Looking for Unicorns in a Sea of Weeds.

Cannabis plants are called “weeds” for a good reason: they grow because they can and they do that very well. But in the world of “dank”, simply grown herbs are not enough. There has to be a smell, a taste, a touch, and an all-around stoniness to it. As the market leaders increasingly become DEA agents and former AT&T executives at the expense of generations-old hippie wisdom, I started to wonder if the buds of my youth are just as mediocre as they are today and if I am having a case of “in my day“ (1) syndrome. For that, and a few other reasons, I decided to grow my own cannabis this season.

This was my second attempt at growing. My first time was decades ago under a high-pressure sodium light in a basement while in college. This time, it grew outdoors. I did it because weed should be free- at least to me.  There was a time when I would have wholeheartedly believed that it should be free to you too. But I have learned that the tool that makes capitalism grow is the middle man. The concept of opportunity cost gives the middle man the power to do all of the work for us. This is the age of corporate weed; the many generations of knowledge of the ganja farmer is now lost to the middle man. Now that the good growers are gone, if not stifled, I was eager to embark on my own and see if dank really was just a legend.

There was an organic, small business movement that really resonated with me in the 90’s in my hometown of Omaha (Danktown). My dumbass thought I was championing it by buying weed grown in the basements of my friends. It just seemed like the right thing to do. Out in the world, “small business” and “buy local” were buzzwords floating around back then. Cannabis was something that I had a lot of control over, as opposed to Kroger, who knows I will always be back for milk tomorrow. I don’t know any cows. I can’t change the major food market, but I can keep the ganja local- at least my ganja.

The main problem with corporate humans is that their food is money. We have to sustain their ever-growing appetites at the expense of a quality product. They learn cheats and tricks (like making your food need poison in order to grow) that meet the demands of the boardroom at the expense of the farmer. This pushed the experienced, quality growers out of the market and replaced them with the “yes men” that a good, healthy corporation needs in order to survive.

There will eventually be room for the small grower to make a living. Right now, however, the market is entirely too unstable as record supply meets daily falling prices.(2) Regulatory capture is also an incredible burden to overcome. This is the time for corporate beasts to find the real price floor of a retail cannabis market and where they fight it out on sales floors and on spreadsheets while I sit on the sidelines and… wait.

Oversupply chart
Oregon Liquor Control Commission: As of January 1, 2019, the recreational market has an estimated 6.5 years’ worth of theoretical supply on hand. Even under assumptions of growth in demand caused by more Oregonians consuming more marijuana supply will almost certainly continue to exceed demand at current levels of production” (3,4)

It took me quite a few years to demystify cannabis in my brain. Dank buds were like unicorns for me. Dank was incredibly rare and the stuff of legends. Everybody can plant some seeds and water them. That doesn’t get you dank. You can fix nitrogen-lock and give it the nutrients it needs, but still will not necessarily give you dank. Pest management can help, but also will not necessarily get you the unicorn you are looking for.

My little unicorns came into the world battle scarred. We had quite a bit of turbulent weather here in Colorado this year. The spring came in with hail and a ton of rain. One night, the hail attacked at three in the morning. The plants had just sprouted and were barely 4” tall. Most of the leaves were shorn off and their growth spurt never came. One plant even had its stem broken all the way down the middle. Yet they still grew. They lost their Alien Tahoe O.G. name that night and became Hail Damage Kush in honor of that storm.

Growers are like mad scientists. They have particular personalities and it shows in the herbs that they grow. Some are freewheeling and happy, inviting their family in to help with the grow and it is like a party every time you visit. Others are regimented and quiet, refusing to allow anyone into their sanctuary. The one thing that they all do is pay attention to the plants and give them what they need when they need it most. Or don’t because the plant is satisfied.

I could have done better to react to the hail damaged sprouts, like adding aspirin to their water. But I didn’t listen to my advisor, and the struggled tp recover. Sure, they were ravaged by hail. But they kept growing. Every day. So, I kept watering. As the days dragged on, I established routines that kept me on task. It didn’t matter how tired I was after work, I had to feed the plants. They ate, then I ate. This is a big deal for a dude who ate almost every meal of his 20s and 30s at a mom-and-pop restaurant. Sometimes, I would even bring a book with me as I doted over them on nice summer days. I would read a couple of pages before noticing some new growth that needed to be pruned.

I fought daily with spider mites that never got bad and walked lightly around the yellow jackets and wasps that hunted them. I learned about the signs of nitrogen-lock and the constant war within the pH of the water that these plants consume. It was all stuff that this city boy has heard about for decades, but now has context.

The plants were constantly pruned and the stems were scrogged as they grew. Most scrogging is done with plastic. But I didn’t use the plastic screens for a variety of reasons; I simply don’t want to be throwing away any plastic trash at the end of the season. Instead, I used bamboo sticks and clips to train the main stem to grow horizontally along the ground instead of shooting to the sky. This way, the bottom stems, which usually have the lowest flower production will be the ones shooting to the sky.

Then autumn came and the flowers started coming in. They started to bulk up. There was no clear terminal bud on the plants and it started to look like a strand of cattails growing in my backyard. The buds bulked and I watched and constantly wondered if all this effort was for just some schwag.

It wasn’t until I cut and started the curing process that I saw some potential for a good product. The first plant to come out of the curing room was the smallest and purplest. Lil’ Purp. It did not yield much at all. But what it did produce was a good start. The buds were solid and chunky. They quelled my biggest concern: buds full of sugar leaves and underdeveloped fruit: they always result in popcorn buds and trimming-induced crossed-eyes. This is the worst possible kind of cannabis to trim and fortunately it did not happen to me.

Since Lil’ Purp was the first to come down, so it was also the first to come out of cure. It had good flavor to it. It smelled and tasted good and is a behind the eye kind of high. Lil’ Purp is a classic one-hitter quitter that it sticks around for about an hour. It is clean and does not burn the throat, which means that it was flushed correctly.

Plants two and three came out of cure next. And they both turned out fantastically. These were the biggest, heathiest, and most likely to succeed. If these two worked out well, then 1) my endless search for a grower is over and 2) no more dispensary weed! The samples that I gave out came back quite positive. In fact, a horticulturist got jealous and challenged me to a grow-off. He gave me some seeds to plant and we will soon start the challenge.

The meat of my harvest gave me with a quarter pound of solid, dense, and thick buds. They are the kind that push back when squeezed. I was even rewarded with a few seeds. So much else is right with these buds that a dozen or so seeds is a good thing. They are the future.

Plant four was also quite thick. She came in at a healthy quarter pound too; with lots of healthy, fat colas. It also burned smooth, tasted good, and yielded expected results. And its hairs turned just days before an October snowstorm hit. Plant five, however, was a bit stubborn.

Plant five remained in its vegetative stage the longest. She grew the tallest and fully matured last. The crazy weather this year had me hauling me plants indoors a few times over the summer: I learned my lesson in the spring. The last October snow was its messenger of death. plant five wasn’t getting saved this time. Nope, snow was coming and if that is what it takes to make those stigmas turn, then so be it. She was going to get dumped on. Season is over. Mother Nature demands it.

IMG_8624
baby the plants

It snowed all night. As I prepared my coffee and looked out the window the next morning, I could only laugh because she looked like she looked like a cat forced into a tub of water. She looked mad. Then, when I came home from work, her heavy buds were weighted down and she looked incredibly despondent. I kinda felt bad. But the stigmas changed, and it was harvest time. And that was the goal.

Not surprisingly, she was the biggest haul, at five ounces. Half of plant 5 went straight to the freezer for live resin, while the other half went to cure. I had no idea what to expect of snowed on, hail-damaged ganja. It turns out that I was just too paranoid, because the weed turned out just fine. Well, maybe a little harsh, but not nearly as bad as it could have been in my mind.

This entire year was an experiment that was a success.  Listening to herbs is like listening to people; you just have to pay attention. Growing weed outdoors is a daily micro-step on a nine-month path. If this is done, then growing good weed is easy. Most importantly, I learned that I can grow my own food alongside this fine cannabis just as easily. If I can grow weed that is better than the shops here are pushing, then I can certainly grow a tomato that tastes better than Kroger sells me.

Endontes:

  1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vYmA0zPiVHY
  2. http://opb-imgserve-production.s3-website-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/original/2019_supply_and_demand_legislative_report_final_for_legislators_1548964723484.pdf
  3. https://www.opb.org/news/article/oregon-cannabis-surplus-2019/
  4. http://opb-imgserve-production.s3-website-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/original/2019_supply_and_demand_legislative_report_final_for_legislators_1548964723484.pdf

2018 was the Year that Bipartisanship came to Cannabis Reform.

 

Ending cannabis prohibition requires attacking the flawed logic of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). Fortunately, the foundations of cannabis reform are built on solid legs. They are Medical cannabis, Industrial hemp, and Recreational marijuana. The CSA simply refused any possibility of medical purposes. The marihuana Act of 1937 split hemp into the preferred drug of the jazz degenerate and the hempy weed that grows by the stream. As long as they are separate, they are marginalized and weak. It was not until the scapegoat of the cannabis family, recreational marijuana, got its chance at relevance when it was legalized in 2012. The following years validated the will of the voters as it spread across the USA. In 2018 industrial hemp and medical cannabis became the benefactors.

 

Recreational cannabis won big this year. Really big. Elected officials are proactively establishing regulations from the top down. The year started out in Vermont, where Republican Governor Phil Scott grudgingly signed a cannabis legalization bill into law.[i]This year, Vermont became the first state to enact cannabis legislation through their legislature and the ninth state to legalize recreational cannabis. Both major choices for Governor of Vermont this year supported cannabis: Phil Scott signed the aforementioned cannabis bill into law[ii]and his challenger, Christine Hallquist, was a vocal supporter of legal cannabis.[iii]11 other successful gubernatorial campaigns remarked positively about cannabis legalization.[1][iv]

 

State ballot questions ranged from non-binding advisory questions in Wisconsin[v]to full legalization in Michigan[vi]. The Midwest also got medical access in Missouri.[vii]Utah joined the list of growing states to approve legal access to medical cannabis.[viii]The only cannabis loser this year was in North Dakota, who shot the moon with a legalization question that failed on Election Day there.[ix]They keep on trying though, so don’t expect them to go home quietly. Oh, and the Canadian Senate voted in June to legalize recreational cannabis throughout the country.[x]The law came in to effect in October.

 

There were also some local wins as well. A dispensary owner won a seat on the South Lake Tahoe City Council.[xi]  The owner of a local ganja shop recently went from embattled business owner to City Council member in two years. This is another indication of how quickly things are turning around in 2018.

 

Another California community, Los Angeles, is beginning a social equity program. Social equity programs started in Oakland a few years ago, where a couple of young black ladies started a non-profit called The Hood Incubator.[xii]The founders of The Hood Incubator were keenly aware that “As recently as 2015, Oakland officers arrested black residents nearly 20 times more often than white residents for cannabis-related crimes.” Yet, “black people had owned or founded less than 5 percent of cannabis businesses nationwide and, across all industries, black-founded startups had received just 1 percent of venture capital funding.”[xiii]The city of Los Angeles is now the second city to bring this program to their residents[xiv].

 

This idea of “Social equity” is not one that is traditionally American. Yet, Illinois and Massachusetts are also deciding on their own social equity programs to complement their cannabis laws. The Massachusetts cannabis regulatory body responsible is called The Cannabis Control Commission. They have so far “issued 76 provisional licenses…None of those are to minority-owned businesses”[xv].

 

Illinois wants to be ahead of the curve as legalization comes to their state. The newly-elected Governor, J.B. Pritzker, was quite vocal about legalizing cannabis in his campaign. He even dedicated a 265-word declaration page on his campaign site: https://www.jbpritzker.com/marijuana/.Their lawmakers have shifted their thinking from ““whether or not cannabis should be legal” to “how it should be legal””[xvi].

 

Colorado, California, and Delaware have all passed legislation that will expunge cannabis felonies[xvii][xviii][xix]. Massachusetts, Vermont, and New Jersey have legislation written and are waiting for a vote[xx][xxi][xxii].

 

Even the United States congress has a plan to legalize cannabis. The Congressional Black Causus issued a press release in June that indicated their support for “decriminalizing marijuana and investing in communities that were destroyed by the War on Drugs…We also support expunging the records of those previously convicted of misdemeanors for marijuana offenses.”[xxiii]

 

Soon after the Democrats took control of the house, Earl Blumenaur, the co-founder of the Cannabis Caucus, wrote a memo that stated the Democrats’ path forward. “The memo he sent to Democratic leadership reads in part, “committees should start marking up bills in their jurisdiction that would responsibly narrow the marijuana policy gap—the gap between federal and state marijuana laws—before the end of the year. These policy issues … should include: Restorative justice measures that address the racial injustices that resulted from the unequal application of federal marijuana laws.””[xxiv]

 

As the very base that embraces the “tough on crime” approach watches the compassionate side of the country loosen cannabis laws, they are scrambling to establish dominance while maintaining the “moral high ground”. Good, evangelical views intersect with states’ rights at industrial hemp. This intersectionality happened at the 2018 Farm bill, where industrial hemp was removed from the CSA and put it within the purview of the USDA. (CBD was also removed, but the FDA was a bit butt hurt…read on).

 

This hardy plant indicates the growing bipartisan power that the cannabis plant holds today. Even grumpy old Mitch McConnel could not resist the smell of money that the hemp plant exudes. His 2018 farm bill:

 

“officially reclassifies hemp for commercial uses after decades of statutes and    legal enforcement conflating hemp and marijuana, the Farm Bill distinguishes between the two by removing hemp from the Controlled Substances Act. (While the two are closely related, hemp lacks the high concentration of THC that is responsible for the high from smoking marijuana.) This would effectively move regulation and enforcement of the crop from the purview of the Drug Enforcement Agency to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.”[xxv]

 

 

It is a big deal. Of course, this does not mean that the south would accept recreational cannabis. Mitch McConnell still believes that ““I do not have any plans to endorse the legalization of marijuana,” he said, adding that marijuana and hemp are “two entirely separate plants…It is a different plant. It has an illicit cousin which I choose not to embrace,””[xxvi]

 

That is okay, though. Dinosaurs like him are on the way out. Pete Sessions will be joining him. He is the drug warrior who single-handedly blocked more than 36 amendments from getting a full floor vote[xxvii]. He lost the mid-term election to a former NFL football player and medical-cannabis advocate, Colin Allred.[xxviii]

 

Another Southern Dinosaur lost his way when the top lawman in the country got fired over the Thanksgiving holiday. 2018 ended Jeff Sessions’ reign on terror. He is not a Senator nor Attorney General anymore. He has endorsed and inflicted the “tough on crime” approach for decades. As Attorney General, he withdrew the “Cole Memo” that gave Justice Department attorneys a clear idea of what is legal and what is not legal cannabis business activities. He also blocked research into medical cannabis.[xxix]While it is unclear what direction medical cannabis research will take moving forward, it will not be from the embodiment of the obstructionist south, Mr. Jefferson Beauregard Sessions.

 

The single biggest thing to happen this year, however, has to be the medical relief component of cannabis that the FDA announced in June. Their approval of Epidiolex led to a conflict with the CSA, leaving cannabis in legal limbo.[xxx]The FDA even flexed on the Senate when they had to remind Senator McConnell that there is a list of CBD drugs that are not yet approved by the FDA.[xxxi]

 

All of this leads to an incredibly successful 2019 for the cannabis industry. The politics this year scream “legalize it”. There were campaigning politicians, on both sides, who saw the political value of supporting a legal cannabis market during their campaign. Cannabis legalization has not been muttered in a presidential debate once in these last 20 years. Not once has this issue been important enough to put on record in a debate, despite the massive relaxation of cannabis laws over the past two decades. It looks like there will be one president in 2020 who said “I legalized”.  Job done.

 

[i]https://www.burlingtonfreepress.com/story/news/politics/2018/01/22/vermont-governor-scott-signs-pot-bill-mixed-emotions/1055063001/

 

[ii]https://www.marijuanamoment.net/a-guide-to-vermonts-new-marijuana-legalization-law/

 

[iii]https://twitter.com/VTdems

 

[iv] https://www.forbes.com/sites/tomangell/2018/11/01/marijuana-in-the-governors-mansion-record-number-of-candidates-say-legalize-it/#3a7d60022e93

 

[v]https://www.marijuanamoment.net/wisconsin-voters-widely-embrace-marijuana-legalization-in-the-midterms/

[vi]https://www.freep.com/story/news/marijuana/2018/11/07/michigan-marijuana-results-election-legalization/1835297002/

[vii]https://ballotpedia.org/Missouri_Amendment_2,_Medical_Marijuana_and_Veteran_Healthcare_Services_Initiative_(2018)

[viii]https://ballotpedia.org/Utah_Proposition_2,_Medical_Marijuana_Initiative_(2018)

[ix]https://ballotpedia.org/North_Dakota_Marijuana_Legalization_Initiative_(2018)

 

[x]https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/news/2018/06/backgrounder-the-cannabis-act-the-facts.html

[xi]http://southtahoenow.com/story/11/06/2018/south-lake-tahoe-and-el-dorado-county-election-results?fbclid=IwAR1MiFwK8483BkhMzD2Ag1u5Ouhlz8WhK_HkBxNE6W_KdUIu9A2MUZUwelU

[xii]https://www.hoodincubator.org/

[xiii]https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2018/03/27/oakland-legal-cannabis-hood-incubator-217657

[xiv]https://cannabis.lacity.org/business-licensing

 

[xv]https://www.wbur.org/news/2018/11/28/map-cannabis-companies-massachusetts

 

[xvi]http://www.chicagomag.com/Chicago-Magazine/January-2019/Will-Illinois-Help-Fix-the-Weed-Industrys-Diversity-Problem/

 

[xvii]https://www.denverpost.com/2018/12/04/denver-expunge-marijuana-records/

 

[xviii]https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billTextClient.xhtml?bill_id=201720180AB1793

 

[xix]https://www.wdel.com/news/marijuana-convictions-go-up-in-smoke-with-new-delaware-record/article_35c12c16-abcc-11e8-ab36-e3f97a5a6462.html

 

[xx]https://malegislature.gov/Bills/190/H2785

 

[xxi]https://legislature.vermont.gov/bill/status/2018/H.865

 

[xxii]https://www.legiscan.com/NJ/bill/S830/2018

 

[xxiii]https://cbc.house.gov/news/documentsingle.aspx?DocumentID=903

 

[xxiv]https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2018/11/18/criminal-justice-reform-hemp-marijuana-congress-222609

[xxv]https://www.forbes.com/sites/andrebourque/2018/12/17/how-hemp-and-the-farm-bill-may-change-life-as-you-know-it/

 

[xxvi]https://thehill.com/homenews/senate/386791-mcconnell-i-wont-support-legalizing-marijuana

 

[xxvii]https://www.marijuanamoment.net/analysis-gop-congress-has-blocked-dozens-of-marijuana-amendments/?link_id=2&can_id=4dd1926dc59aae056ea65db4ca82244e&source=email-texas-leading-marijuana-prohibitionist-fails-in-congressional-re-election-bid&email_referrer=email_451617&email_subject=texas-leading-marijuana-prohibitionist-fails-in-congressional-re-election-bid

[xxviii]https://www.marijuana.com/news/2018/11/with-pete-sessions-out-veterans-may-get-marijuana-they-need/

[xxix]https://www.brookings.edu/blog/fixgov/2017/10/25/ag-sessions-blocks-progress-on-medical-cannabis-research/

[xxx]https://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm611046.htm

[xxxi]https://www.natlawreview.com/article/fda-updates-its-position-cbd-upon-signing-farm-bill

A Tenderfoots’ Trip to Sal-ida

Tenderfoot Health collective Salida

I let my MMJ card lapse this year. Which means that I have fully completed the transition to consumer. This gives me the opportunity to look at the rec shops in the state. Word on the street is that most medical cannabis spots want to become recreational so that they can make larger profits. The State likes it too because they can get all of that tax money. I’m excited to see whether these shops can actually grow good weed or if it is crap like everyone else. Which brings me to Tenderfoot Health Collective in the collegiate peaks region of Colorado.

Tenderfoot Health Collective is in a great location. It is on the corner of Highway 291 and US 50. It is almost the last building in town (or first, depending on your perspective). The Sangre de Cristo range dominate the view to the south. It is quite amazing to behold, especially this time of year, as the mountains get their first dusting of snow that compliments their fiery collars of autumn aspen and evergreen trees.

The interiors Tenderfoot Health Collective is cavernous (like so many of these ganja shops) and has a nice waiting area with couches and chairs that is always empty, at least when I visit. It is warm and welcoming and comfortable. It is clear that Tenderfoot is owned by a woman. It has that vibe. It screams “woman’s touch”. Also, I have never seen a male working there.

The weed is good, there is a wide variety to choose from, and there is always something on sale. Tax is included in the prices already too, so you can have a surprise-free experience at the register. Their full price is not bad either. It brings an ⅛ to under $50, which is reasonable for top-shelf.

But is the herb at Tenderfoot top shelf? The weed I got was Alien Rock, a heavy Indica. It has nice, strong aroma, and is a nice, clean smoke. It is well flushed and a couple of hits are good. The buds are well coated in crystals and hairs. They were also a bit small, but that could be the fault of the trimmers as much as the bud. It’s not leafy. Instead the buds are nice and dense. They are solid to squeeze and do not give under a pinch.

While not quite to my level of excellence, Tenderfoot can grow some damn good buds. They can’t be beat at the price they are charging, however. It is well worth it. Now, back to those mountains!

14er is a Crystal Ball of the Cannabis Community

If you wanna know where the herb game is going, look no further than the 14er in Boulder. They got it going on for a few reasons. First, their growers grow weed better than everybody else and, second, their marketing team knows the ganja community better than the competition.

Best Weed

The 14er has such good weed that they can’t keep it on the shelf. It is stinky. Inky inky. They decided to restrict their product on the medical side to members-only. They have also added a recreational shop since my last visit, a couple of years ago. Despite the high demand for their product, they still lowered prices since then.

Supply and demand would tell me to raise the prices until the balance between demand and supply gave me the most profit. I am happy in am not in charge! They get all of this increased business, they manage to keep the quality high, and they lowered prices.  Life is good.

The flowers from The 14err have the rare distinction of being really quite stinky. A good bowl, I mean a really good bowl of herb is like a fresh bite of sashimi tuna. Or an amazing whiskey steak that melts in your mouth. Really good herb makes you want to stop and savor the all-around flavor. The farm of The 14er certainly knows how to produce these features..

Tapped in

Another indicator that the 14er is looking at the industry from a unique lens is that their container game is on lock. Product design is obviously important to the success of a company. Some companies, like Apple, see design as a fundamental part of the product. The generic pill bottle design is outdated and impractical. It is practical for pills, but that was what they were made for. Fresh herbs are different than pills. They don’t work in a pill bottle.

The 14er considered this and made fantastic little containers that fit their nugs ergonomically. They are shaped like hockey pucks or (shudder- tobacco reference!) a chewing tobacco container. It doesn’t make much sense to get a fat chew out of a pill bottle does it? Then why would another dry plant be a good idea?

There will be many takes on the concept in the coming years. The access to the herbs for the consumer is as important as a decanter for wine. consumer much easier access to the herbs.  You don’t have to crush them trying to get them out of the container. It is simple and something that indicates the industry is run from the spreadsheet more than from the community. Personally, I hope there comes a day when the customer can bring his/her jar in. That wont happen until Americans are as comfortable with a container of weed on the table as they are with a pack of cigarettes.

There is, unfortunately, one unintended consequence of the design. Inside the lid is a tin pop-top reminiscent of a can of wet cat food. I ripped the top tab off and the mangled metal lid stayed on the tin. They were careful to make it “childproof” and therefore legal and accidentally built in a more dangerous mechanism.

I’m not even sure what the use is of the metal finger-cutter in the first place. The weed was incredibly dry, so it wasn’t there to keep the herbs fresh. In fact, the biggest problem with the new “potent” weed of today is that the flowers are never fresh. For this reason alone, we need the corporate beasts to hurry up and start eating each other so that we can clear the way for a truly dank independent café. I am sure the folks at the helm of The 14er will be close to the epicenter on that day.

 

 

The Truth has set Cannabis Free.

Cannabis has just been rescheduled! Or is it descheduled? Whatever it is, it is great news! Epidiolex has been in trials for at least 7 years, and the FDA finally relented and gave their stamp of approval on valid, medical cannabis.

Give thanks that science has finally freed the plant. Humanity is going to benefit greatly, starting with those suffering from Dravet Symdrome

Source:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/victoriaforster/2018/06/25/fda-approves-first-ever-medication-containing-ingredient-directly-purified-from-cannabis/amp/

Busy, busy, busy days. But I’m still making brainwaves. Be back soon with more to say.

 

Muggle life has been crazy busy for me lately. As I settle into minimum wage and the car payment fixes itself to my income, the daily barrage of futility music of Adele and company has invaded my soul. I don’t have time to chase dreams, let alone make them reality.

My “sovereignty” is now that of the new American- a serf who owes my livelihood to my corporate lord. In this case, it is the grocery industry. Even the housing here is provided by the company, because I sure as shit can’t afford to live here. Neither can the rest of their employees.

in honor of getting my albums back, I’m gonna share a little fela kuti. It’s his floor…

https://youtu.be/HwLYHCCwGT0

Thank You for Buying Danktownes Phinest. Please Have Your Exit Bags Ready Before You Leave the Store.

March 2, 2018

exit bag 4

About 7 years ago, the newly-appointed director of the freshly rebranded San Diego NORML gave me a present as a gesture of gratitude. It was a black, smelly-proof backpack that he acquired from a client of his. I could think of a million times in the 90’s and early oughts that this bag would have been a lifesaver. By 2011, however, cannabis was my cologne. My car always smelled like it, my clothes always smelled like it, and I even developed an alter ego that shortened to Dan K. I was completely “out” as a stoner. And it felt great.

Then 2012 hit, and Colorado legalized recreational cannabis. The new law here in Colorado was full of padding and statements that minimal inappropriate impact in the community would come from these cannabusinesses. The exit bag was one of those statements. I was greatly annoyed when I bought my first bag in 2013 and had to buy an exit bag. It was usually a cheap piece of plastic that had a locking zipper on it. Extraordinary measures were taken to appease the suburban voter who actually counts by putting things like this mild headache in Amendment 64.

I was also aware that our tribe was walking a thin line; by legalizing herbs, Colorado was blatantly and aggressively weakening its drug laws in the face of the federal government. The generations of children who grew up under the clearly flawed rhetoric of the War on Drugs are locked in a battle of the educated elite vs the gun-toting white southerner. This is not something sacred and wholesome like a gun. No, this was a bonafide drug. And it was soon to be sold legally around kids. The KIDS!

exit bagSo I bought my exit bag for $10 or whatever. Everywhere I went, they dropped the hammer about the exit bag. It’s not like I can just go on craigslist and buy an AR-15. In fact, it is very much the opposite. These shops stick to the law like gorilla glue sticks to the linoleum. Some places even added their own little laws and said they could only allow their weed to leave in an exit bag that has their brand name on it. Other places were cool and just gave me one. (I have a ton of exit bags, as you can guess).

These bags also came in couple of styles. There were bags that looked like the Post Office Express Mail envelopes. There were others that looked like canvas wine totes. And then there was me, from the old school, with my empty Totino’s salsa jar that is ready for a refill. Cannabis is a consumer product now. The same people who brought you “meat is murder” are now shoveling petroleum products out the door (but that is a different story).

Things change fast in this new ganja game. They stick to the rules like they are the TSA, but the rules seem to change faster than the honest opinion of our President. I got some herbs yesterday, and my exit bag is now a brown paper bag with a staple in it. Maybe tomorrow I can bring my reusable jars. At least give me the same standards as an AR-15.

A hidden Gem Stashed and Surviving in the ‘Burbs.

Kosher Kush

Colorado Cannabis Connection
4550 S. Kipling St.
Denver, CO 80127

B

It has been a long time since I reviewed any of the Denver shops because it has been a long time since I have shopped in the city. Recently, I went to my local spot in Littleton called The Colorado Cannabis Connection to see what they got. It is close to my house, which is good. It is also in a strip mall, which I think is the ugliest example of American Capitalism and an absolute blight on the land.

But, I do live in the suburbs, and the vanilla of the neighborhood reflects the blandness to support suburban sprawl in the mini mall. Colorado Cannabis Connection cannot be faulted for the location; they have no choice. This is the ‘burbs. It is a planned community where Wal-Mart and King Soopers are the only businesses courted in the development.

Big Box stores and little box stores pock the landscape and their parking lots hold the long-antiquated petrol transport vehicles in their stalls. Those lines demarcate order in this chaotic world and are indicative of the vilest rule in corporate culture: Stay in your lane, worker.

Because of this, I have avoided the Colorado Cannabis Connection. I figured it was just another Starbucks of weed and that they had 1,000 (figurative, not literal) stores in the state. This is the only one, however, which makes it acceptable. When I went inside, the intake receptionist was answering questions that a customer had about some specifics of the plant.

He seemed to know what he was talking about, and I was even more reassured of the Colorado Cannabis Connection. They had a good assortment to choose from across the flower spectrum. They grew dense buds that were trimmed tight.  There was a nice, healthy odor to them, but it wasn’t too strong.

I got the Kosher Kush. It hit smooth, and the budtender was right; they do know how to cure their herbs. It is mild. It does not overpower and create couch-lock, but it does stick around just under the surface. Quality.

 

 

The South is Like a Burr in my Socks.

Donald Trump’s campaign started with his ad hominem birtherism attacks on Obama years ago ad nauseum. That gave him his footing in The Dixie South, which quickly became his stronghold. (Virginia was the only state in The South to vote against Trump, but they always vote blue.) He got 45% of his needed electoral votes (122) in The South.

The South sticks together, and cannabis prohibition is a component of the glue. This is the land where rum smugglers of old venerate the constant left turns of NASCAR. This land is littered with dry counties where moonshine is readily available. States’ Rights are at the tips of all of their lips, but only when buying and selling individual members of a family to work their cotton fields.

Attorney General Sessions got into the US Senate partially thanks to a different southern crop, tobacco. In fact, he had to return $2000 to the RJ Reynolds PAC in 1997[i] because they gave him more money than he could legally accept during the campaign.[ii] I can only assume these are the good people he is talking about when he says “good people don’t smoke marijuana”.[iii]

Who are these “good people”?

They are defenders of 40 years’ worth of more than “800 claims against cigarette manufacturers for damages related to the effects of smoking”.[iv] They lied to their own people so much that their own had bring lawsuits to recoup past Medicare fees that we all had to pay.

Mississippi was the first state to begin these Medicare related lawsuits against Big Tobacco starting in 1994. Other states quickly followed and Big Tobacco was quickly inundated with legal attacks from various states over the next three years. In 1997, after losing smartly, Big Tobacco joined with the states to ask Congress to settle the case. Senator Sessions was their man.[v]

These good people primarily hail from North Carolina. North Carolina, is by far the largest tobacco growing state in the United States.[vi] Their lawyers argued for decades that their cigarettes were perfectly acceptable for human consumption. Why, then, should they be so disinterested in another agrarian crop? What is it about The South that insists that cannabis be embargoed?

Who cares? Frankly, it doesn’t matter. This cat is not going back in the bag. Before 2016, there were zero states in The South that endorsed medical cannabis. Now there are three. Those states are Arkansas, Louisiana, and Florida. Florida is a big deal because 71% of the voters overcame the manadated 2/3 citizen vote.[vii] Yet, the Legislature took it upon themselves to write the law to exclude smoking cannabis.[viii] [1]  As it stands now, none of the southern states have legal access to cannabis flower. Instead, they dance around their beliefs that a smoked plant is bad for, I guess, their “white women”.[ix]

This most recent election pushed the number of senators representing cannabis states (I will call them cannasenators) over the halfway mark. There are now more states representing cannabis in Congress than there are  opposing the herb. 217 is the median. Of the 435 Senators, 262 sitting senators now represent medical marijuana in congress. It has been steadily increasing since 2005.

 

Cannasenators by Congressional Session.png

Cannasenators by Congressional Session, 1995-2015

As Alabama raced to protect their proud lynching heritage, their native son, the Attorney General, reminds four free states that the federal government is in charge and states’ rights mean nothing. His genteel threat to the governors of these four free states:

      “…would note the concluding paragraph: ?{sic}nothing herein [in the Cole Memorandum] precludes investigation or prosecution, even in the absence of any one of the factors listed above,in particular circumstances where investigation and prosecution otherwise serves an importantfederal interest.? {sic} Thus, the memorandum ? {sic}does not alter in any way the Department? {sic}s authority to enforce federal law, including federal laws relating to marijuana, regardless of state law.”[x]

Sessions is now the top lawman in the country, and the cannabis industry is one of the primary categories of American life that he wants to destroy. In California, his attack dogs are poking holes in Attorney-Client privilege as they search for a way to topple this pillar of justice[xi]. In D.C., he is trying to build a set of prosecutors who will work outside of the skeptical confines of the Justice Department and well within the polarized realm of the DEA.[xii]

Despite all of this, the industry is gaining influence in Congress every election cycle.  Congress has repeatedly cut funding off for the Justice Department to investigate legal cannabis businesses in recent years. The Cole memorandum was some much-needed clarification that has been DOJ policy since 2013.

The serious about-face of the new administration has sent ripples through the halls of Congress. But it is not anything new for the cannabis industry. We survived G.W. Bush. In his first term, we got two senators from 2001-2005. He attacked us hard. He put the pink jail in Humboldt County on the map. He even put Tommy Chong in prison. They tried poking so many holes into Prop 215 that it would fall apart. Yet, we got 21 more senators from 2005-2007. And another 21 in the next two years. That’s 42 senators in the last 6 years of his presidency.

It does not matter that impotent Republicans who fear for their seat in The House recently failed to vote for the popular Rohrbacher-Farr amendment, removing certain cannabusiness protections for those legal states.[xiii]. We will vote them out and put our own congresspeople in their seats.

Fortunately, the Senate did what they are best at and kicked the can down the line when they voted for the Rohrbacher- Blumenthal amendment in their emergency debt limit budget.[xiv] Legal cannabis states are protected- for another three months. Great.

Congress knows that something needs to be done about this. Congresspeople have grown bolder in their legislation, and new bills are constantly introduced that would reschedule, if not deschedule cannabis within the Controlled Substances Act. The latest has been brought forth by Senator Cory Booker. It is called the Marijuana Justice Act of 2017.

The following is a press release taken from the website of Senator Cory Booker:

“The Marijuana Justice Act seeks to reverse these troubling trends and fix our broken marijuana laws.

Specifically, the Marijuana Justice Act will:

  • Remove marijuana from the list of controlled substances, making it legal at the federal level;
  • Incentivize states through federal funds to change their marijuana laws if marijuana in the state is illegal and the state disproportionately arrests or incarcerates low-income individuals and people of color for marijuana-related offenses;
  • Automatically expunge federal marijuana use and possession crimes;
  • Allow an individual currently serving time in federal prison for marijuana use or possession crimes to petition a court for a resentencing;
  • Create a community reinvestment fund to reinvest in communities most impacted by the failed War on Drugs and allow those funds to be invested in the following programs:

o   Job training;

o   Reentry services;

o   Expenses related to the expungement of convictions;

o   Public libraries;

o   Community centers;

o   Programs and opportunities dedicated to youth; and

o   Health education programs.”[xv]

There have been many bills that have come through that tried to deschedule cannabis. None have made it. Will this one? Time and civic activism will tell. The fight against fake laws is not yet over, and it is up to us, the voter, to remind the men and women of Congress that they represent the will of the people. If we don’t say anything, then they have no reason to respond. The lobbyists give them hundreds of millions of reasons to respond. We have only one: the ballot box. Tell your representative what you think of this bill. Remind them of the upcoming vote, and where you stand. Call them constantly.

Link to find your representative: https://www.usa.gov/elected-officials/

 

 

 



[1] Many of the cannalaws in the last 20 years have been amendments because the authors are acutely aware that many legislatures will do all they can to hijack these laws.

[i] https://paleofuture.gizmodo.com/jeff-sessions-anti-weed-crusader-was-a-shill-for-big-1792831457?utm_medium=sharefromsite&utm_source=Paleofuture_twitter

[ii] https://paleofuture.gizmodo.com/jeff-sessions-anti-weed-crusader-was-a-shill-for-big-1792831457

[iii] https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2016/11/18/trumps-pick-for-attorney-general-good-people-dont-smoke-marijuana/?utm_term=.d901e7e811e0

[iv] http://www.publichealthlawcenter.org/sites/default/files/resources/tclc-fs-msa-overview-2015.pdf

[v] https://www.industrydocumentslibrary.ucsf.edu/tobacco/docs/#id=mrxb0009

[vi] https://www.statista.com/statistics/192022/top-10-tobacco-producing-us-states/

[vii] https://ballotpedia.org/Florida_Medical_Marijuana_Legalization,_Amendment_2_(2016)

[viii] http://www.thecannabist.co/2017/06/12/florida-medical-marijuana-law-suit/81313/

[ix] http://quotes.liberty-tree.ca/quote/harry_anslinger_quote_846a

[x] http://www.thecannabist.co/2017/08/17/jeff-sessions-letters-marijuana-policy-alaska-colorado-oregon-washington/86246/

[xi] http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/courts/sd-me-medwest-charges-20170615-story.html

[xii] http://www.npr.org/2017/05/04/526784152/dea-seeks-prosecutors-to-fight-opioid-crisis-critics-fear-return-to-war-on-drugs

[xiii] https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2015/10/20/federal-court-tells-the-dea-to-stop-harassing-medical-marijuana-providers/?utm_term=.95ae7047f2f4

[xiv] http://www.thecannabist.co/2017/09/08/rohrabacher-blumenauer-medical-marijuana-states/87647/

[xv] https://www.booker.senate.gov/?p=press_release&id=638