Medical marijuana industry leader Berkeley Patients Group of Berkeley will close its doors at the end of its business day today — and not re-open them. A receptionist there just confirmed the contents of an email sent to collective members this morning, stating: "Today is our last day."
At the 98th annual dinner of the White House Correspondents' Association on Saturday, comedian Jimmy Kimmel asked the president straight up: "What's with the marijuana crackdown? I mean, seriously, what is the concern? We will deplete the nation's Funyuns supply?" Kimmel continued, "You know, pot smokers vote, too. Sometimes a week after the election, but they vote."
Then turning to Obama, Kimmel said: "Mr. President, I hope you don't think I am out of line, but marijuana is something that real people care about. And the fact that you believe Speaker Boehner when he tells you he still has control of his party leads me to believe that you must be smoking some crazy-great weed yourself."
This just in from Online Paralegal Programs, who whipped up a big infographic on the potential cost savings and additional revenue from day-lighting the weed industry.
It's that time of year again: 4/20, possibly the busiest day for Bay Area dispensaries. Oakland club Harborside will have extended hours (9 a.m.-8 p.m.), exclusive deals, special guests, and promotions including free edibles with any purchase, $150 Sun Grown Blue Dream ounces, 10 percent off all vaporizers, free gram of hash for the first 142 patients that walk through the door, Top Shelf Pre-Rolled Joints for $10, Sovereign's The Pure (S/I) flowers for $40 an eighth, and High Times Cannabis Cup Winning Boggle Gum flowers by Delta559 will be on sale for $55 an eighth while supplies last (limit two eighths per patient).
San Francisco medical cannabis patients, especially on the south side of town, have more options this week with the soft opening of Herbal Mission, at 3139 Mission St. off of Cesar Chavez. The newly permitted dispensary opened Tuesday, March 27 after years of planning, permitting and construction — not to mention the ongoing crackdown by the federal government. There's no Herbal Mission signage yet, but we couldn't miss the pastel green exterior and fisheye cameras.
Little-known fact: Income earned from crime is taxable. So if you make $15,000 thieving this year, the IRS doesn't care how you made it, you owe them income taxes on it. If you get caught, the IRS might come after you for back taxes. Crazy, right? It gets better.
Back in the Eighties, a convicted meth and coke dealer in Michigan was audited by the IRS for his illicit business. The IRS determined he owed. So the polydrug dealer did what any other business owner did. He claimed his deductions, writing off his rent, car insurance, pager bill and the like. The IRS allowed it!
This was the tough-on-crime Eighties. Congress was incensed, and so it passed a law banning "drug trafficking organizations" from taking business deductions, adding section 280-E to the tax code.
Fast-forward three decades to Saturday's Chronicle, where reports indicate the IRS is using the thirty-year-old drug-dealing law against a city-permitted, lawful medical marijuana dispensary in Oakland:
The Los Angeles Times reported last night that Richard Lee will transfer his businesses like Oaksterdam University and Coffee Shop Blue Sky to others and step down.
"I’ve been doing this for a long time. Over twenty years.... I kind of feel like I’ve done my time,” Lee said Thursday. “It’s time for others to take over.”
"He plans to transfer the businesses to new operators but said he will shut down his marijuana nursery because his stock of mother plants, which he had nurtured for years, was confiscated," the Times reports.
"Lee acknowledged that he was worried he could face major federal drug charges."
"Martin's possible experimentation with pot should be no threat to his reputation. The research on marijuana and violence shows clearly that the drug either reduces aggression or has no effect - findings that fall in line with pop culture's mellow image of stoners. The idea that marijuana makes people dangerous is as absurd as the claim that wearing a hoodie is suspicious," TIME writes.
This just came over from Oaksterdam University founder Richard Lee, who was the subject of a massive federal raid in Oakland Monday:
"On Monday, April 2, my school - Oaksterdam University in Oakland - was raided by the DEA, IRS, and US Marshals. Oaksterdam provides training to the medical cannabis industry, and is fully compliant with state and local law.
President Obama promised at the beginning of his administration to respect state medical marijuana laws. He has broken this promise time and time again - and the consequences have been devastating.
This was a senseless act of intimidation. But I've been an activist far too long to become intimidated - and with the majority of Americans and common sense on our side, I know this is a fight we can win.
With our government trillions in debt, why is our government using taxpayer dollars to come after me, Oaksterdam, and the thousands of patients who need medical marijuana just to get through the day?
Tell President Obama and the DEA: Enough is enough. Keep your campaign promise, and stop the raids on the medical cannabis industry!
Thanks for your support, Richard Lee"
A link to a Change.org petition is provided.