August 12, 2010

When Activists Allegedly Attack - E-mail from Russ Belville Norml

I will blog more about this later. In the meantime, things are rockin' and rollin' on the Cannabis Scene in San Diego County.

Oh, and congratulations to everyone who took a stand and spoke the truth, despite everyone's advice to just be quiet, don't stir the pot, let someone else do it. Well, I say DEATH TO BULLIES. No one should ban everyone who simply asks them a question.

-----Original Message-----

From: Russ Belville []

Sent: Thursday, August 12, 2010 12:11 PM

To: 'NORML Affiliates'

Cc:; 'Kimberly Simms'; 'Steve Lutzke'; 'SoCal NORML'

Subject: Suspension of Southern California NORML

The Southern California NORML Chapter, headed by Craig Beresh, is officially under suspension pending the removal of Mr. Beresh as executive director and formation of a new board for the non-profit, should it wish to apply for reinstatement. This is the culmination of many complaints we have received at National and California NORML about the operation of the chapter and the behavior of its director, Mr. Beresh.

We have attempted to determine the validity of the complaints and addressed them by telephone with Mr. Beresh twice. We were preparing for a fuller discussion of the issues with Mr. Beresh and the board of Southern California NORML by conference call when Mr. Beresh instead decided to bypass my office and call Keith Stroup directly, which led to a shouting match and Mr. Beresh posting an attack on San Diego Americans for Safe Access on his chapter's website (

The chapter's information has been removed from the national listings. The chapter's website,, shall be taken down by Monday or shall constitute unauthorized use of NORML's service mark. No one associated with Southern California NORML will use the NORML name or represent themselves as officers of NORML until the chapter is reinstated.

On a personal note, I recruited Mr. Beresh and approved SoCal NORML, so I must shoulder some of the blame. I will always stand by our chapter leaders first and foremost, unless they publicly betray NORML's mission (former Washington NORML publicly testifying against a legalization bill) or alienate our long-time respected allies (former Beverly Hills NORML threatening to sue people on our side of the battle). Add to that list calling my friend and mentor Keith Stroup and screaming at him on the telephone.

Russ Belville

NORML Outreach Coordinator

Please join me at 'Just Say Now!', NORML's 39th Annual National Conference in Portland, Oregon, September 9-11, 2010. For online registration, accommodations, speakers & schedule, expo tables and conference sponsorship opportunities, check out

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The most amazing thing about cannabis is its ability to addle the brains of those who do not use it.

August 9, 2010

My Half-Assed Attempt at Affecting Mayor Jerry Sander's Political Opinion on Code Enforcement and Cannabis OR My Attempt to Undermine the Campaign for the Eradication of Cannabis in San Diego

I am going to do my best to not bore you with facts and anger and passion, but rather attempt to illustrate to you why it is in your (and the citizens you represent) best interest to permit medicinal cannabis facilities in the county of San Diego. Threatening landlords and using code enforcement to shut down collectives is not allowing the voters access to medicinal cannabis. We know a de-facto BAN when we see one.

As I can only hope your staff has already advised you, we are in a new age. An age where information is no longer controlled by those in power through the mainstream press. More and more people everyday are rediscovering the benefits of the cannabis plant. More people are now choosing alternative and natural medicine than ever before. One simply needs a brief stint in THEIR system to discover why so many people are now searching for a better answer to their health needs. It is difficult to type a health condition/symptom into the Google search box these days without a cannabis result popping up. It's too late. The word is out. I began using it for asthma.

I can firmly state that 90% of the people I discuss this issue with are aware that they have been lied to by their elected officials. Lied to about a plant that has tremendous benefits to human health and is the gold standard of herbal medicine. You cannot stop the research. You cannot stop the facts. You cannot legislate what you think is right. You CAN and SHOULD stand up and let people know that there just might be a "power that be" who is willing to risk it all to protect a dried flower, and in turn, protect health and safety.

When did we stop listening to the patients? The voters? And for what? PROPAGANDA. REEFER MADNESS. Stop the madness and let us get back to living up to our potential. Marijuana deaths: 0. Oh, and that's a government stat.

Take a stand. Leave a legacy. Educate yourself. Science, health and safety led me here. It's been a long, painful and difficult road. A road that has continually led me to one place - compassion. They will not break me.

Most likely the HHS Agency and the DEA will not be able to keep cannabis as a Schedule 1 substance under the CSA for too much longer. The evidence has been piling up for centuries and science is beginning to line up behind the truth. The latest Petition has been under review since 2002. Shouldn't be much longer now. Oh, and Michele Leonhart can't make it a higher scheduled drug than H&HS Agency advises. Let's see how they're gonna get outta this one. Probably more delays, while people suffer.

Twenty states are now challenging the Health Care Bill, thus challenging the reach and scope of the Commerce Clause. Without that nasty little hitch in the way, States will have the final say in cannabis laws. No more Federal funds to circumvent state laws.

Now, go do the right thing. Listen to that voice in your head that knows what is right. I know we all have one. You will have more support than you EVER imagined.

And my last pitch? Imagine the CNN interviews when the news breaks that the mayor of San Diego is taking a stand on the cannabis issue during an election year with a Control, Tax, and Regulate Cannabis Proposition on the ballot? Boy, that dude has balls. Wanna be Governor? The sky will be your limit, just DON'T tax it.

A link to illustrate that all the human carnage has been for naught:

"National Research Council study

In the first-ever government study of its policy on drugs, the National Research CouncilUnited States National Research CouncilThe National Research Council of the USA is the working arm of the United States National Academy of Sciences and the United States National Academy of Engineering, carrying out most of the studies done in their names.-History: (NRC) Committee on Data and Research for Policy on Illegal Drugs published its findings in 2001. The NRC Committee found that existing studies on efforts to address drug usage and smuggling, from U.S. military operations to eradicate coca fields in Colombia, to domestic drug treatment centers, HAVE ALL BEEN INCONCLUSIVE, if the programs have been evaluated at all: "The existing drug-use monitoring systems are strikingly inadequate to support the full range of policy decisions that the nation must make.... It is unconscionable for this country to continue to carry out a public policy of this magnitude and cost without any way of knowing whether and to what extent it is having the desired effect." The study, though not ignored by the press, has been ignored by top-level policymakers, leading Committee Chair Charles Manski to conclude, as one observer notes, that "the drug war has no interest in its own results." Such apathy toward drug policy has continued despite wide support for reform by the economics profession. A meta analysis of surveys conducted from a sample of professional economists, including Nobel laureates, concluded that, "The general consensus that does exist among drug policy researchers and economists as a whole could be characterized as anti-prohibition, but only timidly pro-decriminalization and even less so about the prospects of legalization." Moreover, most economists who publish judgments on the issue favor liberalization."

This is where this battle will end up, the Legislature. Wasting more precious funds through court battles while Social Services in San Diego are cut, and law enforcement is increased under the guise of Public Safety. Thanks Board of Supervisors! And how bout testing those rape kits? and robbery kits where Gardner's DNA was found.

"Commissioners expect the Montana Legislature to take up the issue during the upcoming 2011 session, which could provide further direction for individual city regulation of the substance."

Laura Palfrey Murphy