Monday, July 30, 2012

Humboldt County Swarming with Federal Agents This Week

by David Downs
Mon, Jul 30, 2012 at 10:37 AM

This just in from the North Coast Journal: "Over the last couple of weeks, Humboldt County has been virtually crawling with federal law enforcement agents on the prowl for big-time weed dealers."

"Clearly the county’s black market marijuana industry is booming, and while local law enforcement didn’t want to say much about the recent raids, referring all questions to equally tight-lipped federal agencies, Humboldt County Sheriff Mike Downey said the backup is welcome. As a matter of fact, he said, 'I’m the one, I hope, who initiated it.'

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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

SLIDESHOW: Hundreds March for Harborside

Wed, Jul 25, 2012 at 5:05 PM

Read background of the protest here, and David Downs' recap here.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Keeping Up with the Harborside Forfeiture Protest at President Obama's Fox Theater Fundraiser

by David Downs
Mon, Jul 23, 2012 at 6:28 PM

Hundreds of medical cannabis patients and allies are expected to begin gathering in downtown Oakland at noon today for a five-hour-long protest to end the federal crackdown on medical marijuana.

Supporters plan to gather in the plaza at Oakland city hall at 12 p.m. for street theater, followed by a 1:30 p.m. press conference and other events scheduled to coincide with the visit of President Obama, who will hold a fundraiser at the Fox Theater this evening.

Downtown Oakland is currently draped in green flags in a sign of solidarity with persecuted medical marijuana businesses. U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag is trying to seize Harborside Health Center's leased property on the Embarcadero, and the Drug Enforcement Administration raided cannabis college Oaksterdam this spring. Harborside remains open. Oaksterdam has begun teaching again.

While the Obama Administration has codified de facto immunity for lawful medical pot patients and their caregivers, federal agents have declared open season on marijuana enterprises. Four U.S. Attorneys in California have helped to close hundreds of dispensaries in California.

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Friday, July 20, 2012

Harborside Forfeiture Protest Planned for President Obama's Fox Theater Fundraiser Monday

by David Downs
Fri, Jul 20, 2012 at 3:59 PM

Medical marijuana activists are gearing up to protest President Obama's fundraising visit to the Fox Theater in Oakland Monday, according to statements from patient lobby Americans for Safe Access.

Organizers expect hundreds of medical marijuana supporters ­to amass for a rally from Noon to 5 p.m. at City Hall, just a few blocks from the Fox. A press conference is scheduled for 1:45 p.m.

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Thursday, July 19, 2012

“Blood Diamonds” Author Greg Campbell Goes Inside Medical Marijuana with "Pot, Inc."

by David Downs
Thu, Jul 19, 2012 at 2:54 PM

Follow the best-selling author of Blood Diamonds Greg Campbell up the proverbial weed stalk with his new nonfiction hardcover book, Pot, Inc. out now via Sterling Press.

The Colorado-based freelance journalist obtained a medical marijuana card in 2009 and started growing the maligned herb as research for Pot, Inc. What emerges is a compelling, fact-filled-yet-breezy eye-level account of day-to-day life in the world of legal weed, with perspectives of activists, growers, operators — and federal agents.

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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Obama Admin on Ending the Drug War: Like "Turning Around Aircraft Carriers"

by David Downs
Wed, Jul 18, 2012 at 10:46 AM

From Tuesday's NYT article "Rise in Pill Abuse Forces New Look at U.S. Drug Fight":

“The policies the United States has had for the last 41 years have become irrelevant,” said Morris Panner, a former counternarcotics prosecutor in New York and at the American Embassy in Colombia, who is now an adviser at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. “The United States was worried about shipments of cocaine and heroin for years, but whether those policies worked or not doesn’t matter because they are now worried about Americans using prescription drugs.

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Tuesday, July 17, 2012

“Should Marijuana Be Legalized?”: The New RAND Analysis

by David Downs
Tue, Jul 17, 2012 at 10:33 AM

This Saturday at 6 p.m. in Oakland, we'll be hosting a free “Home Grown Author Night” — with appearances by Blood Diamonds and Pot, Inc. author Greg Campbell in from Colorado, as well as historian and author Isaac Campos, esteemed grower and author Ed Rosenthal, and co-director of the RAND Drug Policy Research Center, Beau Kilmer.

We've just gotten a chance to finish Kilmer's new, co-authored book Marijuana Legalization: What Everyone Needs to Know and we can say it is an essential read. The 266-page softcover non-fiction analysis uses short chapters titled as questions like “What is marijuana and what would it mean to legalize it?” and answering them based on the best unbiased, empirical research available.

Among the things we learned: “the college students who experimented with marijuana in the 1960s were about five years older than the typical person initiating marijuana today, and earlier ages of initiation are associated with much greater likelihood of dependence and other problems.”

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Thursday, July 12, 2012

Harborside Health Center Still Open, Will Fight Federal Forfeiture Threat

by David Downs
Thu, Jul 12, 2012 at 11:49 AM

The largest medical marijuana dispensary in Oakland will stay open and fight federal forfeiture claims against its leased property, said operator Stephen DeAngelo, during a Thursday morning press conference at Oakland City Hall.

Yesterday, the 100,000-patient dispensary alerted its customers and the media that the federal government had filed forfeiture claims against Harborside's building at 1840 Embarcadero and their location in San Jose. The federal government can seize property under current drug laws if the property is used in the distribution of a drug — in this case, federally illegal cannabis.

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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Protest Harborside Health Center's Federal Forfeiture Threat Tomorrow At 9 a.m.

by David Downs
Wed, Jul 11, 2012 at 3:30 PM

In a new low for the nine-month long federal crackdown on lawful medical marijuana businesses, Harborside Health Center, the largest club on the planet, reports that they are now facing forfeiture of their leased property:

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Federal Raid on Oaksterdam Sapped Police Response to Oikos University Massacre

by David Downs
Wed, Jul 11, 2012 at 12:30 PM

The Oikos University massacre's victims may have received less of a police response than they might have if it weren't for a botched federal raid on the legal cannabis school Oaksterdam University, new documents indicate.

Oakland Police Department emails from the morning of April 2 reveal that the surprise hundred-agent federal raid of six Oaksterdam-affiliated sites — and the ensuing crowd-control problems as protesters seized on the event — “drained the vast majority of [the department's] west-end staffing thus resulting in several priority calls being stacked — something that might have [been] prevented.”

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