Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Legalization Nation Index: A by-the-numbers collection for 2011 [Part I]

by David Downs
Wed, Dec 28, 2011 at 9:46 AM

4: Number of persons approved by the federal government to smoke medical marijuana (US Drug Enforcement Administration).

16: Medical marijuana states (Americans for Safe Access).

750,000: Estimated number of qualified patients in California (NORML, June).

24.8 million: Estimated number of eligible patients under current state laws (See Change Strategy, March 2011).

$1.7 billion: Estimated size of the annual medical marijuana market in the United States (See Change Strategy).

$8.9 billion: Forecasted size of the annual US medical marijuana market in 2016 (See Change Strategy). Read more after the jump.

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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Video: 'Weed Wars' Episode 4 Preview

by David Downs
Wed, Dec 21, 2011 at 11:21 AM

The Discovery Channel airs its final episode of the four-part documentary series Weed Wars — which follows the life and times of Harborside Health Center in Oakland — Thursday at 10 p.m. Eastern and Pacific. Titled “Harborside's Alternative 4/20 Celebration,” the episode covers "Harborside Health Center's busiest sales day of the year," as Discovery Channel puts it.

"As much as Steve DeAngelo loves 4/20 as a day of celebration and booming business, he fears that widespread images of tie-dyed hippies smoking six-foot joints ultimately damages the credibility of their 'medical movement' with the public at large," the producers write.

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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Time For a California "Bureau of Medical Marijuana Enforcement"?

by David Downs
Tue, Dec 20, 2011 at 10:25 AM

A California ballot initiative to regulate medical cannabis statewide is ringing in the New Year, thanks to the patient lobbying group Americans for Safe Access and United Food and Commercial Workers Local 5. The two groups filed a request December 15 with the Secretary of State to circulate for signature-gathering an initiative that would mandate at least one dispensary per 50,000 people, and create a state “Bureau of Medical Marijuana Enforcement” to license growers and stores — similar to the system in Colorado.

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Monday, December 19, 2011

Dispensary Review: Oakland Organics — Strawberry Fields in the Concrete Jungle

by David Downs
Mon, Dec 19, 2011 at 12:14 PM

Oakland plans to increase dispensary permits from four to eight in 2012, drawing attention to the process and the existing permit-holders in the Town. Of those, Harborside Health Center has its own Discovery Channel show, and Oaksterdam spinoff Coffeeshop Blue Sky operates under the imprimatur of Prop 19 raconteur Rich Lee.

But like Purple Heart Patient Center, the year-old Oakland Organics is a deliberately lower-profile affair. Hiding in plain sight on Broadway at 7th Street, this understated club offers a chill, professional, bargain-hunting environment, complete with friendly staff, easy BART access, and the security of being located directly across the street from a police station. The dispensary doesn't court press or advertise heavily, preferring trade publications like West Coast Leaf. It takes some work to piece together their story:

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Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Roundup: TSA Passes Along Grass, 'Blair Witch' Actress Grows It

by David Downs
Thu, Dec 15, 2011 at 12:11 PM


1) “In 1999 Upper Darby native/actress Heather Donahue and her "Blair Witch Project" co-stars made moviegoers nauseous with their shaky camera-work. But by 2007 Donahue was controlling nausea for medical marijuana patients in California, where she was growing weed. Donahue, who'll be 37 next week, documents her year spent cultivating marijuana in "GrowGirl," out Jan. 5 from Gotham Penguin Publishing.” [Philly.com]

2) "FREDDIE GIBBS: TOUCHED BY WEED-FRIENDLY TSA AGENT..." Daily Swarm reports. Interscope hip hop performer and Madlib partner tweeted last night: “The TSA found my weed and let me keep it. They just left me a note. 'C’mon Son'. Lol" Here's a picture:

Clearly a Mad Gibbs fan at the TSA
  • Freddie Gibbs
  • Clearly a Mad Gibbs fan at the TSA

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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Roundup: Magnolia Wellness Giving It Away Now

by David Downs
Wed, Dec 14, 2011 at 10:54 AM

Here's your headlines:
1) The New York Times wants more feedback after publishing "One High Day" a compelling account of medical marijuana's efficacy at end of life.

So far, this guy wrote in: "The Obama administration’s recent crackdown on growers and sellers of medical marijuana is totally justified. The federal government is trying to protect vulnerable people from the use of marijuana as medicine, since the drug is not proved safe or effective."

2) This just in from American Journal of Sports Medicine: “smoked cannabis can decrease anxiety, fear, depression and tension ... Furthermore, cannabinoids play a major role in the extinction of fear memories by interfering with learned adversive behaviors. Athletes who experienced traumatic events in their career could benefit from such an effect.” [via WaPo]

3) TIME names "The Protester" 2011 Person of the Year. Should that include pot crackdown protesters?

4) Sacramento County dispensary Magnolia Wellness is closing due county pressure. The collective has begun hosting a ganja giveaway this week, SacBee reports. Magnolia is also believed to be in the running for an Oakland dispensary permit.

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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Bay Area Dispensary Toy, Food, and Blood Drives in Full Swing

by David Downs
Tue, Dec 13, 2011 at 10:51 AM

Outside the Bay Area, medical cannabis dispensaries regularly run into resistance when they try to donate toys or food this time of year. Some groups don't want charity from dispensaries, which is crazy to us. A toy is a toy, food is food.

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Thursday, December 8, 2011

'Go the Fuck to Sleep' Author Re-Releases "It's Just a Plant"

by David Downs
Thu, Dec 8, 2011 at 10:16 AM

True story: An elementary school teacher we know instructed her students to research and write about their names. One kid ran into a problem researching her name on school computers, though, because her name is "Sativa". The teacher had no idea what it meant, no idea how to deal with the girl, and really knew very little about cannabis — making both of them a good candidate for "It's Just a Plant."

Hot off his massive 2011 hit "Go the Fuck to Sleep", children's book author/illustrator Ricardo Cortes releases a hardcover edition of his 2005 children's pot book "It's Just a Plant".

No, it doesn't encourage kids to smoke pot, you animal. It's an informative story about the plant in children's book format with awesome art — perfect for curious adults, as well as parents braving that discussion for the first time.

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Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Defiant Oakland Posts Ten Finalists for Four New Pot Clubs

by David Downs
Tue, Dec 6, 2011 at 3:47 PM

Four California US Attorneys may be at war with the sick and dying, but Oakland is advancing on its path to license four new medical cannabis dispensaries. Oakland has four regulated clubs. On Monday the city posted to its website ten finalists for four more club permits. They are: Oakland Community Collective; G8 Medical Alliance, Inc.; Tidewater Patients Group; AMCD, Inc.; Agramed; East Bay Conscious Collective; South Bay Apothecary Collective; Magnolia Wellness Inc.; Abatin Wellness Center of Oakland; and Green Light District. Public hearings begin in January.

More on what we know after the jump.

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'High Times' Cannabis Cup Raid: The Aftermath

by David Downs
Tue, Dec 6, 2011 at 11:14 AM

Former Berkeley Patients Group employee and longtime East Bay activist Debby Goldsberry provides an eyewitness account of the first-ever raid at Amsterdam's High Times Cannabis Cup this year.

Goldsberry came to Amsterdam — where pot is decriminalized but not legal — to judge the Cup's indicas and receive the High Times Freedom Fighter of the Year Award. But after the raid kicked off, local police harassed organizers over the course of three days — though in a distinctly Dutch fashion.

For example, cops allowed Cup attendees at the expo to smoke evidence before a search. Authorities also banned smoking indoors at the awards ceremony, but allowed attendees to step outside and light up — across the street from a police station. Some excerpts below:

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