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