News, media, and information on medical marijuana in California and how you can get involved!

 

Marijuana Users Leave Shadows Behind: THC Exposé shines light on changing attitudes

As novelist Victor Hugo once said, “there is nothing more powerful than an idea whose time has come.”

Though he didn’t know it at the time, Hugo could have been talking about the marijuana legalization movement in the United States–and increasingly, Los Angeles is at its epicenter. Once a marker of fringe associations and counterculture ties, marijuana use has a new face, which is proudly on display at public events, such as this weekend’s second annual THC Exposé.

Taking its name from tetrahydrocannabinol, the primary psychoactive substance found in cannabis, THC Exposé bills itself as “the greatest cannabis show on earth,” and is expected to draw thousands to the Los Angeles Convention Center April 23-25.

“Initially, it was an Expo,” says owner and founder, Brian Roberts. “But in the last year it has become more of an exposé, since we need to expose the truth about THC.”

In a statement, Roberts’ company, World War Thirteen, Inc., says it is fighting a propaganda war “that was started by the U.S. Government in 1937 when it arrested the first prisoner of war.” The reference is to Samuel R. Caldwell, who has the distinction of being the first seller of marijuana convicted under the Marijuana Tax Act, sentenced to 2-4 years in Leavenworth Prison.

Roberts refers to the newly-liberated marijuana industry as “an economic powerhouse.” The organizer estimates that cannabis and its related businesses constitute a $16 billion a year industry, many of which will be represented, including cannabis tourism, cultivation and legal & medical professionals.

More than ever, marijuana users are showing their faces–and those faces look–unsurprisingly–like someone you might see at the mall or Home Depot. In a recent on line conversation about marijuana use, readers of blogger Andrew Sullivan, reported their own “cannabis closet” stories. Self-identified users ranged from the leader of a successful law firm to “a 39 year-old homeschooling mom” and a woman who remarked, “My husband and I are both successful, responsible citizens and parents to two teenagers. I have smoked pot occasionally since high school–always thinking on those occasions that I really should do it more often.”

As reader Charlene commented to The 420 Times, “pot users have always been normal, everyday people like you and me. The only thing that’s changing is that we’re no longer cowering in the shadows.”

The growing willingness of users, both medicinal and recreational, to identify themselves with marijuana, has spawned close-knit communities around the cause of legalization as well as burgeoning medical cannabis industry. Hundreds of dispensaries, lawyers, medical establishments, and publications (including The 420 Times) have emerged to serve the needs of this specialized industry. But, it has not been without significant opposition and anxiety from law enforcement and elected leaders.

On April 16, the Los Angeles City Council approved the final piece of a long-delayed ordinance that, when enforced, will cause hundreds of medical marijuana dispensaries to close shop. However, this November, California voters will have the opportunity to cast their vote on the full-scale legalization of marijuana. State voters first approved the use of cannabis for medical purposes with the passage of the Compassionate Use Act in 1996, although federal prohibition on marijuana possession has continued to make the legal position of patients and caregivers somewhat precarious.

In spite of the setbacks, however, the trajectory of marijuana legalization is clearly toward greater liberalization. In 2009, the Obama Justice Department announced that it would not pursue enforcement of federal marijuana statutes in cases where users are in compliance with local law.

Dave Brian of The 420 Times, which specializes in issues related to medicinal marijuana, believes that the industry’s spirit is strong. “The high turnouts we’ve seen at community gatherings and industry conventions show that patients and caregivers are determined to move forward no matter what.”

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Dege Coutee interviewed on 420LawOffice Radio tonight.

Stewart Richlin from 420lawoffice.com is going to be doing another one of his Thursday night radio shows tonight at 8:30pm. He’s going to be interviewing Dege Coutee from Cannabissaveslives.com and recallcityhall.org and she’s going to talk about the drive to recall the mayor and a lot of details about the new LA City Ordinance. If you’re in California and want to get involved in keeping the dispensaries legal and keeping the rights for medical marijuana patients, this is an important show to listen to. Details about how to join the show are [here]


420 Radio

I’ve been following 420lawoffice radio show [420LawOffice.com] and it’s a pretty fun show to listen to. I noticed a few things, too. First, at the end, he interviews a guy named “Caregiver Y Not”. It’s better to have confidentiality on a radio show having to do with medical marijuana, although it is a somewhat safe business to go into due to it being state legal. Anyway, “Caregiver Y Not” and Stewart Richlin have what they call a Cultivation Segment, where they go over various strains and cultivation methods. That’s a very fun part of the show, and one of my favorite parts.

The radio show is on at 8:30 PM every Thursday night, and a helpful hint is to perhaps click on the red play button almost on the middle of the screen and not the blue box on the right side, because that will play old episodes. Also, don’t press the play button until it is fully on the air because that will also play an old episode.

He also interviews people in the middle of the show about what they are doing in the marijuana world at that point in time. There is a lot of stuff going on right now with the city, notably the ordinance and various court cases that Stewart goes over with his many guests. This section mostly deals with the civil rights aspect and I love to see that everyone on the show is so dedicated to help the patients, and fighting for what is right in this corrupt world. It’s very refreshing in these apathetic days of “whatever, man.”

There’s also a news segment, which is great for me because I am slightly lazy and he paraphrases the headlines he sees from that week. Thank goodness he has a news segment, because there is so much out there in regard to news that it kind of gets overwhelming.

And he also has a question and answers section that he does for a few minutes if there is leftover time. I think it’s best to throw him a comment on the site beforehand because he does get quite a few calls from people. I’ve noticed that there are a few who call in on the questions section (the call in number is (917) 889-3266) who think that the call in number is to listen to the show, so those in the queue might not get on the line due to lost time. But do try anyway! It is worth it.

If you’re looking to open a medical marijuana dispensary in California, you should really go to a lawyer instead of trying to do it yourself so you can be sure that you’ve got all your bases covered and every bit of the paperwork is done as legally as possible. It’s also really good to have someone who actually knows what they’re doing backing you on the whole process. Stewart Richlin represents over 200 medical marijuana dispensaries and pretty much seems to be the best at what he does.

The website has the archive of old editions of the radio shows, Youtube videos, a comic book about the law, and links to important recent cases. 420LawOffice.com.