Florida paper’s marijuana site: Not just for Grateful Dead fans

For one year 45 years ago, Michael Pollick lived in Monterey, California. It was an interesting year. Pollick, who was studying Mandarin with the Air Force, lived at Presidio of Monterey. Two years after the Summer of Love, there was the bloody standoff over People’s Park in Berkeley, “and the fanning out of the hippie point of view throughout the culture,” he said.

This June, Pollick, a reporter with the Sarasota (Florida) Herald-Tribune, traveled back to California to see something new — a culture, businesses, regulations and people rising around the legalization of medical marijuana. Then, he went to Colorado and did the same thing.

Stories about what he found are running now in the Herald-Tribune and on its new site, Medical Marijuana. The site launched last Sunday, with plans to roll out a series of stories leading up to November’s ballot initiative that could legalize medical marijuana in Florida. The site includes both original reporting from Pollick and some aggregation. It joins other newspapers devoting space and ink to marijuana, including The Denver Post, seattlepi.com, The Seattle Times and Denver’s Westword. (Here’s a replay of a chat Poynter’s Kelly McBride did back in January called “Covering pot when recreational use is legalized.”)

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“Our primary goal was to inform our readers of what we may look like,” said Matthew Sauer, assistant managing editor for news and business at the Herald-Tribune. And Pollick was the natural reporter to write for the site, he said.

He’s a boomer, Sauer said, “and boomers obviously have a unique perspective on marijuana. They lived through the first movement.”

Certainly there are stories about pot and culture and stereotypes that come with those things, Sauer said, but with Medical Marijuana, the Herald-Tribune wants to tell the story of business and economic potential and the entrepreneurs creating an industry around it.

“Not all of them are Grateful Dead fans,” Sauer said.

“I was struck by how well developed the cannabis industry is in the states I visited – Colorado and California,” Pollick said. “While growing and processing raw cannabis flowers is still the core of the enterprise, it is interesting how many cannabis-infused products are now on the market – edibles, massage oil, cartridges of concentrate that fit into a vaporizer the size of a fountain pen.”

He also wants to help tell a big picture story, he said, “how medical marijuana got its start in the AIDS epidemic in San Francisco and became a movement that now encompasses nearly half of the states in the nation.”

(Sarasota Herald-Tribune)

(Sarasota Herald-Tribune)

On Wednesday, Pollick wrote about a place in Oakland that was raided by the DEA in 2012.

If any place in America could be considered a safe haven in an era of loosened marijuana law enforcement, it would be “Oaksterdam.”

After all, this nine-block sliver of Oakland has a strong history of marijuana activism, and its centerpiece is a trade school devoted to techniques for growing, cultivating and marketing the cannabis plant.

Future stories will include how marijuana is becoming part of culture in Colorado, Pollick said, with a story about the Colorado Symphony Orchestra and its fundraising series, “Classically Cannabis – The High Note Series.”

Sauer figures the site will continue reporting on medical marijuana regardless of how the vote goes in November. As long as it’s a big topic, they’ll cover it. The site just started, he said, and there hasn’t been a strong reaction for or against it yet from readers. People assume that with an older demographic, people in Florida might not be nuts about the topic, he added, “but I’m not sure that’s the case.”

And while he’s looking to Colorado and California to see what could develop in Florida, since launching the site, Pollick’s also learned about businesses with plans for Florida.

“The site is smoking them out, so to speak.”

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  • MarciJSargeant

    til I saw the paycheck saying $4736 , I didnt believe
    that…my… sister had been really receiving money part-time online. . there
    neighbour haz done this 4 less than 10 months and as of now took care of the
    morgage on their cottage and bourt a new Honda . visit this website C­a­s­h­f­i­g­.­C­O­M­

  • Dbd

    Here’s another perspective from an old timer who spent prison time for growing in California, Colorado and Florida. (12 years total) Trained in the GREAT Humboldt County ( Garberville) and followed the DEAD till “89″ Growing the Finest and sharing that knowledge to my brothers and sisters all over this country…
    This plant has a very strong voice and is finally getting studied. The gov just ordered a while back 600,000 lbs for study. That is the most they have ever ordered.
    If you know your history this plant was a mandatory grow for 20% of a farmers plot. Just like the WW looking for steel HEMP was used for ropes,sails,cloths and much more that was needed to keep the men fighting.
    But TRUTH:
    Colorado: is pushing all the hippies out. I grow there. They do not want the stigma attached with pot to Dead Head and Hippies. They charge a lot of money for the tours clubs dinners and everything else. How can you charge 300 a day to intermingle with each other. They are bringing in the new young crowd to slowly change the mind of the public to make it a high end product. The centers rush the master growers and employees to push product. To flower the girls early No quality just quantity. Crap it cost 73 bucks for an 1/8 that is crap for Rec weed.
    When we developed the older strains we had passion that just transferred to the girls, but i will not go there.
    California: has been so flooded for so many years it hurts.
    But do not believe this sudden interest by the gov. The people can change anything together. And if you look at the states that the voters had to get signatures to pass have had the hardest time getting help from there representatives to make it easy. They stonewall and do things only criminals do i thought RIGHT.

  • devonhwindham

    My Uncle
    Riley got an almost new red GMC Canyon just by some parttime working online
    with a laptop. visit their website C­a­s­h­f­i­g­.­C­O­M­

  • Bill Monroe

    In the patent, assigned to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the parent agency of NIDA, DEA, and FDA, the applicants state the following:

    “Cannabinoids have been found to have antioxidant properties, unrelated to NMDA receptor antagonism. This new found property makes cannabinoids useful in the treatment and prophylaxis of wide variety of oxidation associated diseases, such as ischemic, age-related, inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. The cannabinoids are found to have particular application as neuroprotectants, for example in limiting neurological damage following ischemic insults, such as stroke and trauma, or in the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and HIV dementia.”

    The government’s own words on the medicinal qualities of cannabis. Enough said.

  • American

    I’m an independent in FL. I know the story is that the democrat party thinks the cannabis vote will bring democrat voters to the polls this November in unusually high numbers (no pun intended) to elect a democrat governor. When Rick Scott (R) gets re-elected and medical cannabis is legalized, the democrats are going to go home and stare into the mirror for hours wondering what the hell just happened.

  • maggiejcarter

    Start working at home with Google! It’s by-far the best job I’ve had. Last Wednesday I got a brand new BMW since getting a check for $6474 this – 4 weeks past. I began this 8-months ago and immediately was bringing home at least $77 per hour. I work through this link, go to tech tab for work detail

    ✒✒✒✒✒✒ Jobs7000.Com


  • knowa1

    After my 45 years of the cannabis culture its time to end the madness of prohibition

  • http://www.hempstaff.com HempStaff

    VOTE YES on #2!

    If the Thunder don’t get you then the Lightning Will! – Jerry Garcia

  • Immortal Illumined

    the greatest plant in the universe is almost free, LET FREEDOM RING! 13

    1000s of my friends and family have grown 30-99 plants for 20 years, thanks for keeping prices high and NORCAL wealthy…#1 crop in cali = $15 Billion Untaxed…

    “any doctor against marijuana is a doctor of death” – cali secret 420

    from 0 states to half the country, from low 20% approval to almost 70%, cali runs this planet by 2 decades, time to tie marijuana to the 2014, 2016 elections, out with the old, in with the new

    20 years behind us southern states and NEW YORK (CBD = Can’t Be Done), sad and scary….nobody denies freedoms like the south, nobody…the top ten incarcerators on the planet are southern states and more blacks are in prison then were slaves before the civil war…even if marijuana reforms did pass the republiCANTS in charge would deny you all your freedoms, centuries of practice…no matter though, we never planned on getting your backwards brethren from day one, half the country already but not one southern state, lol…not 1….the new generations are taking over in the south and they are nothing like their freedom denying parents, let’s ride…

    Deaths by Alcohol: Millions
    Deaths by Tobacco: Millions

    Deaths by Prescription Drugs: Quadrupled in last decade
Deaths by Guns: Millions
Deaths by the food we are fed: Millions
Deaths by Marijuana: 0, ever…they are killing my American family while denying freedom

    love and freedom forever


  • concernedparentandtaxpayer

    It’s time for all of us to start doing unto others as we would have them do unto us. None of us would want our kids put in jail to be gang-raped over a little marijuana. None of us would want the police to confiscate and sell our parents’ home because they grew a couple of plants to help with the aches and pains of growing old. Let’s start treating other people the way we would want to be treated.