Are you looking forward to the potential of Cannabis legalization in California come 2016? So am I! Have been for quite some time now. Since 2009 I have actually dedicated my life to sharing and educating people about the truths and potential of Cannabis Hemp. Its one of the main reasons I am writing this article today. The future of Cannabis legalization in California may seem almost destined to pass with flying colors in 2016. I assure you, it is not going to be as simple as it is perceived. What some may consider legalization, doesn’t necessarily equate to the legalization you may be expecting. Now with that being said, there are only a few ways to ensure that real legalization happens in 2016. And almost all of them start and end with you. Yeah you, the reader. Not just you, me and everyone else also.
First things first. If you’re sitting back waiting for the (DPA) Drug Policiy Alliance, (Norml) National Organization for Reform of Marijuana Laws, (ASA) Americans For Safe Access, and other so-called activists groups to deliver legalization for you. You probably would not get to excited about the final result. Do you believe they will form an initiative that favors the average patient, or consumer over the current medical marijuana industry leaders and stake holders? If you do, you have been sadly mislead. Why? Because these very organizations are ran and supported by, you guessed it, the very Industry leaders and business owners who enjoy their absorbent profits from the current unregulated model. How could I possibly know this? I have seen it first hand. I have traveled up and down this state to several cannabis events sponsored by these groups. I have seen the subversion they use to promote the Industry over the plant itself. I specifically recall the big ASA lobbying event at the state capitol a few years back. Where they specifically advertised the weekend as a patient lobbying day. So I wanted to check this lobbying day out for myself. I figured at least it would be an educational experience. Which it was, for several reasons.
When we arrived at this local union hall in the middle of nowhere in Sacramento one of the first things I noticed was there was a lot of dress shirts and Dockers. Everywhere! They all had their ASA lobbying day badges around their Necks looking professional. They had very nice and lavish charter buses they had rented to bus the “Patients” from other districts to Sacramento. Where were these patients? After clambering around during their meeting recording what I could with my camera I had seen virtually no patients. Every word out of their mouths was about lobbying there representatives the following day at the capitol building . All about regulating the medical marijuana industry. The thing I found most interesting was after the meeting I wanted to speak with some of these patients and get there take on the meeting. Almost every single person I spoke with was a patient in the legal sense, but not your everyday average patient. They were all Industry insiders, and Dispensary owners there to lobby their representatives for more restrictive regulations in regards to the medical cannabis industry. I think one of the most telling signs was how excited Don Duncan got once Stephan Deangelo and his Brother showed up at the capitol building. My point is, they tell you one thing to your face, and do another behind closed doors. They verbally promote legalization, regulation and reform. But not the kind that benefits the everyday consumer and patient. If you are relying on them to author something that will meet your needs as a Consumer or a Patient. Think again!
One of my favorite Hemp activists Chris Conrad wrote a really good piece back during the TaxCannabis prop-19 debate. ( http://weedactivist.com/2010/07/25/another-word-on-jack-and-prop-19-from-chris-conrad/ ) (Excerpt) – Initially Jack deeply hated Prop 215. He literally stumped up and down the state cursing out hemp activists who backed it. He screamed at us, called us traitors for working on medical use, and claimed that Dennis Peron was secretly against legalization. When 215 was filed, Jack filed the California Hemp Initiative (CHI) on the 1996 ballot to block it. and changed the name to “California Hemp _and Health_ Initiative” so people signing it would think they had signed Prop 215, to mess with the signature count. When I called him on it, he said he was trying to keep Prop 215 off the ballot because, among other things, “people will stop working for legalization and we’ll be stuck with medical forever. No hemp, no legalization; that will be the end.” Later he circulated the CCU petitions for pay, then before the election came to support it completely. Now some people actually credit Jack for ‘passing Prop 215. Jack vociferously opposed Senate Bill 420, but he loved the dispensaries it allowed to open. ( click the Above link to read the entire piece).
Jacks words – “people will stop working for legalization and we’ll be stuck with medical forever. No hemp, no legalization; that will be the end.” Jack Knew it then, and they also knew it then. Guess what ? They still know it now! This is exactly what we have been dealing with for the last 19 years. The industry leaders and club owners don’t want there quasi legal black market profits going anywhere. So enter the DPA, Norml and ASA with their attempts at dividing the legalization movement as a whole. They certainly don’t want the everyday average consumer to be able to cultivate their own Cannabis at home, over buying their middle man marked up products in their stores. Do you think (Norml), (ASA) and the (DPA) want everyone in California cultivating a possible 99 plants legally? Do you think they want to lose that revenue stream? Not just the dispensary owners and industry leaders but the activist groups themselves? No they don’t! and they are very active right now at subverting attention away from the CCHI 2016 initiative for other initiatives that have not even been written yet. Yet they all love to invoke the legacy of jack Herer. Like Stephan Deangelo of Harborside in Oakland Ca. One of the Worlds largest dispensaries in the world by the way. He constantly speaks of how good friends him and Jack were, and how they shared the same vision in regards to legalization and cannabis, Well I will have to beg to differ here. I personally asked Stephan Deangelo during the CCHI 2012 signature campaign, at Harborside’s yearly shindig called The Deep Green Festival if he supported the Jack here Initiative. He simply replied, I do not support any initiative until they have already registered for the ballot. So the man who makes the most money, and the most profits in California, from the Patients of the medical cannabis industry no less, won’t support or finance any legalization effort until it has already officially made the ballot. Share the same vision my ass!
The point is, if you rely on industry leaders, and activists groups to do the work for you, you’d better get ready for a heaping pile of disappointment. Trust me when I say they will let you down every time. In the words of Jack Herer – “You guys have to be warriors for your own freedom. You can’t depend on me or anyone else to do it for you. This freedom comes from our willingness to put our acts on the line and teach people all the comprehensive information we have learned about cannabis hemp.” We don’t need big money, we need big motivation and big determination from an educated base of citizenry. The CCHI 2016 is organizing up and down, and throughout the entire state as I write this article. We are organizing a base of volunteers and supporters to get the signatures necessary to qualify for the November 2016 ballot. Please click the link at the top right of the site for more information on how you can get involved with the fight to liberate cannabis 100% for everyone.
Here in California, the legal cannabis debate is often superseded by the fight for Medical Marijuana, which appears reasonable as ill patients are in need of medicine for their aliments more so than the casual user wants his civil liberties. However we should not forget that the legality of cannabis effects both our medical and civil rights.
While I hate to say that one right is more important than another. Rights are like our children or creations, we must love them equally or at least see them as equally important. Yes, the patient’s right for their doctor agreed upon medicine is more important than the wants of the recreational user. Yet, their want for open civil rights is still important and should not be overlooked.
Not to mention that the medical debate leaves the casual user stone cold sober, while the quest for legalization is all-inclusive.
To further the push for legalization, I give you five reasons why marijuana should be legal. They are not the only reasons for a legal cannabis country but a selection that I have deemed most shocking and/or logical to unlock the doors to a world of cannabliss.
#5 – End The Underworld’s Cannabis Profits
Currently, every week a news outlet somewhere runs a story about how the Cannabis trade is the largest profit maker for the Cartels. If we are to take these numerous reports to be true than One is left to assume that legalization is the only way to wrestle our marijuana money from the black market.
In the halls of history, we can find one example of how the largest profit maker for a black market was changed into an above-the-board non-profit organization that benefits society. I mean, of course, the lottery.
Long ago in the days when televisions had dials, one of the largest money makers for outlaws was to run illegal lotteries, or “running numbers” as was the term of the time. A Numbers racket worked like this:
How Numbers Ran:
1. A customer would walk into a bar / candy store / retail outlet.
2. They bought their numbers at the counter.
3. A mobbed-up “underworld type” would go around to the various outlets and collect the numbers.
4. On a prescribed day, a number would be picked and the customer with that number got cash.
This system worked for a long time. However since the 80’s, running numbers is no longer a profitable venture for the underworld. The lottery changed the game. You can no longer profit from running numbers as anyone, who is anyone, can now go into any convenience store and buy a lotto ticket. Yet, not only a lotto ticket but a legal, state verified lotto ticket.
How Lotto Runs:
1. A customer walks into a convenience store.
2. Customer buys lotto ticket at the counter.
3. Lotto Numbers are collected by state run machines.
4. Lotto numbers are picked and winning numbers collect cash!
As you can see from the example above, America did not stamp out the citizens ability to gamble. Instead we made the lotto legal. We took the profits out of the black market and put them to good use in our school and public health systems. Thus to END the machine of terror that collects our cannabis proceeds, we need to take the profits out of the black market and put them to good use in the general and legal economy.
#4 Cannabis Industry Means More Jobs
When we put the Black Market‘s cannabis proceeds into the general economy, then we also add all the jobs that once where part of the Black Market. Just look around the medical marijuana industry and see at all the different jobs that are created.
Sure, there are the growers and the dealers. On the farm, there are helpers, trimmers, and baggers, oh my. On the streets, there are wholesalers, drivers, and street-level traders. These are positions that directly trade over from the black market.
However, the industry in the medical marijuana industry create even more jobs. Here in California, there are bud tenders, security guards, and administration at all the dispensaries. There are labs, filled with scientist, that test the potency of cannabis. There are kitchens filled with cooks who make medicated snacks. Factories who make containers. And the list goes on.
Where the underground market sees marijuana as a commodity, with maybe three different levels; schwag, Beasters, and Nugs, with one basic effect. The medical marijuana industry sees an ever-growing list of strains and byproducts where each one comes with at least one taxable employment slot.
I was at the San Francisco Medical Cannabis Cup and I marveled at the number of booths and the range of products displayed. As from above, each booth and product is another job that was added to the economy directly from the impact of Proposition 215.
Cannabis Numbers #3, 2, and 1 to Come…
Our first two reasons to end cannabis prohibition are down. We need to end the black market’s cannabis profits. If we end the illegal profits by legalization, then we will create an industry from the ashes of our misguided past.
While these two reasons maybe enough of a justification for Legalization, we still have three more reasons to go.
Join us next time for Pot 5 Reasons: Marijuana Should Be Legal Part 2
By: Red Eyed Kracker
This past Wednesday, may 16 2012. The Fresno Planning Commission voted 4-2 on Wednesday to recommend passage of a permanent ban on growing medical marijuana outdoors anywhere in the city of Fresno. I was one of three people to speak against the proposed ban and some of the underlying legal issues. I myself did not submit anything in writing because I felt that speaking from my heart works best for me. I asked the planning commission to please consider who will be effected the most by the passing such a restrictive ordinance. What about the patients who are on disability ? What about the patients who can barely afford to grow a few plants under the sun each season? The patients on fixed incomes who are already having a hard time scraping by ? Such a restrictive ordinance affects the poorest and most neediest of the medicinal cannabis patients here in Fresno, Ca.
I then went on to say that I am not here to advocate for thousand plant grow sites in the city limits. I am here to stand up for the patients right to legally cultivate their own medicine, on their own property. I told them that I was all for sensible regulations on outdoor cultivation within the city limits. But what the city currently had drafted was way to restrictive and would only further restrict patients access to affordable quality medicinal cannabis. Transplanting even a small 2 or 4 plant garden from outdoors to indoors can be very costly. It’s not as simple as ripping the plants from the ground, Throwing them in the bath tub and hanging a light bulb above it. Which by the way where the actual words of a judge here in Fresno recently, and also prior statements of the Law enforcement official giving the presentation before the planning commission just minutes before.
Actually to Give Lt. David Newton of the FPD narcotics division credit, he actually said cheap Led lights, which some growers are switching to, but are rarely used due to little information about production and output. personally there isn’t enough proven evidence to switch anything just yet. I also stated to the planning commission board that I myself do not hate Law enforcement, nor do I blame them for the position they have been in put in. But I am here to advocate Law enforcement does serve and protect the legal medicinal cannabis community like everyone else. I went on to say how I did agree that we needed to work with law enforcement to reign in those who are abusing the medicinal cannabis industry. But we also should not throw away the baby with the bath water. Dont punish the patients for the actions of the criminals.
After Comments from the other 2 whole speakers in opposition Diane Valdovinos ( Local Advocate ) and Micheal Green of Cal pot news. The commission board commended us for our statements. They then proceeded to vote on the ordinance. Many of the members of the planning commission said they understood our concerns but that they didn’t feel it was as restrictive and voted in favor. But one planning commissioner statements specifically hit home for me and made me feel as if we did have a very small victory in the overall battle. Luisa Medina of the planning commission said she was going to vote in favor of the ordinance but after hearing the statements in opposition from the three of us she had changed her mind. I was overjoyed with pride when I heard her say that. The fact that the statements of mine and that of my friends made a difference that day. Though we lost the overall battle, but through education and compassion we changed the heart and mind of just one person who would have otherwise just gone along with protocol and passed the ordinance.
After the planning commission meeting was dismissed we retreated to the front of the city hall building to gather our thoughts. We where then greeted by Luisa medina and Andy Hansen-Smith of the planning commission. they had some great words of encouragement and thanked us for coming out voicing our concerns to the commission. But the real highlight of that evening for me personally was when Lt. David Newton of the FPD confronted me outside of city hall and thanked me for coming. He also told me that I was a very good representative the for medicinal cannabis community and that he actually voted for prop 215 back in 1996. Lt David Newton also said that he looked forward to seeing me again. I jokingly replied, well I hope its at the next city council meeting and not anywhere else. We both laughed, shook hands and parted ways. Now those are the kinds of encounters with law enforcement I would prefer happen.
But for those who believe the opponent has the upper hand and it’s just to large a hill to climb. Dont give Up ! Three dedicated cannabis activists didn’t win the overall battle this past Wednesday, but they are winning the hearts and minds through the power of compassion and education. The key to ending patient discrimination in local counties and city’s here in the central valley is through education and compassion. Through this blog and various other social media I will keep you posted on when the ordinance will be going before the Fresno City council.
By: Dustin F. Lowery