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Robert Platshorn @ Home sized.jpg
Photo: Robert Platshorn
Robert Platshorn, the Black Tuna, brought a million pounds of Colombian gold to American shores.

​If you were an American pothead in the 1970s, you probably smoked some of Robert Platshorn’s weed. His organization brought in tons of fine Colombian when it was considered some of the best pot in the world. And that’s the reason Platshorn later became the longest serving marijuana prisoner in U.S. history, doing 29 years inside the federal prison system.

Much of the primo Colombian flooding the U.S. marijuana market in the late 70s could be traced back to the Black Tuna Gang, a major smuggling ring which once brought 500 tons of pot into the United States over a 16-month period.
I remember well the sweet, potent buds of Santa Marta Gold that were available in 1977 and 1978. Possessed of a soaring sativa high and mind-blowing expansion in the lungs, this ‘lombo weed became the gold standard of connoisseur pot to a generation of appreciative stoners. To this day, I think of Colombian weed every time I hear Rush or Blue Öyster Cult.

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Photo: SF Weekly
Kushtown Pineapple Soda will tickle your taste buds and tease your brain cells. Can I get it cheaper by the case?

​With the flourishing medical marijuana dispensary scene in San Francisco, it’s no surprise that there are plenty of delicious cannabinated beverages available.

But how to tell the good from the bad? It was pretty much let the higher buyer beware until now.

SFoodie to the rescue! Our fellow Village Voice Media scribes over at the SF Weekly have selflessly made their way through countless pot potations (yes, they probably did lose count).
And incredibly, they managed to pull themselves together enough afterward to select the five tastiest, “notable for their deliciousness as much as for their dosage,” SFoodie helpfully notes.

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Photo: Drog Riporter
Sativex, unlike the pill Marinol, has more than 60 of marijuana’s cannabinoids instead of just THC.

​Sativex, a cannabinoid-based liquid medicine sprayed under the tongue, has been approved for use in Great Britain to help treat the muscle spasticity suffered by multiple sclerosis patients, it was announced on Friday.

Sativex is a natural marijuana extract that is provided by British-based GW Pharmaceuticals. It was approved in 2005 for use in Canada to treat neuropathic pain.
“Once again, the scientific community has confirmed that marijuana is medicine and it can provide safe and effective relief to patients suffering from certain conditions,” said Rob Kampia, executive director of the Marijuana Policy Project.
“Sadly, our federal government, through the Drug Enforcement Administration, has blocked effective research into the therapeutic effectiveness of marijuana,” Kampia said. “The United States could be leading the world in the development of cannabinoid-based medicines, but instead our government has ceded this industry to the U.K., while intentionally prolonging the agony of patients in this country.”
The Food and Drug Administration has already approved for medical use in the United States the pill Marinol, which contains only marijuana’s principle psychoactive component, THC.

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Photo: Gilbert Police Department
Walker helpfully included a photo of both the iPod and the marijuana in his Craiglist ad, according to police.

​A 20-year-old Arizona man has been arrested after allegedly placing an online ad to trade marijuana and an iPod for an iPad.

Jacob Walker of Gilbert, Ariz., posted an advertisement on Craigslist.com saying that he wanted to trade cannabis and an Apple iPod Touch for an Apple iPad, according to the Gilbert Police Department.
He helpfully included pictures of both the iPod and the pot in his online ad, reports Jennifer Thomas of azfamily.com.

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Photo: Walter Hinick/Montana Standard
Glenn Erickson, MedMar: “We wanted to provide a safe, secure atmosphere”

​One of Montana’s largest single-location retailers of cigarettes is now selling something else to smoke. But you need to be a registered patient to buy it.

Glenn Erickson at Gilligan’s Tobacco Shop has opened MarMed of Montana on the second floor of his store in Butte, reports Tim Trainor at The Montana Standard.
Before adding marijuana to his smokables, Erickson, 55, met with Butte-Silver Bow law enforcement and the county attorney’s office, making sure he was doing nothing illegal and was operating within the law.
“From a business standpoint, there are a lot of unknowns,” said Erickson, who has operated the tobacco shop for 12 years. “Let’s be honest; there is a lot that still needs to be cleared up.”

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Photo: Dave Nelson/The Riverfront Times
Dude, I am sooooo thirsty.

​The latest beer from O’Fallon Brewery in St. Louis, Missouri, sounds really tempting: Hemp Hop Rye. The bottled beer is “an amber ale brewed with both toasted hemp seeds and rye,” according to Tony Caradonna, president of O’Fallon, reports Dave Nelson of Riverfront Times.

“Hemp is a botanical cousin to hops and we use one that’s grown organically,” Head Brewer Brian Owens said. “It’s extremely nutritious and adds a wonderful nutty flavor in the finish. It’s a perfect complement to the rye and to the Cascade, Hallertauer and Summit hops in the beer.”

The recipe, concocted by Owens, includes three kinds of malted barley, two types of rye, the aforementioned three varieties of hops and of course my personal favorite ingredient, toasted hemp seeds. Rye isn’t a traditional brewing ingredient — it has been used more often in distilling whiskey — but it is gaining popularity with specialty brewers for its unique spiciness, Nelson reports.

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Graphic: Waiting To Inhale

​​A free screening of the award-winning medical marijuana documentary Waiting To Inhale will be held on the campus of the University of Iowa in Iowa City, at Shambaugh Auditorium, 100 Main Library, on Tuesday, April 27, at 7:30 p.m.

The screening will be followed by a panel discussion with patients and activists about medical marijuana and ongoing attempts to make Iowa the 15th state to give seriously ill patients safe and legal access to medical marijuana.
Rep. Mary Mascher (D-Iowa City) will also be in attendance.
This screening, which will be co-hosted by the University of Iowa Students for Sensible Drug Policy, takes place as the state prepares to create a medical marijuana task force this summer and proponents hope to move a medical marijuana bill through the Iowa Legislature next year.

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Graphic: How Weed Won The West

​Is How Weed Won The West an entertaining film? Yes, absolutely. You won’t get bored watching it.

The film takes a compelling look at California’s Emerald Triangle, one of the major marijuana production areas in the world, and looks at the scene in dispensary-heavy Los Angeles, where things are in flux just before what looks to be a major crackdown on the horizon.
Additionally, the jack-booted tactics of San Diego District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis are rightly called to task.
Ethan Nadelmann of the Drug Policy Alliance, certainly one of the most intelligent and articulate spokesman for drug reform policy in the United States, thankfully gets plenty of screen time, along with Don Duncan of Americans for Safe Access (ASA) and cultivation legend and multiple Cannabis Cup winner Bret Bogue.
And yeah, to be honest it was a thrill to see one of my SF Weekly “Chronic City” articles during the film, sharing the screen with Alex Jones.

But is it, on balance, a valuable film for the movement? That depends.

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Graphic: Chelsea Green Publishing

​It runs against the most basic business acumen to give your product away for free, but next week that is just what Chelsea Green Publishing is going to do.

On April 20, free downloads of Marijuana Is Safer: So Why Are We Driving People To Drink? are available all day on Scribd.com. Users will be able to download, print and share.
Paperback copies of the book will be available on the Chelsea Green website for a discounted price of $10.
April 20 is significant because over the years “420” has become a counterculture holiday, where the primary mode of celebration is smoking marijuana publicly.
Chelsea Green Publishing said the move is intended to raise awareness of marijuana’s relative safety when compared to alcohol in the face of California’s impending referendum for legalization in November.
In one of those oh-so-delicious twists of irony, April is also, coincidentally, National Alcohol Awareness month.
“This promotion is all about getting the message out there,” said Kate Rados, Chelsea Green’s director of digital initiatives. “Via our partners and web communities, we’ll be offering the free download to more than 200,000 people.”

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Graphic: The New Press
“A fresh and thought-provoking perspective on the War on Drugs, snitches, and whether locking so many people up really makes Americans safer.” ~ Anthony Romero, executive director, ACLU

​Paul Butler was an up-and-coming federal prosecutor and Harvard Law grad who gave up his corporate salary to fight the good fight — until one day he was arrested on the street and charged with a crime he didn’t commit. 

In his book Let’s Get Free: A Hip-Hop Theory of Justice, the former prosecutor takes a radical argument for reform. Butler looks at places where ordinary citizens meet the justice system — as jurors, witnesses, and in encounters with police officers — and explores what “doing the right thing” actually means in a corrupt, broken system.
Let’s Get Free is now available in a paperback edition, bringing Butler’s groundbreaking and controversial arguments to a whole new audience.
In the book, readers can learn ways individual citizens can work to change the “justice” system, including:
• Jury nullification: Voting “not guilty” in drug cases as a form of protest
• Always saying “No” when the police request your permission to search
• Refusing to work inside the system as a snitch or a prosecutor
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