From the desk of Lanny Swerdlow, RN LNC
Will California Become A Ganja Sanctuary State?
Dems & Repubs Split on MJ/Drug Law Reform
Trump Renews War on Drugs
Will the Trump administration go after recreational marijuana but not medical marijuana? That possibility seems possible after President Trump’s press secretary, Sean Spicer, stated in a press conference that President Trump sees “a big difference” between the use of marijuana for medical purposes and for recreational purposes. Equating the dangers of marijuana to opioids, he concluded by stating that this “is something the Department of Justice, I think, will be further looking into.”
Whether the Trump administration will look favorably on medical marijuana by allowing states to go their own way with the legalization of medical marijuana or have cannabis moved to Schedule 2 on the Controlled Substances Act chart which would allow doctors to prescribe marijuana and pharmaceutical companies to produce and distribute it to pharmacies remains to be seen, but this contentious issue is becoming even more polarizing then god, gays and guns.
A vote was taken in the U.S. Congress on February 15 to repeal the Obama administration’s ban on drug testing of most unemployment insurance applicants. If there ever was a partisan vote on an issue this had got to be the granddaddy of them all with 232 Republicans voting to repeal the ban and only one Republican voting to retain it and 188 Democrats voting to maintain the ban and only 4 Democrats voting to repeal it.
Drug testing has always been about testing for marijuana. An unemployment applicant knowing that he or she will be drug screened can refrain from using meth or crack or heroin for a couple days and pass as these drugs are out of the body after two to three days. Not so for marijuana users as marijuana can remain in the body for up to a month or more.
The vote on reversing the drug testing ban is not the first time that a vote on a marijuana/drug law reform issue has been so lopsided with Republicans opposing reform and Democrats supporting reform. It most certainly will not be the last.
With the expected upcoming vote in April on whether to renew the Rohrabacher/Farr amendment preventing the Dept. of Justice from spending money to enforce federal marijuana prohibition law in states that have state regulated medical marijuana distribution systems, this vote to repeal the ban on drug testing may be a harbinger that the small number of Republicans that voted with the overwhelming number of Democrats in support of the DOJ defunding amendment, may now vote in opposition.
The failure of the Rohrabacher/Farr amendment would free U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions to undertake a massive federal pogrom against states which have enacted medical and adult-use marijuana initiatives and legislation.
As I have written earlier reclassifying marijuana to a schedule 2 drug would allow Trump to say he is supportive of medical marijuana and allow police to continue to receive billions to arrest, prosecute and imprison marijuana users as the penalties for the illegal use and manufacture of schedule 2 drugs are as harsh as schedule 1 drugs. Right now in many states the penalties for marijuana use have been reduced to infractions, but as a schedule 2 drug the penalties for marijuana use without a doctor’s written prescription that is filled at a licensed pharmacy could very easily be re-legislated to be on a par with the illegal use of other schedule 2 drugs.
And don’t think for one minute that Trump is not cognizant that police will be pushing legislators to do that – its putting the money that marijuana legalization took out of their pockets back in.
To bolster my concern that Trump will not let states go their own way with marijuana, but rather take a harsher and more regressive position is his oft-repeated “law and order” campaign statements and apparent decision to double-down on the War on Drugs. At a recent address he made to the law enforcement professionals of the Major Cities Chiefs Association, he stated "We're going to stop the drugs from pouring in . . . We're going to stop those drugs from poisoning our youth, from poisoning our people. We're going to be ruthless in that fight.”
Trump went on to castigate the Obama administration for releasing "record numbers of drug traffickers, many of them kingpins." Far from being drug kingpins, most of the 1,700 drug war prisoners whose sentences were commuted by President Obama had already served sentences longer than they would have under current, revised sentencing guidelines.
To back up his rhetoric of being “ruthless” to the Chiefs Association, at the Oval Office swearing in of Attorney General Jeff Session, Trump issued three executive orders he said were "designed to restore safety in America," but really signal an escalation of the War on Drugs with increased funding for police and law enforcement agencies across the country.
What we cannot do is sit on our butts and smoke pot and wait to see what the Trump administration is going to do whether it concerns medical or adult-use marijuana. At the last meeting of MAPP in Moreno Valley, Cat Packer, California Policy Coordinator for the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA), alerted us to a bill that was going to be introduced in the legislature that would direct law enforcement and government agencies at both the local and state level to refuse to cooperate with federal agencies in the enforcement of federal marijuana prohibition laws.
Cat knew of what she spoke as AB 1578 was submitted last week to the state assembly. Authored by Assemblyman Jones-Sawyer (D-LA) and co-authored by three other state assembly members and two state senators, the bill would “prohibit a state or local agency from taking certain actions without a court order signed by a judge, including using agency money, facilities, property, equipment, or personnel to assist a federal agency to investigate, detain, detect, report, or arrest a person for commercial or noncommercial marijuana or medical cannabis activity that is authorized by law in the State of California and transferring an individual to federal law enforcement authorities for purposes of marijuana enforcement.”
To read the full text of AB 1578 CLICK HERE.
Federal police agencies, especially narcotic agencies like the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), almost always rely heavily on local law enforcement to provide the bulk of the enforcement personnel used in their raids. Usually there are two to four DEA agents accompanied by a phalanx of a dozen or more local police when making a bust.
If local police are not allowed to assist them, the ability of the DEA to make arrests will be significantly impacted as even Sessions noted in his confirmation hearings that enforcement of federal marijuana prohibition law “is a problem of resources for the federal government.”
Of course we don’t know for sure what the Trump Administration is planning, but as I wrote in a previous email “we should hope for the best, but prepare for the worst.” At all three MAPP meetings in March we will be doing just that with discussions of AB 1578 and how we as patients and consumers of marijuana can take actions to insure the continuation of using medical and adult-use of marijuana free of federal interference.
At the meeting there will be an analysis of AB 1578 and discussion of what its provisions portend. This will not just be armchair posturing, but we will also be providing information on actions that can be taken individually and as a group. You are not powerless, but information and education is key to developing the power within you.
At the Moreno Valley/Western IE MAPP meeting, we will also have a presentation by long-time advocate Michael Harris who has become the lead plaintiff in DPA’s lawsuit against the defacto bans cities and counties have enacted to undercut the indoor cultivation of marijuana permitted by Prop. 64. This lawsuit is going to be critical in establishing the rights of people to grow indoors with regulations that are reasonable and not so onerous as to make it all but impossible for most people to grow their own.
Like the lawsuit where the city of Riverside sued the Inland Empire Patients Health & Wellness Center for violating its zoning ordinances by distributing marijuana to its members, this lawsuit on defacto bans will be precedent setting as it most assuredly will eventually be decided by the California Supreme Court. Let’s hope that outcome is favorable to us this time.
Keep smoking, vaporizing and/or eating marijuana, but get off that couch and attend one of the MAPP meetings near you. What happens over the next six months will affect your access to marijuana for years to come.
Mark your calendar to attend any of these MAPP meetings.
Moreno Valley/Western IE MAPP meeting - Wed. March 1 at 7:30 p.m. - Greenview Medical Clinic, 22275 Alessandro Blvd, Moreno Valley, CA 92553.
Palm Springs/Coachella Valley MAPP meeting – Saturday, March 4 at 12 noon at Crystal Fantasy, 268 N. Palm Canyon Dr., downtown Palm Springs 92262.
Joshua Tree/Morongo Valley meeting – Saturday, March 4 at 3 p.m. at the Beatnik Lounge, 61597 Twenty-Nine Palms Hwy., Joshua Tree 92252.
See you there.
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From the desk of Lanny Swerdlow RN
Do You Still Need a Doctor’s Recommendation?
Free MMJ ID Card Provokes County Consternation
With the passage of Prop. 64 and the legalization of marijuana for adults 21 and over, many patients are wondering if they should bother to renew their recs when they expire in 2017 and for those who have never gotten one, if there is any reason still to do so.
If you never possess more than an ounce and if you can either grow enough on your own or have friends who will provide it to you, the answer may very well be you don’t need one, but for the majority of marijuana consumers, a medical marijuana recommendation provides some very real world benefits.
If you purchase marijuana as most people do, there will not be any legal adult-use dispensaries until Jan. 1, 2018 so the only legal marijuana dispensaries still available in 2017 are the ones that provide only to medical marijuana patients. There are some dispensaries that are jumping the gun and have started selling to anyone over 21, but they are taking a calculated risk in order to make some extra money as even with the passage of Prop. 64 the sale of marijuana to non-medical patients remains a serious offense.
Not as serious as before the passage of Prop. 64 when the sale to people who were not medical marijuana patients was a felony with up to 3 years in jail imposed upon conviction. Under Prop. 64 sales without a license is now a misdemeanor with fines up to $500 and six months in jail. Note it is not illegal to sell marijuana to adults 21 and over – just like alcohol it is illegal to sell marijuana without a license, but licenses will not be available until Jan. 1, 2018.
Granted a misdemeanor is significantly less onerous than a felony, but six months in jail is still six months of lost freedom as well as a criminal record. Further a third conviction for sales without a license is a “wobbler” meaning the District Attorney can charge it ether as a misdemeanor or felony meaning you could get up to three years. Even more threatening is if you sell to a minor – no change in the law there and it remains a felony under Prop. 64 with prison terms up to seven years. It is legal to sell to minors if they are a medical marijuana patient.
With the advent of sales to all adults commencing Jan. 1, 2018, purchasing marijuana may no longer be a reason to obtain a doctor’s recommendation, but there are still significant advantages in having that recommendation.
Number one would be the ability to grow significantly more than 6 plants which is the maximum a person can grow under Prop. 64. Even worse, Prop. 64 limits the number of plants that can be grown in a single family residence to a total of six even if four adults live there.
A medical marijuana patient may grow as much marijuana as medically necessary, a somewhat loosey-goosey number leaving much up to the discretion of the police officer inspecting a grow and his expertise in deciding if the number of plants under cultivation is a reasonable number for a patient’s needs.
The police officer’s discretion notwithstanding, the bottom line is if you want to grow more than six plants, you will continue to need a doctor’s recommendation.
Prop. 215 does not allow for an arbitrary restriction on the number of plants a patient can grow. However the Medical Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (MCRSA) which implements Prop. 215 allows local government to ban any cultivation whether it is indoor or outdoor. So although you have the right to cultivate and possess as much marijuana as medically necessary, your local government can take your right to cultivate away by banning any mmj cultivation under their zoning laws.
Although indoor cultivation bans were overturned by Prop. 64 and local governments can no longer ban indoor cultivation, this does not give patients the right to grow as much marijuana as medically necessary indoors. If your local government bans all mmj cultivation, patients are restricted to just six plants because their right to grow indoors comes from Prop. 64 and not from Prop. 215 which, although allowing the cultivation of as many plants as medically necessary also allows cities and counties to ban all cultivation.
In other words all medical marijuana cultivation can be banned under MCRSA. Prop. 64 does not allow cities and counties to ban indoor cultivation, but you are limited to six plants per person and six plants per residence even if you are a medical marijuana patient if your local government has banned all medical marijuana cultivation.
If you think this is a crock – well it is – but making marijuana more rationally accessible isn’t going to happen by waving a magic wand. It should be no surprise that although we continue to get laws passed that enhance our rights to access marijuana, we keep getting screwed on the local level - doctor’s recommendation or not. It’s going to take and activism and involvement by folks like you who are reading this newsletter – if we continue to passively stay home and hope that others will carry the day, we will continue to get the short end of the stick.
A doctor’s recommendation provides more than just enhanced access to marijuana and cultivating more than six plants - there are number of other very significant benefits to having a doctor’s recommendation.
Under Prop 64, you are restricted to no more than one ounce if you leave your home. With a doctor’s recommendation you can leave with up to 8 ounces. The same is true for concentrates as with Prop. 64 you are limited to 8 grams whereas under Prop. 215 with a doctor’s recommendation you can have as much as medically necessary. Whether that means you can walk out of your house with a half-pound of wax under your arm is problematic at best. Unless you can prove that you need a half-pound of wax for your own personal medical use, carrying a half-pound of wax around is not advised.
Another advantage is the sales tax exemption afforded to medical marijuana patients under Prop. 64. If you obtain the state mmj ID card through your county health department, you will not have to pay sales taxes when you purchase marijuana at a local dispensary. With sales taxes running from 8.5% to 10%, this can result in significant savings. However, you will need to obtain the state ID card which, under Prop. 64, has been reduced to $100 and for MediCal patients has been reduced to $50.
If you purchased the card for $100, you need to spend around $100 a month on marijuana to save enough in sales taxes to break even - $50 a month for a card that costs $50.
Under Prop. 64, indigent medical marijuana patients can get their mmj id card for free if they are enrolled in a County’s Medical Services Program. If you are not aware of these programs, all counties have Medical Services Programs that provide medical services to indigent persons that do not qualify for MediCal.
No one should be without health care services and the County Medical Services Programs are a California program designed to catch some of those people who are falling through the cracks. If you know of someone in that category or if you yourself are in that category, call your local county health department and learn if you or they can qualify.
To find out how Prop. 64’s mandate to provide free ID cards to indigent patients is being implemented in the Inland Empire I called both Riverside and San Bernardino Counties medical marijuana id card programs. I was stunned to discover that both counties were unaware of the mandate to provide a free card.
I spoke with Carol Lieber of the Riverside Co. mmj ID program and after a couple days of conferring with program administrators she was able to report that the County will now be giving out free mmj ID cards to indigent patients who are enrolled in Riverside County’s Medical Services Program. They need only request it when making their application for a mmj id card.
Not surprisingly San Bernardino County is proving a bit more problematic. I have been in touch with Lana Cao, public information officer for SB Co. Public Health. She is not aware of the County providing a free ID card at this time and has been diligently trying to contact the “necessary individuals” to provide an answer to whether the County is working to comply with Prop. 64’s mandate to issue free ID cards to indigent patients. I was hoping to receive positive news to publish in this newsletter, but I just couldn't wait around like forever.
As recalcitrant as SB Co. is whenever it comes to anything to do with marijuana, Ms. Cao seems fairly confident that they will get with the program sooner rather than later. In the meantime, indigent patients are not able to receive a free mmj ID card in SB County. I remain in contact with Ms. Cao and hopefully will be able to report in the next newsletter that eligible SB Co. residents will be able to have the fees waived for a mmj ID card.
I was a bit taken aback that neither Riverside nor San Bernardino Counties was cognizant of the Prop. 64 requirement to provide free mmj id cards to medically indigent residents and so I contacted a few other counties to see if they were meeting the mandate. Some like Imperial County had no idea that they were supposed to do that and others like San Diego County were fully aware of the mandate and have initiated procedures so that their residents who are qualified can receive a free mmj id card.
I am in the process of contacting other counties mmj ID card programs to find out if they are issuing free mmj id cards as required by Prop. 64. I intend to make the list available next week. If nothing else I hope that my contact with county mmj ID card programs will lite a fire under the counties that are not issuing free id cards to get with the program and start doing so.
Getting back to another real world advantage of having a doctor’s recommendation would be for those who travel to Arizona and want to take marijuana with them. Arizona was the only state that had a marijuana legalization initiative on the ballot in 2016 that did not pass (it almost passed – 52.1 no to 47.9 yes), but medical marijuana remains legal and Arizona’s mmj law allows for reciprocity. A medical marijuana patient may bring 2.5 ounces of marijuana into Arizona, but you better have your doctor’s recommendation with you.
Finally, and for some most importantly, having a doctor’s recommendation makes your use of marijuana seem more respectable and proper. With a doctor’s rec in your hands, family, friends, co-workers and more will give you a pass and not write you off as a ganja smoking stoner pothead.
Bottom line – at least for 2017, its best to renew your doctor’s recommendation.
From the desk of Lanny Swerdlow, RN LNC
When it comes to Breaking News about marijuana you’ll read, see and hear all about cities and counties passing bans and onerous regulations, states ignoring and refusing to implement voter imposed legislation and federal officials actively impugning and invalidating legally enacted state and local laws.
What's not Breaking News is people coming together to protect their hard won rights because people are barely discussing it let alone coming together .
Can anyone name a single organization that is holding any public meetings where actual strategy is being developed, where collaboration is being achieved and where coalitions are being formed to promote and protect our so far successful herculean efforts to end marijuana prohibition? There must be some going on somewhere, but I haven’t heard of them. Yes there is lots of talk, but there is no action and without action, all will be lost.
Today over half the nation lives in states where medical marijuana is legal and over ¼ live in states where all marijuana use is legal. We have these rights and it is time to follow the words of our patron-saint Bob Marley who wrote in the song Get Up Stand Up:
“Get up, stand up, Stand up for your rights. Get up, Stand Up, Don’t Give Up the Fight.”
It seems that many have forgotten or repressed the horrors of the past as we find ourselves in a semi-glorious present, but the moment is hanging on by the skin of its teeth and won’t last if we don’t defend it. Wherever you live, it is now or never. The longer we put off defending our hard gotten gains, the less likely it becomes that we will be able to retain them.
If you are not involved with a marijuana organization, then it is time to get involved now because if we lose the rights we have just gained, there may never come a time again in your lifetime when you can get involved with an organization promoting marijuana without being branded a traitor, a deviant and a criminal.
In the Inland Empire the first step to protecting, defending and promoting our rights to marijuana will take place at the MAPP meeting this Wednesday, February 1 at 7:30 p.m. The Drug Policy Alliance, the organization behind the coordination of the successful passage of Prop. 64, is working to fully implement Prop. 64 and is developing a strategy to overcome the obstacles being erected by a politically powerful consortium of elected officials, government bureaucrats and police agencies.
At the Feb. 1 meeting you will hear Cat Packer, California Policy Coordinator for the Drug Policy Alliance, reveal, discuss and explain what is happening in government backrooms on the local, state and federal level, the strategy for defeating local defacto bans on marijuana cultivation, kicking legislative butts to implement Prop. 64, mitigate the disaster found in the Medical Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act and what to expect from the Trump Administration and AG Sessions and the nationwide development of coalitions to oppose them.
This is one of the first meetings of its kind in California and although that speaks well of the Inland Empire, it does not speak well of the rest of the state of California. Hopefully the IE will set the example and what we do on Wed. Feb. 1 will spread throughout the state. If and when it does, it will have started right here and you can be part of this historic meeting.
Come to the Feb. 1 meeting to learn what is happening, become motivated to take action and be a part of this momentous meeting that can help lead the way to stopping our opponents from taking our rights to marijuana away. Become empowered so that freedom and marijuana loving citizens never have to live again under a police state dictating what they can and cannot do in matters of their own personal well-being and health.
As an added bonus, you can win one of two ¼ ounce sachets of the finest quality marijuana donated by All The Way Up Collective located next door to our meeting place. Plus hear Ronnie Downey’s tips on cannabis cultivation.
There are forces, very powerful forces, that want to make everything we are doing at the meeting - conspiring to protect our rights to access marijuana, presenting information on growing marijuana and giving away a bit of cannabis - into crimes again with prison sentences and punishing fines. We are going to fight them in every way we can and one of those most important ways will be your participation, so come to the Feb. 1 meeting to learn, empower, grow and win.
The Wednesday, Feb. 1 meeting of MAPP begins at 7:30 p.m. and takes place at our new meeting location at Greenview Medical, 22275 Alessandro Blvd, Moreno Valley, CA 92553
For those who would enjoy a chance for an informal give-and-take on these issues, please join us for a pre-meeting dinner at the Happy Buffet. A full Chinese buffet including sushi, salad bar and a Mongolian Grill are available for just $7.99. The Happy Buffet is 1 ½ miles east of Greenview Medical at 23750 Alessandro Blvd., Moreno Valley 92553.
If you live in the Coachella Valley/Palm Springs and Morongo Basin/Joshua Tree area, I know it’s a drive to Moreno Valley, but if you can make the drive, I can assure you that you would not regret taking the time to come there. If you can’t make the meeting, then I will be at the PS and JT meetings to discuss what transpired at the Moreno Valley meeting and provide information on how to get involved locally.
Palm Springs/Coachella Valley meeting – Saturday, Feb. 4 at 12 noon at Crystal Fantasy, 268 N. Palm Canyon Dr., downtown Palm Springs 92262.
Joshua Tree/Morongo Valley meeting – Saturday, Feb. 4 at 3 p.m. at the - Beatnik Lounge, 61597 Twenty-Nine Palms Hwy., Joshua Tree 92252.
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From the desk of Lanny Swerdlow, RN LNC
The End of Rohrabacher/Farr Amendment
Will Give AG Designate Jeff Sessions
the Opening to Unleash Federal Cops
and Lawyers in California
US Attorney General designate Jeff Sessions underwent his confirmation hearing on January 10 and his testimony on marijuana was anything but reassuring. Although some commentators have written that his statements were wishy-washy and non-committal, I believe his responses portend a major crackdown in states that have legalized marijuana whether for medical or recreational adult-use.
After hours of questioning on a variety of issues, Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt) was able to ask Senator Sessions about how he would view marijuana policy as AG:
Senator Leahy: “Would you use our federal resources to investigate and prosecute sick people using marijuana in accordance with state law even though it might violate federal law?”
Senator Sessions: “I won’t commit to never enforcing federal law, Senator Leahy, but absolutely it is a problem of resources for the federal government. The Department of Justice under Lynch and Holder set forth some policies that they thought were appropriate to define what cases should be prosecuted in states that have legalized, at least in some fashion marijuana, some parts of marijuana.”
Senator Leahy: “Do you agree with those guidelines?”
Senator Sessions: “I think some of them are truly valuable in evaluating cases, but the fundamentally the criticism I think that is legitimate is that they may not have been followed. Using good judgement on how to handle these cases will be a responsibility of mine I know it won’t be an easy decision but I will try to do my duty in a fair and just way
Senator Leahy: “The reason I mention this, is because you have some very strong views, you even mandated the death penalty for second offense on drug trafficking, including marijuana, even though mandatory death penalties are of course unconstitutional.
Senator Sessions: “Well I’m not sure under what circumstances I said that, but I don’t think…”
Senator Leahy: “Would you say it’s not your view today?”
Senator Sessions: “(laughs) It is not my view today.”
After that exchange, Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) followed up with questions regarding how marijuana policy factors into federalism and asked if the way the Obama Administration has handled marijuana laws created any issues with separation of powers and states’ rights. Sessions replied that:
“One obvious concern is the United States Congress has made the possession in every state and distribution an illegal act. If that’s something that is not desired any longer Congress should pass a law to change the rule, it is not the Attorney General’s job to decide what laws to enforce.”
Although Sessions didn’t say he would be coming after states that legalized marijuana in opposition to federal law, he certainly didn’t say he wouldn’t and his statement that "it is a problem of resources" and that “it is not the Attorney General’s job to decide what laws to enforce” leaves the door wide open for beginning a new federal crackdown on states whose citizens have decided that it’s time for a change in marijuana policy.
Unlike reproductive rights, immigration policy and climate change, marijuana policy has never been at the forefront of the concerns of Trump’s base. I would imagine that the Trump Administration is well aware that the majority of Americans, and that includes Trump’s base, feel marijuana should be legalized or at the very least left up to the states on whether to legalize. However one of Trump’s biggest supporters to whom he feels a special allegiance is cops and they would like nothing better than to see his Administration declare war on marijuana legalization and go all-out to bury it.
Although Sessions is a big proponent of states’ rights, it usually doesn’t apply to issues that he opposes like same-sex marriage. Even if marijuana was one of Session’s major out-of-the-gate concerns, there is little he can do because of the Rohrabacher/Farr amendment which prevents the DOJ from enforcing federal law in states with state-wide regulation systems for the distribution of marijuana.
The Rohrabacher/Farr amendment expires on April 28, 2017. The Amendment passed because it was supported by over 90% of the Democrats in Congress and by around 25% of the Republicans. If Trump and Sessions put the pressure on those Republicans to oppose it, then the Amendment could very well go down in defeat. If Congress does not renew it, then Sessions will be free to do whatever he wants. Based on what Sessions said and didn’t say at his confirmation hearings, it would be foolish in the extreme to wager on Sessions’ continuing the Obama Administration's policy of non-interference.
Of concern is what actions we can expect from the feds and what our range of responses can be. Although the ambiance is dark, there is more than one light beaming in from the end of the tunnel and those will be forthrightly discussed, presented and analyzed in the next newsletter.
In the meantime, I don’t mean to imply that nothing is being done on our side – important and vital work is being done but too few people are involved in it. Unless you subscribe to a marijuana newsletter like mine, you are unlikely to hear about it as the mainstream media specializes in ignoring any constructive programs we undertake.
In the Inland Empire, you will have the opportunity to learn what is being done to implement and defend Prop. 64 at the Wednesday, February 1 meeting of the Marijuana Anti-Prohibition Project. Cat Packer, California Policy Coordinator for the Drug Policy Alliance, is working to ensure the successful and equitable implementation of Prop. 64.
Cat will discuss implementation strategy on both the local and state level, focus on the current trend by cities and counties to pass defacto bans to undercut the sections of Prop. 64 that prevent local governments from banning indoor cultivation and how to defend against Sessions and the feds attempts to undo medical marijuana and recreational marijuana legislation enacted at the state level.
In addition to Ms. Packer’s presentation there will be more growing tips from Cannabis Cultivation Guru Ronie Downey. There will also be fabulous door prizes including two ¼ ounce packets of super-quality cannabis donated by the All The Way Up Collective located next door to where we meet at Greenview Medical.
There will be more information on this critically important meeting in the next newsletter, but circle the date on your calendar now so you won’t miss it. There are dark clouds in the sky for sure, but at the meeting we can celebrate the joys of cannabis as we work together towards our goal of safe, reliable, local and affordable access.
The Wednesday, Feb. 1 meeting of MAPP begins at 7:30 p.m. and takes place at our new meeting location at Greenview Medical, 22275 Alessandro Blvd, Moreno Valley, CA 92553
For those of you who would like to join us for dinner, we will be meeting at the Happy Buffet at 6 p.m. For an extraordinarily reasonable $7.99, you can enjoy sushi, a salad bar, a superb assortment of everyone’s favorite Chinese entrees and a Mongolian BBQ grill. It is a fun, pleasant and satisfying way to gather with old friends and new for an enjoyable meal before the meeting. The Happy Buffet is 1 ½ miles east of Greenview Medical at 23750 Alessandro Blvd., Moreno Valley 92553.
BEST NEWS SO FAR IN 2017
At least for California
PAUL CHABOT IS MOVING TO TEXAS
Unfortunately it won't happen until Thanksgiving
Paul Chabot, drug war proponent and twice-failed IE Congressional candidate, has announced that at Thanksgiving he and his family will “move to ‘America,’ to find a region of our nation that embraces the values and morals we cherish.”
Lamenting that liberals “have degraded the State of Reagan to but a shell of its former self” and that California has been “overrun by illegals, drug addicts and violent criminals under the umbrella of a radical liberal ideology that has destroyed the state,” Chabot announced that he will be moving to McKinney, a small city of north of Dallas, where he “fell in love with the city, its people and the values that guide Texas.”
One of the values that guide Texas that he was referring to no doubt were penalties of 180 days in jail and a fine of up to $2,000 for possessing two ounces of marijuana and up to two years in prison for possession of any amount of a cannabis concentrate.
His bid for Congressional office was as unsuccessful as his multi-tiered anti-drug organizations which fed at the tit of federal government drug prohibition money. The prohibitionist policies espoused by Chabot and his fellow reefer madness co-conspirators have destroyed the lives of thousands of Californians. To read the story in the PE, CLICK HERE.
U.S. Court Upholds IRS Denial of
Marijuana Businesses Deducting Expenses
on Federal Taxes
A U.S. District Court in Denver Colorado has ruled in favor of the IRS upholding Sec. 280E which denies marijuana businesses the ability to deduct ordinary and usual business expenses on their federal income taxes. This decision will most likely be appealed to a federal court of appeals eventually working its way up to the U.S. Supreme Court.
I would advise against holding's one brief in anticipation of a favorable ruling although that always remains a possibility. If Section 280E is ever to be repealed, it will mostly be through legislative and not judicial action. In my last email newsletter, I wrote about the California Democratic Party passing a resolution in opposition to this IRS practice. This is a start, but only a start.
To read the court's nitty-gritty synopsis of the ruling CLICK HERE.
Loma Linda University
seminar discusses marijuana
policy in light of Prop. 64
The Institute for Health Policy and Leadership at Loma Linda University Health Center will be presenting a one hour seminar entitled “Legislative Update on Marijuana in California (and the U.S.)” at their “Spotlight on Health Policy” program on Wednesday, Jan. 25 from 12 noon to 1 p.m.
Dr. Ettie Rosenberg, a licensed member of the California Bar and the California State Board of Pharmacy, will provide a presentation on policy and practice implications of California’s recently passed Prop. 64. The meeting is free and open to the public and will be held in the A-level amphitheater at the Loma Linda University Health Center, 11234 Anderson St, Loma Linda, CA 92354.
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IRS Should Stop Bankrupting Marijuana Dispensaries
Democratic Resolution Calls on Trump to
Expand Obama's Doctrine of Non-Interference
Bill's Author Says IRS Misinterpreting Reagan Era Drug Law
The California Democratic Party has passed a resolution condemning the use of an IRS code section that disallows marijuana dispensaries from deducting most of their business expenses from their federal income taxes. As a consequence marijuana dispensing businesses are required to pay taxes on almost every dollar taken in. This results in usurious and unsustainable taxation rates that would drive any business into bankruptcy.
Al Capone was brought down for not reporting income from the sale of alcohol during prohibition and not for the actual sale of alcohol. In a similar manner in 1984, at the height of the Reagan Administration’s escalation of the War on Drugs, the United State Congress directed the IRS to disallow businesses that illegally distribute schedule 1 drugs from deducting business expenses from their federal taxes.
Since marijuana is a schedule one drug, the IRS has interpreted this directive to mean that they are to deny business expense deductions to any business that distributes marijuana even if they are allowed to distribute under state law. The IRS continues to follow this policy even though the United States Congress has, through the Rohrabacher/Farr amendment, prevented the Dept. of Justice and DEA from expending any funds to investigate and prosecute marijuana businesses and the Obama Administration has directed the DOJ not to prosecute marijuana dispensaries in states that have allowed its use.
The original sponsor of 280E, former Rep. Pete Stark (D-CA) has criticized the IRS for its actions stating it "...undercuts legal medical marijuana dispensaries by preventing them from taking the full range of deductions allowed for other small businesses [and] punishes the thousands of patients who rely on them for safe, legal, reliable access to medical marijuana as recommended by a doctor."
Co-sponsored with Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) and others, Stark introduced the Small Business Tax Equity Act of 2011 which would allow for business tax deductions by businesses selling medical marijuana. The bill has not come up for a vote as it has been blocked by Republican legislators in the House Ways and Means Committee.
The IRS has in many instances used its powers to enforce this onerous provision against high profile marijuana dispensary operators such as Lynette Shaw, who opened California’s first legal medical marijuana dispensary in Fairfax and Steve DeAngelo, who operates the state’s largest collective, Harborside in Oakland, with over 100,000 members.
There is a personal angle here as I have also be targeted by the IRS in my role as founder of the Inland Empire Patients Health and Wellness Center, the collective whose case for violating the zoning ordinances of the city of Riverside went to the Supreme Court resulting in the decision that allowed cities and counties to ban medical marijuana collectives under their zoning ordinances.
I believe my targeting by the IRS was the result of a letter sent to the Department of Justice by the city of Riverside during the time the lawsuit against the collective was working its way up to the Supreme Court. In that letter asking the DOJ to take action to close the collectives operating in Riverside, City Attorney Greg Priamos and Chief of Police Sergio Diaz singled me out as the only person named in the letter and specifically calling attention to my activism to legalize marijuana.
Although the DOJ took no direct action, it is not uncommon for the DOJ to pass on such information to the IRS. There were at least a hundred people operating collectives in the Inland Empire, many significantly larger than the IEPHWC and I was the first one targeted by the IRS for investigation.
The IEPHWC never had any taxable income as expenses exceeded income as was reflected in their tax return filings. The IRS, however, has disallowed almost all expense deductions under Section 280E and now claims I am personally responsible for paying over $321,000 assessed against the collective’s aggregate income.
Recognizing this is wrong, hurts people and makes a mockery of California’s medical marijuana laws as well as Prop. 64 that makes recreational marijuana distribution legal, the California Democratic Party passed a resolution at its Eboard meeting in November 2016 that:
“requests the President of the United States of America to direct the Internal Revenue Service to cease denying the ability to deduct business expenses from their federal tax returns to businesses and individuals furnishing medical marijuana and adult-use marijuana, as permitted by state law, in the same manner that President Obama directed the Department of Justice to suspend criminal prosecutions against businesses and individuals that furnish marijuana as permitted by state law”
“requests that the United States Congress exempt licensed medical marijuana and adult use facilities from any IRS regulations that deny deducting businesses expenses to any marijuana distribution business in states where medical and adult-use marijuana is legal under state law.”
Due to its policy of not naming specific pieces of legislation or government code sections in a resolution, the California Democratic Party describe what section 280E does in its resolution without specifically naming the section.
The sponsor of the resolution, the Brownie Mary Democrats of California, a statewide chartered organization of the California Democratic Party, will be distributing the resolution to all Congressional Democrats in California requesting their assistance to bring about the implementation of this resolution.
As president and founder of the Brownie Mary Democrats of California, I am concerned that the new Trump administration and the selection of anti-marijuana law reform proponent Jeff Sessions as Attorney General may continue to allow the use of section 280E against marijuana dispensaries. This is wrong and I hope Trump realizes that most Americans support medical marijuana and the legalization of marijuana and will not think favorably of any government actions that run counter to their beliefs.
To read the full text of the resolution CLICK HERE.
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The Extraordinary Story
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Taking an honest but somewhat unorthodox look at using cannabis, Tom will discuss how to get healthy without getting high, what types of products give the best results, how to get the right dose and most importantly how to save money.
Tom has developed a tincture marketed under the Grandpa Tom label that many patients have found to be extremely beneficial. To hear this extraordinary interview plus news, views and more CLICK HERE.
and help us make 2017
a year to remember.
just 14¢per day = $4.20 month
Join MAPP's 420 Club - CLICK HERE
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1. Is the Sky Falling Over Trump & MJ and What Can Be Done to Keep It Up If It Really Does Start to Fall
2. January 2017 MAPP meetings - Organize to Fight Onerous Indoor Grow Regulations plus Win Free MJ
3. Help Elect Progressive Pro-Cannabis Candidate
The Reality Is We Can Lose Everything
As usual for New Year’s Eve, my partner and I headed down to a popular gay dance bar in Palm Springs. It is always such a trip to see all these guys dancing together cause it reminds me of how far we have come from when I first went into a gay bar in Los Angeles almost 50 years ago. Back then, dancing between two men, not two women, was not allowed as the bar owners were afraid of losing their liquor license if they allowed it.
Even more of a concern was that you were always apprehensive that the guy standing next to you was an undercover cop who would bust you claiming you groped him – a standard operating procedure back in those days when hundreds were busted weekly just for being in a bar that gay people frequented. Times have changed and now the cops who use to bust us are marching in LA’s gay pride parade every year.
Considering that oppression of gays is biblical dating back thousands of years and oppression of marijuana consumers only dates back to 1937 in the U.S., it gives me great hope that the criminal treatment of marijuana consumers can also be rolled back. It has been almost fifty years since the lesbian and gay equality movement began back in 1969 following the Stonewall riot. It has not been much more than 20 years since Prop. 215 was enacted and began the marijuana restoration movement. The marijuana law reform achievements to end discrimination against marijuana consumers has been considerable but pale into comparison to what the LGBT community had to overcome.
As both a gay man and a marijuana consumer, I am anxiety-ridden with fears that the advances that have been made are in danger of being rolled back under the Trump administration. I recognize that this fear about losing their gains over the last five to seven decades is also shared by many others – women, environmentalists, immigrants, racial minorities, Muslims and so on. Based on Trump’s rhetoric during the campaign and his picks for his cabinet and advisors, I would venture to state that it is not unreasonable to conclude that such concerns have a basis in reality.
I really don’t think that Trump really cares whether two guys get together to have sex or smoke pot, but many in his base really really do and consequently he has chosen cabinet members and advisors who reflect the values of his base. Trump intends to undo many of the reforms put in place since FDR along with major tax breaks for the wealthy and corporations so if gays, mj consumers, minorities, immigrants and the environment have to be tossed under the bus to keep his base off-base, then so be it.
Whether these groups really have anything to worry about or if its just rhetorical pandering to his base, time will tell, but I am concerned about Trump’s picks for the Supreme Court in regards to undoing previous court decisions and as far as marijuana is concerned I am exceedingly alarmed and apprehensive about his pick for Attorney General – Jeff Sessions.
Sessions is just about as old-time a drug warrior as one could imagine – his antipathy towards any drug law reform is legendary and his attitudes about marijuana are classic reefer madness. With Trump pulling back many current government legal actions on the environment and against big business and corporations, Sessions will have a horde of DOJ attorneys with nothing to do.
Sessions would like nothing better than being the one to turn back the marijuana legalization tide and could unleash this horde of nothing-to-do-anymore attorneys against states that have legalized marijuana. I strongly believe that when the time comes, he will go directly after California because if he can take California out, the rest will be easy pickings.
Although California should be a formidable opponent as it is the most populous state in the union with the sixth largest economy in the world, I believe it would be fairly easy to beat the state into submission. For one thing even though most of our legislators and elected officials are Democrats, once federal legal actions are filed against them, the state and those engaged in marijuana distribution, I believe the wind created by all of them buckling under in unison will rival the tornado in the Wizard of Oz.
Further the less than stellar involvement of medical marijuana patients in protecting their rights under Prop. 215 is not lost on those coming into the federal government who are now in a position to take action against not just medical marijuana patients and providers but the potentially even larger cohort of non-medical users. If people who are using marijuana to treat pain, depression, cancer, movement disorders and so on will not stand up to law enforcement intent on taking their medicine away from them, how likely is it that people who are using marijuana just for fits of giggles are going to put themselves in harm’s way?
Would the civil rights movement undertaken by African-Americans succeeded if they had not placed their very lives on the line by marching in streets, sitting at lunch counters, picketing businesses, standing up to police enforcing Jim Crow, challenging do-nothing government agencies and refusing to move to the back-of-the bus? Granted many black Americans did not participate in these actions, but millions did and they changed the zeitgeist of this country.
The question I am asking is how many of you who are reading this are willing to be the foot soldiers to defend the gains we have made against those who now have the power to take them away? Just how much effort are you willing to put in to protect these hard-won rights? Willing to go to meetings? Willing to go to the offices of elected officials? Willing to get active politically? Willing to make financial donations to organizations and elected officials? Willing to picket? Willing to sit-in? Willing to engage in civil disobedience? Willing to go to jail?
California voters have voted to legalize the medical and adult-use of marijuana, but our elected officials have never been very diligent in carrying out their mandate. In fact they are more diligent in carrying out the actions requested by opponents of marijuana reform then they are in carrying out the mandate of the voters. That’s because our opponents are cops with clout. We need to develop our countervailing clout so that elected officials will lose their fear of cops and stiffen their backbone and stand up to whatever pressures are put on them to undo the will of the voters.
The first step is to organize. To organize people need to attend meetings where plans are made and actions carried out to protect, preserve and promote our rights to have safe, reliable, local and affordable access to marijuana. Wherever you live you need to get involved with a local marijuana law reform group. If there is none in your area, then you have to be the one that forms a group. There is help out there to do that – contact NORML or ASA or SSDP or just google marijuana organization and go from there. Don’t hesitate to contact me either at 760-799-2055.
If you have the good fortune to reside in the Inland Empire, then you can easily learn about what is happening and get involved to the extent that you are willing. There will be three meetings of MAPP this week in which you can begin the ground work to protect, preserve and promote the rights given to us by the voters of California.
At all three meetings, there will be discussion on what is happening in California and in the I.E. especially regarding cities passing onerous and malicious regulations to make a mockery of Prop. 64’s section allowing for indoor and greenhouse cultivation. This will be our first order of business. If we fail to stop these onerous regulations, then it could very well be all downhill from there with some cities effectively banning what Prop. 64 permits and others gleefully allowing commercial cultivation only in order to fill their coffers with tax money made off our backs.
The Riverside/San Bernardino meeting on Wednesday, January 4 at 7:30 p.m. will also feature a presentation by Ronie Downey on preparing for the upcoming growing season both indoor and outdoor. We will also be giving away two quarter-ounce packs of marijuana courtesy of the All The Way Up collective located next door to our new meeting place at Greenview Medical located at 22275 Alessandro Blvd, Moreno Valley, CA 92553.
The Palm Springs/Coachella Valley MAPP meeting is on Saturday, Jan. 7 at 12 noon. Unless someone comes up with some mj to give away, we won’t be giving any of that away, but we will have some books and paraphernalia to win. The meeting is held at the mystical Crystal Fantasy, 268 N. Palm Canyon, downtown Palm Springs 92262.
The Joshua Tree/Yucca Valley meeting is on Saturday, Jan. 7 at 3 p.m. Like the PS meeting, unless someone comes up with some mj to give away, we won’t be giving any of that away, but we will have some books and paraphernalia to win as well. The meeting is held at the legendary Beatnik Lounge, 61597 Twenty-Nine Palms Hwy., Joshua Tree 92252.
Help Elect a Young Progressive
Pro-Cannabis Candidate to the
Democratic Central Committee
Most of you won’t be able to vote for Francisco Ramos this Saturday, Jan. 7 but if you live in the 42nd Assembly District which covers the area in the Inland Empire from 29 Palms to Palm Springs and from there eastward to LaQuinta and westward to Cherry Valley, Yucaipa, San Jacinto and parts of Hemet, you can vote to send a young activist to the California State Democratic Convention where policy, programs and politics are set for the party that controls the government of the 6th largest economy in the world.
You must be a Democrat in order to vote in the election, but you will be able to register to vote and/or change your party affiliation at the Hemet/San Jacinito Democratic Party offices where the voting is being held. For information on Francisco and the address of the Hemet Democratic offices and most importantly the time of the voting, CLICK HERE.
HELP MAKE IT A SUCCESS
JOIN OUR 420 CLUB
It’s a New Year and I believe you know how much we can use a bit of financial help to get done what needs to be done. For just 14¢/day, you can join our 420 Club and donate $4.20 each month to make the oldest and most active marijuana organization in the IE just that more effective. To join the rarefied ranks of the 420 Club CLICK HERE.
If you would rather make a one-time donation, that can be made if you CLICK HERE or do it the old-fashioned but just as effective way by sending a check made out to MAPP to PO Box 739, Palm Springs CA 92263. Thank you for support.
Thanks for your time, consideration and support.
64 IS THE LAW
but already police & cities have begun a campaign to destroy it
Under prop 215 the legislature allowed cities and counties to ban ALL medical marijuana cultivation, but prop. 64 specifically allows people over 21 to grow six plants. So although the legislature enacted the Medical Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act which allows cities and counties to ban all cultivation both indoor and outdoor for medical patients, under Prop. 64 they cannot ban indoor cultivation of six plants no matter what the reason.
In other words, medical marijuana patients cannot grow what is medically necessary if the city in which they live has banned all medical marijuana cultivation, but they are allowed to grow a maximum of six plants indoor for medical or any other reason as cities cannot ban indoor cultivation. Rather than take away rights from mmj patients as some claimed, Prop. 64 protects their rights to grow marijuana indoors and in greenhouses although whether they can grow what is medically necessary or only six plants is probably going to have to be decided by either the legislature or the courts. In any case, six is significantly better than none especially in Riverside Co. where you can grow outdoors.
Since cities can’t ban indoor cultivation under Prop. 64, many are making an end-run around it by passing onerous and malicious regulations that indoor cultivators must abide by or face hefty fines of up to $1,000 per day. These regulations include excessive licensing fees running hundreds of dollars annually, background checks, fingerprinting, right of police to inspect at any time they want without a warrant and more. These regulations apply only to marijuana growing – growing of any other plant, even dangerous plants such as hemlock and oleander, have no regulatory requirements.
Police are the main instigators of these nefarious regulations allegedly conferring behind closed doors with local officials to browbeat them into implementing draconian regulations so as to make access as difficult as possible. Indian Wells is the first city in the Coachella Valley to genuflect to this police pressure and pass stringent indoor cultivation regulations.
I would imagine that many cities in the IE will implement copycat regulations and would not be surprised to see SB County do so as well. Riverside Co., thanks to the efforts of the “glorious 28” whose protestations of a proposed cultivation ban at a Riverside Co. Board meeting last year led to enactment of reasonable plant numbers and regulations allowing for indoor and outdoor growing. Unlike all these regulations being drafted and passed just about everywhere else, Riverside Co. complies with Prop. 64 requirement that regulations must be “reasonable” and provides a guide that others should follow.
I have contacted the Drug Policy Alliance, the organization that was strategically the backbone of Prop 64, but if they are doing anything, they are holding their cards close to their chest. I would like to contact Sean Parker, the major financial backer of Prop. 64, but I do not run in those circles.
No doubt these outrageous regulations will wind up with a court deciding whether they are “reasonable” or not. Ever since the Riverside decision cities have interpreted that decision to mean that they can ban all mmj cultivation. It's been over three years since that decision and we are still waiting for a case to even start its way to the Supreme Court. With the Riverside decision upending so many previous decisions, we will see how far the Supremes will twist themselves once again to come up with a decision that placates police and cities to make any kind of regulation they want regardless of reasonableness.
We cannot wait to take action until it gets to court – we need to act way sooner rather than even a little bit later. Even more critical is that this coordinated attack between police and their local elected official lackeys is only their opening salvo. If we do not start to develop some political clout to back up our truly significant political victory at the polls, 64 will become another 215.
In the next newsletter I hope to have more information on a unified coalition of marijuana advocates and consumers who will have developed or at least are developing, a plan of action to make sure Prop. 64 is implemented as the writers of the Proposition intended.
A Paradigm Changing/Life Enhancing New Year’s Resolution
It’s time to make your new year’s resolutions and if I may be so bold, I would like to suggest considering a resolution that will not only improve your own well-being, but the well-being of your family and community.
For many people the resolution I am suggesting may be frightening and bewildering because for many it takes them out of their comfort zone and thrusts them into a whirlpool of interpersonal connections, public communications and intimidating collaborations. Yet I guarantee that if undertaken and followed through, your life will be transformed.
2017 will be a pivotal year for marijuana. With eight states and D.C. having passed legalization measures and 28 states now legalizing medical marijuana, it has become a major component of the political discussions taking place throughout the country – especially with the big unknown position of the soon to be installed Trump administration. This is where you and the resolution I am suggesting comes in.
Resolve to not sit passively and watch this exciting year unfold on your TV screen, but to take that bold step into the fray and put your shoulder to the wall and shift the cannabis paradigm.
Not only will you be making a powerful, meaningful and vital contribution to ending marijuana prohibition, but you will also be improving your own life. It’s more than just making marijuana easier to obtain. Far more!
Family, friends and community are external parameters that develop feelings of self-worth whereas careers, avocations and pursuits are internal parameters that develop self-worth. For many the all-too-common loss of a sense of self-worth is one of the most common causes of depression and is a precursor to excessive alcohol consumption, dependence on prescription pharmaceuticals and a principal cause of the development of a multitude of health problems.
Some who have experienced a loss of self-worth and alienation may turn to marijuana for relief – but that’s all it does – provides relief without the collateral health damaging consequences of alcohol, methamphetamines, prescription pharmaceuticals or other drugs, but marijuana doesn’t resolve the underlying problems causing the loss of feelings of self-worth.
Your resolution and follow through to become actively involved in ending marijuana prohibition can reignite your feelings of self-worth as research strongly suggests that political participation increases feeling of well-being.
Lynn Sanders, PhD from the University of Virginia in a research monograph entitled The Psychological Benefits of Political Participation writes that political “participation is a resource that alleviates psychological distress” and that “protesting injustice, fighting back, demanding rights, articulating claims and otherwise resisting oppression, is a healthy thing to do.”
Granted there are other worthwhile causes other than working to end marijuana prohibition that can be “a healthy thing to do,” but it is important to choose a cause that is meaningful to you personally. Since you are reading my newsletter, it would not be too far off base to conclude that marijuana plays an important part in your life.
Even if low self-esteem is not your problem, multiple studies supported by the prestigious Mayo Clinic have shown that having a passionately enthusiastic purpose in life can reduce the likelihood of cognitive decline, delay the onset of dementia and even add years to your life.
No matter your level of self-worth, you know that marijuana plays a significant role as part of a healthy lifestyle. For yourself, your family and your community, make that resolution to use your valuable time to end marijuana prohibition and support legalization.
As if to underscore the importance of ending marijuana prohibition, marijuana ingestion can help significantly in following through on your resolution to shift the marijuana paradigm by enhancing and facilitating political participation through its legendary ability to reduce anxiety, ease socialization and just making whatever you do more fun. Do not feel guilty or hesitate to consume cannabis while you shift the paradigm.
Prevent cancer, get a good night’s sleep and have safe, lively, enjoyable and productive times as you exuberantly join forces with friends, old and new, who are working alongside you to end marijuana prohibition. Make that resolution now!
In Addition to Making that Resolution, You Might Consider . . .
Your support is the key to continuing our ability to provide services, information and representation with local, state and national officials. With the passage of Prop. 64 and the other legalization measures throughout the country, now is the time that your support is needed more than ever. There are very powerful forces aligning to knock down the advances that have been made and we need to fight them on every public and private level.
We are not asking for much - just 14¢ per day to MAPP by joining our 420 Club and committing to donating $4.20 a month to help fund MAPP’s programs and outreach to the community. It’s simple and easy to do – just CLICK HERE.
If making a monthly commitment at this time is not in the cards, consider making a one-time donation by CLICKING HERE.
If you believe that what we do and the information and outreach we provide is effective, your support would be sincerely and gratefully appreciated.
Come One - Come All
THCF FAREWELL PARTY
Join Us For One Last
Time at the THCF Clinic
The closing of THCF Medical this month marks the end of an era. When the clinic first opened, it was still in the early years of SB 420 and doctor offices and clinics were just beginning to open up in the IE. It was a very exciting time.
Up until then all MAPP meetings were taking place at the Cathedral City library, but once MAPP started meeting at the THCF Clinic in Riverside, the number of people attending the meeting increased. In those heady days, SB 420 was still new and no one really knew what it meant or how to comply with it. Lot of guesswork and wishful thinking.
Although there were two doctor offices in the Coachella Valley there were none in the IE. The closest one was in east LA County. When the clinic opened, the Press Enterprise sent a reporter to cover the opening day. To see the original article torn from the PE CLICK HERE.
After about four months and the clinic continuing to operate and not get shut down or even harassed, other doctor’s offices began to open up, but it was only THCF that was involved in the movement. All the others it was just about making money writing recs.
Back when THCF opened, there was only a handful of mmj states and the idea of legalization was for most not even on the horizon. It’s kind of “fittin” that the closing of THCF comes just after California passed Prop. 64 and three other states passed legalization initiatives too bringing it to a total of eight states and DC. Even more “fittin” is that 28 states now having legalized medical marijuana as well.
To look back one more time and to venerate the eight years of operation of THCF, the MAPP meeting this Wed. Dec. 7 will be a THCF FAREWELL PARTY. It is a very appropriate and a good way to bid a fond adieu to the old era and welcome in the new era as anxiety arousing as it may be.
This is going to be a chance for all of us to get together one last time at the location that meant so much to so many. This is going to be a fun and festive evening featuring a trip down memory lane with artifacts, memorabilia and more.
We are going to have a dessert bar with ice cream, cookies and pecan pie. Coffee, milk and punch will be available. If you would like to bring a dessert to share, that would be wonderful. However, only non-medicated desserts please – don’t want anyone overdosing please.
Even though we are taking a pass on medicated desserts, this is a cannabis friendly event. Feel free to bring your favorite cannabis to enjoy and share.
There will be door prizes, a 50-50 raffle, DJ Elmo Green spinning music and some short speeches and presentations. It will be a fun evening that is not to be missed.
Come on down and say goodbye to THCF and enjoy the reunion/remembrance It’s all happening this Wednesday, Dec. 7 beginning at 7:30 p.m. at the THCF Medical Clinic, 647 Main St. Unit 4D, Riverside 92501. See you there one more time!
MAPP meetings will continue at a new location to be announced at the Farewell Party.
Although some might think that with Prop. 64 passing, the game is almost over, but it is not. Now more than even we must organize to make sure Prop. 64 is implemented fairly, reasonably and rationally on not just the state level, but the local level too.
We use to meet in the Victorville/Hesperia/Phelan area a couple years ago and it would be a good idea now to resume those meetings. We need to locate a place to meet. If a small meeting rental fee is required, that can be handled
If anyone knows of a possible location in that area, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 760-799-2055.
GOLF, SUN AND A-LIST CELEBRITIES
ARE NOT THE ONLY REASONS THE
OBAMA’S ARE MOVING TO CALIFORNIA
After eight years residing in the White House, President Obama needs to find a new home. Although there has been no confirmations by the White House, it has been reported in numerous news outlets that he and Michelle will be moving to California and the affluent Coachella Valley community of Rancho Mirage. Located near Palm Springs, the town’s major industry is the 5-star Eisenhower hospital/medical center providing health care services to wealthy retirees.
With the Chicago Sun-Times revealing that Michelle Obama loves California and was interested in finding a home in Palm Springs, USA Today reported that “Home-buying rumors took off in the summer of 2014, when the president and Michelle Obama spent a June weekend in Thunderbird Heights” – the exclusive gated community where former President Gerald Ford lived for two years before moving to another Rancho Mirage estate.
The area’s local daily newspaper, the Desert Sun, has been covering the Obama’s potential move for over a year reporting in September that Michelle Obama's plane was at the Palm Springs International Airport. Confirming the newspaper’s reporting, the New York Post informed its readers that the President has purchased a multi-million dollar home in this affluent resort town, but will continue to reside in Washington DC until Sasha, their youngest daughter, graduates from high school.
The home the Obama’s are presumably purchasing is rumored to be the 8,200-square-foot former home of novelist Joseph Wambaugh. On the market for about a year, the Desert Sun reported that the gossip amongst local real estate agents was that the President was looking to buy the home with Richard Johnson of the New York Post’s Page 6, reporting that “the Obamas were in escrow to buy a $4.25 million home in the community.”
The home is very close to the residence of the Oval Office's interior designer Michael S. Smith, whose partner James Costos is the current ambassador to Spain and Andorra. The Obama’s have visited and occupied as guests Smith’s home on the occasion of some of their multiple visits to Palm Springs. Smith will most likely be involved in decorating their new home wherever it is.
Recognized for its world-class golf courses and resorts, Rancho Mirage is an upscale community known for attracting the wealthy, famous and politically connected. From being an avid golfer to his wife wanting to live in California, Rancho Mirage seems to be an ideal location for his post-Presidential life. However there could be another reason for Obama’s move to California that has so far escaped the media and the gossip columnists peering eyes.
While in high school and college, our distinguished President was an avid cannabis consumer. In Barack Obama: The Story, biographer David Maraniss reported Obama and his friends formed The Choom Gang - slang for marijuana smoking – and that he was known as “the Interceptor” as when coming upon a group of tokers “he often elbowed his way in, out of turn, shouted "intercepted", and took an extra hit.”
Although Obama gave up smoking marijuana some time ago (exactly how long ago is questionable) anyone who relished smoking marijuana as much as he did, has fond memories and recollections of the enjoyable experiences it brought. In his book Dreams of My Father, Obama wrote as a high school kid, he would smoke "in a white classmate's sparkling new van," he would smoke "in the dorm room of some brother" and he would smoke "on the beach with a couple of Hawaiian kids." Sounds like he was a knowledgeable and proficient smoker who got off on smoking a lot of pot - an experience he savored and repeatedly enjoyed.
California, which has had legal marijuana with a doctor’s recommendation since 1996 and now with legal marijuana without a doctor’s recommendation sounds like the ideal location for rekindling those memories and commencing some new ones.
Although Rancho Mirage, has banned storefront dispensaries, the town does allow delivery services so the President would have easy access to marijuana – he just needs to check out the local Craigslist listings. I am sure the new house has a large backyard where the President could erect a secure greenhouse and cultivate six plants. I am also quite confident that he would have no problem obtaining a doctor’s recommendation so he could grow more than six plants if his consumption began to approach what he consumed in his youth.
I am sure there are many cultivators of extraordinary cannabis that would be honored to be able to provide the President with as much marijuana as he would desire to consume. With Trump and the Republican congress undoing his legacy achievements of Obamacare, immigration executive orders and climate change treaties as well as revoking his birth certificate, marijuana would be of immense benefit.
DECEMBER MAPP MEETINGS AND
FAREWELL TO THE THCF CLINIC PARTY
Prop. 64 and the results of the 2016 elections and how they will impact on marijuana consumers will be the topic of the MAPP meetings in Palm Springs and Joshua Tree. The Riverside MAPP meeting will forgo much discussion on that subject and will have a memorable THCF FAREWELL PARTY
Saturday, Dec. 3 at 12 noon – Palm Springs/Coachella Valley meeting – Crystal Fantasy, 268 N. Palm Canyon, downtown Palm Springs 92262.
Saturday, Dec. 3 at 3 p.m. – Joshua Tree/Yucca Valley – Beatnik Lounge, 61597 Twenty-Nine Palms Hwy., Joshua Tree 92252.
Wednesday, Dec. 7 at 7:30 p.m. THCF Farewell Party, THCF Medical Clinic, 647 Main St., Unit 4D, Riverside 92501.
KEEP MAPP IN MIND ON
NATIONAL DAY OF GIVING Tuesday, Nov. 29
JOIN IN ON #GIVINGTUESDAY WITH MAPP
#GivingTuesday is a global day of giving celebrated on the Tuesday following the U.S.A.’s Thanksgiving and the widely recognized shopping orgy of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Fueled by the power of social media and collaboration, #GivingTuesday allows for consciousness salving where one can give in a season known more for its gluttony then its generosity.
MAPP is the oldest and most active marijuana law reform organization based in the Inland Empire that works throughout the state of California with coalition partners throughout the U.S.A.
Your support in the past has been key to our ability to provide services, information and representation with local, state and national officials. With the passage of Prop. 64 and the other legalization measures throughout the country, now is the time that your support is needed more than ever. There are very powerful forces aligning to knock down the advances that have been made and we need to fight them on every public and private level.
In support of #GivingTuesday we are not asking for much - just 14¢ per day to MAPP by joining our 420 Club and committing to donating $4.20 a month to help fund MAPP’s programs and outreach to the community. It’s simple and easy to do – just CLICK HERE.
If you are just not willing to make a monthly commitment at this time, consider making a one-time donation by CLICKING HERE.
If you believe that what we do and the information and outreach we provide is effective, your support would be sincerely and gratefully appreciated.
MJ Under Trump
Hope for the Best
Prepare for the Worst
Shortly after the election I received a call from a friend who had vehemently opposed Prop. 64. Although we disagreed substantially on the issue, I respected his arguments as he never descended into invective and insults only attacking the message and not the messenger. He called to offer congratulations on a hard fought campaign and then he said although he remains dismayed at the passage of AUMA, he is glad that it passed as it solidifies the rising status of marijuana as legitimate and will make it far more difficult for the feds to pull the rug out from under the burgeoning marijuana movement.
He recognizes that the incoming Trump administration may not be as open to marijuana law reform as the Obama Administration has been and that the Clinton administration most likely would have continued. He is rightfully concerned about what the Trump administration portends not just for adult-use marijuana, but for the viability of medical marijuana as well.
The ascension of Donald Trump to the presidency is troubling and problematic. Trump has made several statements during the primary and general elections on marijuana including the oft-quoted statement made in Nevada in 2015 when he said, “In terms of marijuana and legalization, I think that should be a state issue, state by state.” As re-assuring as that might sound, he has not said much since and his flip-flopping on issues is well-known.
Worrisome in the extreme is the tapping of NJ Gov. Chris Christie and former NY Mayor Rudolph Giuliani for strategic advice with the most worrisome being the appointment of Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions as Attorney General. They are all well-known for their long-standing opposition to marijuana whether it be medical or adult-use, but Sessions is totally off-the-wall on the subject.
Although it would be hard to imagine that anyone could be worse than Giuliania and Christi, Sessions makes the grade. According to the New York Times he thought the Ku Klux Klan was "OK until I found out they smoked pot."
Other Sessions quotes are:
“You can’t have the President of the United States of America talking about marijuana … you are sending a message to young people that there is no danger in this process. It is false that marijuana use doesn’t lead people to more drug use. It is already causing a disturbance in the states that have made it legal.”
“The creating of knowledge that this drug is dangerous, it cannot be played with, it is not funny, it’s not something to laugh about, and trying to send that message with clarity, that good people don’t smoke marijuana.”
Over the last couple years, the Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment has prevented the Dept. of Justice from unleashing the DEA to enforce federal marijuana laws in states with regulated marijuana distribution systems. Unfortunately this sensible amendment comes up for renewal on Dec. 9. If it is not renewed, that would be a signal that the incoming Trump Administration has pressured Republican legislators who had voted for it before to now vote against it.
When the Trump Administration takes office on Jan. 20 and the amendment no longer in force, the Cole memo issued by the Obama Administration, which instructs prosecutors to lay-off states with regulated distribution systems, could be rescinded. Unleashed from the Cole Memo, federal prosecutors could once again begin the high-profile raids and asset forfeitures against marijuana providers as they did back in 2011.
Far more disturbing is Trump’s cuddling up with and glowing endorsement of the National Fraternal Order of Police, the nation’s largest police labor organization. Police have been the main opponents of medical marijuana and marijuana law reform as marijuana prohibition and the War on Drugs represents a substantial amount of discretionary money for police. They don’t want to lose their $50 billion a year golden goose. There should be significant concern that they will use their newfound influence to convince Trump and his administration to enforce federal law and crack down on states that have permitted the medical and adult-use of marijuana.
Another possible scenario which would allow Trump to say he is kind-of-keeping his campaign promise on marijuana would be to reschedule it to Schedule 2. This could satisfy cops and the drug warriors who could now say that marijuana has medical value but is so dangerous that it must be strictly controlled with the most stringent of regulations and penalties.
As a schedule 2 drug, doctors could prescribe it just like they do Vicodin and Percocet. It would be produced by pharmaceutical companies and filled at pharmacies. This should please big pharma as now they will be the only ones that could be licensed to provide marijuana just like now they are the only ones license to produce methamphetamines and methadone. Wow - another multi-billion dollar monopoly for big pharma.
With penalties as draconian as those for schedule 1 drugs, this will also mean providing tens of billions of taxpayer dollars to law enforcement to arrest, prosecute and imprison marijuana users for illegally using and marijuana providers for illegally distributing a schedule 2 drug.
This translates directly into more millions for Trump from big pharma and more power for Trump with the cops at his back.
Unless Trump decides to fulfill his campaign promises to let states make the decision on whether to allow medical and/or adult-use marijuana, the lion’s share of the burden of defending marijuana use and distribution will fall on California. As my friend from above noted, having the most populous state with the sixth largest economy in the world legalize all uses of marijuana will make turning the tide back far more awkward and challenging. This difficulty is compounded with seven other states and the District of Columbia legalizing marijuana along with the 27 states and D.C. legalizing the medical use of marijuana.
Difficult it might be, but restoring marijuana prohibition will be far easier a task then Trump's oft-proclaimed intention to dismantle the Affordable Care Act which now provides health insurance to 20 million Americans, build a 40 foot wall along the Mexican border and deport 11 million undocumented immigrants back to Latin America.
Can Congress stop the Trump Administration from rekindling federal intervention into how a state treats marijuana distribution? Maybe a better question will be whether Congress will even want to.
In past votes 90% of Democrats were joined by about 25% of Republicans in one of the few truly bipartisan efforts to form a majority vote to pass the Rohrabacher-Farr amendment. With the small increase in Democratic numbers along with continued support of a minority of Republicans, it is possible that any attempts by the Trump administration to breathe life back into marijuana prohibition could be stymied.
That must be tempered by just how much of a priority the Trump administration chooses to make unraveling the progress that has been made over the last eight years. With Sessions as AG and setting the priorities, that could be a high priority for the DOJ.
We cannot sit passively on our butts smoking pot. We do so at our peril. We need to organize far better than we are now to strengthen the backbone of our elected officials in California to not succumb to the pressure of cops and drug warriors.
We need to be use our rising clout with the public to demonstrate, rally, petition and whatever else it takes to get the Trump administration to, at the very least, continue the Obama Administration’s policies of non-interference.
Hope for the best that Trump will keep his campaign promises to leave to the discretion of the states whether to allow marijuana distribution. Prepare for the worst if he doesn't.
It would be foolish in the extreme to wait until Trump makes his hand known before we start to organize. As big and mighty and rich as California is, we cannot do this all ourselves.
Trump reneging on his campaign promise would certainly qualify as a national crisis and calls for the formation of alliances with other medical and adult-use states. For that to happen, we must start organizing ASAP. In the Inland Empire forming coalitions with marijuana law reform organizations and other progressive groups is essential. Protecting the rights we have obtained and to continue the progress that has been made, cannot be done alone, but requires a coordinated community response.
Normally at this point I would write that this will be the subject of the next MAPP meeting, but while we will have a discussion on these most distressing circumstances and our response to them, the focus of the December MAPP meeting in Riverside will be a joyous and fond FAREWELL PARTY to the THCF Medical Clinic.
THCF Medical Clinic to Close
Farewell Party at MAPP meeting
Wednesday, Dec. 7 at 7:30 p.m.
Located at 647 Main St., unit 4D, in Riverside 92501, THCF opened in 2008 and was the first M.D. office outside of the Coachella Valley in the Inland Empire to provide medical marijuana recommendations. THCF’s doors will be closing at the end of 2016. Although MAPP has been operating since December 1999, the protection of medical marijuana patients and local efforts to end marijuana prohibition accelerated when MAPP meetings started being held in the Riverside offices of THCF.
Thousands of patients and advocates have attended meetings and events at THCF over the last 8 years. From organizing to thwart San Bernardino County’s lawsuit to overturn Prop. 215 to the recent establishment of perhaps the most liberal patient cultivation ordinance in the state by Riverside County, bold plans, effective actions and audacious recollections were created and made at every meeting.
So many memories, friendships and alliances were made at THCF – the stories reach the heights of legendary. This meeting/party will be a reunion where one more time, you can meet and rekindle memories of people you have known and worked with to advance the cause of medical marijuana patients and ending marijuana prohibition.
This will be a Dessert Potluck Party with ice cream sundaes plus whatever desserts you would like to bring to share. (Due to the unpredictability of edibles, please do not bring any medicated edibles to share.)
HOWEVER – this is a cannabis friendly event and cannabis consumption – smoking, vaporizing and so on can be enjoyed if you care to do so.
More information on the THCF Farewell Party at the Dec. 7 MAPP meeting will be forthcoming in the next email newsletter. Mark your calendar for this very special event to celebrate 8 years of providing medical marijuana recommendations to thousands of patients and being the center of the IE’s medical marijuana and marijuana law reform activism.