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Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Two Big Wins for Michigan Medical Cannabis Last Month - Tim Beck

The Michigan medical cannabis community got a double dose of good news this past month.


On July 9, following the recommendation of the "Michigan Medical Marijuana Review Panel", Shelly Edgerton, Director of the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulation (LARA) approved 11 new conditions for which medical marijuana can be legally used. As LARA Director, Ms. Edgerton had the sole authority to to approve or disapprove the panel recommendations. Her action was a big departure from past LARA procedure relating to the approval of new qualifying conditions.

On July 18, a three judge panel of the Michigan Court of Appeals ruled in a published opinion (published opinions have the force of law statewide) that the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act (MMMA) does not allow municipalities to restrict where or how caregivers can grow medical marijuana as long as they follow state law.

With the exception of Michigan Public Radio and Michigan Information and Research Service (MIRS), the Appellate Court decision received practically no news coverage in the State.

These two recent events are a big deal for the community.

Newly approved medical qualifying conditions are: Arthritis, Autism, Chronic Pain (this means a patient does not have to have SEVERE pain in order to qualify), Colitis, Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Obsessive Compulsive  Disorder, Parkinsons Disease, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Spinal Cord Injury, Torrette's Syndrome and Ulcerative Colitis.

One of the newly approved conditions, Autism, was rejected for approval by former LARA Director Mike Zimmer. The only new condition approved prior to Ms Edgerton's time in office, was PTSD, which was sanctioned with great reservation by former director Steve Arwood.

In an interview with MMM Report,  Ms. Edgerton discussed what seems to some, to be a sea of changes in LARA's direction.

"Ten years has made a big difference" she explained, referring to when the MMMA was first passed in 2008. "It is an evolution. Many, many states now have medical marijuana laws and in 9 states it is totally legal. New medical research has also been done."

She went on to say that the passage of Medical Marijuana Facilities Licensing Act (MMFLA) by the Legislature in 2016 was a big game changer. 

"We never really had a regulatory model before, and that is significant." She went on to elaborate how LARA is now playing a key role in the overall scheme of things, and cutting through political red tape.

"I'm taking responsibility to make sure this (the MMFLA) works" she summarized.

In Deruitter v Township of Byron, appellate Judges Joel Hoekstra, William Murphy and Jane Markey left no doubt in their ruling, as to the rights of Michigan's licensed Caregivers.

The judges stated: "we believe that the plain language of the MMMA lacks any ambiguity that would necessitate judicial construction to decipher its meaning. When the statute is read as a whole, no irreconcilable conflict results that make the statutory provisions susceptible to more than one meaning. We conclude that the MMMA permits the medical use of marijuana, particularly the cultivation of marijuana by registered caregivers at locations regardless of land use zoning designations, as long as the activity occurs within the statutorily specified enclosed, locked facility."

This court decision is huge and it is highly unlikely Byron Township will waste any more taxpayer dollars appealing the matter to the State Supreme Court. This appellate opinion made many references to past rulings by the states top court. It should also be noted, that one of the panelists, Judge Jane Markey, has displayed a historic antagonism to cannabis in previous rulings on the issue since the MMMA was first passed years ago.

Since the inception of the MMMA in 2008 until the present, a plethora of municipalities all across Michigan have tried, or continue to restrict the rights of caregivers in some dubious legal fashion.

According to Craig Canterbury, a board member of "Cannabis Patients United" (CPU) whose institutional memory and command of the most arcane facts about Michigan cannabis policy issues is the stuff of legend, noted this "Hall of Shame" includes: Lansing, Kalamazoo, Southfield, Warren, Niles, Houghton, Lake Isabella, Sturgis, Grand Haven, Birmingham, Bloomfield Hills, Livonia,
Marquette, Brighton, Lapeer, North Branch, Albert Township, Garden City, Flushing, Niles Township, Muskegon, Cheboygan County, Linden, Northville, Huntington Woods, Dryden, Elk Rapids, Hartford, Fruitport Township and Sault Ste Marie.

 "There are likely even more of them out there", Mr. Canterbury concluded.

These municipalities must now clean up their act.

This isn't to say ignorant or malicious apparatchiks will stop playing mind games with caregivers who are unaware of this new ruling. But what is important in the final analysis, is any legal foundation these bureaucrats once had, has crumbled beyond repair.

As far as the addition of eleven new conditions for which medical use of cannabis is now legal; the decision is a Godsend for patients who are suffering from these difficult medical problems. It was the right thing to do on the part of the LARA director.

However, for marijuana haters in elected office, law enforcement, the drug treatment industry and "religious" life, who believe medical cannabis is a scam for persons just looking to get high; this decision is most unwelcome.

In their dark, morbid fantasies, there are now eleven new excuses that can be used by "recreational" users to score some legal herb.

In addition, this ruling offers even greater protection and cover for doctors who believe that marijuana use is not a mortal threat to civilized society.

Monday, July 30, 2018

Cannibals of Freedom: Medical Cannabis Meets Peace and Liberty - by Daniel L. Price, Esq.

I decided to kick off summer by spending time with many individuals, who associate and refer to themselves as The Michigan Peace and Liberty Festival, at their annual event.  This event began with a few liberty minded friends who wanted to gather once a year in a family friendly camping area and discuss freedom and how ours is diminishing.  It morphed in to a pretty big gathering in 6 short years, bringing in over 120 people, many from all over Michigan, other states, and other countries.  I was impressed by many of the individuals I encountered. I was also happy that people from all walks of life and races were in attendance, after all, liberty is for everyone regardless of race or socioeconomic status.

I reserved a spot early for a 2 night stay in a rustic cabin and gave a presentation on the history of the struggle between freedom, and servitude.  I also explained Parasitic Anthropophagy Syndrome (PASY): That is that when one acts to take the freedom of others, that person is also working to destroy their own freedom.  Further, that PASY is the cause of people demanding the denial of the life, liberty and/or property of others.  Moreover, how this leads to a country of individuals working to take each other’s freedom by force through legislation and regulation, like in our state and country.  I mean, seriously, if you cannot smoke a plant, sell lemonade, build a barn, have your friend’s boat at your dock overnight, or earn a living without paying for the permission to do so from a parasitic government, you ARE NOT FREE! 

Generally, the individuals in attendance were positive to the presentation.  I received several compliments and some thanked me.  One dear lady asked if I had written a book on the subject so she could learn more.  However, as always, there was one individual who was hostile to the presentation.  Indeed, instead of making his comments publicly for all to hear, he approached me while alone after I finished.  He then began to tell me I was wrong on several key points (without any evidence of course), called me a liar, and attempted to tell me what to think, presumably because it would be more acceptable to him.  It was at that point that I ended the conversation and walked away, as he had just provided living proof as to how PASY works and there could be no further discussion. 

Think about it, at a “peace and liberty” festival an individual exercised PASY by attempting to live through me by controlling me through verbal intimidation (indirect force), thereby satisfying his desire to force me to agree with his “beliefs”.  I do not care if someone disagrees with me, because I know the facts I state with absolute certainty.  After all, the works I cited, logic and several thousand years of human servitude provide ample evidence to support the facts I presented.  What is important to note is that a person who allegedly supports liberty is more than willing to deny me the liberty to think and speak my thoughts.  The person is confused as to the true meaning and costs of liberty, which are:  One must accept that others may disagree, and that in a truly free society, force, whether direct or indirect, can only be used to defend the life, liberty and property of those within that society, and can never be used to make others satisfy your desires, wishes, or beliefs, regardless of what those may be or how they may be justified. 

For my part I do not judge “groups”, as a group does not breath, think, or act, only individuals do these things.  Nor I will not allow another to intimidate me or tell me what to think.  I can say the majority of individuals at the festival are peace loving, tolerant people who truly wish to be free and understand that force should be used only to protect life, liberty and property.  The night time activities around the campfire, socializing, and trading values for values without interference from parasitic government officials was great.  Also, the presentations ranged from freedom, America’s failed foreign policy, unschooling, and even aerial yoga was taught and practiced.  The one thing that I liked most is that its held at a private camping area.  After all, it is all about peace and liberty, not government permits and permission.  I will attend the Michigan Peace and Liberty Festival again next year, and hopefully the individuals on the board will once again grant me the honor of speaking. 

If you’ve never heard of this festival, check it out because it’s a great way to socialize with other liberty minded people in a family friendly setting, and you will have a great time.  If you have questions direct them to: mplfest@gmail.com.

MMMR Recipe: Space Cake

A space cake is as awesome as it sounds. Imagine your favorite cake, but infused with the enthusiastic and buzzing power of cannabis! Pretty much ever coffees hop in Amsterdam will offer space cakes in one form or another, and they have become increasingly popular with those who want to reach that high, but in a discreet and tasty manner.

With this in mind, we have put together an out-of-this-world space cake recipe so that you can make your very own at home.

INGREDIENTS

8 grams of cannabis bud, or the equivalent strength in either cuttings or hash.
1 3/4 cups of flour
1 cup of non-salted butter
1 cup of granulated sugar cup of milk
2 eggs
1 teaspoons of baking powder teaspoon of salt
Any other ingredients you want to improve the cake with, such as cocoa powder, vanilla extract, dried fruit, icing/frosting, buttercream, chocolate chips, or anything else – your imagination is your only limit.

EQUIPMENT:
A grinder
A mixing bowl
Spatula or mixing spoon
A cake oven tin
Non-stick spray or lining paper
An oven
A microwave
A small bowl
A skewer
Optional: A wire rack

INSTRUCTIONS
1. Grind up all your cannabis until it is consistent and small (the finer it is, the better).
2. Pre-heat your oven to 190 degrees Celsius.
3. Put your butter in a bowl and place it in the microwave for 20 seconds. You want it to melt into a gloopy, pasty consistency.
4. Mix your freshly ground up cannabis into the butter.
5. Add all of the sugar, flour, milk, cannabis butter, eggs, plus anything else you want to your mixing bowl. Mix everything together until you get a batter with a nice even consistency. This may take a few minutes, but it will ensure your cannabis is spread evenly as possible throughout the cake mix. Note: if the mix is a little bit too dry, add a splash of extra milk; if it is too wet, add some extra flour.
6. Grease your cake tin with non-stick spray, or line it with non-stick baking paper.
7. Carefully pour your cake batter into the tin, spreading it around so that it is evenly distributed.
8. Place your tin in the oven and leave for 25 minutes to bake.
9. After 25 minutes, stab the centre of the cake with a skewer. If it comes out clean, it is ready, if batter sticks to it, leave the cake in the oven for another 5 minutes.
10. Allow the cake to cool for about 20 minutes in the tin; then place it upside down on the wire rack and remove the tin, allowing it to cool for a further 30 minutes.
11. Once cooled, decorate the cake with anything you want.
Enjoy!

Health & Science - Kathy Hess

Why Marijuana Consumers Have Smaller Waistlines vs. Non-Users


It’s a well-established fact that marijuana causes users to experience acute hunger, a phenomenon known as the munchies. But curiously, research also has found that the average cannabis consumer actually has a slimmer waistline compared to non-users.

For a while, that stereotype-defying finding has left researchers scratching their heads. Thankfully, a new study out of Indiana University, which is pending publication, offers a compelling, theoretical explanation.

Before we get into the specifics of the study, let’s take a look at some background: humans have endocannabinoid systems that are responsible for things like regulating sleep, appetite, stress and metabolism. Ingredients in marijuana like THC and other cannabinoids are known to stimulate receptors in the endocannabinoid system, which can produce a wide range of physiological effects.

OK, but how does this explain why cannabis users are generally slimmer than non-users?

Well, the researchers started with a simple observation. Western diets, exceptionally high in carbs and sugar—are associated with a series of chronic health conditions such as obesity. One commonality among people who suffer from these conditions is that they have a higher ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids in the body.

There is “abundant evidence” that this increased ratio of omega fats causes overstimulation of a main cannabinoid receptor, which “leads to metabolic syndrome, contributing to chronic diseases,” the study authors wrote.

People who are able to reduce their level of this specific cannabinoid receptor (CB1R) often experience weight loss. There are different ways to achieve this effect, but one possibility identified in earlier research is the introduction of cannabis into the equation. Marijuana causes a down regulation of CB1R, a receptor that “plays a major role in assimilation, storage and conservation of energy.”

In layman’s terms, this means that while consuming cannabis certainly heightens hunger among users in the short-term, it also helps people properly manage that food after it’s entered the body. Even four months after you stop using cannabis, that effect is still present. Therefore, the researchers concluded, the impact of cannabis use on the CB1R receptor “more than offsets the short-term increase in energy stores that follow” a case of the munchies.

Again, however, this is a theoretical explanation based on existing research about the endocannabinoid system, marijuana and metabolism. As the researchers emphasized in their conclusion, the study raises many questions, including:

“How many other conditions respond in opposite directions during acute and long-term exposures to Cannabis? How does this paradox impact therapeutic uses of Cannabis? Do the long-term effects of Cannabis use arising from downregulation of CB1R exacerbate the underlying condition that drove patients to therapeutic use of Cannabis in the first place? For example, if a patient uses Cannabis for anxiety, will the resulting downregulation of CB1R result in increased anxiety between therapeutic doses? How does dosage influence this relationship? Is CB2R also downregulated during Cannabis use, and if so, what are the implications for treatment of CB2R-related conditions with Cannabis?”

For the time being, we’ll have to wait on those answers. But if you were perplexed by headlines and social media posts about marijuana consumer being skinner than their non-using counterparts, this study may well serve as an important piece of the puzzle.

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Legalizing Marijuana Helps Police Solve Other Crimes, New Study Shows

Marijuana activists have long disputed that legalization would free up police departments to focus on other crimes. Yet six years after Colorado and Washington State voted to end prohibition, what does the data show?

A study recently published in the journal Police Quarterly shows that advocates were right after all. Police clearance rates, a figure that represents the number of crimes that resulted in an arrest divided by the total number of reported crimes, increased in both states post-legalization.

A logical argument. Before a state makes it legal to possess marijuana there are officers who will take time to investigate and charge individuals for low-level cannabis offenses. But when a state legalizes, they no longer have to allocate law enforcement resources to marijuana-related crimes, therefore enabling officers to go after different, and sometimes more serious, cases.

But up until this study, there wasn’t much researching exploring the direct relationship between legalization and crime clearance rates. For the first time, researchers demonstrated (in CO and WA) that police were able to make more arrests for various crimes post-legalization. That includes violent crimes, property crimes, burglaries and motor vehicle thefts.


“While our results cannot specifically explain why police clearance rates have increased in Colorado and Washington, we think the argument that legalization did in fact produce a measurable impact on clearance rates is plausible,” the researchers concluded. “Our models show no negative effects of legalization and, instead, indicate that crime clearance rates for at least some types of crime are increasing faster in states that legalized than in those that did not.”

“As we document here, prior to legalization, several crimes clearance rates were either flat or decreasing. However, in the post-legalization period, we see considerable improvement. We cannot offer with absolute certainty that these changes are entirely the result of marijuana legalization, though we are quite certain that legalization has not unduly hampered police performance, at least as measured by clearance rates. Moreover, in the absence of other compelling explanations, the current evidence suggests that legalization produced some demonstrable and persistent benefit in clearance rates, benefits we believe are associated with the marijuana legalization proponents’ prediction that legalization would positively influence police performance.”


Alright, so how did crime clearance rates change post-legalization?

There were some modest differences in clearance rates between Colorado and Washington State, but the overall trend revealed an increase in these two states compared to all other states, the study found. Here’s a breakdown of the clearance rate changes for four different crime types:

Grow Tip - The Cannabis Hobbyist - Kathy Hess

With the promising outlook of cannabis being legal for recreational consumption as well as medical, there may be a lot more Michiganders digging into the gardening of cannabis.  For recreational growers it will be more of a hobby as the voter initiative limits the amount a non caregivers can grow is twelve plants, and that number could possibly be lowered after the initiative is ratified.  Below we’ve provided some tips for the grower, but more so for the hobbyist grower who will be greatly limited in comparison to caregivers.

Growing cannabis is a relatively time-consuming process that requires constant attention and resources. Therefore, it’s worth doing everything as correctly as possible in order to maximize your end result, especially making it “worth it” to a hobby gardener.

Start off right.
GENETICS PLAY A FUNDAMENTAL ROLE
The quality of a cannabis crop is partially determined before the first seed is ever planted. Seed selection is a massive part of the process and will heavily influence the final outcome of your buds. Every grower will have their own preference when it comes to strains. Some prefer a powerful, cerebral sativa high that leaves them feeling energized and motivated. Others opt for stony indica highs that result in calm and restful states.

Genetic considerations should also be made depending on the type of environment that a gardener has access to. For example, if growing in a small indoor space, then auto flowering strains might be the best option. However, if growing in a large outdoor space, then perhaps you would prefer genetics that result in huge, towering bushes.


USE SEEDS AND AVOID CLONES
 
Another factor to consider before beginning the garden is whether to use clones or seeds. Starting a garden using clones may have some advantages, but it is indeed risky business. Clones produce plants that are an exact genetic copy of the original “mother” plant from which they were taken. The genetic traits that carry over can include certain weaknesses and diseases that the original plant experienced. Therefore, if you receive a clone from a plant with an unknown history, you run the risk of starting your garden in a negative position.

SELECT FEMINIZED SEEDS
It’s very important to selected feminized seeds before embarking on a growing operation with the aim of producing massive, top-quality yields. Doing so will ensure you avoid catastrophes that can greatly slow down the process and even reduce the yield of an entire crop.

Feminized seeds are bred to harbor no male chromosomes, meaning that every plant grown from them will be a female plant that offers smoke-able flowers. Since only female cannabis plants produce medical and recreational marijuana, they are favored by most cultivators over their male counterparts.

Therefore, choosing to start a garden with feminized seeds allows growers to avoid the time-consuming process of identifying any male plants early in the flowering phase and removing them from the grow space.

Not only will using feminized seeds save time, they will also help you avoid potentially disastrous errors. If any males within the grow space are missed, they will start to release pollen and subsequently pollinate the surrounding females. Once a female has been pollinated, her efforts to grow large buds coated in sticky resin will cease, instead diverting her energy into creating seeds instead. This is the last thing you want if you’re hoping for a potent harvest of cannabis flowers.

PROVISIONING CENTERS VS SEED BANKS
You can purchase seeds from reputable local authorized provisioning centers and from several reputable seed banks.  Some of your local centers may have employees knowledgeable about the number of plants the seeds come from, but many do not, and many fake it to make the sale.

The benefit of seed banks is that most are pretty diligent on providing some genetic information, such as variety and breakdowns of THC/CBD percentages, if its auto-flower, and most all banks will label which seeds are available as feminized.

Pure Michigan - Chad Morrow

CANNABIS CONFUSIONS, CELEBRATIONS, AND CONCERNS ABUNDANT IN JULY.

Wow, what a crazy month in Michigan it has been for those involved with cannabis. We have great reason to celebrate with the state finally approving the first state licenses under the MMFLA. Unfortunately its still a task involving enormous efforts to avoid board member Don Bailey’s obvious bias and guaranteed no vote if he can find anything to be used against an applicant, including assumptions with no solid evidence of wrong doing. With that said, 4 companies proved it possible to achieve licensure as licenses were approved for all types of facilities except a testing facility, which is sure to come soon. The feeling of accomplishment throughout the cannabis community was only able to be enjoyed temporarily as the Michigan Appeals court issued one of the most absurd rulings to date shortly after, ruling that wet cannabis isn’t protected by the MMMA, and now upon harvest, drying cannabis can land a caregiver in a jail cell. Lets take a closer look at whats happening.

First, a huge Congratulations goes out to VB Chesaning upon being granted the very first state license for a cannabis facility in Michigan. Not only did they get approved for a license, but they did so with quite a statement, being approved for 4 Class C 1500 plant grows, giving them a total of 6000 licensed plants to cultivate, and being approved unanimously by the board. Opportunities for employment are already making their way around social media. Then there was CannArbor, a company approved for 2 state licenses, a dispensary and a processor license, while they await approval for their cultivation facility. Last but certainly not least, the state issued the first state license for a secure transport company, and it was awarded to Capitol Transport. The Mitten State is officially a testing facility license away from being able to actually think about an implemented and operating system being capable of a soft launch so to speak.

Unfortunately, not every applicant is having that same luck. There have been some denied for undisclosed arrest, which is black and white and they’re denied rightfully so. This past meeting, board member Don Bailey made his bias even more apparent. Many applicants were approved for pre qualification with 3-2 votes with the board over ruling Baileys objections and arguments where he would really reach for evidence to deny. It was apparent other board members were growing frustrated with his agenda as well. At one point Bailey claimed to have more specific info about applicants than other board members. Board member Nicole Cover asked Bailey to keep his hat straight and focused and to remember this is only prequalification regarding an applicant. Bailey snapped back “I’m not gonna check my common sense or experience at the front door, I believe that’s why I was picked for this board” and board member Vivian Pickard then asserted that maybe Bailey should make sure the rest of the board has the same information so they can be on the same page going into these meetings. Nicole Cover even asserted that some members are reading to much into some things and being presumptuous. Speaking of assumptions, Bailey claimed an applicant was involved in tax evasion and money laundering, without any evidence or charges to reference. The icing on the cake for this day was when Don Bailey suggested to LARA that the state allow the Michigan state police to do what they do, and launch investigations into those he has concerns with. I believe all the patients and caregivers in Michigan know by now that if the police are investigating you and you’re involved in this industry, an arrest is usually imminent. The testing of entries for the High Times Cannabis Cup was used as a reason to argue for denial of a testing facility by Don Bailey, as well as an applicants disclosure that they saw the High Times Cannabis Cup as a proper place to market. Bailey asserted that we only have a medical law and not a rec law, and anyone wanting to participate in events like that pose a risk to public safety and law enforcement. One applicant even claimed they were denied for reasons they weren’t even allowed to address in the application!! Another reason Bailey used to attempt to deny qualification to a company by the name of Helio, was the purchase of extraction equipment in 2016. Claiming that the purchase of the equipment was reason enough to believe they didn’t follow the law of 2008, so why would they follow the new laws and regulations. Again, a level headed Vivian Pickard stated that Don Bailey was assuming the equipment was utilized and assuming it was utilizes in Michigan. A small shop in Frederick, Michigan by the name of HumbleBee made Bailey’s radar and was harassed being called a straw man operation with family members applying for members who can’t. At which point Andrew Brisbo from LARA stated they have checks and balances in place to dig that information up, no flags were raised. They were approved 3-2 over Bailey and Rick Johnsons no votes. Ironically, they were served with a cease and desist within 48 hours to their processing facility for questionable reasons. Is it a coincidence they are in a county policed by the same bunch that Bailey retired from, we’ll let you decide. One thing is for certain, without the common sense approach of board members Cover, Pickard, and LaMontaine, Michiganders may very well have been left waiting months longer for the progress we’re seeing.

With such such focus on state licensing and legalization on the horizon, it came as a huge shock to the cannabis community when the appeals court heard the case of Michigan vs. Mansour, and issued one of the most absurd rulings to date, twisting and contorting any common sense and logic, and leaving patients and caregivers more vulnerable now than ever before. If you’re a caregiver or a patient growing their own medicine, pay close attention. Wet cannabis is no longer protected and leaves you vulnerable to over zealous police agencies like many patients in Michigan have already encountered. Cannabis harvested from the plant but not dried isn’t useable so its not covered by the act. The logic, or lack of, being used, is that the law protects patients and allows them to have 12 plants and/or up to 2.5 ounces of dried useable cannabis. The minute you cut the plant, its no longer counted as a plant, and weight becomes the subject of useable cannabis, anything wet is not useable and not protected. Outdoor growers will have huge concerns come harvest time. Freezing wet bud for extraction purposes will not save you from police harassment any longer. Social media is chaotic with news reports, statements, opinions, concerns, fears, and so much more as a result. One suggestion is to just hang the plant whole, roots and all so its counted as a plant. That won’t work either and I’m telling you now, don’t try it. The MMMA defines plant in §3.

(j) “Plant” means any living organism that produces its own food through photosynthesis and has observable root formation or is in growth material.

A plant hanging upside down with roots in tact isn’t capable of producing food through photosynthesis in the process of drying. This is another attack upon caregivers and patients in Michigan by the appeals court. Fortunately, The Rockweiler himself, Neil Rockind has stepped up to the plate to argue this at the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court is more reasonable than the appeals court, and there is no better attorney to argue on behalf of patients and caregivers than the heavyweights from Rockind Law. Many of you already know that the author of this article was represented by Rockind Law and the purpose of a court date was to contest, successfully, a personal protection order served upon the author by board member Don Bailey himself. I have a feeling Mr. Rockind will make the appeals court look as bad as his firm made Don Bailey look in the ppo hearing. Caregivers and patients alike can feel confident that this opinion will be reversed, but for now, it’s the law of the land.

These are reasons:
we must get the people out to vote in November. Michiganders must vote yes and pass legalization. Upon passage of the initiative, Michigan will become a much better place for cannabis consumers. Shops with MFLA licenses will convert over to licensed RMLA licenses and will then operate under RMLA rules and not MFLA rules. The power of the BMMR board doesn’t carry over to RMLA licensed shops. Cannabis felons can’t be employed in the industry under the MFLA, yet they can be under RMLA licenses. We’re only a few months away from one of the most important elections of our lives, lets make it count.

Adventures of Marijuana Jones - Kathy Hess

JUNE 8TH 2011-DUBAI

Dubai is hot. Hot and dusty.. Mainly hot. And damn if choosing Dubai as the first stop on my History of Cannabis Research tour of the Middle East wasn’t an eye opener to the level of distain some nations in this region hold for maryjane.

Dubai has a narcotic security scanner that travelers to Dubai, or even just traveling through, must walk across, and it has the ability to scan for traces of cannabis on your shoes.  Yes, even the tiniest of traces of cannabis on the soles of your shoes can get you jail time. I consider myself lucky to have traded the beaded sandals that adorned my feet during my recent travels through India.  The housekeeper who assisted me at the last hotel there had admired them with such passion, she was beside herself with joy when I insisted that she keep them, and would not let me leave without gifting me a cabochon jeweled hair comb I had admired previously. That little comb might have just saved my life, as I’m sure any drug testing performed on myself if the sandals had flagged me would have shown high traces of cannabis in my system after amounts of bhang I consumed.

Dubai is a police state and there is a zero tolerance policy to the usage of soft drugs is punishable by 4 years for possession and life terms with the possibility of death for cultivating and distributing. If you are merely suspect to possession or use of weed you will be given high priority as a threat and will be otherwise till proven innocent. The laws on soft drugs are the same throughout the UAE though in Sharjah you may be given a warning and be put on probation if you are caught without any weed but fail your drug test.

Yes, simply having weed in your system here in Dubai still constitutes towards possession. If they perform a drug test and find cannabis in your system (yes, even as a passenger on layover to another destination) it could mean an even longer sentence. Minimum is four years, and that’s just for testing positive. And considering the amount of travelers passing through the busiest international airport in the world, your travels to the ME might just have you passing through the gates here.

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JUNE 29TH 2011 MUSCAT, OMAN

Did I mention how hot it is? It is only in recent times that a privileged few have found some respite from the heat through the miracle of air conditioning. The rest of the people are not so fortunate. They must endure temperatures that often soar to over 100 F. The excessive heat dictates that the people work only in the mornings and the evenings ("Only mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the noonday sun").

The sun also dictates the kinds of animals and plants that will survive. The camel has adapted in a way that allows it to go without water for days. Our camel rides through the wadis of Oman completely changed my concept of “desert” and the possibilities of what can thrive there.
Similar to the camel, plants are able to survive by being able to retain their water. It is because of this capacity to minimize evaporation that plants such as cannabis are able to live in the parching Arabian heat.

The means by which cannabis accomplishes this amazing feat is by producing a thick, sticky resin that coats its leaves and flowers. This protective canopy prevents life-sustaining moisture from disappearing into the dry air.

But this thick stocky resin is not an ordinary goo. It is the stuff that dreams are made of, the stuff that holds time suspended in limbo, the stuff that makes men forgetful, makes them deliriously happy, makes them ravenously hungry or completely disinterested in food. It is a god to some and a devil to others. It is all of these things and more. This resin, this shield against the sun, this sticky goo... hashish.

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JULY 17TH, 2011 SANAA, YEMEN

The camel ride across the border was beautifully scenic, but it was the story telling by our fantastic guide Ashraf that revealed some of the history of the land via legends. According to Ashraf, little is known of the first Arab who discovered the marvelous properties of hashish. Yet one of his most colorful of stories tells how Haydar, the Persian founder of a religious order of Sufis, discovered hashish in A.D. 1155.

According to the legend, Haydar was an monk who lived a life of privation and self-chastisement in a monastery which he built in the mountains of Persia. For ten years he lived in this distant retreat, never leaving it for even a brief moment, seeing no one except his disciples.

One hot summer day, however, Haydar fell into a state of depression and wandered off into the fields to be alone. When he returned, his disciples, who had become alarmed at his unusual absence, noted a strange air of happiness and whimsy in his demeanor. Not only that, the hitherto reclusive monk even allowed them to enter his personal chambers, something he had never done before.

Astounded by this dramatic change in their master's character, his disciples eagerly questioned the monk about what it was that had put him into this frame of mind. Haydar responded to their curiosity with amusement and proceeded to tell them how he had been wandering in the fields and had noticed that of all the plants near the monastery, only one had not been standing motionless in the oppressive heat of the day. Unlike its torpid and inanimate neighbors, this unusual plant seemed to dance joyfully in the sun's warmth. Overwhelmed by curiosity, Haydar picked a few of its leaves and ate them to see what they would taste like. The result was the euphoric state his disciples now observed
in him.

Upon hearing of this wonderful plant and desirous of sharing their master's pleasure, Haydar's pupils entreated him to show them this strange plant so that they too could partake of its marvelous virtues. Haydar agreed, but not before he made them promise under oath that they would not reveal the secret of the plant to anyone but the Sufis (the poor). So it was, according to legend, which the Sufis came to know the pleasures and contentment of hashish.

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9TH 2011, AL AQABAH, JORDAN

I’m lucky to have gained access to the National Library of Jordan while I was in Amman. I was able to do a bit more research through old text, and surprised to find that Ashraf wasn’t too far off with his stories. The apocryphal oath by which Haydar entrusted his disciples not to reveal the secret of hashish to anyone but the Sufis underlies the close association between the drug and the Sufi movement in the Arab community.

The Sufis appear to be the hippies of the Arab world. Their origins were in Persia where they began as a group of ascetics who banded together to discuss religious topics and to recite the Koran aloud. Some of these bands eventually formed fraternities and established monasteries such as those founded by Haydar.

One of the ways the Sufis encouraged the attainment of these spiritual insights was through the arousal of ecstatic states. The most commonly way was through intoxication by means of drugs such as hashish. It was because of their frequent usage of hashish that the Sufis were credited both with the dissemination of the drug and with the downfall of Islamic society. For the Sufis, however, hashish was merely a means of stimulating mystical consciousness and appreciation of the nature of Allah. To the Sufi, a Moslem critic wrote, eating hashish is "an act of worship".

Since the Sufi had no interest in advancing himself in society or in economic gain, they were looked down upon by the Establishment in their respective eras as being lazy and worthless. In many cases, their behavior was attributed to the effects of hashish. Most Sufis were form the lower classes. One of the main reasons the Sufis chose hashish over other intoxicants like alcohol was that hashish was cheap.

Their heretical religious stance and their refusal to conform to the standards of Arab society combined to make the Sufis pariahs in the Arab world. And because hashish was so much a part of the Sufi's everyday life, it came to be looked upon as the cause of their unholy, contemptible, and disgusting behavior. By eliminating hashish, the Arab world felt it could rid itself of a loathsome drug habit that encouraged defiance, insubordination, and a general disregard for the status quo. While the efforts to eliminate hashish were often quite dramatic (I’m thankful to avoid Dubai from now on) all attempts proved futile.

I’m excited to have Ashraf by my side again for the next leg of my journey.  I’m looking forward to more of his informative stories on our way camel ride to Cairo Egypt.