Category: Dispatches

CMCR Doesn’t Stand for ‘California…’

By Fred Gardner Igor Grant, MD, a professor of psychiatry at UC San Diego, has been the director of California’s Center for Medical Cannabis Research since its inception in 2000. Grant recounted the history of the CMCR to a respectful audience at the Patients Out of Time conference in Berkeley last weekend. In 1999 State Sen. John Vasconcellos arranged funding from the legislature ($8.7 million over three years) for studies to be conducted by researchers selected by an administrator at UCSD… The researchers used marijuana grown at the University of Mississippi for the National Institute on Drug Abuse, Grant said matter-of-factly. I was reminded...

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Before Marijuana Became an ‘Issue’ Unto Itself

By Fred Gardner    Just arrived in the mailbox is a book called Dangerous Grounds, which recounts how coffeehouses set up near Army bases became hangouts for soldiers during the Vietnam War era. I started the first such enterprise with Donna Mickleson and Devora Rossman —the UFO coffeehouse in Columbia, South Carolina— in the fall of 1967. The author, David Parsons, a historian with an NYU affiliation and a contract from the University of North Carolina Press, interviewed me for the book a while back. Now I’m uneasy about opening it. What if he got it wrong? What if he got it right? Of what...

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Prozac and Medical Marijuana

Everybody who knows the history of the medical marijuana movement knows that Dennis Peron started the San Francisco Cannabis Buyers Club in response to the AIDS epidemic circa 1990. Less well known is that it was also the beginning of the Prozac epidemic. Eli Lilly’s brilliant, pervasive marketing scheme would change how US Americans thought about “Depression,” and what constitutes a “serious illness,” and the “medical use” of drugs to improve mood. I was working at UCSF and writing “Notes From the City” for the Anderson Valley Advertiser. At one point I wanted to get Dennis’s take on Prozac and went over to his...

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God Gave Gilbert the Rainbow Sign

I saw Gilbert Baker about a month ago at Cafe Flor. A bunch of us were waiting for Dennis Peron, who had been delayed at the VA Hospital. “You look great,” I blurted out, because he did. He was wearing his new Diversity t-shirt, with colored letters against a black background. His full head of hair was only half-way to gray at age 65. And last night he died. In my so-called files I found a picture of Gilbert shaking hands with San Francisco District Attorney Terence Hallinan at a rally in front of the Federal Building soon after Prop 215 passed. Almost immediately...

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Tim Lincecum’s Pot Bust (Stigma Strikes Out)

We welcome the season with a tip of the O’Shaughnessy’s baseball cap to one of our all-time favorites: Tim Lincecum. On October 30, 2009, Tim Lincecum, the Giants’ ace pitcher, was stopped by a Washington State Highway Patrol officer for driving 74 MPH on Interstate 5, a few miles north of the Oregon border. Lincecum was on his way home to a suburb of Seattle.* The highway patrolman smelled marijuana and Lincecum acknowledged that he had a pipe in the car, and 3.3 grams of bud —about four joints’ worth. Lincecum denied that he had been smoking while driving. The...

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