Thankful for good people who like weed…

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I am thankful for a lot of things. For my family….for my successes…for my failures (learning moments)….for where life is great, and also where it sucks.

Being grateful for the world as it is is a difficult task. As humans, we have a tendency to want to shape and mold things to meet our liking. We are often frustrated when we realize there are some things we cannot fix. But learning to accept and deal with an often less than ideal situation is where people learn about themselves and their world.

Being thankful for the good stuff is easy. Being thankful for the challenges though is necessary.

You are the sum of your experiences. Most likely the places you have most grown up to be the good person that you are is when you were faced with an obstacle, you met it head on, and you overcame it and/or dealt with it appropriately. Be thankful for that. That is a moment that shaped who you are today, and people dig that person. If life was always easy it would be super boring and most people would never understand who they really are, or have the potential to be.

It is the people who we share our lives with that make this planet great. Positive relationships with other good people with similar interests and objectives are imperative to the human journey. I am a weed activist, so a lot of the people I run into are good people who also like weed. I have made some amazing friends and extended families in my work in the weed industry. Because weed is such a mystical and enlightening plant, there is no shortage of colorful and great kids who love weed.

I am thankful for the many people who I stand side-by-side with in the trenches with daily fighting for this just and worthy cause. While there are no shortage of wingnuts and losers embedded in the larger “movement,” there are also a million very good people working on this cause. There are people of every color, religion, and orientation that want nothing more than to return cannabis to its rightful place in society.

Some have called us outlaws and rebels; but we are seeing a major shift in our society; and people who support weed are becoming the norm- not the exception. People who like weed are becoming emboldened, as more folks are willing to stand up and say “I like weed and I am a good person.” As the chorus grows louder with those words the walls of prohibition will continue to crumble. Soon enough the fight will be over and the next wave of work will begin.

But I cherish these moments and the people I am honored to work with in the fight for cannabis freedom. These are special days and weed brings together some of the most amazing people. I need to remind myself to take it all in because these days will not be here forever. Prohibition is ending; and as I look around and recognize the dedication and honor that many have brought to the battle field I am humbled to call them my friends, my fellow soldiers, and heroes.

As we march into our final battles look around you. Be thankful that such great people have stepped up to get this done. When the history books are written on cannabis reform, it will not be the snake-oil salesmen that will take up the pages. It will be the courageous folks who stood up and demanded an end to one of the most immoral policies ever put in place.

Thank you.

When being "nice" is no longer an option

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I try to never sugar coat things for people. Why? Because I find it only makes it that much more difficult on them when the truth comes to the surface. We are all adults here. You do not need me to coddle you and tell you everything will be okay. If you want to have that conversation call your mother.

Let’s start with folks outside of the weed movement. Our communities are filled with people who are “okay with weed being illegal.” Due to years of conditioning that weedheads are scofflaws and criminals, we often let people’s rhetoric go unchecked. Sometimes out of “respect” or sometimes because we are just too lazy to have a confrontation and reveal we are the stoner in the room.

Don’t do that any more. Our silence is their victory.

Challenge people’s position if they want to make cannabis users lesser people, or if they try to make weed out to be something evil. Do not give them a pass. Step right up and say “I like weed and I am a good person. Your position on cannabis is inaccurate and frankly, it is offensive.” Put them on notice. Quite being passive and letting this prohibitionist dialogue make the rounds without pushing back.

The time for being “nice” is long gone. We have spent the last few decades being nice and all we have gotten for it is a bloated and evil prison system that sucks up poor and minority folks at alarming rates, and a system that ruins their lives over weed and other drugs. When you wonder if you should say something, think about the poor kid getting pocket checked for his weed and hauled off to jail right at that moment because that happens nearly every hour of every day in this nation. That should make you angry. We are locking up our friends and neighbors for weed, and it is no longer acceptable.

It is our duty to make those who support these policies feel like complete shit. We need to make those who believe in the drug war myths, and who still spew the ignorant hyperbole of yesterday, feel like outcasts. Those views should no longer be welcome in our society, and it is up to us to demand that it stop now.

Being nice has gotten us nowhere fast. Begin telling people that it is no longer okay to treat us like criminals, or to search our property, or take our kids, or fire us from our jobs, or to treat us like lesser citizens because we like a safe, enjoyable, and helpful plant that has harmed no one.

Within our own circles we also have a lot of work to do. Our ranks are often cluttered with folks who are either just really stupid, or who have ill intentions to use our cause as a stepping stone to their fame and/or fortune.

There is a concerted effort to keep confrontation to a minimum in this industry, as people feel that any issue that may arise shines a bad light on our movement. But when we fail to confront issues, we allow for chaos to rule the day.

Don’t do that any more. Our silence is also our approval.

When people exploit our issue and use it to take advantage of others, or to sell their goods, we all lose. Not only is the message muddled, but our credibility is also tarnished. People say, “See. This whole industry is full of people like that. This is not about freedom or rights. It is just about drugs and money.” The good nature folks who have dedicated their life to this cause and plant are lumped in with the cannabis idiot circus because we have decided that being “nice” is easier than making waves.

So I have made it a point to have that difficult conversation within the movement, as well. It is not always easy, but often necessary. I have dedicated a lot of hours of my life to making weed legal for adults to use as they please, and I take personal offense to those who want to make that more difficult for me by exploiting the message and cause for their own personal gain.

I am the one who has to show up at City Council meetings and explain that this bullshit is not representative of our movement and industry. I have to justify your behavior and action to the masses, and try to explain why we are all not full of shit because of what you do. It is me who has to write letters to journalists to give the other side of the story when you have outright lied and inflated your position. It is us here on the ground who gets to clean up the mess left behind by your lofty ambitions and shitty planning.

So forgive me if my “nice” is turned off. I can not stomach standing by while you shit all over the chess board again.

Those who question my commitment to this movement because of my failure to be “nice” are likely not part of this movement at all.

WEED- A poem

WEED- A poem….by Mickey Martin

Master of the universe
Resinous flowers make me smile
So misunderstood and troublesome
Burning bush. How can plants create so much pain?
Understanding the future has never made the past make sense
So much work to do to restore order to the universe
Big magnet and persistence
When the job is done no one will remember how it got done
And that will be just fine by me
Freedom is boring in a good way
Smoke weed. Be a good person. Don’t give a fuck.

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I like weed and I am a good person.

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Ending cannabis prohibition can happen; and it can happen sooner than any of us think.

While we have seen great progress over the past months, there is still a lot of work to do to push this thing over the edge to its imminent death. The work begins with you and this simple message:

I LIKE WEED AND I AM A GOOD PERSON

If every person who enjoyed cannabis has the courage to stand up and be accounted for, we can end this thing. If we combat lies and misinformation with the real truth, that people like me and you like weed and we are good people who do not deserve to be treated like criminals or lesser citizens, we can end the madness.

Have that conversation. You will be surprised at the response.

Unfortunately, we live in a society that has spent the last four plus decades demonizing people who smoke weed, and more so, locking them up. A lot of people still live in that world. Many people have bought into the lies and automatically treat cannabis users like misfits and outlaws.

But when we stop them in their tracks and look them right in the eye and say “I LIKE WEED AND I AM A GOOD PERSON” they fold. They cannot argue with that. It is hard for a person to look another person in the eye and judge them for their weed use. People make broad generalizations, but when they have to equate their argument with a real person standing in front of them, they become cowards.

I do not care who it is. Talk to everyone. Let them know. We are here and we are not going anywhere. We do not deserve to have our car searched, or our kids taken, or lose our job, or be treated like lesser people for our choice to use weed. Tell your friends, family, the person in line at the grocery store, or even the moms on your kid’s soccer team….”I SMOKE WEED AND I AM A GOOD PERSON.”

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You will be amazed at the response.

Where we have failed is that we have allowed our fear of being treated differently, or arrested, to silence us. We have allowed the prohibitionists to run wild for so long with their tales of crime and addiction that we have lost the argument. When we do not stand up and call bullshit on these lies they fester and infect the dialogue of our population.

You hear it all the time….People are still wandering around talking about “the gateway theory” or painting stoners as “lazy and incompetent.” When the truth is WE ARE EVERYONE. We are your friends, neighbors, co-workers, and the person who makes your coffee in the morning. Most of us are extremely productive and GOOD PEOPLE.

You have nothing to be ashamed of ANY TIME EVER. If a person wants to think less of you because of your weed use then they are simply an inferior and misinformed human. It is sad, but it happens.

Most of these hypocrites are boozers who have no problem tying on an alcohol buzz and becoming a totally different person. They have been fooled into believing that since their drug of choice is legal that it is somehow better. What a bunch of idiots.

Alcohol kills people….LOTS of them. It causes people to neglect their relationships and make terrible decisions. It always amazes me when some half-drunk person begins talking about the evils of weed. That is when I look them in the eye and say “I like weed and I am a good person.” It causes them to reflect and think.

I am a good person. I have a good job, I work hard, I am a good father, and I handle my responsibilities. It is hard to argue that weed makes me any less of a good person.

In fact, it is easy for me to see how the calm and relaxing feeling that cannabis provides me actually makes me a better person. It is easy for me to look a person in the eye with confidence and let them know that I demand respect as a weedhead.

The days of being scared and ashamed are over. It is time for us to stand up and shine. We are right and they are wrong. We like weed and we are good people. We will no longer be kicked around and treated like crap. Society is behind us. we are winning.

So do me a favor….Take the message far and wide. Have the courage to have the conversation. Be that voice of reason and use your personal identity to support the cause. People know you, and they like you. If they all knew good people like you smoked weed they would be less inclined to hold onto their antiquated views from yesterday.

It is simple…..Say these words to whoever will listen and watch the world change before your eyes.

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Paranoia Don't Kill My Vibe

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What is wrong with the cannabis movement?

We are literally watching cannabis prohibition die before our very eyes; but if you looked around you one would think that Richard Nixon just got re-elected. It is one of the strangest sights I have ever seen.

Last week the US Department of Justice and US Attorney General Eric Holder dropped THE most groundbreaking policy changes in the history of cannabis. They decided to stand down on challenging laws for adult use legalization measures in Colorado and Washington State, and handed down directives that spell out clearly the allowance for state run cannabis programs. I spell out these changes in a piece called “The world has changed. Act like it already” here.

This should be a time for celebration. It is a HUGE victory for cannabis freedom.

But the rhetoric we are hearing coming from prominent activists, reform organizations, and so-called leaders is anything but. For some reason, many in our community have decided to take the “Fuck this. We are screwed. They are setting us up,” position. It is the wildest thing I have ever seen.

First we have David Downs writing these terribly evidenced pieces in the East Bay Express and Smell the Truth blogs where he is trying to claim that US Attorney for the Northern District, Melinda Haag will “continue her crackdown despite the feds.”

What a load of shit. Downs usually does better work, but one can tell that there is a desperation for any story that can shed light on what this will really mean for our community. BUT LOOK AND READ WHAT WAS ACTUALLY STATED:

Lili Arauzhaase, speaking for the US Attorneys Office in the Northern District told us:

“At this time the US Attorney is not releasing any public statements. The office is evaluating the new guidelines and for the most part it appears that the cases that have been brought in this district are already in compliance with the guidelines. Therefore, we do not expect a significant change.”

So big D-Downs calls Haag’s office the day the memo comes out and gets this Lili person on the phone. Awesome. When he questions her about Haag’s response to the memo, she says “we are not releasing any public statements.” What that means is that there IS NO OFFICIAL STATEMENT FROM HAAG. That is pretty clear from the beginning there, right?

But the person goes on to defend her boss’ work, stating “…for the most part it appears that the cases that have been brought in this district are already in compliance with the guidelines. Therefore, we do not expect a significant change.”

Downs takes this and runs with it. “THE SKY IS FALLING! HAAG SAID SHE DID NOTHING WRONG AND THERE WILL BE NO CHANGES! THE SKY IS FALLING.” What a delightful story to splash across the blogosphere to get people to read your stuff.

The problem? It is not exactly what was said, nor is it anywhere near an official statement. It is a low level staffer trying to save face from a reporter looking for an angle.

And even what was said shows no backbone of confidence….last time I checked “for the most part” meant we have been wrong on some accounts and “no significant changes” meant that some changes were apparent. And remember, this is backpedaling minutes after the memo dropped in a non-official statement from the person answering the phones. Even this knee-jerk “we did nothing wrong unofficial statement” shows clues of change. In fact, it states there will be change, just not “significant,” whatever that means.

But I expect this type of hyperbole from David Downs. I love the guy, but at the end of the day he is a reporter and his job is to sell interest in his story. The more sensationalist one can make a piece the more hits it gets, and interest it draws, and more ads are sold. Pretty easy equation there.

He also fails to mention that each district will have to develop specific guidelines for their district and submit them to the USDOJ in Washington for review. Holder mentioned it in his historic statement on sentencing reform just two weeks before the cannabis memo stating:

This means that federal prosecutors cannot – and should not – bring every case or charge every defendant who stands accused of violating federal law.  Some issues are best handled at the state or local level.  And that’s why I have today directed the United States Attorney community to develop specific, locally-tailored guidelines – consistent with our national priorities – for determining when federal charges should be filed, and when they should not.

Maybe we should let Melinda Haag do her homework on this and develop specific guidelines before we rush to judgement based on some loose phone conversation with a peon, no?

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But the disappointing part is that Americans for Safe Access, the nation’s largest medical cannabis advocacy organization decided to jump in on THE SKY IS FALLING party and gin up some good old fashioned paranoia for their followers. Here is what ASA spokesperson Kris Hermes added to Downs piece to really send the community into a tailspin:

Kris Hermes, spokesperson for advocacy group Americans for Safe Access called the Haag office’s statement: “unsettling.”

There’s huge disconnect between national Justice Department policy and local U.S. Attorney practices, Hermes said. For example, Attorney General Eric Holder has told Congress that federal prosecutors were only going after medical marijuana operators who were also breaking state law.

“Of the hundreds of dispensaries that the Justice Dept. has shut down by way of threats to their landlords, in almost all of those cases, there was no violation of state law,” he said.

The cities of Berkeley and Oakland are suing to stop Ms. Haag from closing their permitted dispensaries. More than 50 California jurisdictions have regulated medical pot distribution.

“In San Francisco, if you look at the number of facilities that have been forced to close over the last year, none of them fit the criteria of the guidelines that have just been issued by the Justice Department. None of them,” Hermes said.

“I think we’re being sold a bill of goods and Haag is turning around and doing whatever she wants. The free rein the Justice Dept. has given its U.S. Attorneys has to be pulled in and Haag has to be forced to answer for her actions,” Hermes said.

So Kris Hermes, based on this loosely worded statement from a phone answering schlep given on the day of a new policy change, uses this as the basis to come out publicly and state “WE ARE BEING SOLD A BILL OF GOODS?” Really? This is how our leading advocacy organizations choose to respond to non-official statements from US Attorney staffers?

Seems a bit overblown and unnecessary from where I am sitting. Why rush to judgement? What does one gain by casting doubt on the policy shift on cannabis? Whatever could an organization gain by working to pump the breaks on the most groundbreaking reform ever to hit the cannabis community?

“We are being sold a bill of goods. You should donate more money for us to continue fighting this travesty” is what I hear.

But ASA is not alone. I have heard a number of prominent activists use terms like “cautious optimism.” Let me get right at that….

CAUTIOUS OPTIMISM IS STILL OPTIMISM. WHAT IS HAPPENING IN MANY REFORM CIRCLES IS NOT OPTIMISM AT ALL; BUT AN OVERT ATTEMPT TO UNDERMINE PROGRESS TO SAVE POSITION AND MAINTAIN SOME SEMBLANCE OF THE STATUS QUO TO PROTECT THEIR VERY EXISTENCE.

People see the writing on the wall, and understand it is just a matter of time before nobody needs to donate money to your weed reform group because the world has indeed changed. That can be a hard pill for many to swallow. Something they have dedicated their lives to is disappearing before their very eyes, and they are struggling to come to terms with that.

I fell for their loss…..not.

This is the game we all signed up for; at least I thought we did. Work our asses off to make weed legal and celebrate when we succeed. WE ARE SUCCEEDING.

Yet, in my life I have never been so depressed from interacting with the cannabis community. Instead of being excited that our justice Department is putting clear cannabis reform on the table and calling for a huge overhaul of the sentencing and prison programs, our community has decided to sound the alarms and call the whole thing a giant trap.

“We are being set up” and “Don’t fall for it” are pretty common catch phrases on Facebook and Twitter these days. It is almost like we have no idea what to do with a victory and choose to parlay any victory into a forgone defeat to appease our need for chaos and confusion. I am sure any enforcement action, even if it is some jackass sending a million pounds to Kansas or some shit, will be clear evidence that proves the paranoid losers point of view.

It is a shame to watch this sense of defeat and fear take over the dialogue in this movement at a time we should all be proud of our work and celebrating a historic victory.

I am not naive enough to think that everything will get better overnight; but things ARE getting better…and quickly too.

No…everyone was not let out of prison in the first week; and all lawsuits happening were not automatically dismissed. The world does not work like that unfortunately. But I am more hopeful now than I ever have been before that the beginning of the end is upon us.

I believe we will begin to see some released from prison near the holidays and I think we will see a significant drop in enforcement across the board. I think California will finally take up regulations for the industry this fall. I think state legislatures and initiative backers are accelerating their timelines and we will see more states come online for adult use cannabis and medical cannabis way before any 2016 BS. I believe we will see some cases dropped and others not prosecuted as vigorously. I think there will be REAL AND MEANINGFUL CHANGE.

“But we have heard it all before. It is just more lies,” says the paranoid weenie loser activist wannabe reformer.

No we haven’t. We have never heard this.

I am not sure what some folks stand to gain by automatically rejecting the olive leaf and publicly admonishing the most historic shift in cannabis policy in history; but I hope it works out for them. I hope that wandering around trying to convince people the sky is falling is good for their bottom line or their soul.

But to me you just look like a bunch of paranoid assholes trying to retard progress by stoking the fire of fear with your dumbass paranoia. Bitch don’t kill my vibe……please. Thanks.

The world has changed. Act like it already.

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Yesterday the world of weed changed dramatically, no matter what the paranoid “sky is falling” stoners want to tell you.

The US Department of Justice and the nation’s top cop, Eric Holder, released a memo yesterday that allows for Colorado and Washington to move forward with their adult use cannabis programs without interference (and states with medical programs); as long as the programs do not cross certain boundaries and are well regulated. The announcement is a watershed moment in cannabis reform, no matter what your tin-foil hat conspiracy buddies want to tell you about it being a trap .

Sometimes the world changes. I cannot fathom how a person could read the memo released and come away feeling more paranoid than before. Here is the beginning of the memo for review, and we will get to the real ground breaking shit in the second half in a minute:

Office of the Deputy Attorney General
August 29, 2013MEMORANDUM FOR ALL UNITED STATES ATTORNEYS

FROM: James M. Cole, Deputy Attorney General

SUBJECT: Guidance Regarding Marijuana Enforcement

In October 2009 and June 2011, the Department issued guidance to federal prosecutors concerning marijuana enforcement under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). This memorandum updates that guidance in light of state ballot initiatives that legalize under state law the possession of small amounts of marijuana and provide for the regulation of marijuana production, processing, and sale.The guidance set forth herein applies to all federal enforcement activity, including civil enforcement and criminal investigations and prosecutions, concerning marijuana in all states.
(TRANSLATION: THE PEOPLE HAVE SPOKEN AND WE HAVE UPDATED OUR MARCHING ORDERS. THE GUIDANCE IN THIS MEMO APPLIES TO ALL FEDERAL ENFORCEMENT ACTIVITY. THIS MEANS YOU!)As the Department noted in its previous guidance, Congress has determined that marijuana is a dangerous drug and that the illegal distribution and sale of marijuana is a serious crime that provides a significant source of revenue to large-scale criminal enterprises, gangs, and cartels. The Department of Justice is committed to enforcement of the CSA consistent with those determinations. The Department is also committed to using its limited investigative and prosecutorial resources to address the most significant threats in the most effective, consistent, and rational way. In furtherance of those objectives, as several states enacted laws relating to the use of marijuana for medical purposes, the Department in recent years has focused its efforts on certain enforcement priorities that are particularly important to the federal government:

(Some have pointed to this statement as evidence that there is NO sweeping change happening. I beg to differ. I also beg to remind people that while there has been enforcement, there has also been a lot of weed sales tolerated over the past years too.)
  1. Preventing the distribution of marijuana to minors; (Cool with that)
  2. Preventing revenue from the sale of marijuana from going to criminal enterprises, gangs, and cartels; (Cool with that)
  3. Preventing the diversion of marijuana from states where it is legal under state law in some form to other states; (Extra cool with that. Why? Because defining the difference in diversion from states where it is legal to those where it is not seemingly opens the door for interstate commerce from states where it is legal to other states where it is legal, no? Maybe wishful thinking, but I am an optimist.)
  4. Preventing state-authorized marijuana activity from being used as a cover or pretext for the trafficking of other illegal drugs or other illegal activity; (Cool with that. stay off the dope)
  5. Preventing violence and the use of firearms in the cultivation and distribution of marijuana; (Cool with that, hate violence and guns.)
  6. Preventing drugged driving and the exacerbation of other adverse public health consequences associated with marijuana use; (Cool with that. even WA states flawed DUI bill has not resulted in mass arrests…just Seattle PD handing out Doritos at Hempfest)
  7. Preventing the growing of marijuana on public lands and the attendant public safety and environmental dangers posed by marijuana production on public lands; and (Cool with that. If I gotta pay rent, so do you)
  8. Preventing marijuana possession or use on federal property. (Cool with that. I was in Yosemite the other day burning fat joints and no one seemed to notice or care. The world has changed)

These priorities will continue to guide the Department’s enforcement of the CSA against marijuana-related conduct. Thus, this memorandum serves as guidance to Department attorneys and law enforcement to focus their enforcement resources and efforts, including prosecution, on persons or organizations whose conduct interferes with any one or more of these priorities, regardless of state law.

Now the big paranoid response to this is that “This is just like the Ogden memo and look how many people got fucked on that one.”

I love our movement’s Utopian rewriting of history on this one. If you listened to our side of the argument, everyone behaved like Saints after the first memo, and this completely out of left field attack was made on our peaceful Dudley-Do-Right community of non-profit weed caregivers. OH THE TRAGEDY!!!

But I was there. I remember the day the Ogden memo came out. I also recall that it inspired the Colorado legislature to develop and implement the program there that has been mostly successful and has allowed for more people to get in the game and make some money under a state sanctioned program than ever before.

I also recall that every jackass with a few thousand bucks of weed and a cash register opened a dispensary in areas with no regulation and when the local planning commission questioned them, or decided they did not want that use in their jurisdiction, they all decided to sue the city, tell the sheriff to eat a bowl of dicks, and disregarded public sentiment based on their belief that Attorney General Eric Holder had given them the right to do whatever they pleased.

I also remember every alternative weekly rag in the State of California filling up with ads of half-naked broads hovering over a smoking bong offering weed sacks for $25. I recall jackass dispensaries doing flier drops at high schools. I remember every weed grower doubling their garden size and pushing their weight to the max. I remember dispensaries setting up shop right next door to day cares and telling the day care operators that they just needed to deal with it.

But the enforcement that followed the Ogden memo had nothing to do with our behaviors. Nothing. It was all just a trap to arrest a very small percentage of the industry and to charge them with crimes so that we could pack the jails with unsuspecting dispensary operators who were complete and total angels. (rolls eyes)

Now do not get it twisted…..I am not supporting or defending the enforcement actions of this administration; but I am also not naive enough to think that our overzealous actions following the memo had zero to do with it all.

Shit rolls uphill before it rolls downhill. If we piss off enough local officials, law enforcement, and concerned citizens they are going to demand that something be done. When we take the position of a free-for-all race to the bottom, are we surprised when local and state officials demand the feds take enforcement actions?

Were there some cases brought where the people who were targeted did not deserve it? YES. Absolutely yes. That is the sad and unfortunate part of law enforcement. From reading the discovery in my case, I can tell you for certain that these dudes know a hell of a lot less than we think they do. It does not surprise me when a good dude like Chris Williams is caught up in the nightmare because law enforcement has no idea of who is who, or what is what, in this evolving landscape of limited weed enforcement.

Now we can choose to be skeptics and see this momentous shift in federal enforcement policy as “more of the same,” or as some have dubbed it “Ogden v.2.0.” That would be a huge mistake and here is why….it disregards the entire second half of the memo and the SWEEPING instructions it gives as to how to interact with state licensed programs. Check it out:

Outside of these enforcement priorities, the federal government has traditionally relied on states and local law enforcement agencies to address marijuana activity through enforcement of their own narcotics laws. For example, the Department of Justice has not historically devoted resources to prosecuting individuals whose conduct is limited to possession of small amounts of marijuana for personal use on private property. Instead, the Department has left such lower-level or localized activity to state and local authorities and has stepped in to enforce the CSA only when the use, possession, cultivation, or distribution of marijuana has threatened to cause one of the harms identified above.
(Here is the set up for the kicker. basic translation: We have already allowed states to enforce, or not enforce, the CSA at their discretion for possession and low level stuff)
(But peep this out. Here is where this memo departs from Ogden in a HUGE way.)
The enactment of state laws that endeavor to authorize marijuana production, distribution, and possession by establishing a regulatory scheme for these purposes affects this traditional joint federal-state approach to narcotics enforcement.(The world has changed) The Department’s guidance in this memorandum rests on its expectation that states and local governments that have enacted laws authorizing marijuana-related conduct will implement strong and effective regulatory and enforcement systems that will address the threat those state laws could pose to public safety, public health, and other law enforcement interests.(Since the world has changed, we are going to have to trust that states with these programs know what they are doing) A system adequate to that task must not only contain robust controls and procedures on paper; it must also be effective in practice.(If the state has an effective program that is really working, we must respect it) Jurisdictions that have implemented systems that provide for regulation of marijuana activity must provide the necessary resources and demonstrate the willingness to enforce their laws and regulations in a manner that ensures they do not undermine federal enforcement priorities. (If the local and state authorities are doing their job and making sure their programs do not violate one of the 8 points above, then we should leave them alone)In jurisdictions that have enacted laws legalizing marijuana in some form and that have also implemented strong and effective regulatory and enforcement systems to control the cultivation, distribution, sale, and possession of marijuana, conduct in compliance with those laws and regulations is less likely to threaten the federal priorities set forth above.(If these states put their best foot forward in regulating these systems, we should leave them alone) Indeed, a robust system may affirmatively address those priorities by, for example, implementing effective measures to prevent diversion of marijuana outside of the regulated system and to other states, prohibiting access to marijuana by minors, and replacing an illicit marijuana trade that funds criminal enterprises with a tightly regulated market in which revenues are tracked and accounted for.(Further clarification….”If the program is working and not crossing our boundaries then we should leave them alone). In those circumstances, consistent with the traditional allocation of federal-state efforts in this area, enforcement of state law by state and local law enforcement and regulatory bodies should remain the primary means of addressing marijuana-related activity. (PAY ATTENTION HERE! STATE LAWS AND THEIR ENFORCEMENT SHOULD TAKE PRECEDENT!!!!) If state enforcement efforts are not sufficiently robust to protect against the harms set forth above, the federal government may seek to challenge the regulatory structure itself in addition to continuing to bring individual enforcement actions, including criminal prosecutions, focused on those harms. (Just as important….IF YOU FUCK UP AND DO NOT DO A GOOD JOB OF ENFORCING AND REGULATING YOUR SYSTEM WE WILL BE FORCED TO TAKE ACTION. I am guessing they are talking directly to us here my fellow Californians.)

The Department’s previous memoranda specifically addressed the exercise of prosecutorial discretion in states with laws authorizing marijuana cultivation and distribution for medical use. In those contexts, the Department advised that it likely was not an efficient use of federal resources to focus enforcement efforts on seriously ill individuals, or on their individual caregivers. In doing so, the previous guidance drew a distinction between the seriously ill and their caregivers, on the one hand, and large-scale, for-profit commercial enterprises, on the other, and advised that the latter continued to be appropriate targets for federal enforcement and prosecution. In drawing this distinction, the Department relied on the common-sense judgment that the size of a marijuana operation was a reasonable proxy for assessing whether marijuana trafficking implicates the federal enforcement priorities set forth above. (BIG ONE HERE! We know we issued you a memo before about medical marijuana that may have given the impression that ONLY small users and sick people were not to be targeted. We sort of told you that if a place was big enough that they might be a good target….now read the NEXT paragraph where they say they were wrong!)

As explained above, however, both the existence of a strong and effective state regulatory system, and an operation’s compliance with such a system, may allay the threat that an operation’s size poses to federal enforcement interests.(This is fucking money right here. “However…we were wrong. If there is a strong regulatory system in place that the organization is in compliance with then the size of their operation should not matter. That is huge.) Accordingly, in exercising prosecutorial discretion, prosecutors should not consider the size or commercial nature of a marijuana operation alone as a proxy for assessing whether marijuana trafficking implicates the Department’s enforcement priorities listed above.(You can no longer send letters and press forfeiture or criminal charges on people just because they are big and popular. The place has to actually violate one of the issues listed above. This is a shot across the bow of Northern District US Attorney Melinda Haag and I am sure Harborside and BPG are extremely thrilled.) Rather, prosecutors should continue to review marijuana cases on a case-by-case basis and weigh all available information and evidence, including, but not limited to, whether the operation is demonstrably in compliance with a strong and effective state regulatory system.(Instead of making some bullshit decision to prosecute based on size you must actually do some work and see if the group is in compliance or not with state law. That is a huge fucking victory.) A marijuana operation’s large scale or for-profit nature may be a relevant consideration for assessing the extent to which it undermines a particular federal enforcement priority. The primary question in all cases – and in all jurisdictions – should be whether the conduct at issue implicates one or more of the enforcement priorities listed above. (Your marching orders are listed above and your cases should only involve issues that violate one of the 8 reasonable principles listed above).

So when I hear the lunatic fringe of cannabis dismiss this memo based on their “once bitten-twice shy” view of the situation, I have to wonder if they are reading the same memo as I am. When I hear the “Don’t fall for it. It is a trap” bullshit floating around, I have to step back and wonder if some people will ever really allow the world to change.

Is there a reason to move forward with caution and to hold the administration’s feet to the fire? Yes. Of course.

Is there also a reason to celebrate this huge victory and be hopeful that the world has indeed changed in our favor? Do we benefit more by automatically rejecting this historic policy shift in hopes of being right that it is some big trap? Does it make sense that the USDOJ would put forth such a robust memorandum and waste the administration’s political capital, only to trap a few more unsuspecting weedheads in the depths of their bloated prison system? Really? I just do not see it like that…..

The infamous Ogden memo was released in Obama’s first year in office. it was watered down and weak, and it was unfortunately misinterpreted heavily by both people in our movement and industry, as well as law enforcement and prosecutors. It was a politically correct and wishy-washy declaration that left a lot to be desired. It was carefully worded to not give too much power to either side of the argument, and it resulted in some bad behavior and terrible enforcement.

But it also allowed for the industry to flourish in many ways too. There is no denying that. The Ogden memo changed the game then, which is why it was so disappointing to see the administration pull back on it and appease law enforcement and NIMBY politicians with bullshit enforcement aimed at limiting Ogden’s impact. But there would be no Colorado or Washington systems in place without the Ogden memo, so remember that too in your “the sky is falling” hyperbole.

Now let me explain the last paragraph of the new memo for those who choose to disregard the entire content of this directive to look for their cynical place in history. Here is the part of the memo that declares that the USDOJ is not allowing a free-for-all and will still support the prosecutors overall decisions:

As with the Department’s previous statements on this subject, this memorandum is intended solely as a guide to the exercise of investigative and prosecutorial discretion. (This memo does not change the law because we cannot do that. It is meant to provide direction to our US Attorneys) This memorandum does not alter in any way the Department’s authority to enforce federal law, including federal laws relating to marijuana, regardless of state law.(We are not giving up our right to enforce Federal laws if we want to.) Neither the guidance herein nor any state or local law provides a legal defense to a violation of federal law, including any civil or criminal violation of the CSA.(This does not give away pour right to prosecute if we really want to. we can still hang your ass if you get out of line)Even in jurisdictions with strong and effective regulatory systems, evidence that particular conduct threatens federal priorities will subject that person or entity to federal enforcement action, based on the circumstances.(Even if you are in a state with a good program, but threaten our system based on the 8 points above, we will come and bust your ass.) This memorandum is not intended to, does not, and may not be relied upon to create any rights, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law by any party in any matter civil or criminal.(This is a memo, and not a change in law. We cannot do that, so this memo is not evidence of guilt or innocence should we drag your ass to court.) It applies prospectively to the exercise of prosecutorial discretion in future cases and does not provide defendants or subjects of enforcement action with a basis for reconsideration of any pending civil action or criminal prosecution.(This memo is meant to direct US Attorneys to not prosecute most weed cases that are in compliance with state laws; but if we do, this is not a legally binding document that will get you off the hook. It is a suggestion to our staff.) Finally, nothing herein precludes investigation or prosecution, even in the absence of any one of the factors listed above, in particular circumstances where investigation and prosecution otherwise serves an important federal interest.(If one of our own decides to come after you, this document was not created for you to defend yourself with. If you fly across our radar, we can still come and fuck with you if we want.)

This is the paragraph that has everyone’s panties in a ruffle it would seem.

I do not get it. This is boilerplate “we reserve the right to do our job regardless of what this memo says” stuff. Of course they are going to make this qualification. They are not going to leave their people blowing  in the wind.

All of the flack they caught from the lack of this clarity in the Ogden memo has made them certainly clarify their position. I do not think we could expect them to say “this memo is now the law of the land and if our enforcement divisions or prosecutors charge you with a crime, just show them this memo as evidence that you are free to go.”

I understand that some people will not acknowledge change has happened until there is a 100% stand down and our brothers and sisters are all released from prison. I appreciate that vigilance; but it also fails to recognize the momentous progress we have made and the fact that the world IS CHANGING rapidly.

If we cannot get on board and act like the world is changing then who will? If we cannot understand the huge victory this memo was for our community and continue to move forward and make these changes real and lasting in our community, then who will?

The world has changed. Act like it.

Or run around acting like everyone is out to get us and that this is just some trap to take your weed garden again. I will choose to have my glass be half full on this one. Join me is a toast to cannabis freedom.

I am going to write Eric Holder a thank you card today. Positive reinforcement can only help.

Fear and Loathing in Medical Cannabis

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I often wonder how we got here. I mean…I know how we got here from standing here for so long. But how did we really get down the rabbit hole into this incredibly complex interwoven jumblefuck of laws and policies we call medical cannabis?

….the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry

Medical cannabis is wonderful. For those who use cannabis as a therapeutic agent solely, cannabis is a miracle. I know a lot of these folks…People who use cannabis sparingly to mitigate their symptoms to increase their quality of life. There are real cannabis healing miracles happening all over. Medical cannabis is amazing.

But is it enough?

Of course not. In fact, it can be quite debilitating. Sure….California, Colorado, and Washington have fairly robust and easy to access programs in place. But the programs we see developing in other states is incredibly burdensome, and to many, just not worth the hassle.

Why? Because the categorization of “medical” is the most restrictive category to all out legalization.

So in many states we see the “You want medical? We will give you medical” phenomena.

Look at New Jersey. After several years they finally opened a dispensary only to have it shut back down due to lack of medicine this summer just months after opening. Maine has a very limited program in place. with a very small portion of the population there signing up as patients, and they have had issues with pesticides because of the strict medical organic cultivation standards required there. Washington DC has a rigid program in place that only allows patients on their death bed access. Connecticut requires a licensed pharmacist risk their license to dispense there. Rhode Island finally has its first dispensary open after a four year struggle deciding what was medical enough. Massachusetts has vowed to implement a rigid program. Illinois has vowed to implement an even more rigid one.

Do you see a pattern here?

We are going backwards. Access is becoming more difficult…not easier. There is theoretically more of it, as more states come on line; but it is getting more difficult and less cost effective for people to even participate in. They are adding more and more limitations to programs and making it more difficult for patients in many ways, including making cannabis WAY more expensive. New Jersey’s dispensary was selling medicine for $600 an ounce? YIKES!

We continue to build barriers to entry into the system. Not just for people who need a million bucks just to get started in some states; but also just the average patient. What patient on SSI can afford $600 for an ounce? Or even $300 for that matter. It can be a lot.

Yet we continue to sell the medical angle almost exclusively. It is like our old fall back. It has worked, and we continue to double down.

Instead of saying, “I like weed, and I am a good person,” we are quick to point out how CBD is “not even psychoactive” and is a “miracle for everything that ails you.” It is like we are so scared of being lumped in as a pothead for our love of being high that we have decided that it is easier to say “See…I am not even trying to get high. I just really need my medicine (in huge amounts many times a day).”

Yeah. I need my medicine too…..it happens to be getting high.

Why do I have to be a bad guy because I like weed for more than just medical reasons? I have medical issues, but I certainly do not just use cannabis solely as a medicine. I smoke weed to make life more enjoyable.

I quit drinking over 5 years ago (best thing I ever did). Booze are not a good option for me. Weed is. I am not ashamed of that. I refuse to be.

Yet we still see a large majority of our time, energy, and resources being put towards promoting the restrictive classification of medical marijuana and only promoting its therapeutic uses, when the real argument is that we should end prohibition and stop the madness.

Change the dialogue and change the game….

If we begin to move away from demanding our medical rights, to insisting upon our right to use cannabis safely as an adult for whatever we see fit, we CAN get past this medical cannabis regulatory nightmare. We CAN make it happen. We can end mass incarceration.

Or we can continue to beg for the world’s strictest and most expensive regulatory models, and not be surprised when decent weed still costs $60 an eighth for another couple of decades. The choice is ours and ours alone.

Why I Changed Your Mind on Weed

by Mickey Martin

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I was heartened to see television personality and part-time physician, Dr. Sanjay Gupta come out the other day and apologize for hips previous ill-conceived hyperbole about cannabis. His piece, “Why I changed my mind on weed,” has been making the rounds on social media and in the press.

Gupta had this to say about his previous stance on marijuana:

I had steadily reviewed the scientific literature on medical marijuana from the United States and thought it was fairly unimpressive. Reading these papers five years ago, it was hard to make a case for medicinal marijuana. I even wrote about this in a TIME magazine article, back in 2009, titled “Why I would Vote No on Pot.”

Well, I am here to apologize.

I apologize because I didn’t look hard enough, until now. I didn’t look far enough. I didn’t review papers from smaller labs in other countries doing some remarkable research, and I was too dismissive of the loud chorus of legitimate patients whose symptoms improved on cannabis.

Apology accepted….Kind of.

I mean it is kind of offensive to think that you spewed your positions demonizing cannabis for so many years without “looking hard enough.” Not that you are the end all where doctors and research are concerned, but your very high profile position as a leading medical corespondent for a major news network does give you some ethical and moral responsibility to actually maybe “look harder” before using your bully pulpit to mislead the entire world.

How does a person take such a strong and definitive position on something without actually taking a good hard look at it? Especially when your position is resulting in an incredible level of mass incarceration and the loss of rights and standing for people who use cannabis?

How many other strong positions have you taken that you might have failed to take a hard look at too?

Maybe your positions are less health-based than they are based in your desire to be a TV star and appease the many drug companies who sponsor your show on CNN? Maybe your desire to be a vital mouthpiece for the Obama administration has skewed your ability to really see things for what they are? Maybe you are just a paid shill who lacks any integrity and are now changing your position to get on the right side of history before the world changes forever?

Who knows? What is clear is that you often take very public positions without really doing your homework.  How can one even look at your new found position on cannabis as anything other than another shift by a guy who has a tendency to take positions based on politics and glamour than actual medical or scientific research? I mean…yeah. it is great you are coming around, but why now?

Your sincerity on these issues is questionable at best because of your often obvious “evolving position” on hot button topics. You blow in the political winds, which is not exactly where I want my doctor to be. I would not go to a physician that did not believe in stem cell research because of his political and/or religious views. I want a doctor who will give me the treatment that I need, regardless of how it makes his pastor feel about him. I want that in my “journalists” too.

But enough of beating up on Gupta. At least he had the courage to apologize for his past lies and misleading of people.

He joins the ranks of SO MANY people who are changing their mind on weed. Why? Because we are changing their mind one conversation and valid point after another. The world is changing because we are changing it. We will not be silenced.

Every day more people are standing up and saying “I like weed and I am a good person.” That is a powerful statement and one people cannot argue with. When we personalize our struggle as a person who enjoys cannabis we make it real for folks. It is easy to take a hardline position against weed in theory and believe you have some moral higher ground based on the illegal status of weed. But when a real person…a  friend or family member…has the courage to look that person in the eye an tell them that they like weed and do not deserve to be persecuted for enjoying a safe, enjoyable, and helpful plant that person has a choice to make. They must decide if their position, and beliefs, are correct any more. How can a person look at their friend or family member who enjoys cannabis responsibly and tell them to their face they deserve to go to jail, have their house searched violently, and deserve to lose their kids because they like weed?

They can’t. That is why we are winning.

Just like gay marriage, as people have the courage to stand up and change a mind or two by personalizing the debate, we see people’s hardened and cruel positions evaporate. The “coming out” of weedheads is what is changing the debate.

We are changing it because we have to. Because it is us who will have to end this thing. The powerful and money-hungry prohibitionists will not give up unless we take them to the mat and kill their game once and for all. When we can begin to shift the focus from the lies about weed to the evils of the policies against weed and the real devastating affects they have had on our society, we win.

CHANGE IS COMING!!!!

And it might come as early as next week. I have long stated that we will see a dramatic policy shift on weed this summer. My “Legal By Summer” campaign is based on the idea that social and political pressure for a step back in the war on cannabis is growing at incredible rates. With the adult use legalization measures passing in WA and CO last fall it is difficult to see how the administration can do anything except for surrender their crusade against weed. It is not working, and it is no longer worth wasting political capital to enforce bad laws. If the administration’s policy statement was going to be “Sorry. Screw you. We are continuing to interfere with state law” they would have made that statement already.

It is obvious that they are looking for a time and some political space to ease the policies back and they are trying to find a graceful way to do it. Which is why I was very excited to hear Eric Holder’s interview with NPR this week where he stated that new policies and reform were coming, and coming soon, to the USDOJ.

Here is an excerpt from US Attorney general Eric Holder’s interview with NPR:

“The war on drugs is now 30, 40 years old,” Holder said. “There have been a lot of unintended consequences. There’s been a decimation of certain communities, in particular communities of color.”

That’s one reason why the Justice Department has had a group of lawyers working behind the scenes for months on proposals the attorney general could present as early as next week in a speech to the American Bar Association in San Francisco.

Some of the items are changes Holder can make on his own, such as directing U.S. attorneys not to prosecute certain kinds of low-level drug crimes, or spending money to send more defendants into treatment instead of prison. Almost half of the 219,000 people currently in federal prison are serving time on drug charges.\

“Well, we can certainly change our enforcement priorities, and so we have some control in that way,” Holder said. “How we deploy our agents, what we tell our prosecutors to charge, but I think this would be best done if the executive branch and the legislative branch work together to look at this whole issue and come up with changes that are acceptable to both.”

So could this speech at the American Bar Association in SF next week be the moment we have all been waiting for? Sure…why not?

Now that the “political scandal” BS has mostly passed, and Congress is on a five week break from Washington, what better time to drop the big news that we will no longer be actively pursuing taking people to jail for weed in states that allow for it? What policy shift could do more to decrease prison overcrowding for stupid non-violent drug crimes than stopping the reefer madness? None.

Weed prohibition has enabled law enforcement to search and prosecute mostly poor people for crimes at an alarming rate. This prohibition has given the green light to drug warriors to ruin people’s lives and decimate our communities.

The time for change is NOW. The reason why I changed your mind on weed is simple…because you were wrong. Be a good person like Sanjay Gupta and admit you were wrong and move on. Anything less is just uncivilized.

Legal by summer, bitches…..

FREE EDDY LEPP

This article originally ran in West Coast Cannabis in 2009. Still relevant today….Free Eddy Lepp.

FREE EDDY LEPP!

Old Man Gets a Decade in Prison for Growing Some Plants

It was crazy windy. Debris was blowing around the streets of San Francisco at a fevered pace. The wind was howling through the skyscrapers on the skyline.  The Reverend Eddy Lepp was wearing flip-flops; a suit jacket, a small brim pinstripe fedora with a Rasta colored band, some blue jeans, and flip-flops. It was May 18th, 2009 and this was the day Eddy would face federal sentencing for his role in the cultivation of over 30,000 cannabis plants. He would receive a mandatory minimum sentence of ten years in federal prison from Federal District Judge Marilyn Hall Patel before a courtroom packed with supporters.

No matter what your views are on cannabis, I think we can all agree that a decade is an awful long time for growing some plants. For Eddy, it may be a death sentence. This 57-year-old man has seen a lot and his health is not what it used to be. A lot of thanks for a man who served his country proud in his military days and whose crime hurt nobody. It is a sad day for society when rapists and murderers receive less time than a gardener. But maybe a gardener is a bit too plain for Reverend Lepp, as he is much more than simply that. He is also a dedicated political activist and a Rastafarian Minister. He is a caring soul and a generally happy guy who is always smiling. Even on this cold and windy day where he saw a decade of his life evaporate before his eyes he manages a smile.

Eddy has fought his fair share of battles for the medical cannabis movement and to him this was just another step in the process to freeing this plant from tyranny. Eddy began cultivating full-time in 1996 when California passed Prop. 215. He was the first person to test the legal system on this new law, as he was arrested, tried, and acquitted for growing medicinal cannabis. He was driven to growing cannabis to serve the medical needs of his loving wife, Linda, who was dealing with a second bout with cancer. Eddy saw how cannabis had given his father a decent quality of life in his final days fighting cancer and he decided that it was his duty to his wife to grow this healing and beneficial plant. Linda Senti lost her fight with cancer in the midst of Eddy’s battle with the federal government. She was not there to see her husband convicted in a short two-day trial that was anything but fair.

In trial Eddy was not allowed to bring forth a religious or medical defense to explain his purpose for growing cannabis. He was railroaded into fighting with his hands tied behind his back, but he was unwilling to accept that he had done anything wrong and refused to accept a plea agreement from the prosecution. He still does not regret his decision. “The only thing I regret is that these conflicts in laws are the reason I am going to prison,” declared the Reverend. “If I had to do it all again, I would do it just the same. I have done nothing wrong.” And in a sense he is correct. The laws that lead him to commit these crimes are unclear and misleading. Without a clear framework many folks like Eddy have been made into criminals for growing medicinal plants. It is unacceptable.

Don’t get me wrong. Eddy Lepp is no Saint. He is from the school of hard knocks, tells crass jokes, chases most women, and curses like he just banged his thumb with a hammer. But he is also a caring, courageous, friendly, and smart man who does not deserve to spend his final days on this planet locked up for growing cannabis. “I think the reason they are so pissed at me is because they felt embarrassed. Because I grew so openly and highway 20 ran right down the middle of it, they felt I was slapping my dick in the face of the DEA. This was never my motivation,” says Lepp. “I never wanted all of this bullshit to happen.”

Eddy took a rough road in his battle with the federal government. Medical cannabis activists and political organizations turned their back on Lepp because of his religious use defense. They saw it as a far too risky political statement and it did not fit within the parameters of their work, even though his farm was named Eddy’s Medicinal Gardens. “These organizations don’t want me to succeed anymore than the government does,” said Lepp. “If I win they are all out of business. You gotta ask yourself, with all of the money donated, couldn’t more have been done to create real change after 40 years of fighting these laws? Hell. I have done more myself to change the laws than some of these well-funded organizations.” He admits that the leaders and staff of these organizations are all likable and that some are even his close friends, but he is frustrated with the lack of direct action he sees from them at times.

And maybe he has done more himself for the movement. Lepp says his legacy lies in the proliferation of cannabis farming and the way that people approach gardening. “When I began growing no one dared grow over 100 plants. Now there are sprawling cannabis farms all over northern California,” says Eddy. “I believe my vision to grow affordable medication with no government involvement did a lot to show others that they too can expand their horizons.” There is some truth in that too. Eddy set the bar so high that many others felt comfortable in growing larger gardens and serving more patients.

Eddy’s work with the Rastafarian religion is a way of life to him. He believes he was born a Rasta. In the late 90’s a bright young man enlightened him in the ways of the religion and he understood he had been living this way of life since he could remember. “My religion is sacred to me,” said Lepp of his beliefs. “I am a very public guy, but my relationship with the creator is a private matter.” His religion helps him to lead by example. He believes in being happy and avoiding anger and hatred at all costs. Which is probably where that constant smile comes from.

Since being sentenced Eddy says his life has not changed much. He is living every day like he is not going to prison because he believes that he is not. “I still don’t believe I am going and I will not give them the satisfaction of ruining the days leading up to my fate,” he explains. “If I go, I go. I will accept and face that when the time comes.”

That time is July 6th when he is scheduled to turn himself over to authorities at Lompoc Prison located 175 miles northwest of Los Angeles. Barring a miracle he will begin serving his time as he awaits appeal. It is insane that he may walk in a prison on that day and not see his home in Lake County for nearly a decade. He hopes that it will take much less time to change the laws that will be imprisoning him. He could win his appeal, he could receive clemency from the POTUS, or he could hope that Timothy Leary’s friends are still around. All of the above are relative long shots, but if Eddy is anything he is optimistic.

No matter what you think about Eddy and his infamous gardens, you must admit he has balls the size of Jeep tires. His effort to legitimize the way cannabis is produced is legendary. His collective gardening experiment may have landed him in trouble, but it helped to open the doors for the current proliferation of people who grow cannabis for patient (and religious) uses. He may be batshit crazy, but he is also very wise. He understands that his case has the ability to create awareness and make real progress for the cannabis movement. More information regarding his whereabouts in prison and his ongoing appeals can be found at www.freeeddylepp.com. The message he hopes to convey with his journey is, “Respect All. Hurt None. Love One Another.” That is not too much to ask.

For everyone’s sake we should hope that his situation changes for the better. If our government is allowed to continue to lock up old men for a decade for growing plants on their own property then we may all be doomed. Can we live in a society where injustices like these are a reality? It is easy to look the other way and be glad that it is not you. But what if it were? What if it were your loved one losing ten years of their lives for growing medicine? Please do your part to write letters, call public officials, and protest viciously to demand the release of Eddy and the many other political prisoners being held by our own government. We must demand that justice and morality be restored to our country and that these horrible wrongs be righted immediately. It is too important to let go. Rise up and be heard. No more mandatory minimums for growing safe and effective medicine. No more drug war. No more senseless acts of tyranny. FREE EDDY LEPP!

Learning to Learn Again

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Humans are often paralyzed by their own education. We have a tendency to quit learning once we think we know something. I am the worst at this. I hate revisiting my education and relearning things.

But this is very necessary to succeed in the human experience. We must not stop learning…..ever.

It is humbling to come to understand that we are not as smart as we thought we were. When we consider ourselves to be educated on a certain subject, we move from a desire to learn about it, to a false sense of security on the subject that discourages further learning. It is unfortunately human nature.

We miss out on a lot of learning by the assumption that we are already educated and do not need to take the time or energy to learn anything else.

Where cannabis legalization and freedom are concerned, there is a lot that has been learned and assumed; but there is still SO much more to figure out.

The most interesting thing to consider when looking at cannabis and the cannabis market is that this is a rapidly evolving beast right now. Everything we beileve we know about cannabis this very minute is likely to change in the coming months and years. The systems in place now for producing and distributing cannabis will cease to exist and will eventually be replaced with a more robust and commercialized market. That is inevitable.

In the current market, at least where it is semi-legal- but also where it is not, retail is king. The retailer controls the market and serves as a gatekeeper to the public.

Why? Because most of the companies producing cannabis have a hell of a lot to lose and choose to fly under the radar. You usually do not know the name or the company that produced the weed you are smoking. There is no heavily branded product market where marketing and demand fuel the marketplace. But you can be sure that it will one day…and likely soon.

Everything we know about the price of cannabis will evolve as the black market ceases to exist. Right now there is a very inflated market price that considers risk into the equation.

Risk limits supply. A lot of growers keep it to 99 plants, but what happens when the risk is gone and farmers are growing tons of weed in the light of day with no risk of prosecution? What happens to the price then?

It drops as supply increases. But how will the entire crop of outlaw farmers who have spent years getting thousands for their pounds do when that number becomes hundreds? Hopefully grow ten times as much.

There will be a lot of folks who will fail to evolve and who will get crushed by the market because of their failure to learn and understand the changes that we are all going to be facing.

If we can learn to learn again, we might just make it. If we do not see the writing on the wall and refuse to learn, we will become dinosaurs….extinct.

I personally have made a conscious effort to wake up in the morning, look myself in the mirror and tell myself, “You don’t know shit.”

When I start from there I can set myself up for more learning and understanding. I have no intention of letting my own education, and what I think I know, get the best of me….and you should not either.