MASSCANN/NORML Membership Meeting
Meeting convened at Demos – second venue in our quest to find new meeting spot since Uno’s/Newton closed. No private room, but good food and good parking lot. Bill Downing presided.
Treasurer’s Report by Bill Downing re the Boston Freedom Rally cited many factors contributing to the loss of revenue – mostly the action by the City of Boston to curtail hours, thus the reimbursement of vendor’s fees, the loss of our own sales of merchandise, the added expense of two-day rentals (tables, chairs, toilets), two-day and overnight security by the Park Rangers, and the graft payment for Police overtime (as mandated by our court judgment). At this time, the ACLU lawyer John Swomley is petitioning for the return of our payment on the grounds that graft isn’t nice. (They may argue that graft is non-refundable) Also adding to our expenses was the huge amount of insurance demanded in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombing.
Discussion ensued as to whether we want to continue with a two-day rally and whether or not we want to continue with Ferguson/Concessions Unlimited vs signing vendors ourselves as in the past. The Happy Hempster noted that Ferguson charged them 4x the fee MassCann asked the previous year, and that MassCann could still make money and save vendors money by charging 3x and skipping the middleman.
Re the two-day discussion, vendors left stuff overnight at their own risk, security at night a concern, even though Bill Downing, Bill Flynn and Bobby McGuire and the Park Rangers were patrolling overnight. Another option is to revert to one day, but with extended hours.
Q - will new ban on smoking have an impact on upcoming Freedom Rally?
(http://bostonherald.com/news_opinion/local_coverage/2013/11/city_poised_to_ban_lighting_up_in_public_parks) against smoking anything on the Boston Common.
No real Answer; but goes to show that the police actually have plenty of resources to chase pot-heads. Police used the excuse of security from bombers, yet spent their “limited resources” on undercover buy-bust in a school zone. Point of interest; Fred Hapgood, past MassCann board director, did a FOIA request in 1998 re how much the Boston Police spent on BFR = $50,000 of our taxes.
Comment re heavy metal music not the spirit of pot culture, language is foul (hiphop bands) – not so very Woodstock. Jeff Morris responded that, while not the reggae stereotype, those bands support us, and they had participated in the Battle of Bands where the audience chooses the winning band to go on to play at the Rally. Also, those bands draw crowds. We don’t have the means to pay for big bands. However, we did try to scale back the heavy rock. Bill D commented that very seldom has music pleased everyone in the whole history of the BFR.
Bill Downing updated the continuing saga of the Department of Public Health and its byzantine efforts to set up dispensaries. The DPH has published the list of 100 nonprofits that passed the second stage of three for approval, for 35 slots. They now have to put up $30,000 non-refundable fee. Bill cautioned those counting on making money that the price of cannabis is falling. Colorado can grow their own. Not just laws, but also change in attitude where some police are not busting anymore, (although others still say they didn’t know that there was a MMJ law now.)
Bill suggested that job hunters can start submitting resumes. A MassCann member compiled contact information of the prospective dispensaries that DPH passed – the contact information of the nonprofits is on the DPH website, but you need to drill down. Estimate 100 jobs per dispensary, in three areas – growing (production), trimming (packaging), retail.
Also, cannabis will be legalized here shortly. Prop 502 in WA legalized, but neglected medical distributors. But in CO, medical dispensaries were given a 1 year head start over recreational sales, and then the head start was reduced to 6 months. Here in Massachusetts, legislative language may be up to funders like MPP, DPA, NCIA (Natl Cannabis Industry Association), but we want to have a seat at the table as we represent Massachusetts citizens, after all. We don’t want our laws authored only by outside forces.
Family Law and Cannabis Alliance – co-founded by past MassCann board director Sara Arnold – concerned that the state taking children from cannabis patients, addressing the issue in MA and the whole US. Available for expert testimony.
Jenny Kush left 4 children with no parents – MC/N want to donate to the kid’s fund $1,000, $500 of which is matching.
MassGrass is back to newsletter format as it is less expensive. Will send out advertisement billing, which might fund another 16-page newspaper.
PPQs to be run on local communities’ ballots, we will target representative communities. We get 300 signatures. We pose our questions, each worded in a different manner, in parallel communities (for example, Should the age of consent be at age 18, while another asks at age 21), Which polls better? Worth it to insert “grow your own” and give up a few votes. Principles we want to maintain, such as grow, free as tomatoes, non-negotiable. We as MassCann have the ability to endorse or not endorse ballot initiative language if we find it objectionable.
Jill Griffin, 17 years an emergency physician, first canna-patient is aged 93, immobile, now up and walking, and accomplished goal of going to the mall. Six of her patients have gotten arrested, and, as patients, they ask the police for their medicine back – and the police say they either don’t know the law is real, or that the patient relationship isn’t bona fide; selective enforcement. And these are the same police she works with in emergency medicine now giving her grief. So, what is a bona fide patient/physician relationship? Her advice to political activists is not to try to list cannabis as a schedule 2 drug or to make carve outs for medical use – just legalize.
Concern about bona fide as open to challenge. She being taken to court to testify that relationship is bona fide. Medicare law you are a patient for 3 years – depends on experience as to who needs more follow up. DPH doesn’t have the patient registry process isn’t up yet. They will charge $50 year or $100 a year for a patient growing their own. They proceed with the registration at this time as the database up yet. Need card for permission to grow. When the registration process is up and running, there will be public announcements.
Lawsuit filed in Middlesex Superior Court challenging DPH regulations. Primary complaint is that application fees for dispensaries are expensive. If he wins his suit, it would overturn the whole set of regulations enacted May 24th, including the passive-aggressive severe limitation on the patient/caregiver ratio.
Software system supposed to control seed to sale not even designed much less able be sent out to bid.
In another example of FPH grappling with insane minutia, cars that take samples from dispensaries to testing labs each have to have 2 GPS tracking units so no one goes off the route. Another iteration of insanity is asking whether the car carrying inconsequential amounts of weed have to go directly from dispensary to lab, or can they make stops at other dispensaries along the way to the lab?
Cameras mandated by regulations have to have a certain pixel count that isn’t even available yet.
Federal prosecutors in CA are using their discression to target cannabis patients, spending their resources on cannabis to the detriment of the rest of their duties; our need for protection from real crime.
When 34 states opted out of alcohol prohibition, support fell at the fed level. The Volsted Act repealed the alcohol prohibition amendment to the constitution. States continued to repeal prohibition with mini-Volsted laws.
Mike Cann notes that the unfavorable poll may have been biased by other questions re medical. Even if polls post favorable numbers, we are still taking the issue as a challenge and we are in it until it happens.
Special prices for poor people, in order to have pricing better than the black market. However, when other states have these options, they seem to give the lesser quality weed to the poor people. Dispensary growing in Maine had a serious problem with bugs, and the employees went to the Department of Health (?) exposing the fact the dispensary used a pesticide bomb on the plants. We certainly don’t need this poor quality poisoned weed as sop to the poor.
Doctors and cannabis – in group practice, doctors have decided as a group they will not recommend. Worried about liability and their relationship with the DEA (unaware that the Supreme Court already decided that doctors cannot be punished for recommending marijuana to patients). Since cannabis is the safest therapeutic drug on the market – patients should fire their doctor for being stupid about the issue. Stand up and be angry that your primary care physicians are being passive aggressive with our medicine. Insist that they recognize that your use of cannabis is legitimate medicine. Will young doctors be more canna friendly? The materials med students study come straight from pharmaceutical companies directly to the classroom – no longer any independently written medical text books.
CannaMed dropped price from $150 and your money back if you are too healthy for cannabis.
Physician’s Health Services is an oversight board within the medical community and will investigate and suspend your license if they have reason to believe you use cannabis. The Chair of PHS disgracefully blamed the Boston Marathon bombing on cannabis, then walked it back.
This spring, a solid thing for everyone to do is to gather signatures for Public Policy Questions in representative communities. Bill Downing announced the formation of the Bay State Repeal political community – donations will be made public. (MassCann is educational – private donations.) Comparative polling is a tactic of putting slightly different wording in similar communities in order to really accurately test what would get votes. The Bay State Repeal group also would like PPQ initiatives in other communities. There will be a series of announcements, petitions to local captains, legislative districts, rules re registered voter on a dedicated sheets. Please everyone keep a lookout this spring and commit to a real push. This is the historic fight of our time – quite a lot is riding on this succeeding. The goal is to get 300 signatures in the representative districts to get on the local ballot. The strategy is to do a MiniVolker Rule repeal of prohibition. Rob Campion got legalization on the ballot in Maine 2014, but was able to do so through the State Legislature. MPP helped with the legislative effort – they hired a lobbyist. However, the Mass legislature is hopeless, thus the critical need of a grass-root effort. Hope we can attract money to MA 2016 for a state-wide initiative, and to do that – to show that Mass is attractive – we will prove 2016 is the right time for state-wide action by showing the 2014 local PPQ results – that many local communities passing it demonstrates a guaranteed pass at the state level.
Good and Welfare
Carl Caswell would like to open an office at the UN to represent our culture of people and would appreciate funding.
Challenge to the general membership - What Would Our Ideal Law Read Like? Keep your legislative language to one paragraph. Use existing law and existing bureaucracy. For instance, the Agricultural laws for commodities, mold, weights, measures, packaging would apply beautifully to cannabis. We don’t need additional regs. Also, do not include anything to placate imaginary enemies. For instance, our medical law included language that said that local communities could increase fines. Why would anyone think that is a good addition to a law trying to clear away stupid laws? The authors thought this language would earn with extra votes? It may have brought in 2 extra votes which were not needed as the law passed with a huge margin, but now we’re stuck with more than 100 local communities passing mini-prohibitions. On the other hand, states are passing laws allowing Hemp growing, aiding farmers who are looking for good crops. Kentucky introduced hemp growing legislation recently – fitting as Kentucky was hemp growing capital of the world. So, please crowdsource good legislation - No new bureaucracies, taxation. It’s a commodity. Do not tax the shit out of it – that is counterproductive, high costs just keep the underground economy vibrant.
Change in Mayor/Boston, President/US, will be interesting to see how new administrations address the issue.
Doug Breakstone, from Connecticut Cannabis Exposition MMJ shows from CT educating public and physicians. Hope we can work together .
Mark L urges we all bring up repealing cannabis prohibition during Thanksgiving as family members are really looking for good information on this topic. Mark recounted a Dr in the family saying that he wanted cannabis in pill form to which Mark replied that many hospice patients can’t swallow any more, and that vapor is a legitimate delivery system for meds (see asthma puffers). (Not to mention whole argument of the virtues of the whole plant with its 80 or more cannabinoids, flavonoids, and turpines, vs synthetic thc in olive oil)