High Times

  • by Allen St. Pierre, NORML Executive Director January 29, 2012

    Today @ 1:30 PM (eastern) the NORML and High Times-sponsored Silver Tour, hosted by America’s longest serving cannabis prisoner Robert Platshorn, is live from Temple Shaarei Shalom in Boynton Beach, Florida.

    Topic of the day: Teaching senior citizens about the safety, utility, effectiveness, cost savings and politics of medical cannabis.

    Featured speakers include Irvin Rosenfeld (one of the five federal medical cannabis patients who receive 300 pre-rolled ‘joints’ monthly from a special and closed-to-the-public medical cannabis research project) and former NORML board member and longtime cannabis medical researcher Mary Lynn Mathre, RN (from Patients Out of Time) and NORML Legal Committee member attorney Michael Minardi.

  • by Russ Belville, NORML Outreach Coordinator November 23, 2011

    Early this morning, Dutch authorities raided the HIGH TIMES Cannabis Cup in Amsterdam.  UPDATE from HIGH TIMES Magazine:

    According to representatives for HIGH TIMES magazine, sponsors of the 24th Annual Cannabis Cup in Amsterdam, the event will continue tonight with a scheduled concert at the Melkweg concert hall (Lijnbaansgracht 234), followed by a full day of the expo (including voting) at the Borchland (Borchlandweg) on Thursday, the final day of the competition. An additional voting station will be set up starting at 2PM on Thursday at the Melkweg, which will remain open until the beginning of the official Cannabis Cup awards ceremony at 8PM. (read more)

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    According to the East Bay Express:

    …police in Amsterdam are in the process of raiding the 24th annual High Times Cannabis Cup Expo. Possession of marijuana has been decriminalized in the Netherlands. But according to tweets on the scene, “everyone will have their buds confiscated, but no one will be charged or fined. This is the first time this has happened in 24 years.”

    We broke the news on NORML SHOW LIVE this morning and spoke with Tim Martin of John Doe Radio, who has been in contact with numerous attendees in Amsterdam, including Scott from Rare Dankness Seeds, who called in live to the show (listen here).  According to Scott, much of the Dutch concern is over the concentrates – butane hash oil, for instance – that is considered a “hard drug” in Holland.

    “They herded everybody toward one exit, like you’re getting on a ski lift at Vail… then one by one they had about 40 cops there for a little talk and search… People were dropping grams and grams of hash on the ground… baggies littering the floor… people were smoking it if you had it because you weren’t rolling out with it!”

    According to Scott there has been one arrest of a vendor who was caught with a lot of “shake” (leaves and stems) which, according to Dutch law, are to be immediately disposed of.  Other reports indicate that there were checks of individuals to ensure they weren’t violating the 5-gram personal possession limit and checks of vendors for compliance with the 500-gram vendor possession limit.

    It should be noted that none of this is precipitated by any change in Dutch law.  These limits on personal and vendor possession, disposal of trimmings, and prohibitions on cannabis concentrates have existed throughout the 24-year history of the Cannabis Cup.

    What has changed is a new, more conservative government in the Netherlands that seeks to “send a message” about cannabis use.  They began with the closing of border coffee shops to all but Dutch, Belgian, and German passport holders, claiming that “foreign drug tourism” was leading to a host of social ills.

  • by Allen St. Pierre, NORML Executive Director October 12, 2011

    The narrative of the popular 1960s song entitled ‘Teach Your Children‘ by Crosby, Stills and Nash was for ‘parents to teach their children well’. Today the children of the World War II generation (the so-called ‘greatest’ generation) are teaching their parents (and their fellow Baby Boomers) about the wonderful utility of naturally-produced, non-toxic medical cannabis to successfully treat and/or manage a wide-range of health ailments.

    NORML and High Times’ Medical Marijuana Magazine are the primary sponsors of the Silver Tour, a project of the nascent NORML Senior Alliance. The Silver Tour is championed by Robert Platshorn, one of America’s most successful cannabis smugglers and the nation’s longest serving cannabis prisoner (Robert served twenty eight years in federal prisons).

    The basic mission of the Silver Tour is to speak and present at any venues on the topic of medical cannabis where senior citizens are clustered in large numbers–notably at senior living communities, retirement homes, religious centers and hospice.

    One of the first public outreach events happened last week in Miami at a Jewish Community Center.

  • by Russ Belville, NORML Outreach Coordinator June 25, 2011

    HIGH TIMES Medical Cannabis Cup in San Francisco

    Join us on the NORML Network at http://live.norml.org for our exclusive live stream of the HIGH TIMES Medical Cannabis Cup in San Francisco.

    In addition to our mobile studio we’re displaying the first copies of the NORML Big Book of Marijuana Facts, and they’re getting great reviews.  We’re set up for streaming and recording the expert panels, which ar efull to overflow.  We also have the NORML Women’s Alliance (Sabrina Fendrick, Kendra Smith, and Diane Fornbacher) running a booth, next to California NORML and Orange County NORML.

    NORML Board’s Bill Panzer headed up a legal panel earlier today… Jorge Cervantes is on the panel currently streaming… Danny Danko runs a cultivation panel at 5pm Pacific.  Tomorrow, NORML’s Paul Armentano and California NORML’s Ellen Komp speak at 1:30pm.  Valerie Corral from WAMM is on panel tomorrow at 3pm.  Nico Escondido from HIGH TIMES runs another cultivation seminar tomorrow at 5pm.  Then the awards are given out tomorrow night at 7pm.  We’ll be here with live coverage the whole time.

    Follow @RadicalRuss, @CannabisKarri, @GanjaJon, and @Kaliko8705 on Twitter for updates and photos from the event.

  • by Allen St. Pierre, NORML Executive Director January 30, 2011

    By Rick Cusick, Associate Publisher, High Times Magazine

    Allen St. Pierre was born in Belfast, ME to an upper-middle-class blue-collar commercial fishing family. He had an almost cinematic upbringing on scenic Cape Cod, where his family continues to own a variety of water-born businesses. To this day, he says, “my father doesn’t know where the front-door key is.”

    Ironically, although he studied wildlife at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, he graduated there in 1989 with a degree in legal studies. While working at a Washington, DC–based law firm, St. Pierre was asked to do some volunteer legal work for NORML; he accepted, he says, “because I was a stakeholder with marijuana use back then, as I am today.”

    Allen St. Pierre

    NORML Executive Director Allen St. Pierre uber high in Colorado's Rocky Mountains

    Following an employee purge, St. Pierre was asked if he’d accept a consolidated position at the organization – for 70 percent less than his law-firm salary. He said yes, thinking he would be there for “six or seven months, to help NORML through a rough gap.” Twenty years later, he’s now the longest-serving, continuously employed marijuana-law reformer … ever. St. Pierre claims he’s a hippie who’s forced to wear a suit and tie and is often mistaken for a lawyer: ”In fact,” he jokes, “I play one on TV.”

    High Times sat down to speak with NORML’s executive director four weeks before California voters cast their ballots on a historic measure to legalize marijuana in the Golden State, on the occasion of NORML’s 40th anniversary.

    Okay … if California doesn’t legalize marijuana, what happens?

    If it [Proposition 19] loses by a small percentage, it will absolutely establish a baseline, politically speaking, of 50 percent. We’ve already told everybody and their brother that we are coming right back in 2012. It’s already a fait accompli. California will continue to be in the vanguard of legalization – not only for the country, but also for the world.

    So is the War on Marijuana winding down?

    Well, it’s funny: You’ve got troops in the field, and they’re out there fighting and dying at just a horrific pace, but the generals back in Washington are talking peace.

    Clearly, one can see that decrim and medical marijuana are the bridges to legalization; that is all absolutely underway and really can’t be contested. However, at the same time, one would not be wrong to whistle by the graveyard and admit that the data still points to massive arrests, massive incarceration, massive drug testing, massive forfeiture of people’s homes and properties, record amounts of children being taken away from their parents, people being denied organ transplants if they’re medical consumers …. All of those terrible ills of a 74-year War on Marijuana – marijuana prohibition – are still terribly present.

    Is marijuana still the third rail of American politicians: Touch it and you die?

    It’s definitely no longer the third rail, there’s no doubt about that. In the 1980s, there was a period I call the “marijuana mea culpa,” after Judge [Douglas H.] Ginsburg was denied his ability to get to the Supreme Court because he admitted to having smoked marijuana. And you had many senators and congressmen who wanted to run for president – the Jesse Jacksons, the Al Gores, even Sam Nunn; I mean, God, I could go back—

    Newt Gingrich…
    Newt Gingrich! All these folks immediately came out and tried to vet the fact that they had used marijuana. And then Obama pushed the level further here with “Of course I did and I used cocaine …. ”

    Should marijuana stakeholders be pissed off or happy with Obama?
    They should, in toto, be happy with him. He was transparent about his own use; his answers are pretty candid and culture-enhancing. The other politicians have tried to give a culturally relevant answer while still being damning of the behavior, whereas Obama turned it around and said, “No, I thought the point was to inhale.” And he notably said that to a group of students.

    No president has taken an abeyance like he has from the Drug War; from Richard Nixon forward, every single president except Jimmy Carter has rung that Drug War bell very loud. Obama coming up with the Department of Justice memo basically saying that the states have autonomy is stark. But then we saw that the arrest rates haven’t really abated at all; they’ve actually picked up a bit. There are still federal raids in California – but clearly we can see a large reduction in the number of people arrested for medical marijuana during these raids. Prosecution is incredibly subjective.

    Has medical marijuana been an impediment to legalization?

    No, it hasn’t. It could be in time if those who profit and sell or cultivate medical cannabis put money up to oppose the legalization of marijuana. Under the guise of “medical cannabis only,” we will find that the legalization of marijuana will largely stall out for any number of reasons.

    I think “medical cannabis only” is a very dangerous box canyon to pursue as a strategy. You can be a medical-marijuana consumer and still be denied your Second Amendment right to own a gun, you can be denied an organ transplant, you can be denied the custody of your child, you can be denied the ability to get on an airplane or get health benefits from the federal government, including Section 8 housing. That’s a huge tradeoff. You can walk into a place that has about 200 strains of marijuana, but if you go home and use it, you’re about half a citizen. So I would ask a medical-marijuana consumer: “Why?” In some ways, a sub rosa illegal marijuana user maintains more rights and privileges than a medical-marijuana consumer.

    In the end, we want good, legal cannabis at the most affordable cost. Prohibition is an anathema to that. Medical marijuana clearly is not serving that end, and only the end of prohibition will get us to that point.

    There are quite a number of marijuana and drug-law reform organizations, and the balkanization among these groups is a well-known—

    Has that factionalization been an impediment to legalization?
    It would be better if they worked together in a greater degree of concert. Another component of this – a vexing thing about this balkanized group of folks – is that they’ve been so reliant on such a small, almost incestuous pool of donors. The reliance on such narrow funding conduits has made it much harder than not to get all the groups to work together in a cohesive way.

    Where does NORML get its funding?

    About 95 percent of NORML’s budget comes from people who donate, on average, $53 per year. People project onto NORML that we must be supported by celebrities, that people like Willie, Woody and Bill Maher write us massive checks. Almost none of our money comes from that.

    You can read the rest of the interview @ High Times

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