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In an ominous development, the United States federal government has subpoenaed financial records kept by Mendocino County, California, regarding its medical marijuana program, official sources have confirmed.

County officials on Tuesday confirmed that a federal grand jury issued a subpoena to the Mendocino County Auditor-Controller’s Office for records of fees paid to the county under its medical marijuana ordinance, County Code 9.31, reports Tiffany Revelle at the Ukiah Daily Journal.

The subpoena arrived in late October, according to one source. The reason for the federal request isn’t clear; neither local nor federal authorities have made a statement.
The federal subpoena seems to confirm the darkest fears of those within the medical marijuana community who are reluctant to cooperate or participate with state- and county-level medicinal cannabis programs, since the herb is still illegal for any purpose at the federal level. Many have argued that filing paperwork with any local or state government puts medical marijuana growers at risk of federal prosecution.

Santa Rosa Press Democrat
Mendocino County Sheriff Tom Allman: “We are, of course, supportive of legitimate medical marijuana here.”

Tell me what company you keep and I’ll tell you what you are.
   ~ Miguel de Cervantes, “Don Quixote de la Mancha Part II” (1615)
By Jack Rikess

Toke of the Town

Northern California Correspondent
Conventional wisdom for anyone living north of Santa Rosa is that marijuana is an integral component of California’s economy. In the beginning, growers were tolerated by the locals as misfits of society who had migrated north to avoid the world of straight jobs and or had fled to Mendo with the ‘back to the county’ movement to grow their organic beans and fruit.
Venerable local institutions such as the timber and fishing industries were leery of the young freaks with their torn jeans and rusting VW vans. Their fears were soon justified when that first generation found that there were endless acres of hidden land stashed in them there hills.
If a guy could find a secluded patch in the hills that was close to water and had sun, he had the makings of his first clandestine start-up. The Timber giants viewed the encroaching growers as threats to their land, their water, and to the political dominance that they held in NorCal since the mid-19th century. 
By the 1980s, the marijuana industry was entrenched and blooming, much to the chagrin of local law enforcement and community leaders. These former lazy rejects were driving new trucks, sending their kids to school, and buying their veggies at Safeway just like everyone else.  
Thirty years later it is estimated that cannabis industry generates around 13 billion dollars in annual sales. And that’s what is available to count. The timber industry is now a hollow trunk of its former self. The salmon and other fish populations have been so drastically depleted in the last few decades that fishermen can’t rely on their yield from season to season. Many fishing boats on the coast have gone belly up.

Tucson Citizen
Arizona, this is your “leadership”: mental pygmy Rep. Bob Robson (R-Chandler) doesn’t believe in medical marijuana, so he wants to remove the term from all bills which contain it.

​Arizona voters approved medical marijuana back in 2010. But there’s no such thing, insists GOP state Rep. Bob Robson, and he not only wants his fellow lawmakers to stop using that term; he wants it struck from all bills which reference it.

“We’re already tacitly committing this body to recognizing something that doesn’t really exist,” said Robson, a Republican member of the Arizona House of Representatives hailing from Chandler.
He’s urging that the term be struck from all bills that contain the words “medical marijuana.”
Why, exactly, does the term need to be summarily removed from the English language, pray tell?
Robson argues that because he personally has never seen any studies that prove marijuana has medical properties (although one feels safe in guessing Rep. Robson’s intellectual explorations have been, shall we say, rather limited), the term should never be used. (Granny Storm Crow [PDF], call home.)

Mexico Unmasked

​A Native American tribe in Arizona says that the state’s medical marijuana cards don’t apply on tribal lands, and has apparently started seizing the vehicles of legal cannabis patients as they pass through.

Under Arizona law, the state’s 18,000 medical marijuana patients with state-issued cards are allowed to transport small amounts of cannabis in their vehicles — but not on tribal lands, reports Ray Stern at Phoenix New Times.
In the case of the Salt River Maricopa-Pima Indian Community, that includes a strip of the Loop 101 freeway — and it seems that every legal patient who drives down that particular stretch of freeway is not only putting his or her medicine at risk, but the vehicle they’re driving, as well.

Photo: Santa Rosa Press Democrat
Mendocino County Sheriff Tom Allman: “We are, of course, supportive of legitimate medical marijuana here.”
By Jack Rikess

Toke of the Town

Northern California Correspondent

The Coming of the New Prophet
Rikess: Last time we spoke in August of last year… (See Toke of the Town’s 2010 interview with Sheriff Allman here.)
Sheriff: Seems like yesterday…
Rikess: (laughs) I know and still…you don’t write and you don’t call…
Sheriff: (laughs) Okay…
Rikess: So last time I was here, you said something that was incredibly right on. You said that there was going to be very little difference between George Bush’s administration and Obama’s, when it came to medical marijuana. You said that someone big in the attorney general’s office sat in the chair I’m sitting in and said, and I’m paraphrasing, “He guaranteed me that it was going to be the same under Obama as it was with George Bush. In the end, Eric Holder will handle medical marijuana the same way [the]George Bush [Administration] did.” 
Sheriff: It wasn’t Eric Holder. It was a U.S. attorney. The chronological order was, the U.S. attorney came up here and said, (this is definitely under George W.), saying, “ummm, the U.S. government will not get involved with any marijuana cultivation, distribution, what-ever-you-want-to-call-it, that falls within the boundaries of California’s medical marijuana.” 
Okay, thank you very much. And, you know, he took his dog and pony show and went somewhere else. 
Then the presidential election happened, okay. Then in the primary or maybe it was before the general election, Obama just mentioned something about medical marijuana. 

Photo: Frontline
Mendocino County Sheriff’s Department Sgt. Randy Johnson (left) visits a marijuana farm run by Matt Cohen (right), as featured in “The Pot Republic,” airing July 26 and 29 on PBS.

Frontline is presenting “The Pot Republic,” a report on the effort to legalize marijuana in California, this month on PBS.

While the bulk of cannabis used in the United States used to come across the border from Mexico, Colombia, Canada and elsewhere, more than half of it is now believed to be domestically grown, much of it in California, “where an enormous black market has emerged under the cover of the state’s medical marijuana law,” at least if PBS is to be believed.
With more than a third of the U.S. now experimenting with some form of legalization and decriminalization — and several California counties attempting to openly regulate cannabis production — Frontline and the Center for Investigative Reporting teamed up to take a look at the country’s oldest, largest and most wide-open marijuana market.

Photo: Howard Fischer/Capitol Media Services
Mike Miller of the Arizona Compassion Association presides over the counter at The 2811 Club.

​Medical marijuana dispensaries aren’t yet allowed to open in Arizona, pending a judge’s ruling on Proposition 203, the ballot initiative approved by voters last November. But that’s not keeping some patients from finding cannabis.

At least a few clubs providing patients with medical marijuana have opened to fill that need, reports Emily Holden at The Arizona Republic.
The new state law allows medical marijuana cardholders to grow their own cannabis and to share it with each other, as long as there are no dispensaries within 25 miles. Since no dispensaries are yet allowed, all patients are currently eligible to grow. These clubs have developed as go-between.
The new law was meant to create a regulated industry of dispensaries, said Joe Yuhas, spokesman for the Arizona Medical Marijuana Association, which led the campaign for Prop 203. Instead, the pot clubs are an unintended consequence of the dispute between state and federal laws regarding pot.
“We’re going to see more and more developments like this,” Yuhas said.

Graphic: PRWeb

​Gus Escamilla, the founder and CEO of Greenway University in Denver, plans to offer fledgling Arizona dispensaries an education in the business of medicinal cannabis.

His team helped open more than 225 dispensaries in California, Colorado and the western United States, according to Escamilla, reports John Yantis at The Arizona Republic.
“The demographic that we recognized, it’s not the 21- to 28-year-olds,” Escamilla said of prospective dispensary owners. “It’s the 35- to 65-year-olds, the displaced professionals, the people that want to get into this industry in total and complete compliance with the state laws or jurisdiction that they live in.”
Later this month, Greenway University, which says its curriculum is provisionally approved by a division of the Colorado Department of Higher Education, plans a two-day, $295 seminar in Scottsdale. Students can learn about the political and legal issues surrounding marijuana, as well as how to grow the herb and prepare it in a snack form called edibles.

Photo: Arizona Capitol Times

​Perhaps inspired by the plight of employees such as Joseph Casias, a Michigan Wal-Mart worker who was fired for legally using pot for medicinal purposes, Arizona’s new medical marijuana law prohibits employers from discriminating against medical marijuana cardholders.

But zero tolerance of “drug use” is the workplace norm in the state, and some say the new law clouds what had been a clear-cut issue for workers and employers.

Employment attorneys say the new Arizona law does allow employers to fire or discipline workers who use medical marijuana on t he job, or whose work is impaired by pot, reports Jahna Berry at The Arizona Republic.
But important questions remain. If a supervisor suspects that a medical marijuana patient’s pot use affects the quality of his or her work, how should they respond? If employees who are medical marijuana patients get injured on the job are they eligible for worker’s compensation? And what happens if a legal medical marijuana patient fails a company’s drug test when applying for a position?

Graphic: Reality Catcher
A new poll shows Prop 203, which would legalize medical marijuana and create dispensaries in Arizona, with a 22-point lead among likely voters.

New Poll Shows Prop 203 With 22-Point Lead

The voters of Arizona appear to be ready to legalize medical marijuana — for the third time. 

A Rocky Mountain Poll released Wednesday shows 54 percent of registered voters approving Proposition 203, which would allow the medical use of cannabis, with only 32 percent opposing it, reports Michelle Ye Hee Lee of The Arizona Republic. Fourteen percent said they are undecided.

Another new statewide poll from Earl de Berge has very similar results, showing 52 percent of likely voters support Prop 203, reports Howard Fischer of Capitol Media Services. Only 33 percent are opposed, with the rest undecided.