Cash-only cannabis, the Vapor Room closes -- this week, we're scraping for good news
HERBWISE It's time to get a Discover card. As of July 1, you can no longer use your Visa or Mastercard credit or debit card to buy medical marijuana. And of course, American Express cards have been out of the question since spring 2011. Electronic Merchant Systems, which handles card processing for most of the nation, sent out an announcement last month to its vendors, raising the stakes for dispensaries across the country that seem to be coming under a coordinated federal attack. Cash-only cannabis? That's pretty bad, maybe just as bad as the next thing I have to tell you about...
The Vapor Room is closing. Yes, the perennial Best of the Bay-winning, nine-year old Lower Haight dispensary-lounge (607 Haight, SF. www.vaporroom.com ) will be closing its doors as of July 31, according to the nonprofit's executive director Martin Olive. Olive told the Guardian in a phone interview that the dispensary learned an undisclosed amount of time ago that its landlord had received one of the doom-bearing letters now so familiar to San Francisco dispensaries from US Attorney Melinda Haag declaring that the dispensary was within 1,000 feet of Duboce Park. The city's permitting laws, Olive told us, are concerned with how far cannabis clubs are from playgrounds, not park grounds. Vapor Room has a long-standing relationship with the Harvey Milk Rec Center that anchors the park — the nonprofit actually sponsors free yoga classes and health counseling that take place in the center itself. Olive wouldn't confirm rumors that Vapor Room's stock will continue to be available for delivery, but that's the word on the street.
The "bath salts" face-eater didn't have any bath salts in his system. In fact, the only drug authorities uncovered through post-humous tests was cannabis.
As an events editor, organizations that don't send us the vital information we need to cover their event are the bane of my existence. It is another thing entirely, however, when an organization requests that vital information be kept out of the newspaper. A sign of the times when it comes to cannabis journalism, I'm afraid. And as such: check out a happy hour benefit at El Rio for "an organization supporting low-income, AIDS-HIV, and cancer patients with free medicine." Sigh. It'll be running semi-concurrently with pop-up Mugsy Wine Bar's hat-tip to Bastille Day (5:30pm-8:30pm). Drown your frustrations with some nice sparkling Blanc de Noir Cremant de Bourgnone, why don't you.
Fri/13 4pm-6pm, free. El Rio, 3158 Mission, SF. www.elriosf.com 
Search YouTube for "Conan O'Brien and Martha Stewart Get Crafty with Pot." Discussion question: for all the weirdness that you just read, is marijuana becoming more or less accepted in mainstream culture?