We’re excited to have cannabis pioneer and educator Jeff Jones join us at Homegrown Cannabis Co.
Without Jeff and his wife, Dale Sky Jones, the political landscape in relation to cannabis might be very different today.
Currently, he’s faculty at Oaksterdam University, but his story of how he got there is compelling.
The medical cannabis pioneer
If it weren’t for Jeff’s tireless crusading, cannabis for medical use probably wouldn’t be where it is today.
Losing his father to cancer when he was only 13 set Jeff on the path he’s still on to get medical cannabis to those who need it. With this mission in mind and after meeting Dennis Peron in 1994, he co-founded the Oakland Cannabis Buyer’s Co-Operative (OCBC) in 1995.
When it first opened, he delivered medical cannabis by bicycle to chronically ill people seeking pain relief in and around Oakland, California. In July of the following year, the OCBC was granted a Resolution of Support by the Oakland City Council. Jeff had helped launch the first legal, medical cannabis dispensary in Oakland.
To gain access to medical marijuana, people needed to have a note from a medical practitioner stating what illness they had to qualify. The condition could only be one of those listed on the Medicinal Cannabis User Initial Questionnaire.
Not long after that, California’s Proposition 215, or the Compassionate Use Act of 1996, was enacted, making cultivation and possession of medical cannabis legal by state law.
The law steps in
Unfortunately, as with many legal issues in the US, the federal government took a different view from the state’s. In January 1998, he was sued by the US Dept. of Justice and ordered to cease the production and supply of medical cannabis. The claim was based on the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) declaring cannabis a Schedule I drug.
The health and suffering of his patients meant more to Jeff than the injunction did, so he violated it, continuing to supply them. He was subsequently charged with contempt, and the US Marshals seized the OCBC premises.
At that time, he agreed to cease distribution of cannabis but continued to issue patient and caregivers ID cards and offer them directions on where to go for safe access to medical cannabis.
He fought the verdict and appealed it via the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals – winning, Jeff was federally allowed to distribute for a few weeks in 1999, but after another injunction taking him through the US Supreme Court in 2001 – losing his decade plus battle to distribute medical-necessity cannabis with the justices voting no 8:0.
More bills, more advocacy
In 2004 Jeff was instrumental in getting the California Senate Bill 420, the Medical Marijuana Act, passed into law. This act clarified the scope and application of California Proposition 215 and established California’s medical marijuana program and state medical Marijuana ID card program.
Jeff was the co-proponent of California Proposition 19, the first Marijuana Legalization Initiative (2010). He and Richard Lee managed to get 694,248 signatures (250,000 more than required). The election date was Nov. 2 of that year, and the current polls suggested a ‘Yes’ vote would occur. Sadly, that wasn’t the case. The final result: Yes – 46.54% and No – 53.46%.
Finally, the Rohrabacher–Farr amendment was passed in the House in May 2014, allowing for state cannabis programs to be legal.
OCBC changed its name to the Patient ID Center, has issued medical cannabis cards to over 100,000 qualified patients, and is now California’s largest distributor of ID badges. It also provides cannabis employee badges for all staff and owners of California cannabis businesses.
Oaksterdam University and Jeff
Jeff has been with Oaksterdam University since its inception in 2007. He teaches horticulture, advocacy, extracts, and ingestion methods. His students appreciate his laid-back, easy teaching style, allowing all levels, from beginners up, to learn.
Jeff and Homegrown Cannabis Co.
The collaboration between Oaksterdam University and Homegrown Cannabis Co. couldn’t have arrived better. As an alumnus, Jeff is a welcome addition to our panel of experts.
The partnership is far from being one-way. America’s first cannabis college now offers free seeds, courtesy of Homegrown Cannabis Co., to students on select courses. Access to the seeds allows students to cultivate them throughout the course, adding to the ‘hands-on’ approach Oaksterdam is famous for.
They’re not just any old seeds, either. They’re world-famous cultivars. OG Kush seeds, anyone? Homegrown Cannabis Co.’s passion for educating cultivators worldwide makes the partnership with Oaksterdam University a win/win for everyone involved.
We’re excited to have Jeff on board and look forward to the collaboration.
Want a 10% discount on select Oaksterdam coursework? Click this link and use the code homegrown at checkout.