Tuesday, September 30, 2014

California Pot Patients Report ‘Overwhelming Satisfaction’ With Plant

by David Downs
Tue, Sep 30, 2014 at 11:14 AM

Critics love to say how medical marijuana is a sham — and it’s just a bunch of wasted youth out there going in and out of dispensaries.

“California’s medical marijuana law is a giant con job,” stated top police lobbyist John Lovell, speaking for all police in the state.

But a huge new landmark study shows how ignorant such critics are.

More …

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Fresno’s Controversial Medical Marijuana Ban Possibly Illegal, Headed to Trial

by David Downs
Thu, Sep 25, 2014 at 10:46 AM

Fresno County led the way in rolling back the rights of California medical marijuana patients with a total ban on the cultivation of even a single medical cannabis plant, even for personal use. But the ban appears to fly in the face of the California voter-approved Prop 215, and now will face a courtroom trial on November 19.

The Fresno Bee reported that Fresno County Superior Court Judge Dale Ikeda questioned the legality of the county's actions on the issue.


Facing a widespread problem with illegal, for-profit cultivation, Fresno County enacted a total medical marijuana ban in February, prohibiting any indoor or outdoor cultivation by qualified patients. Fresno is supposed to issue a 15-day notice to abate what it deems “nuisance grows”, and there is a $1,000-fee per plant, along with a 10 percent interest per month for unpaid fines.

Problem is, plaintiffs say Fresno cops aren’t trained civil code enforcement officers, and violate due process by chopping down plants and assessing fines the same day.

The Bee reports that Judge Ikeda said, “Seems to me the county thinks the county can abate nuisance and remove the marijuana plants without giving the property owner, cultivator, an opportunity to abate. What's the point of the 15-day notice?"

Hundreds of fines have likely been assessed this way, said Fresno Cannabis Association founder Michael Green.

More than a dozen residents have appealed a total of almost $1 million in fines assessed by Fresno County. Lawyers say the county ban is illegal if patients are not given time to toss the plants.

Fresno County will pay Orange County law firm Best, Best and Krieger up to $210,000 in taxpayer money to defend Fresno against its own residents.

Best, Best and Krieger is notorious among medical marijuana patients for selling cities controversial bans, then reaping a windfall of fees when patients inevitably sue.

Best, Best and Krieger represented the City of Riverside in the landmark case giving city’s right to ban not only dispensaries, but collectives or any medical marijuana activity.

"Fresno is now ground zero of cannabis cultivation policy," Green said. "We're fighting here and we're trying to stop it from spreading and going to other cities and counties."

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

So It Begins: The California Legalization 2016 Primer

by David Downs
Wed, Sep 24, 2014 at 11:15 AM

Today, the Marijuana Policy Project filed with the California Secretary of State to form a committee and raise money for a 2016 cannabis legalization initiative. Here’s some things to keep in mind:

They're Going To Need A TON Of Money
Maybe $10-$15 million dollars, but historically, no one has shown up and donated to the cause of legalizing pot in California.

It'll Be A Coalition
The Colorado legalizers will work with a diverse group on an initiative in the coming months, MPP communications director Mason Tvert told me recently. That’s likely going to be groups like Drug Policy Alliance, ACLU, and the Coalition for Cannabis Policy Reform.

More …

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Pre-Sales Hot, Back-Ordered For Our New Hash Book, 'Beyond Buds'

by David Downs
Tue, Sep 23, 2014 at 9:10 AM

Pardon the self-promotion, but your Legalization Nation columnist is becoming a published author, and the book is already doing well!

Beyond Buds: Marijuana Extracts — Hash, Vaping, Dabbing, Edibles and Medicines by Ed Rosenthal with David Downs officially comes out October 18, 2014. You can pre-order it online on Amazon or direct from Oakland’s Quick Trading Publishing.

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Friday, September 19, 2014

Nearly $1 Million in Pot Fines Appealed in Fresno County

by David Downs
Fri, Sep 19, 2014 at 12:40 PM

California cities and counties have been switching from the criminal code to the civil code to continue to ban medical cannabis growing. Fresno County is the leader in the practice, and this coming Monday, the board of supervisors will hear appeals from folks ordered to pay a total about $800,000 for growing pot plants on their property.

Fresno County has a total ban on cultivation of even a single medical marijuana plant — and folks are lining up to appeal their fines, said Michael Green, litigant with the Fresno Cannabis Association.

For example, Fresno County resident Richard Hickingbottom owes the county $87,000 for the 87 plants that county sheriff’s deputies eradicated on his property August 6.

“I suffer from muscular dystrophy and believe I have the right to grow my own medicine,” Hickingbottom wrote in his appeal. “The penalty is an unreasonable amount to pay. My doctor prescribed this to me along with the County Health Department.”

Illicit cannabis cultivation is widespread in the Central Valley, said Green, but Fresno County code does not distinguish between illegal, for-profit gardens and lawful personal or collective cultivation.

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Thursday, September 18, 2014

Ask Legalization Nation: What’s A Good Dispensary for Elderly Conservative People?

by David Downs
Thu, Sep 18, 2014 at 9:36 AM

Dear Legalization Nation,
I have an elderly relative in the Bay Area who is terminally ill (adenocarcinoma of the pancreas) and who is seeking medical marijuana. I have no f*cking clue. I recall your column and thought I would do a sanity check with you. The lady has a letter from her doctor regarding medical marijuana. Haven't seen the letter. I'm guessing her family should take it to the Patient ID center in Oakland and go from there to a dispensary. Is that an appropriate path?
 [Name Withheld]

I’m really sorry to hear about your relative, that sucks. A doctor’s recommendation and a valid California state identification is all that is needed to join a collective and shop at a dispensary. You don't need to go to the Oakland Patient ID Center.

More …

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Oregon Legalization Battle Turns Into a Good Old Fashioned Mudfight

by David Downs
Wed, Sep 17, 2014 at 4:17 PM

A measure that would legalize cannabis in Oregon has a slight lead in the polls, and the mud has started to fly over what could be the third state to tax and regulate pot.

SurveyUSA has Oregon voters favoring a broadly described form of legalization 51 to 41 percent, with 8 percent undecided.

Going after those undecideds is the Yes on 91 campaign, which has a $2.3 million warchest, and is racing to register more voters before the October 14 deadline, said Anthony Johnson in our interview with him for The Hash.

Opposing them is the “No on 91” team, which includes the Oregon State Sheriff's Association, Oregon District Attorneys Association, and Oregon Republican Party.

Members of No on 91 plan on conducting a statewide series of events slamming cannabis and have begun running some pretty incendiary ads in print and television.

More …

Monday, September 15, 2014

Rolling Stone’s Ben Fong-Torres Joins Us in The Studio for ‘The Hash’

by David Downs
Mon, Sep 15, 2014 at 9:55 AM

One of the great things about doing a new pot-cast with a Peabody Award-winning radio producer Ben Manilla?

Insanely cool guests like Rolling Stone’s Ben Fong-Torres. The legendary music journalist gives us his top five favorite cannabis-related songs in our regular feature "High Five."
Fong-Torres at the early 'Rolling Stone' magazine with some rocker type. :) - WWW.BENFONGTORRES.COM
  • www.BenFongTorres.com
  • Fong-Torres at the early 'Rolling Stone' magazine with some rocker type. :)

Episode Four of The Hash is out now and themed the “Legalization” episode — so we:

— get the latest on Alaska legalization and national efforts from the Marijuana Policy Project Communications Director Mason Tvert;

— talk with Oregon Measure 91’s Anthony Johnson, and NORML's Erik Altieri;

— review some anti-pot political ads from Florida;

— and go through the latest headlines.

Listen to episode four of The Hash, our audio B-side to Legalization Nation column.

(Available on iTunes, Stitcher, Soundcloud, and on our web page. Subscribe via email and you're automatically entered to win a gift bag of books and goodies.)

Friday, September 12, 2014

Pot Farm Showcases Radical Water Conservation Invention

by David Downs
Fri, Sep 12, 2014 at 9:44 AM

The end of pot prohibition has already led to strains that won’t get you stoned. Could it lead to gardening techniques that radically conserve water?

Next Wednesday, George Bianchini, founder of Medi-Cone, will give select visitors a guided tour of his medical cannabis gardens to demonstrate his "Wicked Wicking System," which radically cuts water waste, he says.

Bianchini is an Oaksterdam graduate, who, since 2008, has run Medi-Cone, which produces, packages, and sells rolled medical marijuana joints - or “cones.” As the drought sank its teeth into his Northern California valley, Bianchini bit back with an “ultra water-conserving garden … that provides him with a thriving garden in spite of the drought,” he wrote in a press release.

More …

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Lancet Develops Reefer Madness: Let's Really Talk About Pot, School, Suicide, and Society

by David Downs
Thu, Sep 11, 2014 at 12:04 PM

Get ready for another round of reefer madness.

This week, the journal Lancet published a study on daily teen marijuana use and purported correlations to dropping out of high school, not finishing college, and committing suicide.

The study is loaded with problems, and comes with weak conclusions from the researchers, but that isn’t stopping the media from running incendiary headlines equivalent to ‘Weed Causes 60 Percent Increase in Suicide.”

A couple things to keep in mind: The researchers did no original research, rather re-analyzed three other studies. And the researchers’ own summary in no way jibes with Lancet’s or the media’s hype. And, crucially, the purported correlations between daily pot use and ill effects are more drug policy-related correlations than drug-related.

More …

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