Friday, October 21, 2016

Prop. 64 Rolls Out New Ads, No on 64 Touts Unfavorable New Poll

by David Downs
Fri, Oct 21, 2016 at 9:38 AM

The proponents of an initiative to legalize marijuana for adults in California are launching a series of online videos that will be appearing on television, as well.

Thursday, Yes on 64 uploaded “Common Sense,” featuring California’s former director of finance, Tom Campbell, appealing to extremely important swing voters. The video has not been made public as of this morning.


In the video, tinkling piano notes play, the suit-and-tie-wearing Campbell says, “As California’s former director of finance I assure you Proposition 64 is a smarter, safer, more fiscally sound approach to adult-use marijuana than what our state is currently doing.

“So, though I never tried marijuana and I don’t advocate others doing so, I’m voting Yes on 64 to legalize, regulate and tax marijuana for adults 21 and over. 64 has strict safeguards for families and a billion dollars in new revenue for our state’s greatest needs. So vote yes on 64.”

The ad rollout comes amid a new poll showing Proposition 64’s support at just 51 percent, with a 3.7 percent margin of error. The No on 64 camp on Tuesday touted the results of the automated poll conducted October 13-15 via phone and online.

“Proposition 64 … is backed 51% to 40%. Unchanged from mid-and late-September,” Survey USA states.

“The survey was conducted using blended sample, mixed mode. Respondents reachable on their home telephones (58% of likely voters) were interviewed on their home telephones in the recorded voice of a professional announcer. Respondents not reachable on a home telephone (42% of likely voters) were shown a questionnaire on the screen of their smartphone, tablet or other electronic device. Polling ballot measures and citizen initiatives is an inexact science,” Survey USA states.
Among all polls, Survey USA polls have generally yielded results showing the least support for Proposition 64. However, the polling group is correct when it states: “In general, having nothing to do with California specifically and having nothing to do with 2016 uniquely, opposition to a ballot measure increases as Election Day approaches. Rarely does support for a ballot measure increase over time. As a result, the outcome of Prop 64 cannot be assured at this hour.”

No on 64 has promised to start airing their own video ad in the pivotal Los Angeles market, stating in Spanish that marijuana candy advertising would be coming to television “on shows children watch.”

“We can’t allow our children to be put at risk,” the ad states.

(In fact, federal communications law prohibits advertising banned drugs on broadcast television and radio. Station owners that do could lose their jobs and their station’s FCC licenses. Prop 64 also explicitly prohibits advertising to children.)

Last week, veteran campaign experts said they expected Proposition 64 to pass.

And in a press conference this week, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom stated: "We're working our tail off. ... If we’re able to continue where we are today, with this kind of a pace of energy, we’ll win.”

Also this week, Gallup reported 60 percent of Americans now support marijuana legalization.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Nurses Can Train on Marijuana This Friday in Lafayette

by David Downs
Mon, Oct 17, 2016 at 9:16 AM

Mainstream medical practitioners and institutions are woefully behind the curve on cannabinoids.

But as adult-use legalization spreads, it also lifts the lingering stigma over mainstream medical uses for pot. Dramatic inroads are being made.

The Apothecarium launches a new physician outreach program with Mayor Jean Quan’s husband Dr. Floyd Huen this October.

And over in Lafayette Friday, nurses can get trained on cannabinoid medicine from two rock stars in the space: Alice O’Leary Randall, LPN, CT; and the East Bay's Eloise Theisen, RN, MSN, AGPCNP-BC.

Patients in many nursing homes and hospice care facilities are prohibited from using cannabis-based tinctures and oils. - STEPHEN LOEWINSOHN
  • Stephen Loewinsohn
  • Patients in many nursing homes and hospice care facilities are prohibited from using cannabis-based tinctures and oils.
Nurses who attend the Nurses Medical Cannabis Workshop: A Clinical Focus, obtain six contact hours per session, which may count toward continuing education requirements.

Experts say doctors and nurses are not currently trained on the endocannabinoid system, and lack basic information about the plant, its compounds, dosing and drug interactions, and indications. Yet about one in 20 California adults are estimated to have used cannabis for serious medical condition.

Theisen specializes in female seniors — some of the most cannabis-phobic patients around. Randall is a noted medical voice on cannabis, and former partner of Robert Randall, a celebrity federal medical marijuana patient.

The event is sponsored by United Patients Group and Green Health Consultants and is $225.

The California Board of Registered Nursing is listed as the provider for a total of six (6) CE Certified Contact Hours.

The duo also conducts the workshop Saturday in San Rafael.

[David Downs is the author of The Medical Marijuana Guidebook, America's most practical guide for patients and caregivers.]

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Marijuana and Election 2016: Grading the Candidates and Measures on Pot-Friendliness

by David Downs
Thu, Oct 13, 2016 at 10:18 AM

The deadline to register to vote in California is eleven days out. Vote by mail packets are already hitting mailboxes statewide.

For folks hoping to end the drug war, there’s ample opportunity up and down the ballot to express the will of the people, whether it be: voting in local city council members and county supervisors who will decide if your town can have a medical dispensary — and eventually a recreational one; voting in state races to pick representatives who will defend and expand safe access at the state level, a well as shield the industry from rapacious special interests; to voting for Congress members and Senators who will decide if banking reform and tax reforms get a hearing in Congress, let alone a floor vote, or approval.

California's multi-billion cannabis industry hangs in the balance of the General Election. - DAVID DOWNS
  • David Downs
  • California's multi-billion cannabis industry hangs in the balance of the General Election.
The Drug Policy Forum of California, an influential online site, has released its General Election Voters Guide to Drug Policy Reform recently. The beefy Guide covers candidates and state measures, highlighting pro-reform votes in green, anti-reform votes in red, and neutral votes black.

Of note:

— The DPFCA Voter Guide is technically neutral on California legalization Prop. 64, but mostly endorses it, with fears about tickets for smoking in public, and taxes.

“Observers agree that a victory for legalization in California would be a powerful boost for marijuana reform both nationally and internationally. On the other hand, defeat would undoubtedly be interpreted as a major setback to legalization and likely invite a crackdown,” the DPFCA Guide states.

— Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gets a "neutral" vote, and so does Republican nominee Donald Trump. However, Trump’s second in command Mike Pence is totally anti-reform. Libertarian candidate and former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson, and Green party candidate, Dr. Jill Stein advocate full legalization of marijuana, and get the DPFCA’s green light.

— In the race for Sen. Boxer’s seat, Rep. Loretta Sanchez of Orange County clinches a green light from reformers, while Attorney General Kamala Harris gets a "neutral" rating.

“More seriously, Harris failed to speak up against the federal crackdown on dispensaries in California, despite the fact that as former District Attorney of San Francisco she should have known that the city’s dispensaries were working well and the federal charges against them were bogus. … her lack of leadership in the state has been troubling.” 
— Over in the races for open Congressional seats, DPFCA highlights the die-hard prohibitionists who want to represent you in Congress, specifically calling for voters to send home in defeat: Doug LaMalfa (R- Redding/ N.E. Cal.); Jeff Denham (R-Modesto); Darrell Issa (R-Vista); Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield); Scott Jones (R-Sacramento Co.); Casey Lucas (R-Monterey); and Paul Chabot (R-San Bernardino).

Rep. La Malfa thinks pot should be considered as dangerous as heroin, and has said “any measure that would continue to keep it as a controlled substance I would support." 

All across inland and Southern California, voters can defeat recalcitrant Republicans — like in Rancho Cordova/Roseville where pro-reform Democrat Ami Bera is battling former Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones, who is "100% against" legalization. Pro-reform voters can make a difference in races in Monterey, Squaw Valley, California City, Palmdale, San Bernardino, Irvine, Orange County, and Oceanside.

— Also, there are about 50 local ballot measures related to cannabis.

Read the full Guide to see your local legislative races and ballot measures, as well.

And to those who say 'voting amounts to tacit support for a corrupt system', we reply, “Cool. So when the revolution starts, should we just send you an email or something?”

As Lt. Gov. Newsom told the cannabis industry this summer in Oakland, “Our actions matter. By doing nothing, you’ve done everything, by abdicating any responsibility for the world we’re living in.”

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Gov. Jerry Brown Licenses California’s Smallest Medical Pot Farmers

by David Downs
Wed, Oct 5, 2016 at 12:02 PM

Gov. Jerry Brown provided a path to licensure for California’s smaller medical cannabis gardeners that want to sell their crop into the regulated commercial market.

"Dutch Crunch" medical marijuana
  • "Dutch Crunch" medical marijuana

The governor signed the so-called “cottage” licensing bill, A.B. 2516, on September 29, creating a Type 1C, or “specialty cottage,” state cultivator license.

A licensed cottage grower could have up to 2,500 square feet of total canopy size in a greenhouse; up to 25 mature plants outdoors; or 500 square feet indoors, on one premise.

Growers get the license from the state’s food and agriculture department, and the state license pairs with local licenses.

The cottage licensing law addresses new anxieties about industrial agriculture disrupting the economics of the otherwise unmechanized crop.

Local cottage licenses have yet to be crafted. Meanwhile, medical marijuana megafarms are being licensed and grandfathered in as fast as cash-thirsty cities can pass ordinances.

The rich cultivation cultures of the Bay Area’s urban center are facing the stresses of a fully legal, soon-to-be-regulated sector. San Francisco growers say lack of local licensing threatens to push them out. Oakland is mired in a potentially illegal equity permit program already diminishing its competitiveness.

Pot prices plummet under legalization, which erases the ‘risk premium’ on weed. Overproduction also drives out inefficient gardeners. The RAND Drug Policy Research Center estimates one gram of cannabis could fall from a black market high of $20 to about $2. You could grow all of California's annual supply on 1,100 acres, according to new estimates.

Several enacted and proposed laws and regulations aim to preserve small farmers who could command boutique pricing similar to vinters and brewers.

“As this industry moves forward, we need to make sure that all farmers, regardless of size, can come into compliance – that’s what success looks like,” stated Assemblymember Jim Wood, the bill’s sponsor.

In related news, cottage licensing supporter and director of the California Growers Association Hezekiah Allen told the Lost Coast Outpost he would not vote to legalize marijuana — unless it heralds a planet-wide return to pre-industrial agriculture.

"We need to fundamentally reconsider the way our farms and businesses relate to the natural world," he said.

California has a several billion-dollar medical cannabis industry, is the leading domestic supplier to the nation which spends tens of billions on cannabis annually, RAND finds. California currently makes about 20,000 marijuana-related arrests each year, resulting in several hundred million dollars in adjudication costs, according to state estimates.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

California Medical Marijuana Extract Makers Get Historic Protections

by David Downs
Tue, Oct 4, 2016 at 7:50 AM

California’s elite artisanal medical cannabis extract-makers will get the same legal shield as the patients and collectives they currently serve, under new law signed by Gov. Jerry Brown.

More …

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