Higher Learning
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Higher Learning
Posted by CN Staff on June 17, 2010 at 11:28:35 PT
By Steven Gray ~ Southfield 
Source: Time Magazine
USA -- This is what a medical-marijuana class looks like. Twenty-five or so students--men, women, young, middle-aged--listen attentively as an instructor holds up a leafy green plant and runs down the list of nutrients it needs. Nitrogen: stimulates leaf and stem growth. Magnesium: helps leaf structure. Phosphorous: aids in the germination of seeds. Michigan's Med Grow Cannabis College is one of several unaccredited schools to have sprung up in the 14 states and the District of Columbia that have legalized medical use of marijuana. Many of its students suffer from chronic pain. Others are looking to supply those in need of relief.
The Med Grow campus sits across the street from a KFC in Southfield, a relatively prosperous suburb of Detroit. Nearly one-fifth of its 90 or so students are former auto-industry workers. These recent enrollees--and the more than 1,000 people who have completed courses at Med Grow since it opened in September--are betting that studying such topics as bloom cycles and advanced pruning techniques will help them succeed in what may be one of the few growth industries in Michigan, home of the nation's highest unemployment rate: 14%. With medical marijuana fetching as much as $500 for 1 oz. (28 g), providing it to a mere five patients could generate $10,000 a month in sales.Six-week courses at Med Grow cost $475, and the school is planning to open campuses in Colorado and New Jersey within roughly the next year. Meanwhile, the nation's first marijuana school, the three-year-old Oaksterdam University, has expanded from Oakland, Calif., to locations in Los Angeles and one in Flint, Mich., and may open more.But as Med Grow founder Nick Tennant can attest, it's not easy being a leader of an emerging industry. Tennant, a very lean, very blond 24-year-old, grew up in the Detroit suburb of Warren and watched the auto-detailing business he started after high school founder along with the region's economy. Then, in 2008, a surprising majority of Michigan voters approved a measure to allow people with cancer, Crohn's disease, AIDS and other ailments to apply for state-issued cards to grow or obtain marijuana. He recalls thinking, "You could sit there and watch the industry evolve or step into the game."So he wrote up a business plan for a marijuana-growers school and approached his car-detailing clients as potential investors. Many thought it was a joke, but enough took him seriously. He declines to say how much money he raised.The next step was finding a landlord. One told him flatly, "I don't want to take on the risk." To which Tennant replied, "If you want to let your building sit vacant, go for it." He eventually settled on 5,000 sq. ft. (465 sq m) in an office building in Southfield, a half hour's drive north of downtown Detroit.The first thing you notice when you walk into Med Grow is the pungent smell of marijuana. One of the school's two grow rooms showcases a single massive marijuana plant that, in terms of height and canopy, is about the size of a kitchen table.Size matters, because Michigan limits the number of plants patients and caregivers may grow. Patients, more than 18,000 of whom have registered with the state since the law took effect in April 2009, may grow up to 12 marijuana plants. Caregivers--some 7,800 have registered so far--are restricted to a dozen plants for each of the five patients they're allowed to supply. But the law doesn't address where registrants can obtain plants or seeds. Nor does it address the issue of pharmacy-like dispensaries."This law is still brand-new, and it has a lot of gray areas," says James McCurtis, spokesman for Michigan's department of community health, which manages the state's medical-marijuana program.Southfield's police chief, Joseph Thomas Jr., is keeping a close eye on Med Grow. His officers have let its students know that if they get caught with marijuana, then, as Thomas puts it, "we're going to drop you like a bad habit." Although he thinks the school has a right to exist, he uses this analogy: "You can teach people how to shoot a gun, but they can't go out and rob a bank with it."Med Grow's curriculum includes classes on law, accounting and business development. But marketing yourself as a caregiver is tricky. Students are warned against telling acquaintances that they grow marijuana. Med Grow staffer Tom Schuster, 52, a former bank employee, provides a cautionary tale: a few weeks ago, someone ripped a hole in the wall of an apartment he managed and took $15,000 worth of marijuana and $5,000 worth of lamps and other growing equipment. "Stole my whole livelihood," he says of the incident, which he did not report to the police.Fear of violent crime is one reason recreational use of marijuana is still illegal almost everywhere. And yet, ironically, the reason Detroit may follow Philadelphia's lead and liberalize restrictions on possession of small amounts of marijuana is to alleviate the strain on the local criminal-justice system.In November, Californians will vote on a measure that would legalize marijuana for recreational use--and allow the drug to be taxed. Tom Ammiano, a Democratic assemblyman from San Francisco, estimates such a tax could generate up to $2 billion in annual revenue for California. "When I speak about this issue, there's always a line of people with a business angle--an idea for a dispensary or a new grow light," he says. "We're a capitalistic society, and realistically, the tax will push people over the edge [to] realize, 'There's gold in them thar hills.'" And Nick Tennant will have his pickax at the ready.Source: Time Magazine (US)Author:  Steven Gray ~ Southfield Published: Thursday, June 17, 2010Copyright: 2010 Time Inc.Contact: letters time.comWebsite: Medical Marijuana Archives
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Comment #13 posted by FoM on June 18, 2010 at 03:50:12 PT
Paint with light
Here is an update on Hope from last night when she called me.
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Comment #12 posted by Paint with light on June 17, 2010 at 20:31:25 PT
You have a good point.I believe in being honest also."I believe in being honest with how it will be in the not to distant future if we keep moving along like we are."Doesn't it feel so good to be able to say that.We owe a lot of that to you and the others here who have been fighting for our freedom.Speaking of which........How is hope?
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Comment #11 posted by FoM on June 17, 2010 at 20:19:59 PT
Paint with light
The fact they are putting visions of sugar plums dancing in people's heads bothers me. When cannabis is legal it will not be $500 an ounce. It will be like any herb or vegetable. Sure there will be some that will be a higher price but even that will erode in time. The best marijuana is grown in a controlled environment but if it could be grow outside in front of God and everyone most people would be happy for the minimum expense and be happy for having decent marijuana. People don't have a lot of money and this economy won't recover in my opinion for a very long time if ever. I believe in being honest with how it will be in the not to distant future if we keep moving along like we are.
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Comment #10 posted by Paint with light on June 17, 2010 at 20:10:10 PT
Those of you who are smart and resourceful have trouble understanding those who aren't.Since the art market is in a slump I have put together some courses in digital photography. I am teaching these through the local parks and recreation system.I charge a small amount and if I didn't I couldn't afford to teach them.I would have to get a job doing something else.Cameras are so complex now that if you aren't fluent in photography-speak then you will probably have trouble understanding your camera manual.I speak fluent photography.I don't teach the same material or style each time.I adapt to the individual students needs and the evolving group dynamics.I have students who repeat a class because they know they will learn something new each time.Not everyone has the same skills, or maybe they are too lazy to take the time to learn.People are willing to pay someone else especially if it saves them time in the long run.FoM, you are smarter and more driven than a lot of people.Some people are not capable of figuring out how to build their own home but they could learn with some help.Then there are those that throw away half the nails because the heads are on the wrong end.Some of you who know how to grow plants so well have trouble understanding how there are a lot of people who just can't figure it out......even with a book.You can't buy a grow book on cannabis within 60 miles of here and if you don't know how to use the computer and are too scared to order through the mail then you are pretty limited on where the info can come from.I met some guys who had been growing for a while and they wanted me to take a look at their crop and see what they were doing wrong.They had it spaced like hemp, were using mediocre seed stock, and didn't know anything about the use of different fertilizers at different times in the life cycle.Bed preparation consisted of scratching the ground and throwing in some seeds.I told them, "Your problem, is you are growing rope, and not even good rope."With the proper seeds, spacing, bed prep, and fertilizer they had a lot better results.............from finger size buds one year, to arm size buds after some instruction.I didn't charge them for the lessons, but they would have gladly paid.Legal like alcohol.....and school. 
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Comment #9 posted by FoM on June 17, 2010 at 17:53:20 PT
News Article From The Sacramento Bee Blog
Unions See Opportunities in Marijuana Industry, Ballot Measure ***California's marijuana movement is picking up the union label.June 17, 2010Last month, the United Food and Commercial Workers, Local 5, in Oakland announced that it would represent 100 employees working in local medical cannabis industries.Now Communications Workers of America Local 9415, which represents 1,800 members in California, Nevada and Hawaii, is endorsing the November initiative to legalize marijuana for recreational use in California and allow local communities to tax and regulate pot sales.In an campaign statement for initiative proponents, the union said it was backing the measure to help save public sector jobs through taxes on legalized pot.In an interview, Local 9415 executive vice-president Christina Huggins said unions also see opportunities for new jobs and members in a California marijuana market expanded beyond current legal medical use."There's a potential for a lot of jobs," Huggins said. "When beer and alcohol was legalized, those were unionized jobs. We feel the people working in the upcoming industry should have good benefits and good pay and justice on the job."Public Safety First, the campaign committee for legalization opponents, has support from law enforcement groups including the California Peace Officers Association, the California District Attorneys Association and the California Narcotics Officers Association. The "no" campaign is also backed by the California Bus Association and the CoachAmerica bus service.Posted by Peter HechtURL:
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Comment #8 posted by FoM on June 17, 2010 at 17:09:08 PT
I am offended by the amount of money people try to get out of other people in all aspects of life. My whole adult life I have learned whatever I've learned from research on my own. We built our house without knowing how to built a house and we didn't go to school to learn we just figured it out. 
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Comment #7 posted by kaptinemo on June 17, 2010 at 17:05:13 PT:
A very bad analogy
"Southfield's police chief, Joseph Thomas Jr., is keeping a close eye on Med Grow. His officers have let its students know that if they get caught with marijuana, then, as Thomas puts it, "we're going to drop you like a bad habit." Although he thinks the school has a right to exist, he uses this analogy: "You can teach people how to shoot a gun, but they can't go out and rob a bank with it."As if this was anything similar. A really pathetic attempt at conflation.Were it not for prohibition, and all the crime it invites, there wouldn't be much need for the likes of Chief Thomas's bully boys. A fact that they are well aware of...
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Comment #6 posted by BGreen on June 17, 2010 at 16:30:46 PT
Posts #1 and 2
I have to disagree with you based on my own profession as a teacher. Yes, many people learn to play an instrument without any formal education but I guarantee you that they have to spend (or waste) a lot of extra time through trial and error trying to figure out exactly what the book meant or how to execute some technique that I could have immediately helped them understand and perfect. I could also help the student break any bad technique issues before they became a hard to break habit. Let's see a book do that.The same goes with gardening. After spending time as a youngster with my Grandma, I would argue that a small amount of time spent with an expert is worth that expert's weight in books. MMJ patients may not have the time to experiment. They need to hit the ground running.The Reverend Bud Green
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Comment #5 posted by FoM on June 17, 2010 at 15:10:17 PT
That's probably true. 
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Comment #4 posted by dongenero on June 17, 2010 at 13:53:05 PT
The article states:
"Fear of violent crime is one reason recreational use of marijuana is still illegal almost everywhere." Actually, that concept is turned about 180 degrees. The reason people must fear violent crime related to marijuana is because it is illegal. We had a tremendous growth of crime and violence centered around alcohol prohibtion.We don't have violence around the business of alcohol production, marketing or distribution now. Nor are people breaking through walls to get at anyone's home beer brewing operation. 
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Comment #3 posted by MikeEEEEE on June 17, 2010 at 12:19:21 PT
Sam & FoM
Some people like the hands on approach to learning, and being able to ask questions. About the questions, I'm guessing there are discussion groups available for that.
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Comment #2 posted by FoM on June 17, 2010 at 12:14:33 PT
I'm glad you said that. I thought I was weird thinking this is not necessary. 
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Comment #1 posted by Sam Adams on June 17, 2010 at 11:52:44 PT
Education-crazed country
wow, I'd never pay someone to teach me how to garden.we've gone a little education-happy in the US. I have to say these schools seem a bit silly. You could buy a good book for $20 bucks and teach yourself in a lot less time.I've always found that school is where I learn the absolute slowest, compared to work or hobbies.
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