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MAPTalk-Digest Tuesday, November 3 2009 Volume 09 : Number 112

001 US CA: Golden State's Green Future
    From: Richard Lake <>
002 Re: MAP: LEAP: Don't Let Congress Censor Discussion of Legalization
    From: Tom Suther <>


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Subj: 001 US CA: Golden State's Green Future
From: Richard Lake <>
Date: Mon, 2 Nov 2009 07:13:37 -0800

Newshawk: Jay Bergstrom
Pubdate: Sun, 1 Nov 2009
Source: Contra Costa Times (CA)
Page: 1, Front Page
Copyright: 2009 Bay Area News Group
Contact: 
Website: http://www.contracostatimes.com/
Details: http://www.mapinc.org/media/96
Author: Josh Richman, Oakland Tribune
Bookmark: http://www.mapinc.org/people/Richard+Lee
Bookmark: http://www.mapinc.org/people/Jeff+Jones
Bookmark: http://www.mapinc.org/find?115 (Cannabis - California)

GOLDEN STATE'S GREEN FUTURE

Just in from Stockton, Mary parks her car and enters the downtown 
Oakland coffeehouse -- but she hasn't come all this way for a cup of joe.

Instead, she peruses a menu of dozens of strains and preparations of 
marijuana, all grown in California, all taxed, all legal. Producing a 
wad of cash and proof of her age -- but no doctor's note -- for a 
fragrant ounce of "purple kush," she departs a satisfied customer, 
perhaps grabbing a snack at a nearby restaurant before hitting the highway.

This could be California's near future, what with three 
marijuana-legalization initiatives in circulation for the November 
2010 ballot. A legislative bill is pending as well, although it's 
being revamped by its author.

Groups such as the National Association for the Reform of Marijuana 
Laws and the Marijuana Policy Project favored waiting at least until 
2012, when a presidential vote might mobilize a younger, more 
progressive electorate. But these measures' proponents believe 
shifting attitudes and the economic crisis make 2010 the time to act.

They say legalization makes fiscal sense as well as moral sense -- 
ending the centurylong practice of criminalizing a widely used 
substance that's less harmful than alcohol, America's legal drug of 
choice. They tout an immediate, massive savings in state and local 
law enforcement and corrections costs, and perhaps significant new 
revenue; a state Board of Equalization study found California could 
reap $1.3 billion a year from licensing and taxing what's already its 
biggest -- albeit off-the-books -- cash crop, if the federal ban on 
marijuana is lifted.

But many in law enforcement contend whatever money is saved and made 
wouldn't be worth the harm done to communities.

Measure of Movement

Of the three ballot measures seeking petition signatures, the one 
with the most money and buzz behind it would legalize personal 
cultivation and use but would let local governments choose whether to 
allow commercial cultivation and retail sales of up to an ounce at a 
time, creating a patchwork of "wet" and "dry" cities and counties.

"It's up to the local jurisdictions for what works best, just as we 
have alcohol laws," said co-proponent and Oaksterdam University 
President Richard Lee, who could see his business -- providing 
"quality training for the cannabis industry" -- grow exponentially if 
his measure passes.

Co-proponent Jeff Jones directed the now-defunct Oakland Cannabis 
Buyers Cooperative and now runs its successor, the Patient ID Center, 
in Oakland and Los Angeles. They've hired a professional petition 
drive management firm, and went in expecting to spend about $1 per signature.

"We got 206,000 in the first three weeks, so that's about 32 percent 
in 14 percent of the time," Lee said. "We think we'll be done maybe a 
little after Thanksgiving at the rate we're going. People have been 
ripping the petition blanks out of our hands, they're so eager to sign them."

But would marijuana be sold in coffeehouses, in dedicated stores, in 
liquor stores or in a neighborhood drugstore? Where and when could 
one smoke? What kind of advertising would be permitted? Could 
California employees of national companies be fired for testing 
positive for cannabis? All these questions and many more would be 
left up to state and local lawmakers.

Lee hopes places that choose to allow, regulate and tax commercial 
sales -- most likely the more liberal, coastal areas at first -- 
would adopt a "coffeehouse" model like Amsterdam's, which 
proliferated for a while in Oakland under California's medical 
marijuana law. Such businesses balance sensitivity to the community 
with knowledgeable customer service, better than impersonal 
mass-market retail sales, he said.

Nation vs. States

The wild card is federal law, which still bans all cannabis 
cultivation, use and sale. The Obama administration advised federal 
prosecutors last month not to pursue medical marijuana patients and 
providers adhering to their states' laws. But while health is often 
constitutionally considered to be within states' purview, interstate 
commerce and control of dangerous drugs has been federal territory, 
and there's no telling whether the first county to authorize a big, 
commercial farm growing marijuana for recreational use would see it 
immediately busted by the Drug Enforcement Administration.

All the measures' proponents hope legalization in California -- a 
state comprising about 12 percent of the nation's population, and a 
higher percentage of its agriculture and commerce -- would lead other 
states and eventually the federal government to do the same. Until 
then, California once again would be a trailblazer, with all the 
potential headaches accompanying that distinction.

Those headaches would include increased drug abuse and its 
accompanying crime, according to law enforcement officials who 
testified at an Assembly Public Safety Committee hearing Wednesday in 
Sacramento.

Committee chairman Tom Ammiano, D-San Francisco, in February 
introduced a bill that would legalize marijuana cultivation, sales, 
possession and use by adults, regulating it somewhat like alcohol; 
Wednesday's hearing was to gather input as he rewrites the bill to 
address concerns raised this year.

Officials from various law enforcement agencies and associations 
testified that legalization under any scheme could lead to more, not 
less, use by children; more people driving under the influence, 
causing more injuries and deaths; decreased worker productivity that 
could hurt the economy; and the continuance of a thriving black 
market. California Peace Officers' Association President John 
Standish said there's "no way marijuana legalization could protect or 
promote society -- in fact, it radically diminishes it."

After the hearing, Sally Fairchild -- deputy director of the Northern 
California High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area, who had testified on 
behalf of the California Narcotic Officers Association -- said a 
wet-and-dry county scenario like that envisioned by Lee and Jones' 
measure would be "unenforceable" as a practical matter. Any county 
choosing to regulate commercial cultivation and sale will become "the 
dope dealer for that region," fueling rampant black market operations.

Cops Aren't Only Critics

Some say Lee and Jones' measure doesn't go far enough. Dennis Peron, 
a proponent of 1996's successful medical marijuana ballot measure, 
Proposition 215, recently likened limits set by Lee and Jones' 
measure to a hypothetical law allowing only one bottle of wine in a 
home: "These limits guarantee confusion, harassment and black 
marketeering forevermore."

There's no exception from the prohibition on "smoking cannabis in any 
space while minors are present" for parents in their homes, he noted 
in a recent statement. "We don't lock up parents for having a glass 
of wine with dinner, and we certainly don't tell the kids to leave 
the house for the purpose of consuming any other substance, so why 
start with cannabis?"

And taxation would maintain cannabis "as the most expensive, 
blatantly overpriced product on the market thus forcing most people 
to choose cheaper, more dangerous drugs," Peron wrote. "Surely we can 
do better than this. How about just legalizing it?"

Alternative Views

Another proposed ballot measure seems closer to that scenario. One of 
its proponents, San Francisco attorney James Clark, was helping Lee 
and Jones draft their measure when he hit upon what he believes is a 
better plan.

Lee and Jones' limits on personal cultivation and use encourages 
"very much a commercial model, very much keeping prohibition alive," 
Clark said, while his proposal seeks to "make this like soybeans" so 
anyone can grow and use as much as they want for themselves, which he 
believes will actually reduce demand in the long run. Commercial 
cultivation and sales would be licensed and taxed; Clark envisions 
big farms furnishing cannabis products to retail outlets -- perhaps 
liquor stores, perhaps drugstores.

Clark said his measure "was never meant to be a really viable 
petition," lacking funding and full-time staff members, but "we're 
really starting to get traction. "... If our growth continues to be 
exponential, it's possible we'll make the ballot." He acknowledges, 
however, that Lee and Jones' measure is more likely to qualify.

John Donohue, 84, of Long Beach -- a marijuana user since 1946, 
embittered by his five arrests for the drug -- offers another 
measure, co-authored with longtime marijuana and Peace and Freedom 
Party activist Casey Peters, of Los Angeles. Donohue said they tried 
to keep it simple -- specifics of taxation and regulation would "just 
have to be worked out in the process" -- and hoped people would get 
behind it, but their petition drive has stalled as Lee and Jones' 
measure gets most of the exposure.

"(We are) giving various interviews and telling people what our 
position is and hoping we can start a movement," he said. "The main 
point is: Stop arresting people for a non-crime. I have bumper 
stickers that say, 'Show me the crime.'"%"

The Next Budweiser?

Ultimately, any legalized marijuana scenario will have pluses and 
minuses, says Mark Kleiman, professor of public policy and director 
of the Drug Policy Analysis Program at the UCLA.

"How much different does it look than today? You don't have to get a 
phony doctor's recommendation," he said. "How much bigger would the 
market be than it is today? There's no way to tell."

But Kleiman predicts it would be bigger, especially if commercial 
advertising -- print, online, radio and television ads, billboards, 
catchy jingles -- becomes commonplace.

"Do we get brand names? You can imagine this becoming like the liquor 
industry," he said. "I don't think it's the end of the world. But if 
we go the whole commercial route, I think you will have more drug abuse."

If a million more Californians take up marijuana use, "we'll have 
another 100,000 pretty screwed up on it. Being screwed up on 
marijuana might not be as bad as being screwed up on alcohol, but 
it's still bad enough," Kleiman said. "Unlike some people, I don't 
think the stuff's harmless."

Yet, with careful regulation and steps to avoid commercialization, 
California could do far worse, he said. "Do I believe the state could 
get half a billion out of this (in taxes)? Yeah I do. Do I think it 
could also save a couple of hundred million (on law enforcement)? 
Yes, probably."

[sidebar]

THE PLANS TO LEGALIZE POT

. Assembly Bill 390: Introduced in February by Assemblyman Tom 
Ammiano, D-San Francisco, it would legalize marijuana cultivation, 
sales, possession and use by people 21 and older, regulating it 
somewhat like alcohol. A license to grow for sale would cost $5,000 
to start and then $2,500 to renew each year, and a $50-per-ounce tax 
would be placed on retail sales. Ammiano said he hopes this would 
bring upward of $1.4 billion per year for drug abuse prevention 
efforts. No taxation would occur unless the federal marijuana ban is 
lifted; otherwise, the bill's only effect would be legalization of 
personal cultivation and use. Ammiano held the bill in committee this 
year, and is now rewriting it to put it forth again in January.

. The Regulate, Control and Tax Cannabis Act of 2010: Proposed by 
Oakland marijuana activists Richard Lee and Jeff Jones, it would 
legalize personal possession of up to an ounce of cannabis and up to 
25 square feet of cultivation per home. It also would give local 
governments the option of whether to permit, regulate and tax 
commercial sales, a system akin to show alcohol is or isn't sold in 
"wet" and "dry" counties in some states. This seems to be the measure 
to watch; the proponents say their petition drive is surging, and its 
endorsements include that of Oakland mayoral candidate and former 
state Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata. For details, go to 
www.taxcannabis2010.org.

. The Tax, Regulate and Control Cannabis Act of 2010: Advanced by 
proponents Joe Rogoway, Omar Figueroa and James Clark, all of San 
Francisco, it would legalize personal cultivation and use without 
limits, but would require -- not just allow -- state and local 
governments to regulate and tax commercial marijuana cultivation and 
sales. Tax revenues would have to be spent on education, health care, 
environmental programs, public works and state parks. For details, go 
to www.californiacannabisinitiative.org.

. The Common Sense Act of 2010: Advanced by proponent John Donohue, 
of Long Beach, it would require the Legislature to adopt laws 
regulating and taxing marijuana within one year, but would let local 
governments choose whether to also tax marijuana's cultivation, sale, 
and use. For details, go to www.grasstax.org. 

------------------------------

Subj: 002 Re: MAP: LEAP: Don't Let Congress Censor Discussion of Legalization
From: Tom Suther <>
Date: Tue, 3 Nov 2009 14:08:53 -0800

Not sure if this is really a problem or reality.  this is the same thing Biden put into the ONDCP charter.

They lie anyhow so what the heck.

Who cares about free speech certainly Grassley does not.

- -----Original Message-----
>From: Leroy Casterline <>
>Sent: Nov 3, 2009 1:49 PM
>To: 
>Cc: MAP talk <>
>Subject: MAP: LEAP: Don't Let Congress Censor Discussion of Legalization
>
>Take action here: 
>http://org2.democracyinaction.org/o/5663/t/5525/campaign.jsp?campaign_
>
>As soon as this Thursday, November 5, the U.S. Senate Judiciary 
>Committee could vote on an amendment that will legally prevent some of 
>the government's top advisers from even discussing the idea of 
>legalizing or decriminalizing drugs as a solution to the failed "war on 
>drugs."
>
>Yes, you read that right.  The Senate just might censor its own policy 
>advisers from giving science-based advice.
>
>The censorship amendment's author, Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA), is 
>trying to attach the speech prohibition onto an otherwise positive bill 
>that will create a blue ribbon commission to study our nation's failed 
>criminal justice and drug policies.  The commission is supposed to make 
>recommendations for ways to improve the system, but how can they do that 
>with the blindfold that Sen. Grassley wants to put on them?  Please take 
>action below and tell your senators to oppose the censorship amendment!
>
>---------------------------------------------------------------------------
>Attachment: http://mapinc.org/temp/29wJCGioAWh_s.html

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End of MAPTalk-Digest V09 #112
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