Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Will One Hundred Pot Clubs Be Enough for Los Angeles?

by David Downs
Wed, Oct 31, 2012 at 12:59 PM

They say history is a wheel and this week it definitely looks like we're going back — to the future.

On Monday, KCET reported that medical marijuana proponents have begun gathering signatures for a ballot measure to allow one hundred dispensaries in the medical marijuana battleground of Los Angeles. A similar plan by councilman Paul Koretz is also working through City Hall, KCET reports.

"City Clerk spokeswoman Kimberly Briggs said in a statement Monday that the initiative organizers will need to gather 41,138 valid signatures by Dec. 7 to get the issue on May's general election ballot," the Associated Press reported.

Several years ago, the City Council tried to limit the number of clubs to one hundred, but that effort was met by a flurry of lawsuits from defiant store owners who said they had a right to be there. A 2012 UCLA study estimates about 473 medical cannabis storefronts are open in the City. Los Angeles tried to ban them entirely this year, but locals raised 50,000 signatures in nine days to halt the ban.

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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Retired Federal Judge Calls Mandatory Minimums for Non-Violent Drug Offenses "Insanity"

by David Downs
Tue, Oct 30, 2012 at 12:45 PM

Judge Mark W. Bennett sent 1,092 of his fellow citizens to federal prison for mandatory minimum sentences ranging from sixty months to life without the possibility of release.

"The majority of these women, men and young adults are nonviolent drug addicts. Methamphetamine is their drug of choice. Crack cocaine is a distant second. Drug kingpins? Oh yes, I’ve sentenced them, too. But I can count them on one hand."

"If lengthy mandatory minimum sentences for nonviolent drug addicts actually worked, one might be able to rationalize them. But there is no evidence that they do. I have seen how they leave hundreds of thousands of young children parentless and thousands of aging, infirm and dying parents childless. They destroy families and mightily fuel the cycle of poverty and addiction. In fact, I have been at this so long, I am now sentencing the grown children of people I long ago sent to prison."

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Monday, October 29, 2012

Is 'Obama Vote a No-Brainer for Medical Marijuana Industry'?

by David Downs
Mon, Oct 29, 2012 at 11:06 AM

Medical Marijuana Business Daily says Thursday that 'Despite Crackdown, Obama Vote a No-Brainer for Medical Marijuana Industry'. It's a key endorsement. MMBD has emerged as a sort of Wall St. Journal for industry news, with a lot of pull in the swing state of Colorado, a place where plenty of folks are considering not voting or casting a protest vote for Gary Johnson. That could be disastrous.

"... if you really want what’s best for your company, the marijuana industry and the very future of medical cannabis, MMJ Business Daily believes that you should cast your doubts aside and vote for Obama on Nov. 6," MMDN writes. "We are officially endorsing the incumbent because we’re convinced he will be much more tolerant of the medical marijuana industry than an administration led by Mitt Romney."

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Thursday, October 25, 2012

World Series Highlights Medical Marijuana's "Reciprocity" Problem

by David Downs
Thu, Oct 25, 2012 at 11:55 AM

The World Series between the San Francisco Giants and the Detroit Tigers is technically a medical marijuana series. Both cities honor respective state laws, which carve out criminal immunities for medical marijuana patients. But, legally, California patients visiting Michigan have an easier time of things than Michiganers (-ites?) visiting Cali. Michigan honors medical marijuana recommendations made in California. California does not offer such reciprocity.

“There are 17 states that allow patients with doctors’ recommendations to use medical marijuana, but only five—Arizona, Maine, Michigan, Montana, and Rhode Island—include reciprocity,” noted the Marijuana Policy Project, yesterday, in a release.

“So," the release asks, "how does a medical marijuana patient travel?"

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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Hey, Look, We're in Salon, Talking 'Bout Medical Weed Delivery

by David Downs
Wed, Oct 24, 2012 at 4:48 PM

And now for a moment of self-back-patting as we link to Salon's Thursday story "Riding along with a mobile marijuana dispensary" by Katya Cengel, wherein your humble author appears as sort of an expert source on the topic. "Medical marijuana columnist David Downs calls the mobile business 'the perfect crystallization of America’s denialism about its pot habit.'"

Cengel rides along with Legalization Nation subject Playbud deliveries, and talks to past subjects Tea House Collective.

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Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Newsweek Profiles "The New Pot Barons" of Colorado (Who Are Not Pot Barons)

by David Downs
Tue, Oct 23, 2012 at 10:24 AM

Ah, The Daily Beast. Alongside such in-depth journalism as "Kim Kardashian's Not a Fan of Underwear, Shows Off Crack" we have their syndicated Newsweek cover "The New Pot Barons" - a classic bit of jaundiced East Coast gawking — this time at the medical marijuana industry of Colorado — framing the industry like this big get-rich-quick scheme.

"What I saw in Colorado was ... the Sergey Brins and Mark Zuckerbergs of the Green Rush [ed note: Jesus]. They could have done almost anything with their lives—'my brother is a physician' is the kind of thing one hears from them—but they chose to enter the pot business because they see it as a boom market, miracle cure, and social movement decades in the making and suddenly, thrillingly, near."

They toss in the Big Tobacco conspiracy theory: "Peter Bourne, the drug czar under Jimmy Carter, recently told Newsweek that tobacco executives shared their marijuana contingency plans with him. ...The alcohol and tobacco industries traditionally get 80 percent of their profits from heavy users, and there’s every reason to believe that marijuana sellers will need the same ratio. That would mean Colorado’s burgeoning pot business could be the basis for a third huge, blood-sucking vice industry, dependent on converting kids and supporting heavy users. ... It was easy to see my hosts 30 years from now, when legalization is here, sitting in the same woozy affluence—fatter, balder, and famously rich."

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Friday, October 19, 2012

Oakland Files New Fraud Charges Against "Wal-Mart of Weed" Exec Dhar Mann

by David Downs
Fri, Oct 19, 2012 at 1:11 PM

In yet another piece of evidence that we were on to something when we first reported that Oakland weed entrepreneur Dhar Mann didn't pay his bills, Oakland City Attorney Barbara Parker announced she has filed a fraud complaint against Mann "for cheating Oakland taxpayers by submitting about two dozen bogus claims for redevelopment grant money."

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Toss Stones Throw Some Change for its New Documentary, 'Our Vinyl Weighs a Ton'

by David Downs
Fri, Oct 19, 2012 at 12:46 PM

And now for a cannabis culture break:

Stone's Throw — the label of "America's Most Blunted", Madlib — is funding a documentary through Kickstarter. Per a release: "Drawing on live concert footage, never-before-seen archival material, inner-circle home video and photographs and in-depth interviews with the folks who put Stones Throw on the map, director/producer Jeff Broadway's feature-length documentary, OUR VINYL WEIGHS A TON, will follow the label's enigmatic founder, Peanut Butter Wolf, as well as explore its left-of-center artists, history, culture and global following."

"The production of a Stones Throw documentary began in late 2010, when French company MediaTV sent Paris-based filmmakers Sébastien Bauer and Lucas Blaya to Los Angeles to begin filming events for the label's 15th anniversary. Over several months, the two amassed over 100 hours of footage before Broadway joined the production.

"The documentary is still in production, and requires further funding for its completion. Broadway has launched a Kickstarter campaign with the goal of raising $35,000 for additional production trips, shoots and the edit of the film. The duration of the campaign is 45 days, and will conclude at the end of November."

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Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Crazies Suggest Obama Campaign Funded with Laundered Drug Money

by David Downs
Wed, Oct 17, 2012 at 9:31 AM

Never let it be said that stoners have a monopoly on conspiracy theories.

"A conference call organized to oppose marijuana legalization quickly went off the rails on Monday when the former head of the Drug Enforcement Administration refused to reject the suggestion that the Obama campaign is accepting contributions from drug dealers," Huffington Post's Matt Sledge reports.

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Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Conservatives Are Coming Out for Pot Law Reform in 2012

by David Downs
Tue, Oct 16, 2012 at 10:42 AM

"'What is the law against marijuana if it isn't the Nanny State telling you what you can do and what you can't do to your body and with your body?' asked Tom Tancredo, a former Republican congressman from suburban Denver who briefly ran for president in 2008 and endorsed the [Colorado Amendment 64] on the steps of the state capitol. He compared federal law to New York City's ban on sugary sodas." ... However, "Most Republicans still oppose legalization. Presidential candidate Mitt Romney vows to enforce federal law." [via SFGate]

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