By Morgan Fox, mpp.org
In the wake of the historic, voter approved legalization in Colorado and Washington, members of state and national government have been reacting in a number of ways.
Officials in Colorado and Washington are respecting the will of the people and have begun implementation of the new laws. Prosecution of adults for possession of less than an ounce of marijuana have ceased in both states. Lawmakers in Maine, Rhode Island, Vermont, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire are expected to introduce bills in 2013 to tax and regulate it like alcohol. Senator Patrick Leahy, current head of the Senate Judiciary Committee, wrote to the US Drug Czar in December to suggest a legislative solution to the conflict between federal and state law.
How the federal government will react to these laws is uncertain. Since cultivation and sale of marijuana remains illegal under federal law, the government could simply ignore
Read More: How the federal government might respond to legal marijuana
The question of which state would be first to legalize adult use of cannabis and take steps to regulate its production and sale has been put to rest. Colorado voters came in first on Nov. 6, 2012 just ahead of Washington state voters by a time zone difference of one hour. Both campaigns have earned our respect and warm congratulations, and ripples are being felt around the world. Meanwhile, Massachusetts voters elected to become the 17th state to give recognition and protection to medical marijuana.
This came less than a month after the Netherlands restored its local option policy that allows cities such as Amsterdam to continue to welcome international tourists into their cannabis coffeeshops. These combined events have sent shockwaves out across the world and are resounding in the national deliberations of Mexico, South and Central America and they may soon affect international marijuana treaties — if Spain, Portugal and Uruguay decide it’s time to make their move to
Read More: The shapes of legalization to come
As the West Coast Leaf goes on hiatus, as announced in our previous issue, we would like to again thank our writers, advertisers, subscribers and helpers for making it possible for us to publish “the cannabis newspaper of record.”
These past five years have been among the most exciting in the history of reform, and we are glad to have played a role in informing and inspiring people to create change. See WestCoastLeaf.com as to our future plans
Commentary: Inside looking out
By Steve DeAngelo, Executive Director, HHC
Harborside Health Center (HHC) was one of the first of hundreds of dispensaries targeted in the federal crackdown on medical cannabis. Unlike many others, we had the determination and the resources to fight back, and have been doing that — hitting back hard. If luck holds, and our legal team prevails, HHC could well become the last dispensary they decide to tangle with.
Our federal troubles started in early 2010, when our banks were pressured to close our accounts and credit card processing service. After that, the IRS audited us, demanding the kind of detailed financial records that are impossible to keep without a bank account. Despite that obstacle, we submitted complete records to the IRS — which they certified as being 100% accurate.
It didn’t matter: IRS handed us a $2.5 million tax bill, denying all our deductions on
Read More: An update on the federal attack against Harborside…
By John Thomas Ellis
Eight years of the Showtime serial Weeds ended in a sedate farewell that was as disjointed from its own storyline as it was from the real world of cannabis.
Hollywood made killers of a neighborhood housewife-turned-grower. She and her clan transgressed against convention and against the law. In the end, Nancy tries to make it right by finally smoking up [does he mean “giving up smoking”?], but it came off as if the studio forced the crew to edit a happy ending onto the car wreck Weeds really was. Let’s hope the entertainment industry will wake up and realize that the cannabis industry is far bigger than they are. Catering to this culture would be a profitable and forward-looking venture.
By Stephen Downing,* LEAP
I was 22 years old when I came from a rural community to Los Angeles and joined the LAPD. I entered a culture that truly believed drug users were the bad guys and that we were protecting society by jailing them. But, as the years passed, I began to question that culture and to think for myself.
Prosecuting people for marijuana is a waste of money, squanders scarce law enforcement resources and endangers public safety because the illicit status of the drug creates huge profits for the violent cartels who currently run the trade. And every minute the police spend going after nonviolent drug offenders is one fewer minute they have to spend on the shooters and violent crimes being committed.
During my time as a police officer, I cannot tell you how many young people’s lives I saw ruined because of their involvement with marijuana
Read More: Commentary: Outside looking in
Now that the election is over, it’s time for all Americans and particularly women to tell Michelle Obama that we need her help to end marijuana prohibition. The president should know better — he is living proof that a person can smoke a lot of cannabis and go on to achieve great things, as long as they don’t get a criminal record in the process. Yet his administration’s drug policies are anti-social, anti-democracy and anti-science. It is up to us to help the Obamas “evolve” on this issue, as they did on gay rights, to recognize that cannabis consumers should not face ruination and persecution by the US government. TellMichelle.us is a national campaign to empower women to talk to each other, make their voices heard and build a new platform to speak out against marijuana prohibition and the Drug War. If we can reach Michelle, she can reach Barack,
Read More: Tell Michelle — It’s time to talk to Barack
Save the Leaf
This editorial poses a question to our readers as to how the West Coast Leaf shall proceed. When we launched this newspaper, long-time activists and publishers Chris Conrad and Mikki Norris agreed to produce it for five years and then decide what to do next. As this current issue is Vol. 5 No. 3, we are nearing the end of that cycle, and it is time for us to decide. The upcoming Winter 2012 edition marks the end of this arrangement.
One thing is certain, things will not remain as they are now. Some people say the Internet has displaced the need for authoritative print journalism. Others say that a credible newspaper of record has a singular place and purpose, and it’s time for others to step up to the plate to keep it going. We just know it’s time for a change.
Read More: A Question of the West Coast Leaf’s future
The federal ban on cannabis took effect 75 years ago, on Oct. 1, 1937. Interstate trafficking in marijuana was forbidden, but not medical use, and “farmers could grow hemp just as they always have done,” a Treasury spokesperson told Congress. People just had to get a tax license. No licenses were issued. Without industrial hemp as a sustainable crop, America has since lost nearly all of its virgin forests and family farms, as the US Dept. of Agriculture had predicted — but was not invited to tell Congress. Multiple acts of perjury launched the criminal fraud which endured until 1969, when the Marihuana Tax Act was overturned by the US Supreme Court in Leary v USA. Nixon’s administration promptly replaced with a new fraud, the Controlled Substances Act of 1970. Congress set a scientific federal criteria by which a new police bureaucracy, the DEA, would review scientific data and remove cannabis from
Read More: 75 Years of federal cannabis prohibition