“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. I don’t want to be negative, but I’ve seen the downsides to this bill through another website and there are valid concerns. Firstly, how can you use a 5×5 plot and grow 1 ounce at a time year-round? Do you harvest a big-ass plant every October and freeze it wet, then dry out an ounce of useable material at a time? I thought you had to have a reduced amount of daylight to make buds, so one couldn’t just plant and plant year-round. Secondly, the wording is ambiguous regarding cultivation rights. Thirdly, while I don’t believe in giving kids dope, I believe even less in mandatory minimum sentences. Fourthly, the math doesn’t work. If the state adds $50, then the county adds $50, then the city tacks on… well why would I spend that kind of money? Naturally people could just grow their own, but I’d expect the taxes for homegrown be immediately increased to extract those exact same fees as at the store. Fifthly, If people get caught with a grow at home, will they call it “tax evasion” and confiscate your home? Lastly, the feds will spoil the party. Obama has at best a 50-50 chance at re-election IMO, and when the republicans take power, they will either send their military/law enforcement friends in for some OT, or they will position their big-money corporate friends to shape, dominate and forever profit in the new industry.

    [Russ responds: Well, now that you put it that way, I guess we should continue to waste tax dollars and lives arresting people for personal marijuana use. Since you’re so concerned about the shortcomings of Prop 19, I’m sure you’ll volunteer to be first in line to fill a jail cell for one of us that would prefer any legalization to none.

    *Sigh* Let me tackle your fears:

    1) Grow your 5×5 plot. Harvest your weed. Without the probable cause of seeing or smelling those plants and that harvested herb, how does “The Man” know you have stored more than one ounce? Don’t leave your house with more than an ounce.

    2) The cultivation wording is not ambiguous. Are you 21? Then you can cultivate a 5’x5′ garden. Pretty cut and dried, if you ask me.

    3) I guess you’re referring to the penalties for 21+ distributing cannabis to those 18-21. Because Prop 19 changes nothing about the penalties for 21+ distributing cannabis to those younger than 18 – those will be the same penalties as they are now. The new penalties mirror the penalties in place for 21+ giving alcohol to 18-21s.

    Again, I’d say if you’re 21+ and in a situation where a police officer may see you handing a joint to someone 18-21… don’t do it.

    4) You’re misinformed. Prop 19 requires no set $50 state tax; that was Assem. Ammiano’s legalization proposal at the Assembly. Prop 19 creates no state taxation and doesn’t even mandate city or county taxation. Localities may regulate commercial production and sales and then they may tax it… but you can still grow your untaxed 5’x5′ if you don’t like the tax.

    5) No. Growing 5’x5′ at home is a personal right, not a commercially taxed product.

    6) The feds can spoil the Prop 215 party anytime they like, too… shall we repeal that? What are you arguing for, that nobody legalize until the Feds do? I won’t live to see that.

    And again with the “big corporate friends”. So what? Let Philip Morris try to grow quality buds. If they make ’em clean and trimmed and no toxins and potent and cheap, great! If not, we’ll grow our own or buy from boutique growers. Why this huge fear of “Big Cannabis”? Is this just a reflexive abhorrence of capitalism in general?]

  2. BOYCOTT any business that opposes Prop 19.
    Let the parasites pay for their greed…

  3. You won’t get crickets from me.
    I’m not a teabagger or an anti-tax nut but how do you justify a $50 per ounce tax like was proposed in the bill in the Cal legislature?
    Why does the same govt that ruined so many peoples lives with their prohibition laws deserve that kind of excessive tax?Why not let the farmers and distributors make the profit and see what price the market will bear and let the govt get the same rate of taxes as any other agricultural crop?

    [Russ responds: Once again, the $50/ounce state tax is the Ammiano bill, not Prop 19. Please, go read it before chiming in with the tax fears.

    Taxation, if any, will only occur in the localities that decide to allow commercial production and sales.

    Plus, keep in mind “the government” that ruined people’s lives is us. We vote for the politicians who maintain these laws. These laws could not remain without the tacit approval of a majority of Americans. This ‘government is the enemy’ thinking is part of what has kept us oppressed for so long.]

  4. Hello Russ,

    I just had to tell you that husband Marc Emery LOVES this article (as do I)! I sent a copy to him in prison — he’s in SeaTac FDC right now awaiting sentencing for his seed-selling “crime” — and he wrote back that it’s absolutely FANTASTIC and must be shared everywhere!

    So I posted it on our Facebook accounts (over 40,000 people combined) and we’re going to post it on CannabisCulture.com too. Marc wanted me to say “Thank you” from him for writing this excellent article.

    Jodie Emery

    P.S. Marc wrote an article of his own, deconstructing the propaganda put forth by Prop 19 opponents; it’s linked to on the left-hand side of our website. 🙂

    [Paul Armentano responds: Jodie, thanks so much for posting, and for speaking out on behalf of Prop. 19. (Terrific job on T4Hemp btw.) I’m glad that you and Marc appreciate Russ’ article and that you have reposted it in other forums. I think I speak for everyone here at NORML, and the cannabis community in general, when I say that our thoughts and hopes are with Marc (and you) during this difficult time.]

  5. The 18-20 year old LEGAL ADULTS. Shouldn’t vote for this one pure principle. Their rights are continued to be denied, they will continue to be harassed, assaulted, jailed and otherwise treated as second class citizens. What is possibly good about this? Yeah, 21+ can smoke but the massive majority of those who smoke are under 21, and even more are under 18. Don’t kid yourselves that under-21s will be prevented from getting it as they do now and will forever to continue to do. I started smoking at 19 and I’d STILL be a criminal scum if this was legalized at the age it is my state. Don’t you see the irony? The blaring hypocrisy? All 18-20 year olds should not vote for this because if they do, they’ll enforce their lack of rights – they will be saying “raise the age of majority to 21, because 18-20 year olds are still children!”

    [Russ responds: So, because 18-20-year-olds, who have no right to toke now, who will continue to have no right after Prop 19, they should vote for adults 18-100+ to continue to be arrested and jailed for toking. “If I can’t have mine, nobody can! If I have to go to jail, so should everybody else!”

    Real mature.

    BTW, your assertion that “the massive majority of those who smoke are under 21” is not true.

    From the 2008 National Survey on Drug Use & Health: “In 2008, adults aged 26 or older were less likely to be current drug users than youths aged 12 to 17 or young adults aged 18 to 25 (5.9 vs. 9.3 and 19.6 percent, respectively). However, there were more drug users aged 26 or older (11.3 million) than users in the 12-to-17-year age group (2.3 million) and 18-to-25-year age group (6.5 million) combined.”

    Now, I do get your point, and in a perfect world, I’d make 18 the age for everything. I feel if you’re mature enough to carry a rifle for Uncle Sam, you should be able to enjoy a beer and a joint. And if tobacco is legal at 18 (19 some states), so should cannabis be. Unfortunately, you and I don’t live in a perfect world and politically, setting cannabis age below alcohol age will not fly.

    Also, it turns out that 18-20-year-olds eventually turn 21. Why shouldn’t they vote for something that will make their cannabis use legal in three years or less?]

  6. Hey dipshit, I mean craig from venice beach..I myself would not buy phillip morris marijuana if it’s tainted as tobacco is, I like my natural marijuana, and I’m sure just about everyone else in the united states does..

    and two, I’m 21 years old, so get screwed if you think it’s going to be easier for children to obtain cannabis if it’s tightly regulated and ID’s are checked…it’s much easier for kids to get cannabis than tobacco or alcohol..

  7. This was always my thought that would happen if we were to use the idea of legalizing cannabis through medicinal purposes and then trying to make it for personal use. It’s like trying to make it so that anyone can get percocet. Calling something a medicine and then saying that it was meant for everybody is where big med companies are trying to make their profits, can’t you see it in the commercials on television? It’s always “try our product” … “if your doctor says it’s cool” but since now just about anybody can be a doctor we have so many that aren’t in it for the patients and are in it for the money. We need to pull ourselves out of this Medical issue, work on legalizing hemp first and then say it has more properties. It’s commercial is far greater than it’s medicinal value, and could produce way more income for farmers that way. Basically, if we can get the government to basically look at weed like it does psychedelic mushrooms, it’s cool to grow, but you can’t use it .. baby steps.

    Most of this was written out of anger. I’ve been involved in many arguments against marijuana smokers with many different people that are willing to have a “conversation” about the subject. Many of them attack how pot smokers are just trying to legalize medicinal marijuana so that they can go to a crappy doctor and get some card to walk into a store and buy their drugs. This how politicians are going to look at it when comes to seeing what the public wants.

    I may be young but I’ve doing my research, and while still looking at things with a bit of a naive tone, I still believe that we should all reread Jack Herer’s “Emperor Wears No Clothes” and really see why we’re going through all this bickering.

  8. Lindsay, even though cannabis is illegal now, young people still get access to it and use it regularly. So even though Proposition 19 doesn’t make it legal for them, why wouldn’t they continue to get access to and use cannabis just as they do now?

    Additionally, why would a 20-year-old vote NO when they know that next year they’ll be able to legally buy it? Every young person of voting age knows that they’ll soon be 21, so why would they vote to continue putting people their age — and even themselves — at risk of arrest and imprisonment?

  9. Hey Lindsay, as far as the 18-20 year olds are concerned…I think you need to look at the bigger picture instead of the “What’s in it for me?” attitude.

    Personally, I’m a legal medical marijuana patient, so I should care either because it doesn’t change anything as far as how I obtain my meds. But I don’t look at it from a “What’s in it for me?” standpoint. I look at the fact that if this passes then I won’t have to worry about any of my family and friends going to jail over simple posession. I look at it as, if this passes, then no 18-20 year old will have to have to see their parents arrested and hauled off to jail for simple posession.

    Finally, it has nothing to do with saying “raise the age of majority to 21, because 18-20 year olds are still children. The brain is still in development during that age range and for that reason they (gov’t) would like to keep it that way to play it safe. Perhaps one day, that same government will actually authorize…maybe even fund studies on 18-20 year olds and if it turns out that there are no adverse effects that age might be dropped.

    So…I hear what you’re saying…but please consider the bigger picture.

  10. In regards to the under 21 issue … I am 19 and I don’t mind having to wait til 21 to purchase it legally. I still drink occasionally as like many in my age group. To say that 18-20 shouldn’t vote is ridiculous. We’re here to promote responsible marijuana use. Do I still believe that should be allowed to drink at 18, since after all you can smoke cigarettes at 18, absolutely. Have I come to realize that this country is comprised of many of man’s flaws, absolutely. Will I continue to smoke marijuana, even if you have to be 21 to legally consume it, absolutely. Will I give up my vote so that I can stand by naive thinking in that everything should be legal at 18, absolutely not. We have to vote like responsible adults to make up for the fact that many out there are not.

    [Russ responds: Thanks, Harrison. I’ve always said that 18-20 year olds have the right to vote and if they showed up in numbers like senior citizens do, they could secure the right to drink and smoke weed. If you don’t vote, you’re saying “I don’t care, all you people just tell me what to do.”]

  11. 50 LongTime Puffer

    Well – my guess was right. You are from the South West. I am from the Emerald State [California] or what used to be the Golden State. Northern California looks like a over-grown Chia Pet. If you’re from California as well – you know exactly what’s going on. Experience is the best teacher, and we are experiencing the whole tamale. I only have one thing to say to everyone. NOTHING HAPPENS UNLESS YOU MAKE IT HAPPEN. MAKE IT HAPPEN!!!

  12. A lot of these discussions have only been concerned with what ‘marijuana’ will do to the community and economy of the country. The United States’ Controlled Substance Act does not see a difference between marijuana and HEMP! I will, clearly, not be the first to say the benefits that would arise with the legalization of marijuana, but what about hemp? Hemp is not grown in the United States. We get most of our hemp from other countries like Canada, UK, Germany, and China. Because America is the only country {in the WORLD mind you} that does not recognize the value of industrial hemp, we are all ultimately going to pay the price. Whether it be economically or environmentally.
    I’m somewhat sickened at all the value you have added to the importance of marijuana being legal, and ignoring the real face of the issue -hemp. If we passionately want to help this country, let us take our minds off of ourselves for a minute…
    Again, I speak of “industrializing” hemp. Marijuana, should be by law, limited to rates of production to the LOCAL citizens. Because localism , by contrast, offers a physically plausible economy for the future, and a psychologically one as well: an economy that might better provide goods like time and security that we’re short of. (Deep Econony)
    Hemp can supply other commodities were short of as well. Oil, paper, housing, textiles, food, and inspiration. All respectfully signs that God himself wants us to grow this plant! (So maybe these giant cigarette companies you speak of can be allowed to grow hemp, keeping its THC content down to a minimal 3 percent like the other intelligible countries do.)
    Marijuana is wonderful and benefits and so many ways and is a gift from Shiva. We must accept the gift as it is, and marijuana as it is; is hemp.
    America needs to legalize hemp. Then we can have our marijuana. The Controlled Substance Act & Drug Enforcement Agency currently do not see the difference! In a sense, there’s only one actual difference: Marijuana = Local/ Hemp = Industrial. And there you have it, the government and it’s people will both WORK under the legalization of this sacrament plant.

    I will see you in the near future, at our national’s capital Washington D.C. to address such a manner…

    Thanks & Hare Krsna

  13. Wow, this is just another example of the attitude that is KILLING our country; Fight for your “principles” for only as long as they personally benefit you. Abandon them immediately if they become unprofitable.

    That’s extremely noble…using the SAME RHETORIC that we’ve been criticizing and railing against for so long in this fight. The same fight which has ultimately bought you the freedoms necessary to make your living. SHAMEFUL!

  14. @comment #56
    Are you a social retard or just a plain retard. The wording is to make it like alcohol. Why not quit complaining and help get the law passed. This way when you finally grow up and become an adult you can use this substance. Your post is inane and shows that you are young and not very misinformed. Life is a long journey and it is funny that children think they have it figured out.

    The 18-20 year old block should definitely rally behind this initiative and help to pass it so that in a few years they can legally have a beer or joint if they decide to. Rants such as yours will only help to mobilize the opposing forces that seek to keep cannabis illegal.

  15. Since it is all pie in the sky right now,why wouldn’t a big company read these forums and realize that the best marketing method will be to raise and sell primo weed that has been organically grown? They have marketing agencies that will advise them. They will want to have as many customers as they can get and they realize that overpricing,shortcuts and bunk weed will only increase the number of “green market” growers and personal grows,
    which decreases their profits.

  16. Lindsay.you are wrong because the 18 to 20 year olds will get to 21 someday. Quit crying in your post toasties and grow up,not in your body but in your mind.

  17. Hmmmmm , that’s slightly opposite of what local polls say regarding Proposition 19 . Local polling puts it at 48 % against and 46 % for .

  18. Ps – It better be legal come November ’cause Pot prices here in So. Cali are expensive . Decent smoke is going for about $15 a joint . Up North , of course it is cheaper sometimes even free depending on who you know .

    Paul , Russ and everyone affliated with NORML are doing a great job . Your obviously educated and brilliant .

  19. marc emery is a legendary cannabis leader. thank you sir.

    recently he was taken from canada by our feds and placed in a u.s. federal jail, like something out of a soviet union gulag story.

    how do these sh!theads continue to get away with this?

  20. Greed -greed-and more greed.Everyone is so worried about a little weed.
    I’m 43 yrs old Been smokin’ for 39 of them years.
    I have dreamt of legalization all of my life.And I try to inform any and all people i talk to . I hear this argueement all the time.
    Go California -LEGALIZE- and the same goes for the rest of the states .If more states go for and enact legalization / decriminalization laws then the Federal government will have to change those laws also. This is just something to think about.

  21. CLOWN=capitalist bozo. thats what we have here. Also very greedy capitalist with lots of smoke to blow up non informed asses.

  22. not surprising dispensaries oppose legalization…they’re just like the gov’t…if we can’t make money then F everyone else.

  23. I said it on Huff Post, and I’ll say it here:
    Seems to me that the only person “Craig” is looking out for is himself. As sole caregiver for my dying mother, I was thrilled that I could purchase cannabis edibles for her at a local dispensary. The change cannabis made in the quality of her life during those last months was nothing short of miraculous.

    That said, since marijuana is still generally criminalized, it took a lot of lobbying on my part for her to even try it (in spite of the quasi-legality of medicinal marijuana.) She would have been much more open to it, and much sooner, if it was legal for adults all around.

    In my mind, by regulating and taxing marijuana, we bring medical marijuana users out of a “grey area,” and into the mainstream. Secondly, by legalizing cannabis for all adults over 21, the nasty eye of the DEA will be shifted from legitimate collectives who are providing medical marijuana for their members, with the focus put on actual drug cartel operations (or anyone, quite frankly, who is just trying to make big bucks by circumventing the regulation process.)

    I am all for the passage of Prop 19, and I challenge “Craig” and other dispensary owners to take their attention off of their own pockets, and recognize that they would be serving their customers needs much more effectively by supporting it as well.

  24. Re Cheebs1 Post 65

    The bizarre post #56 notwithstanding, I get the feeling that most 18-20 year olds will support this bill. I just hope they get out in big numbers to vote!

    Rebel, hey there pal. Yer right, I’m from the SW. But I used to live in Calif for 9 years in the 1980s. BTW, did you see the demographics chart that came with the article? I knew the Gen.X’ers were a small bump in the road. Oh well, hopefully some of them have converted since.

    See ya, Puffer

  25. Let the market dictate the future. I personally would rather buy organic cannabis from a grower who knows what he is doing compared to a big tobacco company. I believe that the small time grower will have to increase his crop because his product will be that much better. The public should be able to decide if they want a northern CA product or a southern CA product. There are enough cannabis users around that many full time growers, if not all, will profit considerably. Big tobacco is 30 years behind. I would support the locals before a big corporation any day. Growers and dispensaries have nothing to fear. Support your local cannabis grower!

  26. Lobby for strict labeling laws with all information from start to finish being available to the consumer. The current problems with legal industries is that they are able to sell products that do not have to submit to these standards.

    Point in take. I am associated with a medi garden. The registered grower is incompetant and refuses to submit to proper conduct. He now wants me to prescribe a spray for flowering plants near harvest that are infested with spidermites. I notified him that I will have no part in this. He needs to accecpt his losses and quit coveting the dollar. He thinks his $300,000 house is a testiment to his intelligence. Nonsense. It is a testiment to his lack of intelligence as it makes him scratch for $ harder then necessary. If he would simply submit to proper conduct, the long run situation would be much better as I will demolish any prospects he has in the future industry because he only does what is most profitible and does not care about the well being of others beyound his short term interests. It will not be possible to function in such a manner as the future is realized. Incompetance is a weakness and so is not acknowledging your limits. One must submit to what their potenttial is and not try to pay oneself more then one actually deserves.

    I conduct my self according to a very long term plan which holds the interests of as many people as possible. I have a meager lifestyle and many setbacks because I will accecpt nothing less then proper conduct. It is a necessary condition at this moment according to my past actions and others.

  27. Those are just rationalizations or “good reasons.”

    People who sell harvested Cannabis and then sell it for monetary benefit enjoy Cannabis prohibition as much as the industries that build prisons and fill them; the industries that would rather make toilet paper from old wood forests than a rapidly growing plant.

    I will always remember the short-hand definition of “politics” I learned in political science. “Politics” = who gets what; when they get it; how they get it are details. IMO the problem with our system is not that it is two parties always fighting, it is the distraction itself that is produced by the fighting: “My party is better than yours.”

    Guess what? The *real* issue is that both left and right are controlled by corporate interests, special interests, money interests through lobbying or getting strategic confederates elected.

    Private demands control public policy in a way that causes social injustice. Cannabis prohibition is an unjust law. Cannabis is medicine and a source of complete nutrition. It was carried and cultivated by our ancestors to every corner of the globe, including by George Washington.

    If they had called it the Hemp Tax Law instead of Marijuana Tax Law, it never would have passed. People then knew how important hemp was and that Jefferson and Franklin grew it. Cannabis prohibition started with deception and requires maintained disinformation campaigns.

  28. from:

    Question: I am curious to know: will [legalization efforts in California] open the door for major corporations to take over the industry? Can you please educate me?

    Christopher, California

    Ed’s Rosenthal: Yes! And you are not going to be able to get any pot except if you are fingerprinted and have your photo taken! I know that is the answer you are expecting to hear…

    However, I think that we are going to experience the “Tomato Model” with the legalization of marijuana.

    More tomatoes are grown in America by home gardeners than are produced commercially. Yet there is a robust commercial market for tomatoes and tomato products of all types: canned, vine-ripened, organic, sauces, soups, ketchup, etc. At the same time, small-scale specialty cultivators do well swelling their produce at Farmers’ Markets, and home gardeners with extra tomatoes share the bounty with neighbors as gifts, in trade, or through informal sales. Marijuana could be handled in the same way. Commercial growers can thrive side-by-side with home and specialty cultivators.

    An appropriate question, as there are only 309 days left until it is legal here!

  29. CA, CA, CA! c’mon guys there is a world outside the westcoast. any prosecution anywhere is unconscionable. when i saw state after state allowing semi-regulated medical cannabis use i was excited and figured a brave new world with a new freedom to enjoy (without having to worry about gettin knocked by those power-corrupted pigs) was soon at hand. and that it would even make its way here to the eastcoast (eventually). when cali was fighting for medical-use there was resounding support from the entire nation’s pot-loving community. so i ask you, brothers and sisters, should we be more worried about legalization in just one area? i very well may be wrong, and truly hope i am, but it seems like the “i gots mine” mentality is contagious on the westcoast. In my mind this fight will not end until there is GLOBAL legalization and no one is forced to live in fear. that may seem fantastical and even impossible but i know many people feel the same way. DON’T GIVE UP THE FIGHT, ANYWHERE UNTIL ALL ARE FREE

  30. wow if the price dropped 80 per cent then it would make it hard for growers with the electric cost .Also hand trimming and the rest of the hard work that goes into making it.So if it did drop 80 per cent it would have to be out doors ,like most commercial weed .That could be a problem ,greedy corporations trying to starve out any competition ,to control the market ,wile paying low slave wages to the workers,under paid farmers.


    CA Prop 19: Legal, Regulated Marijuana Favored 50%-40% in New Poll

    California’s Proposition 19, which will legalize, regulate and tax marijuana, is currently winning, 50 percent yes to 40 percent no, according to a new SurveyUSA poll of likely voters sponsored by CBS 5 KPIX-TV.

    SurveyUSA 7/8-11
    Prop. 19:
    Certain Yes 50
    Certain No 40
    Not Certain 11
    (Note: Because of rounding, poll does not always add up to 100 percent)

    This is an automatic poll of 614 likely voters with a margin of error of 4 percent. The poll shows a substantially higher preference for marijuana legalization than other recent surveys from Field Research and Reuters/Ipsos , which both had the measure losing narrowly.

    Digging deeper in the numbers, not surprisingly, we see that young voters, 18-34, overwhelmingly support Prop. 19 by a margin of 70-22, while voters over 65 oppose it 50-37. Republicans as a whole oppose the initiati

  32. disp owners don’t want the pricing exposed…people are HAPPY paying 40-65 an 8th…thats stupid…all about the money

  33. OK Russ I appreciate your response.
    If I wasn’t for a change and was for the status quo, my comments would’ve been obviously snarky or nasty. You are likely a bit defensive for good reason, but I’m on your side.
    Anyway it is a fine article and I share your concerns and opinions, so don’t toss me in a cell!

    The corporations use their wealth to fund excessive marketing and exposure to shape opinions of voting sheep and there’s no reason to believe this industry would be a departure with so much money involved. Home growers will be standing in the path of those profits and will be a target, mark my words. This is a lot different than home brewing and I cannot believe they will leave any orange unsqueezed. The difficulty of taxing home harvests will be used as a reason to attempt to not allow it. Some of the new medical cannabis laws being drawn up are cutting out personal cultivation and this shows a disturbing tactical trend, IMO.

    As it stands, I’d vote for Prop 19 because I, like you, would take any legalization over none, but at my age, I’m more careful about my info.
    I came to this site as the best source, because I wanted to balance the issue here in contrast to the opposing site I cannot seem to find again, sorry.

    *So one could use 5×5, but the 1 oz possession at home is unrealistic. Has to be 1 years supply at the minimum. Details later.
    *Your response regarding penalties is somewhat logical and I now understand, thanks. Mandatory minimums are still unnecessary for anything.
    *Didn’t know there was no state tax (?), the taxes will still be there and they would be properly localized. That’s cool. They’ll find a way to tax the home grower. Puzzles me it’s not there as a carrot for support.

    Russ: “And again with the “big corporate friends”. So what? Let Philip Morris try to grow quality buds. If they make ’em clean and trimmed and no toxins and potent and cheap, great! If not, we’ll grow our own or buy from boutique growers. Why this huge fear of “Big Cannabis”? Is this just a reflexive abhorrence of capitalism in general?”
    Yes, Russ, it is. Actually more of a suspicious knee-jerk reaction than abhorrance. There’s such a thing as extreme capitalism, IMO, and we are victimized daily by marketing based upon deception and psychological manipulation rather than informational deliberation of the merits of a given product. I’m head shy.

    Thanks for the article, and we cynical, been there-been burned oldies will maintain the cautious optimism.

  34. Here is why I know that 15 year olds smoking is not a bad thing:

    I am 16 years old. I recently finished sophomore year, with straight A’s. I ended up with the highest scores in my class for finals, and I couldn’t have done it without cannabis. I smoked every single day, before school I would have at least 3 bong hits. I ended up hallucinating and seeing lots of patterns on the walls and my teachers faces, but pot allowed my thoughts to slow down so I could finally think. If I had not smoked every day, I would not have gotten a 4.0 average. Last year I didn’t smoke every day, and I got C’s and D’s.

    Therefor I think I am living proof that cannabis can be benificial to even young minds.

    Andres Colon

  35. just to let you know most people in this country live in a non medical marijuana state so this article really only applies to a quarter of the U.S. who have the convenience of dispensaries

  36. Hey Andres
    I must respond to your post here if you’re 16. I never toked til I was 18, only because that’s when my 2 older bros stoned me while home for the holidays. Not preachin, but I’ve always been glad that I never was exposed until into my senior year in HS. My younger bro did much earlier and survived, but it did him no favors.
    Please keep in mind that your perception of yourself is self fullfilling and if you see yourself as a better student as a toker, then you will subconsciously do things to make it happen. I’d suggest that you have it in you because you’ve always had it in you, so don’t think or say (don’t reinforce)that you need the weed to excel at studies. It’s possible that it helped you settle down to study, or it helped you get into it, but your brains were and always will be there, pot or no pot. I hope you are mature enough to know that and understand my point. In my experience, when I got too buzzed in the AM, or had a weed hangover from the night before, my comprehension was definately hindered. [Please nobody respond and tell me there is no such phenomenon-Potent indicas do this if your tolerance is low.]
    Also remember that you are still maturing, and even if you are bright and relatively mature, you are not there yet. Take it easy and take your time, you have plenty. Regardless of your example, no matter how good, adults don’t like the idea of adolescents using pot, and your post here doesn’t help the effort, sorry. You may think this is contradictory, or a double standard, but you will most likely agree in 5 years.
    Seriously take care…

  37. But how did it work for tobacco? It seems like the Phillip Morris’s of the country can afford their lobbyists to restrict growth and sale of it. I’ll bet they see this ‘new crop’ as a way to add SO MUCH MORE revenue to their dying tobacco sales. I’m pretty confident that when a big company gets into the mix things will change drastically.
    Why not form a law that allows less restrictions to sign up for a license to smoke, carry, grow and sell to others with the same card? Why open this huge can of worms? The law is not retro active, so it will not release anyone who has been imprisoned for breaking the current ridiculous laws.
    I’m just a little frustrated at those who drafted the proposal for prop 19, it’s a little juvenile and miscalculated.
    It should really make us all look at it closer and imagine what would happen in the ‘real world’. What is the best way for all of us to enjoy it legally while respecting the future of the crop.
    I’m forced to vote NO on this draft… I’m hoping the next will be a little more logical.

    [Paul Armentano responds: A ‘no’ vote is a vote for the status quo, which in California means 60,000+ arrests annual for simple possession and 20,000+ felony arrests for cultivation. It is hard to envision how your ‘no’ vote, from the perspective of someone who allegedly favors reform, is ‘logical.’]

  38. @Less Confused and Concerned: When you have billion dollar companies and their lobbyists in Washington… things can get pretty damn crazy. They will eventually make it harder to grow your own crops… as they have done with Tobacco… Trust me, it will not be a good thing.

    The only way to keep things like they are is to support the dispensaries and make it easier to get a card to purchase from them. Sure you’ll eventually have large corporate collectives but as long as our dispensaries are protected by mandating “memberships”, things will never get out of hand for the rest of us.

    Our own individual right to grow is the biggest issue here and any chance at that being compromised, I believe, is the biggest fight we NEED to have.

    *note, I’m just a small personal grower with my card, things are great this way and I’m adamant at convincing anyone who smokes to save up a little money and attempt to get your card.

  39. Sativa Lover-
    Dude, you sound like a maniac. I have concerns, but Russ makes good points in the followup piece. I’d easily qualify for a card legitimately, although I want it for recreational use as well. I’m responsible and open minded enough to not need a sitter. And I have big brother worries about an asterisk on my DL, which is much more likely for a medical condition/remedy versus a homegrow permit (which may or may not be required).
    Never been into tobacco, but I don’t know why one couldn’t grow their own, in fact if there are any readers out there who have the scoop on homegrown tobacco enlighten me. Is it legal to grow and sell homegrown tobacco @ the county mkt? Is it done? Why isn’t it taken advantage of? There are some wild and crazy strains of tobacco out there. At 5-6 bucks a pack it seems logical. How about homemade Copenhagen (BARF!)?
    Too many international seed companies to squelch hi-performance seed production, so it will be unlikely the tobacco industry or anyone else will screw with the potency-ever. THANKS, MARC!
    And as for additives, the consuming public for cannabis today is a lot different animal than the cigarette smoking public of the mid-twentieth century. Awareness of those additives in tobacco has made it impossible to lace the weed, especially in tree hugging CA (no offense anyone). And folks will be watching. No, I think it will all work out fine, and even if its later perceived as causing problems and gets repealed, or the feds step in, your green card will likely hold up forever.
    So consider me in another state with no hope except viral legislation among states, or relocating away from my home and friends/family. Consider my 3 back injuries and my 42 year old back spasm that never quits, consider that I’m 1 in millions, and 90% of them are worse off than I. Consider the father and husband, who winds up in prison so his kids suffer heartbreak and embarrassment needlessly. The single mom, sports superstars and Tommy Chong! Can you hear violins? There are a LOT of people relying on you and your fortunate brethren, so hook us all up here.
    Thank you for your support, you got mine. -G

  40. Those 60,000 arrests can easily be lessened by applying for and getting your card. I understand that there are issues for some people as to why they can’t get their cards… for the rest, it comes down to money or just plain laziness. I’ve heard some stupid reasons from people why they don’t bother getting their cards… those dumbasses don’t get my sympathy when shit comes down on them. It just doesn’t make sense to me in the long run.

    [Editor’s note: Actually, arrest rates in CA will not likely diminish under a continued medical cannabis only policy as 50,000-60,000 Californians were arrested annually before the state’s voters adopted Prop 215 in 1996.

    For arrests, prosecutions, drug courts and incarcerations for cannabis offenses to diminish in CA the state has to first move away from decriminalization and medicalization and move towards controlling cannabis via legalization.]

  41. Well maybe you’re not a maniac, but see it from a different percpective. You live where MC is possible, you got yours and are unworried about the future of your rights (given the status quo). Sounds great.
    When the progressive states pass potent legislation, it helps us indirectly.
    But law enforcement is freaking out and wants more power and a list. They have influence and an open microphone to the public. A routine traffic stop could turn ugly when they look you up on their puter and see the bright green potleaf icon flashing next to your name.

  42. Editor… you’re not understanding my point. Even with legalization, you are only able to carry up to an ounce and are restricted to growing within a 25ft space, are you telling me all of a sudden everyone will be abiding by those rules? I don’t see how the rate will dramatically decrease all of a sudden… considering that if more marijuana users had a card they would be able to carry much more.
    Educating users on what it means to carry a card and spreading the need and the ease of possessing a card is so important. We need to focus on expanding on the laws that are already working instead of jumping to complete legalization that would hurt the growers and cause so many more unexpected social and local government issues.
    My personal opinion is that this draft is poorly written and needs to be revised before it starts making a little more sense.
    Still, I take back my NO vote… I think I’ll just leave mine blank.

    [Editor’s note: Prohibition creates all of the necessary incentives for law enforcement to keep focusing on cannabis, and neither ‘medicalization’ or ‘decriminalization’ sufficiently create the de-incentives for the astronomical (and racially disparate) cannabis arrests to abate.

    Arguably only legalization can, and while hardly perfect, Prop 19–like another imperfect political vehicle in 1996, Prop 215 (which has worked out fairly well, but still not perfect by any means)–is a clear and good step in the right direction, and should be supported by all of those who think arresting responsibly acting people for cannabis is wrong and a poor use of limited government resources.]

  43. That Seems to be The Attitude.The Greed will always show It’s Ugly Side.When I Worked with Ken Estes in The Early Stages of Prop 215 the Writing was on the wall to go 501C3.Jerry Brown was warning of “Things To Be”and That was Clear enough to Me.The Players “Who Got It” still Operate.The Ones who Didn;t “Get It” were excluded.Ken Whined but he didn’t go 501C3 Because he told me he can’t get A Federal Tax ID Number.Richard Lee Started to Pay Employees Tax on “A Cafe”and Went 501C3.He “Got It” as well as Jeff and Others who Pay Taxes.That Goes For Kathleen Lemons at The Hemp Center she was the Earliest Club to Pay The State Franchise Tax Board as A Cannabis Club.They Paid Taxes Because They Were Not Money Laundry INC.They Were all Able To Become 501C3s.That is Hard to do Though when your Fiscal Sponsor is a Vietnamese Gangster,HUH Kenny?I Love Ken Estes’ Medical Cannabis Music CD.Lets Hope When Prop 19 Passes The Vague details won’t be exploited by Rogue DAs and Gangsters.Nebulous Laws lead to Shenanigans.That is Human Nature.Prop 19 will be Interesting.We will make Our Poor Citizens Attempt to Dispense Cannabis From a Harm Reduction Center.Afterbthe Power Play In Oaklnd WE Wonder!Have The Rich Taken Over? Have They Always Controlled the Market?The Greedy Hungry Medical Cannabis Market drove The Premiums Such As Grandaddy Up to 4,300 from 3,200 in Four Years Time.That Pissed off Some Humboldt Old Timers When More Generator Grows Happened.That Made The Greedy Youngsters Happy.Bad Things Happen Such as Chris Giauque and Les that was The Dark Side.

  44. Why can’t the federal government acknowledge that hemp is where the real money is at? All this talk on the bud, the benefits to a nation that grows hemp are endless. Especially now. Especially in times of economic meltdown.

    “As population continues to grow in many nations, and the amount of farmland and water available to each person continues to shrink, a small farm structure may became central to feeding the planet.”
    [Deep Economy: The Wealth of Communities and the Durable Future
    by Bill McKibben]

    Let us not just grow pot, why not just more have more crops in general. If the farms die, then the community dies. Big government can have hemp, the citizen-marijuana. It’ll just work.

    “Here’s a suggestive piece of data about what that something might be: sociologists studying shopping behavior reported recently that consumers have then times as many conversations at farmers’ markets as they do at supermarkets. An order-of-magnitude differences. A simple change in economic life- where you shop- produces an enormous change in your social life. You go from being a mere consumer to being a participant, talking about what you like and dislike, expanding your sense of who’s in your community and how it fits together.”
    [Deep Economy: The Wealth of Communities and the Durable Future
    by Bill McKibben]

    It works with local tomatoes, it’ll work with weed. And hemp- will work for the government.

  45. Pingback: Proposition 19 CA
  46. I am not at all surprised by this, I buy my weed from an illegal source and he don’t want it to be legal because he thinks he will be out of business. It is human nature that everykone is after their own dollars.

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