It seems the Federal government is engaged in an all out war to shut down California’s medical marijuana dispensaries. A new Federal prosecutor has come to San Francisco with the aim of closing all of California’s dispensaries. Their latest tactic is to send a letter to dispensary landlords threatening them with seizure of their property if they continue to lease their buildings to cannabis dispensaries.
Fortunately the California legislature is standing firm, defending the right to operate dispensaries and sell cannabis to medical patients who desperately need it. However local law enforcement around California has been co-opted by the Feds with many local police agencies dependent upon federal money more than willing to cooperate with DEA raids upon dispensaries.
So now there is a face-off between the Feds and the State of California. It’s a states rights issue that is coming to a head soon.
Hell-bent on shutting medical marijuana dispensaries
Betty T. Yee,Carole Migden
Friday, February 15, 2008
Source: San Francisco Chronicle
This will be a make-or-break year for medical marijuana dispensaries – if they can survive the tactics employed by the federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), which recently added busting dispensaries’ landlords to its repertoire of raids and fear. As urged by Senate Joint Resolution 20 by state Sen. Carole Migden, D-San Francisco, the federal government needs to back off and respect state compassionate use laws that authorize a network of responsible, law abiding and tax-paying medical marijuana providers.
In 1996, California voters passed Proposition 215 to exempt patients and caregivers from criminal penalties when they possess or cultivate marijuana for medical use as recommended by a physician. On the heels of voters approving the initiative, the Legislature enacted a regulatory framework that authorizes local governments to work with dispensaries so medical cannabis could be provided to seriously and terminally ill patients. Eleven other states have similar laws following California’s model.
Since 2005, the DEA has raided dozens of medical marijuana dispensaries and collectives, with 28 of these raids occurring since June 2007 in 11 counties in California. Los Angeles County saw a record of four raids in a single day last year. Although the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the DEA’s authority to conduct these raids in Gonzales vs. Raich, it left state medical marijuana laws intact. Angel Raich of Oakland had sued the federal government in 2002 to prevent it from interfering with her right to use medical cannabis for an inoperable brain tumor, seizures, life-threatening wasting syndrome and severe chronic pain.
The DEA believes these dispensaries are illegal drug dealers facilitating recreational drug use. However, most of the dispensary operators who have contacted the State Board of Equalization for information about how to obtain seller’s permits for collecting and remitting sales taxes are not fugitives, but responsible persons willing to abide by the laws to conduct their businesses.
For example, the Compassion Center for Alameda County was licensed by Alameda County. It paid $3 million in sales taxes prior to being shut down by the DEA at the end of October. The center had employed about 50 workers who earned a living wage and were provided health benefits, unemployment insurance and workers’ compensation coverage. Take another example. Nature’s Medicinal in Bakersfield had been licensed by Kern County. It paid almost $1 million in taxes until its closure in 2007, including $203,000 in federal and state income taxes, $365,000 in payroll taxes and $427,000 in sales taxes. Nature’s had 25 employees: eight were indicted, and the rest were left unemployed and without health insurance after the raid.
Multiply these examples by the 300 medical cannabis businesses of which the DEA has sent letters to landlords, and what do we get? Millions of dollars in lost tax revenue for the state and municipalities, thousands are well-paying jobs with benefits disappearing from our economy, and scores of dispensaries forced to close or move underground for unregulated operations. However, the most significant setback of the DEA’s actions will be to the thousands of California patients who suffer from the effects, pain and discomfort of chemotherapy, HIV/AIDS, glaucoma and neurological disorders. Where is the compassion when these individuals can no longer access medical marijuana to relieve their chronic pain, debilitating symptoms and treatment side-effects?
We applaud the leadership of House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers, D-Mich., in his oversight of the DEA’s property forfeiture threats. Recognizing the conflict between federal and state law, we will continue to exercise our responsibilities as state policymakers to the fullest extent and uphold the will of California voters to regulate the provision and availability of medical marijuana for those in need. Meanwhile the Legislature should approve SJR20, urging the federal government to honor California law and respect state-sanctioned dispensaries so medical marijuana patients can treat their pain, pay their taxes, and live in peace.
Betty T. Yee is the chairwoman of the State Board of Equalization and represents the First Equalization District, comprising 21 counties along the Northern and Central California coast and including the entire Bay Area. Carole Migden represents the Third Senate District in the California State Senate, comprising San Francisco, Marin, and Sonoma counties.
New York — Of all the presidential contenders, Barack Obama has been the most forthcoming about his past drug use.
In his biography, he admits to having smoked marijuana, using some cocaine, briefly flirting with the idea of trying heroin (although he never used any) and imbibing a fair amount of alcohol when he was in high school and college.
Quizzed about his past drug use, he confessed to having inhaled the marijuana smoke, unlike Bill Clinton, who when faced with a similar question years ago, claimed that while he had smoked marijuana, he didn’t inhale.
"I inhaled. … That was the point," Obama told New Yorker editor David Remnick.
Obama’s honesty about what he and many other baby boomers did in the ’60s and ’70s, and which some continue to do today, was refreshing, given the general hypocrisy most of our politicians exhibit on the subject. We haven’t heard a peep about marijuana use from Hillary Clinton, though it’s a rare woman her age who hasn’t taken a few tokes. But then Clinton is so cautious that you rarely hear anything real coming from her.
While he’s considerably older than the other candidates, given that John McCain served in Vietnam and spent five years as a prisoner of war, it’s hard to believe that throughout that war and the added strain of his internment, when marijuana and much harder drugs were a favorite balm of U.S. soldiers, that no illegal substances ever touched his lips.
Nor can we expect any admissions from Mike Huckabee, the most avid Christian of the bunch, who has said that illegal drug use is not due to a failure of education, but to a failure of righteousness.
So having Obama admit to his past drug use is a kind of progress. It makes me wonder, should he wind up being our next president, if he would be the one to move this country out of its current drug policy rut. According to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report, in 2005 police arrested almost 800,000 people for marijuana violations, the highest number ever recorded by the FBI. The overwhelming majority of these arrests were for possession only. Nor do the experts I’ve talked to suggest that the increase is in any way related to an increase in marijuana use. It is simply the result of greater harassment, usually of young people, and especially of young blacks, even though the research shows that whites use marijuana at a higher rate.
Queens College sociologist Harry Levine has done research that found that New York City police went on a marijuana arrest binge between 1997 and 2004, when marijuana arrests in the city increased twelvefold. During that time, marijuana use and availability remained largely unchanged. Police are subjecting young blacks and Latinos to arrest and overnight stays in jail, and introducing many who are without criminal records to the criminal justice system for offenses so minor that they don’t even rise to the level of crimes.
The U.S. Sentencing Commission recently approved a slight reduction in the sentencing disparity between powder cocaine-related crimes versus crack-related crimes, but eliminating the remaining disparity is up to Congress. And with a federal ban on the use of marijuana for medical purposes having been upheld by a conservative Supreme Court, federal drug agents continue to harass doctors and patients in the 12 states that have declared such use legal.
Politicians, pandering to public fears, continue to denounce marijuana with the fervor of the 1930s film "Reefer Madness," which claimed that smoking marijuana drove young people crazy, and led to violent crime and promiscuity.
How much of a departure from that outdated, erroneous thinking could we expect from the four front-runners? Not much from McCain, who is as militant about the war on drugs as he is about the war in Iraq. He favors increasing the penalties for selling drugs, the death penalty for drug kingpins, and even restricting the availability of methadone to heroin addicts. While he supports expanding federal education and treatment programs, he opposes making marijuana available for medical reasons.
To his credit, Huckabee, while calling for better patrolling of borders against drug smugglers, also supports drug courts and alternatives to prison for low-level drug offenders and drug addicts.
Clinton has said that, if elected, she would end federal raids on medical marijuana providers, eliminate the sentencing disparity between crack and powered cocaine, and oppose hard time for nonviolent drug offenders.
During one of the debates, Obama raised his hand with the other Democratic candidates when asked if they oppose the decriminalization of marijuana, but his campaign has since said that he supports decriminalization. And he has gone on record as opposing federal raids on medical marijuana providers.
Given his relative youth and his greater distance from older politicians who for years have obsessed over the most minor drug infractions like dogs picking over a bone, Obama may offer the greatest potential for a more enlightened drug policy. But even he has described his youthful dalliance with drugs in an apologetic way, as being a "mistake" during a time of youthful confusion.
It would be interesting, as he campaigns on college campuses, among the young people who have become the rising face of his campaign, if someone asked him:
"Mr. Obama, what exactly are you apologizing for?"
I, as a Catholic prophet with a pharmaceutical social engineer ministry, am in the process of trying to found a religious organization that will seek to gain the legal right to use marijuana and peyote in a strictly therapeutic way during religious ceremonies.
By Thomas Ivan Dahlheimer
I am a American Indian rights activist who is spearheading an international movement to change the derogatory name of a Minnesota river, the Rum River. The reason why there is an international movement to change the river’s name is because the current name is both, as stated in a book published by the Minnesota Historical Society, a "punning perversion" of the sacred Sioux name Wakan which is translated as Spirit or Great Spirit, and the other reason why the current name is inappropriate is because "rum brought misery and ruin, as Duluth observed of whisky, to many of the Indians".
I believe that by drawing attention to the Rum River name-change issue "white guilt" will increase, because of a heightened awareness of the catastrophic consequences caused by white settlers introducing and selling alcohol to American Indians; and that this increase of "white guilt" will, in a lot of ways, cause the dominate culture to offer all American Indians their long over due restitution justice, especially when it comes to making amends to help American Indians to free themselves from the plague of alcoholism.
During an early stage of this river name-changing movement I was challenged by a statement published in a Minnesota newspaper article, to use this name-change issue to gain accesses to public forums wherein I would be able to express my opinion on whether it was right or wrong for Europeans to bring alcohol to the homelands of American Indians, and if, in my opinion it was not right, explain what could and should be done to rid alcohol from the Americas. And I have accepted that challenge. Hence I believe that it will not be long until I will be receiving recognition in the mainstream news media as a social engineer in the forefront of a world wide movement to stop the America Indian alcohol-abuse genocidal epidemic.
And in respect to this work of mine, I, as a Catholic, have radical grievances against my church’s supreme hierarchal authorities’ world-wide support for the legality and use of the addictive and dangerous drug alcohol. And I am especially troubled by their support for the legality and use of alcohol in the Americas, where the homelands of a multitude of indigenous tribes are located.
In addition, I am radically opposed to my church’s use of wine in the sacrament of the Eucharist. I have talked to the pastors of Catholic churches in the Mille Lacs Lake area about petitioning their Bishop to give them permission to stop using wine in the sacrament of the Eucharist. I am trying to evangelize the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe to the Catholic churches located on the south end of Mille Lacs Lake. And at least some Band members are trying to "pull together and away from alcohol", but my church’s supreme hierarchal authorities want me to lead them to alcohol (wine) on the churches’ alters.
An open letter to my pastor about this issue:
During last Sunday’s Mass a song with the words "I will drink wine on my knees" was sung. Those words filled me with holy indignation. Why sing those words when everywhere in the world where alcohol is legal and available there are catastrophic consequences?
Now-days, we know a lot more about the dangers of alcohol than they did back when Jesus walked the earth. And when Jesus turned the water into wine at the wedding party those people who drank the wine did not have cars to get in and drive off and kill people. The circumstances associated with the moral issue concerning the legality and use of alcohol has, over a 2000 year period of time, radically changed. But most people are stuck in the past and can not accepted this truth. Even our Church’s supreme hierarchical authorities are still stuck in their erroneous traditional way of thinking when it comes to the question as to whether or not our Church should change its attitude about alcohol. I believe that our supreme hierarchical authorities should stop supporting the legality and use of alcohol throughout the world, and especially in the homelands of the indigenous peoples of the Americans.
When it comes to our supreme hierarchical authorities’ other traditionally approved of deadly drug (tobacco), they are beginning to change their traditional attitude and policies. They just recently banded the smoking of tobacco from Vatican buildings. When modern-day scientific evidence first indicated that it was wrong to continue to allow smoking of tobacco in buildings where people would have to breath second hand smoke, the Vatican’s hierarchical authorities did not take the moral lead and become the first, or one of the first major building managerial committees to ban smoking from their buildings, but rather they were one of the last major building managerial committees to ban the smoking of tobacco in their buildings.
When they were pressured by concerned public health activists to deal with this modern-day tobacco use in public buildings moral issue, they finally had to admitted that they had made a mistake in the past, and that they made it when they originally allowed the use of tobacco in Vatican buildings. We know that in the past they have gotten stuck in some erroneous traditional ways of thinking, and then made immoral judgments when new scientific evidence was telling them that their traditional stances on some issues were radically wrong. Imagine how much Galileo had to suffer because he discovered that the Church’s traditional position on an issue was radically wrong, and our Church’s supreme hierarchical authorities would not, for a long time, accept the new scientific evidence that indicated that he was right.
Modern-day scientific evidence informs us, and this is even the official position of the French government, that when comparing the traditional mood-altering drug of both the Church and the white raced people (alcohol) with the drugs of colored people throughout the world, alcohol has been found to be one of the most addictive and dangerous drugs, and that everywhere it is legal and available there are catastrophic health and social consequences. But never-the-less our Church’s supreme hierarchical authorities continue to disapprove of the use of colored people’s traditional mood-altering drugs and then give their (back in the days of Jesus’ earthly life, and out of touch with today’s reality) traditional white racist support for the legality and use of alcohol. And they also continue in their erroneous traditional way of thinking when it comes to their misguided support for the legal use of tobacco.
One of Alcoholics Anonymous’ twelve steps for alcohol abuse treatment deals with the "big shot syndrome". And one of today’s biggest questions is what was the primary cause of why the white raced people developed such a diluted superiority complex that they were able to commit such radical atrocities against colored people. And when trying to find the answer to this question, it made sense to me, that if a race of people were to use and abuse alcohol for a long time, they would consequently develop the "big shot syndrome". People with diluted "big shot" mentalities need to subjugate and manipulate people. And this type of mentality portrays the history of the white raced people. Hence, I have concluded that because – where there is legal use of alcohol there is also a lot of alcohol abuse – that therefore the Church’s long standing position of sanctioning the legal use of alcohol has been the primary cause for all of the white-racist atrocities committed against colored people.
And now-days, even when it is known that where ever alcohol is legal and available there are catastrophic consequences our Church’s supreme hierarchical authorities never-the-less continue to promote the legal use, and consequently the abuse, of alcohol.
When writing the new Catechism Of The Catholic Church our Church’s supreme hierarchical authorities included an erroneous statement that has influenced a great multitude of people to believe that the use of alcohol is not dangerous. And because of this highly influential opinion of theirs a lot of people have started drinking alcoholic beverages and many of them are now suffering from alcohol abuse problems. In the Catechism our Church’s supreme hierarchical authorities proclaim that alcohol is not dangerous, but that all other drugs are dangerous. They should have known not to put that erroneous statement in the Catechism. Even the advisory doctor for the nationally broadcasted Good Morning America television program said on national television that too many people who start using alcohol with the intention of using it moderately end up becoming habitual abusers of alcohol, and that the belief that the use of alcohol is not dangerous for the average person causes a lot of grief and suffering for multitudes of people. Note: In America 10% of men and 5% of women who start drinking alcohol will become habitual abusers of alcohol.
I would like the world community of nations to advocate the creation of an United Nations world court indictment in order to bring our Church’s supreme hierarchical authorities to justice for their long-standing and persistent support for the legality and use of the addictive and dangerous drug alcohol, it is a crime against humanity. I am sure that the many anti-alcohol Moslem nations would like to participate in this righteous plan to bring them to justice. And for the Church’s supreme hierarchical authorities to continue to promote the legality and use of the addictive and dangerous drug alcohol during this critical time when there is a war against other harmful and dangerous drugs makes this crime of theirs even more evil.
European salve traders shipped thousands of barrels of rum across the sea to African tribal leaders and gave some of the barrels of rum to them. And they did this without warning them that it was addictive, and they also neglected to warn them that, if they were to get addicted to it they would do evil things to get more of it. And by neglecting to warn them of the addictive and dangerous qualities of alcohol, the white salve traders intentionally deceived the African tribal leaders for the purpose of gaining an opportunity to coheres and manipulate them into capturing their own people for the purpose of trading them (as salves) for rum.
And their scam worked, the black African tribal leaders became addicted to alcohol and then captured their own people for the purpose of trading them (as slaves) for more rum. Hence, the white slave traders were able to make a lot of money. They put the captured black African slaves in their ships as cargo bound for America. And on the way to America many of them died because of the ships unhealthy living conditions. And for the slaves that survived the trip they were separated (husband from wife, children from parents) and sold to white customers who lived many miles apart. And many of those white customers were Catholics. Both Catholic Bishops, as well as Catholic laymen bought and owned black African slaves. They greedily made a profit from the slave traders’ promotion of alcohol abuse in Africa. The slave trade was a promotion of alcohol abuse, greedy money-making, white racist scam and atrocity that many of our nation’s Bishops and laymen participating in. And our Church’s supreme hierarchical authorities permitted this alcohol abuse related atrocity to continue, and this radical neglect of their moral responsibility caused untold grief and suffering for multitudes of people.
And when Catholic missionary priests entered the homelands of the indigenous people of the Americans they brought the addictive and dangerous drug alcohol with them. And the Catholic missionary priests, in the process of their Holy See directed mission to evangelize the natives, gave the addictive and dangerous drug alcohol to the natives. And they committed this grave sin because they wanted the natives to believe that alcohol was a good and safe drug. And the reason why they wanted them to believe that it was a good and safe drug was because it was being used during the summit of the Church’s worship services. And this grave sin of theirs was the primary cause for the indigenous people of the Americas alcoholic-abuse genocidal epidemic, a genocidal epidemic that is still being perpetrated against indigenous people throughout the Americas.
When our nation’s bishops found out that a pre-Columbus traditionally used Native mind-altering medicinal drug (peyote) was being used spiritually and therapeutically by an increasing number of Natives and that its use was helping them to stop the alcohol abuse genocidal health epidemic that was being perpetrated against them our nation’s bishops condemned its use and proclaimed it a heresy for Catholic American Indians to use it, and did so because of their white racist belief that the white man’s drug (alcohol) was the superior drug and the only good mind altering drug, and that therefore American Indians should use alcohol and not their traditional drug peyote. And this is the reason why the American Indian alcohol abuse health epidemic and genocide continues to plague American Indians today.
Jesus wanted the church to go into all parts of the world in order to evangelize all of mankind to God’s saving plan, but he did not want the church to take the negative aspects of Jewish culture with them and impose those negative aspects of Jewish culture on the peoples of different races and cultures. But in respect to the alcohol-use negative aspect of Jewish culture, that is exactly what our Church’s supreme hierarchical authorities did when they imposed, in the process of their evangelization mission, the use of alcohol on American Indians and other non-alcohol drinking indigenous peoples throughout the world, and they are still committing this same grave sin. But, thanks be to God, at least some of the protestant churches have switched from wine to grape juice when it comes to the Last Supper segment of their worship services.
And our Church’s supreme hierarchical authorities also sanctioned North American cultural genocidal boarding schools. Native children were legally kidnapped from their parents and taken away to Catholic boarding schools there they were brain washed to believe that their culture, religion, language, and drugs, drugs that they used moderately and spiritual, were evil, and that the white man’s culture, religion, language and drug alcohol (an addictive and dangerous drug) were good. And in the evil environment of Catholic boarding schools, alcohol demented homosexual pedophile priests had a field day sexually molesting the native boys. And our Church in North America is headed toward bankruptcy because of all the evil things that happened in those brain washing boarding schools, where the natives were taught that alcohol was a good and safe drug, and that their peoples’ drugs, the drugs that the adults in their communities used moderately and spiritually, were dangerous and evil and therefore forbidden.
Official governmental reports on the income of our nation’s bars and liquor stores present evidence that indicates that most of the money that is made from alcohol sales in bars and liquor stores comes from the abusive users. And these reports are presented in the popular cultural mainstream newspapers throughout our nation. And even though this information is known by the pastors of the cultural mainstream "Christian" churches throughout our nation, most of them still support private and municipal bars and liquor stores, and they do not even advocate that most of the money made from the municipal bars and liquor stores go to alcohol abuse screening centers and treatment centers. Descent moral people should be outraged by this fact.
The tax paying citizens of towns that have municipal bars and liquor stores are not making a profit from these immoral businesses, but the greedy and corrupt corporate elite of the abusive alcohol industry are. The average tax payer is paying for alcohol abuse treatment centers, the housing and supervision of DUI incarcerated inmates, and also other alcoholic abuse related incarcerated inmate cost. And the average tax payer is also paying for the medical cost of non-insured alcohol abuse victims of car accidents and other alcohol abuse related violence. Two-thirds of domestic violence is caused by alcohol abuse. And the average tax payer is also paying for Supplement Social Security payments to demented alcoholics who can’t work, and they are also paying for the cost of health and social problems due to the brain damage caused by the alcohol fetal syndrome health epidemic. One out of every 100 children born in America has been brain damaged by his/her mother’s use of alcohol while pregnant. And then there is the cost of welfare payments to the multitudes of alcoholic single mothers who keep getting drunk and having more babies. And a lot of unwanted pregnancies occur when people get drunk and have unplanned sex, and many of those pregnancies end with an abortion. The negative health and social ramifications associated with alcohol abuse are terrible and descent moral people should be outraged by this fact, and then work to put a stop to this alcohol abuse epidemic and related social atrocities. And you, and the vast majority of our country’s other "Christian" pastors, should begin telling it like it is, instead of giving watered down homilies about this issue, homilies that deceive and therefore influence multitudes of our country’s churchgoing citizens to be apathetic when it comes to solving the alcohol abuse health epidemic and related social atrocities.
Charles Krauthammer… of the Washington Post wrote: "The demonization of drugs allows delusion about alcohol to flourish".
In the Catechism Of The Catholic Church it says "The use of drugs (but, erroneously excludes alcohol as one of these drugs) inflicts very grave damage on human health and life. Their use, except on strictly therapeutic grounds, is a grave offence. Clandestine production of and trafficking in drugs are scandalous practices." During our nation’s prohibition of alcohol era a lot of American citizens practiced civil disobedience by either buying alcohol or participated in the clandestine production of and trafficking of the dangerous and harmful drug alcohol, and did so as a means to regain their supposed basic human right to drink alcohol legally. And their involvement in these civil disobedience activities is the reason why alcohol is a legal drug in our nation today. The government could not stop the illegal use of alcohol so they made it a legal drug. Therefore, is it right for Catholics in our nation to buy, produce or market alcohol? Under the present circumstances how could it be? And if it is, is it not then justified for people to engage in the equivalent illegal activities to gain their supposed basic human right to use present-day illegal drugs? Why are the traditional drugs of American Indians illegal in their homelands and alcohol, the traditional drug of the Church and white people legal? And in respect to our Church’s hierarchical authorities current answers to these questions, their answers and subsequent policies impose a blatant white racist and scandalous double standard and principle on the great multitudes of people who blindly follow them. And this is a disgrace and great scandal to our Catholic Church.
A pre-Columbus American Indian drug (Peyote) has been found to both help Natives resist the use and abuse of alcohol as well as to find and follow Jesus Christ. The following summary of a book entitled: Peyote Religion, by Omer C. Stewart, presents some information about this medicinal drug peyote.
In 1880 the modern peyote religion became formalized in Oklahoma.
"I will consider throughout the opposition to peyotism and the stubborn fight for what Americans generally take for granted: religious freedom.
"I will consider the physical and psychological effects of eating the peyote cactus."
"I would like to highlight here two conclusions I have reached about peyotism as a part of a culture and historical process. First of all, peyotism has been a unifying influence in American Indian life, providing the basis for Indian friendships, rituals, social gatherings, travel, marriage, and more. It has been a source of comfort and healing and a means of expression for a troubled people. And it has resulted in one of the strongest pan-Indian movements in the United States.
Chapter 1 The Plant:
This book is about peyote, a small, spineless cactus having psychedelic properties which grows in a limited area principally in northern Mexico and southern Texas. It is also about the peoples and ceremonies concerned with the use of peyote over the last four hundred years, culminating in the present-day Native American Church, the members of which number perhaps two hundred thousand and the territory of which extends from Alberta, Canada, to west central Mexico and from Wisconsin to the Pacific Coast states.
Eating peyote "produces a warm and pleasant euphoria, an agreeable point of view, relaxation, colorful visual distortions, and a sense of timelessness that are conducive to all-night ceremony of the Native American Church. To the church’s members, peyote is the essential ingredient, the sacrament, in their well-established, unique ceremony. Peyote is not habit-forming, and in the controlled ambience of a peyote meeting it is in no way harmful.
Chapter 2 Peyote Eaters and Their Ceremonies:
Fernando Hernandez, making a study in 1577 of plants used by the Aztec, included peyote among other intoxicating plants: tobacco, narcotic mushrooms, and psychedelic morning glory.
From the beginning, the Catholic church found in peyote another evil to be rooted out of the New World. In an effort to purge their new Christian converts of the use of peyote the Church prepared a catechism to be used by priest conducting confessionals.
That the use of peyote was pervasive throughout central and northern Mexico and deeply ingrained in the lives of those who used it can be judged by the radical efforts of the Catholic church to stamp it out.
The Catholic Church said: "We order that henceforth no person of whatever rank or social condition can or may make use of said herb, peyote, nor any other kind under any name or appearance for the same or similar purposes, nor shall he make the Indians or any other person take them, with the further warning that disobedience to these decrees shall cause us. . . to take action against such disobedient and recalcitrant persons as we would against those suspected of heresy to our Holy Catholic Faith.
The earliest historical reference to peyote is that of Franciscan missionary Bernardino de Sahagun. He wrote: "…the Chichimec were the first to discover and use the root which they call peiotl (peyote), and those who are accustomed to eat and drink them used them in the place of wine.
Page 91 Peyotists are strongly opposed to the use of liquor and claim that peyote destroys the taste for alcohol.
Page 110 "…the use of whiskey spread among the Osages like a deadly epidemic…. More Osages are turning to peyote religious cults which had been introduced among the Osages by John Wilson. . . The adherents drink no alcoholic liquor. . . Peyote induced a beautiful state and behavior of adherents was as different from that of whiskey drinkers on a spree as that of peaceful sheep and rampant lions.
Page 133: Congress passed a new law against the sale of liquor to Indians. . . but "these changes brought no improvement in the enforcement of the liquor laws on Indian lands, and the resulting lawlessness had finally become a national scandal.
Superintendent Frank A. Thackery reported that: "With peyote there is very rarely any violence shown from its use while quite the reverse is the case with alcohol."
Superintendent A. R. Miller, reporting on the Kaw, wrote: "There have been no deaths from its use in this tribe. . . The Indians of this tribe who use peyote were formerly hard drinkers, but claim that now they have no appetite for alcohol. . . It is used here, I am informed, in connection with religion.
Page 171: "essentially, the religion is Christianity adapted to traditional Indian beliefs and practices."
Page 163: I have a list of ninety-seven members of the (peyote) Society. Some have belonged for five years, others have joined since that time. Of these ninety-seven, over sixty of them I knew as habitual drunkards. Some ten or twelve of them got drunk every time they came to town. Of this ninety-seven I have seen fully one-half of them under the influence of liquor on election day. With hardly an exception the whole list of ninety-seven members are now total abstainers.
Page 203: William H. Ketchum, to the Bureau of Indian Affairs indicated that the Catholics were aware of peyote and eager to have it declared illegal.
Page 213: In March, Father William H. Ketchum, director of the Bureau of Catholic Indian Missions, sent to the Bureau of Indian Affairs a nine-page file and memorandum including a request to "rid the Reservations of the Mescal [peyote] evil."
Page 213: Christian religious leaders felt a need for a federal law to prohibit the use of peyote.
Page215: The Osage accumulated and published a pamphlet of documents to establish that peyotism was a good influence on Indians behavior and not harmful.
Page 217: But he was ruined by drinking until rehabilitated by peyote.
Page 217: The Indians had made a strong statement to the effect that peyotism was a sincere religion which helped them resist liquor.
Page 220: To justify their drinking they would say, "The white people drink, and why should not we?" Matters began to grow from bad to worse, and it was simply a continuous drunken orgy for several years. After a while white men became afraid to travel the roads on the reservation in the night, and the Indians were afraid to travel on the roads for fear of meeting drunken men. Murders and rape were committed and lawlessness had sway, and the Indians needed help in all this trouble. The agent who had charge of these Indians needed help in all this trouble. The agent who had charge of these Indians was aware of the condition, the Indian Office was aware of the condition, and I think the Indian Rights Association and the missionaries were aware of this desperate situation. What did they do? Nothing. They did absolutely nothing. Poor little children became afraid of their mothers because they drank. They became afraid of their fathers, and when they heard them coming home from town they ran into the ravines, into the bushes, so as to avoid getting hurt.
But suddenly there came a lull in this drunkenness and lawlessness. I had a sister who was a physician, and her practice was mostly among the Indians, and she wrote me regularly about the conditions of the Omaha people. She was interested and one day I got a letter from her in which she said: "A strange thing has happened among the Omahas. They have quit drinking and they have taken to a new religion (the peyote religion) , and members of that new religion say that they will not drink; and the extraordinary part of the thing is that these people pray, and they pray intelligently, they pray to God, they pray to Jesus, and in their prayers they pray for their little ones, and they ask God to bring them up to live sober lives; they ask help from God.
Page 230: "We recognize all people who worship God and follow Christ as members of the one true church. . .We believe in the sacrament and the sacramental bread and wine, but in so much as the use of the same is forbidden to Indians, we of the people who cannot obtain or use the same have adopted the use of bread as Peyote and water as wine."
Page 262: "…it was established that Peyote was not a narcotic. Their information was from the Narcotic Bureau of the United States."
Page 263: Dr. Hoffer, and I who have done I suppose more research on the psycho physiological aspects of this than anyone in Canada, frequently express this viewpoint and emphasize that all the evidence that we have suggested that Peyote is wholely beneficial and in no way a drug of addiction. It cannot even be defined in that way since it does not have the essential compelling qualities or the withdrawal symptoms."
Page 283: The U. S. Indian Service, in a booklet, has declared peyote not habit-forming.
Page 306: Psychiatric Bernard Gordon M.D., who had studied the affects of mescaline (the psychedelic chemical found in the peyote cactus) at the New York Psychiatric Institute with Dr. Paul Hoch, an early researcher of peyote, was also a witness. Gordon maintained that peyote was not harmful, not addictive, and not dangerous.
Page 307: "… the Native American Church, who believe the peyote plant to be of divine origin…."
Page 333: "It was in the sixties when the hippie generation became interested in peyote…"
Page 325: The Drug Abuse Control Acts have been tested a number of times in a number of states and in relation to other religions than peyotism. One of these involved the Neo-American Church, a church which was organized and incorporated by Art Kleps when he and Timothy Leary (a hippie leader) were promoting the general use of all psychedelic substances.
Page 304: "….and thru the grace of our Lord and God, we carry the banners forward. Onward, Christian soldiers of the NAC everywhere thruout this land of ours and unto all the world."
In the 1960s, I, as a hippy, took two hits of mescaline, the psychedelic drug found in peyote. And during that "trip" I was converted from a somewhat Christian expression of New Age hippie Hinduism to Christianity. In addition, I also received the baptism of the Holy Spirit and spoke in tongues. When great multitudes of 1960s youth started to experiment with psychedelic substances, including peyote, our brainwashed minds began to see the truth about our country’s culture, including our country’s cultural mainstream "Christian" churches. In the past, when the slave traders arrived in America, Catholic Bishops were there to greet them, shake their hands, and buy their black African slaves. And with this fact in mind, us psychedelic drug using youth of the 1960s began to question the morality of the alcoholic beverage drinking bishops’ anti-psychedelic drugs stance. We, at the time, came to believe that present-day bishops were a lot like the immoral slave owning bishops of the past, but now they were not in cahoots with slave traders, but with the greedy and corrupt corporate elite of the health and earth destroying industries, such as big oil, big coal, big nuclear, big tobacco and big alcohol. And that they were brainwashing their followers by telling them that they should not question their positions on social justice issues, and that there was no such thing as resistance loyalty.
In the 1960s we counter cultural revolutionaries came to believe that these cultural mainstream "Christian" bishops were telling their followers to basically conform to the mainstream culture and that they should only take counter cultural positions on social justice issues when they were asked to do so by themselves. And we believed that these bishops could not retain their positions of power and influence over great multitudes of their people unless they continued to make a lot of compromises in order to please the people who were running our nation, those people being the greedy and corrupt corporate elite. Hence when we tried to expose the greedy and corporate elite’s evil deeds, we could not do so because these bishops’ brainwashed cultural mainstream followers were brainwashed to believe that they were not suppose to discern whether our (not supported by the bishops) counter cultural positions on social justice issues were right or wrong. They believed that they were suppose to blindly believe that we were wrong. And the bishops’ cultural mainstream brainwashed followers would not use traditional American Indian truth revealing psychedelic substances because their bishops were radically opposed to their use. And this same pitiful situation has continues on to this present day. Hence our nation’s greedy and corrupt elite continue to lead our nation and the whole world toward destruction.
In 1914 narcotics were criminalized nation-wide and in 1919 it became a federal crime to posses alcohol, but marijuana was not criminalized until 1932. During this time span when narcotics and alcohol were illegal drugs and marijuana was still legal Mexican Natives were growing marijuana and selling it to Hispanics who were immigrating into the our nation’s southwestern states. And just prior to the prohibition of marijuana our nation’s governmental leaders came to believe that marijuana would spread to the white people throughout our nation. Hence they decided to criminalize it. It was to much to ask people to abstain from all mood altering substances hence when marijuana was criminalized the prohibition of alcohol laws did not stop the use and abuse of alcohol. Hence they legalized alcohol. We need to try to re-enact the prohibition of alcohol laws again but not until we legalize marijuana.
Note: Reference: http://www.druglibrary.org/schaffer/LIBRARY/studies/vlr/vlrtoc.htm.
I, as a Catholic prophet with a pharmaceutical social engineer ministry, am in the process of trying to found a religious organization that will seek to gain the legal right to use marijuana and peyote in a strictly therapeutic way during religious ceremonies. And in the process of trying to establish this organization I am trying to influence our Catholic Church’s supreme hierarchal authorities to help me and others to gain the legal right to use marijuana and peyote moderately and spiritually during future religious ceremonies.
I believe in "pulling together and away from alcohol", and that the moderate spiritual use of marijuana would help people of alcohol drinking cultures to become alcohol free. I would like to rid the world of the plague of alcohol abuse. And I believe that in nations where alcohol is legal and available there should be both movements to criminalize it, as well as movements to legalize moderate spiritual use of marijuana. And I believe that if these, hopefully futuristic, movements were to become manifest and successful at accomplishing their goals they would solve the whole world’s alcohol abuse epidemic.
Author of Bonanza of Green
In regard to Spiritual usage of Cannabis, I believe that the objections to this one are as illogical as ever. In reality Sacraments are rituals used for religious purposes. These rituals allow a practitioner to raise their spiritual energy. Visualization, meditations, incense burning and prayer are all helpful to the daily maintenance of the spiritual aspect of our lives.
A man from Bridgeport, Connecticut was arrested for selling undercover cops 3/4 an ounce of weed after they found his advertisement on Craig’s List. He blantantly listed "Mary Jane" for sale, with quantities and prices in the ad.
This should be a clear message to anyone attempting to sell cannabis over the Internet. They are watching everything these days, and with their high-tech tools they can find any public notice of illegal activities. While it might be a tempting market, the Internet is subject to ever greater scruitiny by the powers that be…
Mr. Trip and I recently had the pleasure of meeting Joop the Crystalman, whose incredible macro-photographs of cannabis THC tricomes adorn many a wall in the Cannabis College, grow shops, headshops and coffeeshops in Amsterdam. His work has also appeared in many cannabis magazines. Joop is a very engaging fellow, who approaches his advocation with great enthusiasm.
To view more of his wonderful work, please visit his website at http://www.crystalman.nl
Joop: In 1983 I was a roadie with musicians, making a 6 week tour through Holland. One of the boys, he smoked pot. I was 35 years old and that was my first time. I had a good night’s sleep. Then I buy a small packet of marijuana. There were 30-35 seeds in there. So I put it in the ground. And it was good marijuana. And I made pictures of the seeds as they grew. I can show you the first photo I took…
(Joop proceeds to find the photo of his first seeds sprouting in 1983)
And when the plant grows and makes flowers, I take some more photos. I take a loupe, and I look at the crystals and I wonder, what is that? I don’t know what it is. It was so pretty, that I want to LIVE in the crystals! It’s a different world.
So that’s how I started the photos.
Skip: Were you a photographer before you took these photos?
Joop: No, I only took photos of my wife and children.
(he shows us more close-up photos of the inside of the female flower with resin just beginning to form.)
MT: So you have fun playing with colored filters?
Joop: I play with colors, with mirrors.
Skip: Are you developing these yourself?
Joop: No, it’s too much for me.
MT: Do you shoot slide film?
Joop: Yes, I shoot slides, then I take an inter-negative. Then you can make prints from that.
Skip: So you have a microscope that you’re using? Your camera fits on the microscope or you have a special lens that fits on the camera?
Joop: No, I have a projection microscope. (he shows us an amazing device that is part microscope, part projector.) It has a 250 watt bulb. The image comes out onto the screen.
Skip: So you take a picture of the projection?
Skip: This is very sophisticated. Can I take a picture of this? Unless you don’t want to give up your secrets. After all you’re probably the only person doing this! The projector must be old, about 30 years or so, no?
Joop: I don’t know how old it is.
(Joop shows us his website, which has his close up photos, but also some very colorful abstract paintings)
See I make paintings using oil paint. I make a little painting, then I take a photo with the microscope.
Skip: So you’re taking a photo, then you’re painting over it?
MT: No he’s painting on the slide! Then he takes a close-up picture of the paint itself!
Joop: It’s as big as a pinprick! It’s magnified 1200xs.
Skip: And when you take a picture it looks like an abstract painting.
Skip: So at that magnification, just what are you looking at?
MT: Just the chips of color suspended in the paint.
Skip: So those are the pigments of color in the paint. That IS amazing. It takes a bit of explaining to understand!
(Joop shows us a big blowup of one of his photos on canvas)
Skip: So where have your photos appeared?
Joop: They are published in Germany, in High life and Blast magazines in the Netherlands, and last year in High Times magazine in the August 2000 issue. (Soon it will be in Jorge Cervantes’ Marijuana Indoor Horticulture, the bible of marijuana growing).
MT: You can also see his photos in the Cannabis College.
Joop: Also Canamo magazine from Spain will soon be publishing more pictures of mine.
Skip: Can I take a picture of you?
Joop: With my pipe!
Skip: Oh, I see you smoke it pure! I have some hashish here…
Joop: I make my own! (Joop proceeds to unwrap a small but very sticky piece of black hash). It’s not hard, it’s soft. It’s isolator hash. It’s made with the screen in the bag and then you add ice.
Skip: Oh, we call that bubble hash.
Skip: Do you think there is an intimate relationship between humans and cannabis? Isn’t it like an antidote to the stress of society? It slows us down, and helps us get back in touch with nature, and keep us from killing each other. It’s impossible to be violent while stoned on cannabis.
Joop: My first joint made me understand what is happening around me with my family. It expanded my awareness, and helped me understand what happened to me growing up in my big family with 14 children! When I listened to music I heard EVERYTHING!
Skip: It’s like opening your inner eye for the first time. In our society we don’t have a way of opening it. In primitive societies it was part of a shamanic ritual.
(we all toke up here!).
We are viewing some of Joop’s photos. We start seeing all sorts of objects in the microscopic images.
Skip: That looks like an egg!
MT: It looks like an ovum.
Joop: Can you see the dodo?
Skip: Yes, a Dodo bird with long legs.
Joop: Yes, and you’re looking at pure crystals of THC. Look at this one.
Skip: Is that Jesus in the crystals?
Joop: Jesus? Yes, that’s possible. I see a woman.
Skip: Oh, I see the tits. But I was looking at this and saw long hair and a mustache!
Joop: I’m only thinking about females…
Skip: And I’m not even Christian, so I’m surprised I came up with that.
Joop: If you want to see Jesus, you’ve got to smoke these crystals!
Skip: Yeah, then you’ll see Jesus everywhere! (I’m looking at some great photos of individual tricomes) I love these photos. They’re so clear, you can see right through them, they’re still in their natural state, they haven’t fallen off yet. Their so shiny and alive!
(Joop shows us some more of his microscopic paintings)
Joop: When I make these paintings, I don’t even know what I’m making! I must search under the microscope to see what I’ve made.
Skip: You’re blowing my mind Joop! Are you doing any image manipulation on computer yet?
Skip: Oh you’re missing out on a lot of fun!
Joop: I have this computer from last year. I’m an old man. I use it only for email and browsing the web, and I made my own website. I don’t understand the language used in the graphic programs.
(we’re looking at more photos now)
Skip: These look like another world. I can see why you’d like to live on this level!
Joop: It’s amazing to live in that world.
Skip: I think it would be very sticky! (we laugh). I think these are the alien worlds. They’re what we can’t see because they’re too small. Yet we interact with them. We affect them, they affect us. Are you taking picture of other things?
Joop: Yes, I have taken such pictures. Would you like to see some?
Skip: You’ve just whetted my appetite to see what else there is in this world that is just beyond our vision.
Joop: Here’s a close-up of bread and here’s my blood. Here is some pure hashish.
Skip: This one is flower pollen! Oh, I hate this shit, it looks like diamonds. They’re sharp! No wonder they bother me.
Joop: Here’s a metal screen from a pipe.
Skip: It looks like a cyclone fence! Hey Joop, how about a taste of that isolator hash? (Joop provides a piece and a pipe I inhale). Oh wow! It bubbles. That’s amazing. So pure. (Joop shows me another microphoto). That looks like a bug! Stuck on something.
Joop: On the crystal.
MT: It’s a fly.
Joop: A very small fly!
MT: He’s stoned!
Joop shows us more photos.
Skip: This photo looks like something out of Hieronymous Bosch!
MT: This looks like crystal balls, and that looks like little people walking around! (we all laugh).
Joop: This one looks like a storm.
MT: This looks like Jupiter. Here’s monumental building of some sort.
Skip: I see a face in this one.
MT: I see a face in the clouds, is it Abraham Lincoln?
Skip: Joop is still seeing girls in these!
MT: He sees chicks everywhere!
Skip: I see one lying down.
Joop: Another person said he sees a uterus. I said maybe this is a baby here.
Skip: Yes, well you ARE taking pictures of female plant parts.
MT: This looks like a bird flying, or the Loch Ness monster.
Joop: I see a gypsy woman here. Here’s a family. This one’s an alien encounter. These pictures are part of an exhibition in the Princenhof, a museum here in town. Next I will have an exhibition in a coffeeshop.
Skip: Your stuff should be hanging in a gallery.
MT: You seem to be having fun with your artwork.
Skip: And success!
Joop: It’s like candy for me.
Skip: It’s good to see an artist at work.
MT: Yes you are an artist!
Joop: I don’t see it. When I was a little boy 2 or 3 years old, I played with blocks. Now I play with color, with mirrors, with crystals, with a camera and projector. I have a lot fun. I usually work in the night, starting at 8pm, finishing at 4am. There’s not so much noise around.
MT: What about your kids don’t they make noise?
Joop: Grand kids!
Skip: Oh you have grandchildren! Congratulations! Did you have a career before you started this photography?
Joop: When I was 15, I became a sailor and went all around the world, South America, Denmark and Sweden, Morocco, the Mediterranean.
Skip: When did you go to Morocco?
Joop: In 1963. I also worked as a truck driver, as a welder, for the post office in Delft for 10 years. I think different and feel different from the other people who work there. The same with my family. I’m the only one who thinks different, feels different, and wants different. What I want is not in my ass, but in my brain, and I do it. Some day I’ll make my own book with crystal pictures.
MT: I think you’d make a beautiful book with your pictures.
Joop: I’m saving now for that.
UPDATE: June 5, 2003 – Ed is FREE!
Ed Rosenthal was sentenced yesterday to ONE DAY in prison and was released on time served already. He was also fined $1300. This is a HUGE victory for Ed and pot smokers & growers & medical marijuana users everywhere!
Please note: On Jan. 31, 2003, Ed was convicted of marijuana cultivation despite the fact that he was granted permission by the City of Oakland to do just that (a fact that was witheld from the jury). Read more about Ed’s Trial
Please support Ed in his fight for Medical Marijuana Rights!
Interview with Ed Rosenthal
This is the first in a series of interviews with fascinating people who live in or frequently visit Amsterdam and Holland.
SS: Ed, how long have you been studying and writing about growing marijuana?
SS: How has the science of growing advanced over the years? What are the hot new technologies and where are they being tested and employed?
SS: Do you favor legalization or decriminalization?
SS: Have you ever felt persecuted for your marijuana advocacy?
SS: Do you believe that pot is stronger now than before (more THC content), or is it just that we’re more selective about what we are willing to smoke?
SS: Is smoking the more concentrated forms of cannabis like hashish healthier?
SS: Vaporizers are cleaner, but I feel there’s something missing when you use a vaporizer.
Note: Vaporizers are supposed to heat cannabis only until the point at which the THC vaporizes, without burning the plant itself. This is supposed to be healthier with far less tars and other toxic gases being released.
Ed is impressed with a new method of water extraction that yields more hash than just bubble bags alone. Ed and I had recently visited Mila Jansen, the inventor of the Pollinator, a machine resembling a tumble dryer that knocks the THC off the plant and onto a screen for producing hashish. She demonstrated a new technique using an old style Dutch washing machine, the kind with a top lid that opens onto a rotating steel drum with another door inside. She explained her technique which is similar to using just bubble bags, but once she’s done adding water and ice, she just sets it to program "B". That’s it. Just push a button on the washer and eventually you have Ice-o-Lator hashish! And very pure I might add. Mila says this yields 30% more product than the bubble bags.
SS: I love this bubble (Ice-o-Lator) hash. (I’m waving the bag in front of Ed). I’m a hash connoseiur from way back!
We chuckle as we each picture the lonely Maytag repair man getting stoned on Ice-o-Lator hash waiting for the phone to ring….
SS: They’re gonna have to put a new setting on the machine.
SS: Do you think this is now the most potent hash available?
SS: In the states, an extract like this, legally it’s not considered the same as marijuana anymore. It comes under much heavier penalties.
SS: Do your kids smoke?
SS: So do you recommend that parents get involved with cannabis to ensure that their kids go to Ivy league schools? (more laughter).
SS: Do you find the pot industry to be dominated by men?
SS: If you could have it your way, how would you integrate marijuana with an enlightened society?
Ed is very active in seeking to raise awareness of the medical uses of cannabis. I asked Ed about the case now before the Supreme Court, that pits the Oakland Cannabis Club against the U.S. government. Ed was there for the presentation of the oral arguments by the lawyers for the club and the government. The main issue being considered is whether a Club can distribute marijuana based upon medical necessity despite it being against federal law. If the court rules in favor of the Club, or allows the appeals court decision (in favor) to stand, it could remove the primary obstacle against medical marijuana in the U.S., the federal law which states that marijuana is not a medicine.
Note: This case has now been decided against the Oakland Cannabis Club, but the ruling was narrowly applied to growing and distributing, as not being justified by medical necessity (this doesn’t apply to possessing and using). So while it didn’t provide the breakthrough many were hoping, it still has had virtually no effect on the situation in California. According to Ed, there are now 35 medical marijuana clubs or more in the Bay area.
Referring to the California situation, Ed says "The state is between a rock and a hard place. It must try to enforce an unenforcible law (prop. 215), which is very unpopular. A couple of jury trials going for the defendent could crash those walls down."
When asked about the European scene, Ed sees Switzerland’s relatively lax laws on growing as being a boon to growers there. Already Switzerland is supplying a good portion of Europe’s cannabis. This year has seen laws decriminalizing the use and possession of marijuana take effect in Belgium and Portugal, with enforcement of existing laws declining in the U.K and Germany. And now Canada has acted to legalize the use of medical marijuana.
I asked Ed if he thought marijuana could replace alcohol’s role in society. He pointed out that the Dutch experiment proved that cannabis results in less aggression and criminal activity than alcohol. Marijuana is far less harmful to society than currently acceptable social drugs like alcohol and tobacco. But is society ready to accept it as a legal recreational activity?
Ed Rosenthal, the Guru of Ganja, has been teaching the ins and outs of marijuana cultivation for over 18 years through columns in magazines like High Times and now Cannabis Culture. He’s the author of many books (over 1 million sold) on marijuana growing, including the Marijuana Grower’s Handbook.
Click Image for more info.
Ed is a member of the ICRS, the International Cannabis Research Society. It meets this year in Barcelona, Spain.
Click Image for more info.
Ed hosts the ‘420 Report,’ a radio show on KPFA, a SF bay area station that’s part of the Pacifica group (you can listen on the internet at www.kpfa.org). It airs the last Wednesday of every month and includes news, a discussion of the issues, a calendar of events and an Ask Ed segment where Ed answers questions about growing.
Ed’s current project is ‘The Big Book of Buds’ A collection of outstanding photos from the world’s great seed breeders. Look for his new book around Christmas.
Click Image for more info.
By Karl Vick, Washington Post Staff Writer
Source: Washington Post
Los Angeles, CA — The California Supreme Court ruled Thursday that employers can fire workers who test positive for marijuana even if they have a note from a doctor recommending its use for medical reasons.
The 5 to 2 ruling came in a state that was the first to legalize cannabis for medical use but has followed up with ambiguity and ambivalence about making it a reality.
In the latest ruling, the high court said a Sacramento company had the right to fire Gary Ross in 2001 after a routine drug test came back positive for marijuana. Ross showed RagingWire Inc. a copy of his physician’s recommendation to smoke the drug to relieve chronic back pain from three lumbar vertebrae fractured when he fell off the wing of an F-16 as an Air Force mechanic in 1983.
"From 1999 when my doctor started recommending medical marijuana, I can stop that spasm from getting into a knot and I don’t need any pain medication," said Ross, adding he smokes only when he experiences spasms. "Prior to 1999 I was carted off in an ambulance a half a dozen times. Since 1999, only once."
But the company fired him, arguing that drug use was illegal under federal law.
"What are they supposed to do?" said Deborah La Fetra of the Pacific Legal Foundation, which filed a brief supporting the company.
"Employers are held liable all the time when drunk or stoned employees cause trouble, either in the workplace or driving home. That’s one of the reasons why the drug-free workplace is so important."
The high court largely agreed. "No state law could completely legalize marijuana for medical purposes because the drug remains illegal under federal law, even for medical users," Justice Kathryn Werdegar wrote for the majority.
"Nothing in the text or history of the Compassionate Use Act suggests the voters intended the measure to address the respective rights and obligations of employers and employees."
Advocates argued that the state legislature did exactly that, however, when it mentioned the workplace in the 2004 law refining the historic ballot initiative passed by voters in 1996.
In a friend-of-the-court brief filed in support of Ross, five current and former lawmakers quoted statutory language stating that employers were not obliged to tolerate marijuana use on the job. The lawmakers said that amounted to an implicit statement that people who used marijuana medically would, in fact, be expected to have jobs.
Assemblyman Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) immediately announced he would introduce legislation to make the right explicit.
"It really has less to do with whether someone is intoxicated at work than it has to do with the ability of someone to medicate themselves away from work and not during working hours," said Kris Hermes, spokesman for Americans for Safe Access, the Oakland advocacy group that represented Ross.
Said Ross: "What we’re fighting here is the stigma of the history of the ’60s against the elderly generation that’s in power."
Part of the confusion in California stems from blurring distinctions between criminal and civil law covering the workplace. The majority opinion noted that Californians voted only to decriminalize marijuana use, saying that "the voters were entitled to change the criminal law without also speaking to employment law."
But while federal criminal law still bars marijuana across the board, employers would not necessarily run afoul of federal law by employing people who use marijuana away from work, said Noel Ragsdale, an expert on employment law at the University of Southern California.
Ragsdale said the 1988 federal drug-free workplace act requires employers to certify that they have a policy against employees abusing drugs in the workplace. "That, I think, is not implicated in a situation where someone is taking medical marijuana at home and then coming to work," she said
Hermes said technology exists to test employees not simply for evidence of having taken marijuana, but for levels that would indicate whether they are impaired while on the job.
"I don’t think the new technology is cheap," he conceded.
The ruling stands to affect some 200,000 Californians estimated to use marijuana under the recommendation of healers.
"They have an impossible choice, just as the defense says: You can live with excruciating pain, and work. Or you can get relief the act says you can get, and not work," Ragsdale said.
"It’s a real visceral blow to any kind of real ability to realize the benefits of that Compassionate Use Act."
Note: State’s High Court Finds Compassionate Use Act Does Not Affect Employers’ Rights.
Source: Washington Post (DC)
A cannabis dispensary in Los Angeles has become the first shop in California to use a marijuana vending machine. It will dispense cannabis after hours to those in need of medicine. To use the machine a patient must first get fingerprinted and receive a special card. Then they can come into the dispensary after hours, plug in the card and get their medicine.
Our Cannabis Calendar is now up and running. You can post up all sorts of events and search for events near you!
Check out our Grow Journal system. You can keep track of multiple grows, search grows by various criteria and drag images and place videos right into your entries.
We have many new features in the works for the MJ Guide. We will also be publishing a newsletter that our members can customize to their liking.
For vendors we’re creating a whole B2B (business to business) section where you can promote your business to other businesses as well as our members. We are going to build the largest cannabis business network on the planet!
There’s lots more coming, so come back often and see what’s new on the MJ Guide!