This November, voters in three US states—Colorado, Washington, and Oregon—will be able to vote on ballot measures that would legalize marijuana, period.
Not just for medicinal purposes, but for recreational purposes, too.
At Rolling Stone, a smart blog post by Julian Brookes on what happens when the first state says "yes" to weed.
When that happens, expect one of two things – either: the federal government, in deference to democratic principles, will decline to enforce its ban on marijuana, creating space for the state to be a "laboratory of democracy," working out its new policy by trial and error, learning as it goes, creating a trove of hard-earned lessons to guide the states that (inevitably) will follow; or: the federal government will bide its time and then come down hard, busting growers and retailers, seizing land and property (or, just as effective, threatening to), going after banks that serve pot business, and doing whatever else it takes to shut down the state's legalization push.
True, the feds would be within their rights to crack down. A state can legalize all it wants, but – incredibly – happy-go-lucky marijuana will still be a Schedule I drug, right up there on the federal shit list with brain melters and organ fryers like Heroin, Cocaine, and PCP. And, no, this isn't some quaint, disregarded artifact from olden times: A personal stash can get you a year in federal prison, a single plant up to five.
Read the rest.
Over at Dangerous Minds, Richard Metzger has an epic rant in response to a recent Los Angeles City Council vote to close medical cannabis dispensaries in the city (there are many). I use pot to help with the side effects of cancer treatment. I didn't use pot before I was diagnosed with cancer. The City Council's suggestion that "seriously ill" people like me should just "grow their own" is very let-them-eat-cake-y. Cancer patients weak and nauseous from chemo can barely make a ham sandwich, let alone cultivate medicinal herb in the quantity and quality required to be useful. They might as well ask us to synthesize our own chemotherapy drugs. Metzger isn't a cancer patient, but he has great arguments here. Snip:
I live in an area of the city near the so dubbed “Green Mile,” a stretch known for its numerous, highly visible cannabis dispensaries. Within walking distance, there are approximately twelve dispensaries. Take a slightly longer walk and that number rises at least threefold.
By contrast, there are but two Starbucks, one McDonald’s, One Burger King, one KFC, one Jack in a Box, two Subways, two 7-Eleven stores and no Carl Jrs. It goes without saying that these are minimum wage jobs, whereas the average wage at a pot dispensary is $20 per hour.
In five years of living in this part of Los Angeles, I’ve seen every single one of these places pop up and what changes the neighborhood has gone through in that same period of time. Not only that, I have PERSONALLY visited almost all of them.
Here’s what I’ve noticed:
Since the recession, there have been very, very few new retail businesses that have opened along the “Green Mile” other than pot dispensaries. A few things, but not many. In every case, they are inhabiting real estate that was not being used, and that had not been used in some time. A lot of these previously empty buildings got much needed paint jobs, let’s just say, and many long empty buildings were rehabilitated by the dispensary owners.
I have seen no appreciable rise or fall in the neighborhood crime rate and I am sure the local police would probably agree. There is no discernible difference. No change. None.
More: Dangerous Minds | The Green Mile: A perspective from deep in LA’s busiest pot district on the weed ban vote
New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo is asking legislators to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana in public view. New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg is fighting back because he believes that destroying the job prospects of 50,000 people a year (mainly young black and Latino men) benefits society, and wants continue to use a sneaky police tactic to arrest them.
In New York, the Legislature in 1977 reduced the penalty for possession of 25 grams or less of marijuana to a violation, which carries a maximum fine of $100 for first-time offenders.
But it remains a misdemeanor if the marijuana is in public view or is being smoked in public, and lawmakers and drug-reform advocates have argued that the misdemeanor charge is often unfairly applied to suspects who did not have marijuana in public view until the police stopped them and told them to empty their pockets.
“Now it’s in public view,” Professor Levine said. “If you go by the police reports, all around New York City, there are people standing around with their palms outstretched with a bit of marijuana in them.”
From 2002 to 2011, New York City recorded 400,000 low-level marijuana arrests, according to his analysis. That represented more arrests than under Mr. Bloomberg’s three predecessors put together — a period of 24 years. Most of those arrested have been young black and Hispanic men, and most had no prior criminal convictions.
Cuomo Seeks Cut in Frisk Arrests
The infamous art collective / brand, LA-GO has a show at Known Gallery in LA opening on May 26. It's called Legolize it, and features marijuana plants made from plastic hobby construction bricks.
Admittedly, I am biased, but New York state supreme court judge Gustin L. Reichbach speaks for me when he writes in a New York Times op-ed today that medical marijuana "is not a law-and-order issue; it is a medical and a human rights issue."
Like me, justice Reichbach has cancer. He has pancreatic cancer, and a prognosis that involves a short window of survival, and great pain and suffering during treatment.
"Medical science has not yet found a cure," he writes, "but it is barbaric to deny us access to one substance that has proved to ameliorate our suffering."
Read it and demand change: A Judge’s Plea for Medical Marijuana.(NYT, via Clayton Cubitt)
Mark blogged yesterday about Daniel Chong, a 23-year-old college student in San Diego who was detained by the Drug Enforcement Administration on "420 day" without charges, then abandoned in a holding cell for 5 days with no food or water. He drank his own urine in an effort to stave off fatal dehydration.
Today, he received an apology from the DEA. The Associated Press reports that "San Diego Acting Special Agent-In-Charge William R. Sherman said in a statement that he was troubled by the treatment of Daniel Chong and extended his 'deepest apologies' to him."
Chong's attorney says that's not enough. They intend to sue for $20 million. From the Los Angeles Times:
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Now that you know my thoughts on medical cannabis for cancer patients
, you'll understand why I think this is a noble cause
. Patients gathering in Sacramento, May 19-22
. On Monday May 21, public demonstration at the state capitol. — Xeni
Photo: Xeni Jardin
I went to a "cannabis dinner" in a loft in downtown Los Angeles on a day of great significance for potheads: 4/20. I first heard about these speakeasy gatherings from an LA Times article by Jonathan Gold. They're hosted by a zany, playful computer science major turned Hollywood film sales rep turned restauranteur, Nguyen Tran. He runs a restaurant called Starry Kitchen with his wife and foodie partner, chef Thi Tran. Together with LA-based French chef Laurent Quenioux, they put on this now-not-so-secret cannabis dinner. There were about 100 people in attendance, plus a few news crews who shot video.
The food was beautiful. And yes: I got a little high.
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Pulitzer-winning food critic Jonathan Gold, who recently departed the L.A. Weekly to join the Los Angeles Times, writes about his experience attending a nine-course "Marijuana and Chinese Herbs" dinner hosted by serial restauranteur Nguyen Tran and prepared by chef Laurent Quenioux. High Times columnist Elise McDonough, author of the newly-released "The Official High Times Cannabis Cookbook" (look for my Boing Boing review soon!) was among those in attendance. Snip from Gold's review:
When Nguyen Tran emailed to tell me about an extravaganza he was setting up at an acquaintance's house, a special herb dinner in which each of the many courses would involve fresh marijuana, I did not necessarily beg to be included in the feast. The first time I met Tran, on a social-media panel somewhere, he happened to be wearing a banana suit, and he has been known to show up to food events dressed as a tauntaun from "The Empire Strikes Back." I like his Starry Kitchen, a pan-Asian lunchroom in a downtown office-building food court, and I admire the running pop-up restaurant he mounts with chef Laurent Quenioux. But the notion of an “herb” dinner wasn't especially my thing. The last time I had sampled this particular herb was many years ago, in the course of reporting a story on Snoop Dogg and his 15 pit bulls, and its culinary uses were not apparent even back then.
Read the rest here.
(Photo: Rick Loomis/Los Angeles Times, April 2, 2012: Marijuana leaves are laid out in preparation for one of several courses.)
"On Sept 16, 1981, Representative Stewart McKinney and I introduced legislation designed to end bureaucratic interference in the use of marijuana as a medicant. We believe licensed physicians are competent to employ marijuana, and patients have a right to obtain marijuana legally, under medical supervision, from a regulated source." Newt Gingrich, hypocritical piece of shit, was pro-medical-cannabis
"way back before he wanted to behead people and cut off their hands for possessing it," notes Dangerous Minds
. — Xeni
"Just as prohibition of alcohol failed in the United States in the 1920s, the war on drugs has failed globally. Over the past 50 years, more than $1 trillion has been spent fighting this battle, and all we have to show for it is increased drug use, overflowing jails, billions of pounds and dollars of taxpayers’ money wasted, and thriving crime syndicates."—Virgin CEO Richard Branson, calling for an end to the "war on drugs." — Xeni
Earlier today, I posted a quick link to an LA Weekly item about a new round of media attention devoted to Dr. William Courtney, and his research on juicing cannabis for health benefits.
The tl;dr of his idea: with raw cannabis juice, you don't get high, but you do get various health benefits.
Hmmm. I was curious about the largely uncritical internet coverage I was seeing, and wondered about the science—so I asked Michael Backes and Amy Robertson of Abatin Wellness Center of Sacramento what they thought. Abatin is a medical marijuana collective you may have heard of because of its link to MS sufferer and med-can advocate Montel Williams; they're also very legit and science-oriented, and Backes has a long history in technology and the sciences. The tl;dr of their response is: it's not quite that simple, and cannabis juicing could even pose some risks for certain patients. "The raw plants have substances to discourage critters from eating them that can cause allergic reactions in some," explains Robertson, "And can you imagine how unpleasant this would taste?"
"The throat irritation is based on the fact that the stems of cannabis have sharp little hairs," explains Backes. "Typically, this wouldn't be a problem for those juicing the plant, but make chewing on a cannabis stems a no-no."
And, a disclosure: the topic is of personal interest to me because I was recently diagnosed with breast cancer and I'm undergoing chemotherapy. Chemo sucks, and I have learned that medical cannabis is a very effective aid for related side effects—but not all delivery methods are equally helpful.
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Drink your cannabis
, say some raw-pot advocates. It won't get you high, but it's good for you. I'm skeptical, but I know one thing: unless you're growing your own, it is likely not good for your wallet. — Xeni
Artist Jason Mecier has used candy, food, pills and the actual garbage of actual celebrities to construct celebrity portraits. This new Snoop Dogg portrait is made of marijuana joints, marijuana leaves and stems, and what looks to be hashish. The artist information says it's valued at $1,500. I wonder if it's legal to buy this thing without a medical marijuana permit? And what about the hash? I am not a lawyer, but I invite serious responses from persons who are, in the comments.
This work will be on display and featured in the new book La Luz de Jesus 25, as part of the 25th Anniversary of La Luz de Jesus Gallery.