Marijuana and Cannabis News
By Steve Elliott ~alapoet~ in Culture
Saturday, January 21, 2012 at 6:52 pm
|The Government Rag|
By Jack Rikess
Toke of the Town
Northern California Correspondent
The Federal raids have begun again in California. Starting in sunny San Diego, with the intent of plowing north, not stopping 'til Eureka.
They're not cherry-picking anymore. The first assault arrived last year when the Feds went for the low hanging fruit, closing dispensaries that were situated within a thousand feet of a school. It didn't matter if the school was operational or not. One of the schools was a ballet studio that was exactly 999 feet away. No leeway. No discussion. You're closed.
The restrictions are the same for dispensaries near parks, playgrounds, and other locals where the kinder may be occupying. Because it's always about the kids... Except when it comes to liquor stores and strip clubs, they're copacetic.
Then there's Market Street Coop in San Francisco, which was closed because of a nearby school that moved in after the dispensary opened. That didn't matter, nor did it matter that there were 13 drinking establishments within the same radius. Obviously these saloons and booze emporiums are zoned for preschools, middle schools, bartender schools, just as long as it isn't a place people that distributes non-federally taxed medicine to sick people.
The second phase of the strategy is in towns where the charters are conservative and unsupportive of medical marijuana. That's where you might find a form letter duct-taped to an Orange Julius pole in the town square announcing that the town's dispensaries have two weeks to close on their own or else...there'll be trouble.
In Nor Cal, Mendocino County's 9.31 program, which allows, and regulates, legal cultivation, now hangs in the balance while local law enforcement wait to hear from the unpredictable California Department of Justice on the fate of their original and scalable idea. This is a perfect example of the Federal Government ignoring the positive progress of a local community and the unprecedented trust built through partnerships between citizens and law enforcement, resulting in a strong, independently developed, economy.
No matter what the model of dispensing medicine, California's non-profit, Colorado's for-profit and what's going on in Washington State, the Feds aren't buying any of it.
It is "Operation Full Court Press, Part Deux: 'This Time It's Domestic.' " In one of the most illogical fiscal moves possible, the Feds have taken upon themselves to dismantle one of the few industries to show success in these harsh economic times. Again, many would ask, if the people have voted for legal medical marijuana, why take away the jobs and tax revenue (yes, they too pay taxes and fund Social Security!) that is generated from this emerging industry?
Not everyone is under the belief that the industry is imploding. Some secure properly-zoned pot shops are doing business as usual in the face of danger saying, with fingers crossed and $200,000 buried in coffee cans in the backyard, that this too will blow over.
The worst fear of the federal government is that cannabis would be proven to be an effective medicine. Their goal for the foreseeable future is to keep the general public misinformed about the medicinal benefits of cannabis until Big Pharma can figure out how to own the industry. Their worst fear is that their relatives in California, Colorado, Arizona and Nevada who have cancer, Crohn's disease, HIV related illness, Hep C, back pain, migraines, and PTSD, will find success and relief through medical marijuana treatments.
Nothing hits home like having Mom or Aunt Kaye swear that whatever it was they ate or smoked, worked.
The strongest arguments for medical marijuana are the breakthroughs being found with CBD and CBN research. The scientific investigations of the properties that lie in CBD and CBN are being conducted in Israel, England and somewhere on a small island off the coast of Washington and are producing startling results.
So while these advancements are proving to be successful, some poor flak of a P.R. agent in our government is running a counter-campaign decrying the achievements of these studies. I can't imagine cannabis is any different from any other newly discovered commodity. Whether it is whale oil or tobacco, if there's mucho money to be made from it, there's going to be a fight for supremacy of the product.
So the Feds, without remorse or consent, are doing their best to stop medical marijuana in its tracks before it can find its rightful place in today's market. Even though the voters have agreed to the passage of medical marijuana ordinances, the Federal Government has usurped the voice of the people in their rather clumsy effort to stop medical marijuana from succeeding.
I say there are two reasons why. The first is about money, and the second is about freedom.
Big Pharma isn't called Big for nothing. The most powerful lobby in America pays off anyone and everyone who gets in their way. It is just that simple. Cannabis is being held as a Schedule I drug until Pharma gives the high (low?) sign and allows their buddy, Joe Government, to lower the Evil Weed to a softer Schedule II or III rating. This will make cannabis and, more importantly, the acquisition of the patents of the cannabis plant, more pliable for the pharmaceutical companies to roll with it. For the foreseeable next few years, it is the job of the Federal Government to keep cannabis out of the hands of its citizenry at all costs.
According to the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, the Feds spend roughly $1,716.77 every second, every day on the War On Drugs. Last year in 2011, the total was estimated at 23.44 billion dollars.
Now there's a push, a "surge" if you will, by the Feds to shake up the cannabis market at all costs before it can become established. Right now the Feds are playing hardball with anyone who comes in contact with a dispensary that's on their hit list. That includes growers and farmers, dispensary owners and investors, staff and maintenance, and sometimes landlords and lawyers. Really, anyone who is visible in the daily process of keeping their pot shop open is in the sights of our government.
This winter heating oil supplements for the needy were cut due to lack of funds, yet there's unlimited money when trying to terminate the legal medical marijuana operation in three very large U.S. states from flourishing. For 40 years the War On Drugs has been a fruitless conflict without winners or victors of any kind. There is not one benchmark attesting to the success of that feckless campaign on any level. The best you can say is it's been steady job creators for the crew-cut "don't ask questions" set.
|Simon's Film-Related Rants and Musings|
|Dennis Hopper: "They're scared, man."|
When I was 13 years old I saw the movie Easy Rider. I didn't understand it the first time. I liked it, but didn't get it.
A few years later, enlightened, I saw it again. This time I got it... What there was to get. It was a brilliant movie for the time.
What resonated then and to this day for me is the campfire scene with Jack Nicholson. If you think Jack is at his most powerful acting-wise with, "You can't handle the truth!", check out the understated scene with him and Dennis Hopper.
Jack, in one of his first major studio roles, plays the straight-laced preppy son of a local big wig. Around the campfire after they've introduced Jack's character to his first marijuana cigarette, he explains to the two long-haired hippies why the locals made the three of them leave town earlier that day for the crime of entering a diner looking different.
Dennis Hopper: They think we're gonna cut their throats or something. They're scared, man.
Jack Nicholson: They're not scared of you. They're scared of what you represent to them.
Dennis Hopper: All we represent to them, man, is someone who needs a haircut.
Jack Nicholson: Oh no. No, to them, you represent freedom.
Dennis Hopper: What's wrong with freedom? That's what it's all about...
Jack Nicholson: Talkin' 'bout it and being it...that's two different things. It's really hard to be free when you're bought and sold in the market place. Oh, yeah, they're gonna talk to you, and talk to you, and talk to you about individual freedom. But they see a free individual, it's gonna scare 'em.
Do you think for a moment that these Masters of the Blue Pills are going to give up the reins to one of the biggest money makers to come along since...Viagra -- to some hippies? Do you think they're going to turn the cash register drawers over to guys in tie-dye jeans wearing hipster Fedoras over long ponytails who in all probability give away all their profits to Greenpeace?
Whether it a scruffy guy with a beard growing the diggity-dank on the side of a mountain in Mendo or a closet genius in Redmond growing the Purple Urkle in his basement or Chuy and his bros in Fresno growing a CBD strain for a Valley collective or Dylan hiking in his Tevas to his grow in Boulder to worship the Green Goddess: It doesn't matter.
Hippies, in the mind of the Greedheads, cannot handle the monetary responsibility of bringing the cannabis in from the cold the way it should be, the way they do it, with restrictions and guidelines set forth by the drug companies.
We're too free. We do our own thing. Sometimes we even help other people.
Right now cannabis is ours. We still have the seeds. We have the plants. But they have the law.
So the most logical move that the drug companies can do is make criminals out of those associated with cannabis. It is just that easy.
Most patients and recreational users of cannabis have never committed a crime besides for partaking in a weed that 43 million Americans are said to enjoy. Is it worth it to arrest and imprison record numbers of Americans just to make sure that cannabis remains illegal and, more importantly, medical marijuana stays mercurial and elusive, unable to pin down or categorize?
By driving the argument as to whether cannabis is a medicine or a "sham," the Federal Government keeps us from having the real discourse on the potential benefits from a plant that few outside a lab or a log cabin seem to comprehend. The Feds perpetually keep us stuck in a quagmire of semantics and self-serving misinformation, burying the cause with the movement by perpetually doubting the medicinal value of cannabis.
Right now, Eric Holder and the Department of Justice are trying to stop cannabis from a journey which started in 1996 with Prop 215, to today with the introduction of four new initiatives that will hopefully be on the California ballot in November of this year as we cast our votes for the country's President. The Feds do not want these initiatives to go forward. They want to convince America that marijuana lacks medicinal worth or applications and dispensaries are nothing more than fronts for drug dealers to ply their trade unabashedly.
That's really the sham. That the Feds are acting more and more like bullies with get out of jail cards stuck in their pockets.
|The Medical Cannabis Resource Center|
They show little regard or respect for the folks that live in the towns that they're upsetting. They take over small towns as if they're cybernetic Borgs in Banana Republic khaki shorts reminding dispensaries, collectives and coops that resistance is futile. The cyBorgs are followed by their leaders, the emotionally denuded robots, the Haag 2012 and the sketchy prototype, the HolderRMU2 whose main functions are to create civil havoc then power down in the islands until their next fiasco blows over.
The anti-medical marijuana forces would like you to still consider cannabis smokers as a stony bunch of lackadaisical fools that can barely get out of a parked car... buffoons who barely know what they're doing.
This is another example of modern-day Manifest Destiny just like when gold was discovered on Indian land in the Black Hills. To the White Man, it was just expensive rocks wasted on savages.
For gosh sake, those crazy Injuns worshipped and incorporated the unique stone into totems and carried them in sacred pouches while miners were getting good money and liquor for their finds. For the White entrepreneur or the hungry prospector, the poor noble savage didn't know what he had. What a waste of Money!
Cannabis is medicine.
What's going to happen in about two or three years to the millions of prisoners who have been incarcerated for cannabis once the drug companies begin to release their new cannabis-based products? How will it be explained that for almost 100 years when it was in the hands of the people, the plant was illegal? Now that Big Pharma owns it, it's become acceptable.
That's the sham. If the Obama Administration continues the way they are going now, soon there's going to have to be an all out war waged for the soul of the cannabis plant. The authorities often question the validly of the numbers of young people who seek a medical marijuana card. It's almost if the Feds had their wish, if you wanted weed, you should go to the black market to procure it. Rather than lessening a mushrooming criminal population, shutting down dispensaries actually encourages unlawful behavior.
If you don't believe me, you must work for Pfizer.
The clock is ticking: We are in the last mile of a very lucrative race with the prize being cannabis itself. Big Pharma is in the homestretch watching their release dates grow closer and at the same time patients' rights and access to medicine decrease exponentially.
Welcome to 2012 where the fine line between what it means to be a patient and what is to be a criminal is not decided by our courts of law but by a Marketing Director of GW Pharmaceuticals or by another drug company that has our government in their deep pockets. Because of the net worth of a pharmaceutical stock, Big Pharma gets to determine who's breaking the law and when.
We don't have a say about our freedoms. We're not even allowed to say that the cannabis tincture or edible that relieves my pain, works. We don't own those words.
Obama sold them out right from under us.
|Toke of the Town correspondent Jack Rikess blogs from the Haight in San Francisco|
Jack Rikess, a former stand-up comic, writes a regular column most directly found at jackrikess.com.
Jack delivers real-time coverage following the cannabis community, focusing on politics and culture.
His beat includes San Francisco, the Bay Area and Mendocino-Humboldt counties.
He has been quoted by the national media and is known for his unique view with thoughtful, insightful perspective.