Reflecting on our first First Fridays

May 25, 2016 | J Stebner



On the grassy shores of Lake Merritt in 2015, this uniquely East Bay event was born from a simple desire to unite a community who have historically been divided. From each other and from their families and communities.


Divided by fear and lies. Divided by secrets. And divided by forces whose own greed and selfish interests would criminalize the innocent behavior of the majority of the population, otherwise law abiding citizens.


But those days are numbered. And our uniquely weird, sometimes wonderful American culture is birthing something new.


We are climbing out of the basements and planting proudly under the sun again. This era of social control through mass incarceration and propaganda is coming to an end. There are no secrets anymore.


The truth is revealing itself every day in more strange and fascinating ways and soon, no one will be able to spin this plant into anything other than what it has always been: A Great Human Ally.


Big thank you to our community and those who have so graciously opened their doors to us in the cool winter months and shared their awesome spaces so that we could continue to do our thing.


From the Breathe Wellness Center in Berkeley, to the Cozy Club and the Gateway Incubator in Oakland, we all have benefited from the generosity of these fine establishments.


And much gratitude for those who have come bearing food and other refreshments to share with the group. Our Chili Cook-off First Friday was a huge success and many thanks to local jazz legend Earl Davis, who took our December First Friday to a new level.


It makes one think. For every service and product our community provides and creates there is someone else in our community who could receive and benefit from. As we continue to expand and refine our relationship webs, how can we be of a more immediate benefit to our immediate human connections?


How well do you keep track of your daily spending? Have you ever kept a journal of every dollar you spend over the course of your day? What if that currency started having a shorter path? A path to someone you know, maybe even a friend. Someone you can reach out and hug say thank you to in person. How good would that feel?


Our power as consumers is great. When we act together as a unified field we can influence markets. It is so important for us to realize the power that we have. We become empowered when we gather as a group, sharing our stories and insights and synthesizing new solutions to our common problems as we smooth the bumps in the road for others who come after us.


We are looking forward to seeing you all at Lake Merritt this coming First Friday, June 3rd. Join us and lend your voice and unique perspective to our collective voice.


Please take a moment to check out our new community events calendar and to subscribe to our First Friday Cannabis Social newsletter.

CalNORML’s Ellen Komp speaks out on scientifically-flawed marijuana DUI laws

May 25, 2016 | G Takagawa

Ellen Komp of CalNORML speaking at May 2016's First Friday


At May's First Friday event, Ellen Komp reminded us that the rights of medical marijuana patients are not secure, even in California. As Deputy Director at California NORML, Ellen has been fighting for patient rights for some 40 years. She is currently tracking a dozen marijuana-related bills in Sacramento.


Ellen called for action against AB 2740, a bill implementing an unscientific limit on the level of THC in a driver's blood. Evidence shows THC levels of 5ng/mL in the blood is related with double the rate of accidents -- the same as having three people in the car, and far less than the 6-7 times increased accidents of the legal 0.08 BAC.


A recent AAA study points out that inaccurate scientific methods are used when drivers are tested for marijuana. The Auto Club reports that the primary issue around setting legal limits is that cannabis is metabolized in a much different way than alcohol, which nullifies standard DUI testing.


"Some drivers with relatively high levels of marijuana’s psychoactive compound THC were found to not be impaired at all, while drivers with comparably smaller levels may be more dangerous behind the wheel, especially if that person is not a regular user. There is no scientific proof that all people become impaired at an exact blood limit for THC," reports SFGate.


Ellen has given opposition testimony on similar bills many times over the years, but this year a flown-in expert gave testimony leading to a split 3-2 vote that moved the bill forward.


From CalNORML's testimony at the committee hearing: "A study from 2015 found that levels above 5 ng/ml were detected as long as 4 days after use in heavy smokers. (Odell et al.) Therefore, AB 2740 would criminalize AIDS patients, cancer patients, and other seriously ill Californians who use legal medical marijuana with a doctor’s recommendation."


Stay on top of the home fight by joining CalNORML:


Memberships start at just $15/year. Starting soon, every second Thursday CalNORML will host a members-only meeting.