Federal drug czar Gil Kerlikowske is a little bit perturbed at millions of Californians' intention to tax and regulate personal possession of cannabis through Prop 19 Nov. 2. The Czar has called for a press conference with celebrity addiction specialist Dr. Drew Wednesday to denounce the 5,000-year-old herbal remedy's effect on mind and body.
But the government has a seventy-year history of being dishonest about cannabis. Pot's medical benefits and drawbacks is also the subject of a new book by Dr. Julie Holland, former head of the psychiatric ER at Bellevue Hospital in New York. Dr. Holland is a psychiatrist specializing in drugs and the brain, a clinical assistant professor of psychiatry at NYU School of Medicine, and author of Ecstasy: The Complete Guide. She spent three years researching The Pot Book, a hefty 551-page-primer on the risks and rewards of the plant, written in conjunction with 52 doctors, academics, writers, and thinkers including Michael Pollan, Neal Pollack, and Douglas Rushkoff. Holland heads off another round of Reefer Madness in Los Angeles tomorrow in the Q&A below, edited for length.
1. Narcotics officers in San Diego opened up a pot club last week to gain information on local growers and patients, the San Diego Americans for Safe Access reports this morning. Police raided the Helping Hands Wellness Collective in Hillcrest, CA. Thursday, October 14th, donned staff uniforms, unlocked the doors and began serving customers. "According to Matt, one of the patients who visited the dispensary that day, detectives welcomed him to the collective, told him the facility was under ‘new management,’ checked him in, and even provided him with free concentrated cannabis (hash) as a gift before inquiring with the unsuspecting patient whether he cultivated his own medicine. As soon as Matt told them that he did, the detectives pulled out their badges, said they were DEA, and then proceeded to detain and interrogate him for almost two hours." The San Diego Narcotics Task Force officers ran the dispensary for four hours, reports state. The SDASA says law enforcement in San Diego is violating patient rights under Proposition 215 and AB 420 with ongoing dispensary raids and arrests. California's war on pot costs the state about $1 billion per year in law enforcement, court, and prison expenditures, the Cato Institute has found. More from the San Diego Citybeat and more news after the jump.
The independent RAND corporation said yesterday that federal drug statistics are pretty much total garbage, leading to questions over the empirical validity of the ongoing, $17 billion a year U.S. drug war. “Existing estimates about drug production and consumption are cryptic, inconsistent, and often impossible to verify,” stated the RAND Corporation, in a paper studying the effects of legalization of cannabis in California via Proposition 19.
Violent Mexican drug cartels might as well go into selling lettuce and carrots if Prop 19 passes, the independent RAND Corporation said today. Cannabis' price drop from passing Prop 19 would make profiting from the drug highly unlikely, RAND researchers said during a conference call, offering more ammo to the Yes on 19 campaign in the closing weeks of the election. “We think [drug gangs] would make about as much money as they make from growing carrots and lettuce. It will be much more like convention agricultural products than an expensive illegal drug. There wouldn't be large revenues from growing things that are legal,” said the authors of “Reducing Drug Trafficking Revenues and Violence in Mexico: Would Legalizing Marijuana in California Help?” The study was crafted by RAND drug policy expert Beau Kilmer, along with Jonathan P. Caulkins, Brittany M. Bond, Peter H. Reuter.
Voting Yes on Prop 19 would make the country safer by further defunding violent Mexican drug cartels, an independent study from the RAND Corporation released today has found. Californians' great, low-cost cannabis has already pushed out expensive, low-quality Mexican dope from the state's market, the study found. If Prop 19 passed and California's domestic exports went up — as they likely would — the same effect would happen across the country. Mexican drug cartels could lose 20 percent of their revenue, amounting to $2 billion dollars a year, RAND found.
The federal government's designated pot doctor has crafted pot suppositories for stoners to insert rectally, Legalization Nation has learned. The surprising fact appears in Dr. Julie Holland's new non-fiction paperback The Pot Book: A Complete Guide To Cannabis coming out this month on Park Street Press. Dr. Holland is a psychiatrist specializing in drugs and the brain, a clinical assistant professor of psychiatry at NYU School of Medicine, and author of Ecstasy: The Complete Guide. She spent three years researching The Pot Book, a hefty 551-page primer on the risks and rewards of the plant, written in conjunction with 52 doctors, academics, writers and thinkers including Michael Pollan, Neal Pollack, and Douglas Rushkoff.
1) The Taiwanese company that specializes in quick, 3-D video takes on topical news, has created a comedic short on Prop 19, featuring a dancing, smoking brown bear, black people smoking joints as they are let out of prison, and beer salespeople throwing things through TVs. Watch the clip and read more "news" after the jump.
The Oakland City Council is planning on cutting public comment out of its historic plan to permit the country's first licensed medical cannabis farms. During its Tuesday meeting, councilmembers said they prefer that public comment on potential permitees occur only after the council had selected who would get the city's coveted permits. Typically, neighbors and other citizens speak before local government issues permits for all types of development.
California's absentee voters have begun sending in their ballots, but even if Prop 19 passes, Republican candidate for Attorney General Steve Cooley might try to stop it, the SacBee reports. "I really am strongly opposed to Proposition 19 for many reasons," Cooley said during a debate at UC Davis. "I would be inclined to advise that it is unconstitutional and pre-empted by federal law." A new poll released by Reuters shows Prop 19 down 43-53, but their sample was biased towards Republicans. IPSOS asked 223 Democrats and 223 Republicans how they would vote, but California's electorate skews sharp toward Democrats, according to voter data provided by the Secretary of State. Meanwhile, California Watch says the No on 19 campaign is scrambling to turn out the vote, after being outfunded 10:1 by the Yes side. More news after the jump.
Facebook's bi-polar relationship with California's Prop 19 activists might get a little better this week. The site is both crucial to the Yes on 19 campaign, yet has rejected their ads. Now one of Facebook's own is giving Prop 19 some cold hard cash. Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz - who Forbes says is worth $1.4 billion - has kicked in $50,000 to the Yes on 19 effort to decriminalize cannabis in California, according to mandatory late contribution reports.