Pubdate: Thu, 11 Feb 2016
Source: North Coast Journal (Arcata, CA)
Column: The Week in Weed
Copyright: 2016 North Coast Journal
Author: Grant Scott-Goforth


So many hash labs are blowing up around these parts that Humboldt Bay 
Fire, which services the greater Eureka area, recently declared it 
won't go into the burning aftermath of the explosions.

The new policy comes on the heels of several hash lab fires in the 
area, the most recent of which (on Jan. 20) sent a resident to the 
University of California Davis burn center and left "obvious signs 
that the explosion moved the roof off the walls," according to a press release.

In a Feb. 4 press release, the department detailed the "appalling 
consequences" of hash lab explosions that include massive property 
damage and severe burn and blast injuries, including on children.

"Firefighters who have responded to these types of incidents report 
high-intensity fires which are difficult to extinguish," the release 
says. Because the blasts displace load-bearing walls, foundations and 
roofs, and because of the risk of secondary explosions with butane 
tanks and other flammable detritus, the department will no longer 
send firefighters inside to fight fires suspected to have started 
because of hash labs.

The department will continue to search the buildings for occupants, 
the release says, but will only spray water from the outside through 
open doors and windows. In addition, the release states, "If a 
[butane hash oil] lab explosion occurs in apartments or other 
multi-family dwellings we will focus our efforts on protecting other 
attached living units and detached surrounding properties."

The Bureau of Medical Marijuana Regulation (the BoMM or the BuMMR, 
depending on whom you ask) has a new chief.

Lori Ajax, the deputy director of the state department of Alcoholic 
Beverage Control (ABC), was appointed by Gov. Jerry Brown to head the 
newly formed agency that will develop and enforce vast medical 
marijuana reforms enacted late last year.

Ajax, who, according to the Sacramento Bee, has worked for ABC for 20 
years, will work with a variety of state agencies to create rules on 
the medical marijuana industry in the framework of the new state 
laws, which separate aspects of the business and regulate everything 
from packaging to cultivation. At one point, Ajax managed licensing 
and enforcement for the alcohol agency in Northern California.

Advocates for medical marijuana expressed concerns as the new 
regulations were being written, warning that treating marijuana like 
alcohol would be unfair. But California Growers Association Executive 
Director Hezekiah Allen was quoted in the Bee praising Ajax's appointment.

"We are encouraged by Lori's experience with state bureaucracy and 
familiarity with rural counties," he told the paper.

"Pain is a part of athletics," says Jay Williams, a promising young 
Chicago Bulls player who nearly died in a 2003 motorcycle accident at 
age 21. It ended his career and set him on a path toward painkiller 
addiction - a quagmire he now says he was able to escape thanks to 
marijuana, which provided pain relief without the addictive or 
harmful side effects of pharmaceuticals.

In a recent essay and Players' POV video, Williams called out the NBA 
for its double standard: Players who use marijuana face suspension 
and fines, while they're treated for all kinds of gameplay-related 
pain with opiates and other painkillers. Joining others who've 
pointed out similarly misbalanced policies in the NFL and other 
sports leagues, Williams says players are expected to play through 
all kinds of pain, and marijuana provides relatively low-impact 
relief. The discrepancy - he says marijuana is "vilified and 
misunderstood" - is particularly stark given the recent relaxation of 
marijuana laws in states like Colorado and Oregon, which are home to 
professional basketball teams.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom