Legality of Pot Shops Still Hazy

Legality of Pot Shops Still Hazy
Posted by CN Staff on June 03, 2005 at 08:26:52 PT
By David Bunker, Sierra Sun
Source: Sierra Sun
California -- Despite the more than 110 medical marijuana dispensaries that have popped up in Northern California since the state’s approval of the 1996 Compassionate Use Act, the legitimacy of pot shops in the state remains very much in doubt.The future of medical marijuana distribution hinges on a United States Supreme Court decision that is expected as soon as this summer, experts say, and until then marijuana dispensaries operate in a nebulous region between a vague authorization by state statutes and an federal law that refutes marijuana as a plant with medicinal purposes.
And when Truckee enacted a temporary moratorium blocking medical marijuana dispensaries in town last month, the decision was made with these uncertainties in mind.“I am not convinced they are legal,” said Nevada County District Attorney Michael Ferguson of marijuana shops. The State’s StanceMedical marijuana was first legalized by California proposition 215 in 1996. But the law was broad enough to leave the specifics of legal amounts, distribution and enforcement cloudy.In 2003, the state senate attempted to clarify the medical marijuana law by enacting Senate Bill 420. Despite setting personal marijuana possession limits, outlining a medical marijuana identification card system, and reaffirming the legality of marijuana for medicinal use, the bill also spurred a new round of questions and interpretations.One of the largest unanswered questions is how registered medical marijuana users can obtain the drug.“We have to differentiate between a medical marijuana dispensary and a medical marijuana collective,” Ferguson said.A collective — which grows, divides and distributes marijuana among a group of patients without charging money — is allowed under state law, Ferguson said. But as soon as an establishment starts accepting money for cannabis, it is not supported by current medical marijuana statute, he said.“They start charging money,” Ferguson said, “and they are selling marijuana.”Placer County Deputy District Attorney David Tellman agreed that dispensaries that sell pot are on shaky ground.“I think there is an open question if the dispensaries are authorized by SB 420,” Tellman said.With the definitions of “collectives” and “primary caregiver” up for interpretation, the application of the Senate bill is still “as clear as mud,” Tellman said.In the end, Placer County looks at whether they can convince a jury that the person violated law beyond a reasonable doubt before taking a marijuana case, said Tellman.Two Dispensaries, Two OutcomesJust down Interstate 80 from Truckee, two medical marijuana dispensaries opened up in 2004. In their short existence the two shops have had wildly different experiences.Roseville’s Capitol Compassionate Care opened as a small marijuana distribution center in late January. But towards the end of 2004 the center had grown to employ 14 people and reportedly cultivated nearly 2,000 marijuana plants.In early September federal officials raided the dispensary, confiscating marijuana and other property. Although no drug charges were filed by the federal agents and the shop reopened the next day, the dispensary voluntarily shut down in less than a month.Meanwhile, the Golden State Patient Care Collective opened in Colfax after co-owners Jim Henry and Cheryle Riendeau were discouraged from opening a dispensary in neighboring Nevada County.A year after their doors opened, the Colfax store is still seeing 50 to 100 patients come into the shop each day, said Anita Lincoln, a Golden State Patient Care Collective employee. And unlike the Roseville location, the federal government has largely left them alone.The shop, which is located in an office complex off of Highway 174, has two security guards, security cameras and alarm systems, Lincoln said. “We have security but we’ve never had to use them,” she said.In a town that does not even have a regular pharmacy, most of the dispensary’s patients are between 50 and 70 years old and are visibly ill, often limping or on crutches, said Lincoln.Federal vs. State LawFederal law and California law butt heads on the medical marijuana issue, and it remains unclear which statute takes precedent. A Supreme Court case, Raich v. Ashcroft, is expected to resolve this conflict.The crux of the Supreme Court case is whether medical marijuana cultivation and distribution is considered “interstate commerce,” which falls under federal jurisdiction. The federal government argued that even if marijuana is cultivated and given away for free it still constitutes interstate commerce. The plaintiffs said that marijuana that is cultivated and consumed in a single state, and is not bought or sold, is subject only to state law. The Supreme Court finished hearing arguments on the case last year and is currently formulating a decision.When that decision is handed down it will eliminate much of the murkiness surrounding the enforcement of medical marijuana uses, said Sgt. Ron Ashford of the Placer County Sheriff’s Department.“In the legislation there is a lot of room to move there — a lot of leeway,” Ashford said.Meanwhile, patients and operators of the marijuana dispensaries wait for the court decision that is expected to either endorse or criminalize the distribution of medical marijuana.“We have a ton of patients that are terrified,” said Lincoln, from her job at the Colfax marijuana dispensary. “If we get taken away they will not know what to do.”Sidebar: Town of Truckee's Direction The Truckee Town Council adopted a 45-day prohibition on medical marijuana dispensaries in town at their May 19 meeting. Within 45 days the council will once again take up the medical marijuana discussion as they review proposed zoning regulations for marijuana shops. These regulations, which will become an amendment to the town’s development code, have to be approved by the town’s planning commission and town council before becoming effective. Source: Sierra Sun (Truckee, CA)Author: David Bunker, Sierra SunPublished: June 3, 2005Copyright: 2005 Sierra SunContact: editor sierrasun.comWebsite: Articles & Web Site:Angel Raich v. Ashcroft News Town Puts Medical Pot on Hold State Awaits Decision on Medicinal Marijuana Medical Marijuana Archives 
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Comment #22 posted by GreenJoy on June 04, 2005 at 15:20:23 PT
Why Thankyou Max :-)
 Fascinating. I kid you not. I just picked up my first California quarter! (the coin) The only change back from a beer purchase. Could it be a sign? I'm going to say YES. Just say YES. :-) I have much to take care of in getting ready to move. Probably next winter or spring. I have written down your address and will be in touch. Your very kind! Thankyou!!   GJ 
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Comment #21 posted by FoM on June 04, 2005 at 14:44:39 PT
charmed quark 
Yes it would be nice. I was outside watering my vegetable garden today and thought how nice it would be to be allowed to add cannabis along side my Rosemary, Sweet Basil and Oregano. Gardening is fun. Gardening is a healthy activity too. I even planted a few Sunflowers just because they get so big and the birds love the seeds. We just want to be able to be small time farmers that's all.
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Comment #20 posted by charmed quark on June 04, 2005 at 14:36:06 PT
Wouldn't it be nice
I truely wish I could move to CA and live in the Bay area. I actually considered it but decided job and family reasons overrode my need for medical cannabis. So I use marinol, a very poor substitute.What I would most like is the ability to try out all the different medical varieties to find out which one would have the best effect on my condition. And then to grow my own medicine, that would be sweet.-CQ
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Comment #19 posted by FoM on June 04, 2005 at 14:21:30 PT
Thanks Max Flowers
I never thought of it that way. That does make sense when a person lives in a medical marijuana state that can grow without fear. Maybe someday it will be ok for all the states. Here's a short video clip on this link about the new series called WEEDS.
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Comment #18 posted by Max Flowers on June 04, 2005 at 13:46:48 PT
Oh, and FoM
I can tell you the major reason people make "hash"* oil that you're missing. When you grow a decent amount of herb, let's say a pound or more, you end up with a whole lot of what we call "trim" which is all the little bud leaves that you have to manicure off the dried flowers (buds) to make the buds look presentable instead of raggedy. The trim has lots of trichomes on it. Some people make hash with the water method with their trim, but others prefer to make oil. A lot of people when making oil also add in fan leaves which are very low in cannabinoids, but those cannabinoids can be extracted nonetheless. Besides cooking with it, there's not much else the fan leaves are useful for, so oil-making is a popular way of getting a useful product out of what would be trash otherwise. When you combine trim with fan leaves and do the butane extraction, you get a huge yield of potent oil. *another misnomer, since the hash oil of the 1970s was often literally hashish that was dissolved in alcohol or pet ether, filtered (begone camel dung!) and most all the solvent evaporated to leave hash oil.
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Comment #17 posted by Max Flowers on June 04, 2005 at 13:33:38 PT
Hey I can shed even a little more light. Under bill SB 420 (amendments and clarifications to H&S 11362), it was codified that even probationers are included in being able to get recommendations, and I have even heard that inmates can be too (!!?), so worry not. I don't recall anything on the questionnaire I filled out at my doctor's office that asked anything about criminal history.If you are serious about getting patient status in a state that will allow you to medicate in peace, I recommend moving out here strongly (although I also strongly recommend northern CA as opposed to southern). You do have to move here first to get the recommendation. That's one of the things they are on the lookout for, is people who actually don't live here but pretend they do and get recommendations for less than above-board reasons, whatever they may be... medical dispensaries certainly don't charge modestly enough to tempt people to buy it to resell, except at the most hardcore street level ($25 per gram and such). Doctors who do recommendations DO understand someone moving here from a more punitive state however.Being able to buy meds at clubs is nice, but being able to grow is by far the main feature of the deal. Consider Sonoma County, or Marin if you can afford it (no plant number limits in their policy, but super expensive rents and prices). We'd love to have you out here in Sonoma County. If you need more info feel free to write me at kamandha "at" hushmail dot com.
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Comment #16 posted by GreenJoy on June 04, 2005 at 11:06:52 PT
Charmed Quark
 Thanks for all the info!! I'm already in touch with some friends in California. And my brother may be moving there in the future as well for his own reasons. Its cool, I knew where you were coming from. You just provided the moment for the statement. I have raw nerves everywhere not just in my neck. Until the lousy event I had never been arrested, cuffed, ransacked, robbed, body searched, jailed, gone to court, written up in the paper, the big talk of the neighborhood, my front yard trashed, etc. Others have had it far worse. Still, my aura was really banged up. But, every day I find new ways in which I'm stronger than I ever imagined.  GJ
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Comment #15 posted by charmed quark on June 04, 2005 at 05:13:06 PT
GreenJoy - about past convictions
All of the physicians that I know about in California who specialize in cannabis would likely give you a recommendation. They would consider you conviction a demonstration of the fact that you were already using cannabis to treat your condition. Most of their patients were already using cannabis before they got their physician recommendation.But the local medical boards, pressured by certain county sherrifs, try to use these facts against the physicians to shut them down.
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Comment #14 posted by charmed quark on June 04, 2005 at 05:05:57 PT
Hey, Greenjoy
I would never consider you a criminal. You are the unfortunate victim of an ongoing culture war. You should never accept the criminal label they tried to put on you.I was simply trying to describe what I think is the "official" position of recommending cannabis.The best of luck!-CQ
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Comment #13 posted by GreenJoy on June 04, 2005 at 04:23:14 PT
Dan B
 Hmmm. Musta been the camel dung. :-) J/K Glad it worked for y'all. I always thought it burned inefficiently. Quick to turn into just a glowing coal.  GJ 
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Comment #12 posted by Dan B on June 04, 2005 at 03:46:54 PT
Hard to burn?
Neither I nor my friends ever had a hard time lighting hash. Actually, one thing we liked about it was that it went out once we took the flame away. It may have something to do with the fact that we used the old soda can pipe trick. Get a wad big enough to avoid sucking it through the pinholes, and you can get a lot of people high with just a little hash. At least, that was how it was the few times I had it. That seems to me the only good reason to get hash: a little bit goes a long way. But, I digress from the point of the article to which many of us were referring (the one posted in FoM's comment), which is (as far as I wish to take it) that one should be careful when using combustible substances. Of course, there are those who would blame it all on the cannabis, and to them I would say that cannabis doesn't cause explosions; volatile chemicals do.Dan B
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Comment #11 posted by GreenJoy on June 03, 2005 at 18:36:07 PT
Thanks Charmed Quark! :-)
 And I say, you have the most excellent screen name! Sometimes I wonder if I would not do just as well to move to Chicago and just be a consumer. Or Maryland where one just has to prove a medical need and its a $ 100 fine. Please don't consider this a retort CQ. I know where your coming from. But does anyone remember the movie, "A Man Called Horse"? Where he's hangin by his nipples from some rig and he yells, "I Am Not An Animal!" Well, I reject the criminal history. I Am Not A Criminal!!! A couple speeding tickets.. until they came crashing into my home and threw me on the floor and went thru breaking things and dumping things on the floor. -- And someone in the posse stole some antiques!! Home Invasion and Thievery is a crime !! GJ 
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Comment #10 posted by charmed quark on June 03, 2005 at 17:51:48 PT
California, here you come ...
You definitely have to be a legal resident of the state to get a recommendation. Past criminal history, as far as I know, has no impact. It is a medical decision. A medical board might argue that a doctor should not recommend cannabis to someone with a past history of abuse, but I think a charge of possesion would not be considered abuse.Regarding hash oil. Way back, one of the motivations was that you could easily vaporize it. People who were trying to avoid smoke liked it. But now, with vaporizers that can vaporize prepared whole cannabis, I would think there would be less need. So I wonder what the attraction is.-CQ
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Comment #9 posted by GreenJoy on June 03, 2005 at 17:22:04 PT
California is the place I oughta be....
 So I loaded up the truck and I...Can anyone tell me, I have a really painfull, chronic neck injury and a stack of records and the grimace to prove it..and I would like to get a 215 or another states I have to move there first? A leap of faith? Is a little teeny "possession" badge going to ruin or hinder my chances? Thanks!  GJ
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Comment #8 posted by GreenJoy on June 03, 2005 at 17:09:51 PT
 Someone once told me hash is often combined with camel poo. Eeewwww! Pretty much cured me of hash roght then and thar I tell ya! I never really thought it was all it was cracked up to be anyway. Too much fuss to get it to burn right. Stick it on a pin under a class etc. If you have good herb in the first place why bang it all up making hash out of it? Also, if you ever smoke a stray hair, YOU'LL KNOW.  GJ
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Comment #7 posted by Dan B on June 03, 2005 at 16:49:29 PT
Hash Story
This reminds me of the time the police came to my junior high classroom to discuss "drugs" with us. I think I spoke of this before--they put a joint on a clip inside a squeeze mustard container and blew the smoke at us so we could "identify the smell" and report it immediately to the authorities. Several students really enjoyed this experience. That's not what I want to write about, though.In this same meeting, the cops told us that hashish is made this way: naked people or people with leather strapped onto their naked bodies run through fields of marijuana (their terms), and the resin collects on their skin and/or on the leather. Then, this resin is scraped off and formed into hash. They warned us that hashish also contains sweat and probably body hairs due to the way it is made. This story seems prepostrous to me now (it seems to me that there are a thousand ways to get hash that are less wasteful than the method described by the cops), but at the time (this was over 20 years ago) I bought it. Gee, those lies really worked on me long term! Heck, even in the short term it was merely two years later that I tried my first pipeload of cannabis, and three years after that I was smoking blonde hash from Amsterdam while stationed overseas with the Army. So much for concern about body hairs.From what I understand about making hash, the trichomes are carefully collected and then compressed into bricks. I emphasize "carefully." Maybe they have naked people running through the weed on Morocco or India (I doubt it), but not here in the United States where conservation is key.Thought I'd add my two cents.Dan B
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Comment #6 posted by dongenero on June 03, 2005 at 14:12:49 PT
organics preferably
I just don't like the idea of bringing chemicals into the mix to create the oil...even if it is evaporated off.Hashsih is great. It is just collecting the fallen trichomes whether dry or in an ice water soulution as in bubble hash. No problem, no danger, no chemicals.I just prefer organically grown cannabis, as well as fruits and vegetables.And then I vaporize cannabis rather than smoke it. This eliminates the products of combustion that you get from smoking. Although, I do smoke a bit once or twice a year for oldtimes sake. Usually it leaves an unsavory burned aftertaste that reminds me why I use a vaporizer.Actually, I think a vaporizer makes the herb taste more like honey oil, which admittedly is tastey.
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Comment #5 posted by FoM on June 03, 2005 at 13:41:38 PT
 I don't understand bubble hash or honey oil or any of it. I'm just not up on fancy things I guess. Maybe someday when it's legal it will be different. I haven't even seen hash since the 70s.
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Comment #4 posted by BGreen on June 03, 2005 at 13:32:57 PT
It's Butane Extraction
Every instruction site and Honey Oil extraction device has WARNINGS saying it's EXPLOSIVE and DANGEROUS and to ONLY USE OUTSIDE with good ventilation.Most of us would heed those warnings but some people are just not too bright.FoM, a amerikan friend in Amsterdam told me that Honey Oil tastes like the Hash Oil he used to smoke back in California in the '70s.There's something developed by Soma, a seed breeder in Amsterdam, called Jelly Hash, which is a mixture (1 to 3, or 1 to 4, Soma won't tell) of Honey Oil and Bubble Hash, and is available in Coffeeshops and entered into the Cannabis Cup.Tasty, tasty, mmm tasty.The Reverend Bud Green
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Comment #3 posted by FoM on June 03, 2005 at 13:11:13 PT
Thanks for clarifiying what he was actually trying to accomplish. I have no idea why anyone would need to or risk doing something like that.
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Comment #2 posted by dongenero on June 03, 2005 at 12:45:49 PT
not hashish
The info in that article is misleading.
They are talking about extracting oil not making hashish. They do say oil in the article but they imply that is hashish.Hashish is the resinous trichomes which cover the flowers and upper leaves of the plant. These trichomes are removed by agitation, as in rubbing, shaking or mixing with ice water and straining. The trichomes are then pressed together into what is known as hashish.What they are describing this man in the article doing is an oil extraction from the plant material via the use of a solvent. This yields THC oil that is commonly called hash oil or honey oil. Once the THC oil is in soulution in the volatile solvent, the solvent is allowed to evaporate leaving the pure THC extraction. Maybe other active compounds reamin as well, I'm not sure.
It's dangerous due to the fact that you are utilizing flammable solvents, heat and I think pressure. When people combine these elements with a lack of ventilation, they are asking for trouble.
Kind of like using gasoline to remove floor adhesive while next to your water heater. Happens all the time.The unrefined flowers or loose trichomes suit me just fine. 
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on June 03, 2005 at 11:16:44 PT
Please Always Be Careful
I'm sure this is legal for those who have an exemption in CA but it obviously can be very dangerous. I hope the young man will be ok.***Explosion Injures Man Trying To Extract Hashish from PotSuzanne Herel, Chronicle Staff WriterFriday, June 3, 2005 
 A 21-year-old Pleasanton man is in serious condition at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center today after sparking an explosion while apparently trying to extract hashish from marijuana in his apartment, authorities say. Complete Article:
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