REAL TALK: Why "they" don't want prop. 19. by John Troll

CW: This is a great posting from John Troll that I found on Facebook. It is very well thought and is filled with truth. If you are one of the anti-19 crusaders who have talked SO MUCH SHIT that you have backed yourself into a corner publicly with your crazy opposition campaign, know you can still vote YES in the privacy of the voting booth on November 2nd. We won’t be mad at you.

Just a posting of my thoughts… Agree or tell me I am crazy and way off base. Your comments, anger or praise are welcomed. I won’t judge you. I just might disagree that’s all.

Activists have historically put others rights before their own freedoms in order to bring about change. They don’t look at the here and now they look to how they can affect the future for ALL.

Will Prop 19 change the dynamics of the cannabis economy in California? Without a doubt! Will it be for the better or worse? We can’t be to sure right now, we have a lot of speculation but no hard data. Why is this? Well because something like this has NEVER happened. We have no framework to go by, we have no model to go by. This is uncharted territory for sure. There is speculation on BOTH sides.

However, this goes beyond the state lines of California. This is so monumental because it WILL thrust MJ into the mainstream. If prop 19 passes and the sky doesn’t fall, if accident fatalities don’t increase (and they won’t) if MJ use in teens doesn’t increase, if violence surrounding MJ goes down drastically, if revenue can be created both in taxation of cannabis for consumption and industrial hemp. Then when CCHHI comes around then we will have 2 years of data to back up what we have been saying for 40+ years. Not only that, the public and politicians will see for themselves first hand that society didn’t collapse. It will start to change the way many think about cannabis. Paving the way for even more change. For the better.

I am willing to make some sacrifices in the short term and take some risk (yes, I have it good right now with a Dr. Rec) if it will help change the tide in this country (and outside this country) towards the way people feel about cannabis prohibition. If other states follow suite (and they will WA isn’t far behind) it will be WELL WORTH the risk. Other states will come up with their own take and use CA as a test area so to speak. They will see the flaws and pros with Prop 19 and make changes accordingly.

If prop 19 passes it doesn’t mean we stop and consider it a victory. It means we get energized and fight harder for what is a human right! It means we become more active locally and ensure whatever changes are made are for the good of cannabis users and non cannabis users alike. We can show the world that cannabis use is not a detriment, we are NOT all stoners and potheads. Just simply people that enjoy responsible cannabis use.

If prop 19 passes there will still be be a need for civil disobedience. Change will still need to occur. Prop 19 is not just a change in the laws in California. It’s a change in the thinking of the society as a whole. And THAT is what the most important aspect of Prop 19 is, not how big your grow area is, not how much weed you can carry on you, not how much it can or should be taxed. It’s the message it sends to the world. The headline will be “CALIFORNIA LEGALIZES MARIJUANA” or it will be “CALIFORNIA REJECTS MARIJUANA LEGALIZATION”. Which ever one of those headlines gets printed will have a HUGE impact on this country. The media is NOT going to dissect the reasons why it will take the simple headline and run.

Let’s not forget that Industrial Hemp will also be allowed under Prop 19. This is RARELY discussed in debates. However it’s very important to point out that many things can be made and sold (exported) from this wonderful plant. <— this is HUGE if you’re an environmentalist type.

Also research will open up in this state. This is HUGE and it’s one of the aspects this government fears the most (along with industrial hemp). Their lies are starting to topple down. Keep the momentum going.

Stop thinking of yourself if you claim to be an activist… being an activist isn’t about you, it’s about EVERYONE else. Will Prop 19 negatively affect a small group of people that have their livelihood revolve around SB 215.. probably. But it will have a positive affect in the minds of MILLIONS AND MILLIONS of people.

We have it TO good here in California, and that’s part of the problem. You put any of you in Florida, Mississippi or Georgia and you’d be WISHING Prop 19 would pass in your oppressed state. You’ve become complacent and want to continue with the status quo. So you’re no longer an activist you’re just a pothead that wants to use and be left alone.

Prop 19 allows anyone over 21 to grow, there will be SO much weed in California. It will spill into neighboring states. Regular people will be growing not just activists out of civil disobedience. Or dealers for the dollar. It will be so plentiful it will be given away!

Thank you Marc Emery! You’ve helped pave the way for California, I see your sacrifices and while you sit in your Jail Cell I am going to Vote YES on Prop 19 and continue your idea to OutGrow this government.

These pipe dreams need to stop, you guys forget just how much opposition there is to cannabis. You’re so in to your MJ community you forget how much Hatred there is for it. That people are opposed on a MORAL level. That’s tough to fight. There is no way right now in this state that 51% of the people will vote for CCHHI. After a couple years of Prop 19 that very well could change though.

Since they aren’t “Against” prohibition just prop 19. I’d like to hear how CCHHI would be different and stop the spread of the evil corporate gmo that they all seem to talk about.

I think many of these others are just simply against legalization completely. They like the niche closed market they have gotten used to. Side stepping grey areas of the law. They feel entitled since they did the foot work.  Or they just want the notoriety that goes along with being the ones that ended prohibition. To go down in history. That’s what a lot of this is… a childish pissing contest.

Are you an activist that opposes the prohibition of cannabis or are you just a cannabis user that wants to be left alone and continue with the status quo of complacency

The Writing on the Wall: Article shows community intolerance brewing

CW: Here is an article with all of the makings of a real backlash. The proponents of the “all use is medical” mantra should be put on notice. Your rhetoric is dangerous and when spelled out in the press makes our movement look silly. It is imperative we pass prop. 19 to begin to end this charade and put legal adult use cannabis on the map. What is happening is that it is becoming more and more difficult to convince people that the current situation truly is medical. It is unclear how long we can keep up this situation, as it is obvious some opponents feel that the current situation leaves too much gray area and there are constant calls to bring an end to the chaos on both sides.

Patients feel like they are backed into a situation that waters down their true medical need, as the current situation requires many to push the envelope of medical need in order to remain legal. There is nothing wrong with fudging ones need to a doctor if it means staying out of a cold jail cell for your choice to use cannabis. The following article makes it too clear that the controversy continues to brew. Generally these controversies are eventually cleared up, as public officials and law makers are sure to find a way to clamp down on the perceived abuses. The problem is that a tightening of the situation may make for an uncomfortable playing field for most. Generally a call for stricter regulation and control ends in officials overstepping their bounds and the development of an unworkable situation as a result of regulation that does not reflect reality, yet is put in place to quell the outrage rather than serve the patients in need.

Believing that the “all use is medical” situation will last forever is simply naive.


By John Woolfolk and Sean Webby

Mercury News

In the year since U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced federal drug agents would stop targeting medicinal marijuana use where state law sanctioned it, Santa Clara County — like other parts of California — has become the Wild West.

But suddenly, the sheriff has ridden into town.

California, the first of 14 states that now allow medical marijuana, has one of the loosest laws of its kind. It doesn’t limit conditions that qualify patients, nor does it require them to register with the state. It gives doctors wide latitude in approving the drug’s use. And it doesn’t specify how marijuana should be distributed to users.

CW: That is key..Doesn’t specify SAFE ACCESS or access at all for that matter.

Even though state voters next month will decide whether pot should be legalized for recreational use, activists like Denis Peron — co-author of the 1996 ballot measure that sanctioned medical marijuana — freely acknowledge the secret that’s sparked an explosion of distributors and left officials scrambling statewide:

“Pretty much,” Peron said, “marijuana is legal already.”

CW: C’mon Dennis. That is a fallacy, at best. As long as ANYONE has to worry about having their personal space rifled through by law enforcement because of the way we smell CANNABIS IS NOT REALLY LEGAL. Sorry. You should know that though. You know prop 215 made nothing lawful, yet exempted medical users from prosecution. Just because you say “cannabis is legal” does not make it so. And it is that assertion that has many up in arms…

But while that may be true for anyone who takes the trouble to get a doctor’s recommendation, the situation is not as clear for medical pot providers. In the past three weeks, Santa Clara County law enforcement has sprung into action, shutting down two dispensaries and a pot-delivery service. And while at first they raided operators who didn’t follow basic guidelines demanding a doctor’s recommendation, their latest target was one of the county’s largest and appeared to comply with all the rules.

CW: I wonder if the folks at Angel’s Care and the 22 delivery services that were part of the “sting” think that the current system is working fine?

The reason? Authorities believed the operators had crossed the line from nonprofit collective to cash cow.

“These guys are making truckloads of money,” said Bob Cooke, the South Bay’s special agent in charge of the state Bureau of Narcotics Enforcement. He said many of the patrons at the dispensaries looked “like the healthiest people in the world.”

CW: And herein lies the problem. While I am the first to support the fact that law enforcement has no right to play doctor and decide who looks healthy or not, it is apparent that there is an abuse in the system. From the multitudes of $60 doctor services that blanket the landscape these days, to the numerous ailing 23-year-olds that seem to be prevalent in the medical cannabis community, at some point we must address the 500-pound gorilla in the room. By passing 19 and making a way for adults to be “legal” without stretching their need to a Doctor will be sure to legitimize the real medical needs of true patients. I am not saying that it is wrong to want to be legal. I am saying it is unnecessary and that you are a fool if you think this will last forever.

Even before the raids, San Jose code enforcement efforts to shut down the most troublesome pot clubs prompted lawsuit threats from club operators who say officials are misinterpreting– or willfully ignoring — state law. Peron insists that under Proposition 215, “All use of marijuana is medicine.”

CW: “All use of marijuana is medicine…” Do you even hear what that sounds like when it comes out of your mouth? It is non-sensical. So the kid who is ripping a fat 6 foot bong rip in his college dorm with his buddies tonight is medical? The person who does not feel like they are sick or in need of medicine, but just likes to smoke, they are medical whether they like it or not? A person who fires up a doobie every once in a while at the weekend BBQ has to be a patient because you said there use is medical no matter what they think? That is an absurd assumption. Even all use of FDA approved medicines is not all medical, so let’s stop the semantics and get to business. All use is NOT medical and people who are not patients should be able to enjoy cannabis without having to get a doctor to write them permission to do so.

Cooke calls the tangle of regulations and court cases that dictate medicinal marijuana use in California “a mess.”

CW: I agree agent Cooke…it is a mess. So vote YES on 19 to help clean up the mess and to begin making sensible regulation to serve both the medical and enjoyable users in the community. What is apparent is that cannabis use is not going anywhere. Do we want to keep fudging the facts or do we want to make the next logical step in legitimizing ALL use..not just medical?

“It’s a hard time for everybody trying to figure out what is legal and what is illegal,” he said. “These days, everybody has a marijuana card, they treat it like it’s a joke. Unfortunately, it is a joke. If the law was written easier, it would be easier for us to enforce.”

CW: This is not just the opinion of law enforcers gone awry. I frequent many local non-cannabis blogs and there is a large contingencies of concerned citizens that feel the current system is out of control and “a joke” as Cook asserts. Many people know a person who admittedly is not ill, but has a doctor’s rec to make themselves legal. Once again, not saying it is wrong to fudge it to stay out of jail, but that the current system is failing us in the hearts and minds of the greater community. As a real patient, it is hard to justify “the joke” much longer…

Nearly Anything Goes

For years after the passage of Proposition 215, U.S. officials continued to enforce overriding federal law, under which pot remains illegal. Even in tolerant towns like Santa Cruz that welcomed medical marijuana, those who openly invoked the state’s law faced ruinous legal battles.

But Holder’s announcement last fall emboldened sellers and users to test the limits of what California’s law might allow — which appears to be just about anything.

CW: This is the dangerous perception that is not based in reality, but assumption, that is putting many in harm’s way. Bill Panzer likens it to everyone speeding on the highway and only a few getting tickets. The phenomena we see is everyone drives a little faster than the next guy and the nest and the next. Soon enough everyone assumes it is okay to drive 100 miles an hour because everyone else is, but then they get nabbed for criminal speeding and lose their license. It is a dangerous situation that has been brewing for years based on many municipalities failures to address the hot button topic appropriately. San Jose is one of the biggest battles brewing in an unregulated market.

“California may be the loosest,” said Keith Humphreys, a psychiatry professor at the Stanford University School of Medicine and former White House adviser on drug control policy. “If it’s not de facto legalization, then it’s getting pretty close.

CW: Well someone should tell the cops that because it seems every other day there is another misunderstanding and someone’s door is getting kicked in…

The ease of obtaining pot from a storefront has attracted a growing number of people like Hillary Breslove, an admitted “recreational user” who calls herself a “high-functioning stoner.”

CW: No lady. you are a patient. Like it or not.

With a doctor’s nod, the 45-year-old Mountain View caterer smokes pot for everyday bothers like stress that others might ease with an aspirin. “I was tired of buying it out of the back of someone’s pocket,” she said.

In San Jose, Holder’s move inspired Dave Hodges last year to open the San Jose Cannabis Buyers Collective — among the first of what are now dozens of dispensaries. After stints as a tech-support specialist at Santa Clara High School and a Silicon Valley PR firm, he says he became a medical cannabis patient to manage job stress. His pot collective now has more than 3,600 patients.

Medical pot shops remain technically illegal in San Jose, where zoning codes don’t explicitly permit them. The city is considering zoning to allow a limited number and is asking voters to approve Measure U on the Nov. 2 ballot, which would authorize a tax up to 10 percent on marijuana businesses, legal or illegal.

CW: Over 60 collectives operating “illegally.” I can’t wait to see how this train wreck turns out. Everyone rushed into set up shop in the unregulated market, but will it pan out? Will they be allowed to stay? We shall see.

Oakland, San Francisco and Santa Cruz already limit dispensaries. Some Santa Clara County cities have tried to ban them. While San Jose has dawdled on developing rules, the outlets have flourished. The city, which a little more than a year ago had not a single dispensary operating in the open, now has at least 60 that have paid city business taxes. Online directories suggest at least a dozen others are in operation.

Clinics advertise marijuana approvals for insomnia, premenstrual syndrome, even substance abuse. With a valid state ID and about $50, a physician’s approval can be had with no appointment, “20 minutes in and out.” Users can then take the approval straight to a dispensary.

San Jose officials say they’re waiting to complete work on medical marijuana zoning and regulations until they see what happens with statewide Proposition 19 on the November ballot.

CW: Vote yes. Anything less is just ignorant and short-sighted. see the writing on the wall. Your medical use is under scrutiny, and if CA rejects cannabis you can be sure officials will take that as a mandate to restrict access, not expand it.

Proposition 19 would legalize adult recreational pot smoking without the pretense of medical need, but California is lurching that way already. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger opposes the initiative, but he just signed a law reducing possession of small amounts without a doctor’s recommendation to a mere citation like a traffic ticket — hoping to counter Proposition 19 backers who argue the state wastes money and time prosecuting low-level drug crimes.

CW: So they can still search you when they want- can still take your cannabis- and can still get you for a $100. Fuck that shit. VOTE YES on 19…

Holder announced last week that the federal government will not look the other way if the state legalizes recreational pot.

CW: SO WHAT. Nobody asked for Holder’s opinion to do what is right…

How We Got Here

Even if Proposition 19 loses, it’s not likely to change the fact that the state’s current regulations already allow almost anyone to get marijuana. Among the reasons:

. California law doesn’t specify what qualifies a patient for marijuana. Proposition 215 lists ailments such as anorexia and AIDS but allows it for “any other illness for which marijuana provides relief.”

Maine’s law, by contrast, allows medical pot only for eight specific ailments, including cancer and AIDS, or “intractable pain.” And users are required to register with the state, unlike here.

In California, fewer than 13,000 marijuana patient ID cards were issued in the past year. Yet Lauren Vasquez, a lawyer and pot activist, says there are about 25,000 such patients just in the San Jose area.

. California law says “no physician in this state shall be punished “… for having recommended marijuana to a patient for medical purposes.” While the Medical Board of California may suspend or revoke a doctor’s license for marijuana recommendations that violate professional standards, only a dozen physicians have been disciplined since the passage of Proposition 215. And most of them still practice and give out marijuana recommendations, such as Dr. Hanya Barth of San Francisco.

Barth, 65, said she looks to ensure marijuana use isn’t masking a serious condition. “You have to do that as a physician, just as you would if you were giving Vicodin.”

. California courts have yet to rule on whether the law even allows the marijuana dispensaries that sell pot to anyone with a doctor’s note. More than 150 communities around the state have banned dispensaries. But an appeals court weighing a challenge to such laws in Anaheim sent it back to a lower court this year without answering the key legal question.

CW: Hoping Anaheim goes well is no real strategy. Realize that if it goes the other way that we are fucked, really…

Maine’s law permits only eight state-licensed medical marijuana dispensaries.

With California’s legal landscape unsettled, all manner of marijuana entrepreneurs are hanging shingles. San Jose’s pot clubs range from the spalike Harborside Health Center — nestled in a tree-lined corporate park and guarded by professional security — to the stoner stylings of Buddy’s Cannabis, which sits next to a car stereo joint on busy Stevens Creek Boulevard and is decorated with homemade, Bob Marley-inspired art.

There’s big money at stake. The state Board of Equalization estimates receipts of up to $105 million in sales taxes last year from medical marijuana sales. Total statewide sales are estimated to be as high as $1.3 billion.

Steve DeAngelo, Harborside’s executive director, laments that the free-for-all attracts shady competitors who may finally be triggering a backlash here from residents, cops and city officials.

CW: That is rich. Last time I checked most collectives were operating illegally in San Jose, in direct violation of the City’s order to ceased and desist operations. Just because your place is “spalike” does not make it legal. Sorry. I think the opening up in defiance and not asking permission to operate like most businesses in town do may also be “triggering a backlash.” Funny how people cast stones in the press when really they are part of the issue at hand. Way to try and separate your illegal operation from the illegal operations of the “riff-raff.” Spare me the holier-than-thou rhetoric.

Mayor Chuck Reed said he’s well aware many medical marijuana users aren’t what most people would consider “medically needy.” But, he said, the city is “trying to have some controls” amid shifting federal and state edicts.

In the face of all the legal loopholes, police in recent weeks have started going after the clubs on grounds that offer more clarity — such as violating the nonprofit requirement or delivering pot like Chinese takeout, which police and prosecutors say is only legal in certain circumstances.

CW: I wonder how long it is until the forensic accountants become the chic way to go after medical cannabis organizations. It is only a matter of time. I would love to know the “certain circumstances.” Maybe if we all were clear on that we could have less confusion….

Said Reed: “All the pot clubs, collectives, whatever they’re called, have to follow the law. That’s one of the principles for how we manage this chaos.”

CW: Following the law is easy when you are clear on what that is…..unfortunately NOBODY seems to be sure of what exactly that is and in turn, everyone is in danger. Please see the writing on the wall. VOTE YES on 19, so we can begin to move on from these accusations and so people can have a clear and unquestionable access to cannabis for medical or non-medical use if they like. The walls are closing in and complacency is not an option…

Article Source:

UNDER ATTACK! 3 More Collectives RAIDED in SD and SB.

CW: Another disturbing raid happened yesterday in Santa Barbara and San Diego. this disturbing trend seems to be a blatant show of force in cracking down on medical cannabis dispensing collectives. In both recent raids, organizations that own multiple collectives were targeted and there has been a disheartening resurgence of the attack on cannabis foods , as pictured below. Those who oppose Prop. 19 will have you believe that the medical system is perfect and that there is no need to expand freedoms beyond medical use because the system is working so well. This failed insight never seems to realize the many people daily who are being raided and jailed for providing medicine because the current law really fail to protect anyone.

Attorney Bill Panzer has likened it to everyone speeding on the freeway and only a few being pulled over, but has warned that “most” collectives would probably be deemed illegal under current statutes. Well, it seems as if more people are being stopped on the medical cannabis highway these days, and we must advance freedoms by passing 19 to establish legal and regulated distribution points to remove people from the harm’s way created by unclear laws. Operating in the gray area has served some well, but as we see, it can also be used against providers and that is the danger of the current situation.

Three Arrests in Marijuana Raid
updated: Oct 14, 2010, 7:54 PM

Source: SBSO

A nearly year long investigation by Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Narcotics Detectives has resulted in the arrest of three suspects following the raid of two marijuana dispensaries in South Santa Barbara County and a dispensary in San Diego.

Over the past year, the Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Office has received numerous tips and complaints of drug trafficking and money laundering at the Helping Hands Wellness Center on the 4100 block of State Street and the Choice Pharmacy on the 6300 block of Lindmar Street in Goleta.

During their investigation, Sheriff’s Narcotics Detectives discovered that both businesses were operating well beyond the guidelines of Proposition 215/Senate Bill 420. The investigation also led narcotics detectives to the Helping Hands Wellness Center on the 3500 block of Fifth Street in San Diego, Ca.

CW: Here in lies the problem. When Sheriff’s are allowed to determine what is “well beyond the guidelines of Proposition 215/SB 420” it leaves the door open for a variety of interpretations and law enforcement speculation.

On Thursday morning, October 14, 2010, personnel from the Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Office, Santa Barbara Police Department and the San Diego Sheriff’s Office served search warrants at the following businesses and private residences in Santa Barbara and San Diego Counties:

Choice Dispensary 6300 block Lindmar St. Goleta, Ca
Seized: Hundreds of edible marijuana items, 1,100 marijuana plants being grown on property, dozens of pounds of processed marijuana for sale, Automated Teller Machine, hashish, hash oil, several security safes with contents yet to be determined.

Helping Hands Wellness Center 4141 State Street Unincorporated Santa Barbara County
Seized: Hundreds of edible marijuana items, Nearly 75 pounds of processed marijuana for sale, 200 plants growing on property, $20,000 cash, Automated Teller Machine.

Helping Hands Wellness 3000 block of Fifth Street, San Diego, Ca
Seized: Hundreds of edible marijuana items, 35 pounds of processed marijuana for sale, $17,000cash.

CW: I know it is chic to operate several locations these days, but it would also seem to raise a red flag in some instances. I support the notion of good organizations serving more patients, but it is hard to justify under the current “collective” scenario. Prop. 19 would allow for local cities to establish bona fide sales outlets, which would be seemingly good for everyone….

Residence on the 6300 block of Lake Decatur Avenue San Diego, Ca

Arrested: James Harder (DOB 9/19/80). Booked into the San Diego County Jail for felony drug trafficking (11360 HS) and felony money laundering (11370.9 HS). Bail: $2,000,000. Mr. Harder is suspected of operating all three dispensaries with Craig Corneal. Harder was arrested at the Lake Decatur Avenue residence and is awaiting transfer back to the Santa Barbara County Jail.

CW: Felony money laundering being charged is disturbing and could be an increasing trends. Be sure to handle cash appropriately and ALWAYS hire a CPA to do non-profit administration for the organization.

Residence on the 3000 block of Serena Road, Santa Barbara, Ca
Seized: Nearly $70,000 cash, plants from small marijuana grow in basement, marijuana growing equipment. James Harder has been linked to this property and is believed to have also lived here.

Residence on the 5300 Shoreline Drive, Goleta, Ca
Seized: $2,400 cash, 11 pounds of processed marijuana.

Arrested: Craig Corneal (DOB 6/9/81), Booked into Santa Barbara County Jail for felony drug trafficking (11360 HS) and felony money laundering (11370.9 HS). Bail: $2,000,000. Corneal was arrested at the Shoreline Drive residence and is suspected of operating all three dispensaries with James Harder.

Residence on the 100 Block of Sumida Garden Lane, Goleta, Ca

Arrested: Laura Bertucci (DOB 4/16/86) She was booked into the Santa Barbara County Jail for felony drug trafficking (11360 HS) and felony money laundering (11370.9 HS). Bail is set at $500,000. Ms. Bertucci was taken into custody this morning at her apartment in Goleta and is suspected of helping operate the dispensaries.

CW: More focus on the food-based medicines. This disturbing trend seems to signal that the old strategy of demonizing the foods as ways that kids could be harmed is back in style….I thought we moved past that, but I guess not.

CW: DOES THAT SAY “SHIT” ON THE LABEL? I cannot get behind that. Sorry. Twist ties are weak packaging, as well. People…if you make cannabis foods find a REAL packaging and labeling scheme and for the love of god, please do not use profanity on your labeling and naming…..Shit? Really? Come on……

CW: $5 milkshake? (Pulp Fiction). But really, as a person who did foods for a long time, it seems these prices are a bit high, but maybe they are super strong. Who knows. What is an “X” mean anyway? Is that a quantifiable amount and if so, how much is 4 of them? Funny that after 3 years of being out of the business, not much has changed. people need to do a better job of self-regulation.

But I am not here to cast stones. Just pointing out the disturbing trend in law enforcement and encouraging people to do a better job of self-regulating. Reel it in. Tighten up the ship. And if you own multiple collectives, think about diversifying your ownership/Board so that you are not left holding the bag. And BY ALL MEANS….VOTE YES ON 19 to put an end to this madness.


Thank You, Jack Herer

Hemperor passes on but leaves behind the legacy of cannabis freedom
By Mickey Martin

On April 15, 2010 at 11:17 a.m. the cannabis movement lost a great leader and friend, as Jack Herer was pronounced dead in Eugene, Oregon. Cannabis has never has a more staunch advocate or dedicated soul to carry the torch of freedom. Everywhere you look in this great movement Jack is present. His influence has surpassed generations and he is a legend that will live forever. It is amazing to think of the many roads Jack traveled for the past decades educating people about hemp and cannabis. His book Emperor Wears No Clothes has sold hundreds of thousands of copies and has motivated activists around the globe to be active voices in the fight for cannabis freedom. In his last public speaking event at 2009 Portland Hempstalk he declared, “There is nothing better for the human fucking race than to have marijuana morning, noon, and night.” That was the message he had hammered home time and time again, year after year, event after event, fiery speech after fiery speech. The Hemperor will live on in the hearts and voices of cannabis activists forever.

Jack virtually created the cannabis movement as we know it today. His infamous bus tours of the 80’s and 90’s spawned activists from across the nation to take up the cause. His book inspired people to not think of themselves as criminals, but crusaders in a fight for truth and justice. His welcoming presence created opportunities for people to learn about this incredible plant and Jack was always ready to teach. Jack’s passion for hemp and marijuana transcended generations, and he dedicated his life to freeing the plant from the clutches of tyranny. He organized ballot initiatives like no other and inspired an army of cannabis activists to join him on his quest to make cannabis legal. Jack understood that the cannabis plant had unique powers. It was a renewable resource to produce food, fuel, fiber, and medicine. “Hemp can save the planet!,” Jack would scream to tens of thousands of supporters every summer at Seattle Hempfest. His passion for the plant was contagious. His words and his actions motivated the masses to stand up for their belief and to never be ashamed of their love for cannabis.

The great warrior spent over 200 days a year traveling to speak about hemp. The miles he logged for the cause are an incredible feat of courage and strength. His words touched so many of us and gave us a voice of our own to speak out about the injustices of cannabis prohibition. As we see the battles being won at city council meetings, legislative forums, and ballot boxes cross the nation and the world, we all owe a debt of gratitude to the man that gave a plant a voice; a man who defended cannabis day in and day out for decades, and gave his life to educating the world about its powers. Jack is the Moses of cannabis. He has lead us to the gates of the Promised Land and talked to burning hemp bushes most of his days. We must take the final steps of this journey without the leadership of this great man, but we will always remember who made this all possible. The incredible journey is what we cherish about this great leader of the movement. Thank you, Jack.

It is said that Jack believed when he started this quest that he would present the overwhelming evidence about the benefits of cannabis and that the plant would be re-legalized a short time later. That was the belief and conviction that Jack showed us all. He believed it was a simple argument. Cannabis was safe. Cannabis and hemp had innumerable benefits to society in the form of renewable resources. Hemp could save the planet. As the drug warriors tried to paint cannabis as an evil, addictive, dangerous substance Jack would yell, “Show me the bodies!” He knew there were none. It was simple.

Jack had a way of inspiring individuals to join the good fight. He was an instrumental part of getting dozens of initiatives on the ballot. He was sure that people, if given a rational argument and choice, would vote to save the planet. Jack did not grow up smoking marijuana. In fact he did not even try the plant that he would dedicate his life to until he was over thirty-years-old. “I was 30 and this girl I knew found out I had never gotten high. Nobody had ever told me about marijuana,” Jack recalled in an interview. “This girl wanted me to experience something I’d never experienced. She tried three times to get me high. Finally it worked, and I had the most incredible sex I’d ever had.” Jack may have been a late bloomer as far as cannabis was concerned, but he fell in love with the plant and never looked back. His passion would drive him until the day he passed away at 70, and he made sure that everyone he met knew about the benefits of marijuana. Thank you, Jack for your words of wisdom.

When Jack wrote Emperor in 1985 he most likely never thought that a quarter of a century later we would still be debating the subject. Although he began his advocacy in the midst of the “Just Say No” era, he refused to let the drug warriors demonize his beloved plant without a fight. Jack once offered $100,000 to anyone who could prove his book wrong. None ever took him up on the challenge, as while some of the factoids in the book may be hazy (no pun intended), the overall premise was right on target. His findings and writings changed the debate on the subject, and at the very least led people to question cannabis prohibition more deeply. His exposing of the core roots of prohibition, including greed and racism, lead his readers to think critically about why these laws were created and who they were really meant to protect. Jack wanted to expose the government and the big corporations and leaders that influenced them for the lies and deceit that they used to outlaw this most helpful plant. In his final speech at Hempstalk he stated, “I don’t want to give the fucking United States government one fucking dollar of taxes. I thought they should go to fucking jail for getting you and me and 20 million people arrested for pot; the safest thing you can do in the universe.” Jack believed not just that cannabis should be legalized, but that we were all owed a big fucking apology.

Jack was a master of the spoken word. Even after a stroke in the year 2000 that affected his ability to speak clearly, he was always one of the most passionate and moving speakers at every event. His call for people to “vote the scumbags out of office” always riled a passionate response from the on looking crowd. His voice was filled with conviction that pierced the soul of those listening. He could make you understand that you were not an innocent bystander in this war on cannabis. That because you were there listening to him speak, that you had already taken your first step as a foot soldier in Jack’s army of cannabis enthusiasts. I remember after my raid Jack was one of the first to approach me at the 2007 NORML Conference and tell me he was sorry for what “the lousy bastards” did to my family and me. He looked me in the eye and said, “You’re not a fucking criminal. They are the fucking criminals.” He let me know that some day I would be a hero for my actions. Then he showed me how his cool double barrel pipe worked. Jack was always on. For those kind words that helped me to know I was not alone in my fight I thank him.

What can you say about a man who spent almost 40 years in the trenches fighting for my right, your right, all of our rights, to smoke cannabis. Jack will live on in all of us. We owe him a debt of gratitude for his tireless work and his inspiration to the nation. Jack was a one-of-a-kind. There will never be another Jack. When you smoke a joint of Jack Herer (Skunk #1, Northern Lights #5, and Haze) know that you owe that man big thanks for the work he did to make it possible that you could even take a toke of greatness. Take a moment and thank Jack for the work he did for us all. Lord knows where we would be without this legendary warrior. I promise you, Jack that I will not stop fighting for cannabis freedoms until the job is done or we are in heaven together smoking a fat one laughing at all of this silly shit here on earth. May you be in heaven an hour before the devil knows your dead. Thanks again for the inspiration, the knowledge, and the example of how to be a great leader. Thank you, Jack

This was originally published in West Coast Cannabis magazine….

UNDER FIRE: More raids on collectives. Still feel safe?

Some cannot see the writing on the wall. As eleven more people were booked into the system for providing cannabis medicines, we continue to see complacency in the movement and calls for more of the same. Really? It amazes me that many patients, operators, and producers of cannabis medicines still think that somehow the current gray area phenomena will last forever. But what we see is the beginning of the end, as municipalities are also using the gray area to prosecute providers, kick in doors, and create chaos in the community. Welcome to your new life of raid first, and let the courts sort it out. Just ask Jovan Jackson how that works out…

First they came for San Diego, but we did not speak up because we were not from San Diego.

Then they came for LA and we did not speak up because we were not from LA.

Then they came for San Jose but we did not speak up because we were not from San Jose.

Then they came for OUR GARDEN, and by that time there was no one left to speak up.

We should all think very clearly about what is happening everywhere to understand what could happen anywhere. It is a dangerous proposition to continue down the path of uncertainty and darkness. There is a high-water level for everything and medical cannabis is no different. There is a backlash brewing and unless we can advance the cause and pass Prop 19 to define more clearly the difference between medical and adult use, we are destined to see this trend continue. These are some headlines from the past month or less…

Raided medical marijuana dispensaries targeted due to alleged profits

By Brian Day, Staff Writer

A group of five medical marijuana dispensaries, including one in Covina, raided by authorities Wednesday were targeted because the operators were allegedly turning a profit from the establishments in violation of state medical marijuana laws.

CW: One begs to understand what consists of turning a profit? Is any money a profit as some law enforcement put forth? Or is an organization allowed to have resources, as long as one person does not realize the dividends? This is the unclear area of the current laws that should have all providers worried…

Eleven people were arrested in connection with the operation, which took place Wednesday morning in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside and San Diego counties.

The Alternative Medicine Collective of Covina, 20050 E. Arrow Highway, Suite B, was forced to close its doors after a multi-agency task force seized its products, along with four other dispensaries in the four-county operation, Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said. No one at the Covina dispensary was arrested.

Under California’s Proposition 215, also known as the Compassionate Use Act of 1996, medical marijuana dispensaries are only allowed to operate as non-profits, Capt. Ralph Ornelas of the Sheriff’s Narcotics Bureau said.

Are law enforcement prepared and trained to identify what is and what is not non-profit? Are they accountants too?

“This organization was definitely working outside the law,” he said.

“Our investigation proved they were charging people and making a profit out of it,” Ornelas said. “You’re not supposed to make a profit.”

CW: This is where every patient, provider and producer should be worried. Since the current laws are vague, law enforcement is left to decide whether or not YOU are making a profit. What does a profit look like? Apparently it looks like cash….

Authorities also searched an Alhambra home in the 1600 block of Curtis Avenue, though no evidence was seized, the captain said.

Erik Andresen, 35, of Seal Beach was arrested as the “primary suspect” in the case against the five dispensaries, Ornelas said.

He was booked on suspicion of cultivation of marijuana and another marijuana-related offense at the sheriff’s Norwalk Station, according to a jailer. He was released Thursday after posting $100,000 bail.

CW: Hmmm…that seems like normal charges. Not operating as a for-profit charges. Or some other civil infraction that most businesses would endure for accounting issues…

Andresen said he serves as an advisor for the organization of patients involved and denied any wrongdoing.

“We are a group of patients who are together, collectively, to provide medicine for sick people,” he said.

Andresen said the dispensaries did not make a profit.

“You’re allowed to be reimbursed for your time,” he said. He declined to say how much money he has received in compensation, but described it as “piddly.”

CW: Are you? Who said? Sure the Peron case gives that impression, but it does not define what is “reasonable” thus leaving a lot of discretion to law enforcement. And as we saw in the Jovan Jackson case, if your judge believes in the “only a community garden” theory then you are screwed, unless your reimbursement comes under the narrowest interpretation of the current laws…

“I don’t own a home,” he said.

Andresen added that the collectives generally give excess marijuana free of charge to their sickest patients.

“We don’t turn a profit because be give away any extra proceeds,” he said.

CW: So here begs the question. If you give away any extra proceeds, but just have not gotten around to giving them away yet, when can YOU be charged with maintaining a profit? See the conundrum in the current system?

The names of the other 10 people arrested on drug related charges were not available Thursday, Ornelas said.

In all, the multi-agency task force searched five marijuana dispensaries, one cultivation site, two processing sites, seven homes and a sailboat, sheriff’s officials said in a written statement.

Ornelas said they were located in Covina, Alhambra, Long Beach, Seal Beach, Huntington Beach, Fullerton, Los Angeles, San Diego, Riverside and Palm Springs, Ornelas said.

In addition to the Covina establishment, the medical marijuana dispensaries raided Wednesday included the Palm Springs Holistic Collective, the Riverside Compassionate Wellness Center, the San Diego Holistic Collective, and the Compassionate Medical Collective in San Diego, Ornelas said.

Andresen said that as far as he knows, only one dispensary in San Diego is affiliated with his patient group.

Officials seized 35 marijuana plants, valued at $70,000; 78 pounds of processed pot, valued at $234,000; seven gallons of concentrated cannabis oils, valued at $44,800; about 4,000 pre-packaged, marijuana-laced edible products; hydroponic growing equipment and chemicals; and about $20,000 in cash, according to the sheriff’s statement.

CW: I just want to point out that chances are they have no idea of the value of oil….

The edible products included, “Lolly pops, ice pops, candy bars, brownies – all that stuff,” Ornelas said.

CW: Here we go again….

He said sheriff’s narcotics officials are looking into requesting agencies such as the Food and Drug Administration get involved.

CW: The FDA came to the raid of Tainted Inc. Our game was too tight for them to have any issues, as our facilities were immaculate and our operations were above and beyond the call of duty. But you will never read that in the paper, now will you? I hope these producers did their due diligence in preparing these ingestible meds…

Andresen said he would have no problem cooperating with health regulations governing edible marijuana products.

CW: Would not or did not?


So the real question to ask yourself is how long do we want to keep up the charade and hope that SB420 will hold up in OUR court of law. It would make more sense for the community to pass Prop. 19 and work to set up a system that actually allows for and regulates cannabis sales and distribution. Anything less is just irresponsible. We are seeing more frequent attacks based on the gray area of the laws that govern our community. We will continue to see more. And as these agencies find success their attacks will become more frequent and more invasive. Do not let the complacency of the situation fool you. Access is under attack and YOU could be next. Those who want to “Keep Marijuana Medical” have obviously drank the kool-aid of complacency and are foolish enough to believe their good time will last forever. But the noose is tightening on medical use and there is a real backlash happening. What you will see is less people being able to access cannabis and chances are a fed up Legislature will repeal or amend SB420 to close the loopholes that allow people to operate. Is this what you envisioned? More people being raided, arrested, and prosecuted for cannabis or less? Pass Prop 19 for less. Do nothing and hope for the best if you want more people to be UNDER FIRE. We cannot afford to stand still on this…