Tuesday, November 11, 2008


Sheriff Reports Marijuana Haul Worth $14 Billion

Los Angeles County sheriff's officials announced Monday the department seized an estimated $14 billion in marijuana this season, which they believe is the largest one-year haul ever.

Found largely in outdoor pot farms in the forest, the plants are primarily grown by Mexican cartels, officials said.

"I believe this is probably the highest season in ... history," said Lt. Joe Nu ez of the sheriff's Narcotics Bureau.

This year also saw the largest single seizure of pot in United States history, according to sheriff's officials.

The Marijuana Enforcement Team team in August found a 116,000-plant farm in mountains of the Angeles National Forest above San Dimas.

It took 40 people two days to chop down the crop, bundle it and fly it out by helicopter.

The pot was estimated to be worth nearly $500 million, officials said, and shattered the previous record of about 85,000 plants seized in a single bust by the MET team in 2007.

"I believe this is the largest marijuana grow in the United States," Sheriff Lee Baca said of the bust.

Pot was seized in the forest above San Dimas several times this year, and officials return annually to find new outdoor marijuana grows, Lt. Phil Abner of the sheriff's Narcotics Bureau said.

In all, this year saw a 30percent increase in the amount of marijuana seized by the Sheriff's Department compared to last year, officials said.

Officials also noted that large-scale marijuana cultivation has steadily increased in recent years.

"The vast majority of these grows are being operated by the Mexican cartels," sheriff's Capt. Dennis Werner said.

In addition to the illegal drug activity, forest pot farms pose both environmental risks and safety risks to those using the forest legally, Baca said.

"( The growers ) also leave behind mounds of trash and human waste," the sheriff said.

Chemicals such as insecticides, herbicides and fertilizers are often carelessly discarded and pose a risk of contaminating the forest, Baca said.

Furthermore, the marijuana groves are often guarded by armed gardeners, posing a serious threat to any hiker, biker or hunter who may wander into a grow site, sheriff's officials said.

In addition to the 360,000 marijuana plants seized this year by the MET team, officials made five arrests, confiscated 15 guns and removed tons of trash and chemicals from the forest, Baca said.

In recent decades, marijuana has become significantly more potent that it used to be, Baca said.

A single marijuana plant can yield from $4,000 to $7,000 worth of marijuana, Abner said.

California's Compassionate Use Act, which permits marijuana use for medical reasons, may also be contributing to an increase in pot farms, Abner said.

The marijuana dispensaries that have sprung up since provide an additional marker for pot growers, who may sell their crops to the dispensaries, he said.

A MET deputy who identified himself only as "Bob" for security reasons said the outdoor marijuana busts, which are carried out in the heat of summer, are tough work.

"It's very hot. There's rattlesnakes out there, and all kinds of insects," the MET deputy said. "It's very physically demanding."

But keeping drugs off the street and making the forest safe is rewarding, he said.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, the National Parks Service, the U.S. Forest Service, the California State Parks Service and the California Department of Justice all participated in the marijuana seizures, officials said.

MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom

URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v08/n1022/a08.html
Newshawk: http://www.drugsense.org/donate.htm
Votes: 0
Pubdate: Tue, 11 Nov 2008
Source: San Gabriel Valley Tribune (CA)
Copyright: 2008 San Gabriel Valley Tribune
Contact: http://www.sgvtribune.com/writealetter
Website: http://www.sgvtribune.com/
Details: http://www.mapinc.org/media/3725
Author: Brian Day
Bookmark: http://www.mapinc.org/find?115 (Cannabis - California)

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


Three years ago, agents from the federal Drug Enforcement Agency
broke down the door of a South of Market medical pot club and raided
the premises. It looked like the first skirmish between federal
agents and the city, which passed liberal pot laws in 1996.

Instead, the city took the crackdown as a wake-up call.

Quietly, with little fanfare, San Francisco is on the way to becoming
a model for medical marijuana clubs done the right way. Exploitive,
profit-hungry drug clubs are being forced out and community-based,
patient-friendly ones are becoming the norm. Neighbors have shut down
dispensaries in school zones, and patient services have been increased.

Beginning in 2005, when Mayor Gavin Newsom worried aloud about "a
path that would allow for a club on every street corner," the city
has made a series of small steps that have improved a situation that
was nearly out of control. A moratorium on new clubs was enacted, and
Supervisors Ross Mirkarimi and Michela Alioto-Pier pushed for
restrictive legislation. Among other things, all pot clubs were
required to get an operating permit from the Planning Commission.
Neighborhood input, proximity to schools, and criminal and employment
background checks were all included in the consideration for a permit.

Since then, almost half of the clubs have closed.

And here's an indication of just how well the regulations have
worked. When state Attorney General Jerry Brown proposed strict state
guidelines for marijuana dispensaries in August, and Newsom's office
drafted similar regulations a month later, advocates responded
immediately - they said they were wholeheartedly in favor.

"We went through 10 years of an unregulated cannabis environment,"
said Kevin Reed, president of Green Cross dispensary, which delivers
medical marijuana to patients. "Now they are going to try something
completely different, and to see it run correctly is a wonderful thing."

Nothing speaks to the spirit of cooperation like the recent fuss
kicked up about a proposal by Newsom to require clubs to record the
names and addresses of patients. That requirement is stricter than
Brown's proposal that the clubs keep some sort of general "membership
records. "

Pot advocates are concerned about patients' confidentiality rights
and fear it may be a step toward bringing criminal charges against pot users.

But the mayor's office promises to continue working with the
responsible club owners and that any other suspicions about their
intentions are just paranoid fantasy.

"We understand the concern," said Newsom spokesman Nathan Ballard.
"And we are happy to work with them on that. If there's a way to
protect patient confidentiality, we'd be interested in making the
changes so that could be accomplished."

That's the spirit of cooperation that has generally typified the pot
club issue in the last three to four years. The concern about
confidentiality demonstrates that there is still a certain amount of
suspicion between marijuana advocates and the city, but in general
they've been on the same page. When it became clear that some
unscrupulous dealers were in to make a quick buck, legitimate pot
club operators spoke up against them.

"This was never meant to be a moneymaking scheme," said the Rev.
Randi Webster, the former executive director of the San Francisco
Patients Cooperative. "A lot of those places were just money, money, money."

Shona Gochenaur, executive director of Axis of Love pot advocacy
group, said that in the last two years, fly-by-night dealers have
moved from city to city as officials strengthen the regulations.

"They knew they were only staying here until the gray areas were
defined," she said. "They made as much money as they could, but now
that we are setting guidelines, they are moving on."

Reed said that three to four years ago, the city had 42 clubs. Now it
is down to 25, and he thinks more will close soon, in part because of
how hard it is to get a final operating permit. Dispensaries have
until January to meet requirements to get a permit, which requires,
among other things, that the clubs get separate approval from a
number of city agencies and do background checks of employees.

"What is happening now will actually weed out a lot of the (clubs),"
Gochenaur said. "What we are saying is that excessive profit is not
OK. Not having direct patient services is not OK. These people are
going to say, 'This is not my entrepreneurial dream' and they are not
going to want to do it."

This is not only interesting because of how it is playing out in the
city, but there are also national ramifications. Gochenaur says as
many as 12 states are keeping an eye on how things play out in pot
clubs California, and San Francisco is leading the way in the state.

She thinks they will look to the city as a model of how to regulate
the clubs. God knows, the city has made plenty of mistakes along the
way. At one point a pot club was housed in the ground floor of a Care
Not Cash hotel that housed many recovering addicts. Those are the
kind of missteps that had to be corrected.

But Gochenaur thinks we're almost there.

"We've come a long, huge way from 2005 when neighbors were lining the
halls of City Hall to say they were concerned," she said.

There are still some neighborhood complaints, but today local pot
clubs are surprisingly dull and uncontroversial places. If you had
predicted that three years ago, critics would have likely had just
one question.

What have you been smoking?

Newshawk: http://www.canorml.org/news/2008electionroundup.html
Pubdate: Tue, 14 Oct 2008
Source: San Francisco Chronicle (CA)
Page: B - 1
Webpage: http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2008/10/14/BAS313G9VL.DTL
Copyright: 2008 Hearst Communications Inc.
Contact: letters@sfchronicle.com
Website: http://www.sfgate.com/chronicle/
Details: http://www.mapinc.org/media/388
Author: C. W. Nevius, Chronicle Columnist
Bookmark: http://www.mapinc.org/opinion.htm (Opinion)
Bookmark: http://www.mapinc.org/topic/dispensaries

Thursday, October 9, 2008

The McCain-Palin Mob

Please support your local public schools.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Global Cannabis Commission: “No Justification For Incarcerating an Individual"

Monday, October 06, 2008

Global Cannabis Commission: “No Justification For Incarcerating an Individual"

On October 2, the Global Cannabis Commission, a group of top scientists commissioned by the Beckley Foundation, issued its groundbreaking report, "Cannabis Policy: Moving Beyond Stalemate." Your faithful correspondent was able to attend the daylong seminar in which the report was discussed, held in the distinctly imposing Moses Room of the House of Lords in the Palace of Westminster.

This is a highly condensed summary of the 175-page report. I wrote a lengthier summary here, and the full document can be downloaded here.

The report was written by five leading marijuana and drug policy researchers: Benedikt Fischer of Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, Peter Reuter of the University of Maryland, and three Australians: Wayne Hall of the University of Queensland, Simon Lenton of the National Drug Research Institute at the Curtin University of Technology, and Robin Room of the University of Melbourne. A number of other important researchers joined the discussion (and contributed advice and research to the report).

Some highlights:


Marijuana is not harmless. Intoxication "increases the risk of motor vehicle crashes 2-3 times" — not trivial, but "far more modest than that of alcohol." There is clearly an increased risk of bronchitis among heavy marijuana smokers, but no evidence of increased rates of emphysema, while the evidence regarding lung cancer is mixed.

Marijuana almost certainly exacerbates symptoms of schizophrenia in vulnerable individuals, but epidemiologic evidence argues against it causing psychosis in healthy people. As for worries about increased potency, more research is needed. If users adjust their intake in relation to potency, dangers are minimal. Perhaps most important, "All of these trends [toward increased potency] have been encouraged by prohibition, which favors the production of more concentrated forms."

Overall, the report finds the risks of marijuana use are "modest" compared with those of legal drugs like alcohol and tobacco.


While causing obvious harm to those arrested and convicted, criminalization of marijuana possession has not succeeded in preventing marijuana from being widely available. Contrary to wild claims being made in Massachusetts right now, decriminalization measures have not increased use rates. "If a nation chooses to use the criminal law for controlling cannabis use, there is no justification for incarcerating an individual for a cannabis possession or use offense, nor for creating a criminal conviction," the report concludes.

While not firmly advocating one policy alternative, the report lays out many advantages to a system of legal regulation like that used for alcohol. As report co-author Prof. Robin Room noted succinctly, "If something is not legal, you can't regulate it very effectively."

Cops-Kid keeps calling the cop Popi

Either way your paying for this. And don't forget not concentrating on the violent crimes and people who really want to harm us.

college kids smoking weed get busted by one cop

Friday, October 3, 2008

Mexico seeks to legalize smalltime pot, cocaine use

02 Oct 2008 20:46:45 GMT
Source: Reuters

MEXICO CITY, Oct 2 (Reuters) - Mexican President Felipe Calderon,
locked in a high-stakes battle with drug cartels, wants to legalize
the possession of small amounts of cocaine and marijuana, a plan that
will likely irk Washington.

Calderon, a conservative in power for nearly two years, sent a
proposal to Congress that would also scrap penalties on carrying
small amounts of heroin, methamphetamine and opium for personal use.

Reviving a similar push by his predecessor, Calderon's bill aims to
free up police to hunt for narcotics dealers and smugglers, but it
could meet opposition in largely conservative Mexico as well as in
the neighboring United States.

"What we are seeking is to not treat an addict as a criminal, but
rather as a sick person and give them psychological and medical
treatment," said Sen. Alejandro Gonzalez, head of the Senate's
justice committee.

Former president Vicente Fox tried to pass a similar bill in 2006 but
ditched it after Washington objected and critics both sides of the
border said laxer laws could lure "drug tourists" from north of the

Calderon's bill would mean people carrying up to 2 grams (0.07
ounces) of marijuana or opium, half a gram of cocaine, 50 milligrams
of heroin or 40 milligrams of methamphetamine would not face criminal

It would also give Mexican states the power to try drug dealers in
local courts, rather than at a federal level.

Drug use is much less common among young people in Mexico than in the
United States or Europe, but consumption is creeping up with the
growth of the middle class and as tighter border controls mean more
cocaine is kept back in the country.

Calderon has deployed thousands of troops to clamp down on the drug
gangs that shuttle Colombian cocaine up and over Mexico's northern

But cartel violence has soared as a result, killing some 3,000 people
this year, including eight that died in a grenade attack, the first
major strike on the public by drug hitmen. (Reporting by Miguel Angel

Attachment: http://drugsense.org/temp/6ARukpVY4Asz.html

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

ASA Fights On, Despite Veto of Job Rights Bill

ASA Fights On, Despite Veto of Job Rights Bill

Dear ASA Supporter,
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s veto of AB 2279, a bill to ensure job rights for California’s medical cannabis patients, is a setback for fairness and non-discrimination, but Americans for Safe Access (ASA) will fight on in the courts and the Capitol to protect and expand patients’ rights. AB 2279 would have stopped workplace discrimination against hundreds of thousands of legal patients, whose right to work was compromised by a California Supreme Court decision earlier this year. The governor’s veto means that California employers can still fire patients who follow state law – even those who only use medical cannabis in the privacy of their homes.

The veto certainly represents a failure of common sense for California’s embattled governor, but medical cannabis patients are also caught with other constituencies in the crossfire between Gov. Schwarzenegger and state lawmakers over the state’s budget. The governor vetoed a record number of bills this year, including some that passed both houses unanimously and had no registered opposition, in apparent retaliation for the legislature’s reluctance to adopt his controversial budget.

But ASA has been heartened by the number of people who helped fight for patients’ rights during this campaign – so many that it would be impossible to name them all here. ASA members and allies generated an avalanche or emails, calls, letters, and district office visits in support of the bill. Grassroots supporters deserve the lion’s share of the credit for pushing AB 2279 so far this year. The staff at Assemblymember Mark Leno’s office worked tirelessly on this bill, and also helped ASA staff members navigate the intricacies of legislative politics in Sacramento. While ASA staffers Joe Elford, Kris Hermes, Noah Mamber, and Rebecca Saltzman worked tirelessly on this bill, none of it would have been possible without the amazing support and energy of our coalition members, including the Service Workers International Union (SEIU), the Americans Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), and several prominent HIV/AIDS advocacy groups.

This was a tough year for medical cannabis in the Legislature. Two other bills and a joint resolution never made it as far as AB 2279. The governor’s veto is disappointing, but we have seen that persistent and strategic work by ASA – supported by our robust grassroots effort – can get results. I am confident that in a different political climate, we would have succeeded this year. I know that we have the know-how and support to do it next year.

It is important that Governor Schwarzenegger and his staff understand that Californians strongly disagree with this decision. This is not the last time the Governor will be asked to sign legislation to protect patients’ rights. ASA is asking supporters to call Governor Schwarzenegger at (916) 445-2841 to tell him you disagree with his decision to veto AB 2279. Please contact the Governor this week and tell him:

“I am a medical cannabis patient/supporter who is very disappointed in your decision to veto AB 2279, a bill that would have stopped workplace discrimination against legal medical cannabis patients. This veto leaves hundreds of thousands of law abiding Californians in jeopardy. I expect the Governor to work with lawmakers to protect legal medical cannabis patients from discrimination next year.”
Thanks to everyone who helped out. Do not be discouraged by this delay. The fight for patients’ rights is still on, and we are going to win!


Don Duncan
California Director
Americans for Safe Access

P.S. We need your continued support to keep fighting to protect and expand patients’ rights. Please make a contribution to support ASA today.

Arnold Schwarzenegger Smoking Weed

It's this kind of governing that makes it difficult for me to trust the people who are supposably keeping me safe.

Schwarzenegger is a hypocrite!!!!

Sacramento, Sep 30th. Gov. Schwarzenegger vetoed Assemblyman Mark
Leno's bill to protect workers' right to use medical marijuana. The
bill, AB 2279, would have made it illegal for employers to
discriminate against workers in non-safety-sensitive jobs for using
marijuana as medicine. In his veto message, the governor said "I am
concerned with interference in employment decisions as they relate to
marijuana use. Employment protection was not a goal of the
initiative as passed by voters in 1996."
Prop. 215 sponsors disagree disagree. "The intent of 215 was to
treat marijuana like other legal pharmaceutical druga," says Prop 215
co-author Dale Gieringer of California NORML.
AB 2279 was intended to overturn a Cal. Supreme Court ruling,
Ross v RagingWire, that found that 215 did not protect workers
against arbitrary discrimination by drug urine testing. Employers
failed to present any evidence that off-the-job marijuana use
presented any safety risks.
Gov. Schwarzenegger, a former recreational pot smoker, has
vetoed every marijuana reform bill that has come to desk.
Release by Dale Gieringer.

2008 Ballot Watch: Proposition 5: Nonviolent offenders

By Andy Furillo - afurillo@sacbee.com
Published 12:00 am PDT Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Lower-level criminals with major drug problems would be in line for more
treatment and less prison time if voters approve the Nonviolent Offender and
Rehabilitation Act of 2008.


Proposition 5 seeks to build on the Proposition 36 drug treatment initiative
California voters passed in 2000, the success of which is subject to debate.

The 8-year-old measure was designed to divert lower-level drug criminals out
of the criminal justice system. Only a third of offenders who enter
Proposition 36 programs complete them, a UCLA study found last year.

But the same study also found that the measure saves taxpayers $2.50 for
every $1 spent and $4 for every offender who completes the program.

Billionaire financier and philanthropist George Soros, who has backed drug
decriminalization measures in other states, provided the financial backing
to get Proposition 5 on the ballot.


Proposition 5 sets aside $150 million in state spending this year and $460
million next year, with cost of living and population adjustments
thereafter, for expanded prison and parolee drug programs.

Expands diversion programs to get more addicts out of prison and into

Earmarks 15 percent of funding for juvenile offenders.

Splits off parole and rehabilitation operations from the state corrections
agency under a new secretary, with a new 23-member commission to oversee

Keeps technical parole violators out of prison. Serious and violent
offenders would be placed on parole supervision for longer stretches.

Reduces some inmates' prison terms through good-time credits.

Makes marijuana possession an infraction rather than a misdemeanor.

Expands the Board of Parole Hearings from 17 to 29 members. Senate
confirmation would no longer be required.


The Legislative Analyst's Office says the program could cost taxpayers $1
billion a year, but save $1 billion in reduced prison and parole
expenditures. It also could save $2.5 billion in future prison construction


Supporters had raised approximately $4.5 million as of Sept. 24, including
$1.4 million from New York financier George Soros, $1.4 million from retired
New York businessman and philanthropist Bob Wilson, $700,000 from Goldman
Sachs senior partner Jacob D. Greenfield of New York and $500,000 from
University of Phoenix founder John G. Sperling of Phoenix.

Opponents had reported about $288,000 in contributions as of Sept. 24,
including $175,000 from the Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation and $60,000
from the California Narcotics Officers Association.


New York financier George Soros

Drug Policy Alliance Network

California Public Defenders Association


• Proposition 5 would ease California's prison overcrowding crisis by
treating drug addiction as an illness.

• The initiative would provide $65 million in funding for youth drug
treatment programs that don't exist now.

• It would save money over time in reduced prison construction and operation


California District Attorneys Association

California Association of Drug Court Professionals

California Chamber of Commerce


• Proposition 5 in effect would decriminalize drugs and spark increases in
crime by diverting offenders out of the criminal justice system.

• The initiative would undermine the inmate rehabilitation and re-entry
components contained in last year's Assembly Bill 900.

• It would create new bureaucracies with no accountability and add costs
through higher crime rates.


Read previous installments in 2008 Ballot Watch: sacbee.com/ballotwatch

See supporters' Web site: www.NORAyes.com

See opponents' Web site: www.noonproposition5.com