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‘Cannabis: Legalize It or Not’

January 18, 2010

by Minister of Information JR

Medical cannabis has been a hot topic in California for several years and especially since Prop. 215 was passed. The debate heated up even more when, on Oct. 19, the Obama administration announced that federal prosecutors would not pursue medical marijuana users and distributors who comply with state laws.

It seems like the people of California are one step closer to ending the prohibition of medical marijuana. Even the Oakland airport recently announced that medical marijuana users could fly on planes with 8 ounces of medical marijuana.

Lots of questions can be asked about this development:

  • What does this mean to the illegal market? Many young males in Black and Brown neighborhoods all across the country feed their families with the proceeds made from illegal growing and distribution. What will it mean if more marijuana users bought their “weed” from clubs instead of the streets?
  • What is the next drug in line to sell?
  • Will patients feel safer buying their weed from dispensaries?
  • How will legalization affect the crime rate, be it that possession and distribution in a limited way will be decriminalized?
  • What policies are most profitable to city government?
  • Who gets to own dispensaries?
  • What is the process?

This is the “pitch” made by JR to, a nonprofit project of the Center for Media Change pioneering “community funded reporting.” Go to “Who benefits from the legalization of medical marijuana?” to contribute toward the support of JR’s work. Once funds are received, he will produce a 15 minute radio piece, a 5-10 minute video story and an approximately 1,500 word text article to accompany the video and audio.

This video, “Cannabis: Legalize It or Not,” was produced by JR and Siraj Fowler for a related project sponsored by New America Media.

Email POCC Minister of Information JR, Bay View associate editor, at and visit

Cannabis: Legalize It or Not

Cannabis: Legalize It or Not from New America Media on Vimeo.

8 thoughts on “‘Cannabis: Legalize It or Not’

  1. Ahimsa Porter Sumchai, M.D.

    I am a physician licensed to practice in the state of California who authorizes medical cannabis for people who demonstrate medical necessity under Proposition 215. My concerns about legalization rest in the proven effects of cannabis on cognitive and psychomotor function and the potential impacts on public safety workers including firefighters, professional vehicle drivers, paramedics and life guards. I recently denied authorization to an otherwise healthy life guard who presented with complaints of insomnia. He is responsible for a pool a group of 15 3 to 5 year old children use twice a week. There is also a group of seniors who use it as early as 6 in the morning. I have also denied authorization to a licensed tug boat captain and a San Francisco Muni driver who came in with his uniform on, as well as an anesthesiologist with a major medical center surgery department.

  2. justin wilson

    @ahimsa: I can understand you won’t prescribe if there is no medical need, however to deny because of their professions and responsabilities is questionable: just like alcohol, you can use it in your freetime but not during or just before work, driving a vehicle or having other responsabilities. It depends on the timing and the amount.

    There is no reason why an anesthesiologist could not use a moderate amount in the evening and would influence his work 12 hours later.

  3. RasCeylon

    Excellent questions to a very valid issue posed in this artivle! I seen this within the text: “Even the Oakland airport recently announced that medical marijuana users could fly on planes with 8 ounces of medical marijuana.” But when I went on the link, it said the article has been removed! More evidence that we need more solid 411 on this impactful subject. Salute Minister keep it movement!

  4. fraud lover

    I am a smoker who thinks you’re all on crack, doctors like to prescribe chemicals, fuck the government, Life Guards are already high, about 10-12 feet high

  5. Medical Marijuana user

    Ahimsa, you are so full of shit…..I can’t wait for the state of California to legalize it, so we don’t have to play the bullshit game of medical marijuana. How can you make that statement, when the Netherlands have coffeeshops? I’ve been to Amsterdam, and everything is nice there. I think its a crime that people have to pay so much to doctors and “medical dispenceries” for something that should be five dollars a gram. I can’t wait to vote this up coming NOVEMBER to LEGALIZE IT FOR ONCE AND FOR ALL.

  6. Medical Marijuana user

    George Washington grew both hemp and indica from India. He’s our founding father, he was the first general of the american army. How can we act like cannabis ISN’T as AMERICAN AS APPLE PIE????

  7. burris

    Ahmisa, you are evidently ignorant of the research conducted NHTSA, UK DOT, Australian DMV, etc… Again and again, trials show that people under the influence of Cannabis drive about as well as they do when they are sober. Analysis conducted by NHTSA of blood tests on drivers involved in fatal accidents show virtually no incidents of drivers under the influence of Cannabis only. Cannabis is only correlated with fatal driving accidents when combined with alcohol.

    Far more people die annually from mistakes made by doctors like yourself than could possibly attributed to incapacitation from Cannabis. If you are truly concerned with saving lives then there is no doubt you could make a bigger impact by studying your craft more than denying people a recommendation for Cannabis out of saftey concerns.


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