Medical marijuana ban request spurs talk in Steamboat

Police captain’s statements spark new medical marijuana debate

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— The prospect of a citywide vote on whether to ban medical marijuana sales in Steamboat Springs is reminiscent of similar efforts taking place in other communities across the state.

Voters in Castle Rock and Grand Junction approved bans on medical marijuana businesses Tuesday. Legal challenges are surrounding a voter-approved ban in Loveland.

Moffat County voters decided in November to prohibit medical marijuana dispensaries in unincorporated parts of Moffat County.

“Most of the cities that have moved toward banning have referred the question to the voters,” Steamboat Springs attorney Tony Lettunich said Wednesday.

Steamboat is not yet moving toward a ban on medical marijuana centers, and the idea of a vote is purely hypothetical at this point, but the topic arose Tuesday night when the City Council conducted a first reading of proposed revisions to the city’s medical marijuana regulations. Many of the revisions align the city’s regulations with state legislation adopted last year. City Council gave initial approval to the city’s revised ordinance, with minor clarifications. A second and potentially final reading could occur May 17.

Discussion of issues surrounding the industry, including whether to take action toward a ban of medical marijuana sales in Steaboat, could occur before that second reading, likely May 3.

Steamboat Springs Police Department Capt. Joel Rae, Dr. Brian Harrington, of Yampa Valley Medical Associates, Kate Marshall, of Grand Futures Prevention Coalition, and Steamboat elementary school teacher Ann Coon all spoke Tuesday about their opinions that the industry is harming the local community, particularly by sending mixed messages to youths.

Coon said she has heard third-graders talking about medical marijuana advertisements — some of which have promoted infused products including candies — and expressing a desire to visit the businesses.

Rae said Steamboat Springs School Resource Officer Josh Carrell recently encountered a 15-year-old female student at Steamboat Springs High School who was in possession of hash oil.

“That takes it to a whole other level — this is pure hash oil, a felony-level drug, in possession of a 15-year-old girl in our public school system,” Rae said.

He said the hash oil was packaged in a way that indicated it came, directly or indirectly, from a medical marijuana center.

The genie’s out

Rae and Harrington’s requests for consideration of an outright ban spurred quick feedback.

“I would oppose that,” City Council member Jon Quinn said. “You can’t put the genie back in the bottle.”

Quinn said that while “there is nobody (on City Council) who wants to see marijuana in the hands of our kids,” Steamboat’s three centers are licensed retailers employing local workers and providing a legal service to patients.

He said efforts to ban the industry could unjustly turn “law-abiding, tax-paying businesses into criminals.”

Kevin Fisher, of Rocky Mountain Remedies, one of Steamboat’s three licensed medical marijuana centers, said he sent an email to City Council members Wednesday addressing the issue.

In a phone call later Wednesday, Fisher said a council-imposed ban would be an example of “micro-legislating” that would go against lengthy public discussion in Steamboat, the licenses he’s received from the city, and the will of statewide voters, who legalized medical marijuana in Colorado through Amendment 20 in 2000.

Fisher also said a ban could counteract efforts to regulate distribution of medical marijuana.

“The safest and most effective way is to have closely regulated centers,” Fisher said. “You shut us down … every little caregiver in the city is going to start growing.”

Lettunich acknowledged that a city ban on medical marijuana centers, whether adopted by City Council or passed by voters, would not affect primary caregivers allowed to provide the drug to a limited number of patients.

A city ban also would not affect medical marijuana centers in other areas of Routt County, such as Aloha’s in Milner. City Council member Walter Mag­­ill said Tuesday night that he wouldn’t consider supporting a city ban without efforts in the county, too.

Routt County Commissioner Doug Monger said he spoke with Rae about the medical marijuana industry Wednesday morning.

“I wouldn’t feel very comfortable instituting a ban myself, as a county commissioner, but I would sure support putting it on the ballot, just like they did in Moffat County,” Monger said. But“if we have a countywide ballot issue, it still only covers the unincorporated part of the county.”

There could be some urgency to the discussions. Lettunich noted that Colorado’s moratorium on new medical marijuana businesses lifts July 1.

“The understanding of the attorneys that I’ve talked to is that if you’re going to ban it, you’d be safer to ban it before July 1,” Lettunich said, citing potential legal challenges.

Comments

muck 3 years ago

November 1, 2010 Pilot Article

“I think it looks pretty good,” Grand Futures Managing Direc­tor Dervla Lacy said. “We seem to be below the state average in most of those categories.”

REMEMBER??????

11-12 Graders marijuana use down 40%

REMEMBER JUST 5 MONTHS AGO??

Why do these people talk out of their back sides? Is down 40% making a "bad impression"?

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muck 3 years ago

Smart Move! Kevin is right. Ban them. Then watch the 1000 plus patients start to grow there own meds. Lets see a increase in of home growers by 50% in your neighborhood, on your streets. Lets push it back into the black market, Lets increase the price again and not regulate it at all.

A**anine decision FOLKS! LOOK REAL HARD BEFORE YOU DECIDE!

In Oak Creek i know 19 growers that use there house. I know 100+ that use despensary in Routt County. They will all grow themselves if change comes and guess what? Now they are closer to YOU than ever if you KILL the despensaries.

GREAT IDEA HUMM?

Hey Kevin, JJ, Dog, Chris, Jacob start a home growing assistanted business's. Let them see what will happen then. They end your business then help all your patients GROW THEIR OWN IN THE PRIVACY OF OUR OWN HOMES.

This plant sure is scary to some folks. Never seen such a joke. I hear cows will fly next week if they eat MARIJUANA.

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muck 3 years ago

COME ON PILOT LETS DO A ONLINE POLL. LETS GET A FEEL FOR REALITY FOR EVERYONE.

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sledneck 3 years ago

Just stumbled across this old newspaper this morning while kindling a fire...

April 20, 2010 Steamboat Pilot: Front Page: "Local Pot Wins Awards" story on page 4.

How can a community push something into the corner when the newspaper is making it front page?

And if our children are getting the wrong impression it might be partly because of such a headline, no?

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rhys jones 3 years ago

Ya got it all wrong: Kids should start SOONER. I'd rather have them passing a pipe than kicking sleeping transients.

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nurmidst 3 years ago

Captain Rae is right there should be a ban, these businesses are cutting into Mexican drug cartel profits how do we expect them to move into our community with legal access to their product!

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Ryan Fisher 3 years ago

The points that need to be remembered here are:

  1. Traffic fatalities have reduced in 2009 by 5% and 2010 by 10%. If all these stoned drivers are killing everyone, where is the data?

  2. Medical Marijuana is LEGAL! No matter what happens with the dispensaries in town, it will still be LEGAL to grow, smoke, and possess. Instead of having a few heavily regulated, state licensed, TAX PAYING localities, hundreds of people will have unlicensed, non-tax paying, unregulated LEGAL grows in their residences. And Joel Rae will not be able to do anything about them, because it is CONSTITUTIONALLY PROTECTED.

  3. If Aloha's is the source of the controversy, why is there even discussion from the city council to ban them in Steamboat? This will only EMPOWER Aloha's. Does the irony here resonate with anyone?

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Eric J. Bowman 3 years ago

"Medical Marijuana is LEGAL!"

Is it? Not under federal law, which supersedes state law, unless you're willing to toss out the precedents of the Whiskey Rebellion, Civil War, etc. Everyone involved in this industry is taking a huge risk, considering that the next President can undo Obama's hands-off policy at the stroke of a pen. Which is why I'd rather not see local tax structures become dependent on MMJ until the federal issue is settled. This is why most of the authorizations are coming from so very few physicians -- risk management, a sensible concern for local governments as well.

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rhys jones 3 years ago

While you ponder Colorado's dilemma, let me share Arizona's, my momentary abode. They recently voted in Medical Marijuana, effective Nov. 1. The state then jumped in, in attempts to stifle and regulate it as much as possible. Only State-registered physicians can prescribe, under very strict guidelines, for a very limited number of maladies; you almost must indeed be dying. Only so many dispensaries, statewide, ever. Individual communities have further restricted it -- dispensaries only in industrial areas, far from residences or schools, and it must be grown at the dispensary -- so many plants, walls so high, locked storage so big, video surveillance, save the tapes, they're even talking armed guards, to prevent the mass crime which will ensue. I still don't know where to get it legally. It's not getting off to a good start.

While I envy your ready availability and vast selection, I don't miss your prices, nor the "name game." It's whatever the grower calls it. I've bought very pedestrian "Hawaiian" there, nothing close to the real deal. I can buy comparable medication down here for a fraction of the cost -- 1/8 or so -- albeit "uncontrolled." (It ain't "controlled" 'til they find it.) I'm saving my seeds until I can use them properly and legally, and for the moment, Viva Mota!! Cartels are my friend.

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greenwash 3 years ago

Grand Junction is ordering all its dispenseries closed as of tomorrow.So it can happen.

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autumnwitch 3 years ago

The original intent of the law was to HELP people medicinally, or at least that is what the voters were told. Those that chose to vote for it were either under the mistaken belief that it would be totally regulated to make sure that people who really needed it would get it or they were potheads who knew it would lead to lax regulations that would permit them to pull a little wool to get a permit to "legally" get stoned. I did not vote for it because there are prescription medications that have the chemicals from pot that take care of the nausea from chemo and many choices in the already legal realm that can take care of almost all maladies-almost all, I stress! If someone had just come out with a vote to make pot legal like alcohol it might not have passed so this was the way for stoners to get their way. I think it should be made legal for anyone over 21 and be regulated just like alcohol, that way those who need it medicinally can get it and those that want to use it recreationally can get it too. Let anyone who wants to, grow it. Why shouldn't people who need it not grow their own? Why do they need 500 different strains? Do brownies laced with pot really do anything? (just curious because I really don't know) And what does a candle with the oil do?

I remember when I was approached to sign a petition to legalize pot and when I said no, the guy said "Don't you think the people of Colorado should be able to vote on whether to allow pot to be legal or not?" And I said, "Yes I do, and that is how I am letting you know that I don't believe it should be legal, by not signing your petition." I stand by that choice, but it was mine and other people made their choices. And now here is the however; people who voted for it because they believed it would really be for medicinal use as stated were made a fool of, and that is the problem with Aloha's, they are making a total mockery of the intent of the medicinal marijuana law. How can they blame people for now getting upset with the whole thing?

Wait...I just stubbed my toe, think I'll go get my permit, shouldn't be difficult...

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rhys jones 3 years ago

I haven't had so much fun in days. Bring it on; let's talk!!

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rhys jones 3 years ago

Oh wait -- gotta run to the bar, chase up some biz (websites). I'll keep my bicycle on the sidewalks, so as to threaten the fewest. I'll bbl, hoping you have given me much cannon fodder. See y'all in a bit!!

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mmjPatient22 3 years ago

autumnwitch-

Where to begin? There's a lot there to address. I guess I'll just start at the top and work my way through it all.

1.) "I did not vote for it because there are prescription medications that have the chemicals from pot that take care of the nausea from chemo and many choices in the already legal realm that can take care of almost all maladies-almost all, I stress!"

-Yes, there are pharmaceutical 'equivalents' to cannabis that have been introduced into the market, in a variety of forms. All of them claim to be the same and work the same as real cannabis, but trial after trial has proven otherwise. It does NOT offer the same effects as real cannabis and people have regularly stated so. If you're interested in REALLY educating yourself on the subject, please visit this site: http://norml.org/index.cfm?Group_ID=6635

2.) "I think it should be made legal for anyone over 21 and be regulated just like alcohol, that way those who need it medicinally can get it and those that want to use it recreationally can get it too. Let anyone who wants to, grow it. Why shouldn't people who need it not grow their own? "

  • Here, you seem to fly your green flag for a minute. You claim to be pro-legalization, for appropriate ages, and you even seem to have a fairly liberal stance on how it should be regulated(seeing as how homegrown is A-Okay with you). I must applaud you on this point, even if it might be the only one. However, .....

3.) "Why do they need 500 different strains? Do brownies laced with pot really do anything? (just curious because I really don't know) And what does a candle with the oil do? "

  • You appear to be, and please don't misunderstand this as me trying to get in an insult or a jab, slightly ignorant of the "ins and outs" of current day cannabis. For example, your "500 different strains" comment would lead me to believe that you must not appreciate the EXTREME diversity throughout the entire plant kingdom. How many varieties of apples are there on this earth? Grapes? Roses? Regular grass(lawn type, not my type)? (The answers are, respectively; over 7,500 , over 600 , over 6,500 , and over 10,000) Secondly (and as a former baker of 'high'-quality ingredients brownies and other treats, I can assure you that this information is valid and true), the brownies that are made with a cannabis extract butter(depending of coarse on concentration) definitely "do" something to the people that eat them. Edibles are an extremely healthy way to reap the benefits of cannabis, in comparison to smoking it. And lastly, I'm guessing that the oil to which you are referring is what's commonly known as 'tincture.' I'm not aware of a cannabis oil that you add to a candle. Typically, the tincture is ingested via dropper to the underside of the tongue. This is much the same way that numerous homeopathic remedies are ingested.
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mmjPatient22 3 years ago

To wrap it up, I guess I'm confused by your simultaneous support of legalization AND railing against those who use the laws (that are enacted by the majority) to gain legal access to their cannabis. Care to enlighten me on your stance?

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autumnwitch 3 years ago

I guess I am for what the law was meant for but seems to be flaunted. If we pass laws for medicinal use, then that is what it is for, not for legalized recreational use, if the law is passed for legalization for all use, more power to those who enjoy it. Yes, I see your point on the myriad of plant species in a particular order, had a duh factor moment when typing off the cuff. Thanks for the info on the baked goods, had to wonder as I have never tried and won't, definitely see the benefit over smoking. I had heard the person who owns the shop in OC is doing some research beyond smoking it and that is interesting as well. No offense taken if none is given. :)

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mmjPatient22 3 years ago

Well, now there's the matter of qualifying EXACTLY what is meant by "medicinal" use of cannabis. Many people take cannabis for it's medicinal qualities in the physical pain department. Even still, there are as many, if not more, people that use cannabis for it's anti-depressant qualities. I happen to thoroughly enjoy both benefits. But who gets to be the final authority on what qualifies as 'medical' usage for my beloved plant(s)? Who's the one that gets to try to tell me that using cannabis to make myself happy does not qualify as medicinal use? Because I would be more than happy to sit down with that person and explain to them the 'medicinal'(or really, physiological) side of happiness, or being happy. And anyone who would argue that being depressed/unhappy can't affect the health of the person that's feeling those emotions, is a damn fool. The same goes with stress. Stress is a huge killer. So for me(and countless others) my happiness is something of a medical issue.

And as for the research being done in OC that goes 'beyond smoking it,' well, there have been devices around for years that offer the benefits of being able to ingest much cleaner/healthier qualities of cannabis. Vaporizers, for one, have been around a long time and function off of the concept that incineration is not the best way to get your cannabis into your system. What vaporizers do is heat the intended cannabis to a point that is well below that which is required for combustion. The cannabis is still burned, but there is no flame, no combustion and no ashes even. The resulting vapor is much cleaning and has far less carcinogens than the typical bong/pipe smoke, which is a product of combustion. And at the end of a "vape" you're even still left with the original plant material, not a pile of ashes.

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Queenie 3 years ago

autumnwitch & mmjPatient22: it is so refreshing to see actual discussion of varying viewpoints in these posts instead of all the judgmental, name-calling, close-minded crap that is usually spewed....you both make your points without being jerks and I have learned stuff I didn't know...thanks.

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mmjPatient22 3 years ago

If I had not already been smiling this morning, that comment surely would have done the trick. It's my pleasure to educate and inform people, so long as they're willing to listen and accept that what I'm telling them is not a lie. It is a matter of personal pride for me to pass along meaningful, valid and true information to those that are looking for it.

However, I have to admit that I've been a part of the name-calling and berating that's taken place on numerous comment boards, mostly pertaining to cannabis and subsequent legislation. This is one subject that I have very heated emotions about. The one judgement that I feel completely justified and vindicated in making is that; the war against cannabis that is still currently being waged by a HUGE chunk of our nations law enforcement community(and our tax dollars) is as futile and wasteful as the prohibition of alcohol, if not more than. So many thousands of lives have been forever changed by the unjust prosecution/persecution of cannabis users across the globe and it's no wonder when there's an entire industry set-up around making money off of criminalizing and imprisoning these people. I think that it's painfully obvious at this point in our history that the worlds economies can't sustain this kind of reckless waste with the monies that are supposed to be used in the pursuit of actually making us safer and more secure. No one will ever convince me that cannabis-fighting dollars are well-spent dollars.

And as a not so minor side note....hopefully everyone is aware that the current prohibition of cannabis is not only allowing but it is FUELING all(yes, all) of the drug cartel violence to our South. The hundreds, if not thousands, of people that have died due to Mexican drug cartel violence deserve to not have not died in vain. In other words, hopefully their deaths will serve as a wake-up call to those that believe the current cannabis prohibition is actually working to some degree. Because it is not. Year after year, DEA and law enforcement spend millions upon millions of our dollars to fight something that will NEVER go away? Is that the point though? Find something that a bunch of money can be wasted on and start employing a bunch of people, ya know, keep 'em busy?

My brain(which was developmentally influenced by a Dad and Grandpa who were both former law enforcement officers, one being SWAT and one being hostage negotiator) tells me that there is no justice in prosecuting a cannabis user. My brain tells me that there are MUCH more important uses for that money and time.

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Scott Wedel 3 years ago

As for the happiness factor, I have seen people take prescription pain pills to deal with chronic pain and I have seen people take mmj to deal with chronic pain. That the mmj patients do not claim they no longer feel pain, but that it becomes tolerable to get out of bed and do stuff.

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mmjPatient22 3 years ago

It most definitely makes the pain much more manageable than if I didn't have it. My back still hurts but it's not immobilizing and it doesn't ruin my mood anymore.

To illustrate my previous point about how much of a waste it is to spend all of those millions on pursuing cannabis users all that anyone needs to look at the news about every day or every other day. Point in case; http://www.alternet.org/drugs/150488/man_could_face_life_in_prison_for_3_grams_of_marijuana%2C_while_sex_offenders_may_get_5_years_tops/

The link says it all.

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rhys jones 3 years ago

My Mom takes Neurontin for a chronic leg pain, which she doesn't really like, because the shotgun approach of the doctors hits more than the target; she ends up feeling sluggish and listless, not my Mom whatsoever, but in less discomfort.

This is one person who could actually benefit from the medicinal qualities of marijuana; I have repeatedly tried to encourage her to try it -- it would be more effective, less invasive, less expensive, and certainly less harmful in the long run (my brother died at 48 from liver cancer, the result of a lifetime of prescription drugs for allergies) but that is the LAST thing she will do, because we have been squabbling about it for 40 years, and she still believes the company line/Jack Daniels lobby. You can lead a horse to water...

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mmjPatient22 3 years ago

But for those that are too lazy to click that link, ... It's a story about a guy that might get LIFE for 3 grams of cannabis. Not for killing someone with 3 grams of cannabis, but just possession of 3 grams of cannabis.

Wrap your brain around that for a minute or two.

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Eric J. Bowman 3 years ago

"How many varieties of apples are there on this earth? Grapes? Roses?"

Exactly why it isn't accepted as "medicine" by so many folks. How many varieties of aspirin are there? One.

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Eric J. Bowman 3 years ago

"Because I would be more than happy to sit down with that person and explain to them the 'medicinal'(or really, physiological) side of happiness, or being happy."

Sorry, but your arguments remind me of the guy on the right:

http://current.com/shows/supernews/91503842_master-debaters-pot-vs-meth.htm

Heheh... just kidding! Seriously, though, the "happiness" argument turns so many things into "medicine" that it redefines the term completely.

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Eric J. Bowman 3 years ago

"I think it should be made legal for anyone over 21 and be regulated just like alcohol, that way those who need it medicinally can get it and those that want to use it recreationally can get it too. Let anyone who wants to, grow it. Why shouldn't people who need it not grow their own?"

Where? And how much? There are limits to how much beer anyone is allowed to homebrew. Should such limits also exist for pot? How would you feel about the residence next door to your home becoming a dedicated growing operation with nobody living in it? While I favor decriminalization, I'm opposed to the free-for-all Colorado has turned into.

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mmjPatient22 3 years ago

Well, I could half-way see your point if aspirin grew on trees or shrubs but, as you know, it does not.

Secondly, you completely missed the point I was trying to make. Again, it's not about how many things we can qualify as medicine to be used for anti-depressants. The point I was stressing is that a person's happiness, or lack there of, can and does have a large effect on a person's physical well-being. Cannabis has a VERY positive effect on my personal happiness.

Lastly, if you're so opposed to the alleged "free-for-all" that Colorado has turned into, then what's your solution? What's your plan for regulating it? How about life for 3 grams of cannabis? How's that sound to you? Did you even read that article?

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Eric J. Bowman 3 years ago

"Well, I could half-way see your point if aspirin grew on trees or shrubs but, as you know, it does not."

Yes, it does:

Many pharmaceutical products are derived from plants, including Sativex, which is undoubtedly medicine, unlike pot brownies.

"The point I was stressing is that a person's happiness, or lack there of, can and does have a large effect on a person's physical well-being."

Sure. I wasn't disagreeing with that, only pointing out that not every substance that makes you happy can then be called medicinal.

"How about life for 3 grams of cannabis? How's that sound to you? Did you even read that article?"

Calm down. I've been convinced that the war on drugs is a travesty for a long time, now, such that I don't need to follow every breaking injustice. Holland's decriminalization went too far, and is being walked back all the time (too many Cannabis Cup Americans passing out on the space bon-bons and mushroom tea). Portugal looks to have gotten it about right, but only time will tell.

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mmjPatient22 3 years ago

Sativex is definitely a pharmaceutical alternative to the real thing. Some people like to go that route but not me. The sole purpose of its existence is to serve as something that the drug companies can patent/copyright and make money through. They can't make any money off of real cannabis because they can't patent it.

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Eric J. Bowman 3 years ago

But Sativex is real cannabis, that's what distinguishes it from synthetic preparations:

Notice the key wording there, "Sativex is a pharmaceutical product standardised in composition, formulation, and dose." What's the THC/CBD ratio and dosage of a pot brownie? I use Valerian extract sometimes, to help me sleep. Different brands have different concentrations, but the labels tell you the composition, formulation and dose.

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rhys jones 3 years ago

I must object to the phrase "free-for-all." It ain't free -- it's damn expensive. That's a downside to "medicinal," "legalization," and "regulation" -- now there's overhead, taxes, and profit. Now a few stoners are getting rich off the many, and are quite smug about their "rights" which, as pointed out earlier, can be reversed quickly with a pen.

Medicinal is legal in Arizona now, at least on paper; I have yet to meet anyone with a license or who knows where a dispensary is. I detailed earlier how AZ is missing the boat, on taxes, license fees, permits etc, by being so suppressive about what the people voted in. The cartels still supply the vast %, and my money ends up in Mexico.

My trip out last night did not result in more business, but it was fun. At one point 2 friends and I retired to the parking lot to blow a number. Toward the end, I put the roach in my glass one-hitter, then discovered I have been using it wrong for years. If you hold it just so, you can make your fingers into a carb -- my friend was demonstrating, and I was practicing. (he is licensed in California, and we would both love to be the test case, regarding reciprosity and federalism. Expert legal commentary, anyone? I address this to real lawyers, not jailhouse lawyers, such as myself.) We looked across the street, at the stoplight, and there, with his headlights pointed right at us, stopped at the light (T intersection) was Johnny Law watching us. A motorcycle and hot rod zoomed by on the through street, and when the light turned green, the cop followed those vehicles, in somewhat of a hurry. He wasn't concerned about us. Real town. Real cops. Do I miss SSPD and RCSO? NOT ON YOUR LIFE.

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