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:




[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.
















Much ado about the Endocannabinoid System

The Endocannabinoid System (ECS) is all about homeostasis. Yin and yang are all about balance. Whole-system treatment may be common in Chinese Medicine, but the idea was completely foreign to European-based medicine. It took an American, Walter Cannon, to introduce homeostasis in the medical lexicon in 1930.[i]

A handful of biological systems work together to achieve the many complex tasks we need to make it through a day. These systems are “made up of many networks that are integrated at and communicating on multiple scales.”[ii] An example is the skeletal system, which consists of all of the bones, joints, cartilage, tendons and ligaments in the body.[iii] It is mainly used for “locomotion, support of the body, and the protection of internal organs.”[iv]

Homeostasis means “same” and “steady”. “Homeostasis is the ability of an organism to maintain a stable, constant internal environment, even when the external environment changes”[v]. A common example of this is when the human body sweats to cool down. The water on the skin absorbs body heat as it evaporates off of the body.[vi]

Homeostasis works the same at the cellular level. The cells seek to maintain an equilibrium inside the cell walls as they live in their respective dynamic environments. Through homeostasis, these cells can do a variety of things. The Endocannabinoid System (ECS) is on organs throughout the body and is used to maintain the health of these cells.

The brain, nervous system, liver, kidneys, and immune cells are among the organs that contain the ECS. The system is made of primarily of two receptors, CB1 and CB2. The existence of the ECS in Western (Eastern to me) medicine was discovered in rat brains in 1988 by Allyn Howlett, PhD.[vii]

Then, in 1990 the National Institute of Mental Health published a letter to Nature Magazine that documented the discovery of CB1 receptors in the cerebral cortex of rats. A few years later, in 1993, cannabis receptors were found in the spleen. Now that the CB2 receptor was found, Eastern (Western to most) science took off on researching the ECS.

There are exogenous cannabinoids and there are endogenous cannabinoids that interact with these receptors. Exogenous cannabinoids are cannabinoids that are found in the cannabis plant. CBDs, THCs, and other cannabinoids are examples of exogenous cannabinoids. Endogenous cannabinoids occur naturally in the human body. Anandamide (AEA) and 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG) are examples of endogenous cannabinoids. There is a third cannabinoid category too. It is the scary stuff; lab-made cannabinoids, or synthetic cannabinoids. Spice (HU-210) and Marinol (dronabinol) are two types of synthetic cannabinoids.

Endogenous cannabinoids, or endocannabinoids(ECs), “act as hydrophobic lipid messengers”[viii]. In the CNS, they act as “receptive messengers or synaptic modulators”[ix] and are “produced on demand”[x]. This is unique in the ECS. Other neurotransmitters, such as acetylcholine and dopamine, are already synthesized and stored for later use. [xi]

Lipid messengers are important because they bind to receptors in the cell and use that location for cell signaling. Cell signaling is important because it is how the cell stays healthy. Cells need to “perceive and correctly respond to their microenvoronment”.[xii] Things like tissue repair, homestasis, and immunity must happen in the cell. Otherwise, diseases like cancer and diabetes can set in.[xiii] The ECS a part of the G-coupled protein receptor family, the largest of the cell surface receptors.[xiv]

According to lipidhome, a resource for understanding the chemistry of lipids, “Endocannabinoids exist in dynamic equilibria with many other lipid-derived mediators, including eicosanoids and other oxylipins (oxygenated natural products which are formed from fatty acids by pathways involving at least one step of dioxygen dependent oxidation; many of them have physiological importance)[xv], as part of a versatile system involved in fine-tuning different physiological and metabolic processes, including inflammation, in a tissue- or cell-specific manner.”[xvi]



The endocannabinoid AEA is “produced by immune cells and neurons, and is more selective for CB1R than CB2R. It is found in the brain, spleen, skin, kidney, and uterus”.[xvii] It was dubbed “the bliss molecule” because it “mimics the behavioral actions of exogenous compound”[xviii] THC. According to Dr. Mechoulam, who discovered AEA with Drs. William Devane and Lumir Hanus, in 1992, “THC is an aromatic compound, while AEA is a fatty acid derivative”[xix].

AEA is produced on demand and has many anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties.[xx] It has benefits to the cardiovascular system. It can help lower blood pressure. AEA also affects metabolism by increasing the amount of food consumed. Macrophage-defined AEA has “anti-inflammatory effects both in the peripheral and central nervous system”.[xxi] AEA is also a key player in apoptosis (programed cell death) of many different cell types in the body.

It took three short years for the next endocannabinoid to be discovered. Dr. Mechoulam et al discovered 2-AG in 1995. These endocannabinoids were first found in the brain, but they have been found in other places since. These are also made-on-demand. These seem to be the more important ligands for the CBRs in the body. They are full-agonist ligands, as opposed to the partial-agonist nature of AEA.[xxii]

Full-agonist ligands will fully activate the cell, while partial-agonist ligands will partially activate the cell.[xxiii]

These endocannabinoids interact with cells through receptors throughout the body. CB1and CB2 receptors are part of the G-coupled protein receptor (GCPR) superfamily[xxiv], and the passive member of the Transient Receptor Potential (TRP) family, the Vanniloid Receptor (TRPV1) are a few of the cannabinoid receptors that have been discovered.


CB Receptors

CB1 receptors express themselves primarily in the brain and central nervous system (CNS). They are not limited to the CNS, however, and are found in organs like the liver and the prostate. These receptors are associated with energy balance and may also “play a role in synaptic plasticity”[xxv]. Synaptic plasticity means that synapses are “able to change their strength as a result of either their own activity or through activity in another pathway”[xxvi].

CB2 receptors are primarily expressed in the immune system. There are small amounts in “human B cells, NK cells, monocytes, polymorphonuclear neutrophils and T cells”[xxvii] CB2Rs are also expressed in the thymus and spleen. The exciting thing about CB2R’s, however, is that they show up in dendritic cells. Dendritic cells are antigen-presenting cells (APC) that are key regulators of the immune system.[xxviii]

CB2Rs have also been found in “astrocytes, microglia, neural subpopulations and oligodendroglial progenitors in healthy brains”.[xxix] Microglia are “resident immune cells of the central nervous system” and “are critical players in the development of pain hypersensitivities that characterize chronic pain”[xxx].

TRPV1 Receptors were discovered in 1997 by Dr. David Julius et al. They are located in many organs of the gut, including kidneys, spleen, bladder, and lungs. TRPV1 receptors can also be found in the Central Nervous System[xxxi]. A wide variety of spices can activate these receptors. The most prominent spice is capsaicin, the component that makes chilies hot. Capsaicin has also been found in black pepper, garlic, ginger, horseradish, and cinnamon.


The Gut

The gut is a constantly under attack from antigens. Therefore, we have a wide variety of defenses in our guts to fight these invading antigens. Phagocytes (cells that eat bacteria and other small cells) and dendritic cells (“professional antigen presenting cell, capable of activating naïve T cells and stimulating the growth and differentiation of B cells”)[xxxii], “which are present abundantly in the small intestine lamina propia (siLP), play an instrumental role in maintaining this exquisite balance between inflammation and tolerance.”[xxxiii]

A recent study published in the National Academy of Sciences found that AEA and ECBS in the gut is largely responsible for “maintaining tolerance in the gut”[xxxiv]. Tolerance is important because it suppresses the production of cytokines and the proliferation of t-cells in the gut.[xxxv] The study broke the maintenance down to two steps:

1: “through maintenance/differentiation of the well-known immune regulatory CX3CR1”[xxxvi] macrophage population.

2: “mediating the expansion of regulatory T cells called Tr1 cells.”[xxxvii]

The study also found that these immune-regulatory macrophages expressed themselves the most on the CB2 and TRPV1 receptors. Also, for both CB1R and CB2R, different conformations correspond to different agonists stimuli, consequently activating different signaling pathways (functional selectivity).


The Brain and Central Nervous system


The brain and central nervous system are full of CB1 receptors. These receptors have been found in the mitochondria of some astrocytes (large star-shaped cells of the glia[xxxviii] (supporting tissue intermingled with the essential elements of nervous tissue especially in the brain, spinal cord, and ganglia)[xxxix]), leading some to believe that CB1 receptors can be involved in synaptic plasticity (important for memory use) and energy balance.[xl]

The list comes from “Distribution of the Endocannabinoid System in the Central Nervous System”


  • Retinas- amacrine cells, horizontal cells, densely expressed in the inner plexiform layer, rod and cone photoreceptor terminals.
  • Cerebral Cortex- “CB1 receptors are densely expressed in all regions of the cortex”.[xlii] These regions include the cingulate gyrus, frontal cortex, secondary somatosensory, and motor cortex.
  • Olfactory-in descending orderàhighest in the inner granular cell layer, then the inner piniform layer, less in the external plexiform layer, glomerular layer, and the accessory olfactory bulb
  • Hippocampus- “high levels of CB1 receptors on large CCK-positive basket and Schaffer collateral- associated interneurons in the hippocampal pyramid cell layer.”[xliii] CB1 is also highly expressed in the molecular layer and the granule cell layer in the dentate gyrus.
  • Cortical subplate- mainly expressed in the CCK-positive GABAergic basket cells in high levels.
  • Subcortical Nuclei- basal ganglia has the highest amount of CB1 expression.
  • Striatum-low-to- moderate level expression in the nucleus accumbens. “However, CB1 receptors seem to be absent in the dopaminergic terminals projecting from the ventral tegmental area(VTA) to the accumbens”[xliv]
  • Striatum Medial- basal forebrain, medial and lateral septum and the nucleus of the diagonal band has moderate levels of CB1 receptors
  • Cerebellum-The authors called the CB1 expression patterns “striking”. “CB1 receptors are mainly expressed in the terminals of the climbing fibers, parallel fibers, and (some)basket cells, suggesting a prominent presynaptic localization of CB1 receptors, mediating modulatory effects of (endo)cannabinoids at glutamatergiv and GABAergic inputs onto Purkinje neurons.”[xlv]
  • Deep Cerebellar Nuclei-Medial, lateral, and interposed nuclei have weak Cb1 immunoreactivity throughout the neuropil.
  • Brainstem- Thalamus has low Cb1 expression in most parts. CB1 is strong in the lateral habenular nucleus, the anterior dorsal thalamic nucleus, and the reticular thalamic nucleus.
  • Hypothalamus- much CB1 expression in the arcuate, paraventricular, ventromedial, dorsomedial nuclei, the external zone of the median eminence, infundibular stem, and lateral hypothalamic area.
  • Mesencephalon- extremely high levels of CB1 in the substantia nigra (SN) pars reticulate and low levels in the exact same place. This suggests that “the high levels of CB1 protein are restricted to incoming axonal projections from other brain regions[xlvi].”
    • Ventral Tegmental Area- dense CB1 neuropil labeling.
    • Periaqueductal Gray- There are low to moderate expressions of CB1 receptors found in the Periaqueductal Gray. This is “where the ECS is involved in the control of pain sensation, including stress-induced analgesia”.[xlvii]
  • Hindbrain-low CB1 expression in the medullary respiratory control centers. This is in contrast to the opioid receptors, which “likely explains the low mortality caused by cannabinoid intoxication.”[xlviii]
  • Spinal Cord-spinal dorsal horn. Scientists believe that this is where the “application of cannabinoids has been found to suppress pain…)”.[xlix]

The endocannabinoid system has led to many discoveries within the scientific community. A handful of pharmaceutical companies have already set out to create cannabis-derived medicines to remedy rare diseases, like Dravet Syndrome. Some companies have since returned positive results while others made fatal mistakes in the drug development process.

The most notable company to successfully bring a CBD-derived drug to market is GW Pharmaceutical, in Britain. Their oral spray, Sativex, is used to help people with multiple sclerosis. They are working on another drug called Epidiolex. This orally-administered, CBD-derived medicine has shown amazing results in its clinical trials with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Positive FDA results in this final set of trial runs could be a game-changer for the official Federal stance on the cannabis plant moving forward. The giant ideological wall that is the current Trump administration, however, is a different story. The sitting Attorney General will never accept FDA findings that prove that cannabis must be descheduled. It will instantly be disregarded as “fake!”. A smear campaign will follow, and the men and women of the FDA will be in its crosshairs. And we will continue to move on in two diverging roads, with many Americans continuing down a different road than our government is paving.



Click to access nihms99606.pdf

Click to access nihms155268.pdf

“Distribution of the Endocannabinoid system in the Central Nervous System.” Sherry Shu-Jung Hu and Ken Mackie. Sept 2015 Handbook of Experimental Pharmacology

Click to access nihms131900.pdf

“Endocannabinoid system acts as a regulator of immune homeostasis in the gut”. Department of Immunology and Carole and Ray Neag Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of Connecticut School of Medicine, Farmington, CT 06030; and Division of Diabetes and Endocrinology, Connecticut Children’s Medical Center, Farmington, CT 06032. Nandini Acharya, Sasi Penukonda, Tatiana Shcheglova, Adam T. Hagymasi, Sreyashi Basua,

and Pramod K. Srivastava. March 20, 2017



























[xxv] Distribution of the Endocannabinoid system in the Central Nervous System. Sherry Shu-Jung Hu and Ken Mackie. Sept 2015 Handbook of Experimental Pharmacology








[xxxiii] “Endocannabinoid system acts as a regulator of immune homeostasis in the gut”. Department of Immunology and Carole and Ray Neag Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of Connecticut School of Medicine, Farmington, CT 06030; and Division of Diabetes and Endocrinology, Connecticut Children’s Medical Center, Farmington, CT 06032. Nandini Acharya, Sasi Penukonda, Tatiana Shcheglova, Adam T. Hagymasi, Sreyashi Basua,

and Pramod K. Srivastava. March 20, 2017

















Glenwood’s Phinest Reprazent


216 16th St.
Glenwood Springs, Co 81601

303 Kush
Grade: A-
Rec only

Some areas of Colorado simply don’t allow you to be too choosy about where to buy cannabis. They are rec only- if they have anything at all. Glenwood Springs is one of those places. It is squarely in the middle of Glenwood canyon along the majestic Colorado river. It is crammed with six lanes of interstate and as much civilization as humanity can fit in 400 sq ft. of available canyon floor. Just off of one of the crazy, clustered roads, right in the heart of the clusterfuck is Martin’s.

Martin’s is a rec only spot that almost feels like a smoker’s club. The vibe was relaxed and welcoming, fitting of the name choice. It is like you are actually going into visit with your buddy Martin. When I walked in, the younger budtender was educating the older hippie budtender on conscious hip-hop (most hip-hop is not bitches and hoes), something the hippie had never heard of. They had a few varieties of shrubs. They all looked great. Although they were rec only, their prices were competitive enough to keep me there.

I ended up walking out with some 303 kush. It looked ridankulous and smelled just as great. The herbs are mountain grown and come from all over. Martins is a third-party shop that does not grow their own herbs. Instead, they have an intrepid entrepreneur who buys from growers and sells them to you. The classic All-American middle man. And based on the selection at Martin’s, he has some good connections too. The 303 kush did not disappoint. It was flavorful and smooth. The prices were competitive with medical shops, which made me feel even better about my purchase.

The best thing about Glenwood Springs to me is not the two-block-long hot-spring pool or the escape room, but the nature of the world all around these springs. Out there, a mile can be a 1000 ft incline that is dominated by crystal clear rushing waters turned blue in their agitation. Trails are in the middle of streams out here. Massive misplaced boulders stand, waiting for Mother Nature to unleash her wrath on them and send them to their next resting place somewhere downstream.

These lands are still wild yet incredibly confined. Everything looks pristine and untouched from afar, but mailboxes and gates are as common as packed trails and lots of cars. People come here to experience the wild, untamed world. The world is quite tame, though. There are few rocks unturned here, and our presence is etching into the canyon more and more every day.

martins 2017-07-09 at 10.21.02 AM

Bombtasty Blackhawk Buds!

Rocky Mountain Organics
5312 CO-119, Black Hawk, CO 80422


Grade: B+

Gilpin County is one of my favorite places to go in Colorado. Its history dates back to the earliest days of Denver and the land reflects its boom-and-bust past in its steep cliffs, ghost towns, and mountain canyons scarred from the pick axe. They found gold in these Ute hills in 1859, and settlers flocked here hopeful for a taste of that sweet, sweet gold dust.[i] Before the Georgia prospector John H. Gregory got his taste, this was just some inhospitable land that was in the Northwestern Kansas Territory. This town quickly grew to nearly 2000 people as news spread.[ii] It was only a taste, however. The gold dried up as fast as it was discovered, and so did the population.

If you have ever seen the TV show Deadwood, then you can certainly get the vibe that Blackhawk gives off. It is where brutality carved out the wilderness before law and order rode in on his white steed and “civilized” the land. Not long after Mr. Gregory struck gold, Gilpin County was established in 1861. By the time the ‘80’s got here, Blackhawk was reduced to a row of trailer homes along a dirt road. Today, 64 historic homes have been renovated and sit on 90% of the available residential land.[iii] And one dispensary occupies a stretch of road just outside of town, Rocky Mountain Organics.

Keeping true to the wild west tone, Rocky Mountain Organics is in a mountain-type strip mall in a little mountain alcove off of an amazing Rocky Mountain road. Rocky Mountain Organics shares a lobby with its liquor store neighbor and had a Rocky Mountain dude running the spot. He had thick, fire chops burning his cheeks and he wore a Crocodile Dundee hat.  I normally stay away from recreational-use only places because they are so expensive. But, after we chatted for a while,  he gave me a really good price, so I went for some Mammoth.

The Mammoth is an indica. The nugz are dense and rich with color. It almost smelled soapy to me. There is a hint of capsaicin in the background. There is not much flavor to it. The smoke is smooth, however, and its effects are sublime. It is also a good start to exploring the oldest “civilized” part of Colorado’s mountains. There is so much to do out here.

UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_353Gambling has been legal in Black Hawk since 1991.The narrow stretch of land in the steep canyon is dominated by flashy casinos. You can continue west to Central City (they have an amazing 4th of July fireworks show) for more casinos, or you can head south to play a round of disc golf in a ghost town. Head east, toward Denver, and you can find what was once the only resort west of the Mississippi that marketed to black people. It was called Lincoln Hills Country club, and it was in operation from 1925-1965. It is now on the National Register of Historic Places.[iv]

The towns out here are unique in so many ways. I crossed paths with a jeep carrying a pirate flag on one of these dirt roads. Just to the north is Nederland an all the nuttiness that comes with that place. Or you could go fishing in one of the many lakes and creeks around here. Then there are the hiking trails and rock climbers that dominate some of these sheer cliff walls… Long story short, these mountains (and indeed this world) are to be explored. What are you waiting for?





Simple is always the best

Simply Pure
2000 W. 32nd Ave
Denver, CO 82011


Simply Pure has been on my list for a few years now. I always catch a glimpse of it out of the corner of my eye when I have to get somewhere so I never stop. I take a mental note, move on, and forget about it- until I pass it again as I rush past it on my way somewhere else. The name and logo are both simple and inviting, like grandma’s bakery. I am expecting a cinnamon roll and a pinch on the cheek too.

Unfortunately, that didn’t happen. But I did get some herbs, so there is that silver lining. Louis XIII and Lucky Charms to be exact. These were just the kind of sweets I wanted. These are the kinds of buds that grandma would grow too. They are nice, solid, and dense balls of dankiness. The crystals coat the buds like they were the sugary top of a sugar cookie.

The buds looked good, they smelled good, and they tasted good as well! The aroma of the Louix XIII is complex, to say the least. It is a bit peppery and kind of musty. There is some citrus in there too. The Louis XIII broke apart in chunks and burned smooth. Oddly enough, it tasted a bit like meatloaf. Like some cured venison, It was dry, but it was not harsh.

While talking with the budtender, I was pleased to learn that Simply Pure is a Black-owned business. I am thrilled that the owners, Wanda James and her husband Scott Durrah, have been such strong fighters for the long cannabis war on alternative truth. Not only are they military veterans, but they have been drug warriors for decades. It is such a treat to see a black woman at the helm of this business. It was in February, so I got a discount for Black History Month! Fantastic!

Now I see what I like about Simply Pure. It is that “soul food” flavor that is embedded in the tastes of the owners. There is also an established history of focusing on quality. Simply Pure was an edible company from 2010-2013. They were the first in Colorado to use actual chefs to design and prepare their menus. As edibles became more mainstream and the prices dropped, Ms. James and Mr . Durrah decided to close up shop instead of reducing the quality of their product in order to stay competitive.

They decided to reopen again as a dispensary in December of 2015, and are rolling along now. I was not aware of the owners’ culinary creativity because I like to go into these places with a blank slate. I glazed over the edibles because they are always the same thing: cheeba chews, Dixie this or that, or Mary’s More of the Sames.

I want the homegrown, small-batch flavor, and so much of the same keeps me from even looking at edibles. I want to see a slice of pie with the chocolate glaze shimmering in the artificial light. I want the lobby full of guests excited with their new purchase as they make plans with their new friend over a cup of coffee. I think Simply Pure does too.

The new microdosing market is a great way to introduce edibles to people who don’t want the heavy sedative levels that edibles can get to. Why make a cookie so potent? then you can’t have another. I love my chocolate chip cookies. you can ruin a dish with too much cinnamon or nutmeg. Why not with too much cannabis oil? It can really dominate the flavor.

Edibles in the future will be more subtle and complex. Gummies have been around for a good long time. There is a great opportunity to make a pack of ten gummies be the same dose as one gummy is today.  The increased competition in micordosing edibles will inevitably create a different market that could include savory dishes as well. Simply Pure will undoubtedly be at the forefront of businesses that can legally (finally!) blend the café with ganja. I look forward to that day that I can get some of that apple pie, an ounce of Louis XIII, and a pinch on the cheek.

The Holistic Health Headband


Holistic Health
105 Edwards Village Blvd
Edwards, CO 81632

707 Headband

Grade A ganja

Edwards, Colorado is one of those mountain towns that looks like a photo of it belongs on a Christmas card. I visited a their recreational-only shop that is here last year, Roots Rx. I went there last year because it is hard to find medical shops in the area. Everyone out here is rec-only. It is great to see that there is a medical shop here in town.

It is apparent that Holistic Health has been around for a long time because it is so hard to find. (2006 or 2009?) Pot shops used to maintain low profiles because they did not want to shake up the status-quo. Like skid row, the canna shops used to really struggle to get a foothold in our cities and towns. The green cross was often the only cairn that showed you the way. This place seems to have been built with that caution in mind. Today, the pot shops are as bold and bright as a 7-eleven. They are as ubiquitous as the gas stations, to say the least.

Holistic Health is a reminder of how much things have changed.We can now ask google (or Siri) to find a place. In this case, maps gets you close, but not quite. Google maps puts Holistic Health in the middle of the street. Of course this isn’t true, and as I looked around, I spotted a green cross glowing on the second-floor hallway of the building to the right. There it is?

The cross is half the battle. Finding the front door is the other half. After parking and finding the entrance to the building, I had to go up some stairs, down a hallway to the end, where a poster guiding me the rest of the way. To the right, under a big vent, and then a door with a note. “back at 1:00” it said. I glanced at their hours, and they opened at 11 AM. OoooooKaaaaaay.

“Not today”, I thought, and went on my way.

So I went back the next day. Everything was golden, the sun was shining, spring was in the air, and I knew where I was going. After a quick rap on the door, I was greeted by a lovely young lady who was thrilled to help me with my purchase.

They had a wide assortment of flavors. They were a basic mixture of a few sativas, a few indicas, one CBD-rich strain, and a few hybrids. They all looked good. Their buds were nice and healthy, thick meaty morsels of cannabinoids and fiber. They are mountain grown too, so they grew up happy and stress-free.

The budtender is a nutritionist. She left a rec shop to come here because she cared more about the health of her customers than making a sale. I mentioned that I was going on a hike, and she had all sorts of ideas. 707 Headband is what I took home.

A good herb is like a good parmesan cheese or a nice glass of port after dinner. It only takes a little bit to accent the day fantastically. I don’t need to get stoned out of my mind. I dont want to get stoned out of my mind. I just want to enjoy a bit of a smoke and enjoy the day. This Headband certainly fits the category. It does not burn; rather it is smooth and light. It is like spring in the mountains, a breath of fresh air.

Indeed, this Headband fits in well with the crisp and thin mountain air and the rising elevation pushes the heart, which in turn pushes the legs, and a walk becomes a jog up the peaks of the earth. This weed is sublime, and a little bit goes a long way.

There are Environmental Costs to the Cannabis we Consume.

4/20 and Earth Day go together like the Three Sisters (corn, squash, and beans…based on A Sioux Creation story) in the garden. 4/20 has gained even more relevance today, at the expense of Earth Day. We got so swept up in the billions that we are making off of legal cannabis that we ignored the cost to the environment that comes from cannabis production and sales.

Production Costs


Pic 1: Famous case of the peppered moth in England. The lighter color of these moths helped them blend in to the trees. As the Industrial Revolution set in, the trees grew soot covered from all of the coal factories. The darker color genetic variation (allele) quickly became the dominant allele for the moths. clean air regulations took the coal soot out of the air and off of the trees, giving the lighter-colored moths the genetic advantage. 

Colorado saw a 1 percent energy usage increase just after recreational cannabis was introduced here. Similar increases happened in Oregon and Washington. It takes millions of gigawatts of power in order to provide the flowers for the new cannabis market. Instead of using the sun and natural weather cycles, our growers here in Colorado have to work much harder to get a lower quality product.

Rows of energy-sucking lights line the ceilings of industrial warehouses throughout Denver with energy costs that can be over up to $2000 per W/m2. According to a 2016 report by EQ Research, the energy consumption of these industrial grows are equal to those put out by massive Data Centers. Industrial Fans have to mimic wind and produce air flow inside the four walls that keep the natural wind from getting in. Rain can patter the tin ceilings as the dready gardeners water the plants.


Fig 1. proportion of energy use in production facilities.(taken from EQ Research Report “A Chronic Problem; Taming Energy Costs and Impacts from Marijuana Cultivation”.)

This kind of a shock to the infrastructure has utilities seriously considering whether they will have adequate energy for the power grid in the future. Communities like Boulder have enacted carbon taxes to offset the additional environmental costs. California has its own story developing.

Steven D’angelo is the embattled owner of the famous Harbourside Collective in Oakland. He predicts that California will cater to half of the national market. This means a gobload (a whole heckuva lot) of energy consumption will hit the California grid soon (who else remembers the San Diego blackout of 2012?). However, the president of the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), Michael Picker, said in an interview earlier this year that the state utilities are “expecting flat or declining growth in California, so if it starts to go the other direction, then we’re going to have to make sure that the electricity is there for both these uses (cannabis production) and everybody else”.

This could be a disaster for the already overburdened grid in California that is closing down its last two nuclear reactors within the next ten years. It hasn’t even been a year since California issued a flex alert asking residents to conserve energy. Utility companies met earlier this year, in March, to address these concerns. Fortunately, California has written laws that support massive cannabis farms.

California has a whole litany of other problems that the new regulations will ease, if not sort out completely. They have struggled with guerilla grows in National Forests and First Nation Sacred Lands for decades. Other rogue gardeners grew plots in places that challenge the survival of endangered species. California already has a desperate water problem. Sometimes, gardeners will steal the water from a source that hasn’t been vetted for them to take water from.

Each state has different environmental rules for production facilities because they are so varied. The Federal Government set the bar pretty low with their moldy herbs in Mississippi. The Colorado Marijuana Enforcement Division would have shut them down a long time ago.


Retail Consumption

The fat cash that is pouring into these ganja shops creates a tremendous amount of waste. They are pumping out millions of little plastic containers, silicon bottles, and other packages like never before. It is a new form of waste that our communities have to deal with. (That, and fuckers graffitiing our forests!) The packaging issue will only increase as more communities open their doors to cannabis in all of its forms.

There is a mixed message coming from the ganja shops in Denver. Some budtenders say that the city does not recycle the bottles, while others will point to a recycle bin in the corner. Some dispensaries will even offer herbal incentives for bringing them your empty bottles.


What does the City of Denver recycling program say?


Smoking containers

Most dispensaries carry recyclable bottles for their flower products. The bottles are usually polypropylene (PP), which is a common plastic that can be recycled. PP is the number 5 or 6 on the bottom of the bottle.


PP bottle that is recyclable

The industry primarily uses two basic bottle designs. One design is with a removable lid, and the other is with a snapping lid that is attached. The bottles are recyclable for both designs. For the bottles with removable lids, however, the lids have to be removed and thrown in the trash before you can recycle the bottle.


PP bottle that is recyclable, but the lid is not.


This bottle AND cap are recyclable!

There are a few dispensaries that use plastic sandwich bags. The bags are not recyclable. Cellophane bags are sometimes used for containers. Green Dragon carries these bags. They are not recyclable either.


Plastic baggie. Definitely not recyclable



Cellobaggie (used at Green Dragon) also not recyclable.

Edible Containers

Most edibles are packaged in recyclable containers. Cardboard and clamshell containers are recyclable. The aluminum cans can be recycled as well. Some edibles are packaged in cellophane packages which are not recycled.


Clamshell container is recyclable


Cardboard like from Loves Bakery is recyclable!


Cannabeverage cans are recyclable!


Cellophane (like these Edipure Gummies) are not recyclable!

Concentrate Containers

The shatter containers are not recyclable. At all. There are some PP types out there, but most people like the containers that are made out of polyethylene. They are Styrofoam 2.0. Dabs are ganja 198.6. It is clear that dabs are the future of cannabis. Hilary Clinton has dabbed. Dabs have been on the Today Show, and they are in 2016 pictures with Paul Ryan. Well, maybe they weren’t actually dabbing, but you had better believe that move is an endorsement of the act of dabbing. (Transitive property says that they endorse the herbs.) These little Styrofoam containers will be a bigger and bigger problem as their environmental impact becomes more pronounced.Picture1.png

The second coming of Styrofoam! NOT RECYCLABLE


The only recyclable dab containers out there

The silicone dab containers are not recyclable. They do have other lives that they can live, however. I reached out to a company that recycles sex toys (yup, that’s a thing) to see if they would take these little containers. No comment as of this writing. Sans second generation dildos, there is another great way to recycle these silicone containers. Art. Get a bunch of those containers, put ‘em through a meat grinder, and glue those vivid colors to the canvas. You could probably pick up enough containers at civic center park after the 4/20 festivities to put a mural on a wall.


Not recyclable, but you are stoners, make me proud and get creative!

Happy 4/20 and Happy Earth Day! As we enter the cannabis era, remember that the only way to win in Capitalism is civil disobedience. Your pocketbook will tell the dispensary owner how well they are doing. If you dab, then demand recyclable containers. If you smoke, then there are plenty of places that use recyclable bottles and are glad to take your money! Love to our Mother! I’m out!


dab haircuthillary-clinton-dab-meme-template-when-youre-on-live-tv-and-youre-suppost-to-act-professional-but-yoScreen Shot 2017-04-18 at 3.52.44 PMreid_122715Panthers-dab

Paul Ryan “knows what a dab is”: (48 seconds, Ed)

silicone recycling sex toys!
art project silicone recycling










Some Sativa from the Springs Suburbs Cannabissary

Big Medicine Cannabisary


Wild Girl (S)
Grade: F

Big sky Cannabissary is another place that came recommended. Located in north- central Colorado Springs, it is in an unassuming stand-alone building. Their logo is a buffalo standing the way buffalo often do. They win just for that!

It was quiet inside. The girl behind the bar was real nice, and she is part of a rare group- the sativa lovers. It is such a rare treat to find someone who prefers sativa. Indica seems to be what everyone wants, and I have floated that way recently as well. So it was refreshing to get pushed into buying sativa for once.

The prices were crazy cheap, which is why my friend comes here. Some places are good, and others are cheap. It is rare to find something that is both good and cheap. Will The Big Medicine Cannabissary be that place? there is only one way to find out!

As the budtender led me along, she pointed out Wild Girl, their in-house strain. It smelled musty and dank and looked meaty and red hairy. It tasted peppery and a bit leafy. It has that subtle sativa style too. Speedy. It is stoney, but it is the undercover kind of stoney. There was something off about it. It was one of those headache herbs. This is going in the butter bottle. It is not for me.

The Chinese Roots of Medical Cannabis

This is part two in my series on cannabis history in the United States. It is a deeper dive into the medical benefits of cannabis that the scientific community has discovered.

Shennong was a legendary Emperor of China around 2700 B.C. His name means Divine Farmer or Divine Husbandman. He is also widely known as the “God of Chinese herbal medicine”. There is no written history of him because he lived before people could write. Therefore, they did not keep historical records yet. He is apocryphal and has attained the status of a god. He spent his life sampling the rich plant life that abounded in the territory that now bears his name, the Shennogjia Forestry District (In July of 2016, UNESCO added it to their World Heritage list.). He is credited with creating Chinese herbal medicine.

It would not be for anther 2000 years that his name would be attached to herbal medicine. Several authors decided to write down the “earliest complete pharmacopeia references and lists an astonishing 365 Chinese medicines” (100 of those medicines would include cannabis) in 220 BC. They placed Shennong as the author of Shennong Bencaojing to honor him as the father of Chinese Medicine.

shennong1Soon after this book was published, there was another doctor in the region who understood the benefits of cannabis. Hua Tuo lived around 108 BC. Some say that he invented the first anesthetic when he mixed cannabis with wine, called Mafesan. He was also familiar with acupuncture, which has long been used to treat pain and restore the flow of qi in the body. It is possible that the herb used for moxibustion was cannabis, not mugwort. If this is true, then the medical benefits of cannabis and acupuncture are largely unexplored currently.

People have recognized acupuncture to be a useful treatment for inflammatory pain for a long time. Medicine recognizes that electroacupuncture (EA) “has been regarded as an alternative treatment for inflammatory pain for several decades”. EA has been connected to the CB1 and CB2 receptors in therapy. A 2012 EA study concluded that “Our results suggest that EA reduces inflammatory pain and proinflammitory cytokines in inflamed skin tissues through activation of CB2Rs”

Research on how EA interacts with CB1 receptors has been done for depressed suicide victims, alcoholic withdrawal, and mice with arthritis. A 2004 Molecular Psychiatry article documented “the mood and cognition altering ability of exogenous cannabinoids and alcohol, and the association between depression, suicide and alcohol abuse raise the question whether endogenous cannabinodergic system plays any role in the etiology of depression and suicidal behavior.” The study concluded by saying that “the upregulation of CB1 receptors…strongly suggests a role for the participation of abnormal endocannabinoidergic neurotransmission in the etiology of depression and suicide. The pharmacological manipulation of endocannabinoid system may serve as a new therapeutic target in the treatment of depression.”

The Shanghai First People’s Hospital School of Medicine did a study in 2013 that was based on “Accumulating evidence… that the CB1 and dopamine systems sometimes interact and may operate synergistically in rat striatum…D1/D2 receptors are involved in EA analgesia.” Their conclusion was that “a strong activation of the CB1 receptor after repeated EA resulted in the concomitant phenomenon of the upregulation of D1 and D2 levels of gene expression”.

Cannabis use in Chinese medicine is as old as Chinese medicine itself. Now, as Eastern medicine comes from the west and Western Medicine comes from the east, we are at the convergence of a key herbal remedy that has been known for millennia.

Up next in the series: The Endocannanibinoid System.