The Wall of Weed

Happy 420! To celebrate I’d like to give you a wall of weed!

The Wall of Weed

Above: Online promo graphic for The Wall of Weed… feel free to copy and share.

About The Wall of Weed

This art piece contains 1960 photos from over 650 different batches of medical marijuana. There are close to 350 different strains represented on the wall.

These photos were taken between 2008 and 2012 in Long Beach, California.

Link: http://onehumanbeing.com/wall-of-weed/
Note: the page can take up to a minute to load – lots and lots of photos to load…

Here’s a short bit I wrote awhile ago about how I got started taking photos:

In June of 2008 I started taking photos and posting menus on WeedTracker.com for a local, Long Beach collective called CCLB, Canna Collective Long Beach.

The whole thing started as a fluke – I just wanted CCLB to keep up with their menu posting because gas prices were soaring and online people wanted to know what was available before they made the long drive – sometimes coming all the way from San Diego – a nearly 300 mile round trip.

My round trip to CCLB was only 10 miles, so during June I started my volunteer gig as the Menu Guy for CCLB. Over the July 4th weekend, through a series of events I’ve written about elsewhere, I officially became an unpaid, community volunteer at CCLB and through October of that year I photographed nearly 80 different strains, some of them several times…

Goals and Format

I had several goals in mind while taking these photos:

  1. Capture the most average, “representative” buds to photograph. I was not looking for the biggest and best buds to photograph, just the buds that an average patient would get if they went to the collective.
  2. Use a repeatable format so people could focus on the herb, not the photographs.

The format I settled on after about a year was 3 photos per batch.

  • The first shot was of four (more or less) buds grouped around a quarter to give the idea of size. I weighed each of these buds to add to the image when I processed the photos.
  • The second photo would be the single bud shot.
  • The third shot was the close up, and by 2010 I had finally started to achieve some great shots with the close-up.
  • For awhile I took a forth shot – a jar shot from above.

I usually took about 60-80 photos of each batch to make sure I had what I needed to pick the best shot.

These photos were used as “menu photos” for the websites of the various non-profit collectives I volunteered at during this time.

Fun Fact: Each photo in this collection is 420 pixels by 420 pixels – except 1. Can you find the one odd-sized photo?

Dedication and Thanks

The Wall of Weed is dedicated to my friend Josh Howard who got me started on this photo project in June of 2008 when he was the budtender extraordinaire at CCLB. Thanks Josh!

A special thanks goes out to those who helped facilitate this project over the last few years – Eli, Nichole, Sam, Val and Harvey.

 

P.S. I know the question you have in your mind, and the answer is yes – I did sample more than 90% of the batches shown here… Happy 420!

Talking Medical Marijuana Blues

An Introduction

Since 2007 I’ve been a member of a number of different collectives in Long Beach.

I’ve volunteered, built websites, taken photos of over 300 different strains of medical marijuana, and grown to care about a number of incredible people.

I’ve also watched one collective after another crumble under the burden of legal fees, changing city regulations and other costs associated with always having to fight to stay open…

My personal history with medical marijuana goes back much further than that however, back to when I first started using marijuana in 1983.

I’ve spent a lot of years watching the medical marijuana story get to where we are today, and in this series I share my motivation for being an activist, talk about being a collective member, and about my own medical use of marijuana.

And then there’s this – RIGHT NOW, in Long Beach, our collectives are facing the prospect of having our city council ban them on Tuesday evening, and all my thinking about this has given me the talking medical marijuana blues – Enjoy!

Talking Medical Marijuana Blues – Part One

Includes the story: The Man On The Other Side Of The Wall

“On Tuesday night, November 18th, I got home from work, sat in my big chair, kicked back, and for the first time in my life smoked marijuana legally…”

Talking Medical Marijuana Blues – Part Two

I Get By With The Help Of My Friends – a brief look at my personal history with medical marijuana…

“There was a time, not very long ago, when I would often have to wait for days, sometimes a week to get my medicine. Sometimes nothing would be available from the few friends I knew, who knew a friend, who knew a friend who could get marijuana for them…”

Talking Medical Marijuana Blues – Part Three

Talking ‘Bout My Medication – looking at the different ways to use medical marijuana and how I use it…

“I wasn’t diagnosed with Bi-Polar Disorder until I was 33 years old. This revelation – that there was a medical reason, of some kind, behind my most confusing moods and actions – caused a paradigm shift that made me look back over my life through a new perspective…”

Talking Medical Marijuana Blues – Part Four

Rev. Martin Luther KingWe Shall Overcome! – talking about the situation here in Long Beach, right now – about the City Attorney’s effort to ban the collectives, and how you can help!

“Rev. Martin Luther King stated over 40 years ago in a speech that “the arc of the moral Universe is long, but it’s bent towards Justice…”

During my long, personal civil rights march towards medical marijuana justice I’ve seen that this statement is true, just as I also believe that one day ‘we shall overcome!'”

We Shall Overcome!

Talking Medical Marijuana Blues – Part Four

Rev. Martin Luther King stated over 40 years ago in a speech that “the arc of the moral Universe is long, but it’s bent towards Justice…”

During my long, personal civil rights march towards medical marijuana justice I’ve seen that this statement is true, just as I also believe that one day “we shall overcome!”

My heart can not be moved from the fact that our cause is morally right, and that we, as a people, are constantly making progress in that march towards freedom and justice.

I know we will prevail, if not today, then tomorrow…

Long Beach – Right Now – Stop The Ban

From an Americans For Safe Access email I got today:

The Long Beach City Council will consider a ban on medical cannabis patients’ associations in the city at tomorrow’s meeting. Americans for Safe Access (ASA) is calling on patients and advocates to oppose this ban. It failed to get enough votes last month… let’s be sure it loses again this week!

Take a minute right now to email members of the Long Beach City Council and tell them to vote no on a ban. Instead, City Council Members should work with stakeholders to find a better solution. ASA’s online action center makes it easy to email the City Council Members right now.

You can attend the Long Beach City Council Meeting to talk to the City Council Members in person on Tuesday, January 17, at 5:00 PM. The meeting is in Council Chambers, 333 W. Ocean Blvd., Long Beach, CA 90802. Arrive early to complete a public speaker’s card for agenda item #25 under “Unfinished Business” on Tuesday’s agenda.

Legal patients rely on patients’ cooperatives and collectives for safe access to the medicine they need to treat the symptoms of cancer, HIV/AIDS, Multiple Sclerosis, chronic pain, and other serious conditions. Closing cooperatives and collectives will harm patients, but research conducted by ASA shows that sensible regulations reduce crime and complaints while preserving patients’ access. The Long Beach City Council should work with patients and other community members to improve the existing medical cannabis ordinance, instead of banning patients’ associations outright.

Thank you for helping to defend safe access in Long Beach,

Don Duncan
California Director

Why This Is A Bad Idea

Here a few points I’d like to bring up as to why this plan to ban the collectives is such a bad idea…

Why This Is A Bad Idea – Infrastructure

Right now, in Long Beach we have an infrastructure of medical marijuana collectives that serve thousands of patients everyday. Many of these collectives, run by non-profits, have invested thousands of dollars each to build establishments that comply with the regulations the city passed several years ago.

Those regulations were badly constructed, but could be re-written to conform to the court order against them. But banning collectives outright would immediately cripple the existing infrastructure – forcing thousands of patients into the black market to get their medicine.

You could basically call banning the collectives as a “Gang Stimulus Program.” I don’t think that’s what we want to do…

Why This Is A Bad Idea – Lawsuits

The collectives have already spent thousands of dollars in legal fees fighting this effort by our City Attorney Bob Shannon. I do not doubt that if the city attempts to close down the collectives, law suits are bound to follow.

After millions of dollars have been spent throughout the city by various collectives to be in compliance with the city’s regulation, I just can’t imagine this ending quietly, without lawsuits, can you?

Why This Is A Bad Idea – Good Neighborhoods and Law Enforcement

Studies have shown that cities with well-regulated collectives have lower crime rates, better neighborhoods, and that the collectives attract customers to the surrounding businesses.

Over and over again, in spite of the fears of those that say collectives will increase crime, it has been seen that crime actually drops, and many neighboring businesses report that they are thankful for the increased security provided by the collectives as well as the extra customers. In most cases, well-regulated collectives have been considered very good neighbors.

Our police chief doesn’t seem to believe any of this and would like to put our thin police resources to work shutting down all the collectives. I really have to question the wisdom of those priorities.

When over 70% (being very conservative with that number) of the residents of the city are actually in favor of medical marijuana, I not only question the wisdom of our police chief, but also his motivation.

 How You Can Help

Stop The Ban

Call A Long Beach City Council Member

Here’s a list of their phone numbers, as well as links to the LBCA website’s council district Take Action page for each council member:

So Much Things To Say…

There is many other issues around the subject of medical marijuana I could go into, but I’m going to wrap this up here for the time being.

Thank you for reading. Much of what I’ve written is more candid then I expected to be, but this is an extremely important issue, and I hope I can do my part to help us move forward.

Jon, onehumanbeing
Long Beach, CA – January 16, 2012

Previously:

Talking Medical Marijuana Blues – Part One
Includes the story: The Man On The Other Side Of The Wall

Talking Medical Marijuana Blues – Part Two
I Get By With The Help Of My Friends – a brief look at my personal history with medical marijuana…

Talking Medical Marijuana Blues – Part Three
Talking ‘Bout My Medication – looking at the different ways to use medical marijuana and how I use it…

Talking ‘Bout My Medication

Talking Medical Marijuana Blues – Part Three

A Life Long Journey

I wasn’t diagnosed with Bi-Polar Disorder until I was 33 years old. This revelation – that there was a medical reason, of some kind, behind my most confusing moods and actions – caused a paradigm shift that made me look back over my life through a new perspective.

Over time I came to see how this disorder had been with me my whole life, starting as a little child, becoming much more severe during my teen-age years, quieter during my twenties, and then finally an emotion collapse in early 1998 that lead to my diagnosis.

Making My Body Fit

For as long as I can remember I’ve lived in a very uncomfortable body – like I don’t exactly fit in my body, or as if “me” and my body were constantly twisted against one another. As you can imagine, this feeling gets horribly annoying. This is one of the on-going, daily realities I deal with as part of this thing called Bi-Polar Spectrum Disorder.

When I think about my disorder, this is the first thing I think about. After years of feeling this way, discovering something that makes this feeling go away for awhile was like discovering gold.

Unless you’ve lived with a chronic condition you don’t know what just a few hours a day of relief can do for a person. Many times it has been, literally, a life-saver.

Without exaggerating at all I could easily say – “if there was no other thing that medical marijuana did for me, this one thing would be worth all the money I’ve ever spend, all the time I’ve used as an activist, all the time I’ve spent thinking and praying about this issue.” This one aspect of this medicine is that important to me. But that’s not all this plant does for me.

Moods, Getting Stuck, Depressions and Hypo-Manias

Unfortunately, this uncomfortableness I experience isn’t the only symptom of this disorder. There is the ever-changing moods, a roller coaster ride of thoughts, feeling, ideas, and perceptions that move in cycles from high to low, and in cycles within the cycles.

And then there’s the relentless depressions – sometimes you just get stuck in a depression that won’t lift for weeks – like being caught in a giant whirlpool that spins you around and around while dragging you further and further underwater.

During these depressions I have a hard time getting around to using marijuana, often spending the whole day being beat up by a relentless depression before my wife can convince me to take a smoke break, to have a marijuana break.

This may seem odd, but depression pretty much wipes out all your desire to do anything to fix your misery – even the one thing that has worked over and over again.

I can not even count the number of times this has rescued a day from the hard grip of depression and brought me a few hours of relief.

With hypo-manias it’s the exact opposite – I can’t smoke enough marijuana, and I can end up smoking it like cigarettes.

[Note: Hypo-manias are a lot like typical Manias, but don’t go to the same extremes – Thank God!]

I don’t need any encouragement to smoke during a mania, but it helps to keep me from being overtaken by the moment – thanks to marijuana’s well-known mellowing qualities.

But Smoking Isn’t Medicine Is It?

Many people, including our President, Barack Obama, have stated, as if it were a fact, that marijuana is not medicine because it is smoked.

This is, of course, complete nonsense.

Not only is smoking just one of the ways to get the medicine in the marijuana plant into your body, but the truth is, smoking is a very effective and, for the most part, a harmless way to deliver the drug to the body.

Not All Smoke Is The Same

Even though this seems a little elementary to state, I will any way – not all forms of smoke are the same.

When most people think of smoking it seems they think of cigarette smoking, and without thinking it completely through, automatically equate marijuana smoke with cigarette smoke.

But just as smoke from a burning toxic trash dump is different from a camp fire’s smoke, cigarette smoke is completely different from marijuana smoke.

And like I said, smoking isn’t the only way to get the medicine from the plant to your body.

The Medical Rope Trick

Try this picture. Imagine there was a special rope that contained a variety of medicines. These medicines can do great things – if you can just get them from the rope into your body. How could you go about doing this?

Smoking

One way is to burn the rope and inhale the smoke. While you do ingest a portion of the medicine in a manner that delivers it very quickly to the blood stream and to the brain, you destroy a lot of the medicine in the burning process.

There are several different ways you can smoke marijuana – smoking a joint, using a pipe or using a bong.

Smoking, using a glass pipe is my preferred way to “take my medicine.” I happen to like the feel of marijuana smoke filling up my lungs, but not everyone feels that way though…

Eating

Another way to get the medicine in your body is to eat it.

The active ingredients in the plant are alcohol and fat soluble – meaning that you can cook the plant in a fat, like butter, or in alcohol, to break it down and use it as a baking or cooking ingredient.

When you eat marijuana it is processed differently by your body than when you smoke it. It takes longer for the medicine to kick in, and the effects last a lot longer.

I’ve seen so many different kinds of edibles over the last few years, from the standard “pot brownie” to amazing gourmet wonders, from sodas to candies, from cheese puffs to pretzel sticks to extra-virgin, marijuana infused, olive oil.

Unfortunately, I don’t really like to use edibles…

Tinctures

As I stated above, marijuana is alcohol soluble, which makes it possible to make it into a tincture. Tinctures have a long medical history, because it made it possible to remove the medical properties from medicinal herbs and plants and store them until they needed to be administered, nice and conveniently by the teaspoon.

We now have glycerines that make it possible to do the same thing, but without the alcohol.

I love tinctures! I use a brand called MJ Wild Nectars. Here’s something I posted back in 2010 about Tinctures:

Edibles Without The Sugar

Not all medical marijuana patients like to smoke or vape their medicine, but prefer the effects of edibles instead.

The problem is you don’t always want to have to eat something to get that effect… or, if you’re a diabetic than your choices of edibles are severely limited because most edibles are cookies, brownies, cakes and other sweets.

Tinctures might help you get around those problems…

Tinctures

About Alcohol Based Tinctures

In medicine, a tincture is an alcoholic extract (e.g. of leaves or other plant material) or solution of a non-volatile substance; (e.g. of iodine, mercurochrome). To qualify as a tincture, the alcoholic extract is to have an ethanol percentage of at least 40-60% (sometimes a 90% pure liquid is even achieved). [1] In herbal medicine, alcoholic tinctures are often made with various concentrations of ethanol, 25% being the most common.

Source: from Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tincture

About Glycerines Based Tinctures

Glycerines have a shorter shelf life than alcohol based tinctures and while they can sit on the shelf I refrigerate mine. Vegetable glycerine has nearly no impact on blood sugar or insulin and is very low in calories (4.3 per gram). It’s sweet taste makes the tincture more palatable than the alcohol based tincture and is a suitable substitute for those concerned with alcohol consumption.

Source: AAMJ http://www.letfreedomgrow.com/recipes/glycerine_tincture.htm

Introducing MJ’s Wild Nectar Tinctures

Fruit nectar and honey blended glycerin-based tinctures from MJ’s Wild Nectar come in a wide variety of flavors – Raspberry Raw Honey, Perfect Peach Nectar, Chocolate Raw Honey, Mango Tango Nectar and many more.

Donation amount for each bottle is only $25 and provides enough medicine for a number of doses – depending on the strength you require.

Medicating a couple drops at a time…

These tinctures are high in Cannabichromene (abbreviated as CBC), which provides more body relief than the psychoactive effects caused primarily by THC.

Application is easy – just a couple of drops on the tongue and then wait 15 to 30 minutes…

Note: Like with all herbal medicines, it may take a couple applications to judge what strength is best for you.

Vaporizers

The last Medical Rope Trick I want to mention is the one that is probably the safest and most effective, and that is using a vaporizer.

You don’t have to heat marijuana to the burning point to get it to release it’s medicine. When marijuana reaches a temperature of close to 300 degrees it begins to give off vapors – a tasty mist of medicine – while not causing the plant material to burn.

There are many different kinds of vaporizers on the market to choose from, and quite frankly, I’m not well enough informed about all the different styles to give any advice on which kind to choose.

I will tell you that the best one I’ve ever had the pleasure of trying is the “Volcano” brand, but it’s around $500-$600 (and well worth it)  – it’s on my dream list.

Oh That Crazy Federal Government…

In spite of the numerous reports, studies, personal stories and other evidence, our federal Government’s official position is, in a hold-over from the Nixon era, that marijuana has no medicinal value.

This position is scientifically absurd and has been disproved numerous times, but it’s their story, and they’re sticking to it…

“But I’ve been to the mountain top, and I’ve seen the other side… I’m here to tell you that we as a people will get to that other side!”

Coming up in Part Four (on Martin Luther King Day, 2012) I’ll be discussing how you can help change things – Right Now – Today – In This Very Moment!

Next: Talking Medical Marijuana Blues – Part Four – We Shall Overcome!

Previously:

Talking Medical Marijuana Blues – Part One
Includes the story: The Man On The Other Side Of The Wall

Talking Medical Marijuana Blues – Part Two
I Get By With The Help Of My Friends – a brief look at my personal history with medical marijuana…

I Get By With The Help Of My Friends

Talking Medical Marijuana Blues – Part Two

That’s No Way To Get Your Medicine

There was a time, not very long ago, when I would often have to wait for days, sometimes a week to get my medicine. Sometimes nothing would be available from the few friends I knew, who knew a friend, who knew a friend who could get marijuana for them.

I guess that’s a pretty tolerable situation if you’re just buying marijuana for recreational use, just as a weekend kind-of-thing… but horrible for someone who really uses it as a medicine.

Can you imagine a diabetic having to do this to get insulin?

Of course, you could make your own insulin – if you know how and can afford the manufacturing process…

Grow Your Own

I wish I could grow top-grade marijuana, but I’m not very good at it. I know because I tried for a whole year.

In California our Attorney General has issued guidelines for medical marijuana to try and help clarify some of the legal issue within the state. One aspect of these guidelines was to set the personal plant limit at 6 mature plants OR 12 immature plants.

I set-up an indoor grow several years ago for only 5 plants, just to be safe and stay below the limit.

I got 5 Mr. Nice clones (Mr. Nice is a “double-indica” strain that produces short marijuana bushes – very good for an indoor grow like mine) and built a small 4’x6′ grow closet complete with medical marijuana stickers and labeling to make sure it was all identifiable as a medical grow.

I loved my little grow. I learned all kinds of stuff about nutrients and pest control, PH balance and watering schedules – I was into it. I invested over $1000 to get it all set-up and running. I was going to prove to myself that I had a green thumb and could grow my own medicine.

The first crop I grew ended up being so-so. I tried not to be too disappointed, but… I was. I thought to myself, “that was just a learning period – now I really knew what I was doing…”

Crop number two was even less impressive, and when I switched strains after the second crop and grew something else, I ended up with some pretty low to mid-grade medicine and became thoroughly disillusioned with the idea of myself as a “self-sustaining grower of my own medicine.”

I dismantled the grow closet and turned it into an art storage rack, gave all my grow equipment to the collective I belonged to at the time, and since then I happily rely on professionals to grow my medicine.

The Benefits Of Being A Collective Member

Here is an excerpt from a posting a couple of years ago on The MMJ Project:

Being in a collective creates an opportunity for them [the collective] to purchase the herb for a larger number of people, lowering the prices for everyone involved…

Of course, to start, you need some people to put up large amounts of money as capital for the collective and those who keep a eye on the business side of things, making sure all the bills are paid on time and that everything is kept financially legal – like in any business.

Other people bring different talents, skills and time to the collective and get compensated for their contributions – and often it’s comes as below cost or free herb – a benefit that helps keep the medicine bills in check – all the volunteers at AAC [the collective I belonged to at the time] are also medical patients.

Still other people are members of the collective who just come by to pick up their herb and they pay what is needed to help cover the costs…

All the different levels of involvement are important and needed.

But the most important part is that the goal is a sustainable model with ever lowering costs instead of a huge profit goal with ever higher investor returns and excessive wealth. A collective, like a co-op, is for mutual benefit of all it’s members…

source: http://mmj.onehumanbeing.com/inside/2009/04/28/updates-april-28th-2009/

Financially Speaking

So what does it cost to buy marijuana at a collective?

I started going to medical marijuana collectives in 2007, four years after I got my first medical marijuana recommendation from my Kaiser psychiatrist.

At the time I would pay around $70 for a decent “eighth” of marijuana. An eighth is 3.5 grams – and if you figure a joint is around .5 to .7 grams, then an eighth will provide about 5 or 6 joints.

Because I could use one joint for two different times of “taking my medicine”, I was paying about $6 per “dose” of medicine.

I had a friend, who had a friend, who could get me a “quarter”, or 7 grams, for around $100, but I never knew what I’d get, and how good it would be for me. The collective had over a dozen different strains to choose from, so I went there whenever I could… but it gets really expensive, very fast.

Currently my daily use can be up to about 2 grams a day – during deep depressions- and more during periods of hypo-manias, so you can imagine how expensive this medicine was…

At the collective I go to now, the same quality medicine would cost only $35-$45 for an eighth, but most of the medicine is much better than I could get just 4 years ago.

Since 2008 I’ve become a volunteer at most of the collectives I belong to, taking photographs of the different strains, helping with the website and generally contributing whatever skills I can to help offset the cost of my medicine.

The Uphill Battle And The Casualties

Unfortunately, over the last few years I’ve watched collective after collective crumble under the weight of legal fees and having to always fight to stay open.

I’ve watched people with the best hearts and purest intentions lose thousands of dollars while just trying to do the right thing for patients, ending up in debt and burned-out from all the struggle.

I’ve also learned that there are some amazingly self-serving individuals that see this industry as just another potential cash-cow for themselves. That’s pretty typical in any industry I guess.

But more often than not, the people I’ve met have been good, kind people that would just like to make a decent living and be a part of something positive at the same time. Fellow patients helping other patients.

Reality – 2012

Medical marijuana has a consistent approval of over 70% of Americans, and in Long Beach, where I live, people are even more sympathetic to medical marijuana. I rarely meet someone from Long Beach who is against either medical marijuana or the existence of collectives in the city. Most people don’t even notice them.

But, despite that reality, our city council is deciding this coming Tuesday, January 17th, on whether or not to ban all collectives in Long Beach.

I assume they would prefer that all of us patients either grow our own (you see how that worked out for me) or go back to the black market and the days of waiting for a friend of a friend to make his delivery.

Taking Action Now!

At this time I’d like to shamelessly plug the LBCA – the Long Beach Collective Association and their website because they are working very hard to Stop The Ban on Tuesday. (Disclosure: I worked on the website)

Visit their website, call one of our city council members and voice your support for medical marijuana. I happen to live in the Third District, so you can call my council member, Gary Delong.

Next: Talking Medical Marijuana Blues – Part Three – Talking ‘Bout My Medication

Previously:

Talking Medical Marijuana Blues – Part One
Includes the story: The Man On The Other Side Of The Wall

The Man On The Other Side Of The Wall

Talking Medical Marijuana Blues – Part One

Today I have a number of thoughts about medical marijuana running around my head, all of which I’ve grouped under the heading of Talking Medical Marijuana Blues in my head.

I plan on posting several articles today and tomorrow following this line of thinking…

In these postings I’d like to tell you about:
(1) my own personal reasons for being involved in this fight,
(2) the importance of collectives for regular patients,
(3) how marijuana works as a medicine for me,
(4) and the proposed ban on collectives here in Long Beach and why this is such a bad idea. (And what you can do to help!)

A Brief Look At My Personal History With Medical Marijuana

First off – Why is medical marijuana such an important issue in my life?

I use marijuana to help manage the symptoms of a chronic physical condition I’ll lived with my whole life called Bi-Polar Spectrum Disorder, which means I experience repeated, severe depressions and occasional hypo-manias. Even though this is often thought of as a “mental” illness – it’s really a “physical” illness that affects every part of me, including my thought processes.

When I first started smoking marijuana in 1983, I immediately felt relief from the extreme body discomfort I live with daily. It would still be years before I was diagnosed, but I knew that marijuana “made life feel right” to me.

Right after I started smoking marijuana the Reagan Just Say No era began and I became very politicized because of my involvement with marijuana and my rock-solid conviction that the Drug War was wrong in every way.

In 1998, because of severe bout of depression I was diagnosed with Bi-Polar disorder, and so began my long adventure with pharmaceutical drugs to treat this chronic and debilitating condition.

In 2002 I started a year and a half campaign to educate my Kaiser psychiatrist about the various way in which medical marijuana helps my condition and it’s value to me as a medicine (the only one that has work so far, by the way).

The following story was written on the weekend in November 2003 after I finally got my medical marijuana recommendation (one of the very few ever given out by a Kaiser doctor) and entered the new world of “legal” medical marijuana.

The Man On The Other Side Of The Wall

On Tuesday night, November 18th, I got home from work, sat in my big chair, kicked back, and for the first time in my life smoked marijuana legally.

Within minutes the herb was soothing the chemical hell of the mania I was enduring. I couldn’t believe it. Here I was, in my own living room, smoking pot legally. After all these years of self-medicating my disorder, finally I was legit, the doctor had given me his recommendation, no, his strong recommendation that I use medical marijuana.

I couldn’t wait to share my good news. I called some friends and shared my story of my yearlong journey with my psychiatrist and the doctor I met with today. These are people I’ve smoked marijuana with before. They know what a hassle the drug war is.

Yesterday I was one of them. This morning when I woke up I was one of them. If the Federal Government takes a disliking to me, I’m still one of them. But somehow, during the course of my conversations I realized that I had been smuggled out of the country, and now I was the man living on the other side of the wall.

One of my friends said, “Wow, that’s really great for you, Jon, I wish…” and he sounded like someone wishing for the far country. It breaks my heart. I think I can imagine what it must have felt like to be smuggled out of East Berlin into West Berlin, and knowing that people just like you should be where you are.

I didn’t realize when I walked into that doctor’s office on Tuesday morning, that it was actually a tunnel under the wall. I walked into that office from the East Berlin of the drug war and walked out in West Berlin. The city is still surrounded, but that is about to change. Freedom has to win. The wall will come down.

But for now, that wall is standing, looking as solid as ever, and I’m a confused immigrant trying to find my way around. How do I go about handling this situation? How do other people who use medical marijuana handle their situation? When and where can I smoke when I need to medicate? Do I now have a greater freedom of movement just like with the other prescription meds I take? It’s a strange new world to me, just a few days old.

So what’s it like on that side of the wall, you might be wondering? Well, when you grow up afraid of the secret police, the fear doesn’t go away over night. I still feel reflexively like I’m on the other side of the wall, I’m sure that will change with time.

I keep turning the doctors words over in my mind “I’m strongly recommending that you use medical marijuana.” When being a criminal is the last thing you want to be, those are the best words you can hear. I’ll figure out how to do my shopping in this new city soon enough, but for this moment, I’m just smelling the air of freedom.

I know the city is surrounded, and I know they have the blockade on. But I’ve been smuggled out to live, die and pray with those that breathe the air of freedom, even if it’s just for a moment.

Ich bin ein Berliner.

November 22, 2003

Next: Talking Medical Marijuana Blues – Part TwoI Get By With The Help Of My Friends

History Is On Our Side

Throughout our country’s history, we have grown as a civilization and a culture because individuals stood up to the status quo as they saw a greater light of justice, a better world than the one they lived in; The Abolitionists, Women’s Suffragettes, The Civil Rights Movement and The Gay Rights Movement, just to name a few.

These are the people who saw clearly they were on the right side of history and justice, and acted upon their convictions. For their efforts they received ridicule and insults from those who believed the status quo would always continue.

But in the great march of human history, it is those who ridiculed the ones who stood up for greater human rights and freedom who always find themselves on the losing side in the end.

Again I would mention the examples of the Abolitionists who ended slavery, the Women’s Suffragettes movement which gave us the woman’s right to vote, and the Civil Rights Movement which ended official racial segregation in our country.

These people were visionaries, warriors, and people just like us, people who have been scapegoated for too long… people who had been put down too long… people who knew they were better than the lies said about them.

This is why I firmly believe that the cause of medical marijuana, the simple desire for safe and legal access to our medicine, will one day prevail – history is on our side.

Latest Photos on The MMJ Lists

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I went up to The Treehouse Collective to take photos of a bunch of strains that had come in the day before. I was expecting 8 strains, but there were 12 different ones to photograph when I arrived. Lucky me!

It’s been a little while since I’ve visited my collective to do the photographing work I love so much, and it felt great to be participating once again in the collective process.

I was up till 3:00 or so in the morning processing the photos, and here’s the results. Read more on The MMJ Lists…

Happy 420 From UFOverdriver and onehumanbeing.com!

Here is 11 tracks with over a half-hour of marijuana culture in one delicious, fat, blunt-sized mix…

Listen To This Sound Collage

[media id=51 width=500 height=20]

Total Running Time – 33:50

 

How Long? Not Long!

As someone who’s watched the long drama of the drug war for over 27 years, I can’t help but feel the time is getting near… the end of this fiasco is in sight.

The last push to end this unjust, immoral and racist prohibition of marijuana is upon us, and I hear the voice of freedom saying “How Long? Not Long!” I hope I’m not too optimistic in saying, “This is the year we legalize it…”

This sound collage is dedicated to three medical marijuana activists – Charles “Chuck” Witt, Jack Herer and Josh Howard (the heart and soul of our medical marijuana collective – AAC, Apothecary’s Assistant’s Collective in Long Beach, California)

Who’s In This Mix?

In this mix you’ll hear expert advice on the meaning of 420, how to smoke a joint, get a lesson in marijuana etiquette, listen to some great marijuana stories along with various other entertaining sound clips…

For Track Information, Click Here: http://ufoverdriver.onehumanbeing.com/free-downloads/how-long-not-long-the-4-20-10-mix/

FREE MP3 Download

Click below to download a Zip file containing all separate 11 Tracks from this sound collage.

Unzip the files on your hard drive and add the tracks to your iPod or other portable audio device. You can also burn your own CD if you like – all tracks are high quality 320 kbs MP3s.

Enjoy, reflect and pass it on – do not Bogart this mix…

Right Click Here : How-Long_Not-Long-The-4.20.10.-Mix.zip | 72 Mb

Happy 420 from UFOverdriver and onehumanbeing.com

Enjoy!

My appreciation for my collective – AAC

I posted this last night on WeedTracker.com – a service for medical marijuana users – on the AAC Forum (you have to sign-up at WeedTracker to view the page)

Smile My appreciation for this collective…

Volunteering at AAC…

Much of my volunteer time is spent at home, working on the computer. I have menus to update, photos to process, strains to research, changes to make to the AAC website… and sometimes I don’t spend enough time at the collective.

Today I was there from opening through most of the afternoon, and all I can say is I have great appreciation for my fellow volunteers – which is all of us at the collective – because they are an awesome crew of people that do this because they believe in this cause and helping others.

But the best part of being in the shop is the members that come through – both the regulars and the new members – each one a bright spot in our day as we worked on our various projects, meetings, brainstorming sessions, and just hanging out.

We have some more trials and tribulations coming up this next week.

Signal Hill is trying to shut us down because they’re concerned about increased crime.

We are launching a grassroots campaign to help ease their concerns. Information will be posted tomorrow and this weekend on our website, and I’ll have new buttons to give away this weekend that say: LEGAL MEDICINE REDUCES CRIME

Stop by and pick one up, and find out how you can help us save the collective!

Until later, best of health,
Jon, onehumanbeing

I wanted to share it with the rest of you…

Note: AAC’s website is aacollective.com – visit a real live medical marijuana colective’s website – with pictures of herb and everything! You have my permission to visit – over 18 only – There’s nothing bad on the site, it’s just the rules – sorry…  AAC closed in the Fall of 2010

Updates to The MMJ Lists

Note: the project known as The Medical Marijuana Lists is now using a shortened version of the name – The MMJ Lists

From The MMJ Lists…

Catching Up…

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I’ve been dusting off the files, photos and various materials of The MMJ Lists to move it closer to how I envision it…

Since January I’ve been taking photos at A Soothing Remedy Collective and more recently, AAC – Apothecary’s Assistants Collective, where I also volunteer as a bud-tender, front desk clerk, joint roller, or whatever else is needed while I’m there for my shift.

Monday (April 27th) I was there for the afternoon and evening shifts… and spent most of the evening rolling joints of White Widow to give away to the members.

AAC gives you a free joint every time you stop by to get your herb… it’s part of the “member-focused” approach to the Medical Marijuana dispensary movement and an effort to slow down the collective-hopping (see below) that goes on.

(read more here…)

Also… I’ve added to the “About” page…

About The MMJ Lists

In June of 2008 I started taking photos and posting menus on WeedTracker.com for a local, Long Beach collective called CCLB, Canna Collective Long Beach.

The whole thing started as a fluke – I just wanted CCLB to keep up with their menu posting because gas prices were soaring and online people wanted to know what was available before they made the long drive – sometimes coming all the way from San Diego – a nearly 300 mile round trip.

My round trip to CCLB was only 10 miles, so during June I started my volunteer gig as the Menu Guy for CCLB. Over the July 4th weekend, through a series of events I’ve written about elsewhere, I officially became an unpaid, community volunteer at CCLB and through October of that year I photographed nearly 80 different strains, some of them several times.

It was almost an overwhelming situation, and it started to seem like I spent all of my time photographing, preparing the photos, posting them and then posting the menu… and by the beginning of November I had to halt the project as it was going, and think about how to present the photographs. (The price of gas had fallen too, so my original reason for posting menus had ended.)

(read more here…)

The link to The MMJ Project is: http://mmj.onehumanbeing.com/

Making Buttons for the Collective

Jon, onehumanbeing making buttons...Spending Time At The Collective

Today was my first day behind the counter at AAC – Apothecary’s Assistants Collective – as a volunteer staff member. Before I left home this morning I made a bunch of buttons to bring in with me.

That’s me in the little movie pressing the buttons with my button machine. Tania took the photos and suggested the little movie – nice idea 🙂 You can click on the moving image to see a larger version…

I’ll be volunteering there several times a week and learning about how a Collective works, from a budtender’s view (note: a “Budtender” is the person who hands the herb and helps members select their medicine) – a different way of seeing my project, and it has already given me some things to think about for The MMJ Project.

You can follow my project about medical marijuana at The MMJ Project – my ongoing art project about this moment in time and the unique world of medical marijuana in Southern California.

As a user of marijuana for 26 years, and a long time legal patient under Prop 215, I’ve become a solid believer in the use of marijuana as a legitimate medicine.

I have an acquaintance through the collective who is a terminally ill patient. She is still alive 4 years longer than her doctor gave her because of the herb – just one of many stories of health and wellness I’ve heard over the years.

Medical Marijuana Is No Laughing Matter

People giggle about marijuana, but for us patients that have found a safe and easy solution to some of our health issues this is no laughing matter…

Unfortunately for us we have to wait for our political leaders to grow-up and stop treating this with a snicker and wink…

And while they giggle more people get put through the legal grinder for making choices that don’t concern anyone but that person and their doctor.

There seems to be something very immoral and irresponsible for leaders like Obama to make a joke about other’s health concerns. I’m still saddened by Obama’s response and I’m starting to view his agenda with suspicion… just another politician.

Meanwhile… back to the Collective

I took a bunch of photos of AAC while I was there today, and I’ll post those over on The MMJ Project later on.

Have a great week, and remember; 420 –  The International Marijuana Day – is next Monday – April 20, 2009!

I Stand For Change | MMJ Rally in LA

People at the rally

Tania and I went to the rally at the Federal Court Building in downtown Los Angeles for Charles C. Lynch and for the cause of Medical Marijuana this afternoon.

I had emailed Charles to let him know we going to be there and bringing buttons to give away. The official name for the rally was “Hope for Change” – but I finished hoping on Nov. 5th – Now I’m standing up, as are many others, so we get real change that helps us as patients.

I think our fear and silence has let this nonsense go on for too long. It’s true that some of us will take a hit for standing up, but we’ll all lose if no one stands up. I really believe in medical marijuana, I really believe that marijuana is a gift from God.

I also feel like I have nothing more to say that can add to the debate over marijuana use. Over the last 26 years I’ve heard just about every argument on both sides, and frankly, I’m just tired of it… The truth has been said over and over and ignorance still rules the day.

Here’s some photos that Tania took today at the rally…

Today’s Rally:

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The injustice is that Charles C. Lynch, a good community business man, is having to go through this whole stupid trial and everything else just because he choose to be compassionate, stepped forward and helped provided relief for numerous MMJ patients in his area.

But the local sheriff who does not like marijuana being legal for people with chronic illnesses, and apparently believes his opinion matters more than the law and the state constitution he’s sworn to uphold, so he called the DEA in to try and ruin this man’s life…

Here’s a bit from the MPP’s newsletter about Charles’ case:

Charles Lynch operated a medical marijuana dispensing collective in Morro Bay, Central Coast Compassionate Caregivers, that helped more than 2,000 seriously ill patients obtain their medicine in a legal, clean, and safe environment. In March 2007, the facility was raided, and federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agents later arrested and charged Charles with five counts of marijuana-related federal crimes.

Charles not only complied with California’s long-standing medical marijuana laws, he was operating under a license issued by the City of Morro Bay and was a well-respected member of the local community. Nevertheless, Charles was treated like a common criminal under draconian federal marijuana laws, and the county sheriff even cooperated with the subversion of state law.

The jury in Charles’ trial was not allowed to hear any information relating to medical marijuana and his compliance with state law. Consequently, on August 5, 2008, Charles was found guilty on all counts.

While President Obama has pledged to end the raids on state-legal medical marijuana providers, that does little to help Charles. He is one several providers still facing federal charges or sentencing from raids during the Bush administration. His sentencing is set for March 23, and if the judge doesn’t show discretion because of Charles’ status under state law he could end up spending the rest of his life in prison.

I made a bunch of buttons over the weekend for the rally that look like this…

buttons_i-stand-for-change

I quickly gave away all 120-150 buttons and got to walk around, talk to a few folks… I haven’t been feeling so great (the flu – almost over it now…) so we cut out after a bit. I just wanted everyone to have a souvenir of a moment, a moment when we know we stood for this movement, we stood for Charles, stood for justice, we stood for change…

For those that got a button today – Wear it proudly, proud that you stood up, proud that you’re part of the change, and not just talking about it…and I hope it brings a smile to your face when you a digging through a box of old stuff 20 years from now and find this little button and you remember those crazy days back when marijuana was illegal…

A movement isn’t just a one day event, but a series of steps to reach a goal.

Help Charles C. Lynch reach the goal of staying out of prison and getting back to his life.

Visit his website: (http://www.friendsofccl.com/) and send him a message of support today. On his site are listed a number of ways you can help. On March 23rd he gets sentenced…

Double Rainbow

Double Rainbow Detail - Click to see full Image of the Moment

Please note: I am publishing this post about a week [2-25-2009] after I first wrote it. See the note at the end of the post for more details…

Ripples After The Splash

The last 36 hours have been very difficult. (the story gets better, really…)

I’ve experienced this before, the relapse after a big depression, just as you’re heading out of the whirlpool. It’s like ripples from a big splash in a pond.

Peeved

That’s the word I settled on to describe how I feel today. I’m angry, bothered and vexed – but mostly it’s wrestling with God, trying to get through my confusion of the moment…

So today, I’m not the best to be around – I have a short temper, and I feel like I have an agenda in every conversation… most of which have been with Tania who had the day off today and got to enjoy my dark windstorms and blowing clouds…

I don’t get this way very often, and haven’t in a long time, so it’s really throwing me around this time, and tripping up my footing.

I believe in a God of big promises, and today I need to see some of those show up… like I said – I have been peeved today. Maybe it’s something I ate, my various medications – I don’t know…

A note to those who don’t understand the work of faith: faith is not blind, it’s a force that strips away all your illusions and makes you face the real problems, like food on the table and clothes to wear. To learn about faith that works you have to ask questions, it’s fear and doubt that keeps you one quiet.

I found out from Tania as I was muttering about in my peeved ramblings this morning, that she was dealing with the same kind of thoughts, and she had been praying about the same things that were bothering me.

Praying – a much better response. That’s how we’ve moved from questions to answers in the past – we prayed – and it has worked every time so far…

We both agreed that we needed to see some of those promises, and now was a really good time, really… and we prayed.

Rainbows

Later this afternoon I drove over to A Soothing Remedy Collective, and saw my new friend Dr. Shillstein (that’s his weedtracker username), the guy who runs the place.

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I usually enjoy visiting the Dr. but today I was just a dark cloud coming to visit. I had gone there just to drop off some MMJ (Medical Marijuana) Week buttons for them to give away,  but I also picked up a gram of Mango OG Kush (the Dr. recommended it for my situation – a very good choice) and left…

After I got home and had some of my new herb (still feeling peeved, but in a nice, kush-induced, fuzzy kind-of-way) I glanced out the front window and saw the most beautiful rainbow I’ve ever seen (and no, the rainbow wasn’t because of the herb).

I called Tania over to see, and we both ran downstairs to try and get a photo of this amazing sight.

I’m very serious when I say I’ve never seen such a brilliant, complete, colorful double rainbow. The composite photo above does not do it justice.

Now I realize that there are “rainbows” and there are “Rainbows: The Amazing Version” – This was the latter…

I have never seen one such as this, but I imagine that the one Noah saw must have been like this, because you look up it and go, “Wow…” – you just have to.

You might or might not know that the rainbow Noah saw was a sign to him from God that represented God’s promises to him, God’s covenant with Noah, and all mankind after him. I feel like today, God answered my storms with a rainbow…

An after note: 11:30 pm – I’m still feeling a bit peeved – I hope this feeling goes away when this current depression ripple passes because I do not like feeling this way…

Note from about a week later – Feb 25, 2009

I didn’t publish this post on the day I wrote it because in it’s draft form it was such an incomplete picture of what was going on in our life, the much bigger picture where this is just one footstep of faith leading to the next – but for those that don’t walk this way it could cause confusion.

My life is about fanning the spark of faith in the people I meet, and I don’t want to do anything to blow out that spark…

This double rainbow was followed up by a show the next day on the Science Channel about Uncertainty and Quantum Physics. When I need spiritual clarity, I turn to Quantum Physics – it gives me great perspective.

All the peeved feelings melted away after that night, and my questions have started to return to me as answers that help me see the world with more love, hope and purpose…

And I have a new material for my work now – Uncertainty. More about that coming up soon…

So now, over a week later, I’m starting to understand in an even-more-amazed-way the beauty of that rainbow, on that particular day, and that moment. It’s a gift that keeps on giving. My faith is now stronger and has a larger vision…