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JANUARY 2018 | THE DOPEST ISSUE

EDITOR’S LETTER

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J

anuary marks the beginning of many incredible opportunities in the cannabis space. This issue, the DOPEst Issue, serves as a symbol for the year to come; a new chapter; a chance for us here at DOPE to share some of the most anticipated happenings of 2018 with you, both in and out of the cannabis space.

DOPE LIFE

In this issue we’re highlighting Jason Silva, host of National Geographic’s Brain Games, keynote speaker, thinker and overall mind-expanding virtuoso. Dubbed "A Timothy Leary of the Viral Video Age" by The Atlantic, we chatted with Silva about the future of psychedelics, the effect traveling to new places has on our brains, and his unquenchable thirst for knowledge. We travel to Morocco for an exclusive research series on recent developments in the country’s rapidly changing cannabis industry. We head to the Sonoma, Napa, Mendocino and Lake Counties in California to touch base with those who fearlessly stepped up to the plate and, in the face of tragedy, aided those impacted by the wildfires that swept through the region.

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We meet Whitney Bell, intersectional feminist and creator of the art installation “I Didn’t Ask For This: A Lifetime of Dick Pics.” As a writer for Teen Vogue, HuffPost, Playboy and Cosmopolitan, Bell is a force in the movement to create dialogue surrounding intersectionality, privilege and power. We can’t wait to see what 2018 holds for Bell. Our International Writer, Scott Pearse, talks with Ietef (pronounced EE-tef) Vita about his work as a culinary climate action activist, DJ, organic gardener and father of the Eco HipHop movement...and the list goes on. Raised in Denver’s Eastside community, Ietef speaks powerfully and sincerely about food deserts—areas where fresh produce is generally not available. His work teaching communities how to grow and cook their own food gives food desert communities hope for the future. This Issue is non-traditional for DOPE in many ways. It is our hope that you find inspiration in one—or many—of the articles within these pages. Maybe you close this issue feeling inspired to start your own backyard garden, participate in a local art show or invest in the cannabis market. Hey, maybe even Jonah Tacoma will inspire you to travel to Iceland!

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DOPE MAGAZINE JANUARY 2018 | THE DOPEST ISSUE It’s a new year and we’re kicking it off with the DOPEst Issue to date! Jason Silva graces our cover. Host of National Geographic’s Brain Games and YouTube’s Shots of Awe, Silva has been called the Performance Philosopher of the 21st century. Turn to page 20 to read about Silva’s thoughts on the future of psychedelics, the mind-expanding power of travel and his ability to pull direct quotes seemingly out of thin air. COVER PHOTO: JORDAN SWENSON

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EFENDING UR LANT VERYWHERE As a lifestyle publication, DOPE Magazine is dedicated to creating purposeful, relevant conversations. We’ve built a steadfast framework of inclusivity when speaking about gender, race, class, politics, family and culture—with the ethos DEFEND. Not just our plant, but our people, patients, and planet. Our highly curated content continues to focus on people and lifestyles that have a relationship with cannabis. While cannabis remains our central theme, it is our belief that creating conversations about real people and relatable experiences is the best way to normalize the understanding of cannabis in society as a whole. Our aim is to continue to illuminate issues that deserve our attention and must be addressed if we wish to both promote and create change. We are grateful for your time, we welcome your feedback, and are truly grateful for your participation to create positive change in our world. Defending Our Plant Everywhere.

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THE DOPEST ISSUE

ANUARY 2018

TABLE OF CONTENTS

FEATURES 030 CULTURE

GANGS TO GARDENS

IETEF VITA IS THE O.G. (ORGANIC GARDENER) OF ECO HIP-HOP 036 FEATURE

HEROES OF THE 2017 NORTH BAY FIRES THE PHOENIX RISING FROM THE ASHES 042 DOPE EVENT

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046 CULTURE

DOPE ON THE ROAD

WITH JONAH TACOMA: ICELAND 050 PROFILE

EMPOWERMENT IS A PRIVILEGE INTERSECTIONAL FEMINIST WHITNEY BELL 056 BUSINESS PROFILE

THE WALL STREET OF CANNABIS 058 FEATURE

TONY BOWER THE MEDICINE MAN 064 DOPESHOTS

DOPESHOTS

020 COVER FEATURE

ASON SILVA BRAIN GAMES WITH THE WONDER JUNKIE

WINNER FRED GUNNERSON 066 #SCOUTEDBYDOPE

#SCOUTEDBYDOPE 068 EDITOR’S CHOICE

HUMBLE FLOWER CO. 070 TRAVEL

MOROCCO PART ONE

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ason Silva and I are shooting the shit. We’re seated in the kitchen of the art loft where we’ve agreed to meet, the video crew bustling around us, making their last preparations for our interview. Jason’s donning a black t-shirt with a circular sticker that reads “Support Psychedelic Science.” To say that I’m nervous is an understatement. I have quite a few interviews under my belt, but I’ve been intensely prepping for this one and know full well that keeping up with Silva’s answers will be a feat. He talks quickly, as I’ve learned from my research, and punctuates specific words in such a passionate manner, really reiterating their importance to the listener. It’s an endearing quality, a reminder that he’s human and not, in fact, a robot—a thought that had crossed my mind. We talk about our recent travels off-camera, and Silva feels like an old pal I haven’t seen in years. He’s calm, attentive and sits at ease. He’s charismatic, and I can tell he isn’t always waiting for his turn to talk. If you’ve subscribed to Silva’s YouTube channel, Shots of Awe, or watched National Geographic’s Brain Games, you’re well aware of Jason’s ability to effectively express his thoughts through a boisterous and intriguing employment of his hands as speaking tools. Yes, he’s a hand-talker and yes, it works. Silva’s charisma and passion is palpable; it radiates throughout the room, and it’s no wonder he’s made a living in front of the camera. A Philosophy and Film Major from the University of Miami, Jason went straight out of college to work as what Timothy Leary would call a “Performance Philosopher.” I ask Jason if he likes the term. He grins, then jokes, “I am happy to take it. It might be a little pretentious, but I do love the phrase that ‘philosophy should be performed, not taught.’”

I ask Silva his thoughts on the film Her. It’s become obvious to me that interviewing Silva without asking his thoughts on singularity would be a grave mistake. Written, directed and produced by Spike Jonze, Her is, at its core, about singularity. Jason notes, “Singularity is a term, a metaphor borrowed from physics to describe what it’s like going through a black hole.” I ask Silva if he thinks Her is a good representation of singularity for the layman. He does. I transcribed his full answer, and it’s 840 words long—more than half the space I have allotted to pen this piece. Precisely why plugging every answer of his—even as a synopsis—into this article would be not only impossible, but a tragic decision on my part. Luckily, all of Silva’s answers will be turned into short videos for your viewing pleasure on our website. Silva goes on to talk at length about black holes, time travel, Moore’s Law and super computers eventually shrinking to the size of blood cells. One of the most interesting components of his answer comes near its close. With palpable excitement, Silva asserts, “The origin of language was a singularity, in the sense that it changed the rules of reality as we knew them.” He’s talking about hominids, ape-like primates, and points to Terrence McKenna (the psychedelic philosopher and mystic psychonaut) who laid claim to the idea that “…the Cambrian explosion of mind and consciousness that language ushered was triggered by primates eating magic mushrooms.” The “actual” Cambrian explosion occurred 541 million years ago and is thought to have produced most major groups of animals as revealed by fossil records. Silva is using the Cambrian explosion as a metaphor for the way in which the use of psilocybin mushrooms may have resulted in an explosion of consciousness and the mind.

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WHAT THE TELESCOPE DID FOR ASTRONOMY . . . PSYCHEDELICS CAN POTENTIALLY DO FOR CONSCIOUSNESS.

Essentially, Silva notes, “Separate things, but related in that they both ushered in diversity and novelty—first with animals and later with language and mind.” As more legitimate, peerreviewed research studies are conducted on the relevancy and effectiveness of small-dose psychedelics to combat ailments such as PTSD, stress and depression, this idea that magic mushrooms may have been at the root of language fills me with hope and, as Jason might say, “awe.” The hair on my forearms points skyward. Silva’s ability to pull direct quotes seemingly out of thin air reminds me of the scene in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire when Dumbledore extracts a memory and reviews it in a Pensieve (a memory reviewer). It’s a somewhat uncanny ability, almost as though Silva is sitting in front of a teleprompter—which I assure you, he is not. “I am kind of what they call a quote hoarder or quote whore,” Silva jokes. Silva grew up in a household that celebrated language. His mom, Linda, teaches high school literature, and so Jason grew up with a sensitivity to language. He is also admittedly a control freak: “When I come across something astounding or inspiring, any passage that moves me, I immediately need to transcribe and archive,” he admits. “I don’t want to lose my connection to this thing. I have to bookmark it and write it down.” During our chat, Silva quotes verbatim Stuart Brand, Terence McKenna, Rich Doyle, Roland Griffiths, Tim Doody, Carl Sagan, Michael Pollen, Aldous Huxley, Helen Fisher, David Pearce, Timothy Leary and Jerry Garcia—among others. Silva has built his identity on anchoring in his memory the ideas and philosophies of others that resonate with him. Some of us have trouble simply remembering where we’ve parked our cars after exiting the grocery store. Silva divulges, “My love of words and language is probably why I retain so many of these ideas. To hold onto those ideas is to hold onto a part of me. I read a lot. I am always on the lookout for new things that resonate.” Jason’s identity, like anyone’s identity, is personal; built by the country that we call home; one’s nationality, linguistic principals, belief systems, geography, tribe, religion. Most importantly, as Jason so eloquently points out, our identity is very much about the lenses through which we see the world: “We see with our lenses and we see through our lenses, but we don’t always see the lenses themselves,” he maintains. “When we travel, we become aware of our own lenses by virtue of being exposed to the lenses of others.” Silva’s life—both onand off-camera—requires more travel than most. Silva likens travel to a mind-expanding drug, asserting that travel “exposes us to novel and new situations. New situations trigger new impressions, new reflections, new thoughts; and all of that, of course, is mediated by neurochemistry, which means that we are getting high. We’re getting a chemical rush from this exposure to novelty from travel.”

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The effects of travel can result in cognitive reframing—a term often used to describe the aftermath of employing psychedelics to expand one’s mind, thus altering one’s perspective. For those suffering with PTSD, suicidal thoughts, depression and/or anxiety, psychedelics are shown to transform chemical imbalances and reactions to trauma. “There have been a lot of wildly exciting results that have come from clinical trials in places like Johns Hopkins University, the Imperial College of London and other places that are using psilocybin mushrooms, MDMA, mind-altering psychedelics [to treat and absolve mental afflictions],” Jason points out. In the words of Tim Doody, “To entertain such ontologies is to re-contextualize one’s self as a marvelous conduit in a timeless whole, through which molecules and meaning flow, from nebulae to neurons and back again.” Doody is referring to the idea that certain psychedelic molecules may have the ability to not only connect with certain serotonin receptors in our brain but also, as Jason puts it, “[certain psychedelic molecules] can connect us to a grander cosmic reality” where time is non-existent. It is in this clock-less world where perspectives evolve and minds expand.

Doody goes on to say in The Heretic that if these molecules do in fact have this ability, then why shouldn’t we take a “peek”? The reality is that traditional treatments such as prescription medications are clearly not doing the job that they were designed to do. As Silva contends, “We’re living in a time where anxiety and depression are at epidemic levels. Eight-hundred-thousand people a year now are committing suicide globally, according to the United Nations. That’s a larger number than the amount of people who die from natural disaster and armed conflict combined. This thing with suicide, depression and anxiety is horrific.” Jason continues, stating that regardless of the propaganda you may have been exposed to, he is not encouraging anyone to take multiple tabs of LSD and run into the forest to cure their depression; quite the opposite. He suggests that we continue to “[create] protocols and frameworks that can use the potential of these molecules [psychedelics] to alleviate the suffering of many people across the world.” Who can’t get behind creating a new frontier for psychotherapy? Moreover, Jason asserts, “What the telescope did for astronomy, these psychedelics can potentially do for consciousness.” Psychedelics as a Psychotherapy assistant is not for everyone, and this article does not intend to convince anyone of that, but rather to offer insight into the possibility that psychedelics may have something to offer humans which prescription drugs simply cannot. “There is more to investigate here,” Jason declares. “I am still profoundly excited to learn more. We are at the edge of the new frontier here. And that’s what humans do, we explore, so we shouldn’t shy away from the implications of these studies, but rather embrace them whole heartedly.”

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Whether or not Silva is ready to take on the title of “Performance Philosopher” is really up to him. As Silva taught me, Timothy Leary came out in the ‘80s and ‘90s “as a singularity cyberneticist, and said, ‘In the information age, you don’t teach philosophy . . . you perform it.’” That is exactly what Silva is doing—creating a new platform for a new type of learner. To use Silva’s eloquent words, “If philosophy means love of wisdom, and if the way that we electrify and share wisdom or love of wisdom today is through memetics, through I.T., then YouTube is now the avenue for sharing a love of wisdom.” THISISJASONSILVA.COM @JASONLSILVA @JASONLSILVA

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IETEF VITA IS THE O.G. (ORGANIC GARDENER) OF ECO HIP-HOP

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SCOTT PEARSE

PAUL WINNER & COURTESY OF IETEF VITA

D O P E M AGA Z I N E .CO M


T

he music video for the song “Wheat Grass” opens with a young black man in basketball sweats entering a corner store. The obligatory advertisements for alcohol, cigarettes and wire transfers adorn the store’s exterior walls. Three young black men sit outside the corner store, gold chains around their necks, caps worn to the side, a boom box joining them like a fourth companion. One young man says, “Man, the cops been hot up on the block lately.” The video thus far is notable only for its urban ordinariness. “I’m about to roll up in here and get some chips,” he continues, pointing to the corner store. DJ Cavem waves a hand no: “You don’t need to do all that, man. Check this out.” When the song’s central refrain begins, the viewer realizes that this artist is taking hip-hop into unfamiliar territory.

“We must cultivate the earth. Plant seeds, meditate and take it in.” Ietef Vita is a culinary climate action activist—that’s the short version of his biography. A quick search for Ietef’s (pronounced EE-tef) work will reveal he also goes by a dizzying array of titles: educator, emcee, vegan/raw chef, organic gardener, yogi, father of Eco Hip-Hop, cultural Jedi, Afro drummer, street activist, beat teacher, B-boy, deejay, graffiti guru and midwife. I ask about his midwife experience, only because it sticks out in the extensive list. “I’m a proud father of three girls,” he explains, “all delivered at home by just their mother and me.” This is a man who revels in nature and the experiences native to our existence, but he isn’t from the green hills of Colorado. Ietef’s natural environment is Denver’s Five Points district.

ECO HIP-HOP As a musician, Ietef’s work as DJ Cavem builds on the foundations of hip-hop. But through his experiences and lifestyle, he has a unique perspective he shares through his lyrics: “I’m on that raw food diet, have you checked the price of cancer—maybe you should try it?” Growing up green isn’t the usual result of a childhood spent in Denver’s Eastside communities, but fortunately for Ietef, his mother was politically active

and her influence was strongly felt. His father taught him to draw. “I was raised around artists,” he shares. “My mother was a community activist and organizer. That shifted something for me as a young person, to become comfortable as a performer and activist. Being present on the frontlines of protests.”

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MY COMMUNITY HAD BETTER ACCESS TO CRACK COCAINE THAN IT DID ORGANIC PRODUCE. – ACTIVIST IETEF VITA

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THE PRODUCE SECTION Ietef’s work is uniquely influenced by trips to Africa to complete studies in permaculture and agronomy. “I took gangster culture and marinated it with different things I had been learning,” he says. “From there, I asked myself how can I have a concept about my lifestyle. I was like, ‘Alright, I eat vegan—maybe I should do an album about that so I can lead people to the produce section.’ And that was the idea. I was like, ‘Great! I’ll call my album The Produce Section.’

That’s my vibe. I talk about growing organic food; I educate from farm to fridge to table, and all the way down. I show people the hustle. Not only [how] to save your seeds but also how to hustle kale chips and sauerkraut and put it back on the block. I’m now teaching people to garden in the communities where I grew up without access to healthy food, so they don’t have to go through that. My community had better access to crack cocaine than it did organic produce.”

WHY FRESH FOOD ISN’T REACHING POOR COMMUNITIES Ietef’s mission to bring fresh, healthy food to poor communities faces many challenges; the billions spent on marketing junk food to children, the prohibitive cost of purchasing organic produce— if it’s even available. While proud of the culture of hip-hop, Ietef identified a pattern: “As the commercialization of hip-hop progressed into a multi-billion dollar industry, corporations began partnering with hip-hop to use it as a platform to market destructive ideas, imagery and, more importantly, bringing unhealthy food to communities.” The majority of the food issues created by our current food systems present themselves most fully in areas populated by black and brown people. Access to fresh food is one such issue. Commonly known as food deserts, these areas often have no supermarket and most residents

rely upon corner stores to purchase food. It’s much easier for a corner store to stock packaged goods than fresh produce, which include preservatives to keep food from spoiling longer. Consumers need to know how to use fresh food, which would then create a market—your local corner store might start a small produce section to supply the demand. The consequences of food deserts are many, but mostly manifest in diseases such as heart conditions and Type 2 Diabetes. “There’s a lot of hip-hop artists who’ve died from food-related illness,” says Ietef. “People I love, like Sean Price, Phife Dawg from A Tribe Called Quest, Guru—I could go down the line. These are some gangsterass artists, they talk about the hardest life. You would think police brutality or the gun would take them out, but it’s the plate. It’s ridiculous.”

GETTING THE MESSAGE THROUGH “I go into the hood, show the people how to grow the food, how to harvest the food, how to prepare it and then we show them how to hustle it.” Ietef took the idea of ‘ Thug Life’ and created the hashtag #KaleLife. Everybody wants to be an O.G., and Ietef is no exception—only he’s an Organic Gardener. “We think about how we use arts and culture to reach young people . . . That’s our recipe for resistance. We’ve created drug dealers, now we’ve got to create organic gardeners, holistic practitioners, yogis and vegan chefs.” “Cool to Live”—an autobiographical track about Ietef’s life—is also a great analogy for his work. He’s simply trying to make environmental food justice an issue that’s cool. Ietef takes a message we’ve all heard before, but brings it to us in a different package. Maybe that’s all the

hippies who created the same message were missing—marketing and cool. “It’s easy to educate when you make food from scratch,” he says. “It’s going to be really hard for me to bring a chicken into a classroom, let the children pet it, then be like, ‘Okay this is lunch.’ Kids are going to be crying. I can easily bring in a cabbage, chop the head off it—nobody’s going to feel nothing. It’s absurd that they’ll feed meat to kids but you can’t kill an animal in front of the child. It’s interesting the trauma they choose not to expose children to, but I’m all about the truth.” It’s a benefit to us all for Ietef’s message to spread like seeds—to create green communities where now there are only food deserts. It’s cool to live a long and healthy life, don’t you know. DJCAVEM.COM @IETEF @VEGANCHEFIETEF

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he DOPE Magazine team solicited nominations from the community and set out to meet the heroes of the wildfires that took place starting on October 8, 2017, in the Sonoma, Napa, Mendocino and Lake Counties in California. The wildfires killed at least 40 people, dubbed the most destructive in state history. This piece is written with sincere gratitude to those who shared their stories in the midst of tragedy, and to all of the firefighters, police, dispatchers and first responders who remain heroes every damn day. Ashley Oldham of Frost Flower Farms awoke to her friend, Ira Chamberlain, banging on the front door of her Redwood Valley home as the fires approached. Fifteen minutes after Oldham and her daughter safely got out of the house, it was engulfed in flames. Although Oldham lost her home, processing facilities, two additional commercial greenhouses (that had just arrived on site and hadn’t yet been built) and a lifetime of genetics work, she did not completely lose her cannabis farm, which was the fourth farm permitted in Mendocino County. Oldham fought the fire with a garden hose and returned to her property to continue to fight the flames, hiking back in even when law enforcement would not allow her to pass road barricades in the ensuing days. Oldham is one of many cannabis farmers who did not receive the same consideration as neighboring wine grape farmers, who were able to tend to their crops in the days following the fires. Oldham and Ira, together and separately, saved multiple homes in their neighborhood by jumping onto roofs to set up sprinklers and putting out spot fires. Oldham showed DOPE a soilpile-turned-spot-fire that wouldn’t quit and the scorched line of the fires on her property, which butted right up to her large, cannabis plant-filled greenhouse. Oldham is hopeful that these remaining plants—approximately 70 percent of her forecast harvest this year—will pass testing.

FOR THOSE OF US WHO ARE AMONG THE LUCKY ONES, LET’S CHANNEL OUR BLESSINGS . . . LET US UNITE AS A COMMUNITY, AND TOGETHER WE CAN BECOME THE PHOENIX THAT RISES FROM THE ASHES. – JESSICA LILGA, CO-FOUNDER OF ALTA SUPPLY

Across town, cannabis producer and distributor CannaCraft responded to the emergency by opening their doors to evacuees during the onset of the fires, then donated 12,000 square feet of office space for use as American Red Cross headquarters. They also converted industrial space into emergency housing, allowed RVs and trailers in their lot, and provided electricity, water, portable bathrooms and showers. CannaCraft additionally donated $100,000 worth of products to local dispensaries to be provided to evacuated patients in need of medicine. As Dennis Hunter, CannaCraft Co-CEO, puts it: “We have a responsibility to assist our community. I hope our actions demonstrate what our industry is truly about, and assists in de-stigmatizing the negative perception [of cannabis] held by some.” CannaCraft also donated the land in Santa Rosa for Burners Without Boarders to create “Oasis Village,” which serves as temporary housing for those who have been displaced by the fires. Camp Epic, a theme camp at Burning Man, gifted the shipping containers to house 75 people, and an additional 50 people will be housed in RVs on the site, complete with bathroom units, dining and lounge tents and a mobile kitchen run by a caterer who fed first responders when the fires hit. The project is managed by volunteers and self-funded by donors, along with a fundraising goal of $100,000. At the time this piece was penned, Oasis Village was awaiting residency permits from the City of Santa Rosa.


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Patrick King—aka “ The Soil King,” Founder of The Soil King in Cloverdale—and his team managed to harvest their cannabis farm as the fires were approaching. King then organized a number of relief efforts focused on the Mendocino and Lake Counties, and he hasn’t stopped since. King created a non-profit organization and led a drive for monetary donations, raising approximately $40,000 so far. King also provided space to create donation and supply drop-off locations, an animal sanctuary and a distribution warehouse of supplies and donations that moved $50,000-100,000 worth of donations per day. He also set up evacuation centers in the Redwood and Potter Valleys. King is particularly empathetic to undocumented workers who do not speak English and cannot bring their family to a shelter without the risk of being deported, so he sent trailers and trucks with supplies out to the beaches and coastal areas where many of these families were staying.
 Various dispensaries are doing their part in fire relief fundraising, both in-store and by hosting events dedicated to fire relief. Mercy Wellness of Cotati is a great example of this; Director Brandon Levine says, “We lost a lot of product ourselves, maybe 1,000 pounds of weed, but we still have enough to give away during this stressful time, when patients need it the most.” Mercy is organizing a donation drive to hand out free product to patients affected by the fires, which has totaled over $100,000 in donated product so far, and is matching every dollar donated in the shop. When DOPE visited the team at Mercy one evening, two employees, Zach Monday and Pat Keenan, who both lost their homes, were there rolling joints to be donated to others. Felicia Accomazzo is the Project Manager who organizes these donations. Accomazzo, a fire victim herself, medicates with cannabis to treat her brain cancer and knows the importance of having access to medicine. Jessica Peters, Founder of Moxie Meds and avid animal lover, spent eight days traveling between Oakland and the North Bay to rescue an estimated 300-400 animals. After a harrowing experience of rescuing goats and a longhorn cow from a corral that was on fire, Peters rented a U-Haul cargo van and filled it with twenty animal carriers, food, medicine and other supplies. Peters transported rescue animals to the fairgrounds and various animal shelters, while 18 rescue animals stayed at her own home, where she paid for veterinary bills out of pocket. Jessica Lilga, Co-founder of Alta Supply, a cannabis distribution company, is organizing a farm-to-farm aid program. Growers unaffected by the fires can donate flower, which can be tested by SC Labs, who is offering testing services for all donations. These flower donations will be sold by Alta Supply to dispensaries, and 100 percent of profits go to growers in need. Lilga implores, “For those of us who are among the lucky ones, let’s channel our blessings . . . Thank you for being part of what makes our industry so special. Let us unite as a community, and together we can become the Phoenix that rises from the ashes.” As it turns out, the love in the air is truly thicker than the smoke.

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ach November the Cannabis Industry converges on Las Vegas for the annual MJBiz Conference. For the second consecutive year DOPE Magazine hosted the most coveted VIP afterparty for clients, celebrities, industry innovators and special guests. The event was produced with a Moroccan theme that transformed the 15,000 square foot venue with lavish decor. Each room was curated and uniquely constructed from ceiling to floor. Around every corner revealed an original and inspirational take on the evening’s Moroccan theme. A life-size camel was brought in specifically for a special guest photo op. As the sun set, nearly 2,000 guests arrived and were treated to complimentary cocktails, gifts from sponsors and music from Las Vegas’ #1 DJ Ikon. Celebrity sightings included UFC superstars The Diaz Brothers along with NBA legend John Salley. The night would not have been possible without all of the amazing sponsors who showcased their brands and dazzled guests with insight into the future of cannabis products. Some sponsors spoiled visitors with take-home gifts that were the perfect token to remember the night. The Golden Ticket Party Las Vegas will be back again in November of 2018. Will you find your Golden Ticket?

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LIFESTYLE

JOURNEY TO ICELAND JONAH TACOMA JONAH TACOMA COURTESY COURTESY OF JESSICA OF LARUE JESSICA ANDLARUE JONAH TACOMA

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e were a little over six hours into our seven hour flight from Seattle to Keflavík when the captain's voice came over the loudspeaker announcing that the northern lights could be seen in the distance. Leaning over a sleeping Jessica, I managed to catch a streak of color through one of the windows, a distant flash of light in the night sky over Iceland. I rifled through my bag as we prepared to land, searching for two chocolate chip cookies that needed to be eaten before we went through customs. Possessing, cultivating or consuming marijuana is allallstill are stillillegal illegalininIceland, Iceland,but butsimple simplepossession possession has has been been reduced to a fine and residents have been consuming more marijuana per capita than anywhere else in the world, according to several polls.

The customs agent gave us a friendly smile, stamping our passports without question. A quick stop by the rental car desk and we were on the highway towards Reykjavik, Iceland's biggest city. It was 6:30am local time, and the 40 minute drive took us through a Martian landscape of broken and distressed volcanic land. The Vikings who colonized the area had completely cleared the island of trees, and the whole thing made for a surreal scene as the 250mg cookies began to take effect. I had grown up in the bitter mountain cold of the Colorado Rockies and was familiar with what did and didn’t grow there. If there was cannabis in this climate, it was going to be in short supply—and that always means expensive. Iceland itself is one of the most expensive

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“OFF-ISLANDERS OFF-ISLANDERS CAN’T CAN’THANDLE HANDLEICELANDIC ICELANDICWEED WEED STRAIGHT STRAIGHT......YOU YOUHAVE HAVETO TOMIX MIXITITFOR FORTHEM!” THEM! – PAUL PAULSON OF ICELAND

countries co untries in in the the world, world, owing owing largely largely to to its geographical isolation and high import tax. Products and services on the island are known to be triple the average cost stateside, but the population doesn’t seem to mind, as the country enjoys one of the greatest distributions of wealth in the world. With free education through college, a $30 USD minimum wage and universal healthcare for all, it’s easy to see why someone would want to live here. The sun was still down and the lights of Reykjavik were now visible in the distance. Checking into our rented flat, we dropped our bags and got back on the Reykjanesbraut Hwy, bound for the Blue Lagoon, a natural geothermic hot springs set deep in the lava fields of Grindavík to soak out our jet lag. The lagoon had once been a celebrated secret amongst the locals who would gather to swim for free in the 100-plus degree ice blue water. Now it is a valued commodity, roped in by commercial interests and officially listed as one of the great wonders of the world. We passed a vape pen back and forth in the fog rising up from the middle of the massive natural lagoon, careful not to get it wet.

Rations were limited; we would be in trouble if we didn't find some form of pot soon. Leaning back, I closed my eyes, letting the minerals in the water push me to the surface. The remainder of the day was spent exploring the coves and caves of the lagoon, and stopping frequently at the swim-up bar before eventually heading back into the city. We were coming in blind and had decided the bars downtown were going to be our best approach to finding weed. Pulling up a quick list, we narrowed in on The Lebowski as our most probable chance. Fifty dollars U.S. got us two drinks, and we took a seat in the corner to nurse our wounded pocket books while we surveyed the landscape. The crowd seemed to be a good mix of locals and tourists. Drink in hand, I headed for the bar, doing my best to make my DOPE Magazine credentials show over the high counter. Leveling with a young Icelandic bartender, I laid out my crisis in clear language. Whether it was the story we were here to cover or my own need to find cannabis on this frozen island that motivated me, even I wasn’t sure. Chris, the bartender, examined me with a puzzled curiosity, as if

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somehow identifying with my plight, before offering directions to Dillon’s, a whisky bar within walking distance. “Go to Dillon’s, stand out back in the courtyard until you smell it,” he said, giving me a wink as if to affirm he, too, was a member of the fold. We rose with the sun the next morning, spending the day eating strange foods and exploring the tiny streets of Reykjavik, before eventually making our way to Dillon’s as the light began to fade. Securing our drinks, we took to the back as instructed. A door in the rear of the bar opened up to a tiny courtyard encircled and concealed by a row of large buildings. I smiled as a familiar smell hit my nose. A tall, gray, bearded man who looked to be in his fifties sat on the rail of the banister idly puffing on an oversized joint. I positioned myself to his left, taking a giant puff off my Dr. Dabber before extending it towards the stranger. “Cannabis oil,” I said,

exhaling the smoke in his direction, hoping it translated properly. He took it without hesitation, handing me the smoldering, finger-thick joint in exchange. We inhaled deeply in unison, a kind of symbolic “cheers” between stoners. I coughed on mine, choking on the smoke. It was mixed with tobacco, a local custom, he explained, introducing himself as Paul Paulson of Iceland. “Offislanders can’t handle Icelandic weed straight,” he told me. “You have to mix it for them!” We agreed to disagree, and I smeared a large portion of our oil reserves onto the remainder of his joint to seal the deal. “It’s a community of people helping each other out, and also people that are struggling helping themselves out by growing pot here and selling it,” he replied when asked about the cannabis scene in Iceland. “We have great weed in Iceland because of the water, cheap power and a good liberal education.” His

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accent was thick and I was glad to have a recorder for my notes later. We spent the rest of the night smoking Icelandic weed (mixed with tobacco for our safety) and drinking overpriced booze. Even here, 4,000 miles across the pacific, cannabis was a common denominator. For two strangers separated by age, geography and ethnicity, we both recognized each other as members of an unspoken community, a community without borders or creeds, where all are welcome. As we said our goodbyes to Iceland and hit the skies bound once more for Seattle, I had the feeling that this trip had been a milestone. Cannabis had made the world a little bit smaller, and as we veered out over the Pacific, I couldn't wait to see what adventure would be next. DABSTARS.COM @JONAH_TACOMA


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C U LT U R E

INTERSECTIONAL FEMINIST WHITNEY BELL

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COURTESY OF WHITNEY BELL

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eminism it is about uplifting and empowering women; it’s about giving women the same opportunities and treatment men have always been afforded. Whitney Bell’s work is doing just that. Bell is a proud proponent of intersectional feminism, and has taken to the galleries of California to start a conversation about sexual harassment in the digital age. Technology has made it easy for uninvited dicks to figuratively land in your lap at any time, even in the safety of your own home. In her art show, “I Didn’t Ask For This: A Lifetime of Dick Pics,” Bell recreates her home, complete with bed and bedside tables, couch, fridge…and about 150 framed dick pics on display, a visual example of how someone can invade your home, your safe space, without ever stepping foot in the door. She is also a writer for publications like Teen Vogue, HuffPost, Playboy and Cosmopolitan (to name a few), and addresses feminism, sexuality, dating, rape culture, medicinal marijuana and reproductive rights. Bell’s installation and writing has created a dialogue around these issues, but not without hostility. If history has taught us anything, it’s that oppressors are never happy when the oppressed begin to vocalize their rejection of the status quo. During one “A Lifetime of Dick Pics” event, Bell experienced an incident that only furthered the point of her show. “It was at our second event in San Francisco,” she recalls. “I didn’t see him personally, but a guest saw him masturbating in a hallway . . . she immediately alerted security, and by the time they got over there, he had disappeared.” A man bought a ticket to

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an event about sexual harassment and attempted to harass the guests, specifically women, in attendance. “Not only are they giving me more stuff to talk about, but they are further confirming my point,” Bell maintains. “[Harassment] is about their [the harassers] own sexual gratification. This is about them exerting some kind of power. This is an extremely selfish act that isn’t about getting laid, and isn’t about pursuing a woman.” And this isn’t the only incident Bell’s installation has faced. Men have asked to have their dicks showcased on the walls; one man showed women pictures on his phone of his penis ejaculating, as well as videos of him masturbating. Another man asked women if they wanted to see his penis, resulting in his removal from the venue. These incidents confirm the narrative that many men’s need for control often knows no bounds, and even an art show about sexual harassment can become the target of sexual harassment. Bell’s devotion to these issues has resulted in aggressive threats from strangers. After her article “What To Get A Friend PostAbortion” ran in Teen Vogue, she received a few “really scary threats.” I asked if she would write the article again, knowing the harassment to come, and she replied, “Absolutely. There was a ton of hatred— and those voices are the loudest—but there was also a ton of love. I got so many letters and emails from teen girls saying how much it helped them.” Bell stood by her unapologetic pro-choice stance, illustrating, “If I really am truly pro-choice, and if I really don’t think that a fetus at 15 weeks is a baby, then terminating that


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pregnancy isn’t taking a life. Terminating that pregnancy isn’t this life-changing, massive, monumental decision. It’s simply making the right decision for you at that time. It’s acknowledging your own limitations and where you are at and what you are capable of. I don’t think that is something to be ashamed of. In a weird way, I am not saying abortion is something to be proud of, but acknowledging what is right for you is something to be proud of.” Teen Vogue has been open about their new, more progressive direction, led by the second African-American Editor in Condé Nast's 109-year history, Elaine Welteroth. Teen Vogue now covers politics and social justice, and encourages young readers to become civically engaged while still talking fun and fashion. Bell wholeheartedly supports this transformation. “I think the success they ’ve had in the last year is indicative of the fact that teen girls are serious,” Bell states. “ They do want to discuss this stuff. There is a market for this kind of conversation, and I am not afraid of putting myself on the line to further that.” Her eloquent discourse about the importance of intersectionality and privilege as a white woman has been refreshing for many marginalized communities who are all too familiar with the detriment of white feminism silencing their voices. “I think empowerment is a privilege, just like race or socioeconomic status,” Bell explains. “The strength to find your own empowerment or the strength to act on your own empowerment is a privilege that not everyone has, so I think it would be selfish of me to not share mine.” In reference to her installation, she says, “We make this show as intersectional as possible. We make it an inclusive and safe space. On these panels,

I have transgender activists and tons of queer activists, speakers and journalists. I want to elevate those voices, but I don’t want to speak for them.” Empowering women is only one of her contributions to the movement for a more just society. She also does her due diligence to ensure her shop, Kidd Bell, is as inclusive as possible, with merchandise including t-shirts with the words “Queer” and “D.A.R.E to resist racism, sexism and homophobia” on them. Kidd Bell has partnered with Black Lives Matter and Happy Period, which supplies the homeless with the menstrual products they need, as well as the National Center For Transgender Equality. She also has a product line called “Fuck Housework” that benefits the National Domestic Violence hotline. “We try to not only empower the wearer with the clothing and products we have, but give them some agency in a time where it feels like we can’t do a lot to help each other—where it feels like it’s a constant battle,” Bell details. “I think giving people a small way to contribute with something easy is important.” In an age where a man can be caught in the act of raping a woman and still only get three months in jail, and a presidential candidate can be caught joking about sexually assaulting woman and still win the presidency, we need more voices like that of Whitney Bell. We need women who are unapologetic about the right to autonomy over our own bodies. One of Bell’s shirts at her shop says it best: “Women don’t owe you shit.” KIDDBELL.COM @SHOP.KIDDBELL @SHOPKIDDBELL

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IF HISTORY HAS TAUGHT US ANYTHING, IT’S THAT OPPRESSORS ARE NEVER HAPPY WHEN THE OPPRESSED BEGIN TO VOCALIZE THEIR REJECTION OF THE STATUS QUO.

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WHERE STARS ARE BORN.

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BUSINESS

THE WALL STREET OF CANNABIS EVAN CARTER

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f, like many professionals in the cannabis industry, you feel that business reports related to cannabis are often all fluff, you’d be right. One company, spearheaded by two females, is changing all of that. They are coining their company, Green Market Report, the Wall Street of cannabis. We sat down with Debra Borchardt and Cynthia Salarizadeh to discuss what was the catalyst for creating their company, what they think it means for the future and how you can take your investments to the next level in the cannabis market. Here’s what they had to share with DOPE readers.

DOPE Magazine: What is the overall intent of creating this platform? Green Market Report: To give people one website for the key financial news in the cannabis industry; trusting that the news is balanced. We want readers to be able to go to one website when looking for research and analytic information on the [cannabis] industry. We want readers to come to Green Market Report and not have to worry about being bombarded with a sales pitch or have to question the veracity of the story. What was the inspiration behind the creation? Was there a moment where you realized the industry was lacking this information?

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I wanted to create a “CNBC of Cannabis.” I’d written about the industry for several years and I wasn’t finding one site that had the type of coverage I wanted. Most were either selling stock tips or engaging heavily in sponsored content or blogging. I wanted a site where business coverage wasn’t just a vertical, where it was the sole focus.

Who is your audience? Our audience is cannabis investors and cannabis industry insiders. Fifty percent of our readers are in the millennial demographic between the ages of 25-44. What are the differences between Wall Street and the cannabis industry? The biggest difference is the amount of female entrepreneurs. There are more women-owned businesses [in the cannabis sector] than on Wall Street. Wall Street also has the approval of bad behavior from the government, while cannabis is punished without doing any bad deeds. Wall Street is a shrinking industry, while cannabis is growing and adding jobs. What information do people need to know before investing in the cannabis industry? Investors need to know the management team [they’re working with]. They need to be able to easily find the company’s financial documents. Once investors are able to read the financial documents, they must be able to clearly identify the source of the revenue. Once the revenue question is answered, expenses must be reviewed as well to determine if they are reasonable. It seems basic, but for some companies it’s like a puzzle.

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How risky is it to get into Real Estate investing in the cannabis industry?

How do you continue to bring credibility to the scene?

Real estate is probably the least risky sector in the cannabis industry. That’s why it draws the most conservative cannabis investors. It’s a familiar investment and takes the least amount of industry education. Having said that, with the cost of cannabis prices falling in mature markets, the cash cost per gram is becoming a key metric. Meaning that real estate in cannabis investing will only work if the costs are kept down.

Credibility will come from delivering strong journalistic integrity to the reporting. Readers will know that when they read about a company on Green Market Report that it will be based on the facts. The coverage will be balanced and good players will be applauded, while bad players will be called out. Will cannabis businesses start taking Bitcoin as currency?

How would you describe the financial state of the cannabis industry in 10 words or less? It’s in the first five miles of a marathon.

I doubt the cannabis industry will adopt bitcoin. Regular retail hasn’t even opened up to bitcoin and the people who have actually tried to use it find the premium price isn’t worth it. The cannabis industry is striving to be accepted as an equal player in the economy and bitcoin won’t advance that cause. What are some other resources you would suggest if someone wanted to learn more about cannabis investing? Green Market Report is the only cannabis website that provides access to multiple sources of cannabis analysis and the best analyst research reports for investors to use for when doing their homework. The basics of investing are the same for the cannabis industry as it is for any other industry. Learn how to read financial filings and do your homework before buying shares in a cannabis company. GREENMARKETREPORT.COM

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F E AT U R E

TONY BOWER GROWS AUSTRALIA’S BEST CANNABIS, THEN GIVES IT AWAY SCOTT PEARSE

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ony Bower lives in a rural part of Australia’s subtropical North Coast. The area is home to as many dairy cows as there are people. It’s the sort of place where a person can get lost or lose themselves—if that’s what they’re looking for. There’s plenty of reasons to keep a low profile while growing an illegal crop in Australia: police, jail, getting ripped off. But Tony Bower takes these risks in stride. What’s important to him is that people who need medicine receive it. Tony is short and gruff on the phone. His answers don’t often extend past one or two words, the minimum required to make his point. He tells me, “Watch for the canons as you come in.” Okay, I think, then ask, “They’re not going to shoot me or anything, are they?” On the other end of the line I hear the first of many grave chuckles, like the sound of rocks pulled along in a river current. “Nah, mate,” he answers. “You should be ‘right.” Tony Bower is many things: collector, distiller, tinkerer, fisherman and Australia’s best cannabis grower. Tony is from the Indigenous Wiradjuri Nation; his country is the landlocked flat plains of New South Wales. Think south and west of Sydney, over the great dividing range and the Blue Mountains, into arable, rolling, dry landscapes the colour of wheat.

He grew up in Wiradjuri country in Bathurst, a country city most famous in Australia for a motor race that snakes its way around Mount Panorama. “I was always outside of society,” shares Tony. “We were the only Aboriginal family in Bathurst. When I was a kid, I wasn’t counted as an Australian—we were counted as fauna with the sheep and kangaroos. No one was talking about black or white fellas. I didn’t know I was any different. The information was withheld from us. We were only allowed access to the local pool on Wednesday nights. I didn’t know it was because we were Aboriginal. Mum said it was because we had a different religion.” Coming from a farming community, at a young age he began to experiment with breeding plants. Perhaps most importantly, he developed the habit of recording everything he noticed about his plants and their lifecycle. “The plant grows to you,” Tony explains. “That’s why when you grow your own dope, it’s always better than someone else’s. The cannabis plant isn’t able to spread unless you do it, so it has to keep you happy.” This habit of documenting everything followed him through his career as a commercial grower and led him to develop a deep understanding of the cannabis plant at a time when little information was widely available. He eventually created his own breed, Clever Man.

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YOU DO THE CRIME; BE PREPARED TO DO THE TIME. I’VE ALWAYS SAID THAT MY ARGUMENT ISN’T WITH THE COPS, MY ARGUMENT IS WITH THE GOVERNMENT. – TONY BOWER, GROWER AND ACTIVIST

THE COMPASSION CLUB

THE GOOD HERB

Of course, as someone who had little time for authority, Tony had run-ins with the law. “I went to jail a couple of times when I was a kid. All cultivation-related,” he says. But it was his first experience at Australia’s MardiGrass festival that showed Tony there was much more to be done with cannabis than pumping out crops for profit. “My first MardiGrass was ‘98,” reminisces Tony. “I met some people and they ran a Compassion Club. They got leaf off people, cooked it all up and sent out cookies with a little certificate and all that. It was sort of above-board, the government knew it was happening. I thought, righty-o, I have a lot of leaf, and the dope I was growing was much better than anybody had up there.” It was the beginning of Tony’s compassion mission. Once he realized he was better qualified than anyone else to deliver medicine, he took the responsibility seriously. “I’ve got 500 people on my books. These are sick people. I’d drive up to Nimbin and set up the bus, and people would come and see me. People have always had to give me a doctor’s letter saying what’s wrong with them. They’ve gotta prove that they’re sick. Otherwise, I fall under the Drugs Misuse Act.” Tony has continued to operate in this legal gray space ever since.

Australia’s Cannabis Cup has been held in secret somewhere in Northern New South Wales. Tony Bower and the flower he uses to create his Mullaway tinctures have been making the journey to the competition for years. “I’ve won the cannabis cup ever y year since 2000. I gave up in 2013,” he says. The timing of his retirement from cannabis competition coincided with an arrest that led to a three-month stint in jail for cultivation. “You do the crime; be prepared to do the time. I’ve always said that my argument isn’t with the cops, my argument is with the government.” That hasn’t stopped his influence on Australian cannabis at the top level. “People who are growing Clever Man are still winning the cup.”

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DON’T BE A. STONER Tony’s activism has never had the feel of a wellorganized political movement; instead, he likes to throw himself headlong into trouble with the aim of starting a conversation. “I used to give the tincture away on the main street of town,” he remembers. By luck, the local member of parliament was named Andrew Stoner. “I’d set up a stall out the front of Stoner’s office and be yelling, ‘Free medical cannabis! Don’t be A. Stoner. Use medical cannabis!’ We’re good friends now, but I used to put it on him a bit. I’d follow him around to meetings and give him heaps. He would say, ‘People like you, it doesn’t matter! No matter what we do, you’d have something to say about it.’ And I’d say, ‘I don’t know, try doing something and we’ll see.’” Tony’s face creases with a smile at these recollections.

THE MIDDLE FINGER APPROACH Of the few people who have openly provided medical cannabis to patients in Australia, To n y ’s a p p r o a c h h a s b e e n t h e m o s t confrontational. “I’ve always said, the best form of defense is attack. While I was attacking the government, what are they going to do to me? We used to carry the tincture into parliament house, tried to give it to some of the politicians.” With the help of his wife, Julie, who he married when he was 18, Tony created a supply that can medicate hundreds of patients. But I get the feeling this has all been a bit fun. “In some ways,” he shares. “But back then it was pretty serious. I was looking after a lot of people with illness. I was trying to make it all, send it out—just me and Julie. Trying to do it all ourselves. It was bloody hard work.”

TAKING THE WEIGHT

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Tony is at an age now where someone in a more typical career path would be looking at retirement, and health problems experienced by his wife have caused him to slow down. “ That’s mostly why I’ve stopped trying to annoy the government,” he tells me. “Because I want to be here to look after her. We’ve been married since I was 18. We’ve got three kids. My sons have 10 kids between them.” It’s difficult to say where Australian cannabis would be without Tony’s life’s work. He forced a conversation to take place while others remained silent. He’s helped hundreds— perhaps thousands—of patients. And he’s done it all while putting himself at risk, knowing there is little chance of personal reward. “I take my responsibility seriously,” he asserts. “I help because I can.”

D O P E M AGA Z I N E .CO M


DOPE SHOTS

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KIDD BELL "DON'T BE A DICK" LIGHTER Straightforward and to the point—much like creator and founder of Kidd Bell, Whitney Bell. Bell is a proud proponent of intersectional feminism and advocates unapologetic empowerment through her writing, which has been featured in everything from Teen Vogue to Playboy, as well as her eclectic online shop. Her traveling art show, "I Didn't Ask For This: A Lifetime of Dick Pics," addresses sexual harassment in the digital age. $20 KIDDBELL.COM @SHOP.KIDDBELL @SHOPKIDDBELL

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EDITOR’S CHOICE

HUMBLE FLOWER CO. SELF-CARE REGIMEN MUST-HAVES! LUNA REYNA JORDAN SWENSON

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umble Flower Co., a fun play on words for a cannabis company from Humboldt County, California, has created an array of natural, powerful cannabis topicals. Using all-natural and ethically-sourced ingredients, as well as recyclable packaging, their spa-quality products are elegantly presented and packed with an impressive amount of cannabinoids. Whether you’re looking for pain relief, a relaxing soak in the tub, a soothing lotion or the perfect massage oil, Humble Flower Co. products are the ideal monthly, weekly, (and, in a perfect world, daily) self-care ritual. Long day? Apply a little of the Pain Relief Salve to sore areas. The salve includes a 100mg CBD:50mg THC ratio, arnica extract and a nourishing blend of essential oils. While the salve is doing its job, run yourself a bath and unwind with the cannabis-infused Relaxing Bath Soak. Enjoy the skin-softening blend of soothing essential oils and minerals with a nice glass of wine or a pre-roll. Once you’ve stepped out of the bath, appreciate the lavender and rose aromatherapy experience. After drying, apply the Soothing Lotion. Their solvent-free cannabis extract lotion is another 100mg CBD:50mg THC ratio and leaves virtually no trace of a cannabis scent. Self-care is important. Hand the Healing Massage Oil to your beau and finish the night off right before getting some shut eye.

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If enzymes are not listed on the label as active ingredients, there is no guarantee that the product contains enzymes. 3rd party lab tests validate each active ingredient before it’s claimed on the label.

This concentrated enzyme formula provides a cleaner root zone by accelerating the breakdown of dead root matter.

ARE CLAIMS TO BENEFIT THE ROOT ZONE ON THE LABEL?

If the label does not contain claims to positively affect the root zone, it may be classified as an external equipment cleaner and should NOT be applied to your plants or nutrient mix.

DOES IT PASS THE TISSUE TEST?

The tissue test is the easiest way to check if the enzyme formula contains enzymes. Pour some product into a jar and add a sheet of tissue paper. If the tissue disintegrates after 24 hours, then it contains at least one enzyme (cellulase) that benefits your root zone.

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T R AV E L

MOROCCO’S CANNABIS FARMERS ARE RADICALLY OVERHAULING THEIR GROW METHODS JENNIFER MACFARLANE (SESHATA) AND PIERRE-ARNAUD CHOUVY SESHATA

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On a recent visit to the Rif region of Northern Morocco, we observed a dramatic and widespread evolution in cannabis cultivation techniques, centered in key geographical areas. We have previously reported on the rise of modern hybrid varieties 1,2,3 in the Rif, which are rapidly outcompeting the traditional kif landrace. However, these recent developments go far beyond the introduction of new varieties, and point to a potential transformation of the entire industry.

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THE RISE OF ROW-PLANTING The most noticeable change is the obvious increase in row-planting. With this method, rows of evenly-spaced holes are created to house individual plants. According to one farmer, each plant is given a full square meter (1.2 yd²) of space. The holes are often filled with nutrient-rich soil and compost, in order to provide the growing plants with optimum nutrition. During Seshata’s last visit to Morocco in 2015, there were already reports that some farmers had adapted their methods and begun to plant in rows. No first-hand evidence was yet available, and it is clear that the practice was not widespread at that time. But by 2017,

vast swathes of countryside around the Rif town of Bab Berred were carpeted with neat rows of cannabis plants, giving the landscape an appearance oddly reminiscent of the tea plantations of Darjeeling, or the vineyards of Tuscany. Of course, row-planting is far more labor intensive than the traditional method of broadcasting seeds (indiscriminately throwing seeds by hand over a broad area). So why has it taken off so dramatically in recent years? We’ll explore the reasons behind this evolution, and what it means for the wider Moroccan industry.

AN INFLUX OF FEMINIZED SEEDS While traversing the area, it becomes apparent that male plants are not present in these carefully managed fields. According to reports on the ground, feminized seeds are becoming much more prevalent—and some farmers are even beginning to propagate clones. A decade ago, feminized seeds were extremely rare in the Rif, and clones were essentially unheard-of. Now, we regularly hear reports of bulk purchases of feminized European seeds destined for Morocco. On some larger farms, plant count can range anywhere from 200,000 to over one million individual cannabis plants. Wholesale prices range from around €0.60 for

large bulk orders, to over €1 for each single feminized seed. Needless to say, the emerging feminized seed market is becoming hugely valuable in its own right. These valuable seeds are often germinated inside polytunnels, carefully nurtured until they are a few inches tall before being transplanted into their specially-prepared holes. In this way, farmers can ensure the seeds are protected during the earliest and most vulnerable stage of life and increase their chance to realize their full potential in terms of yield and quality. Of course, this also ensures that 100 percent of the plants in the fields are female.

Chouvy, Pierre-Arnaud & Afsahi, Kenza. “Hashish Revival in Morocco”. International Journal of Drug Policy, 25(3) (2014): 416–423. 2 Seshata. “Visiting a Modern Cannabis Farm in Morocco’s Rif Mountains”. PROHBTD (2015). https:// prohbtd.com/visiting-a-modern-cannabis-farm-in-moroccos-rif-mountains (accessed November 8, 2017). 3 EMCDDA. “Changes in Europe’s cannabis resin market”. Perspectives on Drugs series. Publications Office of the European Union, Luxembourg (2016). 1

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IMPROVED PLANT CARE There are several other advantages to row-planting. Plants can be left to grow wider and bushier, increasing potential flower sites. Sunlight is able to better penetrate the canopy, leading to higher yields per plant and per field. Conversely, “broadcasting” typically creates fields full of tightly-packed plants, which grow tall and unbranched due to their limited space. Maintenance, pruning and watering of individual plants has become much more manageable. Indeed, individual plant care was

practically unknown a few years ago, except perhaps for the “good seeds” that farmers would save for planting close to the farmhouse. However, it’s important to point out that this hasn’t always been the case 4. Prior to the 1960s—when farmers in the Rif primarily produced kif sold as herbal cannabis, and the hashish trade had not yet begun— individual plant care was the rule, not the exception. So in some respects, these recent developments are in fact a return to older techniques, albeit on a far larger scale.

WHILE MOROCCAN HASHISH REMAINS THE MOST CONSUMED IN EUROPE BY FAR, IT IS BECOMING A GREAT DEAL HARDER FOR LOCAL PRODUCERS TO SUSTAIN THE PRICES AND DEMAND THEY HAVE HISTORICALLY ENJOYED.

Clarke, Robert Connell, Hashish!, (Los Angeles: Red Eye Press, 1998), 175. Clarke, Hashish!, 184-187 .

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HIGHER CROP QUALITY Harvesting methods are also improving as the need for high-quality product intensifies. The final quality of the outdoor cannabis harvest in Morocco is generally low; plants typically have a brownish appearance and poor aroma due to being sun-dried at high temperatures. However, we were fortunate enough to inspect the harvest of one farm utilizing these new methods. We observed well-formed,

light green flowers with a definite citrus fragrance and abundant trichome coverage. Apart from an extremely high presence of seeds (male cannabis pollen is ubiquitous in Morocco, and is routinely blown across the sea to Spain and France 5), the sample resembled high-quality outdoor cannabis of the standard grown in Spain or the Netherlands.

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WHY ARE HYBRID VARIETIES SO IMPORTANT? The European influence explains the popularity of hybrid varieties such as Amnesia, Critical and Cheese in the cannabis fields of Morocco today. Of course, the simple fact that they produce several times as much resin as kif is obviously another significant point in their favor. According to a local source, kif yields around 1.5% of its total weight when frozen and “sifted,” while modern hybrids reportedly yield around 2.5-4.5% when using identical techniques. Hashish made from these new varieties is often stickier and harder to handle 6 , (possibly due to increased presence of terpenes) but it is potent and extremely fragrant. Furthermore, it’s often possible to discern the characteristic aroma of the variety the hash is made from. In today’s connoisseur market, that fact alone has

wide consumer appeal. Plant selection criteria have dramatically changed. Traditionally, farmers would select good hash-producing plants from the local population, reportedly with some introductions over the years from other hash-producing regions such as Lebanon, Afghanistan and Pakistan. These landraces were known for their high resin production, but were generally not favored for their aroma. Today, most European consumers increasingly want and expect the famous, prize-winning modern hybrids over the traditional, earthy flavors of the past. Thus, selection criteria in Morocco have sharply moved away from merely finding good hash producers in favor of varieties that European markets are actively demanding—and are prepared to spend significantly more money on.

WHAT’S DRIVING THESE DRAMATIC CHANGES? Overall, these changes point to a rapid transition occurring within the Moroccan cannabis industry, which is almost certainly driven by changing European demand. Moroccan hashish has long suffered from an international reputation for mediocre quality, while availability and diversity of high-quality cannabis products in many European countries has simultaneously grown as laws on cultivation relax. While Moroccan hashish remains the most consumed in Europe by far, it is becoming a great deal harder for local producers to sustain the prices and demand they have historically enjoyed. The market has long been defined by a dominant amount of low-quality hash; farmers throughout the Rif are now sitting on stockpiles of poor-quality hashish they are simply unable to sell. Now, the best (or perhaps only) means of remaining competitive is to take the opposite route and focus on improving quality, even if it means that

initial investments are higher. Thus, the game is now on to raise standards in the hope of bringing the industry up to speed with rising international expectations and ensuring continued competitiveness. There is a clear and obvious need for the Moroccan hashish industry to evolve in response to global market pressures. The question of how successful these efforts will be has yet to be answered. But if no gains are made, it seems inevitable that the industry—and the farmers and families whose lives are inextricably entangled with it—will suffer immeasurably. In subsequent installments, we’ll go into detail on improved harvesting and processing methods, new hash-making techniques and equipment, as well as taking a closer look at the economic forces acting on the industry. We’ll also discuss the potential effects on the local landrace population, and the possible outcomes of losing the kif entirely.

Seshata (2015). “What’s Up With the Sticky Moroccan Hash?” PROHBTD. https://prohbtd.com/whatsup-with-the-sticky-moroccan-hash (accessed November 8, 2017).

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STRAIN

GAN A WITH A BIT OF GIN A MENDO BREATH BY LIBERTY REACH THE GINJA NINJA EMILY NICHOLS

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’m a ginger and I love ganja, hence the name Ginja Ninja. I love looking for other items that relate to my ginger personality, so when I was given a jar of Liberty Reach’s Mendo Breath, I immediately gawked at the vibrant redish orange (ginger) hairs covering the nugs. These golf ball-sized green goodies were manicured to perfection, trichomes stacked so tight the light from my phone made them glisten like frost on a chairlift at Stevens Pass. This strain is by no means foreign to me, but the look, smell and density of this beautiful nug was. I ground and loaded it up, and a few small fires later I was in the land of the stoned. This Mendo Breath had an easy smokability to it; clean, smooth hits each rip, accompanied by a stoned-to-the-bone, euphoric high. I was up and mobile, with little to no munchies and tons of good times that followed each smoke sesh. The effects lasted about 45 minutes or so and I maintained my witty, on-my-toes banter while taking ripper after ripper on the delta.

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STORE

MARY ANE’S HELPING ONE PERSON AT A TIME AARON MILLER EMILY NICHOLS

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itting on its own corner lot is Mary Jane’s, a recreational cannabis shop that has served Spokane for just over a year. The shop is owned by Rick Padilla, who cut his teeth in the legal cannabis industry with the first Mary Jane’s in Moses Lake, which opened back in 2015. Padilla spent over 40 years in the construction industry before tossing his name into the I-502 lottery on a whim. Padilla laughed as he explained, “I didn’t expect to win, but I knew about cannabis and how science had found more benefits to the plant, so I wanted to do something!” Recognizing the stigma society still holds against cannabis, Padilla strives to create an environment where everyone can feel comfortable during the buying process and find what they need. The products on Mary Jane’s shelves cover the entire market from flower to edibles, with an emphasis on products for customers seeking relief with cannabis. “Topicals really changed things,” he told me, “and encouraged a bunch of new people to give it a chance.” Padilla says their customers are typically a fairly even split of both younger and older people in the community. The budtenders at Mary Jane’s are the highlight of the store, according to customers. They work with each person that comes through their doors, giving everyone a chance to get the information they need to make an informed decision. Padilla noticed that many of his older customers were coming in to do research, so he likes his budtenders to be as knowledgeable as possible: “I get satisfaction knowing I’m helping someone, after 47 years of working for myself.” Being in a decent-sized city with two college campuses close by, Mary Jane’s will continue to help customers from all walks of life find the relief they seek.

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I GET SATISFACTION KNOWING I’M HELPING SOMEONE, AFTER 47 YEARS OF WORKING FOR MYSELF. – RICK PADILLA, MARY JANE’S OWNER

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GARDEN

SMOKEY POINT PRODUCTIONS MOVING EVER FORWARD MILES SINCLAIR COURTESY OF JORDAN INGMIRE AND DANIEL KING

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mokey Point Productions (SPP) is a massive indoor tier III producer/processor in rural Arlington, Washington, with staggering production numbers, a ravenous following and some of the best working conditions in the industry. Brand Director Craig Davis tells me, “We’re all about the industry and people. We want to work hard here in Arlington, get our flower out to the world, and re-invest in our infrastructure. This isn’t about getting rich quick.” SMOKEYPOINTPRODUCTIONS.COM @SMOKEYPOINTPROD4

THE PEOPLE Owner and president Brian Lade, his wife Courtney Lade, and right-hand man Daniel King had been growing since the medical days before I-502. When they started SPP, it was important to bring in the family-centered vibe they were used to. Today, their roughly 80 employees—mostly from Arlington and surrounding areas—are very well taken care of. “We’re proud of the fact that every single one of our employees is full-time with full benefits,” says Craig, adding that the company pays 100 percent of those benefits. “We want to attract good people and keep them.” And there are other perks, like a facility-wide sound system with music, lavish locker rooms with fresh, laundered uniforms waiting for them each day, and a wellthought-out infrastructure that allows for an efficient, employee-friendly workflow.

THE PLACE The sheer size of SPP’s facility is mind-boggling. The main building alone measures 75,000 square feet and houses a quarter-mile of sealed production rooms. They harvest 200 pounds of flower per week, and can extract—get this—16,000 grams of concentrate per day. Yet, even at this gargantuan scale, SPP still hand-waters and hand-trims everything. You’ll see gardener-friendly innovations like custom hose carts for easy irrigation, and a walk-in pressure-washing station for cleaning their rolling tables after each harvest. They do automate some processes—soil mixing and potting, for example. “But we spend as much hands-on time with the plants as possible,” Craig says.

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THE PRODUCT SPP specializes in high-grade, pesticide-free flower and concentrates. “We’re very proud of our oil,” explains Craig, “but we’re growers first.” He proudly shows off a pouch of predatory mites, or “beneficial bugs” (a natural alternative to harmful pesticides) and points out some of their proprietary strains: Lodi Dodi, Dirty Girl, Cinderella’s Dream, Blue Cinex and—new on the scene—Illumidodi. I ask Craig how someone can become so adept at deciphering—and therefore, breeding—the subtle nuances that differ from strain to strain. He says, “When you harvest on a cycle every week, you see so many variables. After fifty crops of Hindu Kush, you know Hindu Kush. But we don’t get hung up on particular strains—we try to keep it fresh. We do a lot of trial and error and keep movin’ forward, movin’ forward, movin’ forward.” D O P E M AGA Z I N E .CO M


THEY HARVEST 200 POUNDS OF FLOWER PER WEEK, AND CAN EXTRACT—GET THIS—16,000 GRAMS OF CONCENTRATE PER DAY.

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This product has intoxicating effects and may be habit forming. Marijuana can impair concentration, coordination and judgement. Do no operate a vehicle or machinery under the influence of marijuana. There are health risks associated with the consumption of this product. For use only by adults 21 and older. Keep out of the reach of children. It is illegal to take marijuana outside of Washington. Doing so may result in significant legal penalties.


INTERVIEW

BLAZING TRAILS FOR SUSTAINABLE CANNABIS

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MILES SINCLAIR

TIM URPMAN

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s a young couple in 2009, the Rosellisons—Juddy, a bike and ski shop owner, and Danielle, a mortgage professional— started growing medical marijuana with four plants in the garage. That eventually developed into a cooperative with 60 plants in a warehouse. As parents of a young child and a new baby on the way back in 2013, they applied for their adult-use permit and formed Trail Blazin’ Productions—an all-LED, pesticide-free, hand-trim farm in Bellingham, Washington. While Trail Blazin’ does not condone underage recreational cannabis use, Juddy has been a cannabis entrepreneur since high school and runs

multiple aspects of the operation, overseeing the growing, packaging and logistics. Danielle does outreach and networking to help shape policy and regulation, in part as president of the Cannabis Alliance, a nonprofit that advocates for a sustainable and ethical cannabis industry. Together the Rosellisons are helping to lay the foundation for a cannabis economy where small family farms can thrive. We recently visited Danielle and Juddy at Trail Blazin’ to talk about who they are, why they do what they do and how they balance work and family life.

I’D LIKE TO SEE AN OPEN MARKET FOR RETAIL AND GROWERS. FULL COMPETITION. SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST. BUT KEEP IT FROM BEING RUN BY MULTINATIONAL PHARMACEUTICAL COMPANIES. KEEP IT FOR THE PEOPLE AND LET US WORK IT—AND WORK IT OUT. – JUDDY ROSELLISON OF TRAIL BLAZIN’ PRODUCTIONS

DOPE Magazine: You’re so much in the spotlight with your business and advocacy. What else would you like people to know about you? Danielle Rosellison: We’ve been really business-focused and trying to show that professional side, which is important in this industry—but that’s not where our personalities come from. Cannabis has been part of who we are for a very long time. For me, I was twenty-two when I finally figured out what the room in my parents’ basement was—with the lights and the plants, and I wasn’t allowed in there. Cannabis has always been in our family, but until then, even though I’d been consuming for a long time, I didn’t know what my dad had been growing in there. Looking back, he was manic bipolar and had PTSD. A lot of that cannabis consumption was a coping mechanism.

What kind of support do you guys have? JR: Grammy-Nanny. She’s a lifesaver!

Who’s mom is Grammy-Nanny? DR: [Laughing] Mine. Our son is still in preschool, so he has half-days. And there are snow days and sick days. Grammy does it all—she makes dinner for us, and we stay at her house sometimes. When she takes vacations, Juddy’s mom flies up and stays at my mom’s house. It’s a combined effort, and we thank them every single day. How do you balance business ownership with parenting?

As a young couple growing medical, how did you feel about I-502? Juddy Rosellison: I voted No. I was doing just fine. I didn’t see any need to mess with the system as it was. And I didn’t like the way I-502 was written. But when it passed, I was like, “Well, it is what it is. Let’s jump on this roller coaster and hold on.”

DR: As a business owner, you have to find balance. How do you take care of yourselves, your kids and everything else? We’ve found we can escape to Mount Baker every weekend. We get no cell service. We don’t get any emails. We’re in the car for three hours, and then we’re on the mountain for six hours doing fun athletic stuff. It’s the best day, and the kids love it!

DR: I think the toughest part is not selling your soul. What’s your big-picture vision for this industry? Is that what the advocacy is all about? DR:  Absolutely. There are a lot of people in Washington who grow cannabis, and have since before it was legal. They aren’t criminals. These are good people with good morals and values, and it’s brutal out there. They might grow great cannabis but not have any business experience. Or they might not have enough money. Knowing how much we’ve had to struggle, having all the components you need— good support structure, business experience, good business partners— we asked ourselves, “What can we do to help people who don’t have a fighting chance with the current regulations?” JR: These are people with families.

JR: We need to maintain this model of Tier II-/Tier III-sized businesses. And I’d like to see an open market for retail and growers. Full competition. Survival of the fittest. But keep it from being run by multinational pharmaceutical companies. Keep it for the people and let us work it—and work it out. DR:  I’d like to see a socially conscious industry. An industry that sets standards and says, “Let’s fight for social justice, let’s have living wages, let’s do what’s best for the environment, and for our neighbors—for everybody.” And I think because of where we came from, we can do that—but the window is small, and it’s getting smaller. TRAILBLAZINPRODUCTIONS.COM @TRAIL_BLAZIN @TRAILBLAZINPROD

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C U LT U R E

WNBA TEAM THE SEATTLE STORM IGNITES SOCIAL JUSTICE JAKE UITTI COURTESY OF NEIL ENNS, STORM PHOTOGRAPHY

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raditionally, professional athletes aren’t known for speaking their minds, though that’s beginning to change. Their personal opinions often remain private to protect an endorsement—or three. Of course, there’s the apocryphal story of Michael Jordan saying, “Republicans buy sneakers, too,” when asked about a political opinion he did not want to give. But there are professional athletes who speak their minds and stand up in the face of social and political injustice. And they’re often women. “I think in some ways, as women, we’re used to speaking out about social issues,” says Dawn Trudeau, Co-owner of WNBA team the Seattle Storm. “We’re concerned about taking care of our community and our families. I think that even just women’s professional sports, to some degree, is a social issue. It doesn’t have the same support men’s sports do—that’s a social issue in and of itself.” In 2017, virtually the entire Seattle Storm team— from owners to bench players—took stands in the face of changing social and political paradigms. On July 18, 2017, the Storm donated $5 of every ticket sold for that day’s game to Planned Parenthood, raising tens of thousands of dollars for the healthcare provider. A year prior, Storm players took to Twitter to support their colleagues who were fined by the league for wearing t-shirts in support of the Black Lives Matter movement before games. And in October of 2017, Storm player Breanna Stewart penned a piece in The Players’ Tribune for the #MeToo movement, describing her experience being molested as a child. “When she told us that she was going to write that piece,” remembers Trudeau, “we were very supportive of her. We thought she was really doing something that was important and powerful.” But, says Trudeau, who co-owns the team along with her management group, Force 10 Hoops, the Storm never set out to be so outspoken or on the frontlines of important social issues. Trudeau says Force 10 Hoops’ focus was on the fans first, not politics. Things shifted, however, and the team felt a need to make their voices heard, to use their platform. “The world has changed,” emphasizes Trudeau. “All of us think access to health care is a critical right for people, and the first people who will get hurt with changes to healthcare will likely be women and girls, or families and children. As you see things change in the world around you, you respond to it.” Whereas popular women’s sports like golf and tennis feature one main athlete, the Storm is a collection of players who live, work and play together closely for months on end. “You spend a lot of time with each other,” Trudeau explains. “Because, whether you like it or not, you’re going to be with those people for a long time.” As a result, she says, team chemistry becomes paramount, which leads to necessary communication, discussion and, likely, empathy. “We’re stronger [as a team] than any individual person could be,” says Trudeau. And, of course, strong team bonds and clear team philosophies often begin at the top. “Ever since we became owners,” asserts Trudeau,

STORM.WNBA.COM @SEATTLESTORM

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whose Force 10 Hoops group took over the team in 2007, “we have always spoken out about the empowerment of women and girls. That’s a constant agenda of ours. And [in 2017] we started seeing fundamental rights for people being dismantled. As we saw things unfolding, we talked together and decided we wanted to do something.” Unlike other sports leagues, the WNBA—which, Trudeau says, has received support from its parent company, the NBA—allows its players to speak out, and almost encourages it. The WNBA doesn’t look at their workforce and think of bodies colliding against other bodies for billions of dollars. Instead, notes Trudeau, the league and its ownership group see the players as human beings. While the Storm benefit from their position in the Pacific Northwest, a region of the countr y known for being more progressive than others, the team knows their impact goes far beyond Seattle or even Washington state. As their 2018 campaign revs up, the team will continue to support one another in the face of bigotry that so often seems empowered by callous leadership. And, as usual, it’s the women of the WNBA and the Seattle Storm who are bold enough to speak their minds—and the team’s ownership that’s flexible and intelligent enough to let players be their authentic selves. “If players thought they needed to protest,” declares Trudeau, “or make a statement, we want to support them. They’re human beings, as well as players. It matters to them what’s going on in the world.”


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C U LT U R E

BALLARD’S PUSH/PULL A DIFFERENT KIND OF ART GALLERY JEFFREY RINDSKOPF COURTESY OF PUSH/PULL

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WE TRY TO LOOK FOR STUFF THAT IS EMOTIONAL, POLITICAL, THAT PRESENTS CHALLENGES TO THE AUDIENCE. -MAXX FOLLIS-GOODKIND, PUSH/PULL FOUNDER

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ntering Push/Pull in Ballard, Seattle, feels like stepping into a stranger’s living room. Go a bit further into the main corridor and the space still feels more offbeat gift shop than art gallery, with keychains replaced by politically-charged zines featuring macabre and occasionally erotic illustrations. Maxx Follis-Goodkind started this underground (literally and figuratively) art gallery and collective four years ago with this kind of casual atmosphere in mind, designed to encourage would-be art collectors and to foster community among the artists. DOPE Magazine spoke with Maxx briefly in November to hear, in her own words, what makes Push/Pull unique. DOPE Magazine: What motivated you to start Push/Pull? Maxx Follis-Goodkind: I started it about four years ago. At the time I was part of a different gallery collective, but I didn’t find it encompassed everything I made. I wanted more control, so I opened my own space and asked about two dozen artists if they wanted to be members of this cooperative art gallery that was also about illustration, comics, screen-printing. And out of all those artists, only one said they wanted to join. That was Seth [Goodkind], who’s now my husband. The space we started in was only 300 square feet, about as big as our lounge is now. There, we were hosting less than 15 events in a year. Now, we do about that many in a month. How did you want to make Push/Pull different from other art galleries? I wanted it to have more events, to be more inclusive with the audience, and to feel like this is a place where anybody can afford something from an artist. And somewhere you want to stick around—a lot of art galleries can feel really intimidating. They’re very stark, very open, so you’re sort of on display with the art. This is a lot more casual. How do you define the ‘underground art’ you exhibit? It’s heavily-curated, but it’s really hard to define exactly what fits. Seth and I figured it out in the first few years, so we know when it’s right and when it’s wrong. Usually it’s art that is representational and has some sort of character in it. We don’t do abstracts. We try to look for stuff that is emotional, political, that presents challenges to the audience.

Why do you think it’s necessary to innovate the way art is consumed?

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People tend to have two ideas about art: you either buy it at Ikea or you buy it at a fancy gallery, and there’s not really anything in between. The movement to have art in places like bars and coffeeshops helps, but you still don’t see the other things the artist creates. Usually, that artist isn’t just making art that hangs on a wall—they’re making patches and buttons and comics and t-shirts. So we carry all of that. And people need to get an entry-level into collecting art—to get this idea that there’s something better than the Ikea print, and something more affordable than the $5000 original you don’t really understand. By providing that in a casual environment, it gets people to ask questions, to talk to each other about it and try to understand it.

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H E A LT H

EVOLVING ADDICTION TREATMENT IN WASHINGTON STATE

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JEFFREY RINDSKOPF

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f you or anyone you know has ever sought treatment for alcoholism or another addiction in the U.S., it’s almost a certainty they did so through some form of the 12 Steps—the faith-based treatment model behind Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), support groups in which addicts share stories and earn chips commemorating their sobriety. You might conclude, therefore, that 12 Step programs are so widespread because they’ve proven to be among the most effective methods for tackling addiction. In fact, the only support for that theory comes from AA’s own “Big Book,” published in 1955, which states the program has worked for 75 percent of participants who “really tried.” Another more recent, less biased estimate from a retired Harvard psychiatry professor was more conservative, placing the program’s success rate at between five and eight percent. An analysis of treatments for alcoholism conducted more than a decade ago ranked the 12 Steps as the 38th most effective option out of 48. AA was among the first addiction treatment programs upon its founding in 1935, when it espoused a then-progressive view of alcoholism as a disease, not a moral failing. Unfortunately, that assertion was never reflected in the 12 Steps they presented as the sole path to recovery, which includes taking a moral inventory of oneself and admitting powerlessness before God. “To confirm that one is powerless prevents them from making the changes needed,” argues licensed Chemical Dependency Professional (CDP) and mental health counselor Richard Sirotta. This unscientific treatment program reached its current pervasiveness through a combination of factors, including their lack of transparency regarding success rates and a cost-effective model that often employs minimally-qualified counselors—many of whom are in treatment themselves—in place of trained medical or mental health professionals. “Without guidance to other methods, a person with addiction can stay stuck in the belief that nothing will work for them,” says CT, a Seattle-based CDP who wished to remain anonymous. “12 Steps does not encourage getting help for mental health issues, nor convey how common dual disorders are.” Congressional funding to combat alcohol abuse was funneled into AA, and soon, CT states, “even being legally certified as a federal- or state-approved agency required the use of 12 Step methods.” This move overshadowed evidence-based forms of treatment that contradict AA truisms such as the need for total abstinence, which often intensifies cravings, contributes to the risk of relapse, and causes an estimated 81 percent of attendees to quit within their first month. “This isn’t the case in Europe,” asserts CT, “where moderation is more likely to be a first step.” Also more common at European or non-12 Step addiction facilities are prescription drug treatments like naltrexone, an opioid antagonist proven to reduce drinking and opioid use by blocking the receptors that receive endorphins—in essence, cutting off the pleasant feelings associated with the object of addiction.

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WITHOUT GUIDANCE TO OTHER METHODS, A PERSON WITH ADDICTION CAN STAY STUCK IN THE BELIEF THAT NOTHING WILL WORK FOR THEM. – CT, SEATTLE-BASED CHEMICAL DEPENDENCY PROFESSIONAL

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Though 70 to 80 percent of U.S. rehabilitation centers still adhere to the 12 Steps, facilities that ground their treatment in research and mental health are becoming more numerous, presenting an increasingly global view of addiction that evolves with existing evidence. Sirotta, for example, runs Rational Treatment Services; with locations in Seattle and Bellevue, they employ Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), aimed at altering the thinking patterns and personal problems underlying addictive behaviors for a more enduring form of recovery. Schick Shadel, founded the same year as AA, advocates a 10-day program of counter-conditioning, or “aversion therapy,” to remove the physiological incentives of addiction. There’s also SMART Recovery, a science-based online program within which anyone can start their own support group to promote self-directed change. A Positive Alternative in Wallingford, Seattle, teaches stress management, meditation and an improved relationship with oneself through separate programs for men and women, found to help in tackling the unique interpersonal issues that contribute to addiction for each gender. The Avalon Center follows the same approach, using dialectical behavior therapy to identify triggers of abuse and develop coping skills. Concerned loved ones can also do their part to help addicts through the Community Reinforcement and Family Training (CRAFT) model. “More people understand that there is never only one answer to any problem,” remarks CT. “Unfortunately, the actual availability of choices in treatment is still very limited.”

D O P E M AGA Z I N E .CO M


This product has intoxicating effects and may be habit-forming. Marijuana can impair concentration, coordination, and judgment. Do not operate a vehicle or machinery under the influence of this product. There may be health risks associated with consumption of this product. For use only by adults twenty-one and older. Keep out of reach of children.


DOPE Magazine - Eastern Washington - The DOPEST Issue - January 2018  
DOPE Magazine - Eastern Washington - The DOPEST Issue - January 2018