Jerry Brown's More Stringent Marijuana Laws Now Being Enforced?

Take note Humboldt County, apparently, Attorney General Jerry Brown’s new policies are being implemented.  In spite of growing within the guidelines posted on the Mendocino County Sheriff’s web site, Laurel Krause was arrested last Friday at her home just outside of Fort Bragg and booked on two felony counts.

Krause claims in a letter to have been growing one less plant than the limit the Mendocino County Sheriff set as allowable.  She did acknowledge in a phone interview with me that she did not have her 215 posted but she also said that the deputies assured her that “We know you have one.”

According to the incident report, Krause had  “a metal connex container with a sophisticated indoor marijuana growing operation, containing 24 mature budded plants.” She also had small amount of processed bud and $1000 cash. According to a screen shot of the Mendocino County Sheriff’s web page taken on the day after Krause’s arrest(see below the line for a partial shot), medical marijuana growers are urged to “Make Sure You Know The Law Before You Grow… .”  At the time, the website  said that there should be

  • No more than 25 growing marijuana plants per qualified patient, regardless of age, size or condition of the plants.
  • No more than 25 growing marijuana plants, either indoors or outdoors, per legal parcel, regardless of the number of qualified patients or caregivers who live on that parcel. A “legal parcel” is defined as a unit of land for which one legal title exists.
  • No more than two pounds of processed marijuana per patient.

The site implies that while a medical card “MAY” be displayed it isn’t necessary.  Several other low number plant grows were busted on the same day.

Last May, Mendocino County Sheriff Tom Allman  in an interview on this blog asked in exasperation,  “Why can’t we have one law for the 58 counties?” With what is legal in one county landing a grower in jail in another, he worried that both growers and ordinary citizens are confused and frustrated with both law enforcement and the lawmakers.   Jerry Brown’s guidelines apparently provide the consistency that Allman asked for.  So now Mendocino is changing who can be the target of law enforcement.  The website no longer contains the 24 plant guideline and now reads “Due to several recent changes regarding Medical Marijuana laws, this site will be updated as soon as possible with the most current information.”

An attempt to get a comment from the Mendocino County Sheriff’s office failed as the spokesperson was unavailable until tomorrow.

Given the close working relationship between Allman and Gary Philp (as well as other Northern California Sheriffs), will Humboldt County and other areas of the Emerald Arena change their policies next?

Update:  The Times Standard has a wonderful op-ed

piece about tightening punishment for marijuana

growers. I recommend it highly.

____________________________________________________________________________

Medical Marijuana – Main Page | Zip Tie Program Q & A | Prop 215 FAQ | SB 420 | Chapter adding 9.31| Chapter adding 9.36 | Attorney General’s Guidelines (August 2008) | City of Willits – Marijuana OrdinanceMedical Marijuana
Make Sure You Know The Law
Before You Grow Medical Marijuana
In Mendocino CountyDue to several recent changes regarding Medical Marijuana laws, this site will be updated in as soon as possible with the most current information.

The Mendocino County Board of Supervisors has adopted a policy and an ordinance regulating the cultivation and possession of medical marijuana.

Each qualified patient or caregiver acting for the patient will be allowed as follows:

  • No more than 25 growing marijuana plants per qualified patient, regardless of age, size or condition of the plants.
  • No more than 25 growing marijuana plants, either indoors or outdoors, per legal parcel, regardless of the number of qualified patients or caregivers who live on that parcel. A “legal parcel” is defined as a unit of land for which one legal title exists.
  • No more than two pounds of processed marijuana per patient.

Wherever medical marijuana is grown, a copy of a current and valid, state-issued medical marijuana card or physician recommendation may be displayed in such a manner as to allow law enforcement officers to easily see the card without having to enter any building of any type.

Any person who is not the legal owner of a parcel and who is cultivating marijuana on said parcel shall give written notice to the legal owner of the parcel prior to commencing cultivation of marijuana on said parcel and shall post notice at the cultivation site that the landowner has been informed.

The cultivation of marijuana, in any amount or quantity, shall not be allowed in the following areas:

  • Within 1,000 feet of a youth-oriented facility, a school, or a park; or
  • Within 1,000 feet of any school bus stop; or
  • Within 1,000 feet of any “church”.

All marijuana grown outside of any building must be fully enclosed by a fence at least six (6) feet in height. The fence must include a lockable gate that is locked at all times when a qualified patient or caregiver is not in the immediate area. Said fence shall not violate any other ordinance, code section or provision of law regarding height and location restrictions.

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54 comments

  • So, is that the picture of the day?

  • Very fascinating article, Kym. Thank you for the links.

  • Kym, is that 1,000 feet as the crow flies or as the sidewalk or street goes?

  • Humboldturtle, Fortunately that is not my picture of the day. I stole it off the Mendo Sheriff’s site. Hope I don’t get arrested!

    Auntie Mayme, Thank you. I think this is an important story for all the Emerald Arena. This could change the relatively friendly growing atmosphere around here. Coupled with talk about taking high PG&E bills and using those to go after indoor grows, I think the climate for growing is about to get more unfriendly.

    Joe, I don’t know. I would suppose as the crow flies and that conservative estimate would be the safest assumption. Jerry Brown’s guidelines state “not near” schools etc. They aren’t as specific as Mendo County’s was. I would guess the 1000 limit as the crow flies would probably work as a defense but that is just a guess.

  • Good reporting job Kym. I’ve been following this whole medical marijuana thing for years now and progress sure has been slow. Here’s some related news…
    Assemblyman Tom Ammiano (D-SF) announced the introduction of a landmark bill to tax and regulate marijuana like alcohol and tobacco at a press conference yesterday
    “With the state in the midst of an historic economic crisis, the move towards regulating and taxing marijuana is simply common sense,” said Ammiano. “This legislation would generate much needed revenue for the state, restrict access to only those over 21, end the environmental damage to our public lands from illicit crops, and improve public safety by redirecting law enforcement efforts to more serious crimes.”
    Contact: Dale Gieringer, Director, Cal NORML (415) 563-5858 dale@canorml.org

  • Dave,

    Wouldn’t Ammiano’s bill passing be exciting? Somewhat troublesome for the Emerald Arena’s financial situation, true, but all in all a good thing for society.

  • The Ukiah Daily Journal has an article on their front page this morning about Ammiano’s proposed legislation. Feds would never allow California to completely legalize marijuana. Growers would never pay taxes on something that, for the most part, generates under-the-table pure profit. And local communities, I feel, would probably lose out because money that would be going back into the local economy with no strings attached would be filtered into a near bankrupt state that would send that money elsewhere.

  • Hi Kym & Redheaded Blackbelt Readers,

    Thank you for your support and the great write-up. I have called Dale and am meeting with my lawyer.

    I look forward to hearing the Mendocino County Sheriff’s response to your questions, Kym.

    Stay safe all,

    L.

  • The Times Standard has a wonderful op-ed piece. I’m updating the post to include a link. It talks about a “Misplaced Marijuana backlash.” The author is basically positing the same point I’m making above but with different information. Well written piece.

  • Kym, so you still think,

    Somewhat troublesome for the Emerald Arena’s financial situation, true, but all in all a good thing for society.

    criminal money is good for society, but police lawlessness is not?

  • Honestly, Joe, I think even police lawlessness has some positive effects probably–mostly horrible consequences but … I tend not to believe that something is all evil or all good. Legalizing marijuana is going to have some negative consequences–notably for the Emerald Arena–but as a whole it will be good for society as a whole.

  • I tend to believe that God is good and the Devil is evil. People? That’s another subject. They tend to either do good or “bad” things.

    some negative consequences–notably for the Emerald Arena–but as a whole it will be good for society as a whole.

    To bad “society” didn’t figure that out years ago BEFORE they all cashed in, while all the time looking the other way. In a sense “society” was doing business with the Devil and some of that “evil” rubbed off. The stench of it sickens everyone. The sickness is called corruption.

  • There is a stench of corruption I suppose but that occurs whenever government tries to stamp out what should be a personal choice–just as the Prohibition led to large scale corruption.

    Mostly what I see though are some mom and pop freedom fighters. People rightly say that marijuana growers can’t be compared to groups who fought for civil rights but I believe that they are still fighting in a cause that seeks to scale government intervention down to laws that only keep people from hurting each other. Whether marijuana is a medicine or just an intoxicant, it should be a choice people are allowed to make without fearing imprisonment.

  • Well, there you go Kym! Exposing how people REALLY vote!

    Since they can’t change the law they don’t agree with, they just go ahead and break it. That’s what people do everyday that never stop at a stop sign.

    Problem with your “personal choice” is that it might conflict with a disease that the “law” just might protect us all from getting. Kind of like running that stop sign. That’s why we have government and laws and POLICE to “enforce” those laws. When people take it upon themselves to modify our social strictures the way you prescribe, we get anarchy.

    That said, bad laws are bad laws. And that’s what you get from a corrupt system criminalizing people for “personal choice” conduct that otherwise would never harm anyone anymore than alcohol does. That’s the disease otherwise upstanding business people caused, by enforcing their “personal choice,” of profiting rather than boycott the criminals. The local communities are responsible for this disease that was festering for decades. Now it’s time to pay the Piper. That community never gave a damn about people getting hurt and still does not. If they did they would take away (make the sacrifice) the profit and legalize.

    You can’t spend decades telling the lawmakers to go to hell then turn around and expect them to be accommodating. Everyone voted and this is what you get.

  • I will deeply miss my blog. I have gained so much from the exchanges with each and every one of you. I knew all along that this may be a short term hobby. I will continue to write and I hope to offer my stories again someday in a new forum. Thank you all so much for a providing a wonderful respite from the daily grind. I must concentrate on my offline life for a while, please forgive me.

    We will miss you! I’ve moved all the comments about your wonderful blog to the post right after this one.

  • joeblow… you and your fear of anarchy again! omg! you have a lot of black and white judgements in your worldview. maybe that helps you cope. and what disease is the law protecting us all from getting?

  • olmanriver
    February 25, 2009 at 8:57 am
    joeblow… you and your fear of anarchy again! omg! you have a lot of black and white judgements in your worldview. maybe that helps you cope. and what disease is the law protecting us all from getting?

    Anonymous comments = losers (mostly)

    Kym // February 19, 2009 at 11:52 pm
    I agree. Disagreeing politely is wonderful. Insults are pointless.

    Is this the kind of post commentary and blogger you were talking about?

  • Joe and Olmanriver,

    I ask everyone to try and word disagreements politely on this blog especially since what is in print can come across harshly.

    Olmanriver, I hope I have your permission to rephrase your comment like this:

    Joeblow, It seems you fear anarchy. I feel you make a lot of black and white judgments. I know sometimes that can help us cope but what do you feel is the “disease” that is harming our communities?

    Joe, are you comfortable with that phrasing? If not, can you provide an example of what works for you?

  • You got to be kidding me?

    You applying for the job of being his editor? He needs more than an editor.

    Personal insults are insults whether sugarcoated or not.

    Actually read what I said and think about it for more than two seconds and then tell me, honestly, where you get any of that crap! I just love it when people tell me what all kinds of “dumb schmuck” they think I am.

    Nice try, anyway.

  • Joe, C’mon, I don’t think you’re a “dumb schmuck.” You know that. I check your blog everyday. I do that because you sometimes open my eyes to a different way of viewing a subject. I feel badly that you felt insulted here in my blog.

    Thinking it over, I agree that it would have been best if Olmanriver (who, as you probably realize if you have read many of his comments, is a lighthearted humorous guy who rightly prides himself on witty replies) had just asked what “disease” you felt was harming our communities.

    I can’t answer his question for you. I personally believe that there are problems caused by the enforced secrecy and, the occasional greedy excess. What are the problems you see?

  • Guerrilla in the Midst

    This woman who wrote the letter is not a victim of a flawed interpretation of Jerry Brown’s plant limit floor. This raid was based on Measure B being upheld as constitutional.

    When Measure B first passed, the MCSO maintained their previous 25 plant ceiling from Measure G during a grace period before adopting the 6 plant ceiling mandated by Measure B. As Measure B has been upheld as constitutional, the MCSO and DA’s office have little choice but to adopt the new limits and act accordingly.

    Phillips and Allman working with each other on police matters is irrelevant to local regulations concerning plant limits. The Humboldt County limits are still in the hands of the DA’s office unless the people of Humboldt County decide to take it to a vote as Mendocino County did. Phillips’ department operates per local regulations as does Allman’s.

    This woman was simply not paying attention to the latest developments in MMJ policy for the last year. The election results clearly imposed a 6 mature plant ceiling and any MMJ patient in Mendocino County should have been acutely aware of this. There is also language in Measure B loosely defining rows of odorous backyard bushes as a nuisance which appears to be the probable cause used to inspect her property.

    It is likely that if her garden was low-odor and low-value, there would have been no arrest or even probable cause to enter the property. The MCSO were only doing their job according to guidelines set by Measure B. Even if I personally don’t agree with Measure B, a sheriff who abides by the will of the people is better than one who makes up their own rules. Blame your neighbors, not the sheriff.

  • Guerrilla,

    Thanks for your knowledgeable input!

    I have to admit being from Humboldt, I’m not conversant with the language of Measure B. However, I would think that she was taking reasonable precautions by following the language on the Sheriff’s Webpage guidelines. I would think it would have been updated to include the Measure B provisions if the sheriff was now following them. I understand mistakes happen. As I’ve said before, I’ve know Tom Allman for a long time and I believe him to be an honest, reasonable person. I completely agree with your statement, “a sheriff who abides by the will of the people is better than one who makes up their own rules!”

    My point though wasn’t so much that the sheriff deputies were violating the rules as that the rules were changing ie. Basically, there has been an understanding that smaller grows are not worth the time to arrest and prosecute (certainly it is hard to fathom 25 deputies, if that is indeed the case, coming to a 24 plant operation!) but now it appears that this has changed. For those of us in SoHum, that is news.

  • I guess we all get to just running over what other people say when there’s so many words pouring in on us. Nothing said here insulted me. I try to not get personal. However, an insult is what it is. This person, olmanriver, if memory serves has had some rather unkind things to say to me on other blogs. Not that I would hold a grudge or anything like that . . .

    You ask, “What are the problems” I see? What is the “disease”? Please keep in mind I was responding to your blog commentary. Here is what I said in the comment responded to with bold added for emphasis:

    Problem with your “personal choice” is that it might conflict with a disease that the “law” just might protect us all from getting. Kind of like running that stop sign. That’s why we have government and laws and POLICE to “enforce” those laws. When people take it upon themselves to modify our social strictures the way you prescribe, we get anarchy.

    That said, bad laws are bad laws. And that’s what you get from a corrupt system criminalizing people for “personal choice” conduct that otherwise would never harm anyone anymore than alcohol does. That’s the disease otherwise upstanding business people caused, by enforcing their “personal choice,” of profiting rather than boycott the criminals. The local communities are responsible for this disease that was festering for decades. Now it’s time to pay the Piper. That community never gave a damn about people getting hurt and still does not. If they did they would take away (make the sacrifice) the profit and legalize.

    You can’t spend decades telling the lawmakers (I should have added, “and the police” here as well) to go to hell then turn around and expect them to be accommodating. Everyone voted and this is what you get.

    Now to the diatribe, “fear,” “black and white judgments,” my “worldview,” and how I “cope” like I’ve got some “disease” of my own. Your comment on Jennifer Savage’s blog was about her statement:

    I have never seen a blog/online news story discussion improved by allowing a hate-filled free-for-all in the comment section. Except in very rare cases, people really ought to put up or shut up. This is not a free speech issue; this is about condoning rudeness and idiocy.

    What Jennifer Savage was talking about on NC Journal was nothing compared to what Eric Kirk and his gang subjected me to on his blog sometime back. He not only allowed, but participated. Observations being what they are, I stand by my own rules. Nothing I said justifies those lame accusations.

    That said, of all the local people I observe, either commentators or bloggers who comment, you are the most decent, even handed, charitable and fair-minded person I’ve encountered.

  • Guerrilla in the Midst

    My point though wasn’t so much that the sheriff deputies were violating the rules as that the rules were changing ie. Basically, there has been an understanding that smaller grows are not worth the time to arrest and prosecute (certainly it is hard to fathom 25 deputies, if that is indeed the case, coming to a 24 plant operation!) but now it appears that this has changed. For those of us in SoHum, that is news.

    It’s not much of a change of rules considering there was already a square feet limit in place. 24 plants should exceed allowable square footage even considering the diminished outdoor winter flowering stretch due to the days being shorter in early flowering and longer in the end. If the case was of 24 plants squashed into one square foot each for flowering outdoors in Mendo, I feel sorry for those poor plants.

    The real issue is people in Mendo are mad that their pot growing neighbors are making money. As Mendocino County isn’t exactly busting at the seams with college educated entrepreneurs, there aren’t many job opportunities unless you like picking grapes or dealing cards. The people want to blame someone for their economic plight, so they lash out at their biggest economic contributors. I know that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense but that is how I see it.

  • Joe, My mom and I were just discussing how making something like marijuana illegal turns people who might never had any run in with the law but maybe a speeding ticket into criminals. I know that a lot of counter culture people are troubled by the fact that breaking this law often leads to an acceptance of breaking other laws. I don’t know how to resolve the issue except by working for the reform of marijuana laws.

    And thank you for your kind words, being fair and decent are some of the highest accolades in my book.

    Guerrilla, The incident report I linked above calls this a “sophisticated indoor marijuana growing operation.” (Some neighbor may have indeed turned her in though.) So you think that marijuana arrests are happening as normal–not ramped up in anyway? I would love to hear you elucidate on that a little because I feel like there is a trend but I may be mistaken.

  • g in the mist…thanks for the on point education.
    kym- sorry for taking the civil tone of your blog down a notch, seriously, we all value the tenor of this blog and i will pledge kinder ways in the future.
    joe blow i apologize for not choosing better words responding to you, and will make every effort to practice a more civil tone. what i have learned, once again, is to stay with “i” statements like goodmother kym was suggesting…i think, i feel, i observe, etc.
    be well, joe…

  • just be a good neighbor in always in life

  • Steve,
    That is true. I believe that treating people right is the most sure route to happiness.

  • Olmanriver, (I missed your comment earlier, sorry.) I promise to harass you unmercifully, being the “goodmother” that I am. And I would miss sadly if you were to stop teasing me.

  • i do deserve more harassment than i get.
    and i need to edit more.

    with the exception of your resistance to the instant success, financial gain and notietry that will come from making up prints, calenders, and/or cards of your photos….you are too perfect to tease dear.

  • beg pardon, notoriety.

  • I would guess that you figured out my disease issue? My comment didn’t format the way I intended, so the bold highlight and quotes didn’t come through.

    I was trying to show both sides or causes of the disease, lawless anarchy. On the one side you get growers working outside the law because they don’t agree with the laws. In the beginning these were people moving in from Southern CA, buying parceled-up logged over lands the local ranchers were selling. The logging and milling industry didn’t provide enough work for these people and they had spent most if not all of their money on property. Marijuana growing seemed to be the answer to their immediate needs. No harm, no foul.

    The local business communities were also caught in the same bind and when all this cash money began to come in as these new landowners began to build it was a godsend. They turned a blind eye to these criminals and their money. More importantly, something very few people realized then is that a few of these businessmen realized that there would be a lot more money if they could get the price of marijuana to go higher, so they worked to increase the risk. They quietly and not so quietly worked to get judges that would throw the book at them, felony prison convictions, hardnosed police enforcement (CAMP), lawyers that wouldn’t touch any defence for less than tens of thousands of dollars and the list goes on.

    During Prohabition when the gangsters spread the money around and kept the violence to themselves the general public gave them a pass and to a certain extent protected them. When the violence spilled over into the community and the business people began to get hurt they brought in the police with a mandate the end the problem. The same thing, as you write about, is happening today here. The police are very well aware of the business communities hypocrisy. For one thing, that is why I say the police are essentially illegitimate when it comes to protecting and defending the general population. They are hired to protect the government and enforce “their” laws. When those laws conflict with the “peoples” laws you get the conditions that exist in our society today. Legalizing marijuana now won’t hardly do the job. The damage is already too extensive. It would help.

    The ultimate of corruption is when dollar profits trump health, safety and life. So, what do you do when everyone runs stop signs? Put a cop on every intersection or throw away all the signs and let everyone have at it?

  • Joe, that is an especially cogent and articulate synopsis of the marijuana situation! I disagree with you that “few of these businessmen realized that there would be a lot more money if they could get the price of marijuana to go higher,” I doubt anyone was that Machiavellian. However, the net effect of what I believe was a “moral” decision to clamp down on drugs had the same effect you describe.

    Your last two questions are something everyone in this county, in this state needs to think about. Where are our priorities and how do they mesh with reality? A large amount of people grow pot and even larger amount smoke it. Do we continue to try and enforce society’s belief that marijuana is unhealthy and dangerous? The one place your analogy between the stop sign and marijuana laws doesn’t work for me is that marijuana just hasn’t proved to be that unhealthy–yes, smoking is bad for your lungs but marijuana is less addictive than caffeine, no one has ever overdosed from it like they do with alcohol and there seems to be a great deal of evidence that it can be medically helpful. So the larger society perceives stopping marijuana use to be a good and achievable end but, in fact, society is wrong and more and more people are beginning to see that.

  • I was there doing business in Southern Humboldt in the early 60’s. Also, I could show you a recent comment by Ernie Branscomb about his efforts to oust Judge Thomas. He certainly wasn’t alone in that endeavor. True, the believers pushed their so-called “moral” authority over the pragmatic thinkers to enforce their agenda. Why do you think none of them want it legalized today?

    Stop signs — The issue is NOT the stop sign nor is it the marijuana. Failure to stop at a stop sign is a crime, a minor crime unless your failure to stop causes injury or death. People’s actions regarding stop signs are their way to vote the law’s relevency for them and everyone else. I say, after much observation, that the vote comes in on the side of lawless anarchy rather than compliance. That is the issue. Not that someone might be harmed by running stop signs or that marijuana use is harmful or potentially harmful. Growing marijuana and all of it’s related uses are a crime. The people that grew it and the people that turned a blind eye and profited in the past 40 – 45 years are directly responsible for this cancerous disease festering with our society. The harm is that people are forced to vote this way. The “moral” decay in our society today speaks for itself. It’s the hard choices that define a person’s character.

    Whether we like it or not, it seems to me that society is about ready to “pull all the stop signs”. Who would have thought in the beginning that it would have lead to this?

  • Joe, are you advocating anarchy or its opposite? I’m unclear. You say, “People’s actions regarding stop signs are their way to vote the law’s relevency for them and everyone else” I agree that people’s actions are their vote. If you want to change behavior, change minds with laws. Witness the amazing change in people’s attitudes towards driving under the influence since I was a child. Mothers against Drunk Driving are changing people’s minds and laws are reinforcing that mindset. But that is because there is a real problem. No matter how much someone squeaks that marijuana is dangerous most people discover that there is no real danger to the weed. So because the laws against marijuana are based on a fallacious belief, as people discover its falseness they scorn the law. And that, to my mind, is one of the biggest arguments for legalization–it will restore some respect for law (there are other silly laws, of course).

  • You said: “I agree that people’s actions are their vote. If you want to change behavior, change minds with laws.” I presume you mean “good” laws? Well, we have a law. It’s contained in that stop sign. That law and those stop signs are certainly not changing anyone’s behavior.

    Conversely, you could say bad laws create bad behavior. So, are stop signs bad laws? The majority vote says YES. Was it okay to grow marijuana and do business with the growers? The majority vote for over 40 years in this area was and is a resoundng YES. Is the marijuana the problem or is the criminal behavior the problem? Remember, just like all the smokers, all those knowingly doing business with these criminals are also criminals. These lawless anarchist people, not the marijuana, are directly responsible for this culture that is now threatening our health and safety. Threatening in ways that go way beyond anything related to marijuana use. That’s what I’m talking about.

    The “law” is there for our protection. The police and the courts are there to enforce that” law” for our protection. When all of these people decided to circumvent the legal process because the couldn’t get what they wanted and acted to vote against that “law” they took upon themselves the responsibility for the damage they wrought upon our communities and society. When that damage, the lawless, anarchistic bad behavior, threatens my family and me on a daily basis I say it’s time for these people to answer for their actions/vote. Exactly how deregulating marijuana will help that problem, I don’t know. I don’t think it will.

    This situation we keep dancing around is only the effect. The cause was the bad “law” resulting from the knee-jerk reaction by an elitist class of self-serving, amoral, fundamentalist believers enforcing their worthless opinions through “law” upon the majority. A kind of Sharia law for America. What we got were the results of a quiet revolution.

  • Joe, I’m not understanding though, if marijuana illegality is a bad law why wouldn’t legalizing it, get rid of a great deal of the problems. To me, I see legalizing marijuana as a way to eliminate most of the ills currently associated with growing.

  • I just read this great news on the Huffington Post:

    Attorney General Eric Holder said at a press conference Wednesday that the Justice Department will no longer raid medical marijuana clubs that are established legally under state law. His declaration is a fulfillment of a campaign promise by President Barack Obama, and marks a major shift from the previous administration.

    After the inauguration, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) continued to carry out such raids, despite Obama’s promise. Holder was asked if those raids represented American policy going forward.

    “No,” he said. “What the president said during the campaign, you’ll be surprised to know, will be consistent with what we’ll be doing in law enforcement. He was my boss during the campaign. He is formally and technically and by law my boss now. What he said during the campaign is now American policy.”

    The exchange takes place at about the 25:00 mark here.

    Holder’s declaration is a high point for the movement to legalize medical marijuana, which has been growing for decades despite federal hostility.

    “It’s good news for people in California who are so ill that they have gotten a doctor’s note in compliance with the law,” said Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) when told of Holder’s promise. “If you have a doctor’s note, you should be able to get whatever medicine you need.”

  • Joe C. Yes, I’ve been following that and trying to reconcile this with the tightening of local marijuana laws and, as local Attorney, J Scwartz, said, the more severe prosecutions of small time marijuana growers. I hope some of you have some good ideas because I’m puzzled.

  • I don’t have any great ideas, Kym, but I’m learning by following posts and comments like the ones on your blog. I just know that the prices I pay at the local dispensaries are way too high, and I suspect the small time growers are not reaping these kinds of selling-prices.

    It’s nearly $40 for an eighth of an ounce now, an amount I can hold in the palm of my hand. I seriously doubt the mom-and-pop (or pop-and-pop or mom-and-mom) growers are seeing anything near this kind of money. Taxation on the dispensaries may be a way to bring accountability and profit visibility.

    Legalization and fair regulation seem to be the cure.

  • Joe, What you are paying is a little over $5000 per pound. For high quality purple indoor, $4000 per pound would be a good price for a grower. The dispensary would need to make some money and a 25% markup doesn’t sound unreasonable. Perhaps, this year you should grow one outdoor plant in your yard. You could control to be sure it was organic and it would be more ecologically sound.

    I’ve known people who’ve grown 10 pound plants (though not in the foggy conditions in Eureka). That would be illegal but you could certainly grow a 1/2 pound plant which is what Jerry Brown’s guidelines would indicate was prudent. I don’t know if 8 oz would be enough for your needs but it would certainly cut down on your costs.

  • These are interesting statistics, Kym. Do the small time growers really receive that $4,000 a pound?

    In my case, one plant would be only part of the solution. Different strains affect different symptoms. For example, purple haze puts me to sleep (and keeps me sleeping) while AK-47 helps the neuropathy in my right foot and gives me energy without putting me to sleep. I need five strains for five different problems!

    Fortunately, just one hit gives me relief. That means that one-eighth of an ounce lasts a long time. That’s good news to someone on disability retirement paying for a med insurance will not reimburse for.

  • Actually the better outdoor pot (at least, many of the indoor growers I know buy or grow some outdoor for personal use) is usually around 2-2500 per pound is what I’m hearing. Joe, you are the first medical patient who has confirmed what I’ve read in High Times that different strains help different problems. Thank you! You could try growing less than 6 plants (still legal under Brown’s guidelines) of different strains–that sounds difficult. Or you could still grow one plant and trade the excess–perhaps even to a dispensary (ask your supplier)–for the other strains. At least that would reduce your costs a great deal!

  • Kym:

    why wouldn’t legalizing it, get rid of a great deal of the problems. To me, I see legalizing marijuana as a way to eliminate most of the ills currently associated with growing.

    I guess it depends upon what problems we’re talking about. Those ills didn’t stay associated with growing. And because after 40 – 45 years of most everyone associated with growing marijuana and dealing with the law with contempt, the damage to our social network is now a raging cancer. The corruption and lawless behavior is systemic. That’s why you have trouble understanding what the real cause of the problem is. The laws regarding marijuana, whether they were good, bad, justified, or whether it is harmful, were never the issue. The way everyone decided to deal with those laws was and still is. That way brought crime and criminals into the mainstream and justified their acceptance in the community.

    What do you think all those outlaw growers and users taught their children about respect for law and self? How about all the children that watched their parents doing business and profiting off these criminals while preaching law and order. The consequences of all these people taking it upon themselves to vote this way are now responsible for the majority attitude that condones and enforces lawless mob rule. I say that, because that is what it really was to start with. Once the growers co-opted the local business community, it was all over but for the shouting. That alienated the police, the courts and all those playing politics. These people, the government, became the bad guys and they responded accordingly. Politics and money trumped health, safety and life; a lot of people made money, worthless lawyers for one, and a lot of people got hurt and dead.

    Legalizing marijuana will not change that reality. It may help to remove some of the short-term threat, pricing issues and stigma, but as far as the long-term systemic damage to community and society, it’s way too late. Believe me, I’m all for legalizing the stuff.

    Tragically, the lessons learned here is that voting this way works. It doesn’t make it right.

  • Yes, different strains definitely help different symptoms. For example, the purple haze won’t affect the foot neuropathy. Green crack helps with depression but does not put me to sleep and is good to take when my foot doesn’t bother me. Prescription meds will do the same thing, but then they go and mess up my liver or kidneys.

    I may have a good contact with a grower, so I might be able to cut out the middle man and get it from the source. I haven’t talked to him yet, but I’m wondering if he grows five strains. I may also end up with another big orange pot too, although it would go only outdoors.

    ….but Kym, you previously quoted $4,000 for a price for the growers. In your last comment you mention 2-2,500. My hunch is that the dispensaries are reaping big profits. If they’re getting it for $2,000 then there is a 50% mark-up!

  • Joe Blow, We agree that marijuana laws “brought crime and criminals into the mainstream and justified their acceptance in the community.” To me, though, legalizing marijuana can’t go back and undo the harm already done, it can, like a gardener pruning a diseased branch, minimize the problem and allow healthy growth to happen. Certainly the violence and other petty crime that surround it would drop as would environmental damage.

    Joe Cornish, I find your information about the differing strains’ effects pretty fascinating. If you do grow one, it would be fun to see it strut its stuff on your blog.

    The price discrepancy is one of the big factors behind diesel grows. Indoor pot commands higher prices. Some people prefer indoor smoke but many of the actual growers don’t. If every buyer attempted to get only outdoor organic pot, the environment would be better off because growers would cater to them. How to find out is iffy… You have to trust your seller.

    Outdoor, last I heard, was getting around $2000 per pound. Indoor around $3900. But prices fluctuate depending on the market forces. So, if you are buying an outdoor version of your strains for $5000 per pound that is around 150% markup I believe which does seem a little steep–though my guess is that mainstream pharmaceutical companies get a lot more than that.

  • Kym, My POZ Life on Medical Marijuana will be coming one of these days. I just wish the dispensary folks weren’t so touchy about me taking photos in there!

  • Maybe now that Atty. General Holder has come out saying that the federal authorities aren’t interested in tampering with California law they will be more comfortable. I hope so because I’m looking forward to learning more.

  • What it (legalizing marijuana) can’t do is address the real issue – THE ROTTEN, DISEASED, DEAD TREE.

    Until you address the cause you can prune on that baby ’till hell freezes over for all the good it will do. You’re only working on the effect. Sorry, Kym, but you never have come to grips with what’s really happened in our community, whose responsible and why. All the “violence and other petty crime” that surround this issue are child’s play compared the real damage done. What we absolutely can not live with is the lawless corruption caused by mob rule. It has broken our Democratic System.

    You can’t cure a disease by working on the symptoms. You say,

    We agree that marijuana laws “brought crime and criminals into the mainstream and justified their acceptance in the community.”

    NO, I DON’T AGREE. Marijuana laws DID NOT bring crime and criminals into the community. Criminal growers and users did. As did the local business community when they accepted, protected and enabled them. Neither did marijuana laws make these people criminals, either directly or complicitly. They chose to break the law and teach their children to break the law for morally corrupt, self-serving expediency.

  • Did you delete one of my comments?

  • First, I do not have any disagreement with Ernie Branscomb.

    Observations, being what they are, sometimes are just that, what they are. Brancomb is what he is, as am I. If you missed it, my characterization you referenced was about his writings and not about him.

    That disease I observe in our society is caused by people, their actions, beliefs and attitudes. People, admittedly like Ernie Branscomb. Who, on the one hand, turned a blind eye to these criminals, did business with them for decades, and is, in my book, more responsible for the disease than the growers and users. Some people might even consider such conduct treasonous.

    These people are the epitome of AMORAL. If that’s offensive, then I’m sorry. Amoral:

    1. not involving questions of right or wrong; without moral quality; neither moral nor immoral.
    2. having no moral standards, restraints, or principles; unaware of or indifferent to questions of right or wrong: a completely amoral person.

    What I find really offensive is their hypocrisy and corrupt justification for putting money and profit before the health and safety of the community and life itself. Branscomb, for one, while exploiting and profiting off these people wants to keep in place the criminal burden that daily threatens them, their families and the community to everyone’s detriment. We’ll leave it there.

  • Joe, I didn’t delete it. You put the comment on the KSLG interview post.

    Apparently, I misunderstood you. I do believe differently than you then. I think many of the people growing would not have done more than get a speeding ticket here and there if marijuana hadn’t been illegal. Many of them felt the law was ridiculous and refused to obey it as regards to smoking it which often led to growing as its illegality made growing it lucrative.

    And I think blaming the business man is unreasonable. How are they supposed to know who is growing and turn them away from their store? To just choose on the length of hair or style of clothing seems morally questionable at best and certainly illegal. If people present money, unless it is covered in marijuana there is no way of knowing.

    I do disagree with Ernie on keeping it illegal though. I agree that to me it seems wrong to keep it illegal just to keep the profit up here.

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