Pubdate: Wed, 16 Jun 2010
Source: East Bay Express (CA)
Section: Legalization Nation
Copyright: 2010 East Bay Express
Author: David Downs


Plus Transparency Needed For Oakland Growing-permit Process, And
Caution For Delivery Dispensaries.

The Bay Area's roaring cannabis economy has a new yardstick: the
first-ever High Times Medical Cannabis Cup on June 19 and 20 in San
Francisco at Terra. The 35-year-old counterculture magazine has hosted
its famed Cannabis Cup in Amsterdam every year for more than twenty
years now, making it a global tourist attraction. Of course, buying a
$60 ticket does not get you anything to smoke.

"You're not going to get cannabis in exchange for a ticket," says High
Times West Coast editor David Bienenstock. "Voting is done by a small
group of perhaps nine. We are going to supply a list of dispensary
entries who won so patients can visit and try any entry they want."

Only patients with a doctor's recommendation for cannabis will be
allowed to consume in an outdoor "Prop 215 Section" of the expo, but
"medical professionals will be available on-site," High Times states.

Awards will go to the best indica, sativa, concentrate (hash), and
edibles (brownies, etc.) during the Sunday night awards show, which
costs $60 and comes with access to a two-day expo, assorted seminars,
and merchandise. The Saturday night VIP Cup party, which has sold out,
features killer rock band Eagles of Death Metal and local fave Lyrics
Born. Panelists include Valerie Corral, Bill Panzer, Debby Goldsberry,
Steve DeAngelo, Jorge Cervantes, DJ Short, Paul Armentano, and a
lifetime achievement award for Dr. Lester Grinspoon.

Sunshine Needed in Farm Permitting

The Oakland City Council's impending decision to possibly permit and
tax four large-scale medical cannabis farms has everyone wondering who
will get a growing permit, worth potentially millions of dollars per
year. If the council approves growing legislation this summer, the
city is expected to issue a request for proposals, and potential
growers would then compete for a coveted permit. Theoretically,
permits would go to those growers deemed most capable and responsible
of handling the historic charge, but it's never that simple.

Ideally, the decision will be based on the best available data, though
little data currently exists. Local businessman Jeff Wilcox
commissioned a private study of the economics of growing, which took
most watchers by surprise. Now there's a backroom scramble to either
support or refute Wilcox's data with independent research from UC
Berkeley's Goldman School of Public Policy. The Rand Corporation also
is doing its own independent research on growing economics. The draft
ordinance should be buttressed by solid, publicly available raw data
on the inputs and outputs of such a regime.

All ordinance discussions also need to be scheduled, advertised, and
open to public comment. So should the RFP process.

A Bumpy Road for The Canny Bus

As capitalism assimilates pot, delivery services are among the more
exotic offspring. Bay Area medical cannabis dispensaries on wheels
number in perhaps the dozens, and run the gamut from glorified drug
dealers to state-registered, Prop 215-protected nonprofit collective
The Green Cross in San Francisco. Neophytes like The Canny Bus sprout
weekly, and as this once-black market turns white, its reputation is
still spotty.

Richmond gunmen reportedly took $3,000 worth of marijuana and $1,000
in cash from a 33-year-old San Francisco State student - and purported
mobile dispensary operator - when he delivered an order to a Richmond
carport at midnight on Thursday, May 27. Green Cross' owner and
veteran activist Kevin Reed is not surprised.

"People should be worried going to buy marijuana or having people
over," said Reed, whose three-year-old delivery-only collective was
robbed once in its early days.

Ever since US Attorney General Eric Holder indicated that the DEA
would not be raiding locally tolerated medical marijuana dispensaries,
"pop-up dispensaries" have blown up, the ten-year veteran said.

Here are three shopping tips: Read online reviews of a delivery
dispensary; if they don't have any, like this greenhorn who got
robbed, it's not a good sign. Ask for their business license number
and look it up with the appropriate agency. See if they offer refunds;
legitimate businesses do.

Seeds & Stems

The City of San Francisco will officially oppose a state bill that
puts cancer patients in jail for growing pot if such patients live
near a school. Assembly Bill 2650 steps on local land-use decisions
and creates problems for patients, cultivators, and dispensaries
protected under Prop 215, the Board of Supervisors resolved last week.
According to insiders, the bill is a largely token "tough on
crime/save the children" bill sponsored by Alamo Democrat Joan
Buchanan, who is fighting for her assembly seat in a contested Fall
race. By an 8-3 vote last week, the San Francisco supes approved a
resolution opposing AB 2650. The bill is also opposed by Americans for
Safe Access and other patient's rights groups, but supported by law
enforcement groups. Mayor Gavin Newsom must now sign, veto, or allow
the supes' resolution to take effect. Buchanan's bud bill goes to the
California Senate this summer. 
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