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.”


LA Begins Process Of Closing Hundreds Of Pot Shops

LOS ANGELES — Hundreds of medical marijuana dispensaries are being told they must shut down to comply with a recently approved city ordinance in Los Angeles.

More than 500 letters were expected to be mailed Tuesday to collectives across the city, where dispensaries had been multiplying in recent years as city officials struggled to approve a local law.

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa on Friday signed an ordinance that sets fees for the pot clinics allowed to remain open if they meet stricter guidelines. About 137 eligible dispensaries have six months to comply.

City officials say the remainder have until June 7 to close.

Twenty-one collectives have sued Los Angeles to block enforcement of the new law.

Several other LA Area collectives are in the process of setting up lawsuits as well.


Dege Coutee interviewed on 420LawOffice Radio tonight.

Stewart Richlin from 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 and 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]

Jack Herer, The “Hemperor” of the marijuana legalization movement, dies in Oregon at age 70.

Jack Herer, the father of the marijuana legalization movement for whom a strain of cannabis is named, died Thursday in Eugene, Ore. after suffering a long illness related to a 2009 heart attack. He was 70 years old.

Herer was an outspoken and committed activist who dedicated his life to decriminalizing marijuana, even going so far as to run for president twice as a member of the Grassroots Party. He is the author of the booksGrass and The Emperor Wears No Clothes; the latter (which is in its 11th printing) is filled with facts about the uses of hemp throughout the past 10,000 years. Herer suffered a debilitating heart attack in 2000 that left him with impaired speech and partial immobility on the right side of his body. He recovered after a treatment regimen that supposedly included psychoactive mushrooms. He suffered another heart attack in September 2009 while backstage at the Hempstalk Festival in Portland and was hospitalized for nearly a month. When he was discharged, the medical facility where he was sent to recover did not allow the medical use of marijuana, so several supporters donated money to allow him to live out his days in a rented home in Eugene. His wife Jeannie was at his side when he passed away yesterday.

"I never accepted that he was really going to go," Jeannie Herer told the Oregonian newspaper. “I’m sad that it happened, but I’m glad that it happened in Eugene. Everyone has been wonderful to us here.”

Marijuana activists around the world reacted to Herer’s death, including in Denver where in 1992, Herer brought a group of supporters from California to campaign on behalf of the state’s first legalization effort, the Cannabis and Hemp Relegalization Act. The Cannabis Therapy Institute, an advocacy and education organization in Denver, said in a statement that Herer would be “appalled at the bills currently being promoted in Colorado’s legislature that seek to restrict patient access to medicine.”

"Jack worked hard for cannabis freedom and refused to compromise on patient rights," the statement continued. "His dedication to cannabis liberation made him a hero to generations and an inspiration to all who knew him. He will be missed greatly."

Funeral arrangements have not been announced.

Photo of Jack Herer from

[Article sourced from:]

420 Radio

I’ve been following 420lawoffice radio show [] 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.