An opinion on the latest MJ legalization petition draft from a MMJ dispensary operator
By Aari Ruben
I have been involved in the Pro-Cannabis movement for quite some time. I am actively involved with an alphabet soup of drug policy reform organizations. I voted to legalize medical marijuana in Arizona in 1996 and 1998. With my help those medical marijuana initiatives were passed by a majority of the voters but never enacted.
This was a frustrating event for a young man voting in his first two elections. The votes had been counted and we won. Why didn’t we get our program along with California, that also passed a medical marijuana law?
Arizonans eventually tired of this sort of treatment and in the very next election passed The Voter Protection Act of 2000 (VPA) preventing this sort of government interference. After al,l if government does not follow the will of the people why even vote to begin with?
This Voter Protection Act made this seldom-used type of citizen driven legislation an extremely powerful tool to change the laws in Arizona. One Arizona law created via this process is the Medical Marijuana Act of 2010, which was sponsored by The Marijuana Policy Project (MPP).
MPP has a history of doing this in fact, their slogan is “MPP—We Change Laws”. They have been the driving force behind nearly all successful change to state cannabis laws in the United States. Until recently all of this change was via voter initiative.
MPP is going to make a 10-state push via voter initiatives in November 2016 to legalize cannabis use for adults in Arizona and a number of other states. These measures have some common goals, to decriminalize use and possession of cannabis and create a regulated taxed system for its distribution. This move is being planned for the 2016 election cycle because we will be electing a new president and this event always drives liberal voters to the polls in greater numbers.
Wide spread success would likely signal the imminent end of cannabis prohibition to our federal government and begin to dramatically change the landscape in which the cannabis industry operates across the country. Because these 10 different states each have their own state constitution and state laws regarding how things are to be changed through each of their democratic processes, each of these measures enacted by MPP must be crafted in its own right.
There have been meetings between MPP, the industry group and cannabis activists that resulted in a recent publicly released draft of the MMP sponsored initiative dated Feb. 15, and purported to be the final draft that caused quite a stir among a group of current operators of medical marijuana dispensaries that we can refer to as the “industry group.” The devil is in the details, so lets go through some of the controversial parts line by line and consider what it all means. The excerpt of the draft initiative language itself is written in.
Sec. 2 Findings
3. The People of the State of Arizona proclaim that marijuana should be regulated in a manner similar to alcohol so that:
(a) Marijuana may only be purchased legally from a business that is licensed and regulated;
(b) Cultivation, manufacturing, testing, transporting, and selling marijuana will be controlled through licensing and regulation;
(c) Individuals will be allowed to produce a limited amount of marijuana for personal use;
(a) and (b) seem like good ideas as a regulated market will eventually eliminate the cartel’s hold on the coveted black market for cannabis, but who will be the regulators, how many licenses will be issued and how will they be distributed?
As initially written the draft initiative declares the Health Department will issue licensure, until the new Department of Marijuana Licenses and Control is created and staffed in 2018. The number of licenses issued will not be capped on the state level. However, each city, town or county will be allowed to impose a local limit or ban through their own political process. The licenses for cultivation and retail sale will initially be issued to existing state-licensed cannabis dispensaries, but after 17 months the application process for retail and cultivation licensure will be opened up to all interested parties that meet the requirements established through later rulemaking.
The “industry group” has taken issue with the proposed process of regulation and also with the proposed reliance on local jurisdictions to limit the number of operations permitted in the future. Instead they would like to impose a statewide cap on the number of licenses issued in the future and further they wish to be allowed to operate as a monopoly for an extended period of time so they might recoup investment they made in their medical cannabis operations.
The “industry group” also take issue with (c) in regard to an individual’s right to produce cannabis on a small scale for himself. The “industry group” would like to eliminate this privilege of individuals being allowed to produce cannabis for themselves or, at a minimum, require that individual cultivators register with the state. They fear that if people grow their own it will not be necessary for them to shop at dispensaries, and that their businesses will miss out on potential revenue.
In what can only be called a “Middle of the Night, Dirty, Back Room Deal” the the Night, Dirty, Back Room Deal” the “industry group” negotiated new language for this initiative, which was released to only a small group and was dated Feb. 25. Individual grow rights are mysteriously gone after being promised to the activists and those who care to grow their own medicine until this late date. The rules covering (a) and (b) and the distribution of permits have changed, benefiting no one but the current operators. The new idea is to cap licensure at 7 to 10 percent of the number of liquor licenses. This number is linked to population. Currently there are about 6,000 liquor licenses in Arizona. Seven percent of 6,000 happens to be 420, so at least someone has a sense of humor. This number might be adequate initially but will soon prove to be insufficient to handle the market.
The “industry group” wishes to create a monopoly surrounding cannabis production and distribution. They fear competition will drive the price down and affect their business. I beg to differ; most people will not have the time, talents or interest to produce their own cannabis. There will be plenty of users who are happy to purchase their products at the state-licensed stores. It is extremely important that those who do want to produce their own medicine have that right. They might need a certain varietal, or prefer organically grown product. Maybe they have limited financial resources and can’t afford to purchase from a dispensary, or perhaps they are a “live off the land” type who simply like to know where their food, medicine, and herbs come from. In addition, if the price remains high in the regulated market, the black market, which is unregulated and untaxed, will continue to thrive.
It should not be our concern to protect the industry group’s financial interests at the expense of millions of Arizona adult citizens who wish to take responsibility for their own destiny. A mother should be allowed to have a simple herb in a flower box to prevent her child from suffering through seizures. A person who finds relief of PTSD symptoms with cannabis should be allowed to grow a few plants to use as medicine. The simple act of caring for their own needs will be as cathartic as the medicine itself, and why should this right to care for oneself be limited to people who are sick? An adult in Arizona who prefers cannabis to alcohol for their relaxation and to unwind from the stresses of daily life should not face imprisonment for this choice.
I am a medical marijuana dispensary director and owner and while I know that competition from a new recreational market could negatively affect my business, state-legal dispensaries already face competition from the unregulated, untaxed black market. I am certain the recreational market will be many times larger and require far more retail and cultivation sites to satisfy the demand. We clearly will need to issue new licensure beyond the number suggested by the Feb. 25 draft. The 60,000 or so medical patients who are certified to use cannabis represent only a drop in the bucket of this new market’s potential.
I figure it this way,
An estimated 15 percent of Americans use cannabis. There are about 5 million adults in Arizona.
5,000,000 adults x .15 user rate= 750,000 recreational users compared to 60,000 medical users.
So the recreational market can be estimated at about 12 times the size of the medical market.
In addition, some accommodation is being made for the “industry group” in Arizona. Seventeen months is a long time in this rapidly growing industry. Here and in other states around the country, as the legal markets begin to mature, cannabis business volumes grow rapidly, sometimes at rates of 15 to 20 percent per month. Surely this is enough of a head start for these operators to establish infrastructure and market share.
We are learning more every day about Endocannabinoid Deficiency Syndrome, and about non-psychoactive cannabinoids people can use instead of pills to treat a wide variety of health care concerns. Prohibition of cannabis has caused great harm to our citizens and our society and none of the scientific information about cannabis was available when the laws prohibiting its cultivation and possession were enacted. It is irrational to enact policy that costs our society so dearly by imprisoning people for possessing or growing a plant.
These voter initiatives are useful but they also become a double-edged sword. The language of a voter initiative is extremely important because due to the VPA it is very difficult to modify parts that are impractical or become outdated. Once passed by the voters those words are law and they cannot be changed by the Legislature or courts. These initiatives are often written by individuals or small groups. In contrast, laws written and passed through the Legislature have many minds in the room while laws are drafted and much conversation happens before the vote.
No one is trying to make changes to the medical program created by Arizona voters with the help of MPP in 2010. This is a new market, an adult-use market, and it requires a new bit of legislation, that if successful, will provide a taste of freedom to millions of Arizonans.
Legalization of cannabis can come with many benefits for individuals and society as a whole, so it’s tempting to jump on board and vote for any legislation effort that gives citizens more freedoms. Voter initiatives are difficult to change once they become law. This initiative intends to create a framework, but there will be further rulemaking that is just as important to the success of the program. It is our civic duty to read the language of the initiative and understand the particulars, so we can make our best choice for Arizona. Critical thinkers should carefully cast their vote on these cannabis-related issues, but they must also think on a broader level and be wary of motives that would lead us astray.
If the MPP initiative does not satisfy Arizona citizens needs let us not pass the law. Instead we can ask our Legislature to craft a more sensible measure, and if they won’t we can elect those who will.
Director’s Blog – Maslow’s Heirarchy
I have often spoken of my dream and longing for a society that focuses on working together and jointly creating a world we can all be proud to be a part of, a world that lives in a sustainable manner and cherishes the beauty of human diversity. This is not as far fetched an idea as one might believe when looking at the current dismal state of things politically and socially in global society today. The reason that I still have hope that we can effect real and widespread change, in the face of such powerful adverse forces, is that the error of our ways is conceptual and not rooted in our own individual desires.
For the most part humans have simple desires and needs, as noted by Maslow in his hierarchy of needs, we first need clean air, water and food to nourish our bodies and minds and sex to propagate the species. Once those physiological needs have been met we strive to make our living space secure so we can protect ourselves, those we love and our possessions from outside forces. This is accomplished by building walls and installing doors that lock, separating ourselves from our neighbors, and fellow humans. This creates a competition between individuals for resources and even for status.
I would prefer to see the competition called life be about who can come up with the best ideas as to how we could best utilize and share said resources responsibly and effectively. Our dependence on petroleum products and a wide range of synthetic products is unsustainable and can only lead to disaster in the end. To be separated physically and spiritually, from a sustainable way of life, in this way degrades our connection to one another and ourselves. This separation from our collective ideal is the basis, the start, the root, of our conceptual separation from our own ability to reach for the stars and fulfill our human potential. This ideal in my mind can best be described as a connection to generations past, present and future. It brings full circle that we came from the dirt and we will return to the dirt and what a wondrous thing it is that we are here at this moment, each and every one of us.
I love my current role in the world, helping patients, growing Desert Bloom Releaf Center, helping my chosen industry evolve and gain acceptance, power, and influence. Working in such an explosive industry is exciting and fulfilling, we have an industry full of people who have open hearts and minds and love their jobs and do their work with passion. There is widespread collaboration and sharing of ideas. Everyday at our store, and across the industry worldwide, we make history, we change the world in small ways and we change individuals lives in dramatic ways.
Running a company that sits on the cutting edge and effects social change isn’t all sunshine and flowers, we experience the usual growing pains of a small start up business, perhaps more acutely than most because we are growing so quickly that we experience each of these hurdles at light speed. Our business and methods are not well accepted or understood and we are forced to place deep faith in our personal experiences and what we see work with our own eyes.
The world and the changes happening in it have many parallels to the rapid growth of the Cannabis industry. The first that comes to mind is the rapid change that technology has brought to our communication and our daily lives. The world moves and communicates faster and faster everyday. This means we see the hurdles at light speed, most of humanity seems ill prepared to deal with such a high stress lifestyle. In order to deal with so much exposure to toxins and stress one has to have a serious commitment to exercise and nutrition. We evolved as a hunter-gatherer species, one who was active, intelligent, and creative. Our new sedentary lifestyle, on a cellular phone, in front of a tv or computer and at a desk all day makes it necessary to consciously pay homage to those roots.
Society as a whole can do the same thing, we can disengage from our consumeristic behavior, and our unsustainable, toxic lifestyle, but only thru the same intention required of an individual to do this for themselves. We must separate ourselves from the super-ego fostered by being the most advanced beings in recorded history, and acknowledge the realities of evolutions time scale it quickly becomes clear that history only has relevance as applied to the future. We must work together to advance as a species and evolve yet again into beings that would care for one another as the brothers and sisters that we truly are, instead of separating ourselves from each other both literally and figuratively to our grave detriment. One ❤ DBRC
Director’s Blog – Just laws and unjust laws, a 2014 perspective
We need laws and courts and cops, because without them to enforce laws that are just and morally sound, the fabric of society would erode. I recently reread Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “Letter From a Birmingham Jail.” In it, h speaks of his civil rights activism and refers to other civil rights movements in history. He speaks of the repression of the thoughts and teachings of Jesus and Sophocles and tells how they were willing to speak out and stand for just ideas that are now accepted but were radical in their time.
They were willing to pay the price for breaking unjust laws and customs in their time, teaching and promoting the things they had learned to be truth. As St. Augustine pointed out, an unjust law is no law at all. He speaks of the shame and loss of self-worth people who are repressed endure. Today we fight for many unalienable civil liberties and human rights. Dr. King says that it’s mans duty to so stand up and speak out against injustice and mistruth and unjust law.
The prohibition against cannabis is one such unjust law. Dr. King uses the example of a city enacting a law against assembly without a permit. This law seems just. The city has made and maintains a nice park or assembly area and deems that space worthy of a fee for its use, hence the permit. So far so good, but what happens if Dr. King and 10 busloads of civil-rights protesters show up, and city leaders decide not to issue a permit because of their politics or because they say they want to protect the peace?
Dr. King, being Dr. King, held his protest without the permit and was arrested for his civil disobedience. That is an unjust application of a just law. It’s discrimination. It makes outsiders of other humans, other Americans. As Dr. King notes, in America no one can any longer be considered an outsider. We are all humans and Americans, and we all have the right to thrive.
So, cannabis prohibition, why is it unjust? It’s unjust because it tries to demonize a commodity that has advantages other products don’t. Forget for a moment all the industrial and ancillary uses for hemp, forget that it can be made into fuel for cars or paper for books or rope or food or wall panels or cloths. Let’s talk about why cannabis is medicine and nutrition and health and LIFE for humans and all mammals.
First we need to highlight what is unique about cannabinoids and address the role of terpenes (essential oils). On a molecular level, cannabinoids are colorless, odorless and full of hydrogen. Packed full of it. Every other psycho-active substance known is rich in nitrogen. To us hippies, nitrogen is plant food – poison, not medicine. That’s why other drugs are so toxic, the high comes from poisoning and changing the function of your central nervous system, and if you do it over and over your, body’s functions slowly shut down.
The brain activity related to a cannabis high is peripheral, it does not affect the centrsl nervous system regulation of breathing and heartbeat. That’s why no one dies from cannabis use … it just promotes creativity and free thinking. Too much is still a bad thing, just like cheeseburgers will make you fat if you eat too many, but all in all we all NEED cannabinoids in our bodies and minds for optimum function. Remember all that hydrogen in cannabis? What else are we told to consume a lot of that is rich in hydrogen? Maybe … H2O? Yes water. Easy right? Simple stuff.
So our bodies apparently need a lot of hydrogen to function properly. We need other nutrients, lots of them – some in tiny, tiny amounts, but hydrogen we need lots of. And cannabis has it! What else does it have? I mentioned essential oils, terpenes, note the word essential. So if cannabinoids are colorless and odorless, what accounts for all the variety of smell and flavors found in this blessed plant? Terpenes! Oils! Each plant variety has it’s own unique profile of essential oils. These and others are found in cannabis and other healing plants. They are essential! Some common ones:
Myrcene – Earthy, green, nutty. Potent pain reliever, anti inflammatory and antibiotic it has anti depressant effects, and it affects the permeability of cell membranes allowing optimum function.
Limonene – citrus. Anti bacterial, anti fungal, anti cancer. Anti depressant effects.
B-Caryophyllene – black pepper, clove. Binds to CB2 receptors and has anti inflammatory effect.
Pinene – Pine rosemary sage eucalyptus. Memory aid, antiseptic
Terpinol – Floral. Sedative
Borneol – Menthol, camphor.Sedative
Linalool – Floral, cancer treatment
Pulrgone – Minty. Aids memory
Cineole – Eucalyptus. Pain, aids circulation
When I recommend medicine to a patient we use a three step method. We talk about condition and reaction to other strains used in the past. We talk about different purported effects to narrow down if we want to use indica, sativa, hybrid or a combination. Then last we have the patient smell the product options and make a personal choice. Our bodies know what they need. Our subconscious knows, and it is not always the same for each individual. We need the full spectrum of oils and cannabinoids in small amounts, so I find myself enjoying the variety of medicines we offer, and when we put a strain on the shelf that smells delicious, I listen to my body and try a little. That’s natures way. And it is just.
To outlaw something so natural and harmless and pure can only be the result of an unjust discriminatory law. And as Dr. King said, it’s mans duty to speak out and rise up against unjust laws and make it known that freedom still exists to evolve and live with respect and justice for all humans.
Aari Ruben, One Love
Desert Bloom Re-Leaf Center director
Directors Blog- Ralph Waldo Emerson- On Self Reliance-1841
December 8, 2013
One would initially think an early 19th century transcendentalist thinker like Ralph Waldo Emerson would not fit in well in society in 2013. However, after a reading some of his works, his essay Self Reliance in particular, I find that my own ideals are much in line with his, even from a temporal distance of 170+ years. Emerson related his ideals to “a greater self-reliance (that) must work a revolution in all the offices and relations of men; in their religion, in their education; in their pursuits; their modes of living; their association; in their property; in their speculative views.” I have talked of this thing called “functional living” and it is comprised of many of these facets of of our lives, all of which need reform. Emerson’s views and ideals would be enlightening and helpful to resolve our present societal dysfunctions.
Our religious differences are mostly laughable at their core. One can interpret these ancient texts in nearly any manner that suits an agenda. However, a respectful discourse between two or more intelligent people of widely varied religious backgrounds can be revealing. I was in a store owned by a Muslim family just after Thanksgiving. I was talking with the matriarch of the family about their Thanksgiving. I asked if they had prepared the traditional Turkey dinner. She said, No, that she had made lamb, because there are no turkeys prepared according to her religions dietary laws. She mentioned that she ate halal, I mentioned that I am Jewish and familiar with kosher dietary restriction’s, even though I personally eat all food species. I also noted that I had seen Muslim people purchasing kosher products, even though our religions are supposed to be at odds. She said she does the same sometimes -halal and kosher laws are nearly the same, but halal allows the consumption of pork. What a revelation this is. These religions’ respective leaders have been fighting for thousands of years. Shouldn’t these people respect each others’ beliefs and customs? For, as Emerson notes, “Prayer that craves a particular commodity, anything less than all good is vicious.” He argues prayers about our regrets are false, and discontent is the wont of self reliance. He is basically saying that one should take responsibility for his own destiny to have life experiences and truly live.
One of the best ways to learn about the world and our fellow humans is to travel, and Emerson has no objection to travel, if done for the purposes of art, study, or benevolence. However, he looks with disdain on the traveler who acts as a privileged guest, calling this style of travel a fool’s paradise. When we visit a place as a tourist, we see new landmarks and try new food. We return home and share photos and stories about far off lands. As we look outward into the world for these new and different experiences, we bring them into our lives and so lose a small piece of our own cultural identity, and even a bit of our own individual identity. Instead, when we travel we should use it as an experience in culture, as an exercise in learning about how others live. This eliminates the novelty of being in a place that is unfamiliar, and makes us see our similarities as humans, for we all live fairly similarly. We have the same customs and roots to our language, and humanitarian feelings about what is just are the same around the globe. The joy of sharing a meal and a moment in time with people who are different but the same as oneself is the essence of the human experience.
One deep-seeded desire that transcends all culture is the need to educate our children. Our U.S. education system is the best in history, yet it’s at the same time woefully inadequate. I have been appalled recently at the conditions found in schools -the books, the facilities, and the teachers look worn and stale. When I was in school, the best, most interesting and most engaging teachers were animated and full of life. So over-the-top full of life and the experience of being themselves that they gave everyone in the room tacit permission to be themselves and express it to the world. As Emerson said, “Insist on yourself, never imitate. That which each can do best, none but his Maker can teach him.” This is diversity, this is what makes people interesting, this diversity is actually what makes all things interesting, in my opinion.
Our mutual pursuits are driven by a competition for resources rather than a search for mutual success. We teach our youth to be a part the unsustainable consumption so prevalent in our society. They are made to conform to what the past says they need to know, and the dreamers, the creative ones, are made to feel inadequate and insecure. This is surely a sin, to put so much weight on the creative mind of a five- or six-year-old child. Teach them concepts and manners and how to live, and let them explore and be themselves. If we do, the young people will teach us how to do it better. We must teach them to be mindful of history but not to be paralyzed by it.
Our modes of living need reform in regards to the food and environmental toxins we expose ourselves to and the manner in which we care for our communal and individual health. I have a patient I have been working with for some time now. We can call him George, he had a surgery that resulted in a permanent pathological deformity to a very sensitive part of his body. He used opiate pain medications for many years. When he came to me he weighed 133 lbs. he couldn’t eat right because his stomach and the rest of his gastrointestinal system were being slowly shut down by the pills. He wanted to get off his medication, so I suggested he use cannabis during the acute phase of his detox to quell nausea, cramps and general discomfort that accompany this change. He agreed and left with several pre-rolls of our hi grade cannabis flowers. When he came back, he looked great. His skin had color, and he was standing taller. His eyes were bright and clear. He said it seemed like he had died and come back from the grave, like a rebirth. He told me this story:
After I had puked and pooped my guts out for three days, I was trying so hard to go to sleep. I smoked another pre-roll, and my vision went black, and my body felt as if it were being squeezed. Then I saw light, bright like an angel. And while I couldn’t sleep, the pain left my body, and I began to have visions from malnourishment and lack of sleep. This may have been a blessing, for like a movie of the future, I saw a world changed in many ways. I saw a place with open markets and free exchange of information, a place where one’s talents and ideas are embraced as part of a greater whole, not for the benefit of the privileged few, but for the many. I saw a society that lives and loves and cries and celebrates together. One where people look out for each other. In this place, the most valued skills were held by farmers and teachers and dreamers, for the common goal was to care for one another and educate the young people and harness the energy, brilliance and drive in billions of human beings. In this place, it seemed there were many fundamental changes – to politics, to education, to healthcare and nutrition and even to social ideals such as what people do in their free time. In short, there is in this place a magical feeling of acceptance for the beliefs and preferences of all. But some things were missing. A huge political machine was streamlined and efficient. The oil and coal industries had been replaced with alternative energy sources for all but the most specialized uses. The casino gaming industry was a shadow of its former self, and while people still played games of skill and chance, the games were primarily geared to people having fun, not profit. The tobacco and alcohol industries also existed, but with a fraction of the influence they once held. People seemed to prefer social gatherings and the community found there to television and their own time alone. People of all colors and ways of life embraced the ideas, bodies and souls of all mankind. Healthcare focused on preventative care, body conditioning, and basic nutrition more than on pills and surgeries. Schools let kids play and learn at their own pace, without much direction from the teachers. The teachers told the kids about things that happened in the world around them, then let the children find those things and more out on their own.
Our associations with our fellow man tend to be full of judgment and mistrust, instead of wonder at the diversity of our fellow man and the communal feelings that can be found when we realize we are all brothers. Race, sex, sexual preference, religion – they are our identities and cultures, but those who are different can’t be judged to be wrong, surely this sort of attitude is a sin. If we allow people to be themselves free from judgment and ridicule, then we can get to know them as they are and just as they allow themselves to be seen. Why wouldn’t we do this? For it makes the world more in line with the infinite diversity and wonder that the Almighty intended.
Our possessions – cell phones, etc. -consume our lives in today’s society, if we let them. Our self-worth becomes about what we have, as opposed to who we are. This leads to a very shallow existence.
Our speculative views must all include the concept of What If? Like Lennon proposed in Imagine.
If we make advancements in technology, we inherently lose some piece of art and culture. Society as a zero-sum game means that every gain has its cost. The question becomes, is the gain worth the cost? It seems important to note that Emerson appreciated progress, and individuality but he cautioned us all to remember that for every advancement we make, some piece of our culture is left behind. This gives a life lesson in humility, if thought through, because our own insignificance becomes apparent.
Aari Ruben, One Love Desert Bloom Re-Leaf Center director
October 14th, 2013- Henry David Thoreau, 1849
Henry David Thoreau, 1849, Civil Disobedience, what a crazy kook….in the first paragraph he cites a war w Mexico. Sounds familiar…. Thoreau makes his point clear early that “the government who governs best, governs least” and, takes it a step further to say, the government that governs not at all should be our ideal, The premise being that in a perfect world things would only be done by the government when deemed urgent and critical to the common good. This stands to good reason because The government is to be the expression of the will of the people, and “The government itself… is equally liable to be abused and perverted before the people can act thru it”.(p.1) This is because most “cannot spare the protection of the existing government and they dread the consequences to their property and families of disobedience to it”….”Thus his moral ground is taken from under his feet” and “This makes it impossible for a man to live honestly”(p. 10) So government should not hold a vote to decide matters of conscious but reserve these parlor games to matters that have no clear moral answer, leaving the free will of an individual, tempered by their conscious to be the moral compass. He makes a plea for “not at once no government but at once a better government”(p.2) and, “When men are prepared for it, that will be the type of government which they will have….”(p.1) He refers to our inalienable right to revolutionize and implement better governing policies when “tyranny and inefficiency become great and unendurable”.(p.3) I and many of my contemporaries find this to be so today. Our present government does not represent the will of its citizens. He says the government “is but a tradition, endeavoring to transmit itself unimpaired to posterity, but each instant losing some of its integrity”. And furthermore it’s citizens “would have done somewhat more, if the government had not sometimes got in it’s way.”(p.1) Thoreau makes a eloquent argument that a government is but a machine and that it is doomed to friction. That is it will at some point fail and cease to function. “If the injustice is part of the necessary friction of the machine of government, let it go, let it go: perchance it will wear smooth- certainly the machine will wear out. If the injustice has a spring, or a pulley, or a rope, or a crank, exclusively for itself, then perhaps you may consider whether the remedy will not be worse than the evil; but if it is of such a nature that it requires you to be the agent of injustice to another, then, I say, break the law. Let your life be a counter-friction to stop the machine. What I have to do is to see, at any rate, that I do not lend myself to the wrong which I condemn”.He notes that when “robbery and oppression are organized…let us not have such a machine any longer”, and that “it is not too soon for honest men to rebel and revolutionize” and that “What makes this duty the more urgent is the fact that the country so overrun is not our own but ours is the invading army”.(p.4) People need to get actively involved but those who do not wish to do so must defer to the more urgent needs of their fellow man…. Its a way of saying mind your own business, He notes“It is not a man’s duty, as a matter of course, to devote himself to the eradication of any, even the most enormous, wrong; he may still properly have other concerns to engage him; but it is his duty, at least, to wash his hands of it, and, if he gives it no thought longer, not to give it practically his support. If I devote myself to other pursuits and contemplation’s, I must first see, at least, that I do not pursue them sitting upon another man’s shoulders. I must get off him first, that he may pursue his contemplation’s too.”(p.6) However Thoreau holds himself to a higher standard. “ I can afford to refuse allegiance to Massachusetts, and her right to my property and life. It costs me less in every sense to incur the penalty of disobedience to the State than it would to obey. I should feel as if I were worth less in that case”.(p.11) and poses the question “When I meet a government which says to me: Your money or your life, why should I be in haste to give it my money?”(p.12) Thoreau talks about unjust laws and the internal conflict they present. and different mechanisms for changing them including lobbying for votes ((which he likens to playing games (p.5) and democratically changing the unjust law, but my word this is a slow process and sometimes issues are too IMPORTANT to wait for the government to catch up to the will of the individual…. so what would Thoreau do? Would he sit “content to obey” or “endeavor to amend” or “transgress them at once”? He would cause a little friction….He states “Under a government which imprisons any unjustly, the true place for a just man is also a prison.”(p.9) is the classic analogy of a drowning child any less applicable when our babies are suffering from a less obvious danger? We are not playing games here…. and votes mean nothing. Consciousness of whats “right” means everything this time….These are sick kids, that can be helped and healed. We are learning what works and what doesn’t and all over the world we are discovering that a small amount of THC and lots of CBD is the answer to reducing seizures in epileptic children, it must be mentioned that these success stories come from whole plant extracts, with all their active component parts present, not from single molecule compounds. There are new laws passed by patient people and at a state level which allow some of this work to be done in the USA. Thoreau also talks about the occasional need to take a stand, alone or with a small group of committed, like minded individuals, and he implores us to “Cast your whole vote, not a strip of paper merely, but your whole influence”, For, “This is, in fact, the definition of peaceable revolution if any such is possible” and,”If the alternative is to keep all just men in prison or give up war and slavery, the State will not hesitate which to choose”.(p.9) He makes a great analogy to all machines being doomed to fail eventually from friction and suggests that this inherent force may be enough destabilization to cause the machine to fail in due time…. The most moving part is about Thoreau himself trying to make a point about taxes. He states that “I have never declined paying the highway tax, because I am as desirous of being a good neighbor as I am of being a bad subject; and as for supporting schools, I am doing my part to educate my fellow-countrymen now. It is for no particular item in the tax-bill that I refuse to pay it. I simply wish to refuse allegiance to the State, to withdraw and stand aloof from it effectually.”(p.11) However Thoreau failed to pay his poll tax for six years. This eventually landed him in jail for a night. Thoreau being a mans man and having chosen to be there, handles himself quite well. He notes the night as “novel and interesting” He examines the walls and the bars and the graffiti present. He makes friends and gets to know his cellmate. He finds amusement in the seriousness the jailers feel for locking him up like flesh and bones. In closing I would stick with Thoreau’s viewpoint that: Is a democracy, such as we know it, the last improvement possible in government? Is it not possible to take a step further towards recognizing and organizing the rights of man? There will never be a really free and enlightened State until the State comes to recognize the individual as a higher and independent power, from which all its own power and authority are derived, and treats him accordingly. I please myself with imagining a State at least which can afford to be just to all men, and to treat the individual with respect as a neighbor; which even would not think it inconsistent with its own repose if a few were to live aloof from it, not meddling with it, nor embraced by it, who fulfilled all the duties of neighbors and fellow-men. A State which bore this kind of fruit, and suffered it to drop off as fast as it ripened, would prepare the way for a still more perfect and glorious State, which also I have imagined, but not yet anywhere seen.”(p.18) DBRC One
October 12th, 2013- Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Laws- just laws and unjust laws a 2013 perspective…
We need laws and courts and cops, because without them to enforce laws, that are just and morally sound, the fabric of society would erode. I recently reread dr. mlk jr “letter from a Birmingham jail”. He speaks of his civil rights activism and refers to other civil rights movements in history. He speaks of the repression of the thoughts and teachings of Jesus and Sophocles and tells of how they were willing to speak out and stand for just ideas that while well accepted now were radical in their time. They were willing to pay the price for breaking unjust laws and customs in their time, teaching and promoting the things they had learned to be truth. As St Augustine pointed out an unjust law is no law at all. He speaks of the shame and loss of self worth people who are repressed are forced to feel. Today we fight for many civil liberties and human rights, that are unalienable. Dr. King says that it’s mans duty to so stand up and speak out against injustice and mistruth and unjust law.
The prohibition against cannabis is one such unjust law, Dr King uses the example of a city enacting a law against assembly without a permit. This law on its face seems just, The city has made and maintains a nice park or assembly area and so deems that space worthy of a fee for its use hence the permit. So far so good, but what happens if dr king and ten bus loads of civil rights protestors show up and city leaders decide not to issue a permit because of their politics or because they say they want to protect the peace. So dr king being dr king held his protest without the permit and was arrested for his civil disobedience. That is an unjust application of a just law. It’s discrimination. It makes outsiders of other humans, other Americans. As dr king notes in America no one can any longer be considered an outsider, we are all humans and Americans, and we all have the right to thrive. So cannabis prohibition, why is it unjust? It’s unjust because it tries to demonize a commodity that has advantages other products don’t. Forget for a moment all the industrial and ancillary uses for hemp, forget that it can be made into fuel for cars or paper for books or rope for ships or food or wall panels or cloths. Let’s talk about why cannabis is medicine and nutrition and health and the essence of nutrition and LIFE for humans and all mammals. First we need to highlight what is unique about cannabinoids, and address the role of terpenes(essential oils) On a molecular level cannabinoids are colorless odorless and full of hydrogen. Surrounded by H. Packed full of it. Every other psycho-active substance known is rich in Nitrogen. To us hippies N is plant food, poison, not medicine. That’s why other drugs are so toxic, the high comes from poisoning and changing the function of your CNS, and if you do it over and over your bodies functions slowly shut down. The brain activity related to a cannabis high is peripheral, it does not affect the CNS regulation of breathing and heartbeat. That’s why no one dies from cannabis use…..it just promotes creativity and free thinking. Too much is still a bad thing, just like cheeseburgers will make you fat if you eat too many but all in all we all NEED cannabinoids in our bodies and minds for optimum function, remember all that H in cannabis? What else are we told to consume a lot of that is rich in H? Maybe…H2O? Yes water. Easy right? Simple stuff. So our bodies apparently need a lot of H to function properly. We need other nutrients, lots of them, some of them in tiny, tiny amounts, but H we need lots of. And cannabis has it! What else does it have? I mentioned essential oils, terpenes, note the word essential. So if cannabinoids are colorless and odorless what accounts for all the variety of smell and flavors found in this blessed plant? Terpenes! Oils! Each plant variety has it’s own unique profile of essential oils, some of the common ones are:
Myrcene-earthy, green, nutty. Potent pain reliever, anti inflammatory and antibiotic it has anti depressant effects, and it affects the permeability of cell membranes allowing optimum function.
Limonene- citrus. Anti bacterial, anti fungal, anti cancer. Anti depressant effects.
B-Caryophyllene- black pepper, clove. Binds to CB2 receptors and has anti inflammatory effect.
Pinene-pine rosemary sage eucalyptus. Memory aid, antiseptic
Terpinol- floral. Sedative
Borneol- menthol, camphor.Sedative
Linalool- floral, cancer treatment
Pulrgone- minty. Aids memory
Cineole- eucalyptus. Pain, aids circulation
These and others are found in cannabis and other healing plants. They are essential! When I recommend medicine to a patient we use a three step method, we talk about condition and reaction to other strains used in the past, we talk about different purported effects to narrow down if we want to use indica, Sativa , a hybrid or a combination. Then last we have the patient smell the product options and make a personal choice. Our bodies know what they need. Our subconscious knows, and it is not always the same for each individual, and we need the full spectrum of oils and cannabinoids in small amounts so I find myself enjoying the variety of medicines we offer and when we put a strain on the shelf that smells delicious I listen to my body and try a little. That’s natures way. And it is just. And to outlaw something so natural and harmless and pure can only be the result of an unjust discriminatory law. And as dr king said its mans duty to speak out and rise up against unjust laws and make it known that freedom still exists to evolve and live with respect and justice for all humans.
September 13th, 2013- I Sit Tonight…
I sit tonight and I give thanks to the low times in life for they are the foundation that the highs are built on. The lessons learned when we are down teach us what is truly important in life, and love, and to our futures. We are here for such a short time. Life is a wondrous fairy tale, you all know it. You have lived it…with your first loves, with school friends, experienced that perfect moment where there is no where else you would rather be. Everything in human history was done by people, after all it is human history. Everything we are creating now is done by people. All the traditions, and magic moments past, present, and near future are created by people like you. Like me? some might ask??? YES like YOU!! We live in strange times……… You say “like me?!?!?!?”………. “i am a simple person.” “I want to raise my kids and teach them to read, and teach them to THINK so they will have healthy minds”…….”maybe raise a few plants, like vegetables and herbs to nourish and heal our bodies” “I’d like a dog,,,,don’t you see? I’m just a simple person, I’m not Shakespeare or Magellan I’m not making discoveries or having magic moments……I have to work!”
Human history is pretty macro right? 10.000 years is a long time…. right. Recorded human history is in that range. But if we look at DARWIN’S “theory” of evolution and the evolutionary time scale of 300M years 10,000 years quickly enters the micro. So if 10,000 years is the micro then 80 years is like the tiniest speck of nothing. So if our fantastic fairy tale lives are actually the micro then what’s the macro? Where will we be in 10,000 years? Most don’t have any idea or care so they sit idle. I do not think there is one working class person in the world thinks we need to waste untold resources with thousands of DC lawyers and agencies and bickering over a half a percent here and a tenth of a percent there. We learned this from others and we declared independence from them……
War is just armed robbery writ large. Regardless of if its between tribes or nations its always about resources…….
So now we find ourselves in another war and like all others it’s about resources, we find ourselves in a war between a natural sustainable way of life for all humans and whatever this was for the last 100 years- we have burned up the oil and cut down the old growth and polluted the oceans and rivers and we call this progress? When we have clean green fuel and renewable paper and building materials? The sky is not falling, we move so fast today and will continue to develop new technology but imagine what we could do with the old growth today? Imagine what they could do with it in 10,000 years? We should use the least invasive most sustainable practices we can in all facets of our lives for they are our lives and we should live them as we see fit and morally just while remembering those who come after us so they may have their chance. Progress happens in layers one discovery leads into the next. Darwin didn’t just divine his theory. There were other scientists working on similar ideas during that time. What would have happened if Bill Gates had not had the idea to have apple IIe in all the schools and homes in America. We would still have computers. He was improving or using a product differently. Then Steve Jobs did it again with the smartphone. Smaller, faster, smarter, stronger, evolution doesn’t stop!!!!! Nor will it ever for that is the nature of the spirit that moves all things. Apache called it “the spirit that moves all things” you may say God or Yahweh or Buddha it doesn’t matter what you call it. The spirit that moves all things is all encompassing, its in us, and all around us. you too are the spirit that moves all things…….so where will we be in 10,000 years? Or in 100 years? Or in 10? They say be relevant in your time…. and you can do anything you want to do….. And that is true once again….to regain the ground we have lost with all this “progress” we need every man woman and child on the planet to work together for the common good, what would happen if the whole world had the same laws, and they were simple so anyone could understand. I’m starting to sound like Lennon so I’m going to bed, love to all. ACR
September 4th, 2013- I Will Tell You Some Truths
I will tell you some truths about revolutionary ideas, new and old, and large and small…..
Revolutions are good for the masses and dangerous to be a part of…..
Revolutions are led by a small group of individuals who are committed to their cause, people who rebel against an unpopular leader, law or idea.
These people tend to be persecuted in their time so gathering a collective voice to make our laws coincide with the way we wish to live becomes harder.
Innovation continues under a repressive regime, but it doesn’t happen in an open, celebrated manner for the common good, instead it happens in different places slowly and simultaneously so those who worked and studied or were given secrets or stole secrets or all of the above can gain their recompose.
It’s dearly earned knowledge, not gained without some sacrifice so many people are reluctant to share, and many people claim they know more than they do, and many people claim to be more pure than they are……
And so we waste our collective talents by re inventing the wheel over and over and over again, hiding knowledge from each other that Eve must have taught Adam.
Why have we demonized life forms that the spirit that moves all things put here before us?
When kids need CBD to talk and play and learn in places across the country so they too can thrive and help others in need….
When people in terrible pain get sick of the mans pills and try a bit of THC, to eat, sleep, laugh, relax and live…..
We know of other cannabinoids that do amazing things. Neuroprotectants, antioxidants, appetite suppressants,???? What I thought pot made you hungry?!?! It can. It can do a lot of things because it is a little understood class of drug known as an adjustant….means it can lift you up or lie you down or make you laugh or make you calm. It’s a magic thing that the man took away from us….
August 31st, 2013- I Sit Here On A Hill
I sit here on a hill with a beautiful green valley below me the air smells clean and The sound of life buzzes in the air. It’s peaceful and beautiful, wholesome and pure…in the distance it looks different, there is smog, the hills are painted brown with any scrap of cardboard or pallet one could scrounge, the sound of mothers screaming for their babies rings thru the night air. It’s as stark as land meeting sea. To think that one born here has rights that one born there does not is wrong, for us to sit on this side while they starve how
August 15th, 2013- Dear Friends and Fellow Warriors
My friends and fellow warriors………….today is the proudest day of my life with the exception of the birth of my daughters……..
Don’t get too excited I’ve had a lot of those in the last few months and many many more are planned………
do any of you remember me cautioning you all about not taking for granted that this war against all that is clean, green and wholesome is coming to an end?
do you remember me saying that big business and the man and all those who profit from the war on drugs would fight one last battle and that it would be the sneakiest nastiest most no holds barred battle in American History,
As I have said those who do not share our ideals will fight back…….Make one last stand, one last outcry about hippies and blacks and browns running wild, living free, and using that evil marijuana.
It has become clear to me and my contemporaries that this battle is at hand…..
Sanjay Gupta is one of my new heros for what he did this week and for his dedicated study…… I have lots of heros though and I recommend that each and everyone of you do the same. You can still be yourself if you have a hero or many….it’s just a way of pushing our limits and holding ourselves to the highest standards whatever those may be for you.
Charlottes story was beautiful, I cried , and as Josh Stanley said if that didn’t move your heart there is something wrong with you……I’m preaching to the choir I know….
How did Dr Gupta decide to spend two years traveling,researching and dedicating so much time to cannabis? I believe that he became our guy because he realized that this prohibition was racially motivated, this surly did not connect with what he learned as a MD, and this got him thinking ….how did we get from there to here?
He was severely reigned in by CNN in my opinion…. The documentary was called Weed for gods sakes…..and even though I believe we should listen to both sides I found it curious that the only human on the planet they could find to administer NIDA happens to sound very Eastern European, has scary repressive ideals and looks much like a Nazi.
Also locally here in AZ police continue to arrest patients caregivers and facility operators for oils hashes waxes etc. Concentrates were expressly provided for in AMMA because this is how we treat patients who have cancer and other terrible diseases. Concentrates are also critical to making edibles and products with known concentrations of active ingredients.
This is known as dosing and has been one of the biggest excuses against rescheduling cannabis. Now we have dosing, Check
another big one is potential for abuse, cannabis is widely available and in use so forget potential abuse as an excuse, Check
no accepted medical use.um,bullshit. Check
I see patients daily who’s pain levels are down,who’s cancers are shrinking. who’s diabetic blood sugars are coming back in line, Who’s lives are a little better because we have innovated under this repressive regime.
So any way why is this the proudest day of my life?
With those three beautiful love of my life exceptions?
Today I was sued for patent infringement based on a strain that was donated to my store and therefore on my shelves and online menus. A plant, these fucks want to patent a plant, our plant, fuck em. They wont make it legal until they can make $, then watch out here comes monsanto and walmart holding hands…… Desert Bloom baby!!!!
Lets save the world….or at least have fun trying.