Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

This post is in response to the inquires I have received from interested parties who saw one of my comments on my friend Cyclelicious‘ blog about this same topic, where I told my story in brief. Here is the longer story. Richard (Cyclelicious) is an amazing cyclist to ride with and showed me many of the awesome trails around San Jose I mention in this post, he is a long-time cyclist who knows how to respect the rules of the road and is a wealth of knowledge on everything bicycle related. Without further introduction, here is my story about being cited for running a red light on my bicycle.

No one is perfect, especially when rushing to work. I was riding my bike to work a few years ago and I came to a turn with a pack of several cars and the yellow light quickly turned on us to red light mid-turn. A couple blocks later, while traveling with the same gridlock of cars, we came to another yellow light which I rode through as it turned to red on the pack of us. At this point a motorcycle officer stopped me on my bicycle, rather than any of the cars which were doing the exact same things I was, yet posing far more of a safety hazard (by being cars, a potentially lethal weapon). I politely took my lumps, as yes I did enter a yellow light which quickly turned to a red light, because I felt it was safe to do so since the intersection was entirely gridlocked with cars, reducing their killing potential to very near zero. There is nothing to be gained by being rude to a police officer, no matter how tempting it may seem to an adrenaline rattled brain, being cordial and asserting your rights will always get you further than verbal attacks. A good tip is to write down everything that the citing officer says to you, including their name and badge number. You want to know who they are in case there are any errors on your citation, as I suspected with mine. Focusing on writing can also be a great way to calm down a potentially inflammatory situation, as police encounters often can be.

While he was citing me, I asked the officer why the government doesn’t provide information for bicyclists at the DMV and other government offices, letting cyclists know their rights and how laws apply to them. I pointed out how the DMV already does this for both cars and motorcyclists. He retorted that ‘all cyclists choose to be cyclists because they don’t like dealing with the government.’ While I did not take issue with being cited, I did take issue with his threat to add a point to my drivers license for activity taken on a bicycle, after he pointed out that cyclists do not need a drivers license to operate bicycles. It was an interesting sort of Catch 22 logic he was attempting to apply, where I was being meted out a harsher punishment just because I was a bicyclist who also possessed a drivers license. Later on, during my research and in court with the officer when we appeared before a judge, I learned just how absurd his threat was, and thankfully I was prepared to show it for the ridiculousness is was.

 

My Legal Reasoning

 

A Caveat: I am not a lawyer, nor have I ever gone to law school. At best, my political science degree counts as a pre-law degree, but it does not empower me to offer legal advice in any meaningful way like a lawyer can. If you are in the middle of a serious legal situation you should contact a lawyer rather than reading a blog.

As someone who spent years on the speech and debate team in college, I learned that a great approach is attacking an argument from multiple fronts in order to fully deconstruct it and force the other side to rebuild it from the pieces. With a limited amount of time before a judge, either in a debate or in a courtroom, this can be a very effective strategy to destabilize even well-prepared opposition teams. I always strive to have one main argument that is undeniably solid, followed up with supporting arguments that are mostly there to provide cover for that main attack. In this case I actually had two main avenues of attack, one was a bureaucratic maneuver, which had it been effective would have shut the entire process down; I highly encourage the use of bureaucracy in your favor since it hardly ever is.

 

Main Argument 1: Bureaucracy 

The officer cited me for a turning on a red light violation, yet he stopped me at a point where, if anything, I had ran a red light while going straight, not turning. He never clarified what I was being cited for, or how long he had been watching me. While I was presumably being stopped for one thing, I was cited for something different, a slight technicality I thought I could exploit to get the case tossed out because the officer wrote down a C instead of an A or a B. Unfortunately for me, my presumption was wrong and the only opportunity I got to ask for clarification was in court. My advice to you is to ask as many clarifying questions as you can of the citing officer when they are citing you, and write down their responses. Try to get exact quotes.

 

Main Argument 2: Public Safety

I don’t like to put all my eggs in one basket when using a bureaucratic maneuver and I hedged my bet on the much stronger argument, one grounded in protecting public safety. Cars are unarguably more dangerous than bicycles, so to apply the same penalties to a bicyclist as a car is a punishment disproportionate to the crime and a reflection of poor options existing to law enforcement in terms of citing cyclists. I fully owned my fault in the matter in court and offered to take a smaller fine, more true to the offense and one that would not put a point on my license.

To support this argument I read over the entirety of the California Vehicle Code which applied to my case, and parsed it for all mentions of “operators of bicycles,” “drivers of vehicles,” and “pedestrians.” There is a clear distinction between these groups under state law, with different rights granted to and regulations imposed on each group. The portion of state law I was cited for, section 21453C, is worded to apply only to cars, not bikes.  It is important to know what you are being cited for, don’t lose that piece of paper the officer gives you when you are stopped, that is your citation and it is your way to find out more information to fight that ticket. I have successfully fought multiple traffic tickets while driving a car, as well as this one one my bicycle; you’d be surprised how often police officers don’t know the specifics of how a law actually applies in practice. You will need to find out what that section of law you are being cited for actually says; I was once cited for something that was so laughably inaccurate the officer did not even show up for court, but he still wasted my time coming to court to hear that my case was thrown out (still, good news). While there is a space for notes on the citation, mine did not contain any regarding how I was on a bicycle, which I worried could become a headache for insurance rates, as there was no actual proof I was riding a bike in the initial citation, merely the court record.

To support my interpretation of state law that a safety difference exists between cars driving on roads and a bicycle being ridden, I did research to see if my hypothesis was correct, and upon reading the available information on car vs. bike safety I was confident that cars are definitely more dangerous than bicycles. According to the Centers for Disease Control, the governmental agency responsible for tracking how many Americans are killed and how they are killed, cars killed nearly 34,000 people in the US in 2013 (around 92 people every day); nearly a thousand of those yearly deaths are due specifically to cars running red lights. In 2013, 743 bicyclists lose their lives to cars in vehicle collisions, roughly 2 a day nationally; four of them were killed in San Francisco. In my research, I only came across two cases in San Francisco where cyclists fatally killed pedestrians, whereas in the same time period in the same area, dozens of cyclists lost their lives due to cars reckless driving. Compared to the deaths caused by cars, those caused by bikes are so few that the CDC doesn’t even have information on it (though they have plenty about bicycle safety). Everything was proving my theory that bicycles were safer than cars to be true, including a New York Times Op-Ed which found that “studies performed in Arizona, Minnesota and Hawaii suggest that drivers are at fault in more than half of cycling fatalities.”

 

Supporting Argument 1: Other Cities Have Options for a Pointless-Citation

Since my major issue was the point being placed on my license, I looked up how different cities handled a bicycle running a red light. This allowed me to see the spectrum of potential punishments I could propose as better alternatives than what the officer was proposing. At the end of the day, a citation is nothing more than a suggestion of illegal activity, which it is up to the court to determine based off the officer’s testimony, radar readings, and other evidence. Innocent until proven guilty is still alive and well (for now).

When I went to court I looked up information by the SF Bicycle Coalition, about San Francisco’s laws, which recently changed dramatically in how they are enforced. At the time, a failure to stop for a stop sign citation cost between $100 and $200 for a violation on a bicycle and $200 to $300 for a violation in a motor vehicle. A failure to stop for a red light cost bikes roughly the same amount, $175. This was a much fairer system than what was proposed to me in San Jose and San Francisco is a city which which recognizes the different risk factors that bikes and cars present in their laws.At the time, Philadelphia had a $100 fine for cyclists who ran red lights, which was the lowest fine I could find anywhere. The link I used as reference now appears to be broken of offline, I will update this if it changes. The point is, you should research other cities and see what their laws are because chances are you can find somewhere with more favorable laws to your case.

 

Supporting Argument 2: Legal Bias

There is a known bias against cyclists by police officers and by courts, and I worked hard to provide evidence of this to the court. The story of Amelie Le Moullac is a prime example of this, where the cyclist was assumed to be at fault for the collision which killed her, until video evidence could be obtained showing she was not at fault. Had the SF Bicycle Coalition not done extensive work on her behalf no one would know the real story. Not all crash victims have this luxury, so in most cases people go on believing the myth of the suicide swerve, where a cyclist inexplicably rides in front of a car and is killed.

In my case, when I asked the officer why the DMV, or some other government agency, doesn’t provide information to cyclists on their legal rights, like they do for cars and motorcycles, instead of giving me an actual answer, the citing officer made a remark about how ‘all cyclists choose to be cyclists because they don’t like dealing with the government.’ The way this comment was delivered reflected in him a view that cyclists were anti-government hooligans who should be punished for being outlaws not registered with the DMV. Amelie’s death led SF Supervisor Jane Kim to call for a hearing on police practices in how they investigate bicyclist fatalities. New York bicyclists point to an apparent 3-1 discrepancy in how many summonses were issues to truck operators versus bicycles, “In 2011, the NYPD issued 10,415 criminal court summonses to truck operators. During the same year, 34,813 summonses were issued to bicyclists.” Another manifestation of this bias was made clear in an investigation by the San Francisco Examiner, which found that “Motorists who strike and kill a pedestrian or bicycle rider in San Francisco have about a 30 percent chance of getting charged with a crime.”

The legal bias against bicyclists can take a myriad of other forms as well, but these were the three I opted to focus on for my case.

 

More Advice:

In addition to preparing your argument to deliver in court it can be helpful to send a letter to the court beforehand explaining your case and legal reasons. I did this in the hopes that the judge would see the merits in my arguments and throw it out in favor of issuing me a citation in the mail; most local governments have limited budgets and I was trying to save them resources and save myself time. I forget where I originally got the idea for this, I believe it was the advice of a lawyer friend of mine. Another piece of advice I got from a lawyer is to play dirty, and stall the trial as long as you can, rescheduling it at the last minute if possible; hopefully the officer will already have taken the day off and wont be able to change his schedule in time. Though I did try this tactic it did not help in my case, he still showed up and we had our battle of wits in court; if nothing else, I did greatly appreciate the extra time to prepare my case.

 

Do Your Research:

Nearly everything in this post and my sample letter only applies to cyclists in California, since it uses the California vehicle code, much of it is only relevant to Bay Area cyclists. While some of my findings may be useful for you in your case you need to do your own research to see what the law actually says in your area, even in California local laws can very radically from one city to another. The good news is that public documents, like laws, need to be publicly available online, and if you know where to look and how to look they aren’t terribly difficult to navigate. If this is a very important case (like Biking Under the Influence) now is when you want to step away from this blog and contact any lawyer you know and see if they know someone who specializes in those types of cases. A random blog on the Internet is never meant to replace the legal counsel of a barred lawyer, which I am not.

 

Follow Up Links:

My letter mentions Amelie Le Moullac, a cyclist who was killed in San Francisco, you can find out more about her story here. There also is Josh Alper in Santa Cruz, Bahram Saghari a former professor at Santa Clara University who is now dead from injuries sustained when an SUV cut him off, and thousands of others who die every single year.

My letter also mentioned the case of Chris Bucchere, the cyclist in San Francisco who fatally struck and killed a 71 year old man who was legally crossing the street in a crosswalk when the light abruptly changed to yellow and the cyclist was going down a large hill with too much momentum to stop. This story has two telling points, the first is that just because you can go a certain speed on a bike or a car, doesn’t always mean you should. The second is that cities need better civic planning to account for situations like this, I am a huge fan of the web of bike trails and wide bike lanes I found all over San Jose (where I was cited).

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Rally in San Jose, CA after the CA Supreme Court upheld Prop 8 in 2009.

Rally in San Jose, CA after the CA Supreme Court upheld Prop 8 in 2009.

Like that sign said 6 years ago at a protest in San Jose, this is not over and we will win. In fact, right before Pride weekend, we did win and the US Supreme Court ruled 5-4 in the case Obergefell v. Hodges, that, for the first time in America’s history, homosexual couples can get married in all fifty states and all states must recognize other state’s gay marriages.

While this is great news for all supporters of marriage equality, and it is time to celebrate as Chief Justice Roberts has said,  I fear it could be just a moment of celebration before a potential onslaught of adversity against gay and lesbian couples. While liberty and justice have gotten a win for the short term, this narrow victory will likely incense conservatives for years to come.

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Let me unpack Supreme Court voting a bit for anyone not familiar with it. While you only need a 5-person majority to make a decision and pass laws that is seen as something to avoid at all costs, especially when core civil liberties or civil rights are on the line. Usually, the majority strives for at least a 6-7 person vote in favor, ideally a unanimous vote if the issue is seen as very important and/or hotly contested.

The best analogies I can give to illustrate what I mean are the desegregation of schools and creation of abortion rights. When Brown v. Board of Education was decided in 1954, desegregation did not have wide support across the country like it did today, it was hotly contested because it dealt with highly important civil rights and civil liberty issues. Desegregation was so important that Chief Justice Warren did everything he could to get a unanimous 9-0 decision, including pulling a justice back to the bench for the vote, even though he had just suffered a heart attack and was on medical leave. Want to know why Brown v. Board of Education was never challenged? That is why.

Another core civil liberty is one’s right to be sovereign over their own body, including your right to an abortion should you choose to do so. When the issue first went before the Supreme Court back in 1973, they did not present the same united front that they had with Brown. When it came to abortion rights, the court could only muster up a 7-2 vote in Roe v. Wade, thus beginning more than a forty year onslaught on women’s reproductive rights that continues to this day. Notice the difference those two votes makes? Now ask yourself how confident you feel about Friday’s 5-4 decision. Then ask yourself how confident you feel about the fact that the legal precedent it builds on, Hollingsworth v. Perry, was decided not on the merits of the case but by standing alone. In Hollingsworth, the Court looked at who was the plaintiff in the case, felt they had no business to bring that suit, and said, effectively, ‘you can’t stand in this court room, get the hell out of here;’ without any care to the legality of marriage equality. That is being decided on standing.

Right now, marriage equality is legal because of a 5-4 decision that builds off a technical foul, and of course decades of other cases like Lawrence v. Texas, Bowers v. Hardwick, and the aptly named Loving v. Virginia. A 5-4 decision is better than a 4-5, it is better than nothing – but it is the next-best thing to nothing and historically in America that is a recipe for decades of legal battles.

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Well said, who is next?

I hope this explains why I may be celebrating less than other pride revelers. I worry about what is to come and the vitriol spawned by a divisive 5-4 decision. Still, 5-4 is the best we could hope for this with current court as it is the most conservative in US history. If that trend continues then I am *very* worried for the future of marriage equality.

 

 

This piece originally ran on April 21st, 2015, in The Leaf Online as, “Nip it in the Bud: Cannabis Farming Is Not Causing California’s Drought.” It was picked up and ran by AlterNet on April 22nd, with the title, “Weed and Water in California: Pot Isn’t The Problem.” All photos were taken by me, while visiting family in the Central Valley in 2009.

Nip in the bud” To break a bad habit before it forms.

There’s nothing new about bad cannabis science, but now in the days of cannabis policy reform it often seems that new examples are cropping up every day, hoping to mislead the public into believing the ‘virtue’ of prohibition.

Time to nip them in the bud.

Nip it In The Bud 2 - Drought - Dead Orchard Img 46

California has been in a drought for the past four years. Most of the state has received under 10 inches of rain, meeting the criteria to be labeled a desert. This conundrum has made California a testing ground for a battle over water rights, where cannabis growers are being unjustly scapegoated as the culprits behind the worst drought the state has seen in over a millennium.

It all started when a recent study conducted by the California Department of Fish and Wildlifefound that illegal and unregulated cannabis growing could potentially be a threat to sensitive wildlife and their habitat. The researchers use many qualifying words in their study, because many of the facts aren’t sufficiently well-known to properly say how big of a threat cannabis growing could be to endangered species like the Coho salmon. Regrettably, most journalists reported on this uncertainty with headlines like “Pot is Making California’s Epic Drought Worse” and “California is in One of its Worst-Ever Droughts Because People Are Growing Too Much Weed.”

David Downs, with SFGate’s Smell the Truth, is one of the only journalists to get it right, properly recognizing that cannabis growing is a “tiny sliver of water use in the state.” The study estimates that the average cannabis plant takes 6 gallons of water every day. Chris Van Hook, founder of the Clean Green organic cannabis certification program, estimates that while plants begin taking about a gallon of water a month they can end up consuming nearly 15 gallons a day. Chris estimates that all the growing in Mendocino county consumes about 32 million gallons at the height of growing season.

The Department of Fish and Wildlife study found that,“In California, irrigated agriculture is the single largest consumer of water, taking 70–80% of stored surface water and pumping great volumes of groundwater.” Almonds alone consume 3 billion gallons per day, out of the 30 billion gallons used by agriculture every day in California; 10% of the total agricultural water use and 100 times as much water as Mendocino uses for cannabis growing.

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Notice the blue sign that says “Almonds.” This *was* an almond field, now it lays fallow.

California grows much more than just almonds. You may be wondering, just how much food does California grow? According to the California Department of Water Resources, California is the only state with the right climate to grow almonds, artichokes, dates, figs, raisins, kiwifruit, olives, persimmons, pistachios, prunes and walnuts. California also produces over 250 types of crops, leading the country in 75 of those.

With the current drought, it is hard to see California continuing to keep up its same rate of food production, which may further drive up prices. The drought has created a state of emergency and has led to state-wide water rationing. The April snowpack, which should be at its peak, is actually the lowest it has been recorded since 1950; a record low of 5% of average.  2014 was the third driest year in over a hundred years and the warmest year on record.

Before this current drought California saw another drought from 2009-2010. This previous drought wasn’t caused by natural causes or climate change so much as it was caused by short-sighted politics. A federal ruling to protect the endangered Delta Smelt caused water to be diverted from thousands of acres of farmland in the Central Valley. This led to entire orchards being left for dead or laid fallow, including precious almond trees like those shown above, which take over three years just to produce fruit.

12 (Dustbowl Orchard)

These may have been almond trees, before the ‘Congress created dust bowl’ came and turned off their water supply.

Unfortunately, almond trees are not cannabis plants and don’t have a three month growth cycle. When those trees were killed by politics five years ago, the new ones planted to replace them didn’t even begin to produce almonds until the current drought was in full swing and water rationing was imposed. While endangered species like the Delta Smelt and Coho Salmon need to be protected, preservation must be balanced against the humanity’s need for water. As water gets increasingly scarce the political calculus at play will need to be re-evaluated. If better decisions aren’t made during this natural drought than during the self-inflicted one, those almond trees may never get a chance to fruit.

40 (The Dead Orchard #2)

If better decisions aren’t made to confront the current drought then dead orchards like this will be an all too common sight.

In response to the Reefer Madness panic over the minuscule amount of water being used for cannabis growing the legislature has released two bills, AB 243 and a similar bill in the Senate,SB 165. Both laws would strengthen existing laws governing cannabis farming and other illicit activities on public and private lands. The patient advocacy group, Americans for Safe Access, opposes both bills as they currently stand and feel patients are being unfairly scapegoated. ASA makes a good point considering other groups, like Nestle, are allowed to skirt legality to bottle millions of gallons of groundwater every year to sell bottled water back to the same people they took it from.

The real culprit behind the California drought isn’t outdoor cannabis growers, as much as it is every person who drives a car, everyone who doesn’t buy local or sustainable products, or indoor cannabis growers. In short, everyone who has ever contributed to climate change in any way. Indoor growing has a massive carbon footprint and greatly contributes to greenhouse gas emissions; in California, it is “responsible for about 3% of all electricity use.” Outdoor growing can be done in a sustainable way that uses closed loop systems, creating minimal environmental harms with relatively little carbon footprint.

Scientists have identified a new climate trend for California, and all other coastal areas like it, where they will get more erratic temperatures, less predictable seasons, and generally colder temperatures. This phenomenon is known as “Coastal Cooling;” it is even more intense in urban areas. Despite current warming, it appears that cooler and wetter weather could be in the future for California. As climate change intensifies, the West Coast will see more erratic weather and it is hard to say what it could mean for California’s farmers and everyone else who calls the Golden State home.

Do you want a handy map that lays out every recreational and medical cannabis state in the country? Ever wanted to travel to another state and wondered if your medical cannabis recommendation would be good there? How about if it is legal for patients to own guns?

I’ve got one infographic that has all of that information and more. Please share it around widely, improve on it, do whatever you’d like. Just please give credit to the source. It may not be pretty, but it gets the job done.

Cannabis Travelers Guide Infographic RELEASE

Enjoy, and travel safe. If you’re traveling abroad my advice is to do some research on the country you are going to and see if it is worth the risk. When I flew to Hungary I left my cannabis at home because it wasn’t worth the risk of a lifetime in jail for drug trafficking due to very harsh drug laws.

Today is April 20th, and it is now 4:20pm. Right at this moment people are lighting up joints, pipes, bongs, bowls, firing up vaporizers, eating edibles, and consuming cannabis in all manner of other ways. Today is the day and now is the time to get high. If you are wondering why the cannabis community chooses this particular day and time then you should check out my post from last 4/20 which tells the story of the Waldos and the birth of 420.
I am grateful to have an amazing job in the cannabis industry, the only downside is that I am working every April 20th from now into forever. While I used to have the day off to enjoy partying and smoking with friends, listening to great music and having a wonderful and relaxing time, I now help other people enjoy 420 by selling them what they need to properly partake in the holiday.
To help you properly experience this 4/20, and to let me reminisce on 420’s past, I have a great post for you on the history of the 420 celebration at the University of Santa Cruz. This smoke out has been happening for over a decade and had grown to such a size by 2004 that Rolling Stone ran an article about it with the headline, “The Most Stoned Students on the Most Stoned Day on the Most Stoned Campus on Earth.” The school retaliated with an op-ed in the Santa Cruz Sentinel, which rambles along attempting to discredit the Rolling Stone article before describing it as “accurate.”
April 20th, 2008: A Campus on Lock Down
In 2008, the University attempted to put the campus on lock-down for the day, and did not let any traffic onto campus, even buses. This is after 2007, when the university attempted to stop the smoke out by assembling a large group of police in Porter Meadow, only to have them driven off by an even larger crowd of protesters.
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Did the school even consider people needing the bus to get to class?

This did not stop determined throngs of students and other 420 aficionados from swarming onto campus by foot, walking for miles to get to Porter Meadow for the smoke out. The complete lock-down also did not stop the university from claiming they ‘permitted the 4/20 event to happen‘ and let some traffic onto campus.
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The student body responded to the lock-down by having a pre-420 protest on Earth Day, April 18th, 2008. UCSC has a very open campus, with more ways in than can possibly be locked up. Like in 2007, the people would not be stopped and found a way to make the event happen.

4:20pm on 4/20


After the fight to have 420 it’s time to disarm UCSC.

In 2009 the University didn’t even bother trying to lock the campus down, they realized it was a failed endeavor. All the administration did was send out a strongly worded email, wagging a finger at students who brought guests onto campus for 420. Despite all the official backlash, UCSC’s 420 celebration continues to grow every year. According to Bradley, at Santa Cruz IndyBay, “Porter Meadow at UCSC has traditionally been the largest 420 gathering point around.” And in 2009, what a mixed gathering it was. 2008-09 were my only years attending the UCSC smoke out, and the major change from one year to the next was the addition of fundamentalist Christian protesters.

Are YOU on the highway to Hell? I sure am, rocking out with ACDC.

A meeting of minds. A dreadlocked mind meets one in a hard-hat.

Glad I am just a Buddhist, not a Catholic, and can still get into Heaven…or am I a false religion?

I don't fear God, I do fear the fact that you are allowed to vote.

I don’t fear God, I do fear the fact that you are allowed to vote.

After five minutes of misogynistic comments, a dreadlocked man tackled him from off to the side. Not all stoners are passive, some smoke sativa and get all hyphy.

All the protesters and police in the world couldn't stop this man.

All the protesters and police in the world couldn’t stop this man. I think five blunts at once has to be a record.

By 2013, with over 2,000 people it wasn’t just the size of the event that had grown, but the size of the joints too. Police confiscated a nearly 3-pound joint, the size of a baseball bat; estimated to be worth $15,000. This record-setting joint was big enough news to get UCSC’s 420 smoke out it’s first international press from the DailyMail UK. 2014 saw a return to Porter Meadow for another session and a return of the police presence, hoping to confiscate some huge nugs to go with their bat, to use as balls in a game of Buds-ketball.
Tomorrow will be the moment of truth. Will UCSC officials continue to unfairly punish cannabis patients and others who gather at Porter Meadow in peaceful protest of our country’s failed drug laws? Or will the administration embrace UCSC’s identity as a stoner school, like Chico and Humboldt? Time will tell.

Continuing from where my last post left off discussing the history and various uses of hemp, let me move on to discuss CBD-rich cannabis which is often branded today as being hemp for marketing purposes. This hemp is genetically identical to cannabis, as they are the same plant, and is being called hemp merely for convenience of marketing under the new definition of hemp created by Congress with the Farm Bill where any cannabis plant that tests under 0.3% THC is now hemp. This re-definition, while legalizing hemp farming and research in America, is also blind to the complex genetics of the cannabis plant and all cannabinoids other than THC that make it up. I advocate for a whole-plant solution that embraces all cannabinoids and terpenes as potential cures, and views both hemp and cannabis as one plant, rather than preserving an artificial layman’s distinction. Apparently, the only thing that separates hemp from cannabis now is 0.1% THC, is it that much of a jump to just view them as the same plant? In support of my view, that CBD/hemp legalization is not enough, I have written several articles which discuss the value of CBD-rich cannabis and how CBD only legalization may be a Red Herring for our movement.

Charlatan’s Web – A CBD Debacle

Baby Steps to Legalization – CBD Only Laws And Decriminalization

End Prohibition for Whole Plant Cannabis – Why CBD Only Isn’t Enough

My research on Charlotte’s Web and other CBD rich strains led me to interview Jason David, CBD expert and star of the Discovery Channel show Weed Wars.

Interview with CBD Expert Jason David

Please keep your eyes open for future coverage on Charlotte’s Web, CBD-rich cannabis, and hemp/cannabis legalization.

As many wonderful benefits as cannabis can confer to the human body, it pales in comparison to what hemp can do for humanity and our world. When I first began my research into cannabis legalization while I was a student at San Jose State I realized early on that talking only about cannabis missed half of the discussion, perhaps even the bigger half, While cannabis ability to cure cancer is miraculous, I think the idea of carbon-neutral biofuels made from hemp is far more phenomenal. We have had the technology to produce carbon neutral biofuels from cellulose for nearly half a decade now and hemp would be ideal candidate. It isn’t just biofuels; everything currently made from oil and many things made from trees could all be made from hemp, stronger and cheaper with less environmental impacts. I am not the only one who has long been enamored with hemp, colonial American farmers were required to grow this miracle plant by law; more recently the late and great Hemperor himself, Jack Herer, brought cannabis and hemp back into the vogue as solutions to humanities woes with his book The Emperor Wears No Clothes. Much of what I now know is thanks to Jack and his amazing research into the history of cannabis, may he rest forever in the highest of spirits.

 

I’ve ran a few pieces for The Leaf Online about hemp, beginning with a history lesson, moving on to discuss what separates cannabis from hemp, and finishing with a breakdown on how hemp biofuels can save the world.

History of Hemp in Colonial America

Cannabis or Hemp, What’s in A Name?

Hemp Biofuels to Save The World

This next article, while related to hemp, is more of a CBD-rich cannabis related article. I’ve included it because it would be national hemp legalization, but under the banner of Charlotte’s Web, CBD-rich cannabis, and the Stanley Brothers, rather than being full cannabis-hemp legalization, as we should be talking about. If this Charlotte’s Web Hemp Act were to pass it is unlikely to help even 30% of cannabis patients; on the other hand it would be a major boon to hemp farmers. That being said, hemp is pretty much already legal after the passage of the Farm Bill.

End Prohibition for Whole Plant Cannabis – Why CBD Only Isn’t Enough

 

Keep you eyes peeled for more of my coverage on hemp, CBD-rich cannabis, and Charlotte’s Web.

Hey readers, here is the next round of my articles from the Leaf Online.

 

I did a four part series about efforts to legalize cannabis in 2016, and what I feel they should keep in mind to be successful. As a student of history, I draw heavily from the lessons I learned as a regional director for the Proposition 19 campaign, which came 4% away from legalizing cannabis in California in 2010. This four part series is what began my writing for The Leaf Online back in April of last year. While they are my first articles with TLO they are just as worth reading now as they were when I wrote them, perhaps even more poignant as we move closer to 2016.

 

1. Part One: Unity

2. Part Two: Funding

3. Part Three: Education

4. Part Four: Allies

 

Expect more coverage on 2016 from me as we move closer to the election, and until then I will have plenty of other fascinating posts for you to read,

Hey readers,

While I am working on some more meaningful posts to get on here, some Burning Man oriented ones to get people ready for the impending Burn, I wanted to add a short personal post.

As most of you are not aware I was just given a paid position as a writer for The Leaf Online, a very excellent online cannabis newspaper. You can find all my posts here, including many of my cannabinoid profiles from this blog. I am trying to find a way to cross post all my Leaf articles to this blog, but haven’t quite figured out a good way yet. Until then you’ll all need to go over there to read my cannabis posts (though some will still end up here, such as my cannabinoid profile on CBN).

I’m ever grateful for the opportunity and support The Leaf has given me, but never fear, Well Suited For Life will not be forgotten either. I’d love it if you read over and share around my Leaf posts, especially this one about the much-discussed cannabis strain Charlotte’s Web.

Hey readers, I’ve got another great cannabis themed blog for you today discussing the various types of cannabis concentrates out there on the market. This isn’t one of my usual cannabinoid profiles but it is just as necessary. Doing a quick Google search I can tell there is a ton of misinformation out there  about concentrates and I hope this post can help clear things up.

A couple notes before we start, pre-empting some questions. While every purity rating given is in THC ever type of concentrate listed here can be made from CBD-rich cannabis making the resultant concentrate also CBD-rich. A method of vaporizing cannabis will be discussed called dabbing, this method is usually done with only super melt hashes but in actuality you can dab anything over 55% THC. Dabbing involves super heating a titanium “nail” with a small blow torch and dropping a hash of sufficient purity onto it, which causes the hash to vaporize.

The Concentrates

Kief.

Kief – Kief is the term for the trichomes of the cannabis plant once they have been removed from the plant. Usually kief is obtained during trimming when it falls off the plant and can be gathered with a mesh screen. Kief can also be made with a machine resulting in exponentially more potent kief, more accurately labelled a kief-melt (a play on full melt hash). Kief generally is between 10-25% THC but at Harborside we’ve had kief test upwards of 55% THC, which makes it potent enough to be dabbed. Kief is always dry sieved cannabis, without any water processing.

Hash.

Hash – Hash can be made through many different methods, the simplest being pressing kief and resin together with ones fingers to make so-called “finger hash,” perhaps the oldest form of concentrated cannabis known. Hash tests a little more potent than most kiefs but not quite as strong as bubble hash, usually between 15-35% THC. Aside from the method of creation, hash is distinguished from bubble hash by the fact that it burns rather than bubbling up.

Bubble Hash.

Bubble Hash – Bubble hash is a water-based hash that is made using a series of bubble bags filled with freezing cold water and ice cubes. Bubble bags are a series of increasingly finer mesh bags that trichomes pass through creating various qualities of bubble hash in each bag level. The trichomes are dislodged from the plant by being frozen then smashed off by the ice. This type of hash gets its name because it bubbles rather than burning, but it doesn’t melt like a full melt hash. These hashes range in the 20-45% THC range.

Full melt hash. Not always this color but always this consistency.

Full Melt Hash – Full melt hash is the highest quality of bubble hash, it is what you find in the bottom bag that has passed through every purity grade. These hashes while still being cold water derived more resemble the oily super melt concentrates I will discuss below. These hashes get their name because unlike bubble hash they do more than just bubble, they melt fully into a liquid form. These hashes range in purity from around 45-70% THC. Here is one method to make full melt hashes that can test nearly 70% THC, without any sort of a chemical solvent used.

BHO/Super melt, this one looks like melted shatter.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Super Melt Hash – Super melt hashes are not made with bubble bags and usually use some sort of a chemical solvent, though so-called solvent free varieties exist. They are called super melts because they  melti super-fast from a solid form into a vapor form, sublimating without fully being a liquid. This is a result of the purity of the product and method of use, not a result of the chemical solvents. Commonly used solvents are butane, isopropyl alcohol, and CO2. Common slang names are ISO hash, Butane Honey Oil (BHO), shatter, wax, oil, dabs, and numerous more.

These hashes contain between 55% THC on the low end to over 90% THC on the high end, most are between 55-80% THC. While these hashes can be made by anyone in their garage the best ones are coming out of scientific grade laboratories; you won’t find someone making 90% pure hash in their bathroom. The most common method of use is dabbing, effectively freebasing cannabis. Many in the medical community have expressed concerns over people getting over-medicated and more serious health concerns, such as lung collapse, resulting from dabbing.

A Note on Super Melt Hash Legality: IT IS ILLEGAL TO MANUFACTURE ANY CONCENTRATE THAT USES A CHEMICAL SOLVENT. Unfortunately state law on this issue lags behind medical cannabis as a whole and the creation of super melt concentrates is regulated under the same law as meth labs. As you probably know making meth is very illegal, a felony; in the eyes of the law making super melt concentrates is also a felony. Be very careful if you are making BHO or any other concentrate, especially is traveling through local areas that are tough on medical cannabis rights. Individual state laws may be different but this is written with California laws in mind.

To quote directly from California state law: “Section 11379.6(a) states: Except as otherwise provided by law, every person who compounds, converts, produces, derives, processes, or prepares, either directly or indirectly by chemical extraction or independently by means of chemical synthesis, any controlled substance – shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for three, five, or seven years and by a fine up to $50,000