Medical Marijuana

In the Medical Pot Trenches

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An interesting addendum to Jacob's report below on the latest good-news science on the medical benefits of pot is Vanessa Grigoriadis's detailed and fascinating report from the new Rolling Stone (Feb 22 issue) on the high-security, high-stress, quasi-legal business end of Los Angeles's medical pot machinery, in the days leading up to and culminating in last month's batch of federal raids on LA pot providers. Some excerpts:

The security's not for the cops—it's the robbers that Daniel's [the LA medical pot mogul Grigoriadis's story focuses on] worried about. He's been robbed more than once, but he notes with a touch of pride that he's never had a "takeover robbery." That's when thieves dress up as LAPD and pretend they're raiding the store, then hogtie the clientele and steal everything in sight (in the biz, they're called "Ocean 420s"). When a friend of Daniel's had a takeover robbery, the friend called the cops, and the cops arrested him.

………..

[Daniel tells Grigoriadis]: "Still, cash flow is very difficult. There is no way for me to properly franchise this, to the point where I'm taking a percentage in profits, kicking back and making money." He cannot keep detailed records, he says, because of the possibility of a DEA raid, and he couldn't entrust an assistant to keep records, because of the possibility that he might turn out to be an informant.

The narcs—they're such a nuisance. Last year, they raided one of his shops, and he lost more than $100,000 in the process. In addition to draining Daniel's bank accounts, the feds did a "snatch-and-grab" at the store—pot, computers, cash, anything not bolted to the ground—and even went to the house of one of his employees……Daniel could maybe even get his money back, but he'd have to pay an asset-forfeiture lawyer a third of his winnings plus show the feds all sorts of records, and that's the last thing he wants to do.

………

"This is our life out here—feds keep their nose out!" [Daniel] says. "Washington will never understand California, so they write us off as liberal, gay, Jewish subversives undermining the value of America. They don't like us, and I don't like them. This movement is one more way of saying to D.C., 'Step back.' We will not stand for states' rights eroded." He is also in favor of pot as an alternative health-care system: "We have the right to do our own thing, to not support Pfizer, Eli Lilly and the health-care system just because they have more powerful lobbyists in Congress than we do," he says.

Whole story here. It's overall a fascinating tale of a harried small businessman, worried about feckless employees, suppliers who don't want to deal with you if you won't buy every single thing they have to sell since they don't want to be caught on the way home with your money and their illegal substance, and trying to build something like legitimacy and business security in a world where you are an outlaw by definition and the Feds are always ready to slam you, state's rights be damned.

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  1. …and the Feds are always ready to slam you, state’s rights be damned.

    Most of the time when the Right takes about “states rights” they’re usually only taking about the “right” for states to outlaw abortion, or the “right” for states to allow hooded rednecks to lynch African-Americans. In other words, the ability for states to set themselves up as pint-sized dictatorships that can take away people’s liberty with no regard for the rights of individuals at large.

    On the other hand, when someone actually uses “states rights” rhetoric in the name of an actual individual freedom; Drug legalization, gay marriage, doctor-assisted suicide, then these self-same defenders of divided power swoop down from their federal perch to stop this challenge to their power with judges, laywers, and jackboot thugs with a badge and gun.

    Ain’t federalism grand?

  2. Akira,

    When you seriously argue that “the Right” wants states to be able decide whether or not they want to allow the lynching of black people you’ve already lost the argument.

  3. you’ve already lost the argument

    why?

    because you can’t accept the fundamentally racist nature of the police state we live in?

    I’m sorry we couldn’t convince you.

  4. Oh? So all cases in the South in the mid-20th century were all-white juries in the South acquitted KKK members for the murders of African Americans were just science fiction? After all, it’s a state’s right to determine the guilt or innocence in murder cases, by letting these thugs off, the South made their position loud and clear: White had the “right” to kill blacks.

    My ultimate point is that libertarians should not be so damn quick to call for “State Rights” since it can, and has, been misused. If these freedoms are so damn important, why should any member state of the United States be allowed to take them away? If the 2nd Amendment says we have the right to keep and bear arms, then NO state should have gun control laws. If the First Amendments says that Congress shall make no law abridging free speech, why should a State Congress be allowed to censor? If the feds decide that gays have a right marry. no state should take that away? If the state wants to legalize pot, no state should have the “right” to ban it. Tyranny is tyranny no matter what level it comes from. We should not tolerate it in any way shape, manner, of form.

  5. EDIT: So all those cases in the South in the mid-20th century were all-white juries acquitted…

  6. Looks to me like the Feds are pimping this woman same as the mob collecting protection money. Indeed at this point who can tell the difference.

  7. Great point Akira,

    We can stop that homo-marriage stuff just by threatening to cut off the states’ Federal Highway funds.

  8. Marijuana was my gateway drug to homosexuality. Ban it all!

  9. My ultimate point is that libertarians should not be so damn quick to call for “State Rights” since it can, and has, been misused.
    =============================
    Do you know what else has been misused?

    Everything that ever existed at any point within recorded history. We’re human beings. Misusing is what we do best. That’s why State’s rights are so important. The more complex and redundant the system of government is, the more difficult it is to usurp and misuse power.

  10. Most of the time when the Right takes about “states rights” they’re usually only taking about the “right” for states to outlaw abortion, or the “right” for states to allow hooded rednecks to lynch African-Americans. In other words, the ability for states to set themselves up as pint-sized dictatorships that can take away people’s liberty with no regard for the rights of individuals at large.

    As opposed to the Left’s tendency to use “states rights” for gun control, punitive tobacco taxes, fast food laws, and other such initiatives that take away people’s liberty with no regard for the rights of individuals at large.

  11. I’m more interested in the wild west capitalism on display in that article. It warms the cockles of my heart to see these future Joe Kennedys building their fortunes the old-fashioned way.

  12. Akira, if you could point us to any current, actually living right-wingers who want to go back to the KKK days, it might help your argument that that’s what current, actually living righties want to do.

    Jiminy, even Kleagle Byrd isn’t pushing Jim Crow any more.

  13. Akira was a bit hyperbolic with the lynching thing (yes, I’m the pot calling the kettle), but everyone is ignoring the gist of his post, which is dead-on. Republicans are flaming hypocrits when it comes to federalism. Fact. Terry Schiavo? Hello?

    (Tangent Alert)

    I can’t get worked up about medical pot anymore. I’m convinced now that it’s a dead end, if one is ultimately concerned about straight-out legalization.

    The mainstream doesn’t like to be lied to, and once it gets a whiff of it, they will turn on you. If you sell them the notion of “only for the gravely sick and dying”, and then suddenly say “and also couch potatoes”, they will not make that leap.

    And another thing… thoreau and I had a good discussion about this, and we both agree that the face of the legalization movement needs a make-over. If you’re going to be on camera making a case for legalization, then cut your damned hair, put on a tie, and have a damned job. I sincerely appreciate what you do (which, frankly, is more than I’m doing), but you’re setting us back, not forward.

  14. They are all hypocrits on both sides of the isle. Both sides collect checks from the lobbiest, the lobby with the biggest checks and fringe benefits for politicians wins. Whats so hard to understand?

  15. sativex pretty much ensures it’s a dead end.

    i don’t know what the way to move forward actually is; it’s a herding cats issue, in part, since many people involved in this angle are less likely to be interested in presenting a good middle-america image on cnn.

    it’s a very depressing field to consider.

  16. I can’t get worked up about medical pot anymore. I’m convinced now that it’s a dead end, if one is ultimately concerned about straight-out legalization.

    I agree wholeheartedly. Now I really do believe that Marijuana is medicine for just about any problem you can think of so long as you are just trying to “feel better”, and there is nothing wrong with that. The problem is the disparity when medical herb is marketed for desperately sick and dying people and then there are hippies that say “Yeah… this is my MEDICINE man…” and it looks awefully hypocritical.

    I think that almost all of the problems in this country can be boiled down to a crisis of medicine. Herb is medicine. Speed is not medicine. Pharmaceutical antidepressants are not medicine. Weight loss pharmaceuticals are not medicine. The government has NO FUCKING IDEA what you should be taking for your health, so don’t listen to them.

  17. I can’t get worked up about medical pot anymore. I’m convinced now that it’s a dead end, if one is ultimately concerned about straight-out legalization.

    Of course it’s a dead end. You can’t even have a rational discussion about industrial hemp without some moron wearing a suit and tie gets all worked up over it.

  18. “getting”. (Smoked too much this morning.)

  19. Read the article in this past Sunday’s LA Times magazine about the writer who started buying medical pot for gout and long term foot and leg pain. His “clinic” conveniently had an onsite MD to write up the prescription. His own doc had prescribed Vioxx- guess he was a tool of big Pharma. Anyway, I came away with the impression that medical pot clinics in Calif. exist to give baby boomers a way to buy their stash within the confines of medical legitimacy, and dealers, erh entrepreneurs were just happy to oblige within the same confines. No therapeutic benefit necessary.

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