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The Real Reason Football Players Aren't Supposed to Use Marijuana

This Sports Illustrated piece on the growing prevalence of marijuana use among NFL prospects is such a carnival of mind-bending idiocy that I wonder if I'll ever enjoy the sport quite as much after having read it. The whole thing is just a series of anonymous quotes from NFL coaches and executives acting like marijuana is some sort of mysterious plague gripping professional sports. Yet for all the deep concern about it, you won't find any attempt at explaining why anyone even gives a sh*t about this to begin with.

So what if an athlete has a secret history of getting super baked. Does he have a secret history of sucking at football? That would be worth looking into. But the more I think about it, the more convinced I am that the real story behind all this nonsense is actually rather simple and far too embarrassing to acknowledge.

I seriously doubt any of this has anything to do with concerns about the impact of marijuana use on an athlete's performance. The sport of football has a rich history of dominant players known for indulging in cannabis and it would be laugh-out-loud moronic to suggest that the stuff was gonna screw up anybody's stats. Nobody even bothers to argue that, because it's dumb and everyone knows it's dumb.

The real issue is that you have to worry about these guys failing drug tests or getting arrested and then having to deal with seismic media attention and pissed off corporate sponsors. It's all about money, but you can't say that without revealing the mindlessness of marijuana policy in general, which the NFL isn't about to weigh into. Instead, we're stuck with marijuana-in-sports coverage that remains ubiquitous, yet utterly devoid of substance.

Meanwhile, as SAFER points out, the NFL is married to the alcohol industry and couldn't possibly do more to shove beer in everyone's face at every conceivable opportunity. It is unquestionably the best example that exists of an organization which simultaneously glorifies and promotes alcohol, while treating marijuana use as an intolerable vice.

I dare anyone to consume on a frequent basis all the nutritious food and beverages the NFL wishes to sell to you, and once you're sufficiently fat and drunk, you can then make it your business to lecture Rookie of the Year Percy Harvin about whether treating his migraine headaches with marijuana is a responsible choice.

It's Official! California Marijuana Legalization Initiative Qualifies for the November Ballot

Californians will be voting on whether to legalize marijuana in November. The California Secretary of State's office Wednesday certified the Regulate, Control and Tax Cannabis Act of 2010 initiative as having handed in enough valid voters' signatures to qualify for the November ballot. The initiative is sponsored by Oaksterdam medical marijuana entrepreneur Richard Lee and would legalize the possession of up to an ounce of marijuana by adults and allow for personal grows of up to 25 square feet. It also provides for the taxed and regulated sale of marijuana by local option, meaning counties and municipalities could opt out of legalized marijuana sales. Some 433,000 valid signatures were required to make the ballot; the initiative campaign had gathered some 690,000. On Tuesday, state officials had certified 415,000 signatures as valid, but that didn't include signatures from Los Angeles County. Initiative supporters there Wednesday handed in more than 140,000 signatures. With an overall signature validity rate of around 80%, that as much as ensured that the measure would make the ballot. Late Wednesday afternoon, California Secretary of State's office made it official. Its web page listing Qualified Ballot Measures now includes the marijuana legalization under initiative approved for the November ballot. The 104,000 valid signatures from Los Angeles County put it well over the top. "This is a watershed moment in the decades-long struggle to end marijuana prohibition in this country," said Stephen Gutwillig, California director of the Drug Policy Alliance. "Banning marijuana outright has been a disaster, fueling a massive, increasingly brutal underground economy, wasting billions in scarce law enforcement resources, and making criminals of countless law-abiding citizens. Elected officials haven’t stopped these punitive, profligate policies. Now voters can bring the reality check of sensible marijuana regulation to California." "If passed, this initiative would offer a welcome change to California’s miserable status quo marijuana policy," said Aaron Smith, California policy director for the Marijuana Policy Project, which recently endorsed the initiative. "Our current marijuana laws are failing California. Year after year, prohibition forces police to spend time chasing down non-violent marijuana offenders while tens of thousands of violent crimes go unsolved – all while marijuana use and availability remain unchanged." Proponents of the measure will emphasize the fiscal impact of taxing marijuana—the state Board of Equalization has estimated that it legalization could generate $1.3 billion in tax revenues a year—as well as the impact of regulation could have on reducing teen access to the weed. They can also point out that by now, California has lived with a form of regulated marijuana distribution—the medical marijuana dispensary system—for years and the sky hasn't fallen. Opponents, which will largely consist of law enforcement lobbying groups, community anti-drug organizations, and elements of the African-American religious community, will argue that marijuana is a dangerous drug, and that crime and drugged driving will increase. But if opponents want to play the cop card, initiative organizers have some cards of their own. In a press release Wednesday evening, they had several former law enforcement figures lined up in support of taxation and regulation. "As a retired Orange County Judge, I've been on the front lines of the drug war for three decades, and I know from experience that the current approach is simply not working," said Retired Superior Court Judge James Gray. "Controlling marijuana with regulations similar to those currently in place for alcohol will put street drug dealers and organized crime out of business." "The Control and Tax Initiative is a welcome change for law enforcement in California," said Kyle Kazan, a retired Torrance Police officer. "It will allow police to get back to work fighting violent crime." Jeffrey Studdard, a former Los Angeles Deputy Sheriff, emphasized the significant controls created by the Control and Tax Initiative to safely and responsibly regulate cannabis. "The initiative will toughen penalties for providing marijuana to minors, ban possession at schools, and prohibit public consumption," Studdard said. The campaign should be a nail-biter. Legalization polled 56% in an April Field poll, and initiative organizers say their own private research is showing similar results. But the conventional wisdom among initiative watchers is that polling needs to be above 60% at the beginning of the campaign, before attacks on specific aspects of any given initiative begin to erode support. But despite the misgivings of some movement allies, who cringe at the thought of defeat in California, this year's legalization vote is now a reality. "California led the way on medical marijuana with Prop 215 in 1996,” said Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance. "Now it’s time again for California to lead the way in ending the follies of marijuana prohibition in favor of a responsible policy of tax and regulation."
Location: 
Los Angeles, CA
United States

The "Fake Marijuana" Situation is Getting Confusing

As efforts to ban fake marijuana products continue to escalate, I predict we'll be seeing a lot of this sort of thing:
 
My understanding is that JWH-018 is the active ingredient in question here, but is that the end of the story? Maybe there are 9 other similar compounds that will work as well. Maybe there are 100. I'm not a scientist, but I'm starting to get the impression that the whole synthetic marijuana substitution phenomenon is just getting started. Banning a single ingredient will not only fail for all the reasons that prohibition always fails, but it might not even succeed in making fake pot illegal. Don't be surprised to see the DEA intervene at some point wielding the broad Federal Analogue Act, but you can't possibly ban every random concoction someone might stuff in a bong.

Science is smarter than prohibition, so the longer we have stupid rules about what people are and are not allowed to ingest for their own amusement, the more loopholes will emerge to circumvent and trivialize those rules.

New Jersey MS Patient Sent to Prison for Five Years for Growing His Medicine

New Jersey Multiple Sclerosis patient John Ray Wilson was sentenced last Friday to five years in prison for growing marijuana plants to ease his symptoms. Wilson, whose case we profiled in December, originally faced up to 20 years in prison, but a jury failed to convict him of the most serious, maintaining a habitation where marijuana is manufactured. He was convicted of manufacturing marijuana (17 plants) and possession of psychedelic mushrooms. Wilson was convicted in December, before New Jersey recognized medical marijuana. Ironically, it became the 14th state to do so between the time Wilson was convicted and his sentencing. But the new New Jersey law would not have protected Wilson's marijuana growing because it only allows for patients to obtain it at state-monitored dispensaries. State Superior Court Judge Robert Reed banned any references to Wilson's medical condition during his trial, finding that personal use was not a defense and that New Jersey had no law protecting medical marijuana use. Wilson was ultimately able to make a brief, one-sentence mention of his medical reasons for growing marijuana, but that wasn't enough to sway the jury. Wilson's attorney, James Wronko, told the Associated Press that the outcome might have been different had the jury been allowed to hear more about his illness. "We're disappointed that he's in state prison for smoking marijuana to treat his multiple sclerosis," Wronko . "I think anytime someone using marijuana for their own medical use goes to state prison, it's clearly a harsh sentence." Wilson's case became a cause célèbre for regional medical marijuana advocates, and also drew attention from the state legislature. Two state senators, Nicholas Scutari, sponsor of the medical marijuana bill, and Ray Lesniak, called in October for Gov. Jon Corzine (D) to pardon Wilson. But Corzine punted, saying he preferred to wait until after Wilson's trial had finished. Now, Wilson has been sentenced to prison, Corzine's term has ended, and new Republican Gov. Chris Christie is not nearly as medical marijuana-friendly. Wronko said an appeal of the sentence was in the works.
Location: 
NJ
United States

Press Release: Colorado Health Department Lobbies Against Access to Medical Marijuana For Veterans

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                                                                 

MARCH 19, 2010

Colorado Health Department Lobbies Against Access to Medical Marijuana For Veterans

CDPHE rushes to legislature to oppose compassionate amendment for Colorado veterans; ignores example set in New Mexico

CONTACT: Steve Fox, MPP director of state campaigns …………… 202-905-2042 or 202-905-2030

DENVER, COLORADO — On Monday, March 22, the Colorado House Judiciary Committee will consider HB 1284, a bill to regulate the distribution of medical marijuana in the state. Rep. Sal Pace will offer an amendment to allow individuals diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder to have access to medical marijuana, if they have a recommendation from a psychiatrist. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment is actively lobbying members of the legislature to oppose this amendment.

         The actions of the Colorado Health Department stand in stark contrast to the thoughtful process followed by its counterpart in New Mexico, which added PTSD to the list of qualifying conditions for medical marijuana patients in that state in February 2009. The New Mexico Department of Health’s decision followed a recommendation of approval from an advisory board of eight medical practitioners, who examined the evidence and determined that the use of marijuana by patients with PTSD could be a beneficial treatment option, if used in accordance with a recommendation from a psychiatrist.

         “We are frankly disgusted by the actions of the Colorado Health Department,” said Steve Fox, director of state campaigns for the Marijuana Policy Project. “After a review of the evidence, health professionals in New Mexico agreed that medical marijuana could be beneficial for patients suffering with PTSD. By contrast, health officials in Colorado are attempting to deny veterans and other individuals with PTSD a legitimate treatment alternative based on nothing more than fear mongering and misinformation. We demand that officials in the department publicly release the studies they have reviewed to determine that the risks of using marijuana for PTSD patients outweigh the potential benefits.

         “We are further outraged by reports that Colorado Health Department officials are telling state legislators that allowing psychiatrists to recommend medical marijuana to PTSD patients is like giving alcohol to an alcoholic,” Fox continued. “The sad irony is that many PTSD patients have serious alcohol problems that worsen their overall state of health. As we have seen in New Mexico, the psychiatrist-advised use of medical marijuana can actually help PTSD patients reduce their alcohol intake, dramatically increasing their quality of life. Moreover, it is widely known that both alcohol and many of the pharmaceutical drugs given to PTSD patients increase the risk of suicide. Marijuana use does not. The Department officials’ callous disregard of this fact alone should make them ashamed of their actions.”

         With more than 124,000 members and supporters nationwide, the Marijuana Policy Project is the largest marijuana policy reform organization in the United States. For more information, please visit www.mpp.org.

####

Location: 
CO
United States

Marijuana: Rhode Island Legislative Commission Endorses Decriminalization

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prohibitionist RI governor Donald Carcieri
A special Rhode Island legislative commission created to review and assess marijuana policy has endorsed decriminalizing the possession of up to an ounce of marijuana. The decision came Tuesday, when the Special Senate Panel on Marijuana Prohibition endorsed a report calling for decriminalization.

Led by Sen. Joshua Miller (D-Cranston), the panel concluded in the report that "marijuana law reform" could save the state valuable funds by ending "costly arrests and incarcerations due to simple possession of marijuana." Estimates of the savings ranged from $232,000 to $12.7 million.

Under current Rhode Island law, possession of less than an ounce is a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail and a $500 fine. Although few people are actually jailed for simple possession in Rhode Island, some 399 have been since 2007, and have served an average of 3 1/2 months. Also, the consequences of even a misdemeanor criminal conviction can have an adverse impact on people for years.

The panel voted to approve the proposal by a vote of 11-2. The no votes came from law enforcement representatives, who warned that marijuana was "dangerous."

The report and its recommendations now go before the full Senate.

Prohibition: Illinois Bill to Ban Marijuana Blunt Wraps Passes State Senate

A bill that would define blunt wraps -- tobacco leaves or processed tobacco designed to be wrapped around marijuana and smoked -- as drug paraphernalia was approved by the Illinois Senate Monday. A companion measure, HB 6234, has already passed the House Judiciary II Committee and awaits a floor vote. In a sign of momentum for the bills, the House bill picked up five more cosponsors Tuesday.

Under the measure passed by the Senate, SB 3734, the following language is added to the state's statute defining drug paraphernalia: "Individual tobacco wrappers, known as wraps, blunt wraps, or roll your own cigar wraps, whether in the form of a tobacco leaf, sheet, or tube, that consists in whole or in part of reconstituted leaf or flavored tobacco leaf; however, the term 'wrap,' 'blunt wrap,' or 'roll your own cigar wrap,' as used in this Section, does not include a tobacco leaf wrap that is used in the manufacturing of a cigar intended for retail sale."

Blunt wraps come plain or in flavors, such as cherry or peach, and are widely sold in gas stations, liquor stores, and convenience stores. Because of their low cost, easy availability to urban youth, and "lack of legitimate uses," they have been targeted by lawmakers. The push against blunt wraps is being led by cops and clergy.

"Having this product in mainstream stores is like having drug pushers in our neighborhoods," Bishop Larry Trotter, the pastor at Sweet Holy Spirit Church, said Sunday. "Blunt wraps are an indefensible product marketed to children and entirely identified with illegal drug use."

Trotter is vowing to circulate petitions in 50 Cook County churches to gin up support for the legislation. He also said he plans to lead a group of ministers and community activists to Springfield to urge passage of the bills.

Trotter is also aiming at local merchants, including the liquor store across the street from his church. "If it is not removed from the store, then we will shut it down," he threatened during the Sunday church service.

Mike Mohad, the manager of the liquor store, said he would quit selling blunt wraps if asked by the church, but that it wouldn't make much difference. "We don't have (any) problems getting along with the community," Mohad said. "If I can't sell it, people will go down the street to a different store. It's popular in Chicago."

Another local businessman, Joe Patel, manager of a gas station said he had no issues with selling blunt wraps. "It's a profitable item and in this economy every penny counts," said Joe Patel, who manages a Mobil gas station on Garfield Blvd. "We sell cigars to be smoked as sold. How people use it when they get home I have no control over."

But if the bishop, the cops, and the lawmakers have their way, blunt wraps will become one item Patel will no longer be able to sell.

Medical Marijuana: South Dakota Initiative Certified, Will Be on the November Ballot

The South Dakota Secretary of State's office Monday certified an initiative legalizing medical marijuana for the November ballot. The initiative, the South Dakota Safe Access Act, is sponsored by the South Dakota Coalition for Compassion, a statewide group of doctors, patients, law enforcement officials, and concerned citizens. It is being backed by the Marijuana Policy Project.

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South Dakota badlands
South Dakota has the dubious distinction of being the only state where voters rejected an initiative to allow the use of medical marijuana. Amidst concerted opposition from South Dakota law enforcement and the Bush administration Office of National Drug Control Policy, which sent officials to the state to campaign against the measure, voters defeated a 2006 initiative by a margin of 52% to 48%.

This year's initiative would allow qualified patients to possess up to an ounce of usable marijuana and would allow patients or their caregiver to grow up to six plants. Patients would register with the state and obtain a state registry ID card upon getting a physician's approval to use marijuana for conditions including some cancers, glaucoma, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer's disease, and seizures, as well as specific disabilities, including wasting syndrome, chronic pain, severe nausea, and seizures.

"The coalition could not be more proud of this truly grassroots accomplishment," said Emmit Reistroffer, coalition communications director, in a statement. The group collected 32,000 signatures, nearly double the number of valid signatures needed. "Our members are united behind protecting the sick and the dying, and we now aim to educate the public about the various medical applications for cannabis before the election this November."

"We are excited that South Dakota voters will have another opportunity to make the medical use of marijuana legal for patients in the state," said Steve Fox, director of state campaigns for the Marijuana Policy Project. "Given the increasing level of support for medical marijuana across the country over the past few years, we are fully confident that a solid majority of voters in the state will support patients' rights this November."

Europe: Hash Crackdown in Copenhagen's Christiania Didn't Work

In a classic example of the unintended consequences of prohibitionist drug policies, the Copenhagen Post reported Thursday that six years after the conservative Danish government began its crackdown on Christiania's famous Pusher Street, the hash trade not only still exists, but has spread throughout Copenhagen and has gotten harder-edged.

http://stopthedrugwar.org/files/christiania-entrance.jpg
entrance to Christiania, Copenhagen (courtesy Wikimedia)
Christiania is a neighborhood in Copenhagen that sits on the grounds of a former military base taken over by young radicals back in the 1970s. Over the decades, Christiania has fought to maintain its autonomy and self-rule, and has remained a bastion of counterculture values. But it is under unceasing assault by the Danish government. Part of that assault has been the crackdown on Pusher Street, where soft drug sales were long tolerated by the Christiania community, and where, according to the Post, they still take place, albeit in a more subterranean fashion.

"If the goal was to stop the trafficking of hashish in Christiania, then it has absolutely not succeeded," Peter Ibsen, president of the Police Officers Federation, told MetroXpress newspaper. "I think the best thing you can say is that the booths are gone in Pusher Street. But hash is still being sold as much as it ever was."

"Anybody can see that Pusher Street is alive and functioning," confirmed Kirsten Larsen, a Christiania resident and spokesperson. "I'd even say the trade is growing because there may not be enough funding available for the same massive police actions that began in 2004," she said.

But the atmosphere has changed for the worse, Larsen said. "Eyes nervously follow you around now," she said. "But that's because the police raids have left only the hardest criminals controlling the trade. And that inevitably means that we have to fight internally to keep the harder drugs out of Christiania."

Police concede that not only has their crackdown not stopped hash sales, it has benefited the hardest dealers, some with gang connections. Gang violence related to the trade in prohibited drugs has been on the increase.

While the conservative government continues to support the crackdown, politicians on the left said that things were better when the police left Christiania alone. There needs to be a new approach they said.

"So far a ban and a massive police operation have not produced any results," said Karina Lorentzen, legal spokeswoman for the Socialist People's Party. "We simply have to study the situation more thoroughly so we can get some better ideas of how we deal with marijuana trafficking and the increasing misuse of hash."

The primary accomplishment of the crackdown has been to spread the hash trade throughout Copenhagen, Lorentzen added. She has proposed the government create a hash commission to study the issue.

Feature: SSDP Does San Francisco -- The 11th Annual National Conference

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plenary session
Some 500 student drug policy reform activists flooded into San Francisco last weekend for the 11th annual Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP) national conference, "This is Your Brain on Drug Policy Reform." In a sign of growing momentum for drug reform, this was the largest SSDP conference yet.

There couldn't have been a more inviting place for it. The San Francisco Bay area is the epicenter of marijuana and medical marijuana activism, as well as being a counterculture mecca for decades. The students did their best to take advantage of the advantageous locale.

Friday was mainly a day of tourism and networking for the student activists from around the country and the planet. Hundreds of them signed up to head across San Francisco Bay to tour Oaksterdam University and Oakland's Oaksterdam neighborhood downtown. Many then headed to the nearby Harborside Health Center, a state of the art medical marijuana dispensary. The day of medical marijuana tourism gave students at up-close look at medical marijuana as it should be done -- and as it could be done in their home states.

On Saturday, it was just like being back at college as students spent the day in numerous panels around the theme "Drug War Education." Acting SSDP executive director Matt Palevsky opened the session with optimism, challenging the students to seize the day.

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El Paso city councilman Beto O'Rourke, Mexico session
"This is our biggest conference to date," he said. "Now we have as many chapters in California as we do in the Northeast" where the group had its genesis, he noted. "We're really a national organization now, more than 200 chapters large. The power we feel in this room is the power of a movement. And for the first time since SSDP was founded, we can really feel the wind at our backs," he said to loud applause.

Palevsky was followed by NORML policy analyst Paul Armentano, who urged students to get out and talk to people one-to-one about ending pot prohibition. "Talk to family, friends, faculties, neighbors, school advisors, people who know you, and with whom you have credibility," he advised. "Then start talking to people who can shape public opinion, and then become an opinion-shaper yourself. Become the editor of your newspaper, run for the student council, run for the city council. We want this failed drug policy to end before you fuck over another generation of young people like you fucked over our generation," Armentano said to loud applause, presumably aiming his latter remarks at prohibitionist politicians and opinion-makers.

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exhibitor hallway
Linking with the previous day's medical marijuana tourism, one of the Saturday panels was on what the medical marijuana movement and business looks like. With panelists including Steve DeAngelo of Harborside Health Center, Robert Jacob of Sebastopol's Peace in Medicine, Debby Goldsberry of the Berkeley Patients Group, and Aundre Speciale of the Cannabis Buyers Club of Berkeley, students got a well-informed earful. The panel was also a sign of an evolving symbiotic relationship between the medical marijuana movement and SSDP. The medical marijuana community's support for SSDP was evident by its heavy participation in the conference -- both in panels and at the vendors' booths -- and it has, in turn, become a career opportunity for more than one former SSDPer.

One of the most popular panels of the day Saturday was the one on psychedelics. It was headlined by Rick Doblin, head of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), who described the group's work researching the therapeutic uses of ecstasy (MDMA) and fighting for the ability of researchers to grow their own marijuana. It gave attendees a good enough sense of the group's work to ensure that at least some of them will show up for MAPS' upcoming conference Psychedelic Research in the 21st Century, set for April 15 -18 just down the road from San Francisco in San Jose.

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students and others wish Ethan Nadelmann a happy birthday -- also on panel: Steph Shere (ASA), Paul Armentano (NORML), Aaron Smith (MPP)
Saturday also saw panels on the Mexican drug war, what legalization could look like when it happens, and on the drug war's impact on women, communities of color, and the poor. For the SSDP activists, many of whom were attending their first national conference, Saturday was a definite eye-opener.

"It's really been exciting," said Melissa Beadle, attending her first conference as head of a brand new SSDP chapter at South Dakota State University in Brookings. "I've been learning so much."

One of the highlights of the day was the session-closing presentation by California Assemblyman Tom Ammiano (D-SF), the author of California's marijuana legalization bill. Ammiano is not just a serious guy, he's a seriously funny guy, and his comedic talent was on full display Saturday afternoon. Mixing earthy language and humor, the openly gay Ammiano sketched the intertwined history of gay activism, the AIDS crisis, and medical marijuana in the Bay Area, and he didn't let party loyalty get in the way of telling it like it was.

"Bill Clinton was shit on this issue," he said. "He put out that edict that doctor's couldn't prescribe it," referring to the Clinton administration's effort to try to intimidate doctors by threatening to jerk their DEA licenses to prescribe drugs if they recommended medical marijuana to patients. "That's not an adult way to deal with an issue, and it's certainly not a statesman-like way." The would-be censors lost in the Supreme Court.

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Cliff Thornton of the Hartford, CT, based group Efficacy wants inner-city communities who have become dependent on the illicit economy created by drug prohibition to be indemnified from the economic effects of the job losses that will accompany legalization.
Ammiano was a bit kinder to the current White House occupant. "In terms of Obama," he said, "the messaging is good, but it's sometimes contradictory. Still, history isn't always linear. But I'm here to tell you this movement has never been stronger; we've never been on the cusp in such a pronounced way."

Mentioning the Tax and Regulate Cannabis 2010 initiative that will in all likelihood be on the California ballot in November, Ammiano said he was working closely with initiative organizers and that their efforts were not competitive, but complementary. He also unleashed a bit of pot humor, noting that 57 people had signed initiative petitions twice.

"You can imagine what they were doing just before that," he said before switching into a stoner voice. "Dude, let me sign this again to make sure it passes," he role-played to gales of laughter.

Regarding his bill's prospects in Sacramento, the dapper and diminutive Ammiano reported that there is a lot of sympathy, even among conservatives, but many are still afraid to say so out loud or to vote yes for the record. "If we voted in the capitol hallways, we'd be home free," he said, before engaging in a replay of dialogues he's had with other lawmakers.

"They come up to me and say, 'Man, I used to smoke that shit in college, let's tax the hell out of it.' And I'd say, 'Are you with me then?' and they'd say, 'Oh, no, man, I can't do that.'"

Ammiano also mentioned Barney Frank's federal decriminalization bill. "I guess it's a queer thing," he said, mincing mightily and pretending to swoon over Frank.

"You guys ought to get married," someone yelled from the audience to more laughter.

And then he was gone, leaving an appreciative audience reinvigorated and still laughing.

On Saturday night, SSDP announced new board members and honored well-performing chapters, then celebrated by rocking out to live music from Panda Conspiracy and Roots of Creation. On Sunday, it was up early despite the shift to Daylight Savings Time for a day of serious activist how-to panels. Then on Monday, it was back home to put the information and lessons learned to work on campuses across the country. Students departed San Francisco feeling like they were riding the crest of a reform wave, and maybe, just maybe, they were right. We'll have to check back next year.

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