April 27, 2018

Cannabis in Michigan: The Economic Microcosm

From the 1970's to present day shifting marijuana legislation, Michigan has had some of the most lenient laws on possession in the United States in college town Ann Arbor. A 1974 voter referendum made possession of small amounts of marijuana a mere infraction punishable by a small fine. Ann Arbor also passed a local voter referendum for medical marijuana for residents of the City in 2004. The Annual Hash Bash, established since 1972 features political speakers, live music, street vending and good old fashioned civil disobedience on the University of Michigan campus. Today the event attracts 20,000 attendees. The Cannabis history is Ann Arbor is a snapshot showing how cannabis regulation in Michigan is fought most strategically through local municipalities. 

The Rainbow Farm was established in 1993 and began producing events, Memorial Day's 'HempAid' and Labor Day's 'Roach Roast' with vendors, music stages and pro cannabis, drug policy reformists on the same panels as celebrities like Tommy Chong and Merle Haggard. High Times editors, NORML Board Members, Celebrity Activists like Jack Herer and Ed Rosenthal along with local advocacy groups discussed how the prohibition of cannabis laws could be broken down and rewritten. High Times ran an article listing Rainbow Farm as one of the top twenty five stoner travel spots in the World coming in at 17, making the annual events the center point for Marijuana Activism in Michigan. 

The conversation at the time centered around responsible adult use and decriminalizing possession. The network of growers resembled the farms established in Northern California at the time, remote, locked down outdoor cannabis farms with a lot of acreage essentially run by survivalists. Rainbow Farm owners Tom Crosslin and Rolland "Rollie" Rohm were killed in a Police Standoff September 3, 2001 after being served a warrant for tax evasion. Law enforcement found 200 plants on the property. Before the stand off was over, Tom and Rollie were dead, shot down by helicopter as they tried to flee on foot and every building structure on the campground property was burned to the ground. 

The Michigan Compassionate Care Initiative established a medical cannabis program for terminally ill patients in 2008, but was not acted upon and defaulted as a public initiative willing 63% of the vote in the November electoral season. The bill allowed patient to grow up to 12 plants or designate a caretaker to grow and process cannabis medicines for them. A designated caregiver could provide medicine for 5 patients with medical marijuana cards. 

These caretakers would move on to band together to open dispensaries (now Provisioning Centers) in municipalities willing to defend them from State closure and prosecution. They became the processors making concentrates and medicated edibles for their patient networks. This allowed the development of healthy economic microcosms throughout the State with a lot of working gray area in between. Those businesses who chose to open in municipalities where law enforcement opposed Cannabis in any form were often harassed and faced potential prosecution. 

The bills Governor Ricked Snyder signed into law in September 2016 were House Bill 4209 or Public Act 281 creating the Marihuana Facilities Licensing Act to regulate the growth, processing, transport and provisioning of Medical Marijuana, House Bill 4210 or Public Act 282 allowing the manufacture of marijuana infused products by qualified patients and House Bill 4827 or Public Act 283 to create the Marihuana Tracking Act and a seed to sale tracking system for all medical marijuana. More than a year and a half later, the State begins the process of application review. 

Because of the language of the law, the program allowed the growers to be established as caregivers who could grow for up 5 patients. These caregivers also served as processors and transporters. The 5 Licences available in the new legislation are Provision Centers serving as retailers, Marijuana Cultivators for growers, Marijuana Processors for the production of concentrates and cannabis infused food products, Marijuana Testing Facilities for Analytic Companies and Marijuana Transporters. The Cultivators Licenses are broken down to three classes setting legal plant limits: Class A - Up to 500 Plants, Class B - Up to 1000 Plants, Class C - Up to 1,500 Plants. Application fees are assessed on a local level up to $5,000 and can vary. The State's application fee is $6,000. The Regulatory assessment fee, based on the number of licenses issued, is currently set at $48,000 per application for the first year of implementation. 

Before this bill was signed into law , hundreds of dispensaries had established themselves in local communities all loosely regulated in the grey area of municipal law in receptive communities. These business owners participated in the establishment of the regulatory language in the law throughout the process, maintaining control of the legislative conversation. As these bills move forward, these businesses are slowly moving through the application process. 

Emergency rules have allowed for businesses to operate a proposed facility if the business completed the application process by February 15, 2018. The State, in the process of reviewing the first application in the current legislative session, just issued more than 200 cease and desists letters throughout the State for those businesses who were not in compliance with the application deadlines or were not issued an operating extension under the emergency rules. 

The whole time applications were being submitted and prepared for review, local municipalities have been deciding if they will allow these businesses to operate in their Cities, Townships and Villages and if so, which zones will have parcels available for these businesses to operate. The first step in the State application is facility approval from appropriate municipalities. The number of licenses in each municipality is decided by City Councils, Statewide. 

Local Cannabis Attorneys Craigs Arronoff and Travis Copenhaver of Cannabis Legal Group produce a series of legal YouTube videos with content to help the business owners navigate the complicated waters of Michigan cannabis regulation. Traveling the State to coordinate with each local municipality, they have been greeted with a full spectrum of views on regulation from communities who opted out of the conversation to those who have or are currently initiating city ordinance to define participation. Some communities are establishing lotteries for applicants, some are reviewing each on a first come first serve policy, smaller communities are having trouble finding parcels available for development. 

It's hard to forecast the long term economic viability for these niche markets. Adding complication, an additional voter initiative was passed allowing for recreational cannabis sales to be regulated in the State. The State is attractive to investors being the second largest Cannabis market after California in the United States. But it's the same State who's legislators took almost 10 years to create a system of safe access for medical marijuana patients  and will now attempt to establish and regulate a recreational market. Michigan recreational markets may appear attractive to out of State investors and the State does allow for outside money, however it will be some time before this market shows more return and with less risk. 

April 12, 2018

The Deep State: Conflicting Meanings in Powerful Language


As a writer I understand the power of language, the power of words. So when I see words and phrases thrown around in general conversation as a means to discount another's perspective, I tend to to do the research to see where a term originated and what is its intended purpose. 

Today's phrase is 'Deep State'. Every time I see this phrase used, I get a sense of confusion. Does anyone really know what this means? Turns out there are several interpretations of this phrase. Many books have been written, but they represent varying and opposing perspectives, so let's take a look. 

My first experience with this phrase goes way back to anti war activists using the term to describe a military industrial complex gone rogue, working outside the confinements of Government. Several authors have written books about this particular use of the phrase. 

The first noted use of the term was describing a secretive Turkish Network known as Derin Devlet. Founded in 1923 by former President of Turkey Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the group's purpose was to use nefarious acts such as coups and private assassinations of individuals seen as a threat to the establishment to preserve the Government structure, particularly the press, communists and other dissenters. At the time, the term was applied to what was happening in Turkey and Russia. 

Later, the term was used to describe the secretive activities of the military industrial complex as expressed iPresident Dwight D. Eisenhower's 1961 farewell address: "In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist." At the time, there was great potential for misuse and they did misuse the military often without the consent of Congress, however, in today's information society, nothing the military does is secret. When something happens with the US military, someone records it and the information is made available to global societies. The People involved in 1961 were able to hide their activities without the technology available to make the information available to everyone with internet access. 

In The Concealment of the State, Professor Jason Royce Lindsey takes this idea further to include what he describes as a fourth branch of the US Government established after the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center to use the national security and intelligence communities to work autonomously from the Executive Branch of Government for private interests. Again, this definition is still entrenched in the military industrial complex. 

Moving forward to 2014, a new definition appears from Mike Lofgren, a former Republican US congressional aide as  "a hybrid association of elements of government and parts of top-level finance and industry that is effectively able to govern the United States without reference to the consent of the governed as expressed through the formal political process." This refers to Corporate and private interests using blackmail and payoffs as a way to influence policy through elected representatives serving these entities only and not the working for the will of the people, though they maintain the facade of being dedicated public servants. Moving out of the military industrial complex this definition focuses on the establishment or career politicians who sit in powerful positions influencing policy as Presidents come and go. This includes career military officers, but is not limited to military operations. Intellectuals remain at odds with this definition arguing there is not one entity involved in these nefarious activities, but several groups who often find themselves at odds with each other. 

The Trump Administration uses the term to describe leaks and entrenched bureaucracy being used to interfere with the President's agenda. Steve Bannon through Breitbart News pushes this theory in many ways, one such example is the belief Barack Obama is creating a deep state resistance to Trump. This has been proven to have no basis in reality as have other such conspiracy theories coming from the alt-right media. Alex Jones uses this term to describe anything from alien invasions to weather modification to resistance to Trump's political agenda. 

Given the confusion surrounding the meaning of this term, polls were conducted in 2017 where as 48% of people polled believed there is a deep state entity in the US Government with the purpose of secretly manipulation and policy influence. In 2018 a similar poll was conducted with 63% of the individuals polled showing unfamiliarity with the term, but believing it was possible for something to like it to exist in modern geopolitical situations. 

As one can see, this is a term which has many interpretations and issues surrounding the term are quite convoluted, but at the same time offer a space for constructive ideas to form a potential consensus on the use of the words. What does Deep State mean to You? 


March 26, 2018

Why I Believe Sex Workers


Since the beginning of Human Politics, Men have been sending sex workers over to their opponents chambers to get secrets out of them for the purpose of winning wars and gaining power. Servant girls were used to get secrets from Kings, the local brothel was a hot bed of espionage. Cambridge Analyica's CEO Alexander Nix was caught on tape selling this as a service to undercover investigators just recently. Honey Traps (AKA Honey Pots) have been the preferred method for spies to gain secrets forever, it seems. So much so, You would think people in power were keep their DNA to themselves just so they wouldn't be caught in the trap, but sadly, they don't. 


Trump has been officially been spreading his seed since He hit puberty. EWWWW.... 

Stormy Daniels is a very successful sex worker. She is not shy about it. She isn't just in front of the camera. She produces, writes and stars in porn videos. Her continuously expanding network is quite large. I consider her an extremely savvy business woman in her trade. In her 60 minutes interview she reiterates, she is not a victim, the sex was consensual. Hey, much respect. The bigger issue with Stormy Daniels is intimidation, illegal use of campaign funds and thuggish behavior by people in power. This is why we will see more of Stormy Daniels and why Trump hasn't tweeted her name with a cute little insult about looks or intelligence. It's also why Trump spent Saturday night with his attorney Michael Cohen at Mar-A- Largo discussing strategy. 


I have way more respect for Stormy than Karen McDougal who was stupid enough to think Trump loved her just because he said so. He offered her money, she turned it down and feels SO guilty for having the affair because Trump was married at the time. She called Trump a 'sweet man'. Whatever. 

The more important story to Me is Russian Sex Worker Anastasia Vashukevich who claims to have 16 hours of video and audio proving collusion with Russia. In 2016, Anastasia or Nastya Rybka, spent time on a yacht with Russian Oligarch Oleg Deripaska and Deputy Prime Minister Sergy Prikhodko. Deripaska is known for creating a back channel to the Trump campaign through Paul Manafort. 

So, Anastasia leaves Russia and ends up in Thailand working with a group of sex workers running sex training sessions without a work visa. She ends up in a Bankok prison awaiting trial and extradition back to Russia where she will most likely be tortured, poisoned or whatever they do in Russia to people who know too much. 

She reaches out to CNN to try to exchange the 16 hours of evidence for asylum. Now, let's be clear. I do not think she will get assistance from the US Government. I'm not sure Mueller can or will save her. It appears Mueller's case is pretty rock solid with 5 American Guilty Pleas, 1 Russian and counting. 

My point in all of this is sex workers have been used since the beginning of time as weapons of espionage, so Yes... I believe the sex workers. I believe Stormy Daniels. I believe Anastasia Vashukevich. I could care less about doey eyed Karen McDougal or her stupid guilt... Stop wasting our time. 

Live Tweeting the Stormy interview last night was spectacular! So many funny tweets. My favorite? This gem from @wmbienes: 
'Who among us hasn't had unprotected intercourse with a porn star & playmate while wife #3 (the one you had intercourse with while still married to wife #2, the woman you slept with while still married to wife #1) was home nursing child number five? #StormyDanielsDay"

This is our President. This is the man all of the evangelicals follow as if he were the next messiah coming to lead them all to redemption in the promised land. It seems to me all of these powerful men need to keep their DNA to themselves as a matter of national security.. before someone gets impeached or poisoned. 

Does anyone else miss the days when The President of the United States didn't have any sex scandals? OBAMA....



So. What did We learn here today? Sex Workers are spies, Politicians need to keep their DNA to themselves and if a sociopath tells you he loves you, he doesn't. None of this has ANY place in American Politics. That's how I really feel. 

March 23, 2018

How Russia Hacked the DNC Emails

We begin this sordid tale in June of 2016 when a hacker going by the handle Guccifer 2.0 hacked into the Democratic National Convention's database and stole "emails". In his first blog post Guccifer claims he is a lone romanian hacker hell bent on exposing "The Illuminati" Yes... This set the conspiracy theorists all up in a frenzy. I don't know if the Illuminati exists. I do know Russia exists.... So....
Anyway, back to 2016... The buzzword highlighted in everyone's talking points were emails. It's a little more than emails, Kids. That data contained candidate assessments with strengths and weaknesses relevant to swing States like Pennsylvania and Florida, analysis of demographics and campaign recruit material, among others.


Guccifer sent the data to Assange... Assange began leaking emails to discredit the democratic national party. Assange wasn't the only person to receive the data. People like GOP political operative in Florida, Aaron Nevins also received a database. He proceeded to use this information to target swing voters in Florida.
Meanwhile, Roger Stone or "The Penguin" (that's the costume he chooses at Halloween each year) kept on his media campaign to assure everyone Guccifer was a lone hacker, not a Russian. You may have remembered seeing him on EVERY news channel spewing these lies.
Meanwhile, on the campaign trail, Trump uses the leaked 'emails' against Hilary, invites Russian hackers to find the missing emails... he believes they will be rewarded greatly by the US Fake News media. Sigh.
Now. Flash Forward to the shit show We are experiencing today: Just recently Guccifer failed to activate the VPN client before logging in, so he was able to be traced to the Russian Foreign Military Intelligence Agency - GRU AKA Main Directorate of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces office on Grizodubovoy St in Moscow. Where is Moscow, Kids? Say it with Me... RUSSIA!
***Please don't ask me what a VPN does... I don't know. Go have coffee with your favorite tech geek and have them bot-splain it to you. All I know is the exit was in France. Good Luck****
So this week, Mueller has now taken over the Guccifer investigation and folded it into the Russia investigation. Will we get Guccifer? Probably not. He never left Russia. I'm sure they killed him for screwing up and now knowing too much. My guess is that guy was tortured or gassed or poisoned or whatever they do over there to people who make mistakes. And now you know why Roger Stone just looks really, really sad all of the time and has stopped speaking with the press.
As for Assange... That mother fu**** needs to come on out of that embassy and take in the ass like a MAN.
And that's I really feel. Namaste!
Source disclaimer... This shit is all over the newswires, so pick an outlet. I chose Tech Crunch because it's an industry publication like Marketwatch... I figure they know.... So. There. S

https://techcrunch.com/2018/03/22/more-evidence-ties-guccifer-2-0-to-russian-intelligence/

January 31, 2018

The Future of CBD Oil after DEA and FDA Move to Enforce more Stringent Regulation

The United States Department of Health and Human services has owned the patent to use cannabinoids as nueroprotectants and antioxidants since October 2003. Scientists from the National Institute for Mental Health (NIMH), a smaller division of The National Institute of Health (NIH) applied for the patent 4 years prior for the purpose of awarding exclusive rights to create a new class of antioxidants significant for the role cannabinoids serve as nueroprotectants. 

Patent #6,630,507 excludesTetrahydrocannabidiol (THC) as a qualifying cannabinoid citing the medicinal benefits of Cannabidiol (CBD) with no psychotropic effects allowing patients to ingest high doses with "no toxicity or side effects."  It is important to consider this patent when analyzing recent actions taken by the FDA and DEA with regards to clarifying CBD Oil extracts being introduced in emerging medical and recreational markets.  

The two Federal Regulatory agencies working to regulate Hemp and Marijuana are the Food and Drug Agency (FDA) and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). The purpose of the FDA is to promote public health by regulating food, dietary supplements,  over the counter medications not prescribed by a doctor and vaccines among others. The purpose of the DEA is to classify and enforce laws for substances considered to have a potential for abuse,  medical or pharmaceutical benefit or pose risk to the general public in accordance with the Controlled Substances Act of 1970. Both agencies are extensions of the US Department of Health and Human Services.  

Agricultural Hemp Foods and Extracts containing only trace amounts of THC are regulated by the FDA after a concerted effort on the part of the Hemp Industries Association (HIA),  the Organic Consumers Association (OCA) and several Hemp food and body product companies who spent more than $200,000 fighting the DEA to exempt these products from definition in the Controlled Substances Act and won in 2004. Hemp CBD Oil was not an issue during this time as these products were marketed as food items and were not tested for the cannabinoid, only for THC.  Hemp producers wouldn't realize their products contained high amounts of CBD until many years later when analytical testing became available in emerging State regulated Medical Marijuana Markets.  

Currently Marijuana is considered a Schedule 1 substance in the DEA's Drug Diversion Program considered harmful to society and highly addictive with no medicinal benefit in spite of scientific research depicting the opposite.  Extracts from the marijuana plant, like Charlottes Web falls under the regulation of the DEA. The Controlled Substance Act of 1970 defines Marijuana as, "all parts of the plant Cannabis Sativa L., whether growing or not; the seeds thereof; the resin extracted from any part of such plant; and every compound,  manufacture,  salt, derivative,  mixture,  or preparation of such plant, its seeds or resin. Such term does not include the mature stalks of such plant,  fiber produced from such stalks, oil or cake made from the seeds of such plant,  any other compound,  manufacture,  salt,  derivative,  mixture or preparation of such mature stalks (except the resin extracted therefrom), fiber, oil, cake, or the sterilized seed of such a plant which is incapable of germination." Resins and oils from the Marijuana plant had always been included in the definition of Marijuana in the Drug Diversion Program if they were derived from the flowers of a mature plant.   


In 2017 the DEA created a new drug code for Marijuana extracts to better comply with the United Nations Convention on Narcotic Drugs enacted in 1961. Drug Code 7350 Marihuana Extract defines oil extracts as such: "Meaning an extract containing one or more of the cannabinoids that has been from derived from any plant of the genus Cannabis, other than the separated resin (whether crude or purified) obtained from the plant." This new drug code goes into effect January 13, 2018. The intent behind this action is for the DEA to better track extracts derived from the Marijuana plant,  however,  this same action caused confusion and misunderstanding with leaders in both medical marijuana and agricultural hemp communities. 

Back in 2004, the technical act achieved by HIA allowing for Agricultural Hemp Foods and body products to be sold in stores was exempting Agricultural Hemp Products with only trace amounts of THC from the definition of Marijuana in the Controlled Substance Act. That was before Hemp Processors understood their products contain high levels of CBD and therefore could be used as medicine just like oils and resins extracted from the Marijuana plant.  Very quickly, CBD Hemp Oils began flooding National Markets with online sales and appeared on the shelves of several health food stores claiming the oil helps alleviate medical problems,  not just provide nutritional benefits.  

This began the concerted effort on the parts of both agencies to quickly clarify. As the DEA's new drug code goes into effect,  the FDA is sending warning letters to online distributors of CBD Hemp Oil Companies who claim their products are medicinal for the nueroprotectant and antioxidant qualities of the CBD's contained.  Meanwhile,  the DEA issued a clarifying statement ensuring Hemp food and body products are still exempt from inclusion in the definition of Marijuana in the Controlled Substance Act. 

One such letter was sent to That's Natural! Marketing and Consulting in Pueblo, CO. Specific products referenced in the letter were CBD All Natural Hemp Oil, Bosom Lotion Potion and CBD Rich Healing Creme sold on the Company's website www.cbdoil.life. The letter informed the Company the aforementioned products are classified as a drug and not a dietary supplement according to the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetics Act because product claims on the website show intent for use in the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment or prevention of disease.  Referenced from the Company's Website, the FDA listed claims the products "kill cancer cells" and "provide a protective coating around our brain cells" among others as violations. The Company Website also made claims the products are anti-tumor, effective against MRSA (antibiotic- resistant bug), lowers blood sugar,  regulates blood pressure and heart rate and alleviates cancer related pain, among others.  The FDA gave the Company 15 days to respond to the letter with actions taken to correct violations. 

In spite of the DEA's actions to move CBD Oil into classification with Marijuana CBD Oil,  grocery stores and independent health food stores are pushing the conversation by stocking CBD Oil products on their shelves.  Kroger backed Lucky's Market announced plans in October 2017 to offer these products to their customers, the first National brand to do so.  Independent health food stores like Corner Store Apothocary in Grand Rapids, IA, know they are operating in a legal gray area,  but are willing to assume the risk.  Without clarification in the Federal Laws, these businesses are most certainly assuming great risk. 

In December of 2017, The United States Patent and Trademark Office revised its stance announcing patent and trademark applications involving CBD products would no longer be accepted and pending applications would be rejected based on the Office's Lawful Use Rule.  This rule applies after the DEA'S new drug code categorizes CBD Oil derived from the tops of flowering plants as a schedule 1 drug and therefore its use considered unlawful.  Prominent attorneys in the industry are advising their clients they can no longer expect protection from the trademark office,  at least not while the DEA's new drug code remains in place.  Theories on the purpose and status of patent #6,630,507 for the use of Cannabinoids as antioxidants and nueroprotectants owned by the US Department of Health and Human Services are speculative.  

The Hemp Industries Association (HIA), along with two other parties responded in January of 2017 moving to block implementation of the DEA's Drug Code filing a lawsuit in the 9th District Court questioning the legality of the code. Attorneys involved in the case claim products derived from Hemp lawfully under section 7606 of the Agricultural Act of 2014 (farm bill) remain exempt from the definition of Marijuana in the Controlled Substances Act.

"The DEA's attempt to regulate hemp-derived products containing cannabinoids lawfully sourced under the CSA, and farmed and produced under the Farm Bill in States like Kentucky and Colorado,  is not only outside the scope of their power,  it's an attempt to rob us of hemp' s economic opportunity, " said Colleen Keahy,  executive director of HIA, in a statement.  Oral arguments in the case are scheduled to be heard in February of 2018. The DEA's Drug Code went into effect mid January,  2018. 

Attorneys, Activist Organizations and Industry Business Leaders make up the think tank around all of these issues. Course of action proposals vary greatly and often cause discourse in the grassroots movement to regulate Cannabis in all forms.  Most agree the fundamentals of the laws are intricately integrated in the language used to market products vs. the language in the law,  whether it's food or medicine.  Below are listed some of the more prominent theories.  

Rescheduling

Currently,  Marijuana is classified as a Schedule 1 substance, considered to have no medicinal value, a high potential for abuse and harmful to society along with heroin, LSD, ecstasy, methaqualone and peyote. Some believe placing Marijuana in a less stringent category would open the doors for research and development of Cannabinoids as medicine.  Opinions on which category Marijuana should be placed vary greatly in the community.  It is important to note the drugs falling into these categories must be obtained by a prescription from a doctor or are illegal under Federal Law. Anything outside of these schedules but still considered medicinal are regulated by the FDA as an over the counter drug.  

Schedule ll drugs have a high potential for abuse and are considered dangerous,  but also have applied medical applications.  Drugs in this category include Vicodin, Dilauded, oxycodone (Oxicotin), Fentanyl, Adderall and Ritalin, to name a few.  More illicit drugs in this category are cocaine and methamphetamine.  Most of the groups pushing for this category are connected to pharmaceutical companies with patents pending for use of cannabinoids as medicine.  Opposing groups believe this move will push out the small business farmer considered to be the very backbone of the medical cannabis movement.  

Schedule lll contains drugs with a moderate to low potential of abuse.  Drugs in this category include Tylenol with Codeine, steroids, testosterone, ketamine and anabolic steroids. 

Schedule lV drugs are considered to have a lower potential for abuse or risk of dependence than Schedule lll and include Xanax, Soma, Darvon, Valium and Ambien to name a few.  

Schedule V drugs have low potential for abuse,  but also contain limited amounts of narcotics and are generally used for antidiarrheal, antitusive and analgesic purposes like cough medicine with Codeine. Lyrica and Motofen are also included in this category.  

The conversation surrounding scheduling is controversial to say the least.  Some activists believe Schedule lll to be destructive to local medical cannabis markets and would like to see Marijuana fall into Schedule lV or V believing small farmers could exist in a competitive environment with pharmaceutical companies.  Many take the whole plant approach believing all of the cannabinoids in the plant work together to produce medicinal effects and isolating cannabinoids while adding terpenes back in makes the plant less effective.  They believe allowing patents for these procedures to be issued would also be devastating to everyone involved,  grower to patient. 

Descheduling

Removing Marijuana from the Controlled Substance Act, thereby descheduling it altogether is another proposal for Federal clarification.  These activists believe Marijuana to be a plant, not a drug and would like products derived from the plant to be considered a nuetracuetical.  Nuetracueticals are loosely regulated by the FDA which doesn't interfere in research and production,  however products must be labeled as not intended for medicinal use.  Nuetracueticals exist because there is currently no official definition in current law unlike Marijuana, defined by the Controlled Substance Act,  however as recent as January 2018, the FDA launched an effort to impose more stringent regulations for homeopathic products.  

Announcing a new "risk based enforcement approach" the FDA declared any and all homeopathic medicines currently on the market as being sold illegally and any drug which has not been considered "generally recognized as safe and effective" to be classified as a "new drug" and go through the FDA Approval Process. Products intended to be used for the prevention or treatment of serious life threatening illnesses were specifically listed, which makes CBD Oil as a target for enforcement.  

No matter where one falls on the spectrum of belief,  everyone having the conversation agrees action to counteract the US Department of Health and Human Services must be well thought out and presented as a United Front.  Attorneys and organizations are preparing themselves for an extensive, very expensive legal battle to protect well established businesses and communities.  Anyone inspired to join the conversation can find activist groups representing all aspects of the spectrum who desperately need time and financial support from volunteers and businesses. It's time to advance to conversation if the movement wants to maintain their voice in the legal and political battles ahead.  

July 06, 2016

Economic Impact Study: How Cannabis Saved The Emerald Triangle

It was two days before Christmas, 1964. Most of the United States were enjoying Holiday festivities and completing tasks on 
their last minute to do lists. The residents of Northern California and Southern Oregon were evacuating their homes threatened by record high flood waters in conditions meteorologists deemed "The Perfect Storm". The weather events effecting the Eel and Kalamath Rivers and all of their tributaries began December 14 when a cold front brought several feet of snow. Immediately after, a pineapple connection dropped more than 30 inches of rain in less than a week. In the end, the highest tide of the year coming in as the flooded rivers reached their peaks would cause the most destruction. 

Residents recall the sound of the violent waters as a deep and unsettling roar not unlike an earthquake. This was the sound of giant redwoods and rocks pounding down the mountains in what experts estimate as much 750,000 cubic feet of water pumping per second. Logging was the major industry in the area at the time. Loggers created log jams in front of mills to collect the trees just cut from the mountains. The rushing water and debris knocked most of these loose and these giant trees took out everything in its path. 

When the flood waters receded, most residents found all of their possessions to be destroyed or washed away. Debris from the event was later found to have traveled all the way to the shores of Japan's islands. The coastlines in California and Oregon were littered with personal items washed out to sea only to be returned with the shifting tides. Entire communities had been washed away. 

Very few residents decided to rebuild after this event. Most logging companies abandoned any effort to reestablish themselves, the damage having been to much a burden to bear. Clean up efforts were slow as most roadways were blocked with debris or damaged by flood waters. The area was devastated economically, the people damaged morally having lost everything. What is now lovingly referred to as the Emerald Triangle was nothing more than sad remnants of life once lived and ghosts. 

The Flood left something else people at the time did not see as valuable. Layers and layers of fertile river silt which would eventually provide the perfect conditions for growing cannabis. It turns out, the Eel River has one of the heaviest sediment loads, second only to the Yellow River in China. The sediment and low land prices would be contributing factors to the economic boom enjoyed by this region more than a decade later. 

Hippies and The Vietnam War

In January of 1969, Richard Nixon took office as United States President. The Vietnam War waged on with US Casualties exceeding those lost in the Korean War and a new movement opposing the war in the US gaining ground. This new movement of people believed in living communally in harmony with nature. They believed peace could be achieved through artistic experimentation and engaged in civil acts of disobedience in opposition to the war. 

Hippies were spreading awareness through music, producing the Woodstock Concert in August of 1969 and another concert in Alamont CA in December. Berkely CA housed the highest population of hippies at the time, but 1970 saw a waning in the popularity of the movement. After the National Guard opened fire on student protesters at Jackson State and Kent State Universities, Hippies became recluse searching for ways to live off the grid away from a society shunning them. 

Hippies were attracted to Humboldt and adjacent c
ounties because the forest was so dense and the population diminished after the flood. Land had been split by this time into 5 and 10 acre parcels and was very affordable. By 1970, the hippies from San Francisco's Haight Ashbury were migrating north in large numbers. Several communes were established in the area and still thrive there today. 

The first Hippies realized within a few years, communes were not profitable. By 1972, most communes were experiencing financial difficulties. Livelihood strategies included growing enough food for everyone living on the commune, profits from artistic endeavors and sporadic odd jobs. Up to this point, cannabis was just another plant in the garden offering communal residents enough for personal use. Eventually, with few other economic avenues to pursue, the hippies turned to a burgeoning, but illegal marijuana black market. Remote locations, very fertile soil and the ability to redirect water from river tributaries and mountain springs provided everything necessary for successful gardens. Local law enforcement, violence against hippies and backlash from local loggers made maintaining successful gardens very risky business. 

The War on Drugs

Growing Cannabis as a livelihood strategy in a zero tolerance county led by politicians simultaneously declaring a "War on Drugs" and tightening penalties and restrictions is not an easy endeavor. Police forces were being militarized, arming themselves with military grade weapons. These municipalities were using these weapons to raid communes with force and often, without probably cause. Police Search Helicopters littered the skies above these Cannabis Growers resulting in a healthy paranoia and sense of distrust.

Distrust was warranted. Cannabis Growers can loose their crop at any time during the cultivation process in any number of circumstances. Bad weather, such as floods or droughts can kill an entire crop. Farmers loose their crops to insects, deer and elk, law enforcement, thieves or circumstances beyond ones control. The cost of doing business is high before one sees a return on investment. Most of the money earned goes back into the next crop. 

The War on Drugs created a judicial system incapable of handling business disputes like normal businesses. Altercations were handled behind closed doors and with tight lips. Calling the police in the case of a home invasion was not an option, services were not made available to women in violent domestic situations. If the other party took off with product without paying for it, there was nothing to do about it. An army of police officers trained to believe the Marijuana Plant to be evil and those involved in the business no better than the violent drug cartels of Mexico were hell bent on eradicating the plant altogether and evicting the hippies from the area. These municipalities wreaked havoc on everyone, even residents not engaged in growing Cannabis.  



The penalties for growing, processing and distributing Cannabis were always high. Growers could face decades in Federal Prison and loose their property, assets, children and any money accumulating in the bank. Regardless of the risks,  Cannabis Farmers persisted and are now considered pioneers as States across the Nation have repealed prohibition by establishing new legislature for an industry growing at lightning speed.  It appears the Federal Government is not far behind recently considering rescheduling cannabis to a less restrictive category in the DEA's drug diversion program.  

Today,  when one travels through the Emerald Triangle,  signs of a burgeoning cannabis industry are everywhere. The grocery stores have elaborate displays of turkey bags in the front of the store all year.  Hair salons double as trim supply stores offering any pruning scissors currently available on the market next to aprons,  hand solutions and gallon containers of isopropyl. Every business in the area benefits from the cannabis industry from the restaurants to the thrift stores. 

The State of California is still trying to interpret voter approved initiatives allowing for medical Marijuana as new legislature is being introduced for adult recreational use. Growers well established in this area are ready for whatever the future has in store for them,  breeding organic, artisan strains one can only find growing amongst the giant redwoods. This region was saved by Cannabis and continues to enjoy the economic benefits of a healthy marijuana industry. These growers aren't going anywhere.
   


*The Emerald Triangle covers all of Trinity, Humboldt and Mendocino Counties.