Legalizing Pot May Take More Than a Vote in CA

From CBS:

In addition to picking a new governor, Californians next month will also decide if their state will be the first to legalize marijuana for recreational use. Even if Proposition 19 passes, the federal government almost certainly will challenge it.

Oakland’s Oaksterdam University is all about one thing: marijuana. For students learning the finer points of pot production and cultivation, the timing couldn’t be better.

“I have high aspirations for this industry and where it’s going to go,” says student Pete Dimopoulos.

Proposition 19 would allow adults 21 and older to grow marijuana at home and possess up to an ounce for personal use. Individual cities would be free to regulate and tax sales.

“We have a whole new economy that can flourish here in California around cannabis,” says Dale Sky Jones, executive chancellor of Oaksterdam University.

Proponents argue that marijuana sales could haul in $1.4 billion dollars in tax revenues, reports CBS News correspondent Bill Whitaker.

That’s a major reason why one of the state’s largest unions has endorsed legalization. The California chapter of the NAACP is behind it too, along with at least two former big city police chiefs.

Former San Jose police chief Joseph McNamara says, “It diverts the police from their primary duties to protect life and property. People are not terrified about pot smoking in their neighborhood.”

California has long been on the cutting edge when it comes to pot. Fourteen years ago, voters approved the use of medical marijuana and recently, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger relaxed penalties for pot possession.

Even though he famously inhaled as a body builder, Schwarzenegger says Proposition 19 would turn the state into a laughingstock.

Believe it or not, the measure has sparked high anxiety at some medical marijuana shops.

“We are not sure what our business will look like post-Prop 19,” says Daniel Bornstein from Medithrive Medical Marijuana Provider.

For employers, the law could create a giant headache. Employees couldn’t be fired for smoking pot unless employers prove that the drug impaired job performance.

“So it does open the door for the ability of employees to smoke pot at work,” says Denise Davis of the California Chamber of Commerce.

Even if it passes, pot would still be illegal under federal drug laws, so it’s likely Prop 19 will be challenged in court. That means the whole controversial issue could just go up in smoke.

Facebook Billionaire Gives Money to Legalize Marijuana in California

From Forbes:

Dustin Moskovitz confirmed tonight that he has recently given $50,000 in support of Proposition 19, which is seeking to legalize marijuana in California this November. He had previously donated $20,000 to supporters of the act, which would allow people 21 years old or older to possess, cultivate or transport cannabis for personal use and would permit local governments to  regulate and tax commercial production and sale of the substance. (UpdateDustin explains why he backs Prop 19.)
Not too many other billionaires have come out in favor of legalizing pot but one who has is Peter Lewis, who donated $12,800 to Oregon’s medical marijuana ballot this November, according to my colleague Clare O’Connor. (Read her September post). Lewis, who was arrested for drug possession in New Zealand a decade ago, has been a longtime supporter of the issue; he apparently smoked marijuana for pain relief after his left leg was amputated.

Moskovitz, who is now the America’s youngest billionaire and who is played by actor Joseph Mazzello in the just released Facebook movie “The Social Network,”  had no other comment at this time. Moskovitz left Facebook in 2008 and started Asana, a software company that allows individuals and small companies to better collaborate. The company, which has several of the same early backers as Facebook, lists some of its values as pragmatism, chill-ness and being a mensch. For now, we estimate that his entire $1.4 billion fortune comes from his 6% stake in Facebook

Comedian Caught with Marijuana at Customs, After Petting Drug Sniffing Dog

Ralphie May is an “idiot” — his word, not ours — because he got caught carrying pot through customs in Guam … after he approached a drug-sniffing dog because he thought it was cute.

May was busted for weed last week, but only had to pay a small fine because he was carrying less than an ounce. The comedian tells us he didn’t realize the pot was in his bag when, on his way through customs, he went up to the dog and started petting it.

May, who has a medical marijuana card, explains: “When I got to baggage claim, I actually walked up to the dog. I love dogs and petted Nickey, the beautiful shepherd mix, and she sat down. That indicates to the handler that I had marijuana on me. I didn’t know that, I just thought that dog loved me. Then another dog came over and it sat down as well and I petted that dog too. I was thinking these dogs love me they can tell I’m a dog person.”

May dealt with some very nice customs agents and he explained the mix-up. May says, “The customs agents said they knew I didn’t mean to smuggle drugs into Guam cause no drug smuggler would be stupid enough to walk up to the dogs and pet them.”


Instead Of Smoking Marijuana, Now You Can Drink It In Soda

Looks like cannabis users have an alternative way to get their marijuana fix. According to published reports, a new line of pot-infused beverages masquerading behind soda flavors are now available to patients with a prescription for medical marijuana. The new sodas, made by Colorado-based Dixie Elixirs, are carbonated drinks marketed to medicinal-marijuana patients who wish to avoid “weed culture” stigmas.

The herbally organic drinks, that come in eight different flavors that include root beer, pink lemonade and grape, serve as alternatives to smoking cannabis and used as an alternative to pain killers.

Legalized marijuana has become legal in 14 states for medicinal use only. Earlier this week, a television commercial advertising medicinal marijuana was aired in California – the first ever broadcast in the U.S.

The ad was shown over Fox affiliate KTXL in Sacramento, and has swirled up a cloud of controversy from community members who worry about the commercial’s effect on children.

The ad features a series of testimonials from customers , all A-typical of our drug culture stereotypes giving testimony about the benefit of using the drug.

Article via Forbes DVD Blog

California Governor Signs Marijuana Decriminalization Bill

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) Thursday signed into law a bill that decriminalizes the possession of up to one ounce of marijuana. The bill reduces simple possession from a misdemeanor to an infraction.

Currently, small-time pot possession is “semi-decriminalized” in California. There is no possible jail sentence and a maximum $100 fine. But because possession is a misdemeanor, people caught with pot are “arrested,” even if that means only they are served a notice to appear, and they must appear before a court.

That has happened to more than a half million Californians in the last decade, and more than 60,000 last year alone. Every one of them required a court appearance, complete with judge and prosecutor. That costs the cash-strapped state money it desperately needs.

Under the bill signed today, SB 1449, by Sen. Mark Leno (D-San Francisco), pot possession will be treated like a traffic ticket. The fine will remain at $100, and there will be no arrest record.

In a signing statement, Schwarzenegger said he opposed decriminalization for personal use—and threw in a gratuitous jab at Proposition 19, the tax and regulate marijuana legalization initiative—but that the state couldn’t afford the status quo.

“I am signing this measure because possession of less than an ounce of marijuana is an infraction in everything but name,” said Schwarzenegger. “The only difference is that because it is a misdemeanor, a criminal defendant is entitled to a jury trial and a defense attorney. In this time of drastic budget cuts, prosecutors, defense attorneys, law enforcement, and the courts cannot afford to expend limited resources prosecuting a crime that carries the same punishment as a traffic ticket.”

“Gov. Schwarzenegger deserves credit for sparing the state’s taxpayers the cost of prosecuting minor pot offenders,” said California NORML director Dale Gieringer. “Californians increasingly recognize that the war on marijuana is a waste of law enforcement resources.”

The law goes into effect January 1. Even if Prop 19 passes in November, it leaves in place misdemeanor charges for smoking in public or in the presence of minors. Those misdemeanors would become infractions under the new law.

Article via StopTheDrugWar

Medical Marijuana Grower Fires a Shotgun at Home Invader

A Sacramento man who fired a 12 gauge shotgun at a home intruder says he won’t hesitate to use that gun again.

“It’s loaded. All I have to do is cock it and rock it,” said D’Andre Pendarvis.

Pendarvis knows exactly what the home invader, who kicked in the back door of his Oak Park home Monday night, was after, medical marijuana.

In a daring display of defiance, Pendarvis grabbed a recently borrowed shotgun and blasted it loud and clear. His message, “don’t take what’s not yours, including my medical marijuana.”

He called police just before 9:00 p.m. to report the robbery. He said someone, first kicked his door, then kicked it in. The intruder fired two shots from a 9mm gun and Pendarvis fired four shots back.

It doesn’t appear he hit the intruder who took off running. Inside Pendarvis’ home, a bullet blasted through a mirror and a couch. Shards of glass flew across his living room like bullets themselves, piercing his television.

He had just borrowed a shotgun from a friend last week, knowing that marijuana is a hot commodity among crooks. They have said that it is actually green gold. It’s worth almost as much as gold is, ounce for ounce, pound for pound.”

So why put himself at risk by growing plants in his backyard and inside his home? Pendarvis says he uses it to help with insomnia, and admits, what he doesn’t personally use himself, he could possibly sell. He said he’s more fearful of Child Protective Services than the police and that’s why his daughter doesn’t live with him. He said his grow is perfectly legal and so is shooting at someone that you fear is about to hurt you. His message to anyone who comes at him for his pot, “There’s a 12 gauge slug waiting for you.”

Sacramento police say they will likely respond to more of these calls as more people begin to grow pot legally. One officer said, “the odor of pot plants coming from a home or yard, is like a jewelry box sitting right next to a window. “

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