Friday, July 31, 2009

Revealed -- California Cops Are Trained 'Marijuana Is Not A Medicine'

Artwork courtesy Jim Wheeler

Can't we all just get along?

By Steve Elliott in Chronic City


​A recent court case in San Diego has revealed some California police officers are basing their sworn court testimony in medical marijuana cases on badly outdated, legally inaccurate information.

This goes a long way towards explaining why it is that so many law enforcement officers in the state still seem to harbor such personal animosity toward medical marijuana and those who use it, even after it's been legal in the state for 13 years. Above and beyond the seemingly eternal cop/pot dichotomy, the cops' own "medical marijuana training materials" tell them that -- contrary to the law -- there's no such thing as medical marijuana, and that all marijuana is illegal!

Misinformation has consequences

This misinformation has real-life consequences. Californians who legally use and provide medical marijuana are faced with hostile police and judges who have only heard or choose to believe information which is plainly wrong regarding medicinal pot's legal status here, and inaccurate regarding its effectiveness as medicine, as supported by thousands of doctors and hundreds of studies.

Read the rest at Chronic City in the S.F. Weekly blog, "The Snitch":

Chronic City: To Tax Pot, Or Not? Oakland Votes Tuesday | Digg story

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

There's Pot In Them Thar Hills! How To Make Marijuana Scary Again.

Photo by David Snyder, U.S. Park Service

By Steve Elliott in Chronic City


The latest mainstream media narrative in California's marijuana wars is a spruced-up version of an old favorite: "Mexican drug traffickers" are growing massive amounts of pot in state and national parks, and are despoiling the natural environment in doing so. Once again, we are given to believe that pot is somehow scary and bad -- if not the herb itself, then at least the people who grow it.

As usual, there's a kernel of truth here, with lots of anti-marijuana spin wrapped around it. Tightening budgets have indeed reduced the number of sheriff's deputies and rangers patrolling parks, and that has indeed resulted in expanded grow-ops on public land, often by undocumented immigrants working for large cartels.

These migrant marijuana workers are considered disposable by the cartels for which they work, are often in the U.S. illegally, and often make less than $100 a day. Many have been told their families will be harmed if they stop working on the pot plantations, according to state drug enforcement officials.

These workers really do cause lots of environmental damage by clear-cutting natural growth to make way for pot fields, damming up creeks for irrigation purposes, and polluting public lands with excess fertilizer, pesticides (many of which were banned in the U.S. years ago), septic waste, and trash.

Trouble is, that's as far as the mainstream media narrative usually goes -- which makes it next to useless for actually identifying the cause of this real problem, and its solution.

Read the rest at Chronic City in the SF Weekly blog, "The Snitch":

Chronic City: There's Pot In Them Thar Hills! How To Make Marijuana Scary Again.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Marijuana, Money, and the Media

Yes, Grasshopper... Money grows on killa trees. (Photo Courtesy of Compassion Family Ministries)

By Steve Elliott in Chronic City


Things are smoking on the marijuana front, and I'm not just talking about the ringing cash registers at newly emboldened dispensaries statewide. Time after time this week, the media brought together money and marijuana in public perception.

From Fox's attempted debunking of the tax benefits of State Assemblyman Tom Ammiano's statewide regulation and taxation bill, to a huge bust in Fresno County, to Oakland's first-in-the-nation marijuana tax (reported in this space), just about every marijuana story (pro- and anti-) reported this week had big dollar signs all over it.

Read the rest at Chronic City in the SF Weekly blog, "The Snitch":

Chronic City: Marijuana, Money and the Media

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

To Tax Pot, Or Not? Oakland Votes Tuesday

The color of money. (Photo: chron.ron)

By Steve Elliott in Chronic City

Mail-in voting closes Tuesday, July 21 on Measure F, a new ordinance in Oakland which would impose a special tax on sales of medical marijuana in the city's dispensaries. The measure would make Oakland the first city in the United States to have a business tax category for marijuana merchants.

Dispensaries have already been paying a rate of $1.20 per $1,000 of gross receipts. Measure F would create a separate category for marijuana sellers, at a rate of $18 per $1,000 of sales. Sales taxes is already assessed on purchases.

Many activists see the proposed ordinance as an incremental step toward complete legalization. After all, once government bean counters associate the marijuana business with a positive revenue stream, they're likely going to think in much more favorable terms about the herb -- and be a lot less inclined to crack down on dispensaries.

Read the rest at Chronic City in the S.F. Weekly blog, "The Snitch":

Chronic City: To Tax Pot, Or Not? Oakland Votes Tuesday | Digg story

Friday, July 17, 2009

Big Marijuana Headache For Mendocino District Attorney

Mendocino grow room: Puff, puff, pass? Not so fast

By Steve Elliott in Chronic City


It's not easy being a district attorney, especially in a mostly pot-friendly place like Mendocino County. Whatever law enforcement priorities you follow, it's guaranteed you're going to piss off one group while pleasing another.

Mendocino D.A. Meredith Lintott has gotten a compelling refresher course this week in just how precarious it can be hacking your way through the jungle of competing interests when it comes to enforcing widely unpopular marijuana laws in northern California.

Limited budgets, limited staffing, limited time -- all of these things are faced on a daily basis by the D.A.'s office. Even though it shies away from using words like "overwhelmed" when describing its caseload, the office could still be excused for having something of a besieged bunker mentality. Every arrest generates piles of paperwork; cumulatively, law enforcement efforts generate what must be an intimidating mountain of bureaucracy-ridden documents.

Read the rest at Chronic City in the SF Weekly blog, "The Snitch":

Chronic City: Big Marijuana Headache For Mendocino District Attorney

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Just The Marijuana Facts, Doc. No, Wait -- The REAL Facts.

The truth will set you free.

By Steve Elliott in Chronic City

Medical advice "City Bright" Doc Gurley published a column over at SFGate purporting to be the latest, bias-free, data-based information on marijuana. On the face of it, that's a great and laudable idea; we'll agree there is, indeed, a "desperate need for data-based information looking at marijuana in the less emotional context of a pharmaceutical medication." So we suppose we'll have to give an "A" on the concept. But, disappointingly, the execution ranks a "C minus" -- at best.

Gurley's summation of what she represents as "bias-free information" certainly makes a game attempt at seeming impartial, and we have no reason to doubt the doctor's fairness -- at least, until we actually read the article. That's where the danger lies, you see: Allowing one's personal biases and opinions to creep into a piece that dares to call itself "data-based."

If Doc Gurley is going to present her information as "bias-free," then she'd damn well better make sure that's what she's giving you -- because "bias-free" information pretty much settles it, right? Right?

Read the rest at Chronic City in the SF Weekly blog, "The Snitch":

Just The Marijuana Facts, Doc. No, Wait -- The REAL Facts.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Six Years Later - San Diego, San Bernardino Counties Finally Issuing Medical Marijuana Cards

Not just for Marin County anymore

By Steve Elliott in Chronic City


San Diego County finally issued its first medical marijuana identification cards on Monday, and San Bernardino County will follow suit next month -- a full six years after being instructed to do so by the state legislature.

"We had to wait until all the legal matters were settled before implementing the program," Adrienne Collins Yancey of the San Diego County Health Department told local TV station KGTV. What "legal matters," you ask? Why the six-year delay?

Well, that would be because both counties -- along with seven other, predominantly rural, California counties that followed their lead -- flat-out refused to implement the program until legally forced to do so.

Read the rest at Chronic City in the SF Weekly blog, "The Snitch":

Chronic City: Six Years Later - San Diego, San Bernardino Counties Finally Issuing Medical Marijuana Cards

Digg story

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Best Use Yet For Twitter - Buying Weed

Entrepreneurship meets idealism?

By Steve Elliott in Chronic City


In a case of good old American entrepreneurship, one medical marijuana merchant has taken advantage of the Twitter craze to turbocharge sales and receive the kind of media attention that no amount of money can buy.

With the number of legal medical marijuana suppliers in California skyrocketing, competition for available customers is getting more intense. Dann Halem, director of Artists Collective, a Los Angeles-based dispensary, offers free delivery and a flashy online presence with a Web site and pages on social networks like MySpace -- where the collective has more than 4,500 friends -- and Facebook.

But what garnered national headlines for Artists Collective is its Twitter feed, which only went online two weeks ago. "We've been open for six months, and I've been doing this project for 18 [months], and only in the last two weeks with a Twitter account has anybody started paying attention to us," Halem told Fox News. "That sends a message -- an important one -- and it really has been, strangely enough, the fact that we're using Twitter that has opened the door."

Read the rest at Chronic City in the S.F. Weekly blog, "The Snitch":

Chronic City: Best Use Yet For Twitter -- Buying Weed | Digg story

Friday, July 3, 2009

Red, White, and Stoned: "Fire" Crackers and Ganja Treats For July 4


By Steve Elliott

What could be more American? It's no secret that lots of folks will choose to celebrate the 233rd anniversary of the founding of the U.S.A. by creating a few ganja-generated mental fireworks of their own.

Many of us have at some point made a batch of pot brownies -- it's almost a rite of passage, a part of growing up high in America. It's easy, and it usually works: Add up to an ounce of marijuana to any brownie recipe, share with a few friends, and settle in for the evening.But there's a lot more to cooking with marijuana than pot brownies. Here a few ideas for your weed-friendly Independence Day party. Happy birthday, America!

For the recipes:

http://blogs.sfweekly.com/foodie/2009/07/patriotic_pot_fire_crackers_an.php

Thursday, July 2, 2009

This Just In: Smoking Pot Doesn't Make You Crazy, After All


By Steve Elliott in Chronic City

The time-honored notion of reefer madness, given new life recently in the British tabloid press, has taken another hit from reality. Widespread marijuana use by the public has not been followed by a proportional rise in diagnoses of schizophrenia or psychosis, according to the findings of a forthcoming study to be published in the scientific journal Schizophrenia Research.

It stands to reason, after all: If marijuana really led to psychosis, wouldn't the streets be choked with burned-out, gibbering potheads?

Film director John Holowach, responsible for the documentary High: The True Tale of American Marijuana, wasn't surprised. "I've said it for years now," Holowach told SF Weekly. "If pot and mental illness were linked, the two should rise and fall with one another, but they don't."

Read the rest at Chronic City on the S.F. Weekly blog, "The Snitch":

Chronic City: After Further Review, Smoking Pot Doesn't Make You Crazy -- Blimey!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

California Court Says Patients Can Collectively Grow Medical Marijuana


Officer, release that plant!

By Steve Elliott in Chronic City

Some rural sheriff's departments still haven't really come to terms with the fact that medical marijuana is now legal in California, despite having had since 1996 to adjust to the concept. But in a landmark ruling, an appellate court today protected the right of California medical marijuana patients to collectively cultivate the herb under state law.

The California Third District Court of Appeals issued the 2-1 ruling in the case of County of Butte v. Superior Court, in which seven patients in Paradise, Calif., formed a medical marijuana collective.

Americans for Safe Access (ASA), a nationwide medical marijuana advocacy group, filed a lawsuit in May 2006 on behalf of 56-year-old David Williams and six other collective members after a 2005 warrantless search of Williams' home. The Butte County Sheriff's Department forced Williams to uproot more than two dozen marijuana plants or face prosecution. Deputy Jacob Hancock told Williams that growing collectively for multiple patients was illegal; California state law, in fact, does allow for collective cultivation.

ASA's media liaison, Kris Hermes, said the group "was compelled" to file the Williams lawsuit "after receiving repeated reports of unlawful behavior by Butte County law enforcement, as well as by other police agencies throughout the state."

Read the rest in Chronic City in the S.F. Weekly blog, "The Snitch":

Chronic City: Court Says Patients Can Collectively Grow Medical Marijuana