we could see the end of prohibition in the next five years.”

Fuck those people. They are in on it.

They are PART OF THE PROBLEM. Nothing worse than a pathetically transparent effort of self-preservation through retarding growth by eroding people’s confidence. I am not trying to be mean, but I hope every person who makes their money “reforming cannabis laws” is out of a job this year. I hope we get the laws reformed, and those folks (like the DEA) can move on to greener pastures. That is what we are all fighting for, right? An END to prohibition?

In the now famous Letter from Birmingham Jail, penned by Martin Luther King Jr. at the height of the civil rights struggle, this is what he said about “waiting.”

We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed. Frankly, I have yet to engage in a direct action campaign that was “well timed” in the view of those who have not suffered unduly from the disease of segregation. For years now I have heard the word “Wait!” It rings in the ear of every Negro with piercing familiarity. This “Wait” has almost always meant “Never.” We must come to see, with one of our distinguished jurists, that “justice too long delayed is justice denied.”

For years now I too have heard the word “wait.” From lawmakers….from law enforcers…from probation officers….from people opposed to cannabis….and all too often from those who stood beside me.

I can wait no longer. I will not.

I am touched by the response we see happening in the press, as adult use legalization rolls out in Colorado (and soon to be Washington and Uruguay). The world has certainly changed from the days I stood on the street in Santa Cruz, CA gathering signatures for Prop. 215.  The long and tiring journey will eventually come to an end, and if I have anything to do with it that end will come quickly.

So what is the big plan? How do we do it? Well, I am glad you asked…..A strategy of direct action and a demand for accountability at all levels is a good place to begin.

I refer back to Dr. King’s Letter from Birmingham Jail when discussing the type of non-violent campaign we must orchestrate to end this thing. He wrote:

In any nonviolent campaign there are four basic steps: collection of the facts to determine whether injustices exist; negotiation; self purification; and direct action.

After the determination that the injustices were very real and attempted negotiation, Dr. King began the difficult process of “self-purification” leading to direct action. He stated:

We had no alternative except to prepare for direct action, whereby we would present our very bodies as a means of laying our case before the conscience of the local and the national community. Mindful of the difficulties involved, we decided to undertake a process of self purification. We began a series of workshops on nonviolence, and we repeatedly asked ourselves: “Are you able to accept blows without retaliating?” “Are you able to endure the ordeal of jail?”

The struggle of the civil rights movement in the 1960’s was an amazing effort that taught our communities and the world many valuable lessons. We can learn from the successes (and even some failures) of prior social movements where we can use our influence as citizens to create real change.

One of the most effective tools used were economic boycotts of goods and services that supported the unjust policies of segregation; and those same types of pressures could be used to end prohibition now. We need to identify the groups, organizations, businesses, and individuals who are propping up the drug war, and encourage our networks to not support them, or spend their money with them. If we can drive enough folks to quit doing business with companies that fund prohibition and support mass incarceration policies, we can force them to change their positions this taking pressures off lawmakers to make more reasonable policies for drugs in our society. Shit rolls uphill sometimes.

If we can create a platform of awareness, and a powerful enough social movement that begins to make a real dent, it becomes more difficult for them to continue these charades. We must also attack funding sources for law enforcement that are used to fund this bullshit war. Lawmakers want to talk about “fiscal responsibility?” How about the trillion dollars we have wasted arresting and imprisoning mostly poor people for petty drug crimes?

As citizens, we must organize campaigns at every level of politics to demand a change in how our law enforcement resources are spent. I do not mind having a robust law enforcement presence, but let them work on REAL crimes and REAL public safety issues. Quit pressuring good cops to arrest their neighbors on stupid weed charges to pad the arrest statistics to justify even more spending. Let good cops do a good job; and if they arrest a few million less people for stupid shit every year, but maybe catch an extra drunk driver, or investigate fraud, or track down actual violent criminals, that is great. We do not need less cops. We need the cops to be allowed to actually investigate and do their fucking jobs instead of feeling the need to rummage through some guys car because he smelled some weed.

Economic-based boycotts are something that we can do relatively easy through social media and word of mouth. They do not have to be massive to work either. Small local boycotts can be extremely effective too. Why would we give our money to people who support putting us in jail for our choice to use weed? I still do not eat Kellog’s cereal because they fired Michael Phelp’s after the infamous bong picture. There are a lot of companies that support prohibition because it is good business for them. Look at a company like Victoria’s Secret that uses mass incarceration as a source of cheap labor for their goods. Yup…we can boycott companies that use prison labor, which in turn pressures prison lobbies and privately owned prisons, who in turn have influence with lawmakers, who can end these policies once and for all.

But economic influences are only part of the story. It will also take hard work, sacrifice, and likely some real pain to end this deal. We will also need to accomplish major messaging points through civil disobedience and organized protest. Folks must be willing to put some time and energy into taking the killshot. We must go to the meetings. We must speak up loudly. We must organize WEED-INS. We MUST demand to be heard.  We cannot allow our opposition’s position to go unanswered anywhere….not in the media, at local meetings,  or in a conversation at the grocery store. WE MUST BE VIGILANT…….we like weed and we are good people.

Check out the movement happening in Philly right now as they Smokedown prohibition. These kids are doing it. Taking criminal charges and suffering real consequences for their right to burn and to call for an end to prohibiton. Amazing stuff:

 

It is also an election year and we can influence politics on many levels. We should make every effort to influence local. state, and national politics with our weed message. Be at the town hall meetings to ask the tough questions. Write a letter to the editor about how you do not think this candidate should not be elected because they still believe in mass incarceration and locking up our neighbors for weed. Gallup’s recent poll showed that 58% of our communities (at least) are in our corner. I imagine that number will increase rapidly once the world sees that a legal cannabis market is possible, and that the results will actually be a net positive.

Politicians on both sides of the aisle are already discussing the issue:

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Politicians listen to money, public safety, and opportunities for the communities they serve. Learning to tailor our message to influence politics is key. The cost of prohibition is an absolute failure. It is not hard to see how locking up 5x the people as the rest of the world is expensive and wasteful. As people see that public safety levels are either unaffected, or (gasp) more favorable after legalization takes hold in areas, the myths will be debunked and the real safety cost of prohibition black markets  will be exposed. Sorry…any time you take billions of dollars in illegal drug sales off of the streets and put them into regulated tax paying business structures your community will be safer. The more we can prove positive attributes and opportunities to communities with little risk to public safety, the easier it will be to get politicians to allow for, and even promote, cannabis in their communities.

Direct action campaigns at politicians events who are running for office is an easy way to create awareness and drive the conversation. It only takes one courageous person with a marker and a piece of cardboard to make a powerful impact at a campaign event, or local happening. Be that person….and bring a friend. And the next time bring another friend….Then get those friends together to write some letters. Get those friends to invite even more friends; and then take your group of friends to meet other groups of similar cause for larger action….and the walls will crumble action by action, and voice by voice.

This is going to happen. We must ride the wave and drive the conversation. It is the end of prohibition if we want it to be. Will you pull the trigger with me?

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What are we doing as a society?

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It is hard to explain to some people why I do what I do. They do not get dedicating time, energy, and resources to ending cannabis prohibition. Some do not see how advocating for weed is a worthy use of my time. To people who do not get the true motivations of prohibition, I am sure my quest can seem petty when compared to bigger issues we face.

But cannabis prohibition is at the core of what is wrong with our society. It touches the lives of everyone, whether they know it or not. It has turned people against one another; and created a war that makes enemies out of our friends and neighbors. We have committed unthinkable crimes against our citizenry in this moral crusade to rid the world of “drugs.” Not all drugs though….Just the ones we hate. You can still kill yourself with booze, pills, and tobacco. Just not these other substances.

Are we really still doing this? Are we really still driving SWAT teams of armed gunmen to homes to kick the doors in and violently subdue our neighbors because they grow weed plants? Are we really still letting government officials abduct people’s kids from their parents because of cannabis? Are we still searching people’s cars and properties without warrants because some cop thinks he smells weed? Are we really letting good people lose their jobs and standing in the community because they choose, or need, cannabis? THIS IS NUTS.

I cannot sleep on most nights because I am troubled by this ongoing battle for justice and morality. I cannot wrap my head around why our society allows this to continue one more day.

We have locked up 25% of the world’s prison population while only having 5% of the actual population because we have made criminals out of damn near everyone. Law enforcement targets poor and minority communities with a vengeance and these trumped up crimes and draconian sentences destroys families, while we just sit back and watch. It is astonishing.

We are better than this. This is not behavior we can let happen any longer. We MUST rise up and demand an immediate end to cannabis prohibition; and a release of all prisoners being held for petty drug crimes. It is no longer okay to say “wait” or “not now.” There is no tomorrow promised for many people who sit behind bars or who are without their children today because of the evils of prohibition.

We will not be silenced. We will be heard. This will end.

The writing is on the wall. Cannabis prohibition IS ending. For those states and communities that did not get the memo, and who want to keep imprisoning good people for weed, we are coming for you. We demand an end to these failed policies and overzealous enforcement. We demand our fucking weed and we demand it now. Knock off the bullshit.

When did this “land of the free” become so apathetic to the loss of freedom and privacy? When did we decide it was okay for some government bureaucrat to decide what people can and cannot put in their own bodies? Who gave these assholes the right to search my pockets because I smell funny? When did it become okay for us to militarize our local police force so they can drive a tank up to our neighbors house in the dark of night and ram the doors down with assault rifles to stop them from gardening? How many people have to lose their jobs, kids, and property before we realize we are being screwed and oppressed?

This shit is unacceptable to any human, regardless of politics and religion. Cannabis prohibition cuts across all demographics and destroys our society little by little every day. There are more black men in prison right now than there were black men in slavery. Let that sink in for a minute.

At some point it is time to stop talking about it and to begin the hard work of ending this. The walls are crumbling, but there is still a hell of a lot of work to do. It is all of our jobs to do it. No one is going to do it for us. We must demand change and an end to the drug war.

What are we doing as a society? We are failing…..that is what.

This is not a small or petty matter. It is a defining moment in human history, and a shift in how we live our lives. Beyond just freedom and basic human rights is the fact that many folks are benefitting from cannabis as a medicine. Are we really making our neighbors into criminals for their desire to feel better? I cannot live with that. I will not live with that. I demand this end now.

Until it ends, I will wake up every day and fight. I hope you will join me. This is our society and we will no longer allow for this madness. END CANNABIS PROHIBITION AND MASS INCARCERATION OF OUR NEIGHBORS NOW…..

The Airing of the Grievances

A Fesitvus for the rest of us….one of my favorite traditions. Please review and take in my airing of the grievances for 2013. Feel free to add your own in the comment section….

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THE AIRING OF THE GRIEVANCES:

1. Weed is still not totally legal. (Though two states, a country, several cities and a federal stand down was a hell of a year)

2. People are still going to jail for weed at alarming rates in many areas. This must stop. However we get there, I just want to get there.

3. People are still losing their kids for weed. This is pure madness by any civilized standard. We must put an end to cannabis abductions.

4. Parents are still having to worry about treating their sick children with safe and effective cannabis medicines. What kind of evil people would put parents of sick children through this?

5. Folks are still losing their job for weed. If it were not for weed most companies would not even piss test people. We should end prohibition and at the same time end having to give body fluid to people for employment.

6. People are still looking down their noses at cannabis users. We must continue to shift the paradigm through admitting we are good people that like weed. For too long it has just been the fringe willing to step up. You garage weed smokers need to be accounted for. We all know you get high, dummy.

7. Why the fuck are people still hungry?

8. Too many losers running around claiming to be experts in this fucking industry who do not know shit except how to steal other people’s work and talk suckers out of their money.

9. Meth torches…..

10. Weed is still not totally legal…..

A New Hope: Cannabis Policy Reform Act of 2014

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So here we are again. Trying to make weed legal in California. Who ever knew that it would be so difficult?

Well…I did. California is not your average state. This is a huge state with over 38 million people. Within the state there are several regional aspects that make the state almost like 10 states in one. There is the liberal Bay Area, the Sierra foothills, the agricultural Valley, the central coast, the emerald triangle, the republican stronghold of San Diego, and then of course the monster that is Los Angeles in all of its glory with Hollywood, Venice and Compton wrapped up into one.

To give you a little perspective…Colorado and Washington both have about 6-7 million people. That is the population of the WEST SIDE of LA. Not all of LA by any means…but just the West Side. So if we wanted to run an initiative on the West Side of LA, I think we could pull it off; but the entire state is a much bigger and more complex task. Which is why there are so many ideas of how to get this thing done.

Let me recap briefly the situation to give a little background. In October I wrote a piece called Welcome to the Hotel California where I spelled out some issues with two initiative efforts being put forth in Cali.

The first is Jack Herer’s CCHI campaign. This is an initiative I like for the most part, but that just does not realize the most important aspect of any effort when dealing with initiatives….electability. The group decided to keep the language that Jack left them, and make no adaptations based on the political realities from recent elections or shifts in our society and culture over the past few years. Their argument is that Jack was infallible and that like Moses, left the perfect documents behind even though he will not make it to the promised land. The problem is that the campaign is being ran unprofessionally, and is mired in chaos. I saw one of the campaign directors, Mikey Jolson, at the Emerald Cup this weekend and let’s just say that he seemed less than confident in his chances at this point. But when you disregard all advice  and throw caution to the wind, can one really be surprised when folks decide to not back their effort?

The second initiative is the MCLR, which is being put on by Dave Hodges, John Lee, Bob Bowerman, and the ever creepy Dege Coutee. That last name on there is enough to disqualify the effort for me, as I think that broad is a parasite. But beyond that, the effort is less than stellar and the language filed is super muddy. They are very proud of their “crowd sourcing” of the document, but this is where I saw the language have the most issues. Why? Because you cannot give everyone everything they want in this industry. What you end up with is 30 pages of garbage language that attempts to hang on to everyone’s pet project from yesterday. The initiative is cumbersome, and will not get the support of any real money players who can get it on the ballot.

Enter the THIRD initiative. PAY ATTENTION HERE. The Control, Regulate, and Tax Marijuana Act was written and filed by an attorney at Drug Policy Alliance in conjunction with Peter Lewis’ liaison Graham Boyd. This is an EXTREMELY restrictive model that is unacceptable to anyone who has worked in the cannabis industry for more than 10 minutes. The big issues are it allows for only 4 plants, sets super high tax rates, bans certain extraction methods, and gives a lot of power to law enforcement. It is basically prohibition light and a huge step backwards for California. I am not sure how anyone would think giving Cali residents less plants than Colorado residents would EVER fly. These folks have obviously never been up the hill. But here is the kicker….THEY HAVE THE MONEY, DUMBASS. I wrote Graham Boyd, who helps oversee Peter Lewis’ estate and asked him if they were putting money behind this effort. Here was his response:

Hi Mickey,

Thank you for your kind words about Peter.  It’s very hard to lose such a good friend and mentor

You’re right about the initiative.  We haven’t made any decisions about going forward with a campaign.  We’ll get the ballot title and summary, test viability, get input from stakeholders and a few other things before making a decision in February.  I would welcome your input.

Best,

Graham

So do you get it now? The two initiatives that are filed ARE NOT GOING TO GET THE SUPPORT OF DPA OR PETER LEWIS’ MONEY. They WILL NOT make the ballot without it. They are such poor efforts that DPA filed this piece of shit as an alternative, and what I hear Peter Lewis was directly involved in the development process before his unfortunate passing. It is a very real possibility that unless there is a better option on the table that the big money will push their shitty language onto the ballot. They see the writing on the wall and know that 2016 is a big risk with the pace things are evolving on the ground. Here is what Graham Boyd said about it in a recent news article:

“The main thing is growing public support. I think you can look at the list of 2016 states and argue that any of them could go in 2014,” Boyd said. “If the public is ready in 2014 and something happens before 2016 and that lift tails off, we may find ourselves saying we missed the wave.”

So make no mistake….they are looking very seriously at this effort and may push it forward regardless of cannabis community support.

Enter the Cannabis Policy Reform Act of 2014. This is language developed by proponent Ed Rosenthal, in conjunction with many influential California reform leaders. The core of it is based on the RCPA2012 effort, which is awesome. It adds a more comprehensive regulatory model, which is well-thought and extremely reasonable. It allows for 2600 indoor watts per individual to grow at home…and up to three individuals per household. That is an 8 lighter if you got two roommates. Or 100 sq. ft. per individual, or 300 sq. ft. outdoors if there are three adults. That is awesome for personal use levels. If folks want to cultivate more they can on agriculture zoned or commercial properties. It sets more than reasonable tax rates and includes all aspects of the industry to chip in. It also differentiates between medical non-taxed cannabis, and high-cbd medicines which will also not be taxed in the recreational market. The Act removes criminal penalties and deals with the industry in a civil infraction manner. The language is damn good. Even I was impressed with how well-thought it was. I probably would not have written it much different if I had done it myself.

So this effort is a hopeful alternative that DPA and Peter Lewis’ estate can put their funding behind that is conservative enough to actually pass, while still supporting the movement/industry’s norms and needs. The goal is to convince the big money players that this is the direction we want to go. Their development and filing of their own language shows that they will not be supporting the two that were previously filed; but there is still hope that they may decide to move on this language. Ed is a respected advocate for cannabis freedom and can generate support from the cannabis community. I will be putting any support I have behind this language. I would encourage the rest of the community to do the same.

The language is below for you to read for yourself. Digest it and take it in. I understand there are folks who have already dedicated time and energy into the two efforts being put forth. It is disappointing to realize that we may have been spinning our wheels. But I can assure you that this is our best option going forward.

I would encourage everyone to reach out the Ethan Nadelmann and Graham Boyd and encourage them to support the Cannabis Policy Reform Act of 2014. If they want to put millions into putting something on the ballot, this is by far the best language and the most capable option that is out right now.

Only time will tell, but you can either start kicking and screaming now, or do not be surprised if you wake up January 2015 limited to 4 lousy plants and a bunch of unnecessary red tape. The choice is ours. Squeaky wheels get oil up in this bitch….

CANNABIS POLICY REFORM ACT OF 2014

This initiative measure is submitted to the People of the State of California in accordance with provisions of Article II, Section 8 of the California Constitution.

An initiative measure to add Chapter 6.7, entitled “Cannabis Policy Reform”, to Division 10 of the Health and Safety Code and adds Section 420 to, and to add Chapter 14.5 (commencing with Section 25400) to Division 9 of the Business and Professions Code, to amend Section 68152 of the Government Code, to amend Sections 11014.5, 11054, 11364.5, 11370, 11470, 11479, 11488, 11532, 11703, and 11705 of, to add Division 10.3 (commencing with Section 11720) to, and to repeal Sections 11357, 11358, 11359, 11360, 11361, and 11485 of, the Health and Safety Code, to add Part 14.6 (commencing with Section 34001) to Division 2 of the Revenue and Taxation Code, to repeal Section 23222(b) and amend 40000.15 of the Vehicle Code, and to amend Section 18901.3 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, relating to cannabis.

SECTION 1: Title

This Act shall be known and may be cited as the Cannabis Policy Reform Act of 2014.

 

SECTION 2: Findings and Declarations

The People of the State of California hereby find and declare all of the following:

(A) Existing marijuana laws have created a violent, criminal drug market.

(B) Millions of criminal justice and court resources are spent each year enforcing marijuana laws that could otherwise be spent on preventing violent crime.

(C) Existing marijuana laws have a disproportionate impact on African-American and Latino communities.

(D) Marijuana has been used medicinally to relieve pain and treat medical conditions by thousands of people in California for more than fifteen years.

(E) Regulating, controlling, and taxing marijuana like alcohol will save criminal justice resources, reduce violent crime, reduce racial disparities, and generate revenue for California.

(F) Industrial hemp isproduced in at least 30 nations to produce thousands of products including paper, textiles, food oils, automotive parts, and personal care products.

(G) Hundreds of millions of dollars of industrial hemp products are sold in the United States.

(H) California manufacturers of hemp products import tens of thousands of acres worth of hemp products from other parts of the world that could have been produced by California farmers.

 

SECTION 3: Purposes and Intents

The People of the State of California hereby declare that the intents and purposes of this Act are:

(A) To remove all existing civil and criminal penalties for adults 21 years of age or older who cultivate, possess, transport, sell, or use cannabis subject to the provisions of this act, without impacting existing laws proscribing dangerous activities while under the influence of cannabis, or certain conduct that exposes children to cannabis.

(B) To ensure that the proper regulatory apparatus for cannabis sale and cultivation is implemented.

(C) To prevent the distribution of marijuana to minors.

(D) To prevent revenues from the sale of marijuana from going to criminal enterprises, gangs, and cartels.

(E) To prevent the diversion of marijuana to states where it is not legal.

(F) To prevent state-authorized marijuana activity from being used as a cover or pretext for the trafficking of illegal drugs or other illegal activity.

(G) To prevent violence and the use of firearms in the cultivation and distribution of marijuana.

(H) To prevent drugged driving and the exacerbation of other adverse public health consequences associated with marijuana use.

(I) To prevent the growing of marijuana on public lands and the attendant public safety and environmental dangers posed by marijuana production on public lands.

(J) To clarify and standardize regulations statewide regarding personal use and production, as well as the commercial manufacture and sale of cannabis and its derivatives.

(K) To raise tax revenues for California for education.

(L) Nothing in this act is intended to require any individual or entity to engage in any conduct that violates federal law or to exempt anyone from any requirement of federal law.

(M) To make cannabis available for scientific, medical, industrial, and research purposes.

 

SECTION 4: Definitions

Section 11018 of the Health and Safety Code is amended to read:

11018. “Marijuana” or “cannabis” mean all parts of the plant Cannabis sativa L., whether growing or not; the seeds thereof; the resin extracted from any part of the plant; and every compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation of the plant, its seeds or resin.  It does not include the mature stalks of the plant, fiber produced from the stalks, oil or cake made from the seeds of the plant, any other compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation of the mature stalks (except the resin extracted therefrom), fiber, oil, or cake, or the sterilized seed of the plant which is incapable of germination.  It does not include industrial hemp as defined in Section 11018.5, except where the plant is cultivated or processed for purposes not expressly allowed by Division 24 (commencing with Section 8100) of the Food and Agriculture Code.

 

Section 11018.5 is added to the Health and Safety Code, to read:

11018.5. “Industrial hemp” means a fiber or oilseed crop, or both, that is limited to non-psychoactive types of the plant Cannabis sativa L., and the seed produced therefrom, having no more than five-tenths of one percent tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) contained in the dried flowering tops, and that is cultivated and processed exclusively for the purpose of producing the mature stalks of the plant, fiber produced the stalks, oil or cake made from the seeds of the plant, or any other compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation of the mature stalks, the flowering tops, fiber, oil, or cake, or the sterilized seed of the plant which is incapable of germination.

 

SECTION 5: Repeal of Marijuana Prohibition

The following sections are herby repealed from the Health and Safety Code: Section 11054(d)(13), Section 11054(d)(20), Section 11357, Section 11358, Section 11359, Section 11360, Section 11361, and Section 11485. Section 23222(b) of the California Vehicle Code is hereby repealed. Cannabis related activities are hereby removed from the prohibitions contained within Health and Safety Code Sections 11014.5, 11364.5, 11364.7, 11365, 11366, 11366.5, 11379.6, 11470, 11488, 11488.5, 11570, 11703, 11705.

(b) Health and Safety Code Section 11361.5 is amended to include prior violations of Health and Safety Code Section 11357, 11358, 11359, 11360, 11361, as well as cannabis related violations of Health and Safety Code Section 11365, 11366, 11366.5, 11379.6, and Vehicle Code Section 23222(b).

(c) Section 11421 is added to the Health and Safety Code to read:

11421. Except as provided herein, it is lawful, and not a crime, public offense, or cause for incarceration, for an adult to use, possess, share, cultivate, process, transport, distribute and sell to other adults, or otherwise engage in cannabis related activities. It is lawful and not a violation of California law to sell cannabis to a person 21 years of age or older. It is lawful and not a violation of California law for a person 21 years of age or older to smoke or consume cannabis in one’s home, in any privately owned property, or in public in a manner that does not endanger others. It is lawful for adults 21 years of age or older to cultivate cannabis. Cannabis may be cultivated on privately owned property with the consent of owner, resident, or tenant of such property.

 

SECTION 6: Cannabis Regulation

Sections 11422, 11423, 11424, 11425, 11426, 11427, and 11428 are added to the Health and Safety Code, to read:

11422(a). The California Department of Alcohol Beverage Control (ABC) shall promulgate rules and regulations concerning the industrial, research, scientific, medical, and commercial cannabis regulatory regime.  The ABC shall have exclusive power, except as herein provided, to control, license, permit, or otherwise authorize the commercial and industrial cultivation, manufacturing, processing, testing, transportation, distribution and sale of cannabis and to collect license fees or taxes on account thereof.

(b) The ABC shall fully implement the regulatory regime created herein within 12 months from the passage of this Act. The commercial cultivation, processing, transportation, distribution, and sale of cannabis shall not be lawful until 12 months from the passage of the Act.[ER1]  All regulations promulgated and enforced by the ABC shall be unified, to the extent possible, with the California Alcoholic Beverages Control Act.  This includes, but is not limited to, age verification measures to ensure only adults aged 21 and over can purchase marijuana, an allowance of safe onsite consumption of cannabis at cannabis related businesses, environmental protections, and penalties for diversion to minors.

(c) The ABC shall have exclusive power to suspend or revoke any specific cannabis license if it shall determine for good cause that the granting or continuance of such license following analogous procedures as those used for alcohol and set forth herein. These regulations shall include appropriate controls on the licensed premises for commercial production, cultivation, processing, transportation and sale of cannabis.  This includes, but is not limited to, age verification measures to prevent the diversion of cannabis to minors, prohibitions on the use of firearms at cultivation, processing, or distribution facilities, and regulations concerning zoning, land use, locations, size, hours of operation, occupancy, protection of adjoining and nearby properties, and other environmental and public health controls. These regulations may not include bans, actual or de facto, of the conduct permitted by this Act.

(d) Any regulations created and enforced by the ABC shall not infringe on the individual rights set forth in this Act.  Any taxes, regulations, fines and fees imposed pursuant to this section shall not be imposed on adults, aged 21 and older, with personal amounts of cannabis.

 

“Personal amounts of cannabis” includes all cannabis produced from a personal garden, or three pounds of dried processed marijuana, whichever is greater.

 

(1)   An indoor personal garden using electric lights will be measured by the total wattage used by the lights in all phases of growth. The total watts used by the lights can be no more than 2600 per individual.

(2)   An outdoor personal gardens or greenhouses are permitted. Their total size can be no more than 100 square feet per individual.

(3)   Up to three individuals can maintain a personal garden located on a residential property. More than three individuals can maintain a personal garden collectively or cooperatively in an area zoned industrial or agricultural. A residence on this property does not preclude cultivation of such a garden.

(4)   The presence of persons younger than 18 years of age in a household does not make the cultivation unlawful nor shall it be used in any manner to diminish parental rights or justify the removal of a child from the home unless the child’s physical health and wellbeing is in actual imminent danger.

(5)   These size limitations do not apply to medical gardens.

 

(e) The California Department of Food and Agriculture shall be designated by the ABC Commissioner to oversee the commercial and industrial cultivation of cannabis.  These agencies shall work together to control commercial and industrial cannabis cultivation. The regulations promulgated pursuant to this subsection shall be consistent with the provisions of the Food and Agriculture Code related to the production of consumable plant crops and vineyards. This shall include provisions for the permitting, tracking and inspection of all cannabis that is cultivated for commercial or industrial purposes.

(f) The California Department of Public Health shall be designated by the ABC Commissioner to oversee the cultivation and distribution of medical cannabis pursuant to Section 11425. These agencies shall work together to regulate the cultivation and distribution of medical cannabis and the issuance and enforcement of the Class M license pursuant to Business and Professions Code Section 420.1(m).

(g) The ABC shall consult with the California Environmental Protection Agency to create any rules necessary to protect the environment, including regulations limiting the use of pesticides, controlling water diversion, and preventing other forms of pollution generated by the commercial and industrial cultivation of cannabis.

11423(a). The ABC shall work with the California Board of Equalization and any other executive and legislative entities to develop a fee and taxation structure that can be implemented for cannabis in a manner similar to that of alcohol subject to the provisions of this Act.

11424(a). Local jurisdictions shall have the right to restrict personal gardens that are in visible from the street or other publicly accessible property. Counties and cities retain the ability to regulate land use, zoning, and nuisances of cannabis related activities in a manner consistent with this Act and subordinate to all State implementations of this Act. Local jurisdictions may not pass ordinances that restrict commercial cultivation in agricultural districts; neither may they ban access in their districts to medical cannabis by qualified medical cannabis patients.

All proposed regulations by local government agencies specific to marijuana businesses or proposed businesses otherwise within proper zoning and otherwise compliant with state and local law are subject to a referendum to be held at regular elections on any proposal to restrict cultivation, processing, or its sale for on-site or off-site use. The proposals are not enforceable until they have been approved by vote.

(b) This Act authorizes the State of California to prevent the diversion of marijuana to states where it is illegal and generally control the importation and exportation of cannabis through the provisions of 21 U.S.C. Section 873.

11425. This Act shall not adversely affect the individual and group rights and protections afforded by California Health and Safety Code Sections 11362.5 through 11362.83.  Schools, employers, and/or landlords may not discriminate against, nor penalize a person, solely for their status as a qualified patient or primary caregiver unless failing to do so would put the school, employer, or landlord in violation of federal law or cause it to lose a federal contract or funding.  A person may not be denied medical care, including organ transplants, on the basis of their status as a qualified patient.  A patient’s use of marijuana shall not constitute the use of an illicit substance.

11426(a). Except as authorized by law, every person under the age of 21 who possesses, cultivates, or transports, cannabis in a manner as defined by section 11422(d), is guilty of an infraction. (b) Except as authorized by law, every person 21 years of age or older who furnishes cannabis to a person under the age of 18 shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.  Except as authorized by law, every person 21 years of age or older who furnishes cannabis to a person under the age of 21, but 18 years of age or older, shall be guilty of an infraction. Cannabis related conduct that contributes to the delinquency of a minor may also be punished by Penal Code section 272.

(c) It is an infraction to consume cannabis while operating a vehicle, boat, aircraft, upon a school or public bus, on school grounds other than at a college or university, in a children’s playground, on a public street or sidewalk, in any manner that endangers others.

(d) Driving while impaired by cannabis shall be punished by Vehicle Code Sections 23103, 23152(a), and 23153.  Impairment occurs when a person’s mental or physical abilities are so impaired that he or she is no longer able to drive a vehicle with the caution of a sober person, using ordinary care, under similar circumstances. This is the sole standard to be used in determining driving under the influence allegations.

11427(a). Except as provided in Section 11427(c) the unlawful cultivation of cannabis shall be punished as a misdemeanor or an infraction.  Unlawful cultivation occurs when cannabis is grown on public or private lands without consent of the owner or government agency supervising that property or the unlicensed cultivation outside of the regulations promulgated pursuant to Sections 11422(a), 11422(b), 11422(c), 11422(e), 11422(f), 11422(g) and 11424(b). Nothing in this Act shall prevent prosecution under other statutes related to environmental protection.

(b) Except as provided in Section 11427(c), the unlawful sale of cannabis shall be punished as a misdemeanor or an infraction. The unlawful sale of cannabis occurs when cannabis is sold outside of the regulations promulgated pursuant to Sections 11423 and 11424(b).

(c) The following activities may be punished as either a misdemeanor or a felony:

(1) The sale of marijuana to children under the age of 16.

(2) The diversion of marijuana to states where it is not legal.

(3) Cannabis related activity that is being used as a cover or pretext for the trafficking of illegal drugs or other illegal activity.

(4) The use of violence, coercion, or duress in the unlawful cultivation or unlawful distribution of marijuana.

(5) Gross pollution or environmental destruction caused by the unlawful cultivation of marijuana.

(6) Cultivation on public land or on private property where prohibited by the owner.

11428(a). No public agency shall alter, amend, assess, condition, deny, limit, postpone, qualify, revoke, surcharge, or suspend any certificate, franchise, incident, interest, license, opportunity, permit, privilege, right or title of any person because of cannabis use or other conduct permitted by this Act.

SECTION 7

Sections 420, 420.1, 420.2, 420.3, 420.4, 420.5, 420.6, 420.7, 420.8, 420.9, 430, 430.1, and 430.2 are added to the Business and Professions Code, to read:

The regulation of commercial cannabis cultivation, processing, transportation, distribution, and sales shall fall under the purview of the ABC. The ABC shall issue licenses authorizing the cultivation, processing, transportation, distribution, and wholesale and retail sales of cannabis, cannabis seeds, and cannabis plants.

420.1. The classification of the licenses administered by the ABC is initially set as delineated herein.  The ABC, or the Legislature, may later modify these licenses in order to better effectuate the purposes of this Act. The ABC shall issue licenses to all qualifying applicants. Unless otherwise provided herein, a holder of any valid license may hold any of the other various licenses permitted herein, except they may hold a license for only one class in Class A, Class B, Class C, or Class D.

Commercial cultivators and processors involved in germination, cultivation, processing, packaging, conversion, extraction, and wholesale sales of cannabis to licensed manufacturing, processing, or cultivation facilities that produce only CBD-containing cannabis need not apply for a special license. Vendors of products containing only CBD also need not apply for a special license. Both these groups must register with the ABC and maintain regular business licenses. These businesses are subject to inspection for compliance by the ABC.

(a) A “Class A” license shall apply to outdoor commercial cannabis cultivators who cultivate 43,560 square feet (one acre) or more of plant canopy. This license shall authorize the germination, cultivation, processing, packaging, and wholesale sale of cannabis to a licensed manufacturing, processing, cultivation, or retail facility. A holder of this license may sell cannabis to any licensee holding a valid license authorized pursuant to this section and licensee may hold various classes of licenses.  All holders of this license must declare how the cannabis will be processed consistent with similar regulations enforced by the California Department of Food and Agriculture.

Holders of this license must comply with all environmental rules and regulations pertaining to the cultivation of an agricultural crop produced for human consumption. Any processing occurring at the cultivation site may be subject to additional zoning requirements, and inspection by the local health department. The holder of a Class A license may not be issued more than one Class A license. This license shall be subject to the provisions of Section 11422(e) of the Health and Safety Code.

(b) A “Class B” license shall authorize the same privileges and restrictions as a Class A license, but shall apply to cultivators who are cultivating up to 21,780 square feet of plant canopy. The holder of a Class C License may not be issued more than three Class C licenses. This license shall be subject to the provisions of Section 11422(e) of the Health and Safety Code.

(c) A “Class C” license authorizes the same privileges and restrictions as a Class A license, but shall apply to cultivators who are cultivating up to 10,000 square feet of plant canopy. The holder of a Class C License may not be issued more than three Class C licenses. This license shall be subject to the provisions of Section 11422(e) of the Health and Safety Code.

(d) A “Class D” license authorizes the same privileges and restrictions as a Class A license.  This class of license shall apply to cultivators who use in excess of 2600 watts of light in their indoor garden or who process amounts of cannabis commensurate with that amount of plant canopy, or who cultivate in excess of 100 square feet of plant canopy outdoors or who process amounts of cannabis commensurate with that amount of plant canopy.  This license shall be subject to the provisions of Section 11422(e) of the Health and Safety Code.

Holders of this license shall be subject to additional regulations relevant to the indoor cultivation of cannabis.  A holder of this license must maintain the requisite electrical and plumbing permits as required by the city and/or county in which the indoor cultivation facility is located. This license may also be subject to controls related to electrical consumption and the disposal of waste associated with the cultivation facility. Outdoor cultivation is subject to relevant zoning laws.

(e) A “Class E” license authorizes the manufacturing and packaging of processed cannabis.  The ABC shall develop the rules, regulations, and procedures necessary for the inspection, tracking, and labeling of all licensed cannabis manufacturing facilities and the cannabis contained therein. This license may be issued for continuous use or for specific seasonal operations.  The California Department of Public Health or local health agency may be designated to enforce the provisions of this class of license.  The ABC shall create separate subclasses of the Class E license for the manufacturing of edibles and the manufacturing of extracts and concentrates.  The holders of this license may distribute cannabis to a licensed retail or wholesale entity.  All cannabis subject to the Class E license must be clearly labeled to show the following: compliance with the California Health and Safety Code for food packaged and labeled for human consumption, the THC and CBD (cannabidiol) content of the cannabis, and a warning that reads: “For Adult Consumption Only, Not For Children”.

(f) A “Class F” license authorizes the sale of cannabis for consumption on the premises where sold. The cultivation, production, processing, distributing, and manufacturing of cannabis is not subject to this class of license. This license shall be used for any establishment exclusively dedicated to adult cannabis use and sales as well as to any bona fide eating or drinking establishment seeking to permit cannabis consumption on premises. This license authorizes the on-premises retail sale of cannabis and on-premises consumption of cannabis indoors and/or outdoors. A city or county may mandate that air- cleaning equipment be used for premises seeking to permit indoor cannabis smoking in their jurisdiction.  The number of Class F licenses issued may be capped by the ABC pursuant to population density in a manner identical to similar caps as related to alcohol. The ABC shall promulgate regulations necessary for the tracking and inspection of all retail sales of cannabis.

(g) A “Class G” license authorizes the sale of cannabis only for off-premises consumption where sold. This shall include seeds, clones, and larger plants. The cultivation, production, processing, distributing, and manufacturing of cannabis is not subject to this class of license. This license shall be used for any establishment exclusively dedicated to adult cannabis use and sales as well as to any establishment not primarily dedicated to the sale of cannabis, such as convenience stores.

(h) A “Class H” license is a private club license that authorizes the same privileges and restrictions as Class C, Class D, Class E, and Class F licenses and applies to members and guests only, for production and consumption of cannabis only on the premises where sold.  The ABC may issue further regulations related to this class of license including a cap on the number of members that a private Class I club may have. It is subject to the same taxation regulations as other licenses.

(i) A “Class I” license is a license authorizing the scientific and medical research of cannabis. The cultivation, production, processing, conversion, extraction, testing and other related activities are subject to this research license. This license does not confer the right to transfer or sell consumable products containing THC except for use in specific research projects.

(j) A “Class J” license is a special event license is issued to event producers who do not qualify for a Class G license. It authorizes the sale of cannabis during an event to guests and attendees for on or off premises consumption. This license shall be used for farmers markets, festivals, parties, and other similar events.  This license only becomes valid when the license holder has obtained event insurance. Holders of Class J licenses will be subject to the same taxes as other retailers.

(k) A “Class K” license is a license authorizing the brokering of cannabis and cannabis-containing derivatives between the various classes of license holders.

(l) A “Class L” license is a license authorizing the testing and labeling of cannabis produced and distributed by other classes of license holders.

(m) A “Class M” license is a license authorizing medical cannabis dispensaries pursuant to California Health and Safety Code Section 11362.5 through 11362.83. This license shall also be used for the commercial cultivation, processing, distribution, and sales of medical cannabis. This license shall be subject to the provisions of Section 11422(f) of the Health and Safety Code.

420.2 The ABC shall levy fees on the issuance of licenses pursuant to this Act in a manner designed reasonably to cover to costs of assuring compliance with the regulations to be issued.

420.3 The ABC shall issue and enforce regulations concerning commercial cultivation, manufacturing, distributing, transporting, testing, and selling of cannabis that provide for all of the following:

(a) Adequate security measures to protect against the unauthorized access or diversion of cannabis from the cultivator, processor, distributor, transporter, tester, manufacturer or seller in a manner not permitted by the Act. These regulations may include recordkeeping provisions to ensure transparency of finances and non-diversion into a criminal market.

(b) The holder of a Class A, Class B, Class C, Class D, Class E, Class H, Class I, Class K and Class M Licenses must submit to an inspection and tracking system to ensure non-diversion and that all cannabis produced by the licensee that is sold is assessed pursuant to Part 14.6 (commencing with Section 34001) of Division 2 of the Revenue and Taxation Code. The license holder must also provide a detailed crop security plan, along with satisfactory proof of the ability of the licensee to provide for that security.

(c) Holders of all Classes of licenses shall be subject to an inspection and tracking systems to ensure that cannabis is not sold by a licensee if that cannabis has not been manufactured subject to an assessment provided for in Part 14.6 (commencing with Section 34001) of Division 2 of the revenue and Taxation Code.

(d) The holder of any commercial license may be subject to regulations adopted by the ABC pursuant to this chapter.

(e) Punishments for violations in actions against licensees shall be in substantial accord with those applicable to the regulation of alcohol sales, including penalties for permitting persons under 21 years of age to purchase THC containing cannabis products and other appropriate regulatory provisions concerning such matters as the time of sale, deliveries, and signage. It is the intent of the people in enacting this act that the regulation of cannabis sales be consistent with the statutory guidance regarding alcohol sales in Chapter 16 (commencing with Section 25600) to the extent that consistency is feasible.

420.4. Beginning 60 days after the operative date of the regulations issued pursuant to this chapter, the ABC shall begin to enforce the provisions of this chapter.[ER2]

420.5(a). The ABC will appoint a Cannabis Appeals Board. The Cannabis Appeals Board, (the “Board”), shall exercise the powers as are vested in it by this chapter and may adopt such rules pertaining to appeals and other matters within its jurisdiction as may be required.

The Board and its duly authorized representatives in the performance of its duties under this chapter shall have the powers of a head of a department as set forth in Article 2 (commencing with Section 11180) of Chapter 2 of Part 1 of Division 3 of Title 2 of the Government Code. 26081. Any person aggrieved by a final decision of the ABC issuing, denying, suspending, revoking, or ordering any penalty assessment against a registration for the cultivation, manufacture, testing, transportation, storage, distribution, sale, purchase, or possession of cannabis may appeal to the board, which shall review the decision subject to the limitations that may be imposed by the Legislature.

(b) No decision of the ABC shall become effective during the period in which an appeal may be filed, and the filing of an appeal shall stay the effect of the decision until such time as a final order is made by the board.

(1) The review by the Board of a decision of the ABC shall be limited to whether:

(A) The ABC has proceeded without, or in excess of, its jurisdiction.

(B) The ABC has proceeded in the manner required by law.

(C) The decision is supported by the findings.

(D) The findings are supported by substantial evidence in the light of the whole record.

420.6. Each order of the Board on appeal from a decision of the ABC shall be in writing and shall be filed by delivering copies to the parties personally or in the manner prescribed by Section 1013 of the Code of Civil Procedure. Each order shall become final upon being filed as provided in this section, and there shall be no reconsideration or rehearing by the Board.

420.7(a). Any person affected by a final order of the Board, including the ABC, may apply only to the Supreme Court or to the Court of Appeal of the appellate district in which the proceeding arose, for a writ of review of the final order. The application for writ of review shall be made within 30 days after filing of the final order of the Board.

(b) No court of this state, except the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal to the extent specified in this article, shall have jurisdiction to review, affirm, reverse, correct, or annul any order, rule, or decision of the Department, or to suspend, stay, or delay the operation or execution of it or to restrain, enjoin, or interfere with the Department in the performance of its duties, but a writ of mandate shall lie from the Supreme Court or the Court of Appeal in any proper case.

(c) No decision of the ABC that has been appealed to the Board and no final order of the Board shall become effective during the period in which application may be made for a writ of review, as provided in this section.

(d) The filing of a petition for, or the pendency of, a writ of review shall not of itself stay or suspend the operation of any order, rule, or decision of the Department, but the court before which the petition is filed may stay or suspend, in whole or in part, the operation of the order, rule, or decision of the ABC subject to review, upon the terms and conditions that it by order directs.

420.8.  The writ of review shall be made returnable at a time and place specified by court order and shall direct the board to certify the whole record of the ABC in the case to the court within the time specified. No new or additional evidence shall be introduced in the court, but the cause shall be heard on the whole record of the Department as certified to by the Board.

420.9(a). The review by the court shall not extend further than to determine, based on the whole record of the ABC as certified by the Board, whether:

(1) The ABC has proceeded without or in excess of its jurisdiction.

(2) The ABC has proceeded in the manner required by law.

(3) The ABC of the Department is supported by the findings.

(4) The findings in the ABC’s decision are supported by substantial evidence in the light of the whole record.

(5) There is relevant evidence which, in the exercise of reasonable diligence, could not have been produced or which was improperly excluded at the hearing before the Department.

(b) Nothing in this article shall permit the court to hold a trial de novo, to take evidence, or to exercise its independent judgment on the evidence.

430. The Board, the ABC, and each party to the action or proceeding before the Board shall have the right to appear in the review proceeding. Following the hearing, the court shall enter judgment either affirming or reversing the decision of the ABC or the court may remand the case for further proceedings before or reconsideration by the ABC.

430.1. The provisions of the Code of Civil Procedure relating to writs of review shall, insofar as applicable, apply to proceedings in the courts as provided by this article. A copy of every pleading filed pursuant to this article shall be served on the Board, the ABC, and on each party who entered an appearance before the Board.

430.2. Whenever any matter is pending before the Board or a court of record involving a dispute between the ABC and a registrant, and the parties to the dispute agree upon a settlement or adjustment of it, the court shall, upon the stipulation by the parties that an agreement has been reached, remand the matter to the Department.

SECTION 8

Section 4. Part 14.6 (commencing with Section 34001) is added to Division 2 of the Revenue and Taxation Code, to read:

PART 14.6. CANNABIS TAXES

CHAPTER 1. GENERAL PROVISIONS AND DEFINITIONS

34001. It is the intent of the people in enacting this part to utilize any revenues generated from the commercial regulation of cannabis for the public benefit by enacting a tax on cannabis.

34002. This part shall be known and may be cited as the “Cannabis Tax Law.”

34003. Except where the context otherwise requires, the definitions set forth in Part 1 (commencing with Section 6001) govern the construction of this part.

34004. The Cannabis Tax may be imposed on all classes of license other than a Class I or Class M license.

 

CHAPTER 2. IMPOSITION OF TAX

34011(a). All businesses that sell cannabis related products shall be subject to a tax based on their gross sales of the THC related products. This tax is not a substitute for any other taxes. It will be collected in addition to any other taxes that apply, except as provided in Section 34011(b). There shall be a minimum of three sectors of cannabis production.

(1)   Cultivation and manicuring

(2)   Wholesale sales

(3)   Retail sales

In addition there may be a fourth sector: Processing into edibles, concentrates or other products for consumption. There may also be other sectors that have not yet developed but that may develop in the future.

The businesses from each sector shall pay the tax at the rate of six percent (6%) of gross receipts from sales of THC containing products whether produce or processed products.

 

Vertically integrated companies shall pay the tax on the “virtual sale” of the product as it transfers from one sector to another. Direct sales by farmers to the public will not be subject to a wholesale tax, but shall be subject only to the retail tax.

 

For the purpose of this section a farmer is defined as a business that derives more than seventy-five percent (75%) of gross cannabis income from cultivating cannabis.

 

 

For the purpose of this section a “virtual sale” is defined as a transfer from one sector to another. In each sector, the “value or cost” of each transfer will be determined as a percentage of the retail price and the customary industry mark-up policy. These taxes cannot be collected before the final product is sold.

 

(b)  Exemption for medicinal preparations.   Products licensed solely for medicinal use pursuant to Section 420.1(m) may be exempted from taxes under Section 34011(a) at the processing, wholesale, and retail levels upon the determination of the Department of Health.   This category shall include (1) products whose cannabinoid content exceeds 66% CBD (cannabidiol); (2) herbal balms, poultices and cosmetics formulated for external use only; and (3) other purely medicinal products designated by the Department of Health.  This exemption shall not apply to any product that is also licensed for non-medicinal use or is mainly used for non-medical purposes.

 

(c) Class L facilities shall be subject to a one percent (1%) tax based on the gross receipts received for their cannabis testing services. This tax is not a substitute for any other taxes.

 

(d) Cities or Counties shall be allowed to impose up to an additional five percent (5%) sales tax on retail sales of non-medicinal THC marijuana products. This tax will be configured with the regular sales tax. Patients requiring cannabis for the treatment of serious debilitating illnesses shall be exempt from all retail taxes on cannabis upon the approval of their primary care physician. The State Department of Health will oversee and issue identification for these patients.

 

(1)   Should a county impose a sales tax, it will share the revenue from the tax with the city in which the sale was made with the county receiving sixty percent (60%) and the city receiving forty percent (40%). Cities and towns within a county that imposes a special-marijuana sales tax would be precluded from adding additional taxes on the sale. This tax will be configured with the regular sales tax at the time of purchase but the full amount of the additional tax will be retained by the county and city.

 

(2)   Should there be no sales tax imposed by a county, cities within the county are permitted to impose a special-marijuana sales tax of five percent (5%). This tax will be configured with the regular sales tax at the time of purchase but the full amount of the additional tax will be retained by the city.

 

(e) Neither the county or city, nor state agencies may impose any cannabis-specific or cannabis business–specific taxes other than those specified in this initiative.

 

CHAPTER 3. COLLECTION AND ADMINISTRATION

34021. To the extent feasible or practicable, the provisions of Chapter 5 (commencing with Section 6451), Chapter 6 (commencing with Section 6701), Chapter 7 (commencing with Section 6901), and Chapter 8 (commencing with Section 7051) of Part 1 shall govern returns and payments, determinations, collections of fees, overpayments and refunds, and administration under this part.

34022. The ABC shall enforce this part and may prescribe, adopt, and enforce rules and regulations relating to the administration and enforcement of this part. The ABC may prescribe the extent to which any ruling and regulation shall be applied without retroactive effect.

 

CHAPTER 4. DISPOSITION OF PROCEEDS AND ADJUSTMENT OF THE TAX

34031(a). 34031. Any amount due to the state under this part shall be paid in the form of a remittance payable to the State Board of Equalization.

The Cannabis Tax Fund is hereby created in the State Treasury. The Fund shall consist of all revenues deposited therein pursuant to this Part.

(b) Moneys in the Fund shall be appropriated as follows:

(1) Forty percent (40%) to the county government in which the funds were collected. If it was collected in a city, the county and the city will divide these funds equally.

(2) Thirty percent (30%) to the state’s General Fund.

(3) Twenty percent (20%) to education, divided as follows:

a)      Five percent (5%) to preschool education for student instruction.

b)      Five percent (5%) to primary school education for student instruction.

c)      Five percent (5%) to secondary school education for student instruction.

d)     Five percent (5%) to community colleges for student instruction.

 

(4) Five percent (5%) to research programs to:

(a) Evaluate the safety and efficacy of marijuana for medical and social purposes

(b) Assess and advance scientific methods for addressing drug abuse, driving and employment safety concerns

(c) Evaluate the impact and implementation of this act.

(5) Five percent (5%) to drug education, and drug abuse prevention and treatment programs.

SECTION 9

Section 18901.3 of the Welfare and Institutions Code is amended to read:

18901.3. (a) Subject to the limitations of subdivision (b), pursuant to Section 115(d)(1)(A) of Public Law 104-193 (21 U.S.C. Sec. 862a(d)(1)(A)), California opts out of the provisions of Section 115(a)(2) of Public Law 104-193 (21 U.S.C. Sec. 862a(a)(2)). A convicted drug felon shall be eligible to receive food stamps under this section.

SECTION 10

No reimbursement is required by this Act pursuant to Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution because the only costs that may be incurred by a local agency or school district will be incurred because this Act creates a new crime or infraction, eliminates a crime or infraction, or changes the penalty for a crime or infraction, within the meaning of Section 17556 of the Government Code, or changes the definition of a crime within the meaning of Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution.

SECTION 11

The provisions of this Act are severable. If any provision of this Act or its application is held invalid, that invalidity shall not affect other provisions or applications that can be given effect without the invalid provision or application.

SECTION 12. The provisions of this Act shall become effective November 5, 2014.

 

Today we are all Uruguayan

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It is summer in Uruguay and weed is legal.

Uruguay is a small country of about 3.3 million people. It is one of the most developing and prosperous countries in South America. It is also the first country on the planet to outright legalize weed for adult use.

This is a bold statement to the world and a historic development in the quest to end cannabis prohibition. Uruguay will regulate the legal cannabis market, allowing any adult to purchase up to 40 grams (1.4 ounces) of cannabis per month from pharmacies, or grow 6 plants for their personal use. The program is aimed at proving a regulated cannabis market is a safer alternative to the failures of the continued drug enforcement resources being wasted fighting to keep cannabis illegal.

This courageous experiment is a game changer. It forces the world to look the evils of cannabis prohibition in the eye, and face the fact that it is an absolute failure. It puts the international community on notice and will force the hand of the United Nation’s, which is already very divided on the US led Drug War according to a rare leaked document published by the Guardian. Uruguay’s decision to move forward in fully legalizing cannabis will make the issue more difficult to ignore and suppress. The world will have to have an honest dialogue about weed and the rights of grow-ass people to use it as they please. I for one cannot wait.

Anyone who has looked at the subject with honest eyes knows that the war on drugs has been one of the biggest debacles of recent history. It has made criminals out of our friends and neighbors and has sparked some of the most violent conflicts in human history to control these illegal markets. It is absolute madness to believe that we should continue these policies; and Uruguay’s decision to legalize cannabis is the first, and likely most difficult, step in many that will hopefully be taken to change how we manage and control the drug trade on planet earth.

Uruguay declaring their independence from the madness is a wake up call for every one. It draws a line in the sand that cannot be ignored or dismissed. It provides a basic human right to people who enjoy cannabis, or who use it as a medicine, and will expose what a fraud the war on cannabis has been for all of these years.

Prohibitionists know this. You will hear them scream and yell. They will do everything in their power to undermine this program and declare it irrelevant; but the evidence will be there for all to see. The sky will not fall in Uruguay. Society will not collapse. There will be no outbreak of deranged crazies. More kids will not be lighting up. None of their drug war myths of what might happen if we legalized will come true, and they will be forced to face their decades of bold-faced lies.

The scariest thing for drug warriors to imagine is going to happen. Uruguay is going to legalize weed and their society and economy will be better off as a result. Their lies and fear mongering bullshit will never happen, and they will be left holding the bag of deception they have created over the years. It is going to be awesome.

Uruguay’s courage and eventual successes will be a historic crack in he walls of prohibition. It will continue to crumble as more countries find their voice and follow their lead. The end is near and they all know it.

I salute Uruguay and stand with them. Today we are all Uruguayan. These policies will not destroy themselves and Uruguay’s efforts will make it an undeniable reality that the global community can no longer ignore.  This shot heard ’round the world rings loudly and will accelerate the ending of prohibition in ways that we cannot even begin to consider in this moment of joy. Thank you, Uruguay for your strength and courage. May all nations rise up to meet you on your journey and join you in ending one of the most disastrous policies our world has ever known.

#legalbysummer

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Family Values: How the war on weed has become a militarized war on families.

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The war on cannabis is a complete and utter failure. There is no getting around that. We have lost. Weed is not going anywhere. There is not any less of it then when we began the war on drugs over 40 years ago. There are not less people using it, and if there are that is a tragedy in itself because those people are likely using booze instead. We have spent over a trillion dollars imprisoning our neighbors and militarizing local police forces to fight this “war.” What the fuck are we doing?

Yet regardless of the obvious failures, every day we allow for armed gunmen to storm the homes of people, often good family people, to save us from the evils of weed. Somehow the logic is that if we discover a person growing safe, enjoyable, and helpful plants that the best way to protect our community is to drive a tank full of soldiers armed to the teeth to the residence and use militarized war tactics to enter the home, subdue the family, tear apart their home in search of whatever it is we say we want to look for, drag the parents off to jail, and lock their kids up with strangers in foster care centers.

I will never figure out how we believe we are solving a problem by making a dozen more. We create poverty and a black market for cannabis. We use our limited resources to pay for enforcement. We use SWAT teams to cut down gardens. We destroy families, creating further poverty. We force children to be raised without their parents. We lock people in cages for draconian mandatory minimum sentences for weed, and then wonder why our prisons are all overcrowded. And for what? What problem is ever solved by these actions?

Who is winning here? Because it certainly is not our communities, our society, or the people directly affected. We are creating a society of mistrust and anger. We cannot keep stealing people’s children in the name of your failed war on cannabis. This must stop now.

I recall when I was raided by the federal government in 2007. We were lucky enough to not be home at the time armed gunmen swarmed my home and businesses. But I remember returning to my ransacked home to find my kid’s rooms tossed and every drawer opened with my kids belongings strewed all over the room. The look on my wife’s face and the sound of her voice is one I will never forget, as she said “why would they do this to my babies rooms?” We imagined what it would have been like to be home and have these armed thugs awaken our children from their sleep at gunpoint because I made weed brownies for sick people. It made me sick to my stomach.

It is that sickness that sits with me EVERY DAY.

Yeah…I was lucky. But so many others are not. So many good families are torn apart by these unjust and immoral laws. For a long time it was a reality that I could not face. I understood the grave risk that my work in the cannabis industry put my family in. I still understand that and face it every day as an activist and part of the growing cannabis industry. I know that I am still at great risk of being torn from my family and locked in a cage for years for my involvement. It weighs heavy on me at every moment of every day.

My wife is an amazing human, which is probably the only thing that allows me to carry on. After the raid while I was awaiting my fate through the judicial process my wife and I had some very real and pointed conversations about the risk my involvement with cannabis brought to our family. My wife could not imagine having to raise our two young sons with me in prison for a decade. There was certainly a robust discussion of me walking away forever and not looking back. I even prepared a resume and began looking for work in different industries. It had certainly changed our reality.

My decision to press on and follow what I believed in was, and continues to be, one of the hardest decisions I have ever made. If you ever hear me tell my story in public, like clockwork, when I get to the part about my house being raided and my kids rooms being tossed my voice will crack and I will be overcome with emotion. I have to take a breath every time because that wave of anger and sadness overcomes me. I am paralyzed by it. The fear of losing my kids and my freedom for my fight for cannabis freedom is too much for me to comprehend at times. Which is why in all my writings, I touch on the subject very little…It is my biggest fear and my ultimate weakness.

I carry on not because I am selfish and do not care about my kids. I carry on because I love my kids (and all kids) enough to fight and make sure this does not keep happening to our community. We have been extremely lucky in our journey for justice; but most are not. Most people facing these charges for cannabis do not have the support and community that we had fighting for us. Most are very alone and facing a very scary situation with little or no direction or support. These laws target the most vulnerable poor and minority communities and destroy the family foundation in areas so desperately in need. It is something we can no longer ignore. It is very real and we are all lesser people for allowing these practices to continue in our name.

So my continued fight for cannabis freedom has little to do with me, or even my family. It has to do with a moral obligation to right the wrongs of yesterday and make sure we end these injustices once and for all.

I largely overlooked the people losing their kids issue for a long time. Because my kids were not directly affected by my raid, it was easier for me to avoid the subject. That was until I met Daisy Bram.

As a writer, a lot of things come across my desk. The audio in the Youtube video below was sent to me. I opened it and began to listen to this mother scream for her babies, as agents removed her kids because she had a medical cannabis garden in her home. Take a minute to listen to it, and like me, I am sure it will change your life forever.

I heard in Daisy’s screams the voice of my own wife…..of my friend’s wives….of my mother. I heard a mother desperate to keep her children, while heartless officers separated newborn babies from her loving arms. I could no longer ignore the reality that this was nothing more than complete terrorism of the American family unit.

I wrote a story on the issue and posted the audio for all to hear on my blog. I began feverishly posting it in cannabis circles in hopes of raising awareness. I also got to know Daisy and began working to help her where I could in organizing support for her case. I am saddened to say that Daisy is still fighting this battle and her kids are still removed from her. It breaks my heart.

But it also inspires me because Daisy Bram is one of the strongest women I have had the pleasure of meeting. I cannot say I could remain as composed and as active as she has throughout this mess. She has endured some of the most unjust treatment from the “child protective” agencies and continues to fight for her freedom and the return of her children. She has not wavered in her stance and has become a powerful voice for change. I encourage everyone to get to know Daisy, and learn from her experiences through all of this, and to continue to support her in her ongoing struggle. You can find more about her case at here Facebook page HERE.

Daisy was certainly not the first person to have her family torn apart over weed; but her sharing of her experience and the undeniable tragedy experienced through listening to her cries for help in real time during the raid gave me an insight that I could no longer ignore. Her story has also given courage to other families to speak out about their situations.

My recent path has led me to begin the development of a new group called Parents 4 Pot. It was not my intention, as like I mentioned, I often try to not think about the kid deal because it scares the living shit out of me. But fate is seldom wrong…so I try not to stand in its way. The stars have aligned and I am honored to be helping create an organization dedicated to being a voice for families who are facing issues regarding cannabis.

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In doing so, we are hoping to create a support network for families affected by the tragedy of cannabis prohibition. In just a short couple of weeks, as the word has spread about the organization, we have been made aware of several stories of families being torn apart by cannabis laws. Below are just a few of these stories that have come our way that we are hoping to raise awareness for, provide support for, and to keep from happening ever again to good people who like weed:

JOSHUA E. MASON: TENNESSEE

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This is an incredible story worthy of some attention and support. Josh is a father of a three-year-old daughter whose home was raided for a small garden, and some cuttings. He was subjected to a no-knock raid where heavily armed military style tactics were used to subdue him in front of his child. He lost custody of his daughter for a period of time and has been railroaded through the legal system trying to maintain his freedom. Josh has been forced to pay a large fine in a very short period of time, or face 15 years in prison for his garden. He literally has until next Monday to come up with a $4k donation to the drug fund, or his case will be sent to the Grand Jury and he could lose his legal counsel. Did I mention they could revoke his bail and remand him to custody? It is nuts. This is how our legal system works…you pay to play. Unfortunately our prisons are filled with people who have no money to pay. For more information on Josh’s story and how you can help visit his GoFundMe page HERE and kick down some money to keep this family together. Wanna make someone’s Christmas? Here is your opportunity.

JASON WILSON AND DANIELLE GIESEN: ALABAMA

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This young couple was busted growing in Alabama and spent the summer in jail awaiting bond, during which she found out she was pregnant. They are being forced to pay heavy attorneys fees and for expert witnesses in hopes of avoiding prison sentences of up to 15 years each. This is a first offense for both of these kids and they are being told they will both do many years in prison even if they do take a plea bargain. They have worked hard to be upstanding members of their community since their arrest and deserve to be given a second chance. In many places like Alabame cannabis crimes are enforced more vigorously than rape or even murder. It never ceases to amaze me that a District Attorney, another human being, could see a poor struggling family who broke an unjust and immoral law as criminals worthy of spending decades in prison. I cannot comprehend it. Where did our society go so wrong? If you would like to help this young family ensure they have good legal counsel and the evidence they need to be judged accordingly for their actions, please donate to their cause HERE. Nothing is more sad than seeing young parents just starting their life being railroaded by a system gone terribly wrong. Help folks like this find justice.

TODD STIMPSON: NORTH CAROLINA

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Todd Simpson is the father of two daughters, one of which is very ill with a large tumor wrapped around her organs. He maintained a small medical cannabis garden and was raided by North Carolina law enforcement at gunpoint, where his daughters were also forced at gunpoint to put their hands on their heads and were detained during the search of the property. Todd has an interesting case because he actually purchased tax stamps from the State and paid the taxes on his cannabis crop. He is now facing charges for his cultivation, while also dealing with his daughter’s health issues. Below is a news piece on his case that is heartbreaking. To find more about Todd and his case check out their awesome website at:  http://www.brmcrc.org/.

MELANIE TREINEN

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Melanie shared her story with me also. While she is not facing years in prison, her case is also very relevant to the larger picture. She is a cannabis patient who used cannabis to relieve severe medical symptoms related to pregnancy (hyperemisis) where she would be constantly ill and malnutritioned during pregnancy. After complication due to pharmaceutical options during her first pregnancy she discussed the option of cannabis tincture with her physician who agreed it was a better option for her rare condition. The risks of malnutrition outweighed the risk of cannabis. Since it was recommended by her physician she shared her experience with social workers at the hospital. She was then blindsided by the system and faced with an investigation into her cannabis use. During this time the agency removed her children for 8 months. She was pushed around by the system and encouraged to succumb to their drug treatment programs. She found her voice and demanded to be evaluated, to which there was no evidence of addiction or drug problems found. The judge actually ended up apologizing for the actions of the agency in her case and her kids were returned to her. But for eight long month she was without their love, and they with hers. She was worried for their safety and forced to have her life examined by people claiming to have some moral higher ground. The CPS system is severely broken, and it has become profitable for many of these agencies to remove children from parents for cannabis. The system is designed to attack poor families who cannot defend themselves and it is stories of mother’s like Melanie that let us know we have a lot of work to do to end these practices. For more information on Melanie’s situation check out her petition on change.org HERE.

SO WHAT CAN WE DO? I am glad you asked….

And these are just four cases that have touched me over the past week, or so. there are literally thousands just like them that have yet to be heard, or which may never be heard unless we give them a voice. It is up to us to help change these laws and end the evil practice of destroying families over cannabis.

No one is going to do it for us. The system is rigged and we must demand it be destroyed. These are our friends, our neighbors, and our families. These are not criminals who deserve to be in prison. These are good people.

We are better than this as a society. We must come together and be a voice for real change. It is no longer okay to sit back and hope it does not happen to us. It can happen to you and if you do not speak up and demand change it WILL happen to you. We have the power to create change and we must.

I am proud to be organizing Parents 4 Pot as a group where parents can feel safe to come together to create meaningful change. Through raising awareness, becoming active, and supporting those in our community in need of assistance we can make a difference. Please join us in our mission and help us put an end to the destruction of the American family due to the failed prohibition of a safe, enjoyable and helpful plant.

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