by the Prohibition law. For nothing is more destructive of respect for the
government and the law of the land than passing laws which cannot be
enforced." — Albert Einstein
4. Dr Sanjay Gupta Changes His Mind About Weed
A new documentary called Weed premiered on CNN last Sunday night. The film follows the reversal of CNN chief medical correspondent Sanjay Gupta’s stance on marijuana. Leading up to the premiere of Weed, Gupta came out with a public apology for misleading the public about marijuana. ”We have been terribly and systematically misled for nearly 70 years in the United States, and I apologize for my own role in that,” Gupta—who authored “Why I would Vote No on Pot” for Time magazine in 2009—wrote in his apology. Weed follows the doctor’s reversal on marijuana. It profiles a diverse group of people who have benefited from the plant, including Charlotte Figi, a 5-year-old girl with a severe form of epilepsy. As a toddler, she suffered up to 300 seizures a week. Desperate for some relief, her parents turned to medical marijuana, which has reduced the frequency of her seizures to two or three per month.
Another highlight of Weed is Gupta’s coverage of medical marijuana research in Israel, home to 10,000 medical marijuana patients who are licensed under the country’s Ministry of Health. Israel has been at the forefront of medical marijuana research for decades now, being the first to isolate THC and CBD. More than a dozen studies have been approved by the Ministry of Health to research marijuana’s effect on illnesses like PTSD, pain, Crohn’s disease, and cancer. Gupta also visited a nursing home where some residents, including an octogenarian Holocaust survivor, use medical marijuana to treat a range of ailments including pain, loss of appetite, Parkinson’s disease and dementia.
Watch the full documentary above.
this former microsoft manager plans to launch the world’s first global marijuana brand:
Budding marijuana mogul Jamen Shively is building the nation’s first retail brand of marijuana, he announced at a Seattle press conference on Thursday, alongside former Mexican president Vicente Fox. The 45-year-old former corporate strategy manager at Microsoft has been developing a chain of retail stores, already dubbed “the Starbucks of pot." "It’s a giant market in search of a brand," he said of the world-wide marijuana industry (estimated at $142 billion). “We would be happy if we get 40 percent of it worldwide.” The self-proclaimed “amateur evangelist of cannabis” said he has only recently “fallen in love” with pot after smoking it for the first time 18 months ago. Since then, he has been purchasing marijuana dispensaries in Washington and Colorado, where recreational pot was legalized last November. “Ladies and gentlemen, this is a unique moment in history,” Shively said Thursday. “The Berlin Wall of the prohibition of cannabis is weak, and it is crumbling as we speak.” The brand will be called ”Diego Pellicer" after Shively’s great-grandfather, who he claims was a major hemp grower. All that remains is the cash. Shively is currently seeking investors for the estimated $10 million needed to launch the company—but he seems optimistic. "Let’s go big or go home," he said. "We’re going to mint more millionaires than Microsoft with this business."
As far as legal issues, Shively said he’s not concerned about the federal government cracking down—all his dispensaries comply with local and state law, and his business will be transparent. "If [the feds] want to come talk to me, I’ll be delighted to meet with them," he said. "I’ll tell them everything that we’re doing and show them all our books." He plans to launch the brand both domestically and internationally, and said he and Fox "intend to pursue" the possibility of a marijuana trade between Mexico and the US. The former Mexican president, who has advocated for legalization of all drugs, called Shively’s vision a “game changer.” Fox has been vocal in his opposition to the aggressive drug war tactics in Mexico, and added that he was glad to be working alongside Shively, instead of notorious Mexican drug lord, Chapo Guzman. ”It’s time for a new start, a new vision,” he said, ”That’s why I applaud this group.”
Could jury nullification have saved a pro-marijuana activist from an 81-year prison sentence for selling pot?
Rich Paul of Keene, New Hampshire, is planning on appealing to the New Hampshire Supreme Court on the grounds that the judge misled the jury on what nullification is in his trial for selling marijuana to an undercover Drug Task Force informant. According to Free Keene’s coverage of the trial, judge John C. Kissinger emphasized that the jury had to follow the law as he explained it and didn’t mention jury nullification. Kissinger’s instructions to the jury were different than the ones given to the jury in the case of Doug Darrell, a 59-year-old Rastafarian woodworker who was acquitted of marijuana-growing charges thanks to jury nullification.
Paul, who essentially admitted that he sold marijuana to an FBI informant, had refused plea-bargain deals (including one that would have let him walk away with no jail time) because he wanted to stand up for his principles—weed is basically harmless and you should be allowed to smoke it and sell it to your friends. “Somebody had to stand up and say that this is wrong, and I thought I might as well be that guy,” he said in an email to VICE two days before the jury found him guilty. “I took the risk and now we’ll find out whether I bet my life well.”
some background on jury nullification:
Confusion about the legality of jury nullification is natural—essentially, it’s legal only because jurors can’t get punished for whatever verdict they reach. In the 90s, a juror from Colorado named Laura Kriho was charged with contempt of court for voting to acquit a 19-year-old charged with possession of meth and supposedly lying about her anti–drug war beliefs during the jury selection process, in what a lot of people read as an assault on the doctrine of nullification. Since then, though, the idea has become more mainstream—in 2010, the New York Times reported on prospective jurors in Missoula, Montana, voicing their concerns about sending an admitted weed dealer to prison, which led to the charges being dropped, and the mayor of San Diego recently said he supported nullification in a case involving a man running a medical-marijuana dispensary (legal under state law) who got arrested by the Feds.
In the past, juries in the South have used nullification to acquit whites accused of hate crimes against blacks, so the doctrine does have some nasty history behind it. A common critique, as expressed by the Straight Dope in a 2009 blog post on nullification, is, “If you want to change the law, do it at the ballot box, not in the jury room.” But change at the ballot box is complicated in 2013’s America. Even when states legalize marijuana, the federal government’s agencies can still crack down on people using and selling a legal (or semilegal) substance. Juries are supposed to represent the conscience of the community—is it so far-fetched to believe that many communities would find laws that send nonviolent criminals to prison for years repugnant? And shouldn’t they have some clearly defined mechanism for stopping that from happening?
Justice is not cheap in America so a fundraiser has started to help hire a lawyer for Rich Paul’s appeal. You can donate to his cause here
i spoke to some pot-smoking ‘boomers—including rick doblin of the multidisciplinary association for psychedelic studies and yes, i was geeking—about “smoking dope” in their fifties and sixties
As US marijuana laws evolve and society distances itself from previous prohibitionist attitudes, the baby boomer generation (born roughly 1946-1964), is smoking pot at an ever higher rate—or at least more of them are admitting it. As of 2011, 6.3% of adults between ages 50 and 59 reported using marijuana, up from 2.7% in 2002, according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health. “There’s a resurgence of interest in pot and psychedelics in baby boomers,” Rick Doblin, executive director of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, tells The Fix. “Many of them had experience with these substances in college, then gave them up for their families and careers. Now that they’re retiring and no longer working, they’re more open.” Doblin, who is 59 and has been a regular toker since he was 17, says his marijuana use has become more “work-oriented” as he’s gotten older. “I better understand how to use [pot] for activity rather than just relaxation,” he explains. “It goes terrific with exercise and physical labor. Older people understand this better.”
Doblin says the stigma of pot has decreased in recent decades, and many baby boomers now have a “longer-term perspective” about marijuana after witnessing scare stories blow over. “We’ve watched for 40 years and have found a lot of these claims [about the dangers of pot] to be untrue,” he says. Many older adults also feel freer to use the drug now that their children have grown up and left home. Though not all of them are completely open about it. “What’s so ironic to me is how many people grew up hiding marijuana from their parents,” says Doblin, “and now they’re hiding marijuana from their kids.”
Following the recent passage of Amendment 64 in Colorado, which legalized recreational marijuana possession of up to one ounce for those 21 and older, two Denver entrepreneurs have launched the country’s first marijuana tourism company. In celebration of the worldwide marijuana holiday on April 20th, My 420 Tours has a full week’s schedule of events planned for visitors as part of “World Cannabis Week.” This includes car service from the airport to a “420 friendly” hotel, cooking classes, Home Grow Cultivation 101, concerts, bus tours, daily 4:20PM Happy Hour parties, and more. These packages range from $499 to $849 per person, and about 160 people have signed up so far. Since recreational marijuana sales remain illegal for at least a few more months in Colorado, the company won’t be doling out marijuana to its clients. But participants will enjoy access to certain events—such as the High Times Cannabis Cup—where pot is likely to be shared freely and legally. Matt Brown, one half of the entrepreneurial duo behind My 420 Tours, describes his vision for the week-long event: “This is not about coming to Colorado to get wrecked and smoke as much pot as you can and be a degenerate stoner hippie. We’ve modeled World Cannabis Week as a cross between a wine tour of Napa Valley and the best concert or entertainment experience you can imagine.”
“We used to roll our cigarettes right out in the open and light up like you would on a Camel or a Chesterfield. To us a muggle wasn’t any more dangerous or habit-forming than those other great American vices, the five-cent Coke and the ice-cream cone, only it gave you more kicks for your money.” — Mezz Mezzrow
Drug Policy Alliance’s Ethan Nadelmann to Bill Maher: ‘Pot is the new gay’ (via The Raw Story)
Reason TV: 3 Reasons to Legalize Pot Now!
(Source: The Huffington Post)