Our interview with CEO Cheryl Shuman covers everything from how to get a membership in the Beverly Hills Cannabis Club, to the de-scheduling of marijuana and one-too-many-Selfies.
About the AuthorMichael is a journalist and filmmaker. His award-winning documentary, Sleeping with Siri is playing film festivals across the country. Stusser runs TechTimeout campaigns in high schools across the country, asking teenagers to give up their digital devices (for a little while) in order to find balance, and perhaps even make eye-contact with their parents.
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By admin — 7 years ago
A modest proposal to head off the awful Senate Bill 5052.
Last week, three U.S. senators introduced a bill that attempts to amend many of the outdated medical-marijuana conundrums at the federal level. The bill would end the prohibition of medical marijuana, reclassify the plant from its current designation as a Schedule 1 narcotic (a status that suggests no medical value and high potential for abuse), and allow for more cannabis study and research. While the bipartisan bill doesn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of passing, it’s a great conversation starter.
Inspired by those ballsy senators—and in fear of the awful Senate Bill 5052 that is currently wending its way through Olympia—I’ve decided to take my own shot at solving Washington state’s own clusterfuck. So without further ado, I present the framework of my own Omnibus Marijuana Bill.
Let my people grow! I mean, really. Every other state that’s legalized marijuana has allowed citizens to grow for personal use, and we should too. It’s a no-brainer. Put a limit on the number of plants per person (six per adult, perhaps, or higher if used for medicinal purposes), and, like tomatoes and snap peas, allow folks to play in the garden. (Probably not a great plant for community pea patches, but fab for collective gardens for medical patients, many of whom are too sick to tend to the crop themselves.)
Regulate medical dispensaries. The state estimates that there are more than 1,000 dispensaries, operating all willy-nilly. While many are clearly fly-by-night operations that don’t check ID, a good number have been instrumental for decades in helping the medical community find strains and products and oils that help patients. So it just makes sense that any longstanding, established dispensary should be allowed to continue operating. Hell, I’ll pick a random number that can be allowed: 420.
No medical registry. The bill from Republican Sen. Ann Rivers that the state Senate just passed calls for the creation of a statewide registry for medical patients. Puh-lease. Patients don’t fear putting their names on the dotted line because they’re faking their illnesses to get cheaper weed, but because admitting to a felony at the federal level is a pretty bad idea. Patients can lose their jobs and have their children taken for this kind of admission. No registry.
Whack the taxes. Right now there’s a triple-decker tax structure in place: Recreational weed is hit with a 25 percent tax when it moves from farmer to processor, then again from processor to retailer, and again to the end customer. Pretty much everyone agrees a single tax is the best idea here—so pick a single sin-tax percentage and go with it. Too high, though, and I’m staying with my dealer.
Medical cards. Any patient with a qualified doctor who recommends (not prescribes) marijuana to alleviate suffering for terminal or debilitating conditions such as cancer, epilepsy, PTSD, and chronic pain should be allowed to purchase it tax-free at licensed medical dispensaries, just as citizens across the country (except Illinois) can receive their tax-free prescriptions for Ambien, Valium, Prozac, and whatever that purple pill is.
Free hemp now. My Omnibus Marijuana Bill is so comprehensive that I plan to roll hemp legislation into it, thus killing two buzzed birds with one stone: Legalize hemp for farming, commerce, and production, and just ignore the absurd bans on industrial hemp. Don’t be silly; the fibrous stuff doesn’t even get ya high.
Rec stores must stock medicinal products. Most of the individuals working to bring cannabis out of the shadows and into the legal mainstream were from the medical community—and riskily toiling long before the greedy Green Rush Potrepreneurs got in line for a Weed Lotto Ticket to make marijuana moolah. The least these green-lit licensees can do is stock their shelves with a small percentage of medicinal items in their inventory.
No pot, no pay. Cities and counties that ban marijuana outlets—either recreational or medical—will get absolutely no tax revenue from sales of marijuana. Period. In addition, as they are restricting both the will of the people and access for medical patients who may not be able to drive to places that do allow marijuana sales, these cities must build a FastTrack Elevated Electric Train system for their residents to travel from their homes to the nearest marijuana-friendly city.
Let’s get loungey! Pot lounges and cafes where adults can smoke marijuana are a safe and social way for folks to get fired up. Hell, even the Seattle City Attorney likes the idea. Allow for cigar lounges and smoky pool halls too! You don’t like ’em? Don’t patronize ’em! We’re not looking to be Amsterdam with a cannabis cafe on every corner—though if Howard Schultz wants to get into the franchise game, Starbuds is a damn fine name. Probably shouldn’t allow alcohol in cannabis clubs however; people get crazy on that shit.
This article first appeared in the Seattle Weekly.
By Michael A. Stusser — 7 years ago
Can weed give our furry companions happier lives and more peaceful deaths?
Remember the right-wing homophobes who claimed that if we allowed gays to get married, pretty soon people would begin marrying their pets? Well, now, the damn hippies who voted to legalize the wacky weed are indeed trying to get their dogs and cats stoned! Hooked on the hound hemp! The kitty chronic!?
Companies like Seattle-based Canna-Pet and Canna Companion sell cannabinoid treats for dogs and cats—not to get them high (the hemp biscuits and capsules have very low levels of THC), but to help with joint discomfort and inflammation, and hopefully to make that yappy poodle across the street calm the fuck down.
Recently the Food and Drug Administration began cracking down on pooch-pot peddlers for some of the claims made in their marketing materials. The FDA wants phrases like “anti-cancer” and “anti-tumor” taken off Canna-Pet’s packaging, as those medical claims have not been proven.
Canna Companion, from Snohomish County, says their products are all-natural, and inhibit cancer-cell growth and reduce inflammation. Clinical trials monitored by the FDA haven’t taken place, because of course at the federal level, the testing or sale of marijuana is a felony offense—not to mention it’s hard to get Fido to fill out the post-trial questionnaire. Cats are better at giving feedback, but are prone to hissy fits in the comments section.
Similar to humans, domesticated animals have endocannabinoid systems and can potentially be physically and psychologically aided by ingesting cannabis. While industrial hemp hasn’t been proven as a puppy painkiller, many vets and owners have had success using the stuff to help pets gain weight after sicknesses and surgery, as well as to provide pain relief during end-of-life stages. Los Angeles veterinarian Doug Kramer told the Associated Press that he’s had more than 300 patients use cannabis to help everything from infections to separation anxiety to feline immunodeficiency virus to irritable-bowel syndrome (which I thought was the very definition of being a pet). Talk about skunk weed!
After giving his husky, Nikita, cannabis oils for her terminal cancer, Dr. Kramer said she gained weight and was able to live an extra six pain-free weeks before having to be euthanized. “I grew tired of euthanizing pets when I wasn’t doing everything I could to make their lives better,” Kramer noted. “I felt like I was letting them down.”
Things are going a bit too far in Nevada, where, as part of a bill to overhaul their medical-marijuana laws, state Senator Tick Segerblom proposed a Pot-for-Pets provision that would require animal owners to apply for medical-marijuana cards. Cards would be issued only if a vet wrote a detailed description of how Count Flufferton’s condition might be aided with Puppy Chow Dank. Good Lord, it’s hard enough for folks to clean up after their pets, much less register them for a Canine Cannabis Card. Feed ’em all the Purina Cheeba ya want, as far as I’m concerned—just pick up the poop!
Veterinarians agree that feeding a pet straight marijuana or blowing pot smoke in Mr. Bigglesworth’s snout is never a good idea; most companies marketing for pets are using all-natural hemp treats, cannabis oils, and glycerin tinctures that can be put into the water bowl.
Not surprisingly, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has something to say on the matter. “Our position is that anything that can help animals,” stated President Ingrid Newkirk, “if it’s truly, properly administered in the right amount and can relieve a dog’s pain—then they should be given the same consideration that humans in pain are given.” (No comment on whether PETA gives ganja to the tens of thousands of pets they euthanize at their shelters after not finding homes for the non-rescued souls . . . )
While weed’s not a cure-all for everything; it’s also not gonna kill you (or your chronic companion). My neighbor’s golden retriever, Bailey, not only drank half a gallon of paint I had (stupidly) left out one summer day, but also chowed the brush and sponge inside it. She hurled a lovely shade of Benjamin Moore chartreuse-green for a week, but went on to live—and crap in my yard—for another decade. The bottom line is this: I don’t care if Snoopy gets high as the Red Baron on Snoop Dog Bud-Bones, just keep that pooch away from my personal stash. The steak’s for me. Lassie gets the leftovers.
This article first appeared in the Seattle Weekly.