May 27 2010

Demand For Payment

Posted by J. Craig Canada in buds of wrath, Medical Marijuana, mike boutin, motels, tickets
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Demand for Payment

Writing is not easy for me.  It is an arduous, time consuming avocation.

When I write an article, I generally don’t do anything else until it’s finished.  Most articles take several days.  Some take a week or longer.

I began the previous blog entry over a month before I finished it.  Other than a couple of easy articles briefly reporting on one meeting and announcing another one, I didn’t write anything else during that time.  When I got back to it, three solid days were required to finish it, and I’m not particularly happy with the result.

The past year or so has been a particularly bad one for the Medical Marijuana Movement and it appears the lemmings are going to take an impressive plunge off the cliff this November and pass Tax & Regulate in California.

While things weren’t good to begin with, Jack Herer’s stroke and the ensuing battle between his wife and his recent associates, the scandal perpetrated by Ron Kampia of MPP, the media blackout of the opposition of Dennis Peron (and others prominent in the movement) to Tax & Regulate in California – everywhere I look the news is bad and just getting worse.

And my personal situation while recently greatly improved, wasn’t any better.

I had been spending over $300 per month for cannabis, and going to San Francisco to get it because I could get better quality for less money there that at either of the two dispensaries authorized to operate in Santa Cruz.  What I could get in San Francisco for $250-$300 was better quality and would last me twice as long as what I could get for $450 from the dispensaries in town.

It was a long arduous trip on the bus and train once or twice a month, and even so I generally went without the last week of the month.  And then, half way to San Francisco on New Year’s Eve, my caregiver informed me my recommendation had expired.

Well, they had actually mentioned that on my previous trip the month before, and I had completely forgotten about it.  And the fact is it didn’t expire.  It was written for 3 years, and it was just over a year after it was written.  But it seemed as far as my caregiver was concerned it was only good for a year and they weren’t going to provide me with any marijuana until I brought them another one.

And it was New Year’s Eve with a long weekend ahead.  And I was half-way to San Francisco on the train.  And I’d already been without for nearly a week.

Well, I had a friend’s number in my phone, they were home, and I was able to make the last train back to Santa Cruz with an ounce.

The view from Grace Farm

And before that was gone I was blessed with a Marijuana Miracle from Mike Boutin of Grace Farm.  This amounted to enough bud to last me for at least six months, and thereby reduced my monthly expenses by $300 or more per month.

Boutin makes a monthly run to deliver Grace Farm medical marijuana to patients throughout the state. He stopped by on his way home and dropped off an assortment of large quantities of bud, hash, and tincture. For free.

My credit card was maxed out from charging a motel room a few days a month to clean up and rest spanning three years of homelessness. I was paying $150 per month on interest alone.  Thanks to Grace Farm I had begun to pay down that debt.

I also bought little things that had been too low a priority before:  a can of EndDust, a dozen hangers, some candlesticks, a bluetooth adapter so I could get the images off my phone and on to my computer.

On April 27th I received a demand-for-payment from the State of California for $396.  This was for a sleeping ticket when I was homeless almost 3 years ago.  I was homeless because I was first evicted for being a medical marijuana patient, and then denied emergency and transitional housing by Santa Cruz because I was a medical marijuana patient.

So besides throwing me out in the street and torturing and humiliating me for three years, besides forcing me to max out my credit card paying for overpriced hotel rooms to clean up and rest, besides the police harassment and court trials – now, when I was just beginning to recover from all that and pay off my debt, they kick me again.

The notice was dated April 19th.  I received it on the the 27th.  If I did not pay the debt 10 days from the date on the notice, the State of California threatened to:

  • Garnish your wages or other sources of income
  • Attach your bank account
  • Seize and sell your real or personal property
  • File a lien to attach all real property you own or may acquire in California
  • Attach your California state income tax or lottery winnings

The good news was that thanks to Grace Farm I was able to put the ticket on my credit card and pay it off. The bad news is that wiped out all the progress I’d made paying down my debt.

That demand-for-payment would have been the last straw for pretty much anyone else in my situation. It would have been the last straw for me if it weren’t for Grace Farm and their ‘Marijuana Miracles’.

On Sunday, two days after paying off the ticket, I left for a week at Grace Farm with Mike Boutin.  Googling the internet just now I found this description written by Mike posted on CannaShops.com:

We are very into Cannabis and have mostly fashioned our lives around this precious and beautiful plant.

We live in the mountains of Trinity in Ca. and are Cannabis and Hemp activists, and administrate a collective farm.  I have a welding shop and do most of my work for other growers.  We cater southern BBQ out of a trailer I built, and again mostly cater to other growers.

Mostly though we try to help people.  One way a Collective Farm helps people, is that it provides a way for people who are falling through the cracks of the mainstream MMJ movement, to hook up and get affordable Meds.

…Urban Patients who cannot grow for themselves, cannot afford the street, cannot afford storefronts, and can’t turn water into weed.  People like us, who live in a very rural and secure location can grow a tidy amount, but then everyone here can mostly as well.

So you have A. No room,  lot’s of patients or B.  Lots of room, not many needy patients.  We are accepting members like this to our Collective.  Ones who for whatever reason cannot make it happen on their own, and need help.

We offering a chance to belong to a Farm whose allotment fees are the following: Grade A Bud $160 oz 1 oz. minimum.  Concentrate (or Hash if you will) Ice extraction only–$200 oz. 1/4 oz minimum.

These Meds will be delivered statewide once a month.

…We can help at the most, on a yearly basis around 200 people, many of whom would not be able to receive help any other way.  Our Allotment fee is not designed to corner anyone’s market or for that matter, drive down anyone’s market.  It’s an amount that we can accept and still function and operate, and help people while doing what we love.

Mike had invited me up and even offered to pick me up on his way back from delivering, and give me a ride back to Santa Cruz a week later.  It’s a good 8 to 12 hour drive from Santa Cruz to the middle of The Emerald Triangle.

The day after I left the windows in the stores around the building I live in were broken – on either side, across the street, and for several blocks up the street. The local news called it a riot.

The local paper was wrong about the porch of Pergolesi being set on fire.  The fire was actually a bush across the street.

The incident was blamed on “anarchists” and a coffee shop named “SubRosa” has been targeted by the local newspaper as sympathetic to the perpetrators and a gathering place for them.

The city has stated it will be hiring eight more police and the FBI has been called in to investigate.

When I got back from Grace Farm, the two buildings on the corners across the street still had boards where the windows had been.

It was the first time I’ve been out of Santa Cruz, except for day trips to San Francisco and back, since I got here 5 years ago.  Three of those years were homeless, and being hit with that bill from the city for a sleeping ticket just when I was beginning to pay the debt I ran up staying in hotels a few days a month to clean up and sleep brought up a lot of bad memories, and a lot of frustration and resentment.

Spending a week in the mountains, with good people, on a medical marijuana farm, was the best thing that could happen to me.  I wish I could have been better company.


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