“I Gots Mine”: Dispensary Owners Against Marijuana Legalization

(This is cross-posted in the Los Angeles section of Huffington Post – please feel free to surf over there and leave a comment that will be read outside our NORML forum.)

Yesterday on our daily webcast for NORML we interviewed Dale Sky Clare, a spokesperson for Proposition 19, the initiative that will ask Californians to vote on a very limited form of marijuana legalization. We discussed the latest polling on the initiative from SurveyUSA, showing a 50%-to-40% lead for the measure.

We dug through the demographics to find that older and more conservative people are the only groups more likely to oppose the measure (no, really?), support is greatest among the young and in the Bay Area (who knew?), and support among comedians named “Cheech” or “Chong” is approaching 100% (OK, I made the last one up.)

But there is one growing demographic group that no poll has begun to track: medical marijuana dispensary owners.

Since the Regulate, Control, and Tax Cannabis Initiative was mercifully truncated to a headline-friendly “Prop 19” by virtue of making it on the California ballot, I have been tracking on our NORML Stash Blog the stories of dispensary owners who are publicly opposing the legalization of the product they sell, even shelling out money they’ve made from selling marijuana to oppose its legalization!

Paul Jury just posted Legalize It? Ask a Guy Who Runs a Medicinal Marijuana Dispensary in which he speaks to Craig, a dispensary owner in Venice Beach, who is also opposed to Prop 19:

“I’ll give you two reasons,” Craig said. “One is big tobacco. Did you know that Phillip Morris just bought 400 acres of land up in Northern California? The minute marijuana becomes legal, they’ll mass produce and flood the market. And of course, they’ll add the same toxins they put in regular cigarettes to get you addicted, and very little THC, so you’ll have to buy more… In short, they’re going to ruin weed.” He gestured around his beloved shop, with every flavor of every strain, in its purist form, selling for at-cost prices. “I like the way things are now.”

Remember how alcohol prohibition ended in the 1930’s (probably not, but indulge me) and Anheuser, Busch, Coors, and Miller flooded the market with 3.2 beer and ruined alcohol? Wouldn’t it be nice if we could go to shops with every flavor of every micro-brew, in its purest form… oh, wait, I live in Portland, Oregon, the micro-brew capital of America and that’s what we have right now under alcohol legalization!

We have every flavor and potency of beer you can imagine plus people can go buy a kit and brew their own beer if they like. And there is wine, too, with a huge tourist industry that depends on people checking out vineyards and tasting endless varieties of vino. And there is whiskey, rum, tequila, vodka, brandy, and even super-potent Everclear in some states, all in their purest form, which is to say that used responsibly they won’t make you blind like a tub of Prohibition moonshine might.

The “Philip Morris / RJ Reynolds Toxic Addictive High-less Marijuana Market Flood” scare has been floating around the cannabis community like a stale hit of schwag for decades now. It’s a form of conspiracy theory thinking embraced by the kind of people who think you could plant 40,000 lbs. of explosives surreptitiously in a busy World Trade Center or convince all the world’s scientists and a very large soundstage crew to keep quiet about that faked moon landing for four decades. Here’s why it’s stupid:

  • Prop 19 allows you to grow your own. If Philip Morris’ weed sucks, you’ll smoke your own or your friend’s.
  • Prop 19 allows cities to consider sales. Bad toxic Philip Morris weed is the kind of competition a purveyor of hand-trimmed, non-keifed*, organic high-potency bud would want, wouldn’t she?
  • Prop 19 allows cities to regulate production. They can dictate exactly what is or isn’t added to cannabis, how much is produced, by whom, and where.
  • In order for Philip Morris to sell their weed, somebody has to want to smoke it. Nothing about Prop 19 makes Prop 215 or the dispensaries go away. In fact, it gives the existing dispensaries the potential to serve even more customers. So who’s buying this toxic addictive high-less marijuana?

No, if you want to really understand what is going on here, look back to that alcohol prohibition and ask yourself how excited Al Capone was reading the headlines trumpeting its imminent repeal. It’s not a perfect analogy, as Capone was a murderous criminal thug and these dispensary owners are law-abiding businesspeople. And yes, dispensary owners, like Craig, often help destitute cancer patients for free, though one could counter that Capone and his gangs gave out free turkeys on Thanksgiving. My main point is that both are businesspeople dealing in a prohibited product.

Or just look back to the article on Craig:

He gestured around his beloved shop, with every flavor of every strain, in its purist form, selling for at-cost prices. “I like the way things are now.”

“Last month,” Craig explained proudly, “there were 24 operating marijuana collectives in Venice. A month from now, there will only be two. And we’ll be one of them.” With that, he opened the door to the inner sanctum. The “product” room.

Now, if you ran a business where you could sell your product for $5-$15 per GRAM or $200 to $800 per OUNCE, and you only had to compete with one other business in your local area, would you be excited about the prospect of many more competitors and prices dropping as much as 80%? Most of your customers already got their Prop 215 recommendation, so it isn’t as if legalization is going to bring you enough additional customers to offset the change in business margins.

Prop 19 means that marijuana retailers become more like other retail businesses, instead of the loosely-regulated turnkey goldmines they have been. That’s what Craig doesn’t like. Well, that and kids smoking pot:

“Two, legalization will mean more fifteen-year-old kids smoking pot. … If they legalize marijuana, there’s no chance that fewer 15-year-olds will smoke. And there’s a good chance that more will. Anything that will probably make more 15-year-olds put substances in their bodies, in my opinion, is a bad thing.”

Really, the “What About the Children?!?” argument? Right now, under prohibition, 85% of high school seniors and 69% of sophomores (a.k.a. fifteen-year-olds) find it easy to get weed. Right now, under prohibition, kids say it is easier to buy marijuana than alcohol. So it appears to me that locking up healthy adults for their marijuana use hasn’t really done much to stop teens from getting and using pot. How about we try letting adults smoke a joint, and when they go to buy it, they buy it from a regulated shop where only adults are let in and all IDs are rigorously checked, you know, like that alcohol kids find harder to buy.

Besides, there is no reason to believe that youth use will increase. Since California passed Prop 215 in 1996, the regime Craig likes now, teen use of marijuana has decreased. Prop 19 makes the penalty for supplying weed to those under 21 as stringent as supplying alcohol to those under 21. And we’ve seen teen use of tobacco, a legal substance far cheaper and more addictive than marijuana, plummet in the past ten years through education, advertising restriction, social disapproval (no indoor smoking, for example) and strict ID requirements.

Craig and the other dispensary owners who oppose Prop 19 are the “I Gots Mine” element of the anti-legalization campaign. They’ve got the corner on a retail market worth billions, one that is only worth billions if you arrest 850,000 mostly-black-and-brown adults a year for participating in it. They’ve got their doctors happy to take a Benjamin or two to give you permission to use a drug safer than the aspirin you need no permission for. I wouldn’t want people to vote to change that, either…

…except that I think it’s just immoral to arrest people for smoking weed if we’re going to leave them alone when drinking alcohol. I don’t care if it is profitable to the state or detrimental to the dispensary industry – arrests for marijuana are wrong, period.

*”Kiefed” means to shake loose the crystals of THC from the product before packaging for sale. The crystals, or “kief” are collected and smoked or vaporized, and, being THC crystals, are very effective. Philip Morris will certainly need to use huge machines to process weed, which will certainly shake loose a lot of kief. One grower friend of mine says he will advertise for his prized buds with the slogan “Don’t let ’em thief the kief!”

123 thoughts

  1. they should inact some sort of regulation that says no addictive substances can be added to marijuana. marijauna is a safe substance. no one wants another deadly substance out there. something should b done to prevent tabacco companies from adding harmful substances…somethn :/

  2. When legalized at least we will have a choice … I don’t even use a dispensary now … People and Greed!

  3. This is B/S. He simply doesnt wanna lose his money, thats all. Fact is – if legalization does come, this 14-year “I’m gettin paid for my hobby” work will sadly come down to ruins… In a way it’s selfish to oppose legaliztion, but the capitalist owners that oppose it are obviously not 100% in the biz just to help spread the good meds. Just face it.

    He does have a point though – Babylon WILL attempt to pollute our sacred herb… but thats OK because real stoners will know to only purchase 100% PURE ALL NATURAL ORGANICALLY GROWN herb =)

  4. Wow what an article. You really do your reach. Thanks for always keeping me informed to the latest developments in this legalization fight. I wish more people would support NORML and help push this over the top.

  5. Legalize it. Let the cards fall where they may. Prohibition is wrong no matter how you swing it.

  6. This author should realize this is NOT the place to make an all-knowing statement about conspiracy theories. Marijuana prohibition is a conspiracy theory, and that is why are trying to prove is real. Sept 11th is not the same as one man’s “crazy” opinion. It is a full day of events in several locations that cannot be summed up by explosives not being able to be moved into a busy building. Why did you bring Sept 11 into this?

  7. Here’s a letter I sent to Huffington Post:

    It seems self-evident that anyone who is such a big fan of marijuana would want all adults to have legal access to it. And there are several important arguments for legalization that hold even if you think marijuana is bad for society. These include: damage done to those arrested, especially minorities; the violation of civil liberties of those searched and sometimes killed in the search for illegal drugs; the destruction of our public lands in the cultivation of it; and the cynicism created by the participation of tens of millions of Americans in this crime. And it is, right now, a crime everywhere in this country, which turns all those who ever used it into outlaws.

    His words sound eerily like the growers in Northern California, who mostly oppose legalization. They have control of an incredibly lucrative niche market with little competition. It seems to me that people immersed in marijuana culture are generally extremely enthusiastic about marijuana, and believe passionately that it should be legal.

    And I believe their argument. The science is pretty overwhelming that cannabis is an incredibly useful plant. The seeds have a protein and fatty acid profile with the most nutritious naturaly foods, the rope was indispensable to all seafaring journeys from Columbus to Magellan, the cloth is naturally rough but (like the rope) incredibly strong, it makes inexpensive paper while using much less land to grow it than trees, and also can be used to make industrial products. It also happens to be THE fastest growing plant in the world, and is renowned for its ability to grow almost anywhere, which means industrial hemp can relieve several problems at once.

    People like Craig are making money off prohibition. I think it is shameful for them to denounce legalization. They are simultaneously promoting the plant and profiting off all the negative consequences of prohibition. And the evidence does not support their pandering “we’re doing it for the children!”

    If they thought it through they would realize that – what? – 1 or 2% of Californian adults can currently smoke marijuana now? If it were legal that number would be 100% If it were legal the price would decline but the 80% figure it a scare tactic. The government will take $50 per ounce just in taxes- and I’d argue they should raise it to $100 per ounce. And let me point out that no matter what, there will always be a boutique market for gourmet marijuana. Prices for the good stuff will stay high no matter what. Besides, these dispensary owners- and their growers- have years of a head start on establishing their brand before the big guys get their chance.
    They should support legalization and bust their humps to take advantage of it.

  8. I dont think companies like Phil. Morr. will manipulate cannabis. Stats show that the amount of smokers wont increase due to legalization (look at Holland). And many many MANY more people smoke tobacco than cannabis. I believe the cannabis industry would be more like wine or beer industry. In which the proprietors (hopefully) will put the herb first and the profits second.

  9. The issue will be EDUCATION. If we are at the forefront informing people about the pros of quality, organic bud, then people will follow suit and make the right decisions. When cigarettes took hold of us as a species, no one was there to steer us in the opposite direction. It has taken decades to undermine the tight grip the tobacco companies had on the entire nation. However, now we have the knowledge and the power to educate the masses. There will always be puppets who blindly support big corporations, but now more than ever the people are leaning towards local, quality product (whether it be cannabis or anything else).

    If it were me running one of these dispensaries, I would be hard at work preparing for the day I could open my doors to the public.

  10. L.A. area here, and I’ve had a Venice Dispensary tell me the same thing as you are hearing. I also heard it from a local delivery service. Both used the “William Morris” claim.

    This information needs to get to more people. Dispensaries are already scaring patients.

    [Russ responds: “William” Morris? Isn’t that a Hollywood talent agency? LOL]

  11. As I feared,when marijuana is legal for medicine,the ones dispensing the “medicine” will not want cannabis ,in any form to be legalized,for the main reason;Greed.Money hungry turncoats, I todaso,I todaso,to quote Ricky. Will, when it is legal (if) in all states,for medicine,it be worse to be caught with cannabis without a prescription or as it is now?

  12. Thank you for posting about this issue. It’s important that people see the truth about how Marijuana dispensary owners who don’t support legalization are for the most part just trying to cheat people so that they can earn more money. I feel like this is a large part of the issue with most people who support the war on drugs; their pocketbooks benefit from it somehow. I also particularly enjoyed the section where you pointed out studies that show teen marijuana use is now higher than tobacco use, even though nobody gets arrested for smoking tobacco, and how marijuana use among teens has decreased since Medical Marijuana was enacted. Excellent reporting once again!

  13. “What about the DEA?!? As long marijuana is a schedule one control substance, the DEA can and always will override and ignore any state laws. The “Control Substance Act of 1970” is unconstitutional.

    [Russ responds: A very good point. What will Uncle Sam do once everyone in California can grow a 5’x5′ pot garden and carry up to an ounce?

    Not much. That’s not really federal territory unless there’s a better motive for them to prosecute. 99% of all marijuana arrests happen at the state and local level – the level at which sight and smell of cannabis, so long as it isn’t in public, is none of their concern. Feds aren’t going to be busting the Californians smoking and growing a little weed.

    But how will they handle, say, Oakland allowing retail cultivation and sales? I can imagine a raid or two for the feds to make a photo op to say they won’t stand for this crazy California lawbreaking. I think it would really backfire for them, politically, but I think they’d do it almost reflexively.

    However, they won’t have the assistance of local law enforcement. Maybe it’s too much of a pain. California is a really big state with a whole lot of people, and especially people with money. It’s also a huge part of the American economy.

    Ultimately, who knows? I remember going to a gig in 1989 and coming home at 3am to see Tom Brokaw broadcasting in front of the just-fallen Berlin Wall. Sometimes unimaginable change comes swiftly.]

  14. Great read. Loved your last paragraph…it’s not just about taxes, profits, whatever…it’s about ending the immoral violation of the rights of the people of this country.

  15. Please supply a list of names and I will gladly post them all over the net.These people are just as bad as the pigs who prosecute patients.

  16. Thank goodness this crook only gets one vote on the matter. Even him and his co-horts wont be able to out vote sensible dispensary USERS

  17. Even among non-volume growers the “I have mine and like the way things are … Prop 19 will cause more problems and they’ll take away my ability to grow with new ordinances” has been quite shocking to hear on a regular basis.

    I agree the proposal is not perfect and imposes certain penalties that are going to be abused by the prohibitionists. However, like any rational person, the idea that this sends out a clear message for the entire civilized world is far more important. This is the start of something wonderful if people would just stop fearing the change.

    The world wont end. With a flood of new growers how will people protected under not only the new blanket of legalization, but staight up allowances for the old MMJ and sb420 regs become targeted? They’ll disappear amidst the backwash from large scale commercial enterprises and tens or hundreds of thousands of new home grows. It truly will become the lowest enforcement priority. There simply wont be a tolerance of continued violence in the face of the public’s voice.

    I understand the fear of having it backlash and collapse. But this is the same fear that the prohibitionists have. Its just fear. Not based in anything real. Your Philip Morris and zero profit mentalities are just as insane as the everyone will be driving stoned and children will be suffering in droves arguments.

    The dispensary owners who oppose must not have a good sense of business. They are the most connected etc to open all the alternatives to the Philip Morris style products that *may* become available. Even the Triangle is decrying a total collapse of their market. I just dont see it happening. Perhaps they have all blown their money on cars and toys and dont have the capital to invest into the future. The smart ones will have the capital to expand and move into the new markets. The others suffer like all the other people in this world who dont plan for the future.

    Any smart dispensary owner will keep in mind they can champion around support from those of us who appreciate their opening doors here. Crying over lost 7 and 8 figure incomes however is just asking a bit much from us.

    Like so many here at NORML and elsewhere in the sane world see it: Arresting and capitalizing on a vast illegal market of something that is far safer than all the alternatives is just lunacy. End this madness and vote yes for heaven’s sake.

  18. I just looked this up on wikipedia. It states the US has proof of the benefits of medical marijuana. If it is not enough that marijuana has been used for 10000 years for some medical benefit. There is a medical benefit if I say I feel better after using it. Is there any way you can tell me pot doesnt help my stress level or help me think a little clearer.

    “The Health and Human Services Division of the federal government holds a patent for medical marijuana. The patent, “Cannabinoids as antioxidants and neuroprotectants”, issued October 2003[147] reads: “Cannabinoids have been found to have antioxidant properties, unrelated to NMDA receptor antagonism. This new found property makes cannabinoids useful in the treatment and prophylaxis of wide variety of oxidation associated diseases, such as ischemic, age-related, inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. The cannabinoids are found to have particular application as neuroprotectants, for example in limiting neurological damage following ischemic insults, such as stroke and trauma, or in the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and HIV dementia…”[183]”

    I pulled the above paragraph off of wikipedia. Marijuana has a medical benefit and the US government cannot say otherwise. If a doctor is willing to write a prescription for weed to help my back pain or my headaches or help me sleep who can tell me that the medicine is not working if I go back and refill my prescription. This is my body I should be allowed to choose which medicine I put in it. If I have a choice between Oxycotin or marijuana why cant I choose which to take.

  19. The thing that noone seems to be telling ANYONE is to READ THE BILL FOR YOURSELVES!

    Everyone’s got a comment, everyone’s got an opinion, everyone’s got a point to make, but so far, I’ve never seen anyone either for or against the bill pubicly state “I believe and I bade my thoughts on “.

    There has also never been a full point-for-point description of the ambiguities of the proposal, or how they will affect the existing standing of 215.

    There needs to be a COMPREHENSIVE DISTILLATION of what the bill means, where things can be misinterpreted, where they can be abused by the police and the courts, and after all is said and done, there needs to be a truly informed voting public to base their decisions on FACTS.

    Unless you’re a congressman, in which case, we know you don’t read anything before voting on it.

    At this point, I’m neither for or against the proposal, but I do know for a fact that the only long-term solution to the problem is the wholesale REPEAL of cannabis/hemp prohibition for all. Farmers need to be able to grow it, industry needs to have free access to it, medical users deserve to have it, and even the lowly recreational user should be able to make an informed decision on what they think is better: a safe, non-toxic, natural plant that they can grow at home, or the risks associated with alcohol.

  20. The thing that noone seems to be telling ANYONE is to READ THE BILL FOR YOURSELVES!

    Everyone’s got a comment, everyone’s got an opinion, everyone’s got a point to make, but so far, I’ve never seen anyone either for or against the bill pubicly state “I believe … and I base my thoughts on Section xx; quotation.“.

    There has also never been a full point-for-point description of the ambiguities of the proposal, or how they will affect the existing standing of 215.

    There needs to be a COMPREHENSIVE DISTILLATION of what the bill means, where things can be misinterpreted, where they can be abused by the police and the courts, and after all is said and done, there needs to be a truly informed voting public to base their decisions on FACTS.

    Unless you’re a congressman, in which case, we know you don’t read anything before voting on it.

    At this point, I’m neither for or against the proposal, but I do know for a fact that the only long-term solution to the problem is the wholesale REPEAL of cannabis/hemp prohibition for all. Farmers need to be able to grow it, industry needs to have free access to it, medical users deserve to have it, and even the lowly recreational user should be able to make an informed decision on what they think is better: a safe, non-toxic, natural plant that they can grow at home, or the risks associated with alcohol.

    [Paul Armentano responds: NORML has posted several summaries of Prop. 19. Every post links to the initiative text so anyone can read it. An FAQ regarding the initiative is here: http://www.taxcannabis.org/page/content/faq. As has been previously said many times already, Prop. 19 does not alter or amend protections in place by Prop. 215 or SB 420.

    http://www.taxcannabis.org/page/content/faq
    Q: Does Proposition 19 change medical cannabis laws in California?

    A: No, it won’t change or affect current medical cannabis laws or protections offered to qualified patients. Patients will still be able to possess what is needed for medical use, and will retain all rights under Prop 215 and SB 420.]

  21. Something I find people also tend to overlook is how the legalization of marijuana and its taxation will help the economy. That can only benefit everyone, including dispensary merchants. It’s a beneficial move to everyone, and the main resistances to it are greed and years of propaganda claiming that marijuana has a host of ill effects stemming from its use, when anyone with a smidgen of common sense could see that it has an incredible array of benefits for people.
    I also have yet to hear a valid reason why alcohol, which results in hundreds of deaths from diseases caused by repeated use, drunk driving accidents and general public idiocy, while marijuana is vilified and treated like some sort of highly negative “drug”. No one dies from marijuana poisoning. And the only thing that a stoned person is dangerous to is a bag of Doritos.
    The nation has floods of movies about “stoner” culture, people make jokes about it, an enormous amount of people smoke it with or without legalization. We’re ready for legal status.

  22. YES, THE DISPENSARY OWNERS DONT WANT IT LEGALIZED BECAUSE THEY FEAR THE BIG TOBACCO AND THE DISASTER OF THE QUALITY ..
    THEY ARE RIGHT BUT THEY SHOULD KEEP IN MIND THAT THIS IS A NORMAL RESULT AND A RIGHT THAT CANNOT BE TAKEN AWAY FROM THE BIG COMPANIES..
    IT WILL BE LEGALIZED FOR THEM TOO..
    JUST LIKE ALCOOL IT WILL BE..
    THERE ARE THE BIG BOOZE COMPANIES.. THE WISKEYS, VODKAS, ETC THERE ARE THE BEER COMPANIES AND THE COMERCIAL WINES… BUT FOR THE COINESSEUR.. FOR THE LOVER OF THE SPECIAL THING THERE WILL BE ALWAYS THE DELICATESSEN TYPE SHOP FOR THE SPECIAL PRODUCTS..
    NOW WE (YOU, BECAUSE WE IN ELLAS ATHENS STILL LIVE IN INCREDIBLE REEFER MADNESS AND WE NEED HELP…) ARE IN A TRANSITION SITUATION WHERE THINGS DID NOT TAKE THEIR FINAL PLACE YET AND THAT IS WHY THEY MAKE ALL THESE HUGE PROFITS..
    OF COURSE THINGS WILL CHANGE AND THEIR DISPENASARY BUSINESSES WILL MAYBE NOT BE GOLD MINES BUT WILL MAKE A GOOD LIVING AND PROVIDE TO ALL US LOVERS OF GOOD HERB THE BLESSED PLANT.. DONT OPPOSE IT BROTHERS AND SISTERS OF THE DISPENSARIES… ITS THE FUTURE AND CANNOT BE STOPED.. JUST BE HAPPY THAT FREEDOM IS AT SIGHT

    [Editor’s note: Please…no all CAPS.]

  23. I **LOVE** this article. I am so glad you guys finally bit back– that sarcastic part where you point out the “what about the children” argument… please do MORE stuff like that.

    Mocking other people’s flimsy arguments with confidence and humor is exactly how you show people how stupid those arguments are. Giving people the facts only works once they realize the guy arguing for the status quo is full of crap.

    In other words, this was awesome.

    [Russ responds: I’m glad you enjoyed it. Snark is my stock-in-trade and you can catch lots of it over at The NORML Stash Blog at http://stash.norml.org and on our live weekday streaming podcast, NORML SHOW LIVE at http://live.norml.org.

    However, the serious and scholarly posts offered by Allen St. Pierre, Paul Armentano, Keith Stroup, and Sabrina Fendrick here on the NORML front page are enormously important in that rarefied air inhabited by policy wonks, medicos, scientists, and political types. The front page is “The New York Times” and the Stash Blog is “The New York Post” of NORML.

    I think it is cool that we have both. Hope to see you over at the Stash sometime.]

  24. Why in the world would any free thinking person want mariuana taxed at all ? Legalize it means legalize it..period.
    We see where our tax dollars are going today,, right to Afghanistan,, and for what ?? Legalize it. Done deal.
    And when it is legal,, we will see a huge reduction in the number of deaths caused by prescription drug overdoses,, and a huge reduction in the incredible amount of dollars spent on synthetic anti depressants.
    I dare anyone to eat a gram of hash and still be depressed !
    Keep it up Caleefornia !!

    [Paul Armentano responds: Legal retail commodities are taxed in this country — like it or not. If you buy tomatoes at the grocery store, you pay a sales tax. If you grow tomatoes at home you don’t pay a tax. If you grow tomatoes commercially and sell them, you need to possess proper licensing and face regulations. Prop. 19 treats cannabis precisely the same way.]

    [Russ adds: I live in Oregon. I don’t pay sales taxes on my tomatoes. But I do have to give ’em a nickle for every soda can, so I guess it all works out… 😉

    I had one of the “Don’t Tread On Me” anti-pot-tax people get on my case while I was on a Prop 19 panel in San Francisco. He wanted anyone anywhere to be able to grow any amount with absolutely no interference, registration, taxation, or licensing.

    I answered, “Great! Show me any other agricultural commodity that enjoys that kind of treatment, so we can copy it for cannabis!”

    *crickets*]

  25. Lets start by bebunking one myth; There are clear guidlines in this law that limit how much land can be used to grow on…

    anybody who tells who that “marlboro is gonna plant 4,000 acres”, is either a BOLD FACED LIAR, or stupid/ignorant enough not to have read the law completely before making an ignorant statement.

    Another point I would like to adress is to the “no tax on pot” people… my question is this; would you rather pay taxes to put people in jail, or would you rather pay a tax on pot?

    paying a tax on pot would save thousands upon thousands of people from being put in jail at the tax payers expence…It’s called compromise in the name of world peace, tolerance, and the greater good of the country. And we will also need compromise from people who are intolerant of pot, and thats where the taxing comes in.

  26. sappose you live in a state that is not smart like calf. and can not afford to move out there? then what do you do? it’s bad enough having to freeze 9 mounths out of the year but it’s all so 1 off the highest taxed,low minuim wage paying states in the country. the off 3 mounth you have masquto’s and road constrtion. it sucks hearing about these other place where a disabled person can go and poteasily. flippng mn. don’t vote for plenty if he run for president that will be a step backwards.

  27. Yea californians¡¡¡ and states wide, smoke more weed.
    Drive less cars use more bicicle you will be lot healthier,and get that urban growing,youll be self suficient

  28. The theme of this article is correct, long overdue in fact. Thanks NORML folks; true herb folks indeed. We know for certain the majority of cannabis vendors in California as motivated by greed, at least partially, if not fully. We attest to this fact. It makes us sick, but its true. Many of the folks who’ve “Shown Up” at advocacy meetings, and gov’t sham task forces, up until now, are of this type, crass commercial interests making bank.

    Lets wage some effing peace, why don’t we? Lets rock this boat. Don’t go quitely into the night, without a true fight.
    http://theholyherb.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=19:joomla-overview&catid=36:cannabis-heals-category&Itemid=53

    rastaFARi

  29. Another fine article, Russ. Thank you and keep ’em coming!

    YES TO INDIVIDUAL LIBERTY AND FREEDOM!!

    YES ON PROP 19!

  30. I agree with the Dispensaries logic about Phillip Morris ‘ruining weed’ but the key counter is that you can A) grow your own, and B) so far this bill does not favor big corporatism regulations like many other aspects of our micromanaged Federal approved economy.

    As long as we have both A and B, legalization will work out very well. Lose A or B or both, and the dispensaries concerns are legitimate.

    Good article, thank you.

  31. There’s not enough pot smokers to pass this damn law of legalization!

    [Paul Armentano responds: And that is why the Prop. 19 campaign is a coalition that is appealing to a wide range of demographics, like the NAACP, organized labor, health professionals, law enforcement, etc. Here’s just one example: http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-0715-union-support-20100715,0,7156078.story. Self-defeating posts are hardly helpful to this cause.]

  32. Brilliant article, and I LOVE your comment to post #16! I’m a Californian, who was born in San Francisco, lived here most of my life, and have been smoking pot DAILY since 1967. My old man and I both have medical pot scrips, and grow our own “medicine.”

    We are TOTALLY for Prop 19, because of the following:

    1. It will have NO effect on the medical pot user, and in fact, leaves Prop 215 ALONE;

    2. This proposed legislation is for the COMMERCIAL GROWER — NOT you and I growing plants in our backyard, for our own personal consumption;

    3. The state needs revenue — everything’s being cut, from education, to social services, to libraries, to firefighters, etc.

    Right now, marijuana is California’s BIGGEST cash crop, but the profits are only going to a select few, like the Mexican drug lords, and what I call “Pot Barons.”

    I’ve been bombarding my elected officials in support of Prop 19, using the argument that it just makes sense (and, “cents”) for our state.

    I also mention that even IF it doesn’t pass this November, the handwriting is on the wall for full legalization, so get with the program, people, because it’s eventually going to happen! Why not benefit from taxing and regulating the commercial production of it?

    Or do you want to leave things unchanged, and sit complacently by, as the cartels continue to reap billion-dollar profits, using growing methods that pollute our environment, while, because of our financial straits, we have less-and-less law enforcement to arrest-and-prosecute these rich thugs?

    And, yes, the Feds have had a patent on medical pot since 2003, but SO WHAT? Their patent has absolutely NO EFFECT on Prop 19! And, similarly, all the tobacco companies probably have an entire marijuana marketing model in place, ready to sell to the public, but again, I say, SO WHAT? This is a capitalist society, so it’s not surprising that people all over the globe, in all sorts of industries, are prepared, or at least preparing, for “the ‘marijuana’ industry.”

    I’ve been advocating pot legalization since the late ’60s, and I’m SO energized by the possibility of seeing my efforts (along with thousands of others) finally realized!

    We were the 1st state to enact medical pot laws, so let’s lead the nation again, and LEGALIZE marijuana this November!

    Stay High and Peace!

  33. On the surface it is really apparent that this industry wants special treatment. I think they fail to observe what they preach. Its a matter of civil rights, not a matter of medical rights…get your message right before the government shits on you again.

  34. …I KNOW things too, I KNOW there is no causation link between schizophrenia and cannabis, I KNOW the gateway theory is incorrect, I KNOW there is no short term memory loss, I KNOW responsible adults should end marijuana prohibition and keep it away from kids and drug dealers… so if you ask me, I will tell you, KNOW the facts…educate…just say KNOW !!

  35. at this time, legalizing cannabis is the most important – progressive – issue in the country. call the movement the first of many sledge hammer slams to the international wall.

    IF the fascist dea chooses to trump state law, local cops will follow happily woofing and panting. in other words, these gangsters can MAINTAIN THE FEAR. right now the dea is on the attack.

    ~ ~ ~

    growing excellent herb is a lot like making fine wine. there’s real skill involved.

    solidly good herb, with a few sensible loving practices, can be grown abundantly in any backyard.

    there doesn’t seem to be any supply/demand reasons for an oz of good buds to cost more than a pound of fruit.

    the present cali sitch is a lot like a feverish gold strike for all the usual systemic biz/greed turf reasons.

  36. Well the dispensary are getting greedy and they want it all for them self. But wouldn’t you want more costumers going in your store than just with doctors permission. I know i would. Legalize it an let it be….quit the greediness.!!!!!

  37. Phillip Morris just purchased 400 acres? Where? That’s a pretty big purchase from a publicly traded company, you’d think there would exist some statement about it outside of for-profit dispensary owners on the other side of the state.

  38. Here was my response to the Huffington Post:

    “It sounds like some serious greed as this guy is about to be the only one of two collectives in Venice as quoted: “Last month,” Craig explained proudly, “there were 24 operating marijuana collectives in Venice. A month from now, there will only be two. And we’ll be one of them.” So he gets to make more money as now he will be absorbing the patients from the collectives that were forced to shut down.

    Oh, and then this part in the article: He gestured around his beloved shop, with every flavor of every strain, in its purist form, selling for at-cost prices. “I like the way things are now.” AT COST PRICES?!?!?! The pricing is not much different then the current black market prices. Even those have started to decline. So I don’t know how he has figured his pricing is AT-COST….unless he is not growing his own meds like he should be, and instead paying some “vendors” $3,500-$5,000 per pound.

    I smell something in the air…and it ain’t herb.”

    I’ll see you all at 1:00pm PST on the NORML Show Live!
    http://stickam.com/normlshowlive

    Peace and Respect!
    Doc Herbalist

  39. Great! Now we have a NORML article talking about “THC crystals”??? Russ you’ve written plenty of articles pointing out the inaccuracy of statements calling THC “the active ingredient in marijuana”, and as careful as NORML contributing writers are to be accurate and specific when discussing cannabis, I’d be less disappointed if I could continue to suggest links to NORML articles to folks without concerns that there may be support for inaccurate facts.

    [Russ responds: What’s the problem? OK, it’s a bit simplistic, as kief is the trichomes of the leaves and bud and contain much more than just THC, but for a mainstream media article, not wishing to go much further beyond my 1,500-word limit, I simplified it for the reader. The kernel of truth is there: buds that have been “kiefed” will be less effective and the kief itself is full of cannabis goodness.]

  40. This is all about greaseball marketing. Somebodys not going to make as much as Philip Morris. Cry about it. Without legalization in California, there won’t be legalization anywhere. I fucking hate this country. Its full of stupid people from sea to oily sea. We can’t even have medical marijuana in the deep south. We still have to worry about laws.

  41. I never have thought of that before. What if they add nicotine in marijuana? Or worse? That would be terrible!

  42. NORML,

    Thank you for the great article. Craig’s attempts at scare tactics just goes to show you that greed can even extend to the MJ market (as if we didn’t already know that!).

    I’ll go back to my Amsterdam analogy. Out there, they allow the sale of MJ, taxed and regulated and growing MJ in modest quantities. The result: great prices and some of the best d***mned MJ you ever smoked! Also some of the best H*sh!

    I run into people now and then who complain about the tax and regulation aspect. I ask them if they like paying high prices? Black Market prices? Cuz, that’s what you’re gonna keep getting if you don’t legalize, tax and regulate it. Where I live, in the Southwest USA, you have to pay up the A** for good stuff–I realize the dealers are taking a chance, so I cut them the slack. But I will be so happy if California–Golden California–paves the way. I think people will be surprised at how the prices drop, and how the quality improves, if anything.

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