Daily RoundUp: Oakland Growers, Cloners Become Teamsters

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1. The unionization trend in California marijuana continues with 38 workers at medical cannabis company Marjyn Investments voting to be represented by Teamsters Local 70. Marjyn employs trimmers, gardeners, and cloners to produce strains of marijuana for specific medical needs. Perhaps a prelude to formal Teamsters support of cannabis law reform?

2. Killing over an Alameda grow house, the Chronicle reports.

3. Bombastic L.A. County Sheriff Lee Baca tells L.A. Times "up to 97 percent of pot clinics have been criminally compromised." Baca presented no evidence to support his claim, the Times reports. Critics say Baca — the new face of No on 19 with Dianne Feinstein — is politically motivated and lying. "When they run out of scare tactics, they come out with stuff like this," said Michael Backes, a board member of the Cornerstone Research Collective, which provides marijuana to patients in the Eagle Rock area of Los Angeles.

4. Medical pot dispensaries had been propping up sagging real estate in L.A. Post-crackdown, landlords are taking their grievances public, the Daily News finds. "I spoke to the city regarding this," said Martin Khachaturian, 72, of Sun Valley, whose sole source of income is the center at 20941 Roscoe Blvd. "I said, 'Look, this place is paying top dollar. What the hell are you doing?' It hurts, big time."

5. Jorge G. Castaneda — Mexico's foreign minister from 2000 to 2003 and a teacher at New York University tells the Washington Post Prop 19 could end the Mexican drug war.

“We have believed for some time that Mexico should legalize marijuana and perhaps other drugs. If California legalizes marijuana, will it be viable for our country to continue hunting down drug lords in Tijuana? Will Wild West-style shootouts to stop Mexican cannabis from crossing the border make any sense when, just over that border, the local 7-Eleven sells pot? ...
A growing number of distinguished Mexicans from all walks of life have recently come out in favor of some form of drug legalization. Former presidents Ernesto Zedillo and Vicente Fox, novelists Carlos Fuentes and Angeles Mastretta, Nobel Prize-winning chemist Mario Molina, and movie star Gael Garcia Bernal have all expressed support for this idea, and polls show that ordinary Mexicans are increasingly willing to contemplate the notion. ...
The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy has said that up to 60 percent of Mexican drug cartels' profits come from marijuana. While some say the real figure is lower, pot is without question a crucial part of their business. Legalization would make a significant chunk of that business vanish. As their immense profits shrank, the drug kingpins would be deprived of the almost unlimited money they now use to fund recruitment, arms purchases and bribes. ...
Our president will be able to say to yours: "We have paid an enormous price for a war that a majority of the citizens of your most populous and trend-setting state reject. Why don't we work together, producer and consumer nations alike, to draw a road map leading us away from the equivalent of Prohibition, before we all regret our short-sightedness?"

6. Meanwhile, San Mateo Mayor John Lee tells the Daily Journal he is appalled at the possibility of Prop 19 being voted into law. "It's an absolute disgrace," Lee said. "It's a gateway drug, especially for young people." However, a new study re-debunking the gateway theory points to unemployment and ignorance as the gateway drug. "Employment in young adulthood can protect people by 'closing' the marijuana gateway," said lead author Karen Van Gundy, in a news release, "so over-criminalizing youth marijuana use might create more serious problems if it interferes with later employment opportunities."

7. Lastly, Drug Policy Alliance spokesperson Ethan Nadelmann tells radio host Terrence McNally Protestantism might be to blame for America's drug war.

“It's a funny thing, we look at alcohol prohibition in America now and think that was some historical fluke from 1919 to 1933 when the country went sort of crazy. But, in fact, that was the outcome of a multi-generational effort that began with reasonable calls for temperance in the consumption of alcohol and ultimately evolved into radical calls for prohibition and total abstinence. There's a deep seated belief in America — I think it's wrapped up with different strands of Protestant Christianity — that my body is not just my body, it's God's vessel, and that I have an obligation to my Lord and Maker to keep this body free of polluting or mind altering substances. So there's something almost fearful in our consciousness. We're not totally unique in this regard, but we do seem to take it further than most others.”

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