Lakewood, Colorado (CNN) – When the earthquake hit Japan, Shaun Gindi knew he wanted to help.
"I couldn't believe the devastation. I watched everything get wiped away. Their whole lives were gone," he said. "There was a moment where I started looking at ways to fly over there, ways to somehow get there to help out."
Gindi knows nothing about search and rescue, so he soon abandoned that plan. But he is an expert in one area: medical marijuana.
He runs two dispensaries in the Denver area called Compassionate Pain Management. They legally sell marijuana to patients who have received a recommendation from a doctor.
He floated the idea of raising money for Japan on his dispensary’s Facebook page and got a dozen "likes" right away. He knew immediately that he could use his dispensary to raise money. Thus was born "Joints for Japan."
"What we're going to do is take all the revenue from the hand-rolled medicine, 100% of it, from this weekend and potentially for the next few weeks … and we're going to donate it to the Red Cross," Gindi said.
"Hand-rolled medicine" is medical marijuana-speak for a joint, or a marijuana cigarette. They contain half of a gram of marijuana and are the most popular item in the store. At $5 each, Gindi says, they sell thousands a month.
"We get a lot of people who just come in for these," Gindi said.
The most difficult part of the endeavor has been coming up with the fundraiser's name. Gindi’s business is legal under Colorado law. He pays taxes and has 18 full-time employees. But the industry still struggles for respectability.
With that in mind, Gindi rejected contenders such as "Bake for the Quake" and "Joint Relief."
Gindi hopes his fundraising efforts help bring a bit more respectability to the medical marijuana industry. But ultimately, it is the people of Japan he truly hopes to help.
"In Japan every day, the number of lives lost jumps up. Whatever we can do to help out, we’d like to do."
The ol' cut and run - An Oklahoma man is accused of stuffing a chainsaw down his pants and running. Well, waddling is likely a better word. The best part about this absurd story is the repeated use of the term "britches" and the infamous local news standby – the old camera man re-enactment routine.
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to ban medical marijuana dispensaries in their unincorporated areas. Meanwhile, the Orange County Board of Supervisors was scheduled to vote on an identical measure also on Tuesday.
The proposals in the first and third largest counties in California would mark another setback for advocates seeking to advance marijuana into mainstream society. Earlier this month, California voters rejected a proposal to legalize the drug, though medical marijuana is legal throughout the state.
Iran hiker released – Sarah Shourd, one of three American hikers detained for more than a year in Iran, has been released from prison, state-run Press TV reported Tuesday. Attorney Massoud Shafii, who is representing the hikers, had said everything was in place for Shourd's release once bail of $500,000 was submitted to the Iranian judiciary.
Shourd, 32; Shane Bauer, 28; and Josh Fattal, 28, were detained July 31, 2009, after they allegedly strayed across an unmarked border into Iran while hiking in Iraq's Kurdistan region. Tehran has accused the three hikers of spying.
California marijuana fight – As Californians consider a November ballot initiative to tax and regulate marijuana for recreational use, there are unlikely characters peppering the political landscape.
Health care – President Obama plans to sign an executive order at 2:30 p.m. ET Wednesday that the White House says will reaffirm an existing ban on the use of federal money for abortions. The order is part of a deal Obama struck to woo anti-abortion House Democrats. That deal assured passage of the sweeping health care reform bill.
The Senate also will debate possible changes to the health care law. The House has passed a series of changes that the Senate passed a few months ago. Now the Senate will consider those changes, many of which Republicans plan to fight. We'll also answer your questions about health care and its impact on you.
Medical marijuana and your job -- Fourteen states have laws allowing the use of medical marijuana, which shield legal users from criminalization but don't protect them from penalties enforced by their employers. We take a look at a man who was fired from his job at Wal-Mart because of a drug test and the implications the growing medical marijuana field might have on employment.