Last year, there were so many shops selling medical marijuana. Now it seems they all have been shut down. If I want to open a shop, what should I do, where should I get a permit, what are the laws? Where and how can I get info about this?


Your question comes at an interesting time. The California Supreme Court recently declined to review a case that ruled in favor of a San Diego dispensary operator. Based on this case, People v. Jackson, one can infer that there is nothing stopping someone from opening a club right now in California.

Well, nothing except for the fact that most cities and counties already have regulations or outright bans in place. Cannabis activist group Americans for Safe Access has a list to make it easier for you to figure out the rules and regulations in different California cities at its website,

It remains to be seen if cities and counties will be able to continue banning collectives. I am sure some enterprising patriot will open a cannabis club in some county that has a ban in place and risk jail and bankruptcy to fight for cannabis freedom. In the meantime, would it be too much to ask for comprehensive statewide regulation regarding medical cannabis? Gov. Jerry Brown? Hmm?

If you are trying to open a club in Oakland, Sacramento or San Francisco, good luck. Those cities already have good regulations in place and no room for extra clubs. Los Angeles? Don’t get me started. It now has three different initiatives on the ballot for May 2013. Why even try to jump into that mess? Your best bet may be to open a delivery service.

So, I keep reading all this wonderful stuff about weed and hemp, and I wonder: Why is it illegal? I don’t get it.

—Nonpothead Ponderer

I ask myself that every day: Why? Why has a plant that has been around for thousands of years and has many different uses, both as an industrial fiber and as a medicine and a food (hemp seeds are a delicious and very nutritious snack, BTW) against the law? How does that even happen? The reasons are long and varied, but generally come down to corporate greed in the 1930s and President Richard Nixon’s fear of hippies in the ’70s. You can learn all about the history of cannabis and its prohibition in the United States by reading The Emperor Wears No Clothes: The Authoritative Historical Record of Cannabis and the Conspiracy Against Marijuana. This book, written by the legendary cannabis activist Jack Herer, is a detailed record of cannabis history. It is also entertaining. You will learn all about the “Hemp for Victory” campaign of World War II, and the nefarious exploits of Harry J. Anslinger and William Randolph Hearst. After you read this book, you will probably become a weed activist. Welcome to the team.