Tuesday, January 31, 2012

San Francisco Dispensaries' Annual Sales Estimate: $41 Million

by David Downs
Tue, Jan 31, 2012 at 10:17 AM

The San Francisco controller's office has done an unprecedented analysis of the amount of sales tax revenue going to the general fund from the sale of medical cannabis at permitted city dispensaries. The results are staggering.

San Francisco has an 8.5 percent sales tax rate, coming from a combination of the state's 7.25 percent sales tax with a local one percent sales tax that goes to SF's general fund, and a .25 percent sales tax that goes into other buckets (like transportation). San Francisco's roughly two dozen permitted clubs must pay the 8.5 percent sales tax, which is then reported to the controller's office.

For the most recent reporting period which ended with the third quarter of 2011, a year's worth of general fund revenue from the sales tax on medical marijuana totals “just over $410,000,” said Curt Fuchs, senior economist in the Controller's office.

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Thursday, January 26, 2012

Legalization Report: Arizona Surges as SF and Mendo Take Steps Backward

by David Downs
Thu, Jan 26, 2012 at 9:14 AM

Two more setbacks in the fight to regulate and control medical marijuana distribution:

Mendocino County Supervisors stopped their growing permit program Tuesday under threat of federal lawsuit. The program collected more than $600,000 for the Sheriff's Office in its first year. Mendo is going back to the old system of unregulated gardens, capped at 25 plants.

And San Francisco has flip-flopped, suspending dispensary permitting due to a court case, then starting it again for a day, before suspending it indefinitely yesterday. "All medical cannabis dispensary permit applications are on hold indefinitely, until the city can 'receive assurance that it is in compliance with state and federal law,' Chris Roberts of SF Weekly writes.

Meanwhile in Arizona- the state's 125 dispensaries and farms are scheduled to begin opening by summer. What's great is Arizona Governor Jan Brewer tried to use a federal judge to stop the state's voter-approved program, but the judge wouldn't let her. And Colorado's 800 or so medical cannabis centers are also on track. Isn't selective enforcement great?!

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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Sketchfest 2012 Update: Doug Benson Tickets Going, Going, Gone

by David Downs
Wed, Jan 25, 2012 at 3:58 PM

San Francisco's global exposition of indie and alt comedy, SF Sketchfest, includes two hot shows from comic and Super High Me star Doug Benson Saturday Jan. 28 and Sunday Jan. 29.

Benson has sold out his “Doug Benson Interruption” of Patrick Swayze's Roadhouse Jan. 28, wherein he interrupts a screening of the seminal action flick.

And the last tickets just went for a live recording of Doug Loves Movies podcast. Benson was one of the first comedians to record live episodes of his now-five-year-old podcast at Sketchfest — and they've become quite a hit.

Check out the Sketchfest schedule, which also comes to Oakland this year, and grab some of those hot Reggie Watts tickets before they're gone too.

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Esquire Magazine: Marijuana Should Be As Legal As Cigarettes or Alcohol

by David Downs
Wed, Jan 25, 2012 at 10:36 AM

New York's fashionable men's magazine Esquire has never exactly espoused the straightedge life, but it's still nice to see them include “Marijuana Should Be As Legal As Cigarettes or Alcohol” as the 63rd thing “we can all agree on” in their February issue, hitting newsstands now and themed "agree".


“Yes, it's probably true that pot has some wonderful medicinal properties ...” author Mike Sager writes, “but for the rest of us, it does no more harm than alcohol or tobacco. There is little conclusive medical evidence to say otherwise.”

Sager even calls prohibition “the deep, mindless shit that stunts and mutates.”

Great to see another publication man up.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

What the Funk? Terpenes Take off in Labs, Drug Companies, and Dispensaries

by David Downs
Tue, Jan 24, 2012 at 9:29 AM

Bay Area residents have yet another thing to be snobs about in 2012 as knowledge of “terpenes” — the building blocks that make up the unique smell of cannabis — begin to waft into the mainstream.

Drug companies are researching the therapeutic properties of these simple organic molecules, and at least two California medical cannabis labs have begun testing for their presence in dispensary weed. One lab in Davis even holds routine smelling classes.

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Thursday, January 19, 2012

Medical Marijuana Activists Cheer California Supreme Court Decision to Review Dispensary Bans

by David Downs
Thu, Jan 19, 2012 at 11:17 AM

Americans for Safe Access and other medical marijuana groups in California are applauding the California Supreme Court's decision to review Pack v. Long Beach, and two other appellate cases that have led to dispensary bans in many cities and counties.

The Supreme Court's review could take up to a year, watchers say. In the meantime, more dispensaries are likely to open in San Francisco, Oakland and Richmond. San Francisco had suspended dispensary permitting since November due to Pack. The San Francisco City Attorney's office wrote in December that, “If the Supreme Court grants review, this court of appeal decision will have no effect during the pendency of the Supreme Court's review.”

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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Roundup: Move Over "Blue Ivy," Meet "Obamanator"

by David Downs
Wed, Jan 18, 2012 at 12:40 PM

Here's your headlines: 1) Doug Benson returns to the Bay as part of Sketchfest 2012, which starts Thursday. His Saturday, Jan. 28 show "The Doug Benson Movie Interruption: Road House" is sold out, but tickets remain for his Sunday “Doug Loves Movies” podcast.

2) The High Times March Issue hits stands: Jeremy Piven says legalize it; fourteen-foot tall outdoor plants yield ten pounds; and pictures of first place Michigan Cannabis Cup winner "Obamanator".

2) SF Weekly's Chris Roberts on Ron Paul, marijuana, and reality.

3) StuffStonersLike.com pumps up the volume of strain reviews, like this Banana Boat Kush.

4) Yoga and a blunt in Hawaii with Rihanna:

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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Great Dispensary Freeze of 2012

by David Downs
Tue, Jan 17, 2012 at 6:01 AM

San Francisco, the hotbed of marijuana law reform, has frozen medical cannabis dispensary permitting this winter as the City — and dozens of others across the state — nervously await a decision by the California Supreme Court on the very legality of such permits.

Nine groups that are seeking permits to open new San Francisco clubs — mostly in the Mission — have been caught in limbo, the Department of Public Health told Legalization Nation. San Francisco currently has 26 permitted dispensaries. However, an October decision by California's Second District Court of Appeals, in the case of Pack v. Superior Court, states that local regulations — such as permits and fees — are preempted by federal drug law.

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Thursday, January 12, 2012

Feds Threaten Mendocino Officials Over Cultivation Permits

by David Downs
Thu, Jan 12, 2012 at 11:30 AM

According to California Watch, last week federal prosecutors threatened to sue Mendocino county, put county officials in jail, and confiscate county property if Mendocino continued to permit legal medical marijuana grows under its sheriff's office program.

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Animation: Snoop Dogg's Marijuana Arrest in Texas

by David Downs
Thu, Jan 12, 2012 at 8:00 AM

Snoop Dogg was arrested over the weekend for marijuana possession — in the same Texas county that hassled Willie Nelson last year. Taiwanese news-animation company NWA banged out this quaint synopsis. Love the rainbow between hip-hop and country. Video after the jump.

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