MariRonin

11/21/16

Keanu Reeves brought the story of the 47 Ronin to the United States in 2013. The story is legendary here. In short, 47 Ronin is a story of patience and honor. Their master, Lord Asano, struck another man in the Palace of the Shogun. The punishment for this was to commit hara-kiri, the brutal suicide where a disgraced samurai must disembowel himself in order to atone. This left his 47 samurai to walk the world as Ronin, samurai to a disgraced master. Instead of lashing out at the man responsible for the death of Asano right away, the 47 dispersed and waited 20 years to avenge Asano’s death. When the Ronin emerged and were ready to restore Asano’s honor, the Edo period, however, was ending and a new era was beginning. The new laws frowned down on these ancient laws.  The 46 (one was killed in the revenge mission) Ronin turned themselves in and stood trial under different rules. In the end, they also committed hara-kiri.

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Ever since Colorado decided that the Mexicans were taking work from their white boys, our government has led a war on cannabis. Time went on and laws became more entrenched, both in our psyches and in the law books . Sure, there were pockets of people who tried to change these laws, but they were quickly shoved back underground and marginalized. That is, until California passed Proposition 215 twenty years ago this November. It was a direct challenge to the declaration of the Controlled Substances Act that cannabis had no medical value. Soon after, The State of California opened the doors for their Universities to research cannabis. There was finally a way to research cannabis without fitting into the impossible parameters of the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA). The community laid low, built a case for themselves, and similar medical marijuana laws steadily grew across the country.

Since 1996, a state has placed a cannabis question in every election since that landmark ballot. There were 24 ballot questions for medical use, recreational use, and/or hemp fiber in these last 20 years. The states voted 2:1 in favor of access to cannabis in those elections. They are red and blue states. They are big city states and big country states. The medical benefits of cannabis arose despite the best efforts of the smoke and mirror campaign that the Federal Government led this last century.

Now CBD has caught fire and really taken off in the last few years. CBD is one of the ingredients in cannabis that has proved to have many health effects. It is the safest of the cannibinoids and a carrot that more conservative states have used to keep their citizens there. They have learned that there is a way to put this plant into their portfolios without allowing the entire herb to be grown. Pharma companies get the profits and the cops continue to bust the melanin-enhanced folk within their states. Everybody (who matters) wins.

8 states (AL, GA, IA, MS, OK, TX, WI, and WV) currently have CBD-only laws. There are 4 states (MD, NE, VA, WV) that have Hemp laws. There are six states (KY, MO, NC, SC, TN, UT) that have hemp and CBD laws. Washington DC and 24 (AK, AR, CA, CO, CT, DE, FL, HI, IL, LA, ME, MA, MI, MN, MT, NV, NH, NJ, NM, ND, OH, OR, PA, RI, VT, WA) states also have active medical marijuana laws. Four more states (CA, ME, MA, NV) voted to authorize adult use this election as well (but they already had medical, so it would be a bit redundant to count them again).

This is a total of 46 states and the District of Columbia that are operating contrary to the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). This is 46 states that have found some way to take a part of the cannabis plant and provide their citizens with legal access because their Federal Government will not. This is a clear referendum on cannabis policy in the United States. Cannabis has 514 of 538 electoral votes in the United States.

But there has been no guidance from President-Elect Trump. In fact, his first choice for the position is Jeff Sessions, the man who was famously rejected from a federal judgeship position because “his former colleagues testified Sessions used the n-word and joked about the Ku Klux Klan, saying he thought they were “okay, until he learned that they smoked marijuana””. Again, Congress refused to allow him to rule on a federal bench because of this testimony from a former colleague.

So here we stand. We just finished an election where 25% of the eligible vote gave Trump the presidency. There is also no balance of power because the Republicans are now in charge of the House, Senate, and the White House. A clean sweep. It does not matter that 92% of the country has laws on the books to provide access to cannabis in one form or another. It does not matter that the citizens of 8 more states passed referendums on cannabis access this November. Not at all. We still have to worry about what a Trump presidency will mean for our cause. Twenty years and 46 states later.

More so, in this time of abysmal voter turnout (half of the voting age population did not bother to vote), 71% of Florida voters voted to legalize medical marijuana. Only 49% voted for Trump. Clinton received 48% of Florida’s votes. The other three states, Arkansas, Montana, and North Dakota also voted for both Trump and cannabis. All of the states that voted to legalize cannabis did not vote for Trump. They clearly have a Commander in Chief whose view are in direct conflict with their own.

State Trump votes Marijuana Votes Clinton votes
Arkansas 60% 53% 33%
Florida 49% 71% 48%
Montana 56% 57.6% 35%
North Dakota 64% 63% 27%

The cannabis community is not a stranger to aggressive talk from the Feds. The era of baby Bush started with massive sweeps of glassblowers and culminated in the arrest of Tommy Chong. These semi-annual (every other year) busts were regular events in medical marijuana states, despite Attorneys General (insert name here) saying they would respect states’ rights. It was not until the Obama administration that reforms came to the cannabis community and the states felt secure in growing their causes.

A new era was upon the cannabis community. The state as an incubator was working! But this incoming Administration is giving indicators that they don’t care one bit about states incubating citizen-led industries. While the States are very much united in cannabis-reform, it is clear that our Federal Government does not agree. No amount of rationality will change that. So, I will continue to walk forward knowing that the Federal Government is not on my side. I am a Ronin. The scarlet letter is my disgrace.

*Cover photo taken from the Anime Classic Samurai Champloo

Bibliography

http://www.samurai-archives.com/ronin.html

http://www.maps.org/research-archive/mmj/mjabrams.html

http://www.popsci.com/science/article/2013-04/why-its-so-hard-scientists-study-pot

http://www.cmcr.ucsd.edu/index.php/2015-11-20-20-49-13

http://www.thecannabist.co/2016/05/20/louisiana-medical-marijuana-bill-signed/54539/

https://ballotpedia.org/Search?q=michigan%20medical%20marijuana

http://www.270towin.com

http://www.votehemp.com/PDF/2016-CONGRESS-Hemp-Update-web.pdf

https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/114/s134

https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/agplants/industrial-hemp

https://www.mpp.org/initiatives/

http://www.georgiahempindustries.com/blog/hb-704-industrial-hemp-bill/

http://www.legis.ga.gov/Legislation/en-US/default.aspx

http://www.legis.ga.gov/legislation/en-US/Display/20152016/HB/704

http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/measure_indiv.aspx?billtype=HB&billnumber=508&year=2016

http://coolice.legis.iowa.gov/Cool-ICE/default.asp?Category=BillInfo&Service=DspHistory&var=SSB&key=1260S&ga=86

http://www.njleg.state.nj.us/bills/BillView.asp

https://legiscan.com/WI/bill/AB215/2015

https://www.archives.gov/federal-register/electoral-college/allocation.html

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2016/11/18/10-things-to-know-about-sen-jeff-sessions-donald-trumps-pick-for-attorney-general/

http://www.electproject.org/2016g

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Todd is not Here, Man

Sofa King

11/6/16

Grade: A

Play Dough. Penicillin. The Slinky. “The New World”. Some of the best things in life are stumbled upon. This is how I found Sofa King. I was looking for a completely different spot in the Georgetown area, and ended up here. There are about six dispensaries in this area.That is quite a bit when you see that the area is really only two blocks. that are bookended by canna shops.  The Highway is on one side and Mind Body Spirit is on the other. They both look  ghetto. The sign for The Highway was hand painted and looked like they had a family day out on the lawn to make it. Mind Body Spirit is in a trailer park trailer. Nuff said.

I was looking for Mountain Medicinals when I walked into The Highway. I quickly realized my mistake upon entering. It even looked ghetto inside.  No way. I turned around and headed for the car, but I was distracted by a big banner advertising “medical marijuana” next door, and I changed course. It was called Sofa King.

Sofa King was hidden. It was sofa king far back off of the road that it hugged the cliff wall like a fucking sofa. It is medical only, so you have to have a permission slip to get in. The front room is long and spacious inside.  it is a big lounge area with a couple of sofas. It is open and bright and welcoming. My kind of place.

The owners are also 75% of the employees. There are three of them and they have one person on staff. They do everything between the four of them. They grow, harvest, trim, and sell. Oh and they blast too! This is what a boutique cannabis shop should look like. They are not packing indsturial warehouses full of plants and equipment. They have a grow room of course, but they don’t do nearly enough business to have to harvest 200 pounds/ week. They are in Dumont, Co. after all. It is a blip on I-70, and you would not even notice the town if you blinked.

Most of their business is distribution to dispensaries in Denver. They would love the foot traffic, but the nearest attraction is the weight station across the street. Not many weigh stations are  popular tourist traps. Other businesses in the area are a corporate coffeshop, a couple of gas stations, and the two ghetto dispensaries.

tumblr_mblssfrrjf1rydpeho1_500It is worth your time, though, if you stop. These guys know how to grow herbs. They trim their buds to be nice, big chunky greenie goodness. There was a good assortment of flower on their shelves. I took home the Cherry Diesel.  This one is new to me. Like “Purps” of the 2000’s and “kush” of the 90’s, Diesel is the new name that is synonomous with “dank”. Personally, I’m getting burned out on the diesel train. This includes the gorilla in the room.

The most exciting thing about diesel happens before ever smoking it. Diesels smell amazing! This Cherry D. was no exception. It attacks the nostrils with its crisp, diesel odor. It is stinky, inky, inky. These buds are solid little buggers too. They are dense like little river pebbles. They are about as big as little mini pinecones. They don’t budge when compressed. Solid.

The Cherry D buds are a forest green, and the smoke is nice and smooth. It is an all around quality smoke.  The price is right, and the crew are quality too. It is always much more of an experience when you can talk to the owner face to face. It makes the herbs even better.

Bonus Charlie Murphy Story:
http://www.cc.com/video-clips/tqp79d/chappelle-s-show-charlie-murphy-s-true-hollywood-stories—rick-james-pt–2—uncensored

Mary Jane For President.

11/6/16

If pot were running for president, she would have won already. It has been 20 years since Mary Jane won her first state and The Feds still refuse to listen to the will of the people. Cannabis has been on the ballot in each election since California passed Proposition 215 in 1996. This year, nine states will decide what level of access to cannabis they will give to their citizens, if any. Five states (Arizona, California, Maine, Massachusetts, and Nevada) will vote on recreational laws. The four other states (Arkansas, Florida, Montana, and North Dakota) will be voting on medical marijuana on Tuesday.

We are 218 million eligible voters. Yet the two candidates we have to choose from are among the least liked candidates in recent elections. Not a single candidate has agreed with me on cannabis legalization since I became eligible to vote 22 years ago. They only need 270 electoral votes to win the big chair in the Oval Office. My only candidate, cannabis, has steadily crept across the country and gobbled up support in these 22 years. When cannabis wins, they win with bipartisan support. This year, our Presidential candidates are ignoring another 87 electoral votes that are up for grabs for recreational cannabis and 41 electoral votes are up for medical cannabis.

The Recreational Initiatives

California is by far the biggest state to ask the recreational question with 55 electoral votes. California has attempted to legalize cannabis more times than any other state. The third time is a charm, they say. But then again, they were pretty wild to attempt to legalize cannabis just two years after the Controlled Substances Act clamped down on the United States. Then they never really got the vote behind them and struggled throughout the campaign in 2010 with Prop 19. In the great 2012 quest to be the first legal state, California couldn’t even get enough consensus to get a single initiative on the ballot. Everybody had their own ideas for the perfect initiative and nothing got done (except for San Diego County, which got five initiatives on the ballot).

The polls for the most recent initiative are much more positive. In fact, Californians have supported AUMA in every major poll taken this year. The most recent poll I could find was on Oct 26th, by the Public Policy Institute of California. The poll showed 55% support for AUMA and 38% against.

Massachusetts and Arizona each have 11 electoral votes. Massachusetts is the more promising of the two. A mid-October WBUR poll shows that support for their legalization initiative, Question 4, increased support from 50% yes and 45% No in September to 55% Yes and 40% no in October. Arizona, on the other hand, may not get the necessary 50% of the vote. In fact, Proposition 205 opponents are winning with 51% of the vote. There is only 45% support for the initiative in Arizona.

Nevada and Maine are the final two recreational initiatives that will be decided on Tuesday. In Nevada, more voters support Question 4 than oppose it, but only 47% of those surveyed said they would vote yes (43% said they would vote no). Unfortunately, they need to reach 50% in order for the initiative to pass. They are running out of time too, since this poll was conducted on October 29th and 30th. These 6 electoral votes are looking a bit too elusive.

Meanwhile, the four electoral votes for Maine are looking to the positive for the supporters of their initiative, Question 1. The most recent poll that the Portland Press Herald conducted was between October 20-25. 50% of the respondents said they would vote yes, while 41% said they would vote no, and 9% were undecided.

The electoral results on Tuesday night could be mixed at best. The best case scenario has California, Massachusetts, and Maine winning. Worst case, everyone loses. Let’s hope we see 71 more electoral votes when we wake up on 11/9.

The Medical Initiatives

As for medical marijuana, four states have initiatives on the ballot. Florida runs away from the pack with the most electoral votes (29) up for grabs. The voting season started out a bit roughly in Florida, oddly enough. NORML sued the Broward County Election Supervisor when they discovered that some absentee ballots did not include Florida’s legalization initiative, Amendment 2. Then the judge ruled that the Election Supervisor took the necessary steps to rectify the problem and closed the case.

A similar initiative called Amendment 2 came before the people in 2014, but their support for that initiative did not reach the required supermajority 60% of the vote that Florida requires for a constitutional amendment. They only got 57%.

Things look different this time around, however. A St. Leo University poll was taken from October 22-26. The poll showed 71% support for the upgraded initiative. 22% of the respondents were against this medical marijuana initiative and 7% were undecided.

Arkansas is another interesting state. Poor, Poor Arkansas. They tried in 2012 and narrowly lost 51%-44%. Then, on October 27th, the State Supreme Court struck down a similar medical marijuana initiative, issue 7. 12,000 signatures were ineligible. This made Issue 7 short of qualifying for the ballot by 2,500 signatures.

Fortunately, there was also Measure 6. The University of Arkansas released their most recent poll on November, 2nd. It shows Measure 6 winning, with 50% of the people polled saying that they would vote yes and 49% voting no. Like a wetsuit in February, these 6 electoral votes are skin tight!

The final two medical marijuana initiatives are Montana and North Dakota. They are coming in with three electoral votes each. Montana seems uninterested in such a law, and is polling at 51% – no, 44%- Yes, and 5% undecided. North Dakota chooses to leave everything up to chance, apparently, because there are no polls out there to provide anything to chew on.

All in all, the medical marijuana initiatives are looking bleak. Florida could send 29 more electoral votes for medical marijuana, but that is all the meat on the medical marijuana bones this election. It makes sense that medical marijuana would be difficult to sell on the ballot. Medical marijuana has reached critical mass. All of the easy states already have laws in the books. Some of the harder ones too.

In fact, 41 of the 50 states have established medical marijuana laws. Sixteen of these states have CBD- only laws, which don’t count. One of those CBD states, Texas, doesn’t even have a way to enact the law. It is a vegan steak. But when all 41 of these states’ electoral votes are added together, a whopping 474 of 538 electoral votes already have medical marijuana laws on record. Remove the vegans from the equation and the electoral vote is still a majority at 278.

So what if we add another 29 electoral votes to the national tally? So what if 42 states have access to this loophole that is medical marijuana? Congress should already be full of Representatives pushing the agendas of their delegations. But where are they?

We are still stuck with a fearless leader who is still afraid to have some courage. The only option we have is “us or them”. We have already decided. 82% of us already have. They need to catch up. My throat is hoarse and my hands have grown leathery from this climb to relevance. Catch up, D.C. Catch the fuck up.

References:

https://www.archives.gov/federal-register/electoral-college/allocation.html
http://www.statisticbrain.com/voting-statistics/
https://ballotpedia.org/Massachusetts_Marijuana_Legalization,_Question_4_(2016)#Polls
http://www.wbur.org/politicker/2016/10/19/wbur-ballot-question-poll-october
https://ballotpedia.org/Arizona_Marijuana_Legalization,_Proposition_205_(2016)#Polls
http://us12.campaign-archive1.com/?u=5a280d25318f2afe3f311adb6&id=215d65b9fa&e=
https://ballotpedia.org/Nevada_Marijuana_Legalization,_Question_2_(2016)#Polls
http://www.reviewjournal.com/news/politics-and-government/nevada-poll-likely-voters-narrowly-support-legalizing-recreational
https://ballotpedia.org/Maine_Marijuana_Legalization,_Question_1_(2016)#Polls
http://www.pressherald.com/2016/10/31/margins-of-support-shrink-for-3-of-the-6-maine-ballot-issues-poll-indicates/document/
https://ballotpedia.org/Florida_Medical_Marijuana_Legalization,_Amendment_2_(2016)#Polls
http://www.local10.com/news/elections/judge-sides-with-broward-supervisor-of-elections-in-ballot-mishap

http://polls.saintleo.edu/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/October-2016-Florida-Ballot-Measures1.pdf
https://ballotpedia.org/Arkansas_Medical_Marijuana_Amendment,_Issue_6_(2016)
http://fulbright.uark.edu/departments/political-science/partners/arkpoll/2016/Arkansas-Poll-Release-2016.pdf
Arkansas Supreme Court Suspends Issue 7 From November Ballot
https://ballotpedia.org/Arkansas_Medical_Marijuana_Question,_Issue_5_(2012)
https://ballotpedia.org/Montana_Medical_Marijuana_Initiative,_I-182_(2016)#Polls
http://missoulian.com/news/government-and-politics/majority-of-montana-voters-oppose-medical-marijuana-initiative-poll-shows/article_0b12eda2-9841-595a-9191-5eba844f3b5d.html
https://ballotpedia.org/North_Dakota_Medical_Marijuana_Legalization,_Initiated_Statutory_Measure_5_(2016)#Polls

Keeping it Trill in Boulder

2/16/16

Trill

1537 Pearl St
Boulder CO

Platinum Bubba Kush

This little spot is just a block away from the famous Pearl Street Mall. It has a badass name. The name is trill as fuck, to be honest. Once inside, I started to think that trill has  really evolved over time. I certainly don’t remember any trill ass niggaz getting a slanging spot so close to such trendy, yuppie shopping areas. There were no gansta grillz to greet me on the inside either. There was not a do-rag in sight, and I didn’t hear the word “nigga” once while I was there.

The underground hustler era is over (at least for herbs), which is kind of odd, because Trill is located in the basement. That is the only connection to the underground; everything else is bright lights and big bucks. For the mainstream, however, they do things right. They sell two kinds. the owner grows the first kind, which is higher quality and they sell it at a premium price and label it “Select”. The other flavor sits in massive canning jars towards the back of the store at the end of the counter.They labeled it “Top Shelf”. It is lower quality and cheaper. It  came from a distributor.

This two-tiered system is a great way for a small grower to grow a successful small business. The cheaper herb can provide the bulk of the income for the business. Most people shop for value. This allows the grower to continue growing a quality product and not have to depend on his higher costs to run the business and keep the doors open. There is nothing worse than having your customers leave because it was too expensive, unless you already have access to the kind of clientele that is not scared of sticker prices.

The cheaper herb can provide additional income that will buffer the costs of growing the expensive “Select” herbs, reducing their bottom line. It can also be a springboard that will convince customers to spend more on the in-house grown herbs. They see the cheap stuff, compare it to the expensive stuff, and realize that it is a no-brainer and end up spending more for less.

Trill-Murray 1

This two-tiered system is also good for future growth. If this was my shop, I would be nurturing and massaging the high cost clientele so that I could spin this off into two stores- one for work weed- the stuff that is not as good, but everyone buys- and one for higher-quality, more-expensive strains. This business plan supports that route.

As for the flowers, well, I wasn’t too thrilled with their selection initially. The jars were all full of little popcorn nugs (or dingleberries). Eventually, the budtender presented me with a jar that attacked my nose with a wealth of fantastic flavors. At some point I had to physically pull the Golden Goat from my nose. That stuff is aromatherapy for me. I can see why cats act the way they do with catnip. I don’t even need to smoke it; breathing in its aromas will make me want to paw the hell out of those curtains for no good reason too.

Decision time came, and I had to break myself of the seductive smell of the Goat. I went for the budtenders’ first choice; the Platinum Bubba Kush. These buds were small, but they had an oily shimmer about them. They really sparkled. The hairs stood like a miniature brown forest that clung to the dense bud like it was a micro- model of Mt. Evans at my fingertips.

This Platinum Bubba Kush smelled quite spicy and sharp, like black pepper and Tabasco sauce. None of that sharpness came into the smoke, however. The smoke is nice and smooth. It is a prelude to the high that sets in like vines grip an old brick building over time.

This does not mean that the herb will put you in couch-lock. It is a productive herb. You could give a speech, cook a party pizza, handle that phone call you were putting off, or even do your taxes. It is best after work, though, when you have a full belly, the day is done, and (hopefully) you have a chance to enjoy God painting in the setting sun.