You Would Have Thought They Were Giving Away Free Weed in Calaveras County

Calaveras County California was founded in 1850 and has a population of roughly 45,000 citizens. It takes up an estimated 1,037 square miles of land that sits atop of the San Andreas fault line in California. Angels Camp is on one side and Tamarac on the other. Lines at the local County Office in Calaveras County are enormous as the six-week deadline to file your paperwork to grow cannabis approaches.
Hundreds of citizens scrambled to the county building to register as legal marijuana growers. One clerk described the scene as a crowded DMV or restaurant. Marijuana growers who have been growing underground and facing potential charges are happy to apply for legal growing permits that cost between $200 for personal medical grows all the way up to $5,000 if you were looking for a full-on commercial marijuana grow op.
The energy in the crowd was a positive one. Many people were talking about the Green Rush. The Green Rush, of course, is the term people are using when they are referring to the cannabis industry as being much like the Gold Rush of the late eighteen hundreds. By the time the end of the day had rolled around the Calaveras County Office officials had a book that was 20 pages with 25 names front and back on each page signed in and ready for appointments with the county. Now Calaveras County will have a better idea on how much marijuana is being grown. The process of getting your registration packet was not an easy one as you had to have the local water department, tax agencies, and land assessors all sign off on a registration before you can bring your packet to the county building.
image credit: calaverasenterprise

Marijuana business

Zoning Battles for Recreational Marijuana Businesses in Oregon

Oregon voted to legalize recreational marijuana almost two years ago. However, the market is just now coming into focus. There are hundreds of dispensaries across the state that have opened their doors and there has already been millions of dollars in tax revenue generated from the hundreds of millions of dollars in recreational cannabis sales thus far.  Unfortunately, there is a battle still being faced by many business professionals looking to open extraction facilities, testing labs and other non-dispensary entities. The battle being faced is one of zoning laws.
Just last year in Jeff Smith and Cassie Heckencamp spent almost $1,000,000 to purchase 19 acres just east of Walterville Oregon. Their plan was to open a 5,00 square foot indoor recreational marijuana grow and to eventually purchase the adjacent 16-acre field for a 40,000 square foot outdoor grow. Unfortunately, less than two week later this land was zoned as rural residential by the Lane County Board of Commissioners. This means that any commercial recreational marijuana cultivation on lands outside of the city were banned making Jeff and Cassie’s business plan impossible.
Meanwhile in Cottage Grove Oregon, Paul Hampshire and Rub McConnell are facing backlash from the community after they acquired an empty lot next to Bohemia Park with intentions to open a Co2 Extraction facility. While they will not be selling any products on site and have stated they will be screening the property from view with the use of wooden fence and new foliage, the community is repulsed by the thought of there being a recreational marijuana business so close to a park that often has children playing in it. This has Cottage Grove contemplating the idea of adding restrictive buffer zones around schools and parks that would ban recreational marijuana businesses from operating in the area.
If you have plans to open a recreational marijuana business in the state of Oregon, I highly suggest you do your research before making any land purchases to insure that you will be able to move forward with your business plan successfully as zoning regulations/restrictions are still very vague at this time.
image credit: bigstockphoto.com

law on marij

Marijuana Laws Around the Globe

It seems that every day there is a new state or country that is making headlines for legalizing or decriminalizing marijuana. With laws changing all the time it is hard to stay up to date on where cannabis is legal and where it is not. Let’s take a trip around the world and review the laws surrounding marijuana in countries around the globe at this time.

Countries with Full Legalization

Uruguay became the first country to fully legalize the consumption, possession, and cultivation of cannabis for personal use in 2013. A regulated market for distribution is expected to eventually be implemented. Uruguay is the only country at this time will full legalization that we are aware of it. States in the U.S. including Washington, Oregon, Colorado, Alaska, and the nation’s capital Washington D.C. have also legalized cannabis for recreational and medical use under certain stipulations.

Where Cannabis is Decriminalized

There are 15 states in the United States that have decriminalized the possession of cannabis for personal consumption, not counting those where minimal cities or counties have adopted decriminalization measures. The amount of cannabis that is decriminalized in each state varies. The possession of 28 grams (1 Ounce) is decriminalized for personal use in California, Delaware, Massachusetts, Nebraska, Rhode Island, Vermont and Nevada. Please see below for restrictions in other states.

  • Connecticut– 1/2 Ounce – 14 Grams
  • Maine – 2.5 Ounces- 70 Grams
  • Maryland– 10 Grams
  • Minnesota– 42.5 Grams
  • Mississippi– 30 Grams
  • North Carolina– 1/2 Ounce- 14 Grams
  • New York– 25 Grams
  • Ohio– 100 Grams

The following countries have decriminalized the possession of cannabis for personal use as well. You can find the legally allotted amount allowed in each country listed below.

  • Austria – 5 Grams
  • Belgium– 3 Grams
  • Columbia– 22 Grams
  • Czech Republic– 15 Grams
  • Ecuador– 10 Grams
  • Greece– 1/2 Gram or 2 Joints
  • Netherlands– 6 Grams for Consumption in a Coffee Shop
  • Peru– 8 Grams
  • Russia– 6 Grams
  • Ukraine– 5 Grams
  • Virgin Islands– 28 Grams / 1 Ounce

Decriminalized Countries- Undefined

  • Argentina
  • Bolivia
  • Cambodia
  • Chili
  • Costa Rica
  • Croatia
  • Jamaica
  • Mexico
  • Portugal
  • Switzerland

Countries Where Cannabis is Only Legal or Decriminalized for Medical Purposes

Puerto Rico, Israel, Serbia, Macedonia, Italy, Columbia, Australia and 25 states in the United States have legalized or decriminalized cannabis for medical purposes only. In these countries/states, you must often qualify for medical marijuana patient status based upon a severe or terminal illness that has shown to be untreatable by pharmaceuticals and traditional treatment options.

Countries Where Cannabis is Highly Illegal Still

Unfortunately, there are many places around the world that still have draconian laws in place when it comes to marijuana for personal or medical consumption including states in the United States. Getting caught with cannabis in any of those states or the following countries can still land you in jail or possibly even prison.
Albania, Algeria, Bangladesh, Brazil, Bosnia, Bulgaria, People’s Republic of China, Denmark, Egypt, Ethiopia, Fairland, France, Greenland, Honduras, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, Indonesia, Ireland, Japan, Jordan, Lebanon, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malaysia, New Zealand, Norway, Pakistan, Panama, Philippines, Poland, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, United Kingdom, Venezuela, Vietnam, Zimbabwe.
As you can see the cannabis laws in countries around the world are as diverse as the strains of cannabis available today. We can’t wait for day to report that prohibition has come to an end worldwide!

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Why the NFL and Other Major Sports Should Eliminate Marijuana from its Drug Discipline Programs

Want to hear a who’s who of famous professional athletes, of celebrity sports stars who have dominated the sports world?
Let’s narrow such a list down to exceptional competitors that have more than being world championship caliber athletes in common, athletes who are headed to the Hall of fame in many cases in their individual sports. Let’s try a list filled with Randy Moss, Tim Lincecum, Le’Veon Bell, Michael Vick, Chris Webber and Mark Stepnoski. All exceptional sports stars, all dominating at their positions and in their leagues.
But why stop there?
How about Josh Gordon, Michael Phelps, Ricky Williams, Mario Chalmers, Nate Diaz of the UFC, and Abby Wambach from the dominating U.S. Women’s Olympic soccer team? The list goes on and on and on and could for a long time. So what, other than being exceptional world class athletes, do all of these sports stars have in common?
All of them are or have been marijuana users.
Absolutely all of these famous athletes were suspended by the NFL or MLB or the league they were in, or they were fined or ran into a problem with their sport’s drug policy or the legal system over marijuana use. Some simply admitted to using marijuana after their playing days, a violation that would have got them suspended when they were playing and could keep them out of their rightful place in the Hall of Fame. That in fact was the case for Mark Stepnoski, whose advocacy of marijuana legalization has caused him to be barred from his high school’s Hall of Fame in Pennsylvania, a State on the verge of legalizing marijuana.
So what is the big deal with marijuana use by professional and world championship caliber athletes in this day and age? No league, not the NFL or MLB or the NBA or the OIC test for alcohol use, and marijuana is healthier than alcohol, and it is legal for medicinal purposes in 24 states and the District of Columbia, with many more states likely to legalize soon.
So what is the argument against marijuana use by athletes? That it is a performance enhancing drug, that marijuana gives competitors an edge?
It is hard to believe that any major sport, be it the NFL or Olympic Committee or any other major sports governing body, could claim that marijuana use enhances a player’s performance. That’s just funny right there. Why would someone be charged for driving under the influence, or impaired driving, if they drive while under the effects of marijuana if it improved your focus and your wherewithal? Even in states where marijuana is legal, it is still illegal to drive under the influence of marijuana, so that cannot be the answer. Sports regulating bodies cannot possibly confuse marijuana with steroids or human growth hormones or any other drug designed to give an athlete an edge.
So what is the NFL, the NBA, MLB, and every other major sports league’s problem with marijuana use by its athletes? Perhaps they punish for marijuana use because it is illegal? That can no longer be the answer in this day and age. Again, in half the country already medical marijuana use is legal with more states lining up to legalize marijuana use. Four states allow for recreational use of marijuana now, and again, more states are lining up to legalize marijuana for recreational purposes.
The fact is, major sports leagues like the NFL and MLB (which allows its players to use extremely unhealthy tobacco products) have antiquated marijuana rules attached to their drug policies, and it is time for a change. All major sports leagues should eliminate marijuana from its drug discipline programs. Josh Gordon, a young, Pro Bowl caliber receiver for the Cleveland Browns, is on the verge of losing his livelihood and has lost more than a year of productive playing time for simply using marijuana. Guys like Randy Moss, The “Honey Badger” TyrannMathieu and Randy Gregory have slipped many spots and even many rounds in the NFL draft because of their affiliation with the use of marijuana.
Slipping a spot in the first round can mean the difference in millions of dollars, slipping several rounds or out of the draft all together can mean many millions of dollars. At some point a disgruntled player or agent is going to sue a major sports league over income loss from using a drug, marijuana, which is legal in many states and in most countries around the world.
Forget that, think of the good marijuana can do for many of these athletes. There is a reason that marijuana, a non-performance enhancing drug, is legal for medicinal use in almost half the country already, because it is an effective and safe pain killer. Think of all the bumps and bruises Tom Brady, Bryce Harper, Lebron James, and pro fighters and hockey players around the world must endure during a long grueling, professional season. There are 162 games in an MLB season, 82 games in an NBA season and 16 hard hitting NFL games, plus pre-season and playoffs, in the NFL. Certainly the relaxing, pain killing, safe usage of marijuana can benefit the men and women who endure such long, intense seasons.
Perhaps it will take the suspension of a serious marquee player like a Peyton Manning or a Lebron James for leagues to recognize that marijuana doesn’t belong next to steroids on any sports league’s drug policy. Maybe it will take a lawsuit by someone who tests positive because they were around someone legally using marijuana, who knows? Whatever it takes, it is certainly time for the NFL and other major sports leagues to remove marijuana from its drug discipline programs.
Image credit: Espn.

420 weed

Happy Holidaze, Weed Readers!

Happy 4/20!

But wait… what does 4/20 even mean? Why do so many folks in (and out) of the cannabis culture, reference this number to no end but couldn’t tell you what it meant?

For most, it’s used as code– using 420 to reference cannabis was believed to have originated as a police code, then adopted as a counterculture.  Other users believe the reference was started by the band, The Grateful Dead. Word of Deadhead meetings, aka Grateful Dead concerts, was spread through flyers. One story in particular mentions a flyer bearing the info, “We are going to meet at 4:20 on 4/20 for 420-ing in Marin County at the Bolinas Ridge sunset spot on Mt. Tamalpais” (source).

The apparent truth of the origin story is, ‘420’ was a term established in the early 70s by a group of high school students from San Rafael, CA. They called themselves The Waldos, and still do. Well before any states had legalized cannabis, one might need to go by an alias, or at least be very careful about where and when they did their smoking. Their group name was coined in reference to the statue they’d meet as, as well as the number alluding to the time

So while the term was established by a group of high schoolers, it’s obviously made it’s way across the country and other parts of the world, as a catch-all term for cannabis culture. As I said, the uprising of cannabis counterculture in the 90s and its use of ‘420’ was helped along by The Grateful Dead and its fan base. Members of The Waldos had close relations with the Dead, so really, each part of the origin story does have some truth to it. Each piece of lore or information ends up weaving together to form a more complete envisioning of how the notion of ‘420’ started.

Regardless of where the term came from, people take great joy in being able to reference (though no longer that subtle) their activities or culture in ways others can recognize. For the most part, the culture developed off the back of the phrase is pretty harmless. (Though let me say, hearing “heheh, 420, man” anytime the clock changes over, gets old.)

Most people celebrate the “holiday” by spending it with their friends, consuming plenty of cannabis, and for some, it’s become a political opportunity to advocate for legalization. Many cities, especially in states where cannabis is legal, tend to have some sort of gathering to observe the day, often at universities or parks. If it interests you, do some searching and see what’s going on in your area. If not, find your own way to celebrate! Have your first bowl or joint outside, share it with friends, or make someone’s day and hide some nuggets in easter eggs!

Whatever you decide to do, be smart, and be safe. Know the laws of your town/state on cannabis before you go lighting up on the sidewalk. Know your rights if you’re stopped by police! The perception and reputation surrounding cannabis users is something important, if we want to get any closer to legalization, or in general, acceptance of its use in everyday life. So, act accordingly–your cannabis use does not relieve you of being respectful or having some awareness!

All in all, let tomorrow be a day of celebration, relaxation, and feeling grateful that such a wonderful plant exists. Happy holidays!

-hope this is what you guys meant, it’s not that polished but feel free to edit what you don’t like!

Image credit: gettyimages.com


5 Medical Marijuana Nurseries Approved in Florida

Florida has just approved five new medical marijuana nurseries.
The Florida Department of Health just released the names of five nurseries authorized to grow cannabis for use in cannabis-based medicines. The announcement is a big step forward for the medical cannabis program, which was approved by lawmakers last year.
Under the new law, those with cancer, epilepsy and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) who receive a recommendation from a physician are authorized to purchase, possess and consume low-THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), high-CBD (cannabidiol) cannabis medicines, such as pills, oils and tinctures.
The approved medical marijuana nurseries are Chestnut Tree Farm in Alachua, Costa Farms of Goulds, Hackney Nursery in Greensboro,  Knox Nursery in Winter Garden and Alpha Foliage in Homestead. Each will cover a particular region of the state and supply medicine to cannabis dispensaries that are expected to open sometime next year.
As this new law moves forward, activists are attempting to once again put a much broader medical cannabis legalization initiative to a vote of the people. United for Care, whose 2014 medical cannabis initiative failed at the ballot despite garnering 58% of the vote (it needed 60% to pass given it was a constitutional amendment), has already collected over half a million signatures (with a goal of a million) in an effort to put a similar — though slightly reworded — initiative on next year’s general election ballot.
According to polling released last month, 87% of voters in Florida support legalizing medical cannabis.

Bernie Sanders Wants To End Cannabis Prohibition

If you’ve been wandering which of the 2016 presidential candidates has the most progressive marijuana policy, the verdict is in.
Bernie Sanders, the spunky old socialist from Vermont, just introduced a bill in the Senate that would end cannabis prohibition by the U.S. government. The bill — appropriately called The Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act — is the first of it’s kind ever proposed in the Senate, although similar legislation has been introduced in the House of Representatives.
Now, this wouldn’t make recreational cannabis legal from sea to shining sea. But it would remove marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act, as well as the DEAs “most dangerous drug” list, freeing states to decide for themselves. It would also free banks and financial institutions to serve canna-businesses without fear of prosecution.
In a speech at George Mason University on October 28th, Sanders told the crowd,

In the United States we have 2.2 million people in jail today, more than any other country. And we’re spending about $80 billion a year to lock people up. We need major changes in our criminal justice system – including changes in drug laws. Too many Americans have seen their lives destroyed because they have criminal records as a result of marijuana use. That’s wrong. That has got to change.

It seems that unlike many progressive politicians out there, Bernie isn’t all talk — he walks the walk, too. With election day only a year away, he is taking a clear and decisive stand for freedom, legalization, and common sense.
But does this bill have any chance of passing? That’s a good question. Only time will tell. But the latest polls show that a record 58 percent of Americans are in favor of cannabis legalization, a figure that will only continue to rise.
And Bernie Sanders, for one, can read the writing on the wall.
As for the other candidates, the Marijuana Policy Project keeps an updated list of all the presidential hopefuls and where they stand on the issue. Check it out here.
If we want to bring an end to cannabis prohibition, it’s important to stay informed, and take action. Contact your senator and representative, and your state and local officials. Get involved in your local chapter of NORML. Talk to your friends and neighbors. Most importantly, get out and vote!
Let your voice be heard, and your vote be counted. Together we can end cannabis prohibition.
image credit: facebook.com/berniesanders

weed quotes

20 Greatest Cannabis Quotes

It’s no secret that some of the most brilliant and successful people in the world smoke cannabis, and speak out in support of marijuana legalization. And I’m not just talking about actors and rock stars, either — but doctors and scientists, philosophers and presidents, and leaders from many different fields of human endeavor.
I could have easily stretched this list out to 100 more, but I wanted to share with you the best of the best, my personal favorites. Here are (IMHO) the 20 greatest cannabis quotes of all time:

1. Willie Nelson, country musician and cannabis activist:

“I think people need to be educated to the fact that marijuana is not a drug. Marijuana is an herb and a flower. God put it here. If He put it here and He wants it to grow, what gives the government the right to say that God is wrong?”

2. Bob Marley, reggae musician and Rastafarian:

“When you smoke the herb, it reveals you to yourself.”

3. Sebastian Marincolo, philosopher and author of High: Insights on Marijuana:

“The legalization of marijuana is not a dangerous experiment – prohibition is the experiment, and it has failed dramatically, with millions of victims all around the world.”

4. Carl Sagan, scientist, astronomer and author of Cosmos:

“The illegality of cannabis is outrageous, an impediment to full utilization of a drug which helps produce the serenity and insight, sensitivity and fellowship so desperately needed in this increasingly mad and dangerous world.”

5. Terence McKenna, philosopher, psychonaut and author of True Hallucinations:

“If the words “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” don’t include the right to experiment with your own consciousness, then the Declaration of Independence isn’t worth the hemp it was written on.”

6. Joe Rogan, actor, comedian, MMA fighter:

“People say you can abuse marijuana. Well shit, you can abuse cheeseburgers too, you know? You don’t go around closing Burger King because you can abuse something.”

7. Bill Hicks, comedian and cultural commentator:

“Why is marijuana against the law? It grows naturally upon our planet. Doesn’t the idea of making nature against the law seem to you a bit . . . unnatural?”

8. Hunter S. Thompson, gonzo-journalist, author of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas:

“I have always loved marijuana. It has been a source of joy and comfort to me for many years. And I still think of it as a basic staple of life, along with beer and ice and grapefruits -and millions of Americans agree with me.”

9. Jack Herer, cannabis activist and author of The Emperor Wears No Clothes:

“If you substitute marijuana for tobacco and alcohol, you’ll add eight to 24 years to your life.”

10. Thomas Jefferson, founding father and 3rd President of the United States:

“Some of my finest hours have been spent on my back veranda, smoking hemp and observing as far as my eye can see.”

11. Sebastian Marincolo:

“Marijuana enhances our mind in a way that enables us to take a different perspective from ‘high up’, to see and evaluate our own lives and the lives of others in a privileged way. Maybe this euphoric and elevating feeling of the ability to step outside the box and to look at life’s patterns from this high perspective is the inspiration behind the slang term ‘high’ itself.”

12. Abraham Lincoln, 16th President of the United States:

“Prohibition… goes beyond the bounds of reason in that it attempts to control mans’ appetite through legislation and makes a crime out of things that are not even crimes… A prohibition law strikes a blow at the very principles upon which our Government was founded.”

13. Thomas Jefferson:

“If people let government decide which foods they eat and medicines they take, their bodies will soon be in as sorry a state as are the souls of those who live under tyranny.”

14. William F. Buckley Jr, author and conservative commentator:

“The anti-marijuana campaign is a cancerous tissue of lies, undermining law enforcement, aggravating the drug problem, depriving the sick of needed help and suckering well-intentioned conservatives and countless frightened parents.”

15. Bill Hicks:

“They lie about marijuana. Tell you pot-smoking makes you unmotivated. Lie! When you’re high, you can do everything you normally do just as well — you just realize that it’s not worth the fucking effort. There is a difference.”

16. Mark Haskell Smith, author of Heart of Dankness:

“The fact that, in the United States, there are people serving ten-year prison terms for growing marijuana plants in their backyards while Wall Street racketeers, who have defrauded millions of people and destroyed the global economy, walk free is a kind of bizarre hypocrisy that boggles my mind.”

17. Francis Young, former DEA Chief Administrative Law Judge:

“Estimates suggest that from 20 to 50 million Americans routinely, albeit illegally, smoke marijuana without the benefit of direct medical supervision. Yet, despite this long history of use and the extraordinarily high numbers of social smokers, there are simply no credible reports to suggest that consuming marijuana has caused a single death. By contrast, aspirin, a commonly used, over-the-counter medicine, causes hundreds of deaths each year.”

18. Jack Herer:

“The only dead bodies from marijuana are in the prisons and at the hands of the police.”

19. Willie Nelson:

“The biggest killer on the planet is stress, and I still think the best medicine is and always has been cannabis.”

20. Steve Martin, actor and comedian:

“I used to smoke marijuana. But I’ll tell you something: I would only smoke it in the late evening. Oh, occasionally the early evening, but usually the late evening – or the mid-evening. Just the early evening, mid-evening and late evening. Occasionally, early afternoon, early mid-afternoon, or perhaps the late-mid-afternoon. Oh, sometimes the early-mid-late-early morning… But never at dusk.”

There you have it, hope you enjoyed! What are your favorite cannabis quotes? If you’ve got some good ones that aren’t on this list, leave ’em in the comments below.

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Indian Tribes Legalize Pot

U.S. states aren’t the only ones leading the way in marijuana reform; in recent months, several Native American tribes have also taken steps to legalize pot.
It started late last year with a memorandum from the Department of Justice. Sent in response to questions from a tribe in Washington state (where of course, weed is legal), the memo essentially said that Uncle Sam would not enforce marijuana laws on sovereign tribal land — giving them the same freedom the states have to set their own drug policy.
While the message might have been intended for tribes whose surrounding states had already legalized weed, it also has implications for more than 500 other federally recognized tribes. Dozens of tribes from across the country attended forums and expressed an interest in marijuana as a possible source of medicine and revenue.
A tribe in South Dakota was among the first to test the waters. On June 11th, the Flandreaux Santee Sioux Indians voted to legalize marijuana on their lands. They have plans to start a sizable grow operation and even an Amsterdam-style pot lounge, which could be up and running by the end of the year.
But then on July 8th, the DEA raided tribal lands in California, seizing 100 lbs. of pot and thousands of plants. The land was owned by the Pit River tribe, who had set up dozens of greenhouses right alongside CA highway 395, in plain view of passing traffic.
The grow-op was supposedly approved by the tribal council back in February, although that is now in dispute. Feuding among tribal leadership raises questions about the legality of the operation, and even seems to be a major cause of the raid — it was a member of the tribe who informed the Fed and triggered the whole chain of events. But whatever the reason for the raid, it has caused a great deal of fear and uncertainty in many other tribes who had also been considering legalization.
Nevertheless, in August the Menominee Indian tribe of Wisconsin voted in favor of recreational and medicinal pot use in their territory. The tribal council is now in the planning and researching stage, exploring the logistics, potential revenue and other benefits for the tribe. Other Wisconsin area tribes are also considering legalization, including the Red Cliff and Sakoagan tribes, which have passed similar referendums.
What happens to these few brave tribes who accept the risks of being the first to legalize pot, will largely determine how many follow in their footsteps. As the July raid clearly demonstrates, a memorandum is not a law. And until the U.S. government reforms it’s drug policy, there is still the looming possibility of raids, arrests, prosecution and imprisonment.
And for the tribes, the loss of much-needed federal funds.