Medical marijuana is over

... and so is this cannabis column.

Naptime for Herbwise

HERBWISE Hey potheads, welcome to what figures to be the last Herbwise column for the time being.

But we've had some good sessions together, no? Over the course of a very eventful year in marijuana, we spoke with Roseanne Barr, Black Panthers, oncologists, tax attorneys, Coral Reefer. Snoop Dogg, Fiona Apple, Pat Robertson, the president of Uruguay, and an actress from the Blair Witch Project all made our news call. They all do the weed, or support such things, and that list alone should serve as proof that cannabis has irrevocably entered the mainstream.

We went around the world to see how pot was faring in other corners. Seattle's medical marijuana champion-DIY pop star Lisa Dank reported back from South By Southwest. I chatted with the author of medical marijuana legislation in Washington, DC, dropped in on a Berlin head shop employee, and took a walk with a small town politician up in the Marin County hills of Fairfax.

Honestly, I didn't want to write about politics at all when we started the column. Boring! Fake! Politricks! Etcetera. But then last September, the IRS intensified its hounding of several major Bay Area dispensaries, cheating them out of perfectly reasonable tax exemptions. Then, at an October 7 press conference in Sacramento, US Attorneys let us know they were going to start being a bummer.

A year later, we're short a whole bunch of places to get marijuana, including no less than two of the clubs I personally depended on. Hiss. Against my best intentions, current events necessitated that Herbwise focus on law and order, from time to time.

But there's been good moments (the week I wrote Herbwise high as hell in my cubicle on Amoré, the cannabis aphrodisiac shot), just like the especially-bad moments (the week I bore the tidings that major credit card companies would no longer process sale of marijuana and that beloved local dispensary Vapor Room was closing due to threatening letters from federal agencies. That week I wrote about Lady Gaga.) I'm privileged to have been able to weigh in on a year that will surely change the future of cannabis, for better or worse.

Some words on words: I got told 800 times to not call it "pot" or "weed." One person wrote to say "flower" was better terminology. Please don't mix us up with the recreational users, some card carrying marijuana users told me. You're hurting our quest to be taken seriously.

But I need my synonyms. Nah, more importantly, I think this not-mixing is the problem. Focusing the movement for increased access to cannabis on the medical marijuana industry isn't working. Drop the pretense, I say. The notion that weed can only be prescribed by a medical professional is not just dumb, it's also not gonna get us anywhere. The longer we stigmatize recreational users, the longer people (and by people I mean young men of color, because that's who our racist prison system is filled with) are going to be sent to jail for a stupid reason. And less people will feel connected enough to the movement to create the kind of buzz that will eventually change public opinion. And prisonmakers and anti-drug warriors will continue to get the money that should be going to our schools and to our public library flag burning sessions where everyone is handed a pink thong to wear at the outset and ordered to chant baby-killing nursery rhymes in Spanish. Broadcast on PBS.

Obviously, I'm not saying that cannabis doesn't have medical usages. Studies have recently emerged that suggest it stops the spread of cancer in the body, and any patient that has AIDS or another wasting, awful, strength-sapping disease can tell you that cannabis can be a literal life saver when it comes to stimulating appetite and general pain management.


Gotta admit that I was suspicious of the medicinal properties of cannabis. But when hiking above Nevada Fall in Yosemite this summer after hiking 6mi on uneven exposed granite off trail in the great polished granite moonscape bowls of upper Tenaya Canyon the day before, my right knee began to give me some pain.

Stopping to medicate to enhance the views on the way back from Bunnell Cascade as the pain was increasing, I began to notice that the pain abated for like 20 min after medicating. Every 20 min, I'd stop and medicate.

Using a single hiking pole to carefully negotiate my way down 1000 vertical feet of the Nevada and Vernal granite steps, I was able to walk, practically sprint the last mile back to Happy Isles as fast as I did that first mile 8 hours earlier with no residual knee pain after 15.3 miles. If any of you all have bounded down those steps without a pole, you know the exquisite pain in places you don't know you had that they can deliver. I was tired for sure, but I was feeling no pain on more ways than one.

Posted by marcos on Oct. 12, 2012 @ 6:06 pm

That's right, marijuana can be used for various reasons and it can also have various effects. If this drug is so harmless would you approve your kid using it? I doubt so, nothing in this world comes for free and marijuana comes with it's costs/risks, whatever you want to call them.

Posted by child addiction on Nov. 07, 2012 @ 12:20 pm

The "child addiction" comment previous to this one is a painful reminder of the terrible attitude Federal fascists and the police use against medicinal cannabis. Nobody who claims this attitude seems to speak out against the deadly substances forced on kids by the Federally approved process which includes Ritilan and Prozac.
These addictive drugs are a danger on the psychological balance of millions of people, leading to violent and schizophrenic behavior.
Children who are given Cannabis instead of deadly drugs will suffer little of the side effects that the pharmaceutical drugs impose, and instead of being addicts, the children can stop the Cannabis treatment with little to no side effects...

Posted by Californian on Nov. 13, 2012 @ 10:47 pm

When my younger brother was working on research about cases involving surgical errors and lawsuits, he encountered this same article about medical marijuana. If administered properly and less-than-harmful dosages, it has its own medical benefits. I think we still to monitor it properly since there will always be a group of people who will take advantage of this.

Posted by Mitchell Sexner on Sep. 16, 2013 @ 12:12 am

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