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Karla Peterson: San Diego reaction to Prop. 19 loss a mixed bag

November 6, 2010

Marijuana seeds.
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By Karla Peterson Friday, November 5, 2010 at 9:30 p.m.

On the day after California voters rejected the legalization of marijuana, the editor and co-founder of NUG magazine was too busy working to grieve. News on the marijuana front was bad, but business for “San Diego’s original cannabis publication” was booming.

“I’m collecting money and selling ads,” Dion Markgraaff said on Wednesday. “The beat goes on.”

Serving San Diego’s cannabis community since July of 2009, the Santee-based NUG (which stands for nuggets of pot and nuggets of information) is the rare expansion story in the ever-shrinking print-media universe. It is also the ad-filled and shadow-plagued reflection of the conflicted portrait that is San Diego’s pot profile.

In San Diego, NUG and other purveyors of the cannabis-friendly lifestyle face a splintered civic personality that can’t decide if it wants to join them for a Creamsicle Spiked Shake (recipe in the August 2010 issue) or send them and their hydroponics off to greener pastures in other parts of the state.

“It’s a mesh of personalities here,” said the 41-year-old Markgraaff, who grew up in Oceanside and attended Vista High School and San Diego State University. “We have our lovable qualities, but we’ve got a hard edge. We’re like a mutt that has all these different traits.”

Long before San Diego voted to legalize marijuana for medical use in the state 14 years ago, we were open to the idea of different strokes for different folks. The utopian-minded Universal Brotherhood and Theosophical Society settled in Point Loma in late 1896, the pioneering Golden Door Spa began welcoming sun-worshippers and fitness nuts in 1958, and the UFO-watching members of the Unarius Academy of Science have been doing their cosmic thing in El Cajon since 1954.

“The notion of alternative therapies, alternative approaches to health, that is deep in our history,” said UCSD sociologist Mary Walshok. “Chinese herbal medicine, massage, acupuncture and meditation, all of that has a long history in San Diego.”

Then again, we are also a community with deep military roots and a long history of conservative voting patterns. So while we were progressive enough to become the largest city in the country to adopt medical-marijuana guidelines in 2003, we were not quite comfy enough to support the legalization of small amounts of recreational marijuana earlier this week.

At NUG, the natural-remedy-embracing, alternative-lifestyle-appreciating side of San Diego is alive and well and loving its organic marijuana, edible marijuana and water pipes. All of this interest from medical-marijuana patients and — let’s not kid ourselves — enterprising recreational smokers has turned NUG into a totally ad-supported success story.

In less than two years, it has grown from a 48-page bimonthly distributed in clinics and dispensaries to a 98-page monthly magazine that is also available for free at local 7-Eleven stores.

“What this says about San Diego is there is a huge cannabis community here and there is a huge market that is unaddressed by society,” Markgraaff said during a break from sales calls, which he makes wearing shorts, flip-flops and a NUG T-shirt. “Our biggest problem is we don’t print enough copies.”

Actually, their problems are bigger than that. Because the other side of San Diego’s public consciousness — the side with the serious border-related drug worries and the staunchly anti-marijuana District Attorney’s office — is also living large at NUG.

It was there in the first issue, which was dedicated to longtime local medical-marijuana activist Steven McWilliams, who committed suicide in 2005. It is there in the ads the magazine lost when the Kush Lounge dispensary was raided last July. And it is there in the masthead, where many of the staffers don’t use their real names. That includes publisher and medical-marijuana patient Ben G. Rowen, a native San Diegan who became an activist after his home was raided by federal authorities two years ago.

Then again, that masthead is also on the latest issue of NUG, in all its fat, healthy glory. With his San Diego cannabis magazine growing, editor Markgraaff is letting his hopes grow, too.

“Did you see the exit numbers for Prop. 19?,” Markgraaff said via e-mail yesterday. “San Diego voted Yes at 47 percent, which was as big as L.A., the state average, and most of Northern California. I think that shows the cannabis community and NUG magazine are doing a good job in helping people evolve here in San Diego.”

karla.peterson@uniontrib.com (619) 293-1275 Twitter@karla_peterson

See original posting here: http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/2010/nov/05/sd-marijuana-magazine-still-growing/

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One Comment leave one →
  1. December 6, 2010 9:57 pm

    hopefully prop 19 will pass in 2012..after everyone is fully educated on the pros of it.

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