Richmond, CA Lifts Ban on Commercial Cannabis Grows

Amidst controversial raids on cannabis growers and extract makers, Richmond, CA has passed the most liberal cultivation legislation to date. Starting this Friday, Richmond will allow for the cultivation of an unlimited number of cannabis plants.

Their intentions may not be entirely altruistic as it appears that the city is more motivated by an exponential growth in collectible taxes than it is with patient access. After observing the apparent success of legalized cannabis in Colorado and Washington, Richmond is probably trying to fix their 12 million dollar deficit by welcoming the cannabis industry with open arms.

“We’re going to be in full tax-collection mode,” said Mayor Tom Butt, who spearheaded the initiative and estimates that it could bring in a minimum of $1 million each year. “We want the money.”

At the same time that Richmond is ushering in the most liberal approach to marijuana farming to date, the surrounding areas are cracking down on the cannabis industry. Some counties, including Contra Costa and Alameda, have banned cultivation entirely. But the prohibition upheaval doesn’t stop there, as recent military style raids conducted by the DEA have taken place throughout California, the results of which have led to the arrests of multiple individuals and millions of dollars in assets and medication seized.

One of the raids was the result of a false tip by a disgruntled former employee who was attempting to start up his own competing business.

Hopefully the passing of this legislation will provide the evidence needed that the cannabis industry does not lead to a rise in crime. but has in fact reduced crime and increased the quality life everywhere it has been accepted.

A celebratory cannabis expo has been planned for Thursday in order to celebrate the bill and bring everyone, from city officials to members of the cannabis community, together in order to address medical cannabis and the effect that it might have on the community. The event is open to public – but no samples will be available.

Community Cannabis Expo.

When: 5-8 p.m. Thursday
Where: 7 Stars Holistic Healing Center, 3288 Pierce St., Suite M108 on the second floor of the Pacific East Mall in Richmond.
Cost: Free and open to the public.

Pro Tips on How to Score Weed When You’re Out of Town

Running dry is the worst nightmare of every stoner, and that bad dream is exacerbated when you are out-of-town and you don’t know any plugs. We have all been there and usually take serious steps to avoid ending up in this dilemma, but since I am a piss poor planner, I have been in this situation on multiple occasions. Luckily, with a little confidence and creativity, I have always been able to score some nugs.

I was actually in this position on Tuesday and the course of actions I took inspired this article.

I was heading to Pismo Beach for an overnight trip and grabbed my last dab as I was heading out the door, but dabs weren’t all I was out of. I was also out of money. Lucky for me I was getting paid the next day, but I still needed to line someone up to purchase from.

Here are some expert tips and tactics, I have developed to score. If you’re ever in a situation similar to the one I found myself in hopefully you too will be successful in acquiring some loud buds.

The most obvious place to start is a cannabis club. If you are a patient, this will most likely be the most efficient way to get your hands on your favorite strain, in some places they might even deliver it. However, if you are not a patient or your rec is expired, cannabis collectives will be of no aid in your search for chronic.

*Pro Tip* Get a cannabis card from the on site doctor, when available.

Another wonderful place to start a search is the internet. (Probably not such a good idea in prohibition states.) With the explosion of medical cannabis, online marketplaces such as craigslist.com have become tools for reaching more patients and advertising your product. And luckily there are multiple illicit advertisers there that will sell to any face in the crowd of cannabis consumers. Although getting busted is possible, there is little to nothing to fear from police when purchasing small amounts of cannabis on the internet, and I have done so successfully on multiple occasions, so shoot them a text and see what happens.

Head shops are another viable option. The odds that whoever is running the place gets high are astronomical, so if you play it cool, they might just hook you up. If they can’t, they almost definitely know someone who can. Don’t be all weird when you ask and try using code names or any of that cop stuff, it will just make them think you are a narc or a loser. Instead be direct and confident. I usually say something like, “Is there anything else available that might not be on the shelves?” But If they seem cool, I’ll tell the attendant I’m from out-of-town and ask if they can hook me up, or know anyone who can. You might have to wait until they get off work, but it’s often successful and the trees are probably going to be of high quality.

*Pro Tip* Buy a piece and ask if they can help you fill it up. The patronage of their business will be appreciated and the fact that you are buying something to smoke out of will help minimize the idea that you might be a narc.

Casinos and Card Rooms. This where I made my score after the recent dry spell I mentioned earlier. I got hooked up by one of the guys at my poker table and thanks to a hot streak of cards, my opponents paid for my bag. Most casinos are full of drug fueled gamblers and party animals so you should have no problem acquiring what you need. I have been offered weed, crank and everything in-between while visiting them. Your best bet to score in a casino is to be friendly and attentive to the players at your table. If you make a weed joke and everyone laughs, chances are someone can help you. Your busted strait is probably worthless as well, so save the bluff and buy some weed.

*Pro Tip* Try to win a couple of hands so you can pay for your sack with other people’s money. And even if you lose all your money someone might take pity on you and smoke you out.

Last but not least – homeless people, vagrants and street urchins. While they are not always holding the product, they usually know where to acquire it quickly. Approach them as your equal, just because they are in a different situation than you in life does not make them any less human, or in any way inferior or subservient to you. Most of us are only one injury, illness or economic turn from homelessness. I myself once lived on the streets and that situation played a large part in me joining the military in order to escape it. And if a friendly outcast does help you procure, you should offer to hook them up with a couple of nugs or kick them down a few bucks for their assistance.

The quality of weed in the wild may vary, but unlike a cannabis collective or local dealer, you may be able to negotiate the price and amount. Be careful and attentive, as some individuals may be so eager to make a couple bucks, the transaction could be too quick or you might take a trip down a rabbit hole.

Proper planning will keep you out of situations like this, but if you’re a stranger in a strange land and you need to score, I can almost guarantee that if you follow my advice there should be no reason you’re not rolling up a fatty in no time at all.

So-Cal Dispensary Owner Shoots Would Be Robbers

A dispensary owner in Walnut Park shot two men after they tried to rob his collective. Around 11pm the men entered the dispensary and at least one of them was armed with an assault rifle. Thankfully, the owner spotted them on one of his security monitors and was able to arm himself.

After the gunfight both men were taken to the hospital in critical condition. They will be remanded into custody as soon as they are healthy enough to leave the hospital.

Gino Chavez, who lives next door and is the director of security for the property, said he heard 2-3 gunshots, and added that he knew the owners and that the situation was unfortunate.

The police responded and are investigating the incident, but in reality they did nothing to prevent the burglary in the first place. Their only incentive to conduct a thorough investigation is the fact that it happened where cannabis is sold and they might be able to get their hands on the product, trump up charges to have it closed or extort the business owner.

Why rip off a cannabis dispensary? The reasons are obvious, lots of cash and lots of weed. For those reasons alone it is important for dispensaries to maintain a level of security that not only protects their inventory, but also makes the patients feel safe.

When looking at the choices for security you only have three options. The obvious choice is let the police handle any criminal activity, but this places you and your investments at risk. The police can only respond so fast and are already stretched thin as it is, with an average response time of ten minutes and a history of collateral damage, you’re better off with no security at all.

The second option, and from my experience the one chosen most by dispensaries, is to employ a staff security guard armed with a firearm. This is usually enough to deter potential problems and make patients feel safe while obtaining their medication. This is also important for collectives that remain open after dark. Being able to provide an elderly or disabled patient with an escort to their vehicle is not only respectful, it’s great for business. It’s also great at keeping any would be intruders out.

The last option is to provide self security, much like the dispensary owner did in this case. Whether he could afford to hire a guard or not, the owner chose to be responsible for his own security,and successfully defended his business from an intrusion. His use of cameras allowed for early warning and a response time that would shame the police. His proficiency with his personal defense weapon allowed him to equalize the battlefield that his dispensary had turned into. Without these tools, he too would have been just another victim that the police were powerless to protect.

Gary Johnson: The Libertarian Candidate Whose State Still Imprisons Cannabis Users

Gary Johnson, Governor of New Mexico and Libertarian Party front-runner for the presidential nominee, is not all he is cracked up to be when it comes to cannabis prohibition. New Mexico still has laws prohibiting the use of cannabis and will imprison you for up to 15 days on your first offense, even if you are caught with only an ounce or less. You are also subject to a fine, IE: state extortion, for the victimless action of possessing a plant. Johnson is no longer governor, but you would imagine that during his time in that office he would’ve done something to augment the legislation surrounding prohibition. However that is not the case and cannabis was not legalized for medical use in New Mexico until 2007, 4 years after he left office.

Johnson himself is a user of cannabis, a proponent for legalization and is invested in the cannabis market through his company Cannabis Sativa Inc, where he brands and markets the best in cannabis products. While Johnson doesn’t smoke weed anymore, until recently he still consumed edibles, but has stopped using cannabis altogether in order to be “knife sharp” – presumably for his presidential campaign.

While I applaud Gov. Johnson for his public cannabis exposure, I do have a problem with him allowing other cannabis users to rot in prison cells while he tantalized his brain cells with sticky icky sativa candies.

During his time as Governor Johnson did issue over a thousand pardons for drug related arrests – but still there remain scores of non-violent drug offenders locked away for nothing more than voluntary interactions surrounding a controversial, yet miraculous, plant. That doesn’t seem right. Are some offenders different from others due to amount or intention, or should all non violent cannabis users be treated equally?

Johnson, who illegally smoked cannabis from 2005-2007 after a hang glider accident, never should have had to consider his own civil disobedience and that of his supplier whenever he purchased his anarchist medication.  As governor, Johnson was endowed with the ability to  pardon an individual who has been convicted wrongfully or unjustly. This can be a drawn out process, but if Johnson was the libertarian he claimed to be, victimless drug offenders rotting in a cage would not have sat well with him, and he would have exercised that power to a point where New Mexico prosecutors would’ve had to stop prosecuting people or juries would no longer convict.

During his previous campaign for president, Johnson promised to establish a process to expedite pardons for the hundreds of thousand of victims of the failed war on drugs. He maintains this platform in his current campaign and hopes to change response to drug use from a criminal justice issue to one about health.  While he may not be a proponent for the legalization of all drugs, Johnson did say that he was willing to take a look at other drugs, and that decriminalizing drug use would be a good start.

“It’s an issue that everybody focuses on because in 1999 I was the highest elected official in the United States to call for the legalization of marijuana. I think that was good news in ’99. Bad news is in 2016 I’m still the highest elected official to call for the legalization of marijuana. Though I guess Bernie Sanders has now embraced this in his running for president, which is great. I mean to bring awareness to this.”

“The war on drugs is insane and it has resulted in my opinion… it’s at the root of Black Lives Matter, it’s at the root of why police forces have militarized themselves, it’s at the root of why we have the highest incarceration rate of any country in the world.”

“I am not advocating the legalization of other drugs. But starting off at looking at other drugs, and decriminalizing drug use is really a good start. These are health issues, these are not criminal justice issues.”