S.F. Cannabis Advocates Tell President What Time It Is On 4-20


All photos by Jack Rikess

By Jack Rikess
Toke of the Town

Northern California Correspondent
President Obama’s fund raising drive continued in San Francisco on April 20 with a financial pow-wow at the St. Regis Hotel downtown. The President was met by some 75 medical marijuana protesters who had arrived at 7 a.m. at 3rd and Mission. The protesters were carrying homemade signs and chanting that the President has turned his back on the medical marijuana community.
“We’re here because Obama hasn’t provided safe access for patients that need their medicine. Raids are continuing on dispensaries,” David Goldman of Americans for Safe Access explained over his coffee cup.
“The IRS is putting pressure on the banks that do business with anyone in the Medical Marijuana community,” Goldman told Toke of the Town. “The IRS is also disallowing expenses to be used as deductions. No sane business can operate without allowing deductions.”

Toke: What would you like President Obama to do?
“Reschedule marijuana from a Schedule I drug to a Schedule III drug,” Goldman said. “Then be consistent with what he said in his campaign. That he wouldn’t go after medical marijuana patients. The opposite is true,” Goldman said clearly.
Clint from Colorado Springs was walking into Peet’s for coffee when he noticed the protesters.
Toke: May I ask how you feel about medical marijuana?
“To tell you the truth, I don’t know,” the clear-eye Colorado man muses. “Do I think there are applications for marijuana for people who are in pain and suffering? Absolutely. But do I think that there are individuals taking advantage of the system? Yes.”

Toke: Personally, where do you stand on the issue of legalization?
“I know it works in Colorado Springs for some people. But I like things to be black or white. Either make it legal or not. I don’t like the ambiguousness of the issue.”
A couple of veterans held signs garnering the attention of the national media present. One of the soldiers mentioned that even though the Veterans Administration has approved medical marijuana for returning vets who are experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), the Feds will not allow for those veterans to use marijuana medicinally. If they do, they stand to lose their benefits for using an unapproved drug. 
Even though the government has okayed your use? 
The unnamed veteran of three tours just smiled and said, “Crazy, huh?”
The morning commute communicated its approval with honks and shouts by the supportive cars and trucks passing by. Others had no idea that the President was about to speak across the street at the St. Regis and wondered why there were so many hippie types up so early.
By the time the president and the big black SUVs pulled up to the side entrance, he was in and gone before he had a chance to read a sign. 
But Greg of ‘Black and Brown Just Cannabis Policy’ is hopeful.
“We met some new friends and talk to some people about the issues,” Greg said. “We’re serious. President Obama is forgetting who got him there. We’re just not potheads. We’re patients. He needs to keep his commitment to us. For many people, it’s life or death. The president needs to be as serious with us patients as he is with raising money.”

Photo: Jack Rikess
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.