About 18 years ago I was living in Chicago as an underfed and over smoked College student with a bad major to boot. During my breaks over the Summer I would visit my parents in San Francisco in the foothills of Diamond Heights where they lived at the time.
Hippies were still a thing. The Woodstock era revival was in full swing and bands like Arrested Development made me think wearing Dashiki’s and Acari Shells was the hip thing to do.
I was fairly new to smoking weed, and during that time it was fairly difficult to get unless you knew someone, which I didn’t– I never do. High Times magazine came wrapped in a plastic cover, peddled behind the counter-top at liquor stores, always stuck between magazines like Hustler and Black Tail.
18 years ago in 1997 marijuana was taking its first tentative steps in our countries collective conscious as an illicit gate way drug that sent it’s unemployed and unmotivated users straight to gutter. The first ever licensed Medical Marijuana dispensary opened , Marin Alliance for Medical Marijuana, run by the dedicated pot advocate Lynette Shaw.
It is now 2015 and Shaw, who is considered a pioneer to many, remains stonewalled from the industry she helped create. Unable to reopen the dispensary after Obama’s administration of Change shuttered it in 2011, it was Judge Charles Breyer who first granted the injunction against Shaw back in 2002. Contrary to what you may see or feel, distributing marijuana was – and still remains – a violation of federal law.
However there might be a possibility for Shaw to reopen her dispensary. Breyer, the judge who initially granted the injunction is set to provide a new ruling within the next few weeks. Although he still candidly deems his interpretation of the federal prohibition of the sale of marijuana correct, he noted that Congress made a new law when it cut off the funding for prosecuting medical marijuana cases.
Shaw feels her chances are widely positive, as she’s had a long standing relationship with local police, government and health services.
My name is Petey Wheatstraw, also known as Charles Stevens. I’m an avid marijuana smoker, writer, devoted father and non-profit minion– not necessarily in that order. A Chicago native I’ve lived off and on in the Bay Area since 1996. Seven years ago I finally settled here to capture the changing face of our communities.