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Friday, February 3, 2017

Grow Tip for February 2017 - by Ben Horner


    

    Most growers buy nutrients to feed their plants. When you go into a grow store the choices are endless. Dozens of companies have product “lines,” or proprietary regiments that work exclusively together. This typically means you cannot buy just one bottle of nutrients, because you need the full line of that brand to get everything your plant needs. Skunkwerks, proves that you don’t need 3-12 different products to grow killer meds.

     First off, plants need proper PH, 5.5-5.8 (acid/ alkaline). Then they need an appropriate amount of macro (N-P-K) and micronutrients. Cannabis plants while in vegetative growth need more nitrogen and when in ower they need more phosphate and potassium. That is why many nutrient lines come
in two, three or more parts. 


     This allows the user to shift the amounts of macro and micronutrients. When finishing, the last few weeks of flowering no nutrients should be used.

     Skunkwerks has an all in one product, and it works. Growers that have switched over are ecstatic with the results and are clearing the clutter off their shelves of the plethora of assorted bottles they don’t need any more. They are saving money and don’t have to think too hard or consult a confusing feeding chart. For growers that are growing bigger plants and really like to adjust ratios, Skunkwerks have a two-part product that is very simple as well.

     Skunkwerks works well with sweeteners, bud hardeners and terpene enhancers. Skunkwerks is made in Michigan and is not yet available through the big hydro distributors so not every grow store has it. If you want to talk to them the just call the toll-free number and you can call them direct. 


Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Cannibals of Freedom: Ode to Valentine's Day - by Daniel L. Price, Esq.

     HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY!  Interestingly, the Latin translation of Valentine is worthy, strong, or powerful.  Still, the major credit for Valentine’s Day is given to the author, Geoffrey Chaucer, who wrote the “Canterbury Tales”, as well as many other novels.  He also wrote a poem, it is believed in 1383, to honor the courtship and marriage of Richard II to Anne of Bohemia.  The poem is entitled, “The Parliament of Fowls”.  Thereafter began the Valentine’s Day celebration of love, and this is why he is credited with the holiday.

     Since Valentine’s Day is this month, I thought I’d write a poem in this article.  I entitle it, “BITTER SWEET”.

I come to you this day.
Day of longing, forever sweet.
On one knee, heart in a bray.
Pining for you.
Alas, is it true?


Thoughts…doubts…hesitancies.
Blocking.
Separating, unnecessarily.


An understanding it will take.
Admiration; Courtesy; Respect.
Deny…deny…deny the truth.
Denies to us, our rightly due.


Cannot be half way let.
Not mine or yours only in part.
These intense feelings of the heart.
Must be complete for me and you.


Should we not listen carefully to our hearts.
To end that which keeps us apart.
Forever lost it will be.
The sweet ecstasy of our Love and Liberty.


     Yes, it is a poem of love.  It is about love between two people who may unnecessarily allow something to come between them to destroy their relationship.  It is also about the love of our liberty and not allowing ourselves to destroy our own freedom.  After all, this is an article about the freedom to choose without the interference of others.  But the poem also points out that sometimes we ourselves perhaps unknowingly interfere with our own freedom.

     How appropriate for the word Valentine, from the Latin word, Valentinus, meaning worthy or strong, to be associated with both romantic love and the love of liberty.  After all, if one is not strong, or worthy, then one will have neither.

     For this year, those who advocate the freedom to choose to engage in the medical and recreational cannabis use must be strong and continue the fight.  Even though the efforts to collect signatures for the ballot box in 2016 did not result in changing the laws, the fight must continue.  There is a war against our freedom.  All those imprisoned or those left for dead suffered in this war.  To do anything less than continue the fight for our liberty is to allow their losses and suffering to be meaningless. Indeed, if we do not live for something, then we live for nothing, thereby rendering our own deaths meaningless.

     For my part, I’ll bring any efforts to fight for freedom to light in this article.  Even more, I’ll sign any ballot measure that advocates freedom.  I’ll continue to write this article in an attempt to bring the issues out.  Along the way, I’ll also provide tips and suggestions on how to deal with the police while asserting your right to freedom and right to not be interfered with, as I have in the past.

     One of the ways I will do this is to continue to state that we must be worthy of victory, and strong enough to see it through and to keep it.  I’ll say again, learning the role bigotry plays in providing ammunition to our oppressors is the best first step.  Then talking about how bigotry plays an important part in denying ourselves liberty.  Talk to your friends, family, and people you meet.  Don’t preach, just talk.  It may be the best way to move forward and get signatures for ballot measures demanding freedom.  But most of all, let’s not support those who are fighting against our liberty by allowing bigotry to guide our choices at the ballot box.  In other words, so long as their actions do not harm another’s life, liberty or property, do not vote to take away, or to not allow, freedom to others, merely because you disagree with them.  Doing that allows those who would take your freedom to not only be successful, but it actually gets you to demand that they take your freedom.  In essence, they need you to be bigoted in order to get you to give your freedom up to them, the government actors.  The pivotal role of bigotry plays in getting you to demand government actors to take your freedom cannot be overstated.  It is crucial in order to deny you your freedom.

    In essence, whether one partakes in the medical or recreational use of cannabis is really not the point.  If one votes against the use of cannabis because they don’t like others who do it, or don’t like it period, then one votes against their own freedom as well.  This provides ammunition to those fighting against you in the war against your freedom.

Stay strong, stay worthy.  Till next month, keep rolling on.

Disclaimer:  This is an informational article only.  It is not to provide individual legal advice.  If you need legal services, feel free to contact me, or any attorney of your choosing.

Cover Story: Vehicle City Social - by Kathy Hess

   

     If you’ve been hesitant to visit a medical cannabis club, or you’ve ventured out and frequented a few but were turned off by the lack of professionalism and/or open and friendly vibe, then look no further.  Vehicle City Social is the club you’ve been searching for.

    Vehicle City Social has just about everything you could want in a medical cannabis club.  They offer access to services such as certifying physicians, message therapy and a gathering place for caregivers and patients.  All in the friendliest, safest and most professional of atmospheres. They also offer a menu from a full kitchen, an arcade, pool tables and dart leagues.  I know, you’re thinking, “Wow! This place sounds amazing.” It is.

But that’s not all.

     On top of providing an avenue for helpful information to pass between caregivers and patients alike, and for people to smoke freely, this club also hosts a variety of musical and comedy events, has a 13-foot-wide projection screen with plenty of leather recliners to chill in. It also stands as a Veteran Resource Center. Vehicle City Social hosts seminars, bringing in experts from the field to further your knowledge in this ever growing and changing industry.  It also hosts friendly, social competitions that allow some the ability to earn trophies to showcase and support their boasting.  All under the caring eyes of a security team that monitors the entire property.


     Steve Craven, one of Vehicle City Socials five founders (he is also the co-founder and partner of SkunkwerksRx) and the hands-on guy, who worked in the financing sector before moving into the medical marijuana industry, wanted to bring some professionalism to a commerce often plagued by old stoner stereotypes.  His business acumen appears to be making a difference.  The staff has matching uniforms, the security team is visibly present.  The chairs match.  I might easily mistake myself for being at a happening bar and grill (minus the alcohol) except I can’t smell the wonderful food I see on plates through the heavy perfume of dabs and buds in the air.  But I don’t mind, as it smells wonderful, and the smiles on everyone’s faces tells the same.



  
     I happened to visit Vehicle City Social during one of their special events, the Dab-a Doo-2017.  A
social affair where dabs and concentrates were on display as well as friendly competitions involving tested lab results and a panel of judges. So today, at this club that is open seven days a week, there are not only caregivers and patients sitting comfortably in a restaurant/club style venue, there are vendors and contestants set up in booths throughout the building. As I wandered around the place and talked to the patrons; caregivers, patients, vendors and the like, they steadily raved about Vehicle City Social.  All consistently commented on the friendly and qualified staff, of the wonderful vibe, in a clean and professional setting.  For many of them this was a return visit, one patron boasted about stopping in four to five days a week.  Considering the event, and the draw it brought from all over the state, there were also several patrons that were visiting Vehicle City Social for the first time.

     One of those first-time visitors was Mila Jansen, the Queen of Hash, all the way from Amsterdam!  Mila is also the founder of Pollinator, a company that continues to make innovations in the trichome extraction industry.  Not only did she invent and patent the Pollinator, the Ice-O-Lator and the Bubbleator she happens to be a pretty cool lady.  Even as a much-respected celebrity in the cannabis


community, and world traveler of Dab-a-Doo and other events, Mila was impressed with Vehicle City Social.  The Queen of Hash commented on Michigan’s ability to perform laboratory test on contest samples for content and purity, something still illegal in the Netherlands. Laboratory results put a new twist on the friendly competition of which she was one of the judges.  She also praised the club and expressed having a great time at the event. “We [Amsterdam] have coffee shops, but nothing as nice as this.  No leather recliners, we have wooden benches,” she said with a chuckle.  “I wish we had clubs like this in Amsterdam.  But it’s still technically illegal to grow. I love how open everyone here can be about it, to share your experiences.”

     Over all I was impressed with Vehicle City Social, and the Dab-a-Doo 2017 event. We can only hope that we see more clubs like Vehicle City Social open across the state.  Flint, and Genesee county, is lucky to have an establishment like this readily available to its residents.

You can find Vehicle City Social on Facebook, Twitter & YouTube, or go to vehiclecitysocial.com for more information, location and calendar of upcoming events.

World News for February 2017 - by Rachel Bunting

Steps toward Decriminalization 
Israel: A new “four-strike” policy being put in place by Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan is allowing Israel to begin the process of “responsible decriminalization”. The policy will administer fines for being in possession of more than 15 grams of cannabis, instead of facing criminal charges. A proposal from a special ‘fact-finding’ panel would allow citizens to smoke and possess marijuana in their own home, but would have financial and legal ramifications if done in public areas. The four-strike policy would fine cannabis users caught with the drug around $263 (US) resulting in no criminal record.

     The fine doubles with the second offense. While the third offense can carry jail time, the court offers other options such as losing driving or gun licenses and completing a rehab program. The fourth offense is automatic incarceration. These new changes apply to those 21 and older, minors caught with the drug will be criminally investigated if they refuse to take part in a treatment program on the first offense. The second offense is required rehabilitation, while a third time can lead to criminal charges. The fines collected from offenders will be used for health education and treatment programs.


Former Actress Says, "It's not mine"
Japan: Saya Takagi, a former actress in Japan, was recently arrested for 55 grams of marijuana found in her home on Ishigaki, Okinawa Prefecture. Takagi advocated for medical legalization while running for an Upper House seat last summer. Shortly after her failed campaign her house was raided and marijuana was found. While the ex-actress admits to using marijuana, she claims the quantity of the substance found at her house was not hers. Her roommate, Shigenari Moriyama, has admitted that the dried plant was his, but is disputing the amount police are claiming they found. Police are charging both with possession of an illegal substance, though neither will be charged with using cannabis.



Legalizing Medical Cannabis
Ireland: A bill put forward by People Before Profit Dublin Mid-West, has passed Dáil Éireann, the lower house in the Irish Parliament. Now the bill will move to a public meeting in Galway. The public meeting will have speakers who have seen the medicinal benefits of marijuana use first hand. Joe Loughnane, a representative for People Before Profit Galway told the Galway Advertiser, The impact of the Bill being put forward has been huge as it could benefit so many people. If enacted, the Bill will give them the option of availing of medicinal cannabis in some form to relieve their suffering.” The meeting is open to all that wish to attend and share their story.


Marijuana Melons
Mexico: The US Customs and Border Protection at the Pharr International Bridge discovered more than 1360 kilograms of marijuana hidden in a shipment of fresh watermelons. The cannabis was disguised as watermelons and is worth more than $800,000. Port director Efrain Solis Jr. stated, “Our frontline CBP officers’ experience, vigilance, and attention to detail prevents the introduction of these dangerous drugs into our country. Smugglers continue to be creative as they attempt to introduce illegal narcotics into our country.” The concealed drugs were found with the help of a canine team. Homeland Security has taken over the investigation.



Doctor Arrested for Side Job
India: Mohammed Sujath Ali Khan, a former research coordinator at the Nizam Institute of Medical Sciences, was arrested by the Malkajgiri Special Operations Team last month after he was found to be selling marijuana laced chocolates. Khan prepared the chocolates by combining marijuana powder with chocolate powder and making it into a paste which he then put into small cups and sold to customers. He advertised the sweets on his Instagram account and had patrons in almost all the major cities in the country. Officers confiscated 45 chocolate cups, Rs 12,520 in cash, a motorcycle, a laptop, and the ingredients used for his edibles.



Synthetic Cannabis Illegal in England
England: The Misuse of Drugs Act of 1971 was amended recently to include synthetic cannabinoids. Synthetic marijuana, a substance that mimics the effects of cannabis, was reclassified in the country as a Class B controlled drug. Sometimes known as Spice or Mamba, the drug has more harmful effects than its natural counterpart. Police in West Midlands are spreading awareness of the law change, hoping to avoid having to arrest unknowing users. The force lead for drugs and new psychoactive substances, Chief Inspector Simon Inglis, stated, “Until recently such products were covered by the Psychoactive Substances Act, which was introduced last year, that made production and supply of such products criminal offences but possession was still not illegal. All of that has now changed with the revised legislation and the key thing for people to know is that possession of these substances is now a crime, meaning users face arrest and prosecution if they have it in their possession − just like any other controlled drug.”

National News for February 2017 - by Rachel Bunting



Marijuana Home Delivery 
Portland, Oregon: The Portland City Council approved an amendment to the marijuana code last month which will make it legal for marijuana related businesses to offer home deliveries. The unanimous decision will allow businesses wishing to deliver their products to register a licensed headquarters while also obtaining a license from the Oregon Liquor Control Commission. Though the business must have a licensed headquarters, the delivery company will not be permitted to sell from a store. The amendment also states that any business dealing with marijuana must be located at least 1,000ft from any other related business. This new amendment will be a God-send to patients with limited mobility issues.


Legislative Cannabis ApprovalRhode Island: Legislators in Rhode Island are considering bypassing a ballot that would allow residents of the state to vote on legalizing marijuana, and instead creating legalization through the legislative process. This would be a first for recreational marijuana legalization. Every other state that has allowed legal pot has done so because voters approved the law. Never has the state government taken the initiative to create legalization without citizens voting on the topic. Law makers worry that the state will lose potential tax revenue to Massachusetts, as they approved recreational pot in November. If Rhode Island residents drive to Massachusetts to buy marijuana to bring back, the state is losing a huge amount of revenue. Sen. Joshua Miller and Rep. Scott Slater have been pushing the idea of creating a formal proposal which would apply to adults 21 and older with a 23% sales tax on consumers at a retail level.


Officers have Facebook FunNew Jersey: Officers at the Absecon Police Department recently posted a photo of a clearly non-medicinal bag of marijuana with “Candy Kush” written across the top. The officer’s then commented with “I guess writing ‘oregano’ across the bag would have been too obvious. If you were supposed to buy some Candy Kush this weekend, we have it here at the #Absecon PD. Just stop on down and ask. #dank #YourWeedManisinJail.” The comical post has received comments ranging from offers to buy the bag to thanking the department for having a sense of humor. While medicinal marijuana has been legal in the state since 2010, a recent poll found nearly 58% of New Jersey voters support recreational legalization.


Inauguration Day Light Up 
Washington DC: The advocacy group responsible for legalization in D.C., DCMJ, has been spending weeks rolling joints for an inauguration day protest. The organization will be passing out more than 4,200 joints near Dupont Circle, they then plan to march to the National Mall and light the pre-rolls exactly 4minutes and 20seconds into the president-elect’s speech. The march is protesting not only the new president but also his Attorney General pick, Senator Jeff Sessions. Leader of the group, Adam Eidinger, said they began planning the demonstration as soon as Sessions was announced as Trump’s choice. Eidinger worries the new administration will set back the legalization strides made throughout the country. The group has reason to fear as Sessions has been extremely outspoken about his anti-marijuana views, saying in a 2016 Senate hearing, “Good people don’t smoke marijuana.” The group will be checking ID’s of all protester wishing to join in the light up as the law in the area is for those 21+. Eidinger has told protesters that if they are arrested at the mall or incur a fine or legal cost due to the demonstration, he will pay it for them and share their story. However the D.C. Mayor has stated that arresting people for smoking pot on inauguration day would not be their first priority. More groups have begun contributing to the cause, donating marijuana and time to help roll. The total as of January 17th was over 5,500 rolled joints. The point of the protest, according to Eidinger, is to “show that marijuana smokers are there and shouldn’t be ignored.”

**UPDATE: More than 100 people showed up at 6am to receive their free pre-rolls to light up 4 minutes and 20 seconds into Trump’s inaugural speech. There was a total of 8,400 joints rolled and each person who wanted to participate was given two joints, one for the protest and one to share. Organizers had a replica jail cell on Massachusetts Ave. which they handed the free goodies out of as a symbol of the overly harsh penalties for marijuana-related crimes. Marijuana activists walked the three blocks from Mass. Ave. to Florida Ave. The demonstration was meant to put the new President on notice that he should relax drug laws.


National Academy of Sciences Wants Marijuana Rescheduled
 Washington DC: The National Academy of Sciences recently released a report which contradicts the DEA’s claim that marijuana should be a Schedule I drug due to no medicinal properties. The report reviewed nearly 10,000 scientific research abstracts (summaries of a research study) and reached almost 100 different conclusions pertaining to the medical uses of marijuana and marijuana-related products. Chair of the review committee, Marie McCormick, told Forbes, “We conducted an in-depth and broad review of the most recent research to establish firmly what the sciences says and to highlight areas that still need further examination.”

     The review noted that the classification of marijuana as a Schedule I drug is hindering further studies by preventing researching from getting the cannabis they need. It suggests discussing “political and non-political strategies to resolve regulatory barriers to cannabis research, an objective and evidence-based analysis of cannabis policy is necessary.” In their review, the committee found evidence that marijuana does contain therapeutic properties to treat chronic pain, improve symptoms of multiple sclerosis, and eases the side effects associated with chemotherapy. The paper concluded with “cannabis has both therapeutic value and public health risks”. This means while there could be health risks associated with marijuana use, more studies are needed to come to that definite conclusion.

Michigan News for February 2017 - by Rachel Bunting

Should Probationers Be Able to Medicate?Lansing: The Court of Appeals could decide to allow probationers to smoke marijuana without violating the terms of their probation. The ruling will determine if convicts or those charged with crimes will, legally, be able to smoke or consume pot while finishing their parole, bond, or probation so long as they are registered medical patients. As of right now, it is up to the individual judge’s
discretion if a defendant may use medical marijuana while on probation or bond.

     David Rudoi, a Royal Oak attorney, says that a judge denying the use of medical marijuana is a violation of the MMMA. The Michigan Medical Marijuana Act states “anyone who has been issued and possesses a registry identification card” may consume and possess marijuana. There are rules in the act limiting where medication may be used or consumed, but there is nothing about denying marijuana to those on probation. According to Rudoi, “a judge does not have the authority to usurp the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act.”



Smell Gives Away $1M Grow Operation

Detroit: Neighbors on Gratiot Rd. tipped off police to a heavy marijuana odor coming from a nearby multi-level building. Police found a million dollar, multi-level business with hundreds of plants in various stages of growth. Officers described some of the plants as nearly 9ft tall, while others were still in infancy stages. There was a fortified entrance which had to be opened using the Jaws of Life. One man was found inside and arrested without incident.



Follow Grow Laws
Beaver Township: The Bay Area Narcotics Enforcement Team (BAYANET) received an anonymous tip in early January about suspicious vehicles stopping at a nearby residence. When officers went to check out the house they noticed light coming through blacked-out windows in the upstairs and a camera in a window on the west side of the house.

     Officers went back a few days later with the landlord of the property. The landlord said he believed the tenant in the home was growing pot. The trooper claimed as soon as he stepped out of his vehicle he could smell marijuana coming from the home. The tenant did not answer the door at that visit so the officer left to obtain a search warrant. Police began watching the house after collecting the warrant and stopped two men who had pulled out of the driveway. The men, Danny Leal-Cruz and Peter Boria, were carrying an ounce of marijuana on their person as well as three containers of processed cannabis in plastic containers.

     When the property, which was being leased to a friend of Leal-Cruz’s who is currently living out of town, was searched, police found 122 plants and more than 4 pounds of trimmed flower. Both men will be charged with delivering or manufacturing 5 to 45 kilograms or 20 to 200 plants of marijuana as well as possession. They are to appear before the District Judge for a preliminary examination on January 31st.


Money, High Powered Guns, and Marijuana Flint: Jabez Gildersleeve, a Michigan resident, was sentenced to six years in prison last month after pleading guilty to possession of a machine gun late last year. Gildersleeve was found transporting the fully-automatic guns from Georgia to Flint in exchange for marijuana and cash. Jesse Simpson, a Georgia Tech University student had used a milling machine to manufacture .223-caliber machine guns with silencers attached and had Gildersleeve transport and sell the weapons for him. Simpson faces nearly 7 years behind bars when he is sentenced in March. A third person involved in the crime still has charges pending.


A Long BattleBattle Creek: In 2013 police conducted raids on numerous dispensaries in Springfield, including Karmacy. Two Karmacy employees had charges of possession and delivery on marijuana brought on them in 2014. Now, nearly 3 years later, those charges have been dismissed. Prosecutors in the case claimed the caregivers were not dispensing the medication properly, while the defense lawyers claimed everything was being done by the books. District Judge Frank Line said there was no proof that the caregivers did or did not do as they are required, writing, “The court finds that the state has not met its burden of proof. There is no direct evidence by exhibit or testimony that connects [the defendant] to these charges. This court finds that assumptions do not give rise to probable cause. Maybe does not give rise to probably.” Calhoun County Prosecutor David Gilbert said ‘he had not seen the opinion and could not comment, but that his office may appeal’ the decision.


Medical Marijuana Facilities  Adrian: The city administrator of Adrian, Shane Horn, has asked the city commission to consider allowing businesses associated with medical marijuana to open in the city. Horn, like many other political figures, believe it is an excellent way to bring revenue into the area. Since Michigan laws regarding medical marijuana have recently changed, Horn claims he has been getting ‘a fair amount of calls’ from people interested in opening a marijuana related business. The new package of bills signed by Snyder leaves it up to the city to decide on allowing those type of shops in their area. Horn believes there is plenty of time to discuss the issue as the state will not be issuing licenses until December.


Separate Deadly Crashes, Same CrimeGrand Traverse: Two separate car accidents occurred in Grand Traverse on December 10th, both caused by impaired driving. The County Prosecutor is charging the two drivers at fault in those accidents with marijuana-related crimes. Abby Miller, was found at fault in the first accident after she crossed the center line and hit another car, killing the driver. The second accident is believed to have been caused by Jennifer Greenwood, who also crossed a center line and hit an oncoming vehicle. Greenwood’s mother was in the passenger seat and was pronounced dead at the scene. While neither is a medical patient, both women had THC in their system, and Greenwood also had it in her vehicle at the time of the crash. The prosecuting attorney, Robert Cooney said, “Unlike with alcohol we have established limits, there is no set amount of a schedule one controlled substance tied to unlawful operation of a motor vehicle and so in this case both drivers are charged with operating with any amount of a scheduled one substance.” The women are still waiting to be formally charged in court.


Free the Weed 71 - by John Sinclair

Highest greetings from Amsterdam at the end of January, where I’m now happily ensconced in the Sensi Seed guest apartment above the Hash, Marijuana & Hemp Museum and the Sensi Seed Bank in the Red Light District in the heart of the city. Ben Dronkers, the great visionary of the Sensi Seeds empire, and his compassionate staff have taken me in once again in an hour of need and, as always, I remain deeply appreciative of their most crucial support.

     Last month I was writing about my residency in 2016 at the Tariq Khan Studios in the Heesterveld Creative Community in the outlying Bijlmer district and reporting that we hoped to rent office space in the complex for the John Sinclair Foundation so we could base our operations and our radio station there. Unhappily the complex turned down our application and went ahead with its plan to end Tariq’s residency there after a seven-year occupancy.

     But another non-profit housing group reached out to us and offered to rent us a small office space in their building, Fenix Diemen, symbolically rising from the ashes in the neighboring community of Diemen just north and east from where we were, so now we’re enjoying our first month in our new location and continuing our work on organizing my foundation.

     The Foundation has now established a working board of directors with Steve “The Fly” Pratt as project director and Tariq Khan, Hank Botwinik, Christian Greer and Sidney Kuijer working together on our projects. Kai van Benthem has created a new unified website that we will launch soon, followed by the launch of our new Radio Free Amsterdam site and illustrated program guide. Soon come! And all of this has been made possible by the donations of our friends at my birthday party in Ann Arbor last October. Thanks a million!

     I also wrote last month about the early days of the cannabis coffeeshop culture in Amsterdam and then found this sad commentary in my daily DutchNews.nl news feed: “An Amsterdam cannabis coffeeshop which can trace its roots back to 1973 is scheduled to close because of city rules banning coffee shops from being within 250 metres of a school.

     “Mellow Yellow was first under threat because of a nearby secondary school but that has since closed. However, the hairdressers’ academy is 230 metres away and that too is a reason for closure even though most pupils are over 18, council officials say. Eleven coffee shops [in the vicinity] have already closed down and eight more will go in January.”

     Mellow Yellow first opened in a squatted bakery on the Weesperzijde. It was named after the Donovan song “Mellow Yellow” and was “code for the fact you could buy weed there,” founder Wernard Bruining told the Volkskrant newspaper. Bruining’s concept involved serving clients a cup of tea so they could then buy marijuana from the house dealer. Now, 44 years of continuous operation later, Mellow Yellow is suddenly a menace and must be closed down. What are these people smoking?

     And speaking of smoking, who knows what‘s going to happen in the new United States of Trumpville with its attorney general designate from hell…oops, I meant to say Alabama? A guy with such a finely tuned sense of humor that he joked, “I used to like the Ku Klux Klan until I found out they were smoking marijuana.” And, “Good people don’t smoke marijuana.” We thought Bill
Schuette was a backwards blowhard and bully, but what about the new president and his vicious minions?

     While the citizens across the nation have spoken quite eloquently in support of marijuana use and availability, to the extent that 63% of Americans now live in states where they can get their medicine or even their kicks without interference from the authorities, the federal government continues to hold the hammer against our heads and may well decide to drop it. One thing is certain, as Richard Pryor used to say: “We Will See.”

     I wanted to throw in my own two cents’ worth of congratulations to the MMMR’s Man Of The Year for 2016, the great Michigan marijuana legalization activist Mr. Tim Beck, who led the way to medical marijuana in 2008 and spearheaded the subsequent drive to legalize marijuana in city after city across the state.

     The other heroes of the past year were the organizers of the MILegalize petition drive, who gathered over 300,000 signatures in support of a ballot measure purporting to legalize marijuana for any and all purposes.  Despite MILegalize’s strict adherence to the existing model for such initiatives and amassing of the required signatures within a 180-day time frame, the right-wing state legislature changed the rules in the middle of the campaign and declared half the MILegalize signatures invalid due to the new time constraints.

     MILegalize began immediately after election day to build momentum for a successful legalization campaign in 2018, raising money and support for next year’s drive without even pausing for a break. At the same time the powerful national legalization organization called the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) announced its interest in backing a 2018 initiative in Michigan and began a series of conversations with Michigan activists around the state.

    MMP drafted and bankrolled the citizens’ initiative legalizing medical marijuana in Michigan that passed with 62% of the popular vote in 2008. They’ve since stayed out of the Michigan wars while concentrating their support in other states where legalization has succeeded: Colorado in 2012; Alaska in 2014; and Maine, Massachusetts, and Nevada in 2016. MPP also assisted on the winning California campaign in 2016.

     I’ve been privileged to be able to follow the dialogue between MILegalize and other Michigan activists with the MPP organizers through the postings on the Safer Michigan Coalition website curated by Tim Beck, and while it’s always thrilling to witness the democratic process unfolding in action in matters that concern oneself, there’s always the fear that—political coalitions being what they always are—there will be some sort of terrible communications breakdown over matters of relatively small importance and the issue may be lost despite the overwhelming support of the electorate for legalization on a statewide basis.

     As an advocate of marijuana legalization and a daily smoker all of my adult life, my constant prayer is for a complete and total end to marijuana criminalization in any form, easy access to our medicine at a reasonable price (or less!) wherever we may live, and freedom from police scrutiny in any form just because we smoke marijuana.

     This is not too much to ask after all these years of persecution and punishment of marijuana smokers as a matter of public policy. We can change this policy now, and we need all the help we can get. MILegalize founder Chuck Ream has called for the creation of a Unity Caucus to make sure everyone in Michigan’s activist community gets a fair hearing and subsequently agrees to a single conclusion in terms of language and goals of the proposed citizens’ legislation, and I think that’s a good idea.

Unity of Purpose! Unity of Commitment! Unity of Results: Free The Weed!
 
—Amsterdam
January 24-25, 2017
© 2017 The John Sinclair Foundation. All Rights Reserved.