Though supported by more than 3.2 million Californians, Proposition 19 went down in defeat. The measure, which would have legalized and taxed marijuana in amounts up to an ounce, fell 53.7 percent to 46.7 percent (with 93.4 percent of precincts reporting), and exit polls cited by the Los Angeles Times indicated consistent opposition regardless of race or sex.
In an interesting twist, measures to tax marijuana locally in La Puente, Sacramento, Rancho Cordova and San Jose succeeded — the last saying its tax would fund "essential City services such as police, fire, emergency response, street maintenance, pothole repair" — though most were contingent upon the passage of Prop 19.
Regardless, legalization advocates remained hopeful.
"We won tonight. We won for the last six months, the last year, all the years we've been fighting. We're going to keep fighting," Oaksterdam University founder Richard Lee told supporters, according to the Times.
The sentiment's being echoed in Colorado. In an election-night news release, SAFER (Safer Alternatives for Enjoyable Recreation) executive director Mason Tvert said that the push for legalization is just beginning.
"California started the race toward legalization but Colorado is going to finish it," he said. "For too long our government and the arrest and prosecution industry have been playing a game to keep marijuana illegal for adults.
"That game will soon be over — we're playing to win in 2012."
Leading the charge
If the Flobots have you convinced that there's a war going on for your mind — specifically regarding your feelings toward medical marijuana — it's time you met the cavalry. Grow Room Communications (growroompr.com) is the first PR firm in the country dedicated solely to medical marijuana. It's a subsidiary of Denver-based Volume Public Relations, a business owned by Elizabeth Robinson, and she's got a message for people.
"What we need is a shift in perception about cannabis. Because the perceptions that exist, many of us know, are not the same as reality," says Robinson. "And it's time that we change this perception."
Grow Room is a small firm — three employees, two of whom are MMJ patients — but already is attracting big names like Greenway University. And its goals couldn't be classified as modest.
"We're here to put some places out of business. We do mean that," Robinson says. "Not in the sense that we want to make the big people stay in business and the little people go out of business. I want to see the people that are doing things right [succeed]. 'Right,' being that they care about patients."
It's a sentiment with actual meaning for the 33-year-old CEO, whose father died of cancer some seven years ago.
"I sat there with my dad, 54 years old, racking with sobs and begging me to please make the nausea go away. He didn't have a medical marijuana card; I didn't know much about medical marijuana then," Robinson says. "But the stigma existed, so there was no way that he would have gotten a license for that, even if he knew that it could have benefited him, because of the stigma. And that stigma has to change."
Robinson, who also goes by the title "chief brand tender," says a combination of interviews and proprietary background checks allows her firm to make sure its customers fit its standards. From there, Grow Room just helps in the dogfight.
"Competition is scary. Competition is increasing tremendously right now. First it was: All you had to do was be in business to have a business. Well, now the market corrects itself," she says. "And so who are going to be the people that survive, and who are going to be the people that fail?"
Deadlines have come and gone, but openings continue as businesspeople who filed paperwork earlier get physical locations into fighting shape.
• Because some pain kicks harder than others, there's Trainwreck Caviar — a hybrid blend, soaked in hash oil, then rolled in kief. It comes out the other side with some 56 percent THC and is sold by the gram ($50) at Pure Intentions Wellness Center (201 N. Academy Blvd., 570-7432). After some construction delays, Jared Doi's center held its grand opening last weekend, and currently offers a free gram per week and $40 caps to member patients. Members and non-members get a free edible with every purchase of a quarter ounce, as well as $3 edibles Monday through Wednesday.
• While it's not exactly "Who is John Galt?" there is some mystery surrounding Humboldt Care and Wellness Center's (6823 Space Village Ave., 597-4292) primary grower, known as VonDank. Manager JT Correia says the grower's been active for more than 30 years, and is fairly well known in growing circles. The center carries a line of VonDank's clothing and informational DVDs, and says its nine strains (blooming to 30-plus by late December) are all organic. Otherwise, look for edibles from Discreet Treats and Healthy Creations; Keef Colas; Oliver Beagle's Medicated Caramels; clones, rubs, tinctures, soaps, smoking accessories and more.
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