A Brief History of Common Cannabis

I want to start the year out with a refresher of cannabis politics. This is a three part series that will illuminate some of the medical research and breakthroughs that have happened over the last few decades.

PART I

“We would rather see our neighbors suffer than succeed ourselves.” Common British phrase

BRIEF HISTORY

Cannabis legalization is a tale of two worlds- inside the United States and outside the United States. Roger Adams successfully filed a patent for isolating cannabinoids with the US patent office in 1947[i]. It was the first time that cannabinoids were isolated. Almost 20 years later, Dr. Raphael Mechoulam isolated the specific chemical compounds in cannabis; the THC and CBD molecules were diagramed for the first time in his lab.[ii] While Mr. Adams’ findings were filed away and left to collect dust, Dr. Mechoulam would go on to have a career in cannabis experiments that now place Hebrew University as the pinnacle of canna medicine and research development.

In order to understand CBD (as well as THC and other cannabinoids) better, a bit of history is necessary. The oldest uses for hemp were as fiber and food. By 2700 B.C., the Chinese Emperor Shen Nung recognized cannabis as medicine. He also brought ginseng and ephedra into the lexicon of Chinese Herbal Medicine.[iii] The cannabis plant is all over Hinduism. A 1200s BC text called the Atharva Veda notes cannabis as one of five sacred plants[iv]. There are ties to Moses and Solomon in the Old Testament, but they all seem to revolve around the work of the 20th century Polish Anthropologist Sula Bennet.  She argued that “calamus” and “reed” are both words for “kaneh” or “kaneh bosm”.[v]

Hemp history in the United States has deep roots in cannabis production. Our founding fathers grew hemp. Thomas Jefferson drafted a version of the Declaration of Independence on hemp paper. He was also famously quoted as saying “Hemp is the first necessity and protection of the country”[vi].

Just 5 years after Congress passed the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937[vii], the US Government realized that they needed hemp to protect the country. As national pride was swelling, the hemp mills sprang up all over the country. They made the parachutes, clothes, tents, and rope for the upcoming war. The offspring of those plants can be seen growing healthy all over Nebraska today. (Colorado hemp growers are looking at the feral fields in Nebraska longingly. They know that NE hemp is the best around. But they cannot grow it because it is not grown in Colorado. Colorado law does not allow for outside genetics to be grown in Colorado.)

Americans quickly forgot about hemp after World War II. Until 1970.  This is when Richard Nixon began his crusade against cannabis.  This was the year that Nixon created the Shafer Commission to study the whole cannabis plant and its effects on American culture.

The Commission submitted their report to the Nixon Administration in 1972. It was not what the President was expecting. The report concluded that “… the range of social concerns in contemporary America, marihuana does not, in our considered judgement, rank very high. We would deemphasize marihuana as a problem”.[viii]

(an exerpt of the shafer commission hearing before Congress: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ksSolkofnP8[ix])

Of course, Nixon completely disregarded the results of the Report. It stated that the Commission greatly understood how yellow journalism contributed to an “extensive degree of misinformation about marihuana as a drug)” and that they “have tried to demythologize it”.[x] What did President Nixon do with the results of the report that his conservative hand-picked experts gave him?

John Erhlichmann, one of the Watergate Co-conspirators, has a bit of insight:

“The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies: the antiwar left and black people. You understand what I’m saying? We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did.”[xi]

Instead of listening to his hand-picked commission of experts, Nixon made cannabis a Schedule 1 drug, meaning it has “no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse”[xii]. They succeeded in their mission. “Nearly 40 years later, in 2001 the number of former prisoners living in the United States more than doubled, from 1,603,000 to 4,299,000”[xiii]

According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), the black populations in the United States  saw a steady increase throughout the 1980’s. The drug arrests of the 1980s saw peak numbers in 1989, with 220,000 drug arrests for black people alone.[xiv] The next 14 years would show swings in the arrest numbers. None of them were as drastic as the 1989 arrests, but they did regularly arrest more than 100,000 black americans annually since. Unfornuately, we never saw the pre-Reagan numbers of less than 50,000 arrests-per-year again.

If the numbers for drug dealers/manufacturers were all black, then these numbers could show progress. According to a Brookings article that referenced a 2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, “6.6% of white adolescents and young adults (aged 12 to 25) sold drugs, compared to just 5.0 percent of blacks (a 32 percent difference)”[xv]

Cannabis activism is a lesson in human ignorance. It is the story of a government that used yellow journalism to spread fear among their white citizens in order to create a panic and establish resolutions that would demoralize and marginalize the melanin-enhanced people of the United States. They did this by pushing fear and covering up all the other alternatives. The American political propaganda machine dumped buckets of money into prohibitive research. They refused to fund any study that hypothesized any different results.

One study in 1973 discovered opioid receptors in the brain[xvi]. The prohibitionists wanted to find that golden bullet that was proof that cannabis hijacks Cannabinoid receptors in the brain like heroin did for opioid receptors. It would have been a home run for the propaganda of prohibition. Fifteen years later, Allyn Howlett and William Devane to finally discovered cannabinoid (CB) receptors in mice[xvii].

“Soon after, in 1993, a second cannabinoid receptor was found- as part of the immune and nervous systems. Dubbed CB2… receptors they are found to be plentiful throughout the gut, spleen, liver, heart, kidneys, bones, blood vessels, lymph cells and even the reproductive organs.”[xviii]. They found that there were both CB-1 and CB-2 receptors in mice.

At the same time, Dr. Mechoulam’s lab would go on to discover that the human body has its own “endocannabinoid anandamide” in 1992[xix][xx]. “Anandamide is produced in the cell membranes and tissues of the body”. It is a “neurotransmitter and an endocannabinoid”[xxi]. Taken from the Sanskrit word, Ananda (bliss), this molecule is the cannabinoid that, “when it binds to the cannabinoid receptor, it has a calming effect”[xxii]. This is not what the folks at the National Institute for Drug Abuse (NIDA) wanted to learn. It was discovered outside of their jurisdiction, in Israel, so NIDA had no influence on the experiment. A system that synthesizes the 85+ compounds of the cannabis plant within the human body is something to be studied, not imprisoned.

(there is a great deep dive into anandamide here[xxiii]. It talks about anadamide in chocolate as well as its role in the first communications between a mother and her newly forming fetus) (Black Truffles also have anandamide in them.)[xxiv]

These pioneers paved the way for the next generation of scientists to dig in to the medical benefits of cannabis and the endocannabinoid system (ECB). They have found clinical uses for a range of physical and mental ailments. Epilepsy, Fibromyalgia, Multiple sclerosis, Cancer, and Alzheimers are a few of the ailments that research is digging into. In my next segment, I will do a bit of a dive into the research that has come back from the scientific community.

[i] https://www.google.com/patents/US2419936

[ii] http://cannabisdigest.ca/discovered-thc-setting-record-straight/

[iii] https://www.nap.edu/read/9586/chapter/3#14

[iv] https://books.google.com/books?id=Bq9Qm-7Q95sC&pg=PA32&lpg=PA32&dq=Atharvaveda+bhang&source=bl&ots=w-hqyaOHr-&sig=flUCbrIgOZvu8nQC37GlcEBDGPU&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwi0uL7ktsfRAhUJllQKHS42Bo4Q6AEIMzAE#v=onepage&q=Atharvaveda%20bhang&f=false

[v]http://www.liquisearch.com/sula_benet/early_diffusion_and_folk_uses_of_hemp_1967

[vi] https://www.theweedblog.com/americas-founding-fathers-loved-hemp/

[vii] http://www.druglibrary.org/Schaffer/hemp/history/first12000/13.htm

[viii] http://druglibrary.net/schaffer/Library/studies/nc/ncrec.htm

[ix] http://druglibrary.net/schaffer/Library/studies/nc/ncrec.htm

[x] http://druglibrary.net/schaffer/Library/studies/nc/ncrec.htm

[xi] http://harpers.org/archive/2016/04/legalize-it-all/

[xii] https://www.dea.gov/druginfo/ds.shtml

[xiii] https://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/pdf/piusp01.pdf

[xiv] https://www.bjs.gov/index.cfm?ty=datool&surl=/arrests/index.cfm#

[xv] https://www.brookings.edu/blog/social-mobility-memos/2014/09/30/how-the-war-on-drugs-damages-black-social-mobility/

[xvi] http://science.sciencemag.org/content/182/4119/1359

[xvii]https://www.researchgate.net/publication/20308432_Determination_and_Characterization_of_a_Cannabinoid_Receptor_in_Rat_Brain

[xviii] https://www.marijuanatimes.org/the-endocannabinoid-system-a-history-of-endocannabinoids-and-cannabis/

[xix]http://crrh.org/news/category/cannabis/raphael-mechoulam

[xx] https://sensiseeds.com/en/blog/cannabinoid-science-101-what-is-anandamide/

[xxi] http://theleafonline.com/c/science/2014/08/endocannabinoid-profile-crash-course-anandamide/

[xxii] http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/08/opinion/sunday/the-feel-good-gene.html

[xxiii]http://antoine.frostburg.edu/chem/senese/101/features/anandamide.shtml

[xxiv]http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0031942214004956

 

 

Idaho Springs Brings Decent Herbs and Good Vibes.

11/25/16

Mountain Medicinals

Headband

Have you ever eaten dinner at a restaurant and, upon walking out, discovered another restaurant down the street that made you wonder when it opened and how you missed it? Something about it intrigued you from the outside, so you put a note in the back of your mind to try one day. That is Mountain Medicinals in Idaho Springs to me.  The restaurant is Idaho Springs, the busy little mountain town just outside of Denver. It is the biggest of the communities in the area that includes Georgetown, Downieville, and Dumont. The rusty red Argo Gold Mill and Mine crawls along the side of the mountain and indicates the dominant industry of the area. Across the street from the mine is Mountain Medicinals. It is a simple, small shack, like so many of the shops in the area.

Mountain Medicinals must have a lot of bills, because this place was quite a bit more expensive than anywhere else in this area. They weren’t so high that I walked out, though. The owner was not there either, so maybe these prices allow the owner to take some time off.

They had a decent selection; I took home the Headband. Classic. The Headband did not upset. The buds were deep green and they smelled peppery and spicy. The smoke was clean; it did not burn the throat and was cool on the exhale.  There was not too much of an aroma, and I got tired of it real fast. It was just ok.

A trip to Idaho Springs is totally worth it though. It is great to walk around and enjoy the view. The Tommyknocker restaurant and brewery is here.  There is also a fantastic coffee roaster called Java Mountain Roasters on the block. The owner is one of those people who found their bliss; he would gladly pay you to roast coffee and talk to people. He got lucky.

There is a lot to do in Idaho Springs, and their cannabis selection is pretty vast as well. There are lots of shops to go to. The mountain town vibe is on point and the marks of mining are embedded in the culture.

MariRonin

11/21/16

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

———————————————

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

*Cover photo taken from the Anime Classic Samurai Champloo

Bibliography

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

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

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

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

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

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

http://www.270towin.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Todd is not Here, Man

Sofa King

11/6/16

Grade: A

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mary Jane For President.

11/6/16

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

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

The Recreational Initiatives

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Medical Initiatives

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

References:

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

Click to access October-2016-Florida-Ballot-Measures1.pdf


https://ballotpedia.org/Arkansas_Medical_Marijuana_Amendment,_Issue_6_(2016)

Click to access Arkansas-Poll-Release-2016.pdf


Arkansas Supreme Court Suspends Issue 7 From November Ballot
https://ballotpedia.org/Arkansas_Medical_Marijuana_Question,_Issue_5_(2012)
https://ballotpedia.org/Montana_Medical_Marijuana_Initiative,_I-182_(2016)#Polls
http://missoulian.com/news/government-and-politics/majority-of-montana-voters-oppose-medical-marijuana-initiative-poll-shows/article_0b12eda2-9841-595a-9191-5eba844f3b5d.html
https://ballotpedia.org/North_Dakota_Medical_Marijuana_Legalization,_Initiated_Statutory_Measure_5_(2016)#Polls

Keeping it Trill in Boulder

2/16/16

Trill

1537 Pearl St
Boulder CO

Platinum Bubba Kush

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

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

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

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

Trill-Murray 1

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

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

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

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

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

Go for a Ride where the Green and Silver Collide. Historic Leadville has the Goods.

8/9/16

Nature’s Spirit

113 E 7th St,
Leadville, Colorado 80461

 Wapiti

Main Street Leadville is lined with historic buildings like the Tabor Opera House and The Sliver Dollar Saloon. Indeed, its name is born from another rush, the Sliver Rush; the surrounding hills in the sky bear the marks of that past. They are carved and etched like it is a giant sandbox. In that sandbox are the remnants of another time. The old mining equipment blends excavated piles of excavated rust among patches of golding aspen leaves and the stodgy evergreens.

These hills are famous for Doc Holliday’s last days and whiskey stills in the woods during alcohol prohibition. They have seen our hunger for money reach rabid proportions before busting the entire economy. Dreams have died in a pool of piss and alcohol on these streets. They have also grown to dominate Main Streets everywhere. Indeed, the James May Stores evolved to captivate the imagination of millions as massive helium balloons take over Manhattan, Americas Busiest Main Street, every Thanksgiving morning.

The Green Rush has not dominated this photogenic town yet. Leadville is not situated off of the interstate and thus barely on the radar of most travelers. Indeed, Leadville seems stuck in time. They only have two shops, and that seems about right.

But then again, that is the mystique of this area. The stills never shut down during prohibition and the local saloons now champion that past. The ganja farms almost certainly dotted this part of the country pre-cannabis prohibition. There are probably many more places to get your herbs here; I’m just not local enough to know. These hills are old and Leadville is at the center of it all.

Nature’s Spirit is just off of the main road in a little shed. It’s nothing special, and it takes up all the space that it needs. They have a good variety and often run specials, according to the budtender. Their sale strain was called Pb, but I went with “Wapiti” because it is the Shawnee word for Elk.

Wapiti literally means “White Rump”, but an Elk has a white rump, so there’s your connection. I ended up with Wapiti because I love it when American culture embraces the influences of our first nations ancestors. The owners took a conscious step to exhume the cultural layer just below Pbville and reintroduced a local word back into the local lexicon when they named this strain. The only way to really make change in your world is with your pocketbook. So my pocketbook threw down on the Wapiti. Give me some o dat white rump!

It was at the bottom of the bag (surprise!), but there were still some nice nugs stashed in there. These nugs were a nice, light, lime green color that absolutely glimmered in crystals. Sure, the red hairs stuck out like the hair on the world’s ugliest dog, but sparkly things are nice. It is hard to get over the sparkle.

a97635_sam2

The Wapiti smelled milder than mild. Massively mild. To be clear, it did not lack smell. It has a great aroma. She smelled more like fresh cut grass. Her aroma filled my nostrils but did not dominate them.

The smoke is nice and white. It is smooth and does not burn. They have been in business for 8 years now, and it really shows in the smoke that my mouth blows. It is a tasty treat too.

The owner said that they are always tinkering with their genetics. They pollinate and harvest seeds roughly every nine months. He was bummed when his genetics became limited to Colorado in 2013.

He picked the right town to plant these roots in. At two miles up, Nature’s Spirit is located in the highest city in the world. It is second only to Alma in vertical atmospheric proficiency. Leadville has a ton of things to do too. From ghost towns to old time mining bars, there is plenty to explore. They even have a hostel to rest your haunches and Chinese food for that pit in your stomach.

leadville-pano

The Roots Run Deep at Ascend.

9/30/16

Ascendhigh-plains-road

10712 W Alameda Ave
Lakewood, CO 80226

Fire Alien

Welcome to Suburbia!

I cannot stress how nice it is to have access to cannabis like there is for coffee. If you run out, there is always somewhere close. You don’t have to worry about linking up with someone. No more waiting for your friend to finish Thanksgiving Dinner to meet you in the empty corner of the King Soopers parking lot. Not anymore. If you need weed, look it up; they even advertise! Ascend is medical only, however, so you have to bring your card for access.

Ascend is right at the edge of the high plains. Soccer moms could use some shrubs to unwind at the end of the day, too… Speaking of family, the same family has been in business on this plot for for 50 years. They sold tractors before they decided to get in the ganja game.

The first thing I noticed was how comfortable it is here. The bud tender that helped me has already been there 7 years! The rest of the staff also felt really comfortable together too. The room was large and had displays against the longest wall. It was full of employees. There was a lot of traffic too. They just flew through the customers, who they knew by name. If I didn’t know any better, I was witnessing the 7 AM crowd at my favorite local coffeeshop.

The vibe that I got showed me that this place is operated with their community in mind. This is why herb needs to be legalized. It is a shift in thinking. It is a shift from drinking. The owners are clearly doing what they love. These guys would just be tractor salesmen otherwise (I shudder to think of that other universe).

Ascend should be lauded for their recycling program. They pay a nominal amount to recycle for your little plastic bottles and even the big transport bags that are always included in your purchases.

The roots run deep in Ascend. They have grown and shifted with the times. The dirt is in their fingernails, as some would say. Their flowers were trimmed small; but they were rocks. Little key-lime green cannarocks. They had a ton of variety as well, about ten indicas and ten sativas.

The herbs are priced so that the biggest harvest is cheapest and the smallest is the most expensive. Simple. I ended up with the Fire Alien because it was cheap. Small buds don’t impress me. These buds were not popcorn exactly. Give it a couple of weeks, however, and they will be popcorn.

The Fire Alien is a serious looking herb. These buds are dense. They don’t give a single .mm when pinched. They are absolutely coated in crystals. It looks like they were rolled in sugar. The poor brown hairs try to fight for space and prove that they are a part of the mix too, but the buds are just so dense and crystallized that the hairs are strangled by the entire mass.

The Fire Alien smells like oregano that sat on the shelf too long. Even after crushing a bud, there was no odor. The smoke is smooth and it tastes sweet, like a lychee fruit. It has a nice, mild effect to it. It is just okay, and the low price matches the quality. There is more to the product in the service industry, however. The foundations of the business “trickle down” from the owners, and the mark of quality service makes the product much, much better. Ascend smashes that out of the park.

 

A Quick Stop for a Satchel from the Worlds Highest Pot Shop.

9/4/16

High Country Healing

40 S Main St,
Alma, CO 80420

alma-town-signGrape Ape

Grade: A+++

I have driven by High Country Healing many, many times. Situated between Breckenridge and Fairplay, the city of Alma is roughly six blocks long, so it is easy to pass right through. But Alma has enough interesting things to do there to warrant a quick stop. The main street is bookended by a cool little café and High Country Healing. I finally stopped there last weekend. It was nice.

The budtender was friendly and the small town vibe kept the place quiet inside. The City of Alma also makes the most amazing old-timey looking business certificates. No pink triplicates here; it is on brown paper and has nice little calligraphy flourishes instead of the bold black border that is so common on city and state compliance certificates.

Unfortunately the med selection looked pretty worked through. They only had a couple of indica flavors. The sativa and indica options were too close to popcorn. Things opened up on the Recreational section, however. But that means expensive. Fuckers. (My ego does not like to be a ganja consumer).

The Rec side was much, much better. They had an assortment of both indica and sativa. All of the buds were good sized too. They looked decent and the price didn’t make me walk out, so I got a little bit of this Grape Ape.

The buds are nice and chunky little nuggets of shrubberiness. They are a light lime green color and well coated in crystals. They smell peppery and woodsy.

The smoke is a little strong, but not excessively harsh. These are definitely top shelf shrubs. Their medical selection is probably just as good; I will have to see a selection that is not all bag bottoms on the shelf first.

This shake thing is a trend. I can go on a Monday afternoon or a Friday night and things are kind of low. They still can’t keep the herbs on the shelves. Maybe indoor growing is not the answer. It is time to get outdoor farms online. The sun is an amazing tool for growing plants. Sure, the prices will plummet, but at least we can feed everyone in Omaha and Chicago and Tulsa much easier.

It is behind a head shop as well. It makes sense, especially with all the tourists who come through these places. Why not be a one-stop shop? Besides, at 10,578 ft., Alma is the highest incorporated municipality in the country. It is all about technicalities in the superlative game. Is it really Alma’s fault that they are better served as a sleepy incorporated area than a full-on town? Besides, it is more about the mountains that surround them than the town. There are also three 14ers surrounding Alma and campgrounds galore. The South Platte is close by and so is the mountain sky. Go out and get some this June or July!

breck-mountains

 

http://www.summitpost.org/mount-democrat/150204
http://www.summitpost.org/mount-lincoln/150205
http://www.summitpost.org/mount-bross/150206
http://www.townofalma.com/content/about_alma.html

Gorilla Glue Goes Stomping Around the Beautiful Vail Valley (and taking all sorts of trash with it).

5/3/16

New Hope Wellness

210 Edwards Village Blvd
Edwards, CO 81632

Gorilla Glue

The Vail Valley is a nice departure from the wild and crazy rat race of the Front Range. Sure, there are plenty of big rigs and U-Hauls, but those roads are starting to pay dividends from state taxes. They are quick! I have endured an 11 mile rush hour jaunt in Denver that took just as long. Many times. The trip to Vail is much more pleasant.

This area also has a particular air of snootiness to it too. The Kardashians were here recently and they brought an entire entourage with them. From what the locals tell me, the main job of the entourage was to keep a noticeable perimeter and broadcast their West-Egg hosts to everyone around.

Vail reminds me of a place that everyone in West Egg would have gone for vacation. Most roads up the mountain start at a gate. Commoners like me can only see the massive vacation homes from a distance. They jut from the mountainside in various style and shapes. The Buchannans would have definitely had a home there.

The locals, however, could care less. They are in the middle of a jog or a bike ride. For that weekend, the clean mountain air was interrupted by shouts of “Clear the way!” and “Please do not disturb! They are here on vacation!” or “give them privacy!” Daisy would have loved it.

Of course, squeaky clean means no drugs, m’kay. Pink Escalades deliver past the gates to the mountain retreats of the Kardashians and the Buchannons. The rest of us commoners have to get on the interstate and drove to the closest town, Eagle/Vail to buy our Rec.

The locals here even added an additional $5 transaction tax because why not. It is a $5 tax on your purchase, regardless of what you spent. You want to buy a pre-roll for $3? It will cost you $8. There are medical shops in this area, but youhave to go even farther, to Edwards and New Hope Wellness.

The Med shops are not very easy to find in Edwards, either. New Hope Wellness is stashed in the last bay of an industrial area. Etched into the side of the mountain, it is about as far away from the bright red brick retail stores and plazas that are begging for another Starbucks. It would be great if you needed some granite cut for your new bathroom. It’s not so great if you needed a bag of weed.

Once you find the address, you have to go through a head shop to the office in back to get there. Crazy. In another time, my alert level would have been on high. But here, I was intrigued by the situation in front of me. I was doing a legal transaction over a desk in a back office. It was like something out of Miami Vice. But it was legit.

New Hope Wellness had about ten varieties herbs to choose from. They were all stacked in a pyramid on the desk. I am always a sucker for Gorilla Glue, and closed right in on that. It has that Sour D sheen and that Sour D stank that always makes it top rank!

The nugs looked they were fully developed, but they were actually really light and had no density to them. They barely produced any fruit.

Then comes the packaging. New Hope Wellness sells their products prepackaged. I loathe prepackaged for a variety of reasons:

  1. They are knocked about constantly before they get into your hands. Then there is the trip home, and all the potential for potholes creating popcorn buds and piles of shake in the bottom of the jar by the time you get home.
  1. Plastic jars are bad for storing items for human consumption. There are many concerns with BPA leeching into what we consume. BPAs in babies and children are more likely to get breast, testicular, and prostate cancer. The six major baby bottle companies in the US voluntarily removed BPAs from their products. The FDA deauthorized BPA in 2013 (this is also where the FDA authorizes hempseed oil as a coating for food, if you are as geeky as me).

2a.    Plastic jars are made of oil. The cannabis industry is creating a new form of waste that is not exactly healthy. Cannabis packaging will make its way into more regulations as they come to pass in more jurisdictions across the country.

Water is an absolute necessity of humanity. We have prospered in the last 2 million years with out the use of plastic. Since then, 2,500,000 bottles of water are thrown away every hour. A glass and a tap would do just fine.

I would rather bring the same glass jar and refill it. It doesn’t matter what the container is made of, it is the fact that we don’t need to throw everything away. Containers can be used over and over again.

  1. A pre-filled container is a crapshoot. These guys always have a display jar for you to look at. But is that really representative of what the employee in back filled the jars with? Were some containers all popcorn buds and others big buds? What if there were no big buds in the entire bottle? There is nothing worse than seeing one thing and going home with something different.
  1. I like to see what I am buying. I am assured that I am getting good buds when I see the budtender weigh things out. They often give a bit extra too.

Basically, a premeasured bottle reminds me of something that happened to me when I was in high school. My friend wanted herb and the only person who was available at that time (it was Friday night in the mid-90s) was at a party. He seemed sketched about calling the dude, but he did it anyway.

Long story short, he got a bag of oregano. It was a bad scene. Now, every time I see a prefilled container I want to see the person selling it to me smoke it. I do not trust pre-filled containers. Nope, Nope, Nope. I consider it o be part of my PTSD from the drug war.

As for the smoke that was in that pre-filled jar? Well, it is smooth on the throat and crazy stoney. But then again, 7500 ft (2286 m) is high enough on its own, if ya feel me.

One final note:

If I was fortunate enough to have a ganja café, I would give a small discount to customers who did bring in their own containers. I was famous at a coffee shop I worked at for not giving my local customers paper cups. They hated it. But they knew that the environment of the café was much more appealing than the container they were drinking out of. It sickens me to go into a full café that has full to-go cups on every table. Those cups are indicators of the laziness of the barista who is supposed to be at the center of the most grassroots, socially conscious organization on the planet- the café.

 

Sources: