Two of SF's most venerable cannabis dispensaries get shut down


Sadness, anger, and confusion hung thick in the fragrant, smoky air of two of San Francisco's oldest and most prominent medical marijuana dispensaries – HopeNet in SoMa and Vapor Room in Lower Haight – during their last day in business yesterday, the latest victims of an aggressive federal government crackdown on the industry.

Throughout the day, vendors, patients, neighbors, and well-wishers stopped in to say goodbye and commiserate over a trend that just doesn't make sense to them, or to the local politicians and city officials that have spent years setting up a regulatory structure that had legitimized the cannabis industry, which thrived as the rest of the economy suffered through the recent recession.

“I've always treated this as if it were just a nice coffee house. I'm not an outlaw,” said Martin Olive, whose Vapor Room was a friendly community gathering place and active member of the local business community that gave away free bags of vaporized marijuana to low-income patients on a daily basis. “I almost forgot I was breaking federal law. It was so normal, so legitimate.”

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Why Wall Street loves the War on Drugs


The raid on Oaksterdam has just about everyone in local politics engaging in a little head-scratching: What possible reason would the Obama administration have to crack down on medical marijuana in an election year? How does it help the president, who will be facing an unsettled and angry electorate in a still-tough economy, to alienate the pot smoking liberals of the world, who were at one point among his most loyal constituents?

What a fucking idiot.Read more »

A bad incentive for pot busts


The Bay Citizen ran, without comment or perspective, a Bay City News item Dec. 23 noting that the Hayward Police Department and other local law-enforcement agencies picked up some $1.2 million when the feds disbursed the money that was seized from a marijuana dispensary that was busted in 2006.Read more »

Kids smoke pot, don't drink


More American teens are smoking pot, and fewer are drinking alcohol, according to a new survey that's at the very least interesting and could be a push for policymakers to start thinking about how we regulate marijuana.Read more »

Why are Harris, Newsom, and other pols silent on the federal pot crackdown?


UPDATED BELOW As I worked on this week's story about the federal crackdown on California's marijuana industry, I tried to get a statement from California Attorney General Kamala Harris. After all, it's her job to defend California's medical marijuana laws, which she was fairly supportive of as our district attorney. And she was an early Barack Obama backer who could probably get him or U.S. Read more »

Sticky palms: check out our nug porn gallery


I touched base with some of the guys with the toughest job in the world this week in Herbwise, our month-old marijuana column. Yessir folks, meet your professional weed photographers -- potographers, if you will. Danny Danko, senior cultivation editor at High Times -- who included some indoor growhouse shots that he told me were the trickiest to get due to light wave vagaries -- and Ryno Barela, who is in charge of photography and social media over at SF's Vapor Room were kind enough to send over some of the shots they think best represent their profession. Point, click, pass. Read more »

Why Prop. 19 went up in smoke


Hopes of legalizing marijuana may have gone up in smoke after Prop. 19’s defeat by a slim margin, but proponents are far from giving up. Groups such as Drug Policy Alliance, Just Say Now, and Bay Area proponents are already looking forward to 2012 to score more voters and support. But to win, they’re going to have to find solutions to the challenges they faced in this election.Read more »

Legalization proponents appeal to Reason


The Bay Area's medical marijuana community may be divided over the legalization measure Prop. 19, but Reason's Brian Doherty has penned an excellent analysis of the current campaign, why it will probably succeed, and how that will likely lead to a nationwide normalization of pot use rather than the federal crackdown and general sky falling that many critics of the measure predict.

Chron endorsement dishonestly attacks marijuana measure


Once again proving itself to be an corporate-run embarrassment to a city that has been at the forefront of progressive reform – including the movement to legalize medical marijuana – the San Francisco Chronicle this morning recommended that voters reject Prop. 19, which would allow cities and counties to legalize marijuana use by adults. And it did so with tortured logic and a cowardly, disingenuous claim to support legalizing marijuana.Read more »