October 22, 2017

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Carl Wellstone

Carl Wellstone is a writer, blogger and civil libertarian.

Merle Haggard, Outlaw Country Legend and Cannabis Connoisseur, Passes Away at 79

Merle Haggard

Merle Haggard had a legendary career and life. Known as a pioneer of  the “outlaw country” movement, Haggard was inducted into the Country Hall of Fame in 1994. A friend of cannabis community icon Willie Nelson, Haggard was once anti-marijuana, but he evolved and became a cannabis connoisseur. Today, the legend passed away at age 79.

Commenting on his evolution from anti-cannabis to pro-cannabis, the outlaw country legend told Men’s Journal that he was once “brainwashed like most of America.” “But if a guy doesn’t learn anything in 50 years, there’s something wrong with him. I’ve learned a lot about it, and America has, too.”

 

The evolution from anti-marijuana to cannabis connoisseur can be seen in the evolution in Haggard’s music. When Haggard recorded “Okie from Muskogee” he didn’t use marijuana, but that clearly changed as he grew older (and wiser).

As Rolling Stone noted, many country artists have commemorated the very influential outlaw:

Eric Church recruited the very inspiration behind his “Pledge Allegiance to the Hag” to join him on the song. Today, Church sent an email to his fans, containing simply these poignant lyrics:

Rest In Peace.
One of these days when my time has come
You can take me back to where I’m from
Put me on a westbound train
And ship me off in the pourin’ rain
Don’t cry for me when I’m gone
Just put a quarter in the jukebox and sing me back home and
Tip your hats and raise your glasses of cold cold beer
They say country’s fading
But just keep waving that flag around here
And I know it’ll keep on coming back
As long as people pledge allegiance
Where folks still pledge allegiance
I pledge allegiance to the Hag

Leaving no question that he was done with his anti-marijuana ways, Merle Haggard recorded “It’s all going to pot” with Willie Nelson, which I’ll leave you with. Rest in peace, Mr. Haggard.

Feel the Bern: Buy Cannabis Tax-Free and Support Bernie Sanders in Portland, Oregon (I did)

Bernie Sanders

When my “Oregon Marijuana” Google Alert notified me yesterday that the Foster Buds dispensary and a local marijuana cultivator, Farmer 12, were joining forces to donate a portion of their revenue to support Bernie Sanders’ campaign, I had to do my civic duty and head over to the store and make a purchase. I was pleased to see that the shop had quite a few customers and pleasantly surprised to learn that the local business was absorbing the current 25% state tax imposed upon non-medical customers.

 

Foster Buds tax
Foster Buds in Portland is absorbing the 25% state tax on cannabis AND donating proceeds to the Bernie Sanders campaign. Political activism doesn’t get much better.

 

Mic first covered the “burn one for Bernie” offer:

“He is just the biggest advocate for the marijuana industry right now,” Ken Martin, the manager of Foster Buds, told Mic, speaking about the business’ decision to support Sanders.

A Farmer 12 Cone, which contains a gram of marijuana, costs $10 each, according to Foster Buds’ website. Martin told Mic that Foster Buds typically sells “a couple hundred a day” but that, since announcing the plan to donate to the Sanders campaign, “we’re selling a lot more now,” and that customers are coming in specifically “to support Bernie.”

“Cannabis enthusiasts, supporters and medical patients come from every walk of life now, and we all deserve a president who will rally to reschedule cannabis and transform America’s cannabis policies,” the business announced on social media on Tuesday. “We believe Bernie Sanders is the best and most likely candidate to appropriately represent the needs of our community.”

Anyone paying any attention to Marijuana Politics knows that much love has been given to Bernie Sanders, particularly for his call to end federal cannabis prohibition and reform our criminal justice system (put “justice back in our criminal justice system” as Sanders has stated.) Even the more libertarian-minded folks here, that are not in line with all of the democratic socialist utopian ideals of the Vermont Senator, understand that he is best on cannabis policy, and in our era of divided government, he would likely be great on civil liberties in general.

As a Bernie Sanders supporter and lover of cannabis, I really can’t think of a more enjoyable way to participate in politics than buying high-grade cannabis that is tested for mold, mildew and pesticides in a completely legal environment. Additionally, every purchase made at Foster Buds not only helps a local Oregon business that is helping Bernie Sanders, but it helps other states follow suit. Soon, Oregon will start making tax revenue public and those that revenue will add to the millions already collected in Colorado and Washington, enticing both voters and public officials to replace the failed policy of prohibition with the better policy of regulation.

 

Steve Hawking Kush

 

Ken Martin was very friendly to me and the entire staff was knowledgable. I asked Mr. Martin if a lot of people were still coming in, and like me, mentioning that they want to support Bernie, and he answered, “Tons. Business has been continually booming.”

I also commended Foster Buds for taking care of the tax for their customers and Ken commented that, “We are happy to give back to the cannabis community.”

If getting fantastic cannabis and supporting Bernie wasn’t enough for you, Farmer 12 is also giving away a t-shirt and medical cardholders even get a medicated lollipop thrown in (I chose grape.) If you aren’t a medical cardholder and think that you want to save that 25% tax by buying on the non-regulated market, Foster Buds covers the tax for you.

 

Farmer12pre-rollgrapelollipop

 

Polling in Oregon has been sparse, but anecdotally and based upon demographics, Oregon should be Bernie country when the May 17th primary comes around. Oregon has a closed primary, so you must remember to register as a Democrat, which you can do online, by April 26th if you want to cast your ballot for Bernie. In the meantime, if you are over the age of 21 and are ever in the Portland, Oregon, area, head over to see the great folks over at Foster Buds and #FeelTheBern.

Foster Buds

Learn, Network AND Party With Tommy Chong at the ICBC this Weekend

Tommy Chong

There are a ton of cannabis conferences these days, but none like the International Cannabis Business Conference, being held in San Francisco this weekend. The ICBC really stands alone in mixing business, politics, activism and fun. What other event allows you to listen to the first African American Surgeon General, two current members of Congress and Tommy Chong? And then actually party with Tommy Chong while listening to Del the Funky Homosapien aka Deltron 3030? Also, Rocker T opens up for Del and his positive, reggae-inspired hip hop always gets the party bumping. We here at Marijuana Politics are happy to help organize the ICBC, but I can honestly say that I would love to attend this event regardless of any affiliation.

The panels at the ICBC will be extremely interesting and informative. I am really looking forward to hearing about the journey of Dr. Joycelyn Elders and hear her describe what it was like to call for the U.S. to study ending the Drug War back in 1993, endorsing the important-but-unsuccessful-at-the-ballot-box Proposition 19 in 2010 and now actually seeing an African American President allow states to implement legalization measures passed by their voters. Congressmen Dana Rohrabacher and Earl Blumenauer have been warriors for the cannabis cause, so hearing about their work and what’s next in Congress will be great as well. Congressmen Blumenauer has recently predicted that the U.S. would legalize marijuana federally within 5 years, so I’m wondering if he will be sticking to that prediction at the ICBC.

The end of the first day is what I’m really looking forward to: the celebrity interview with Tommy Chong and then the exclusive ICBC party that night. Tommy Chong has been through so much from rising to fame as part of a lovable comedic stoner duo to serving time in federal prison for helping sell bongs (and agreeing to such a prison sentence when the feds threatened his wife and son) to some mainstream success (although as a stoner again) in That 70s Show to beating cancer to having cancer come back to an array of now-legal cannabis business interests. To party with such an icon will be priceless.

The second day will also be great as Andrew Sullivan is one of the most original political commentators of our time, who has helped promote cannabis legalization from a conservative perspective; it has been about a year since he quit blogging daily, so it will be great hearing what he has been up to. Henry Wykowski’s tax presentation will prove invaluable for everyone in the cannabis industry, as will the other business panels that day and the networking opportunities with many great folks in the industry. But I must admit, I am really looking forward to partying with Tommy Chong! You don’t want to miss it!

Del and the crowd
Hip hop legend Del the Funky Homosapien always rocks the crowd. This year Tommy Chong will be there!

 

SAM Oregon Uses Ben Carson to Support Marijuana Prohibition

Ben Carson DonkeyHotey

SAM Oregon is an affiliate of the national SAM organization, led by prohibitionist Kevin Sabet. I find it hilarious that SAM Oregon uses Ben Carson to support marijuana prohibition. SAM Oregon posted a quote from Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson where he states his opposition to marijuana legalization.  Yes, the same Ben Carson that believes the the Great Pyramids in Egypt were used to store grain instead of entomb pharaohs; that the Big Bang Theory is a fairy tale; that the theory of evolution is satanic; and has recently been caught falsely stating that he was offered a full scholarship at West Point. Oh yeah, Carson also claimed that a supplement cured his prostate cancer, but he went ahead and had his prostate removed anyway.

SAM’s national leader, Kevin Sabet, has made a career out of opposing sensible marijuana law reforms, especially any attempts to legalize marijuana, whether it be medicinal or adult use. Sabet traveled to Oregon for a statewide tour ahead of the 2014 election, hoping to derail the Measure 91 legalization campaign. Despite Sabet’s best efforts, where he was trailed by our own Russ Belville, Measure 91 passed handily with over 56% of the vote. Sabet predicted that the measure would fail and then claimed that the margin of victory was “slim“.

Sabet has apparently entrusted SAM Oregon’s leadership to a man named Randy Philbrick, who seemingly is responsible for using Ben Carson’s position as a reason to oppose legalization. SAM Oregon’s goal is to completely repeal Measure 91, starting by chipping away at some of the provisions, such as allowing home cultivation.

That SAM Oregon would support Ben Carson shouldn’t come as a surprise as Philbrick has called comedian Bill Maher a (WARNING: NSFW) “pussy” and a “pot smoking fucktard”. SAM Oregon’s director has even claimed that Tom Brady “got out the kneepads” to receive just a four game suspension  (and he isn’t referring to anything related to football); called Dallas Cowboy Dez Bryant a “bitch”; and insults hard-working people by stating that raising the minimum wage in Portland to $15 an hour would be rewarding “laziness” (there may be legitimate reasons for opposing an increase to the minimum wage, but calling his fellow Oregonians trying to secure a living wage as lazy is offensive). Philbrick has since scrubbed his social media pages of such offensive statements, but not before someone captured screenshots.

Does Kevin Sabet and the national SAM organization really stand behind a director that would use such derogatory language? Do Oregon legislators and policy makers want to give the time of day to an advocate that would be so insulting to Oregonians? Here’s hoping that SAM and SAM Oregon will continue to fail in its goal to continue prohibition in the great state of Oregon.

SAMOregonBenCArson
SAM Oregon, who is hoping to repeal the Measure 91 legalization law, uses Ben Carson to promote its prohibitionist agenda.

Some choice tweets from SAM Oregon’s director Randy Philbrick:

Randy Philbrick Bill Maher

Randy Philbrick Lazy

 

Randy Philbrick Tom Brady

 

Randy Philbrick Dez Bryant
The leader of SAM Oregon, Randy Philbrick, isn’t above insulting working Oregonians as lazy and using derogatory, insulting language to levy insults.

 

(Photo Credit for Featured Image: DonkeyHotey via flickr Creative Commons)

 

Katie Couric Explains the Status of Marijuana Legalization

The mainstream coverage of marijuana has certainly improved over the years. As many know, when cannabis was first prohibited, the media sensationalized the marijuana menace by utilizing Reefer Madness propaganda. Mainstream coverage, while not rising to the levels of the Reefer Madness was relatively terrible just a few years ago. Major news outlets would put quotes around the word “medical”, disparaging patients that utilized cannabis for their debilitating medical conditions. Now, some of those same publications endorse legalization.

A big turning point seemed to be Dr. Sanjay Gupta apologizing for his past opposition to marijuana legalization, becoming a major supporter in medical cannabis. Then, The New York Times endorsed marijuana legalization, providing cover for other mainstream outlets and just adding to the momentum for reform that is sweeping the nation. Not that long ago, I know that many, if not most, marijuana law reformers would have cringed at the thought of a headline that reads “Katie Couric Explains the Status of Marijuana Legalization” but the former network news anchor does a fair job reporting on the issue over at Yahoo News:

Sometimes it is hard to differentiate whether the public is moving the media or whether the media is influencing the public, but I think in this case that the people were ahead of the news outlets at first, especially regarding medical cannabis. However, once news outlets starting endorsing legalization and providing fair and balanced reporting on marijuana, that non-sensationalized coverage has helped move a lot of swing voters. When you weigh the pros and cons of marijuana legalization, especially in relation to more dangerous illicit drugs or even legal substances like alcohol and tobacco, the marijuana movement doesn’t need any propaganda in its favor. We only need the truth and if Katie Couric is any indication of the future of the media’s coverage of marijuana, the momentum for reform will only increase.

Norwich Bulletin Editorial Board: Legalize Marijuana

Marijuana legalization has garnered the endorsement of major figures and media outlets across the nation. Dr. Sanjay Gupta made headlines when he called for a “marijuana revolution” and The New York Times sent shockwaves across the media spectrum. The Oregonian endorsed the Measure 91 cannabis legalization measure, less than five years after opposing the Measure 74 medical marijuana measure. The Bulletin, covering Eastern Connecticut, is just the latest media outlet to call for an end to cannabis prohibition.

From The Bulletin Editorial Board:

It is time for the federal government to loosen pot prohibition and give states the freedom to enforce their own laws. For years, momentum has been building toward a paradigm shift in drug policy, and the evidence generally supports those who advocate a change.

Alcohol and tobacco are legal, controlled and taxed; each shares a pertinent characteristic with marijuana. Alcohol, like pot, alters the mind. And pot, like tobacco, impairs lung function and may lead to cancer and disease with extended use, according to the surgeon general.

***

None of this is to suggest that we want folks to go out and start smoking pot. We advise against it, just as we do smoking cigarettes and drinking to excess. Consistency is at the heart of the issue: If the federal government allows us to drink freely and puff away, as it does, what is the logic behind prohibiting a drug that is less addictive and less dangerous, and which likely has medicinal qualities, to boot?

The clear path forward is for the U.S. government is to repeal marijuana prohibition and leave the issue to the states. Outright legalization, while it would put criminals out of business and raise some revenue through taxation, still poses some problems as a matter of public policy.

While at first glance, The Bulletin’s endorsement may seem ho-hum when compared to The New York Times and considering all of the great advancements across the country. But The Bulletin has been publishing continuously since 1796 and these endorsements give people on the fence a reason to look into the issue more and can swing some crucial votes. And each and every vote is very important as we work to implement sane cannabis laws across our great nation.

Colorado Supreme Court Rules That Medical Marijuana Patients Can Be Fired

Ninth Circuit

In a setback for medical marijuana patients and the entire cannabis community, the Colorado Supreme Court ruled that employers can fire medical cannabis patients. From The Denver Post:

The Colorado Supreme Court on Monday affirmed lower courts’ rulings that businesses can fire employees for the use of medical marijuana — even if it’s off-duty.

The 6-0 decision comes nine months after the state’s highest court heard oral arguments in Brandon Coats’ case against Dish Network. Coats, who had a medical marijuana card and consumed pot off-duty to control muscle spasms, was fired in 2010 after failing a random drug test.

“Therefore, employees who engage in an activity, such as medical marijuana use, that is permitted by state law but unlawful under federal law are not protected by the statute,” Justice Allison H. Eid wrote in the opinion.

While this is a setback, we must not be deterred. The cannabis community simply needs to take its fight to the Colorado Legislature, legislatures across the country and the halls of Congress to ensure full equality for the cannabis community.

More Medical Marijuana Progress in Congress

The momentum nationally for sensible marijuana reform is moving at such a rapid pace, that it is almost too hard to keep up. Following a few successful votes in the United States House, the Senate has followed suit and passed an amendment prohibiting the DEA from using any federal funds to interfere with state medical marijuana laws. From The Hill:

The pot amendment introduced by Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) effectively paves the way for the legalization of medical marijuana. While some states may still choose to prohibit the medicinal use of pot, the federal government would not be allowed to overrule states that allow it.

The Senate committee approved the amendment 20-10 on Thursday, just a week after Reps. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.) and Sam Farr (D-Calif.) pushed a similar measure through the House as part of a marijuana vote-a-rama.

***

Last month, the same Senate committee voted to give veterans more access to medical marijuana as part of another funding bill, for the military. VA doctors would no longer be prohibited from prescribing pot to sick military veterans.

“We’re entering an era where marijuana reform is accepted as mainstream and not seen as controversial, and that’s exactly where we want to be,” said Tom Angell, chairman of the Marijuana Majority.

The cannabis community merely needs to keep doing what we are doing–progressing forward on state and local measures; contacting our federal representatives; and sharing the truth about cannabis and the harms of the Drug War. As we continue to do these things, we will see an end to federal marijuana prohibition within the next 5 to 10 years.

Bill Clinton Makes a Marijuana Joke? Paving the Way for Hillary?

Hillary Clinton will certainly be asked plenty of times about her marijuana policy as she travels the campaign trail. She will most likely be challenged from the left by Bernie Sanders on the Democratic side and potentially from the right by Rand Paul if he can escape the clown car that is the Republican presidential primary.  But it was her husband who made headlines for even mentioning marijuana. From Politico:

At the event discussing agricultural and rural issues, Vilsack called attention to the lack of things that one can plant in urban areas.

“Now with the exception of the state of Colorado and a few other states that legalized another product, there are not many commodities you can plant,” Vilsack said.

Clinton responded: “Dear Lord. That’s all I need. One more story. If only the marijuana growers would invite me to give a speech.”

Bill Clinton, the consummate politician likely knows which way the political winds are blowing, so he could potentially be testing the waters for his wife, seeing if any backlash erupts as he makes comments about marijuana. Maybe the former president was just setting the stage for Ms. Clinton to be true to herself and call for an end to federal cannabis prohibition. A man can dream right?

UCLA Professor Donald Tashkin Confirms that Marijuana is Safer than Tobacco

There are many remnants of Reefer Madness that get used to campaign against marijuana legalization, from the debunked gateway theory to incorrect claims about mayhem on the highways. One such piece of propaganda, that marijuana is more deadly than cigarettes has been debunked once and for all as UCLA professor Donald Tashkin confirms that marijuana is safer than tobacco. Positive studies about cannabis usually don’t get as much publicity as negative ones, and Dr. Tashkin’s study that found no correlation between marijuana smoking and cancer was no different. If Tashkin’s results would have been the opposite, I guarantee that we would have heard a lot more about the study.

LA Weekly reports:

“The smoke content of marijuana is very similar to that of tobacco,” explains Tashkin. “There is a higher concentrate of cancer-causing chemicals in marijuana tar, and it reaches the lungs before any other organ, so there is this idea that they are related in causing the same health issues of the lungs.”

But, he says, “Through my studies, we failed to find any positive association.” Instead, “the association would be negative, between lung cancer and the use of marijuana. The likelihood is, that despite the fact that marijuana smoke contains carcinogens, we don’t see the same heightened risks of cancers that we see in tobacco.”

Tashkin also discusses the fact that smoking marijuana, unlike smoking tobacco, does not cause chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). “Reasoning for this may be that marijuana is a potent anti-inflammatory and suppressive,” he says. But “COPD is activated by tobacco smoke and other toxic substances.”

Dr. Tashkin expected to find that heavy marijuana use led to increased cancer rates, but he was pleasantly surprised. It would be nice if prohibitionists would be as willing to admit that they have been wrong with just about every dire prediction they have made about medical marijuana or cannabis legalization. The sky hasn’t fallen in Colorado; in fact, the state is booming. Nor have sensible cannabis policies brought down the social order anywhere. As the years progress and Reefer Madness continues to be replaced by reason and science, sensible cannabis laws will continue to flourish across the globe.

NBA Players Association Should Take Up Marijuana Legalization in 2017

While not a huge sample size, TMZ Sports asked 10 active NBA players whether they thought medical marijuana should be legal for NBA players to utilize if recommended by their doctor and all 10 agreed that medicinal cannabis should be allowed. TMZ asked the NBA Players Association about the issue and the union stated that medical marijuana could be considered when the collective bargaining agreement is negotiated again in 2017, “We represent the players’ rights in their workplace. If this is an issue that membership feels strongly about, we would address it during CBA negotiations. This is a players’ rights issue.”

From TMZ:

One player told us, “How can you tell a guy with a prescription not to use it?? They should be allowed to have their medicine.”

Another said … “The NBA shouldn’t advertise for it, but I don’t see an issue if a player uses [with a prescription].”

Overall, the players believe the league needs to change with the times — though they agree, the NBA is more progressive than other major sports leagues like the NFL and MLB and could be a real trailblazer when it comes to pot policy.

This would be a great development for the NBA and hopefully other sports leagues would follow suit. Athletes put their body through a tremendous amount of stress, suffering serious injuries. Prescription painkillers are more addictive and overdoses can be legal. While medical marijuana may not be a cure-all for athletes, it could help them use fewer prescription narcotics, decreasing cases of addiction and potentially even save a few lives. NFL Super Bowl champion and Pro Bowl center Mark Stepnoski has stated that marijuana helped him during his career and marijuana didn’t prevent Ricky Williams from winning a rushing title or Michael Phelps from winning a record number of Olympic medals. And apparently, cannabis hasn’t prevented Kevin Durant from winning last year’s MVP award and becoming one of the top players in the NBA. Here’s hoping that these 10 anonymous players have helped start a trend in all major sports leagues towards a more sane cannabis policy that benefits the health of its athletes.

Hemp Vs. Cannabis Battle in Oregon

The political efforts to legalize marijuana and hemp have gone hand in hand over the years, but now that legalization of industrial hemp and cannabis is a reality, a schism has developed in Oregon. Southern Oregon, known for its great cannabis-growing climate, is ground zero for the battle as medical cannabis growers are concerned about cross-pollination from industrial hemp. The Oregon Department of Agriculture has issued 13 industrial hemp licenses thus far and cannabis cultivators are asking the state to rescind those licenses through an amendment that has been proposed in the Oregon Rules Committee. From the Register Guard:

The amendment “is designed to kill this industry,” said Mark Gatlin, a Grants Pass city councilor at a brief hearing on Wednesday.

After receiving his license earlier this year, Cliff Thomason planted hemp on 43 acres near Williams in Josephine County last month. His main goal is to produce hemp for medical purposes, as a nonpsychoactive alternative to medical marijuana, he said.

Thomason said he can’t understand why lawmakers are proposing such a heavy-handed approach.

“I’ve been waiting eight years (to grow hemp), and now they’re already trying to shut me down,” he said. Lawmakers “are trying to give preference to medical marijuana over hemp on what is notoriously some of the best farmland for cannabis.”

This is a serious issue that has split natural allies. It is easy for me to consider the plight of both sides of the argument. Hemp has so many uses and Oregon can help lead the nation in a sustainable, environmentally-friendly crop. However, Oregon’s medical cannabis fields supply the state’s patients and will be the foundation for the state’s upcoming legalization system. I hope that there is a compromise based upon science and that cooler heads will prevail. Now that legalization is a reality, it is time for Oregon to lead the way in both hemp and cannabis production in a way that sufficiently addresses the concerns of all involved.

 

Kelly Clarkson Supports Marijuana Legalization

You would have to be living under a rock to not recognize that marijuana has gone mainstream in our society. Cannabis law reform measures are winning at the ballot box and more and more prominent people are supporting legalization. From entertainers to politicians, people are feeling comfortable coming out of the “cannabis closet” to either announce that they use cannabis themselves or support legalization.

Kelly Clarkson, one of America’s sweethearts, is the latest prominent entertainer to announce her support for legalization. From Rolling Stone:

You recently came out in favor of legalizing marijuana. How come?
I’m not even a pothead, I just think it’s funny that we legalize something as destructive as alcohol or pills and not that. Don’t get me wrong, I love me some alcohol, but I don’t know anybody in rehab because of pot. And I know a ton of people that have died either from liver cancer or behind the wheel. We legalize things that are so disturbing for our bodies, but one that’s completely fine, we say, “No, that’s bad for you.” I’m like, “Okay, enjoy your scotch. Enjoy your Xanax.”

Marijuana legalization will likely be on the ballot in California, Nevada, Ohio and a few other states in the upcoming years, so we can expect more people to live in areas with legal marijuana. Also, the issue will certainly be an important issue in the upcoming presidential election. If he is paying attention to the polls, Bernie Sanders will see that marijuana legalization will be one democratic primary advantage that he has over Hillary Clinton. Rand Paul, wisely, sees that sticking to his libertarian principles on drug laws, puts him in alignment with young Republicans and gives him the opportunity to bring new voters to the GOP. Thank you, Ms. Clarkson, I expect that your support will only encourage more prominent people to come out of the cannabis closet and into the marijuana mainstream majority.

NPR Profiles Green: A Field Guide to Marijuana

Most stoners have probably seen Jason King’s The Cannabible, probably all three in the collection. “What a wonderful job,” many a stoner has certainly muttered, wishing that our job was to photograph (and sample) the best cannabis in the world. Following in the the footsteps of Mr. King are Erik Christiansen and Dan Michaels, who have captured great shots of a variety of strains in Green: A Field Guide to Marijuana. NPR spoke with the Mr. Christiansen about his beautiful coffee-table book:

Seeing the buds close up accentuates the variations — some have these wiry golden threads and others are tightly coiffed, like beehive hairdos. They seem to take on personalities. What does this tell us about the plants?

You can take the same plant and give a clone to six different growers and at the end of that grow cycle each will be unique in its own way, based on the nutrients that the growers us, the CO2 content of the air and the temperature of the room. Being able to get up close and see those differences is important.

If you look at any of the pictures, there are these little balls on the end of each plant— that’s where the THC is stored. The more little balls, or trichomes, that are present on the buds, the more potent it can be. The color will also tell you a lot about the effect it will deliver. More amber-color trichomes will deliver a more body effect, where lighter-colored trichomes will be more of a head-y effect.

The book looks great and it seems like the creators put a lot of time into “researching” the strains (tough job that somebody has to do.) I look forward to checking out the bud porn and reading about the multitude of strains currently available. This is a book that will probably be on the short list of “things I should I buy my stoner friend for his or birthday (besides weed, of course)”.

Senate Bill 964 Passed Through Senate Committee and Moves Onto the Senate Floor

Senate Bill 964 passed through the Senate-only Implementing Measure 91 Committee tonight unanimously and will now move onto the Senate floor for a vote. The vote is expected to occur next Tuesday, giving advocates time to urge senators to oppose the measure. Senate Bill 964 co-sponsor, Ginny Burdick, hopes to have a clear majority in the Oregon Senate to force the Oregon House to pass the measure as-is. It is imperative that concerned citizens contact their senators. You can find your legislators here.

Advocates, including folks here at Marijuana Politics, have been fighting Senate Bill 964 and similar bills this entire session and it took extraordinary measures by Oregon senators to move the bill out of committee. House Democrats, led by Reprsentatives Ann Lininger, Peter Buckley and Ken Helm have been leading the legislative effort to block the bill, protesting the fact that SB 964 allows cities and counties to ban medical marijuana dispensaries without a vote of the people.

Senate Bill 964, while having some good provisions, will decrease the number of plants allowed at grow sites; add fees; allow for garden inspections; mandate reporting; force growers to keep records for two years; and changes the definition to “mature plant” to include non-growing plants that are drying. Senator Prozanski brought up the fact that more people could get arrested and prosecuted by the fact that drying branches could even be counted as mature plants and Senator Burdick even mentioned that she didn’t intend for that to occur, mentioning that a future amendment could correct the mistake; strangely, the committee members decided to pass the bill with such a glaring error.

While patients and advocates have lost a battle, the war isn’t over. Senate Bill 964 still has to pass through the Senate, then move onto a House committee, get a majority vote on the House floor and pass through the Oregon Joint Ways and Means Committee. There is still an opportunity to defeat this bill. Stay tuned to Marijuana Politics for future calls to action over the coming days.