Page 1

SPRING 2018

FREEDOM LEAF 1


Bioactive Phytoceutical Derivatives

FEATURING OUR NEW PRODUCT LINE

Our BIOACTIVE product line offers both pharmaceutical and nutraceutical products. All of our products are THC Free, Non-GMO, Lab Tested and built with Proprietary Formulas to ensure the utmost quality. Visit our booth to learn more about all of our amazing products!

ISO1000 BIOACTIVE HEMP OIL TINCTURE 0.33 FL OZ (10mL)

ISO1500 BIOACTIVE HEMP OIL TINCTURE 0.33 FL OZ (10mL)

ISO2500 BIOACTIVE HEMP OIL TINCTURE 0.33 FL OZ (10mL)

Dietary Supplement 1 FL OZ (30mL)

Dietary Supplement 1 FL OZ (30mL)

MELON FLAVOR

May Help Ease Temporary Discomfort

BRAIN

May Help Maintain Neuro-Agility

BERRY FLAVOR

DISCOMFORT

CALM

May Help Promote Calmness Naturally

GRAPE FLAVOR

Dietary Supplement 1 FL OZ (30mL)

â„¢

100% Natural, Anhydrous Hemp Oil Bulk Material For Formulation

1 kilo

NET WT. 250g

ISODIOL.COM +1 855-979-6751 @ISODIOL WWW.FACEBOOK.COM/ISODIOL/ 2

FREEDOM LEAF

SPRING 2018


THE FINEST IN BREATHABLE VAPORS AND WHOLE-PLANT HEMP EXTRACTS

S H O P

OUR SELECTION OF ORGANIC HEMP PRODUCTS ONLINE.

MINT CBD OIL

ORGANIC CBD OIL

CBD PET TREATS

SHOP PRODUCTS ONLINE.

WWW.MYHEMPOLOGY.COM A W H O L LY OW N E D D I V I S I O N O F F R E E D O M L E A F I N C . (OTC Q B : F R L F ) SPRING 2018 FREEDOM LEAF 3


Don’t be fooled by some of the “magic” and “miracle” ways on the internet, that don’t address the fundamental scientific challenges with eliminating THC. Unfortunately, even if you have been abstinent several days or even weeks there may very well still be enough THC metabolites for detection. You need a professional product with real results as the end goal. We are so confident that you will be pleased with our product that we offer a 30 day money back guarantee!

THE ONLY PHARMACIST DESIGNED THC DETOX KIT! 30-DAY MONEY BACK GUARANTEE! GreenGoneDetox.com 4

FREEDOM LEAF

SPRING 2018


(S PE CIAL IZ E D IN TO PICS O F MA R IJ UA N A I N SPANISH.)

SPRING(OTCQB: 2018 FREEDOM A D IVI SIO N OF F R E E D OM LE AFIN C.COM FR LF)LEAF 5


CONTENTS

55

FEATURES 22

ALASKANS FOR HEMP ERIN HIATT Denali Hemp’s Ember and Chris Haynes want to see the versatile plant grown in the Last Frontier State.

42

FREEDOM LEAF INTERVIEW: PATRICK VO DOUG MCVAY BiotrackTHC’s CEO discusses the nuts and bolts of seed-to-sale tracking.

26

MASS ROOTS MONA ZHANG How the Bay State is becoming a leader in regulating marijuana.

32

STATE-BY-STATE GUIDE TO U.S. CANNABIS LEGALIZATION ALLEN ST. PIERRE An inside look at the nine states (plus Washington, D.C.) that have legalized adult use.

36

POT VS. PILLS ROY TRAKIN At the High Sobriety treatment center in Southern California, addicts use cannabis to wean themselves off opioids. 6

FREEDOM LEAF

SPRING 2018

50

THE BIG ENCHILADA STEVE BLOOM Former Mexican President Vicente Fox wants to legalize marijuana and all drugs in his home country.

55

A BRIEF HISTORY OF MARIHUANA IN MEXICO BILL WEINBERG Mota turned on millions of American potheads, but has led to a violent struggle to control the drug trade in Mexico.


SPRING 2018

FREEDOM LEAF 7


CONTENTS

72 18 58

WELCOME TO BAJA CALIFORNIA CHERI SICARD Just across the Mexican border is a land of plentiful sun, beaches, seafood and marijuana. But is it safe?

COLUMNS

10

EDITOR’S NOTE I STEVE BLOOM

12

NORML I KEVIN MAHMALJI

14

SSDP I ARTURO LUA CASTILLO

16

WOMEN GROW I PARISA RAD

18

66

SPRING PLANTING GUIDE JAMES ARABY Seven steps to having a successful outdoor cannabis garden.

72

TERPS 101 HELENA MILES A relatively new term in the cannabis glossary, terpenes give pot its smells and tastes. 8

FREEDOM LEAF

SPRING 2018

OAKSTERDAM U. I DR. ASEEM SAPPAL

20

NCIA I AARON SMITH

78

REVIEW: WILLIE NELSON I ROY TRAKIN

82

EVENTS CALENDAR


SPRING 2018

FREEDOM LEAF 9


EDITOR'S NOTE

VIVA VICENTE FOX! MILLIONS OF AMERICANS have been to Mexico. I’ve made the requisite trips to Tijuana, Ensenada and Cancun. But those were nothing compared to the big excursion of 1976 that took me from Mexicali to the Guatemalan border and back. Mexico on $5 a Day was a popular book back in ’60s and ’70s. That’s pretty much what we did. A train to Guadalajara through the rugged Sierra Madre and a bus to Mexico City was our itinerary south. After a few days in the sprawling city of many millions, we continued on to Oaxaca and then to San Cristobal de La Casas in Chiapas, certainly one of the most beautiful and colorful parts of Mexico. While in Chiapas we visited an Indian village that allowed us to stay for three days. There were no stores or hotels. Elders instructed us to sleep in the schoolhouse and buy food from the villagers, who lived in huts. Each night we had sessions of joints and many tortillas with the local men. After a side trip to Guatemala and El Salvador, we headed back north via Veracruz on the Gulf of Mexico coast. Our stop in Tampico was memorable, because it poured torrentially and left mud up to your thighs in the streets until the rain subsided. All and all, it was an awesome, life-defining trip. We ate most of the time at markets, stayed in cheap hotels, took local buses and 10 FREEDOM LEAF

SPRING 2018

hitchhiked whenever we could. After two months in Mexico and Central America, my Spanish was muy bueno. This preface relates to the main feature and cover story of Issue 32: former Mexican President Vicente Fox. In our efforts to support Fox’s event, the CannaMexico World Summit, in Mexico on May 30-31, we reached out to his organization, which approved the interview. We fully back Fox’s efforts to change the drug laws in Mexico and end the bloodshed caused by many years of cartel violence. Fox, who was president from 2000 to 2006, means business. His goal is to build an industry like those in Colorado and California, and to model policy after Portugal’s total deciminalization of all drugs. He discusses this in “The Whole Enchilada” on page 50. For another perspective on Mexico, our resident ganja gourmet Cheri Sicard writes about her decision to move from Long Beach, Calif. to Ensenada and how that’s going in “Welcome to Baja California” on page 58. It’s among the many excellent articles in this issue. Enjoy!

Steve Blo m

Esteban Bloom Editor-in-Chief


FOUNDERS Richard C. Cowan & Clifford J. Perry

PUBLISHER & CEO Clifford J. Perry

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Steve Bloom

CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER Robert Groberg

ART DIRECTOR Joe Gurreri

EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT Raymond P. Medeiros

SENIOR EDITOR Steven Wishnia

VP OF ADVOCACY & COMMUNICATIONS Allen St. Pierre

DIRECTOR OF DIGITAL MARKETING Chris Thompson

MANAGING DIRECTOR Rodrigo Chavez

CONTRIBUTORS: Ngaio Bealum, Russ Belville, Mia Di Stefano, Steve Gelsi, Erin Hiatt, Mitch Mandell, Beth Mann, Doug McVay, Amanda Reiman, Dr. Aseem Sappal, Cheri Sicard, Roy Trakin, Bill Weinberg, Mikel Weisser, Mona Zhang Copyright © 2018 by Freedom Leaf Inc. All rights reserved. Freedom Leaf Inc. assumes no liability for any claims or representations contained in this magazine. Reproduction, in whole or in part, without permission is prohibited.

SPRING 2018

FREEDOM LEAF 11


NORML

State Rep. Leslie Herod

COLORADO STATE REPS CREATE CANNABIS CAUCUS BY KEVIN MAHMALJI INSPIRED BY CONGRESS’ Cannabis Caucus, Colorado lawmakers have launched the first-ever cannabis caucus in a state legislature. While Colorado voted to legalize marijuana in 2012 and implemented a tax-and-regulate program 14 months later, the debate over various aspects of the law and their impact has continued. From job creation to law-enforcement priorities and public education to health care, the Cannabis Caucus will facilitate discussions among lawmakers about how to address matters such as social consumption, product testing and the use of medical cannabis on public campuses. The staff of Rep. Dan Pabon (D-Denver) was the first to show interest in creating the caucus. They talked up the idea with other lawmakers, while Denver NORML focused on recruiting and providing educational materials. The first six members, all Democrats, also included Leslie Herod and Chris Hansen of Denver, Matt Gray of Broomfield, Jonathan Singer of Longmont and Dylan Roberts of Steamboat Springs. Its first meeting, which took place at the state capitol in Denver on March 16, focused on leadership, taxation, regulations, enforcement and the need for consumer advocacy. Creating a formalized structure makes it easier for constituents and advocates to have influence. This streamlined system enables them to suggest policy ideas to many lawmakers at once, reducing the burden of 12 FREEDOM LEAF

SPRING 2018

persuading legislators individually. NORML stresses the need for state-level elected officials to create incubators for thoughtful debates and policy discussions. On February 6, 33 Democratic members of the state’s General Assembly sent a letter to Colorado’s Congressional delegation, urging them to prevent Attorney General Jeff Sessions from interfering with state marijuana programs. “It is time for members of Congress from Colorado and other states where marijuana has been legalized to step up and defend the rights of their constituents—many of whom rely on these policies for their health and welfare,” the letter stated. “To accomplish this, marijuana must be removed from the Controlled Substances Act. States need to be given the power and flexibility to establish their own marijuana policies free from federal interference. Congressional action is necessary to protect the sovereignty of states like Colorado and ensure that marijuana businesses and consumers will be free from undue federal interference.” A number of legislators in other states are looking to follow Colorado’s lead and establish their own cannabis caucuses. It’s another crucial step in building the foundation to responsibly end prohibition in a pro-consumer and pro-civil liberties manner. Kevin Mahmalji is NORML’s outreach director.


july 2016

www.freedomleaf.com SPRING 2018 FREEDOM LEAF13 13


SSDP

Mexican authorities find a field of cannabis plants.

LEGALIZATION IS A HUMAN RIGHTS ISSUE IN MEXICO BY ARTURO LUA CASTILLO In 2015, the Mexican Supreme Court ruled in favor of an individual’s right to use marijuana. The case was brought by the Mexican Society for Responsible and Tolerant Consumption (SMART in Spanish). SMART argued that prohibition was unconstitutional and violated the human right to “the free development of personality,” as proclaimed in both the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Article 22) and the Mexican Constitution. The same argument would be null in the U.S., as this right is not enumerated in the Constitution. In 2015, the Supreme Court ruled 4-1 in favor of SMART and granted the right to grow, use and transport marijuana in Mexico. However, the ruling does not automatically extend these benefits to the rest of the country’s citizens, because the judicial process in Mexico calls for a total of five rulings on similar cases before the Supreme Court can issue a “thesis,” which in this case would state that marijuana prohibition directly violates human rights and the constitution. The same argument was used by lawyer Ulrich Richter to win an April decision that was the Supreme Court’s second pro-marijuana ruling. While many hope that more cases will be presented to the court in the 14 FREEDOM LEAF

SPRING 2018

future, public officials are catching on to the changing atmosphere surrounding cannabis and the implications of what a post-prohibition Mexico may look like. Recently, Supreme Court Judge José Ramón Cossío Díaz acknowledged in the Milenio newspaper that the prohibition of marijuana has caused violence and instability stemming from the black market for illicit substances. And in January, Minister of Tourism Enrique de la Madrid proposed legalizing marijuana in states that rely heavily on tourism as a means of curbing growing gang violence and murder rates. Legalizing marijuana in one of Latin America’s largest and most influential countries could have a large ripple effect. Even more interesting is that in Mexico, it is not just being treated as an economic or democratic issue involving the will of the people, but as a fundamental question of human rights. It appears that at least some Mexican politicians and judicial figures are recognizing the potential to not only better their country by stopping the root of violence and organized crime, but also by following the principles of their own constitution. Arturo Lua Castillo is SSDP’s Latin America policy specialist.


THE DRUG THEFAILED. DRUG WAR

WAR FAILED.

Start making sense™

Start making sense™

Start a chapter, join the Sensible Society, and learn more at ssdp.org

StartSPRING a chapter, join 2018 FREEDOM LEAF 15 the


WOMEN GROW Parisa Rad (left) and her daughter Yazy (right)

THE HIGH COST OF BEING A MEDICAL-CANNABIS PATIENT BY PARISA RAD MY 16-YEAR-OLD daughter, Yasmine Mansourirad, better known as Yazy Rad, was born blind. She lived her life in fairly good health, all things considered, until a few years ago. After complications from a spinal-fusion operation to correct scoliosis, Yazy developed superior mesenteric artery syndrome, a life-threatening digestive condition that causes severe and chronic abdominal pain. None of the pharmaceuticals she was prescribed helped at all. As a desperate mother, I researched “natural solutions for pain relief” and found an article about juicing raw marijuana. The easiest way to do that is to grow your own cannabis. However, in Arizona, you have to live more than 25 miles from a dispensary in order to be allowed to cultivate at home. That excludes most patients. A medical-marijuana card for a pediatric patient costs twice as much, because it requires an adult to get a caregiver license so they can purchase cannabis for the child. Also, the caregiver (a parent in most cases) has to be fingerprinted (another cost), a possible challenge for parents who have had previous legal issues. Because quality testing of cannabis is not mandatory in Arizona yet, we aligned 16 FREEDOM LEAF

SPRING 2018

ourselves with brands that take efficacy and consistency seriously and actually do test their products. It was costly to go through various brands to find the right fit. Another problem is that teenaged patients are not allowed to medicate in school. This means parents must check them out and take them off campus to administer their meds. Yazy is one of the 176 children who have legal cards for medical marijuana in Arizona. Despite some of the challenges we’ve faced, we’ve seen a remarkable improvement in her pain management and nausea and an increase in appetite. Today, she can live a more ordinary life because of this amazing plant. Thanks to medical marijuana, Yazy is now completely pharmaceutical-free. No more antidepressants or anxiety pills, sleeping aids and anti-nausea medication. My experience as a mother of a special-needs child has inspired me to become a cannabis advocate and to utilize our Women Grow Phoenix platform to share the information on a larger scale to help stop families from suffering the way mine did. Parisa Rad is Women Grow’s Phoenix co-market leader.


SPRING 2018

FREEDOM LEAF 17


OAKSTERDAM UNIVERSITY

Budtenders at Magnolia Wellness in Oakland

REC’N’ROLL: CALIFORNIA HITS A FEW SPEED BUMPS BY DR. ASEEM SAPPAL AMONG THE NINE states that have legalized the adult use of cannabis, California has the largest population and agricultural base. Adding recreational-marijuana sales to the state’s long-legal medical-use industry is expected to generate $3.7 billion in sales by the end of 2018. Under the Control, Regulate and Tax Adult Use of Marijuana Act, the law enacted by the Proposition 64 ballot initiative in 2016, the state Bureau of Cannabis Control and the Departments of Public Health and Food and Agriculture issued more than 400 temporary licenses to retailers, distributors, microbusinesses, testing labs and event organizers, so cannabis businesses could be ready for commercial sales on January 1. Four months later, the number of jobs in cannabis-related businesses and government agencies has increased exponentially. California has been issuing an average of 50 cannabis licenses per day, according to Cannabiz Media License Database. The initial licenses went to cultivators, dispensaries, retailers and manufacturers, and 15 companies hold 10% of the total licenses. Most of these companies had already been conducting business and were looking to expand. There are still plenty of hurdles to over18 FREEDOM LEAF

SPRING 2018

come. Prop 64 gave local governments the authority to regulate or ban commercial cannabis, and more than 20% of California communities have chosen the latter option, including the Central Coast between San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara and the Central Valley. Industry officials say those bans harm patients and deny the will of voters. A bill introduced by Senator Ricardo Lara (D-Long Beach) would allow cannabis deliveries in communities with local bans. California currently has one of the highest cannabis tax rates among states where adult use is legal. In some areas, the total tax rates are as high as 45%. When black-market marijuana is cheaper, the legal market struggles. Assembly Bill 3157 would reduce the state excise tax on cannabis from 15% to 11% and suspend a separate tax on cultivation. These are all changes that need to be made. Dr. Aseem Sappal is provost and dean of faculty at Oaksterdam University, the first and most established cannabis college in the U.S. Classes can be taken at the Oakland campus or online. The online program offers more than 16 hours of presentation material and 35 different lessons. For more info, go to oaksterdamuniversity.com.


AMERICA’s FIRST CANNABIS COLLEGE NOW ONLINE

If you can’t come to us, we will come to you • Content created by recognized industry expert practioners • Grow lab demonstrations • Over 16 hours of professionally produced material • Mastery exercises designed to help you retain the content • Interact with students, alumni and faculty • Available across desktops, laptops, tablets and smartphones • Graduated over 30,000 students from over 40 countries

FOUNDED 2007

Register now at oaksterdamuniversity.online 510-251-1544 1734 Telegraph Ave Oakland, CA 94612

@oaksterdamuniversity

For more information visit www.oaksterdamuniversity.com SPRING 2018

FREEDOM LEAF 19


NCIA

NCIA executive director Aaron Smith at the Capitol in 2017.

LOBBY DAYS: THE CANNABIS INDUSTRY RETURNS TO CAPITOL HILL BY AARON SMITH SINCE VOTERS APPROVED Colorado’s Amendment 64 and Washington’s Initiative 502 in 2012, the cannabis industry has experienced unparalleled economic growth. Colorado alone generated $1.5 billion in sales in 2017. While the states approving legalization— nine, plus the District of Columbia so far— provide immense opportunities for businesses of all sizes, the legal foundation on which these programs are being built remains precarious. Until federal policies like Section 280E (no tax deductions allowed) and unfair banking laws (few accounts allowed) that negatively affect the industry are reformed, its growth will be stunted. Our 8th Annual Cannabis Industry Lobby Days on May 21-23 will rally more than 300 industry professionals in Washington to advocate for policy reform. At Lobby Days, National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA) members can make their voices heard in the halls of Congress, while simultaneously forging strong relationships with the most influential leaders in the industry. “Things have shifted tremendously since I first started coming to Lobby Days six years ago,” says NCIA board member Ean Seeb. “The fact that we’re being asked questions when we go into these meetings, we’re not being pushed out of the room and people 20 FREEDOM LEAF

SPRING 2018

aren’t laughing is a lot further than we used to be. “ NCIA’s Government Relations team in Washington represents our more than 1,500 members year-round. Lobby Days are a chance for business owners to connect with hundreds of Capitol Hill staffers personally for two days. Participants are also invited to mix and mingle with our champions in Congress. At the 2017 Lobby Days, they were able to meet with Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.), Salud Carbajal (D-Calif.), Carlos Curbelo (R-Fla.), Diana DeGette (D-Colo.), Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.), Denny Heck (D-Wash.), Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), Ed Perlmutter (DColo.), Jared Polis (D-Colo.), Dina Titus (D-Nev.) and Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.). With nearly two-thirds of the seats in Congress from states that now allow some form of legal cannabis, the momentum to end prohibition is gaining strength. The policy reforms needed to transform the industry’s potential into reality is ultimately dependent on passionate, engaged advocates and professionals who participate in this exciting and sometimes intimidating democratic process. Join the movement by registering for NCIA’s Lobby Days. Aaron Smith is NCIA’s cofounder and executive director.


LOCAL LEADERS. NATIONAL IMPACT. NCIA’S 8TH ANNUAL

CANNABIS INDUSTRY

LOBBY DAYS MAY 21-23 • WASHINGTON, D.C.

Join 300+ cannabis industry professionals at NCIA’s 8th Annual Cannabis Industry Lobby Days on May 21-23 in Washington, D.C. to advocate for our industry and forge a unified front with the industry’s most politically engaged leaders.

MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD TO PROTECT OUR INDUSTRY. JOIN THE MOVEMENT. NCIA MEMBERS REGISTER TODAY AT

TheCannabisIndustry.org/LobbyDays2018

#NCIALobbyDays

SPRING 2018

FREEDOM LEAF 21


AT 20,310 FEET, majestic Mt. McKinley (a.k.a. Denali) is located in Alaska’s Denali National Park and Preserve.

22 FREEDOM LEAF

SPRING 2018


ALASKANS FOR HEMP Denali Hemp’s Ember and Chris Haynes want to the see the versatile plant grown in the Last Frontier State.

T

BY ERIN HIATT

he Denali Hemp Company in Talkeetna, Alaska, is a family affair. Ember and Chris Haynes, along with their 18-year old daughter, have been making and selling hempseed-oil-based products like balms, oils, butters and soaps since 2014. Denali Hemp grew out of their other business, Silverbear Sundries, a retail store in Willow where part of their Extreme Alaskan product line includes a handful of hempseed-oil items. Their customers loved those products so much that the Haynes decided to start a second business solely devoted to hemp. The Haynes family makes and packages their hemp products by hand. They use organic and fair-trade ingredients, most grown on their own land. Just not the hemp. They get that from Colorado, because it’s still not legal to grow in the Last Frontier State. The Haynes are working to change that. “We make products with hempseed oil and we’re proud of it,” Ember tells Freedom Leaf. “Cannabis is a safe product and there’s no reason for it to be a Schedule I drug.” Alaska has had a confusing relationship with legal cannabis. In 1975, shortly after the state legislature decriminalized it, the state Supreme Court legalized it in the decision Ravin v. State, ruling that the laws against personal possession and cultivation violated the constitutional right to pri-

vacy. That gave Alaskans the right to use marijuana at home. In 2002, Alaskan voters approved a ballot initiative to recriminalize cannabis, but the state Court of Appeals ruled they couldn’t legally do that, citing the Ravin decision. In 2006, the legislature recriminalized cannabis anyway. Meanwhile, Alaskans voted in 1998 to legalize medical use. And in 2014, voters approved Measure 2, making Alaska the fourth state to legalize recreational use. During the long decriminalization vs. recriminalization debate, hemp was largely overlooked. Despite legalization, Alaska has yet to approve an industrialhemp program. “There haven’t been many voices for hemp,” Ember admits. “I want to be sure there’s room for people like me and my husband to have a little plot. It’s not about big agriculture.” Having some land dedicated to hemp would allow the Haynes to utilize all the benefits of the plant—its fibers as well as the seeds they use to make their prodDenali Hemp’s Ember and Chris Haynes

SPRING 2018

FREEDOM LEAF 23


ucts. That may happen soon. Senate Bill 6 has passed in both legislative chambers and is awaiting Gov. Bill Walker’s signature. It would set up regulations for hemp farming, declaring that “industrial hemp is not included in the definition of ‘marijuana,’” and clarifying that adding industrial hemp to food “does not create an adulterated food product.” The program could be up and running by the 2019 growing season. Since the legal cannabis market began in 2015, Haynes has noticed a difference in her customers. “People are a lot more comfortable talking about hemp and using more products,” she says. “We don’t have CBD and THC, and people are so amazed at how well they work without these big superstar cannabinoids. These are really good introductory products for someone just becoming familiar with cannabis.” While they’re mostly about hemp, the “heart of the business,” Ember explains, is Devil’s Club, a shrub in the ginseng family.

“It’s a big leafy plant with treacherous thorns and a big red club. The root is medicinal, and it has these amazing properties for reducing inflammation.” It’s mixed with hemp in their salves and balms. They also grow cottonwood, an excellent antimicrobial; the skin-healer calendula; and yarrow, which helps reduce inflammation. “We wildcraft as much as we can,” Ember says. “My mom grows some plants. We have local people that grow some of the herbs. And we also forage in the woods.” The Haynes started off with a line of Extreme Alaskan products to combat the effects of the cold climate. “The herbs and plants I forage have been a necessary staple for Native Americans for generations,” she notes. “I’ve been taught by our elders that food should be medicine and our medicine our food. The strongest medicines are right out the front door. “ Erin Hiatt writes for Freedom Leaf and other cannabis publications.

DENALI HEMP PRODUCTS

DEVIL’S CLUB & HEMP Salve for arthritic aches and pains; reduces inflammation. $47 (4 oz.) DENALI HEMP FOR PAIN Includes hempseed oil, Devil’s Club root, lavender oil, tea-tree oil and eucalyptus oil; for achy muscles and inflammation. $29 (2 oz.) 24 FREEDOM LEAF

DENALI HEMP BEARD BALM A combo of hempseed and coconut oils and shea butter; moisturizes and softens facial hair. $20 (2 oz.) HEMP & CALENDULA BALM A mixture of hempseed oil, olive oil, beeswax and calendula blossoms; moisturizes dry skin. $20 (2 oz.) SPRING 2018

HEMP SEED OIL & SHEA BUTTER Strictly hempseed oil and shea butter. $20 (2 oz.)

HEMP SEED-OIL LIP BALM Strictly made from hempseed oil. $8 (per piece)

HEMP SEED OIL & GOAT MILK SOAP Hempseed and coconut oil, plus “hemp hearts” as an exfoliant, combined with goat milk, create this luxurious soap. $8 (per bar)

ORIGINAL HEMP SEED OIL Hempseed and olive oils infused with lavender, calendula and chamomile; use on wounds and irritated skin. $25 (per container)


SPRING 2018

FREEDOM LEAF 25


Mass Roots

HOW THE BAY STATE BECAME A LEADER IN REGULATING MARIJUANA.

By Mona Zhang

26 FREEDOM LEAF

SPRING 2018


W

hile much of the nation was reeling from Donald Trump’s upset victory in the 2016 election, cannabis advocates were cheering when recreational-legalization initiatives passed in four states: California, Maine, Massachusetts and Nevada. By 2017, marijuana would be officially legal for adult use on the entire West Coast, as well as in Colorado and Nevada. The New England victories finally gave East Coast legalization supporters something to crow about. While Maine’s legalization process has been beset by delays (in part thanks to its reefer-mad governor Paul LePage), Massachusetts filed its final regulations on March 7. Starting July 1, the Bay State will be home to the only legal recreational marijuana market east of the Mississippi River. In addition, residents will be able to grow up to six plants. However, they can’t be visible to the public “without the use of binoculars, aircraft and other optical aids,” according to the FAQ at masscannabis-control.com. Several recent compromises on regulation included no delivery or cannabis cafes (at least for now) and not allowing felons who’ve been convicted of certain hard-drug offenses to work directly with cannabis plants. Also, 35% of the state’s pot supply must be portioned off for medical use. A hard-won highlight is the socialequity program intended to help remedy some of the injustices caused by the War on Drugs. City-level equity programs like the one in Oakland, Calif. helped regulators in Massachusetts craft the first statewide cannabis equity program in the nation. “Our team’s first step was to examine all other [equity] programs and see how we could incorporate their best elements,” Shaleen Title, one of five commissioners on the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission, tells Freedom Leaf. The commission’s goal is, she says, “to promote

and encourage the inclusion of people from communities disproportionately harmed by prohibition.” Equity applicants must meet one of the three criteria: Live in an area that’s been disproportionately affected by drug enforcement; been convicted of a drug offense; or be the spouse or child of someone who has a drug conviction. Those applicants will receive priority for licenses, employee training and technical assistance. “People from these communities will get various benefits,” notes Title. “We’re required by law to keep track of the levels of participation by different groups.

Starting July 1, Massachusetts will be home to the only recreational marijuana market east of the Mississippi. That will help us to improve our own programs as well as provide information for other states when they make their decisions about equity.” For Title, who made the transition from cannabis activist to regulator, engaging with the public has been one of the most rewarding parts of her new job. “It’s enormously gratifying that the pubSPRING 2018

FREEDOM LEAF 27


Massachusetts Marijuana Mavens: 4Front Ventures' Kris Krane (left) and NORML's Keith Saunders (right)

lic was so informed and engaged with our process,” she says. “I enjoyed hearing from farmers seeking to grow outdoors and people in the underground market seeking to transition to the legal market, because there are clear policy benefits to working with those communities.” Settling into her new role as a government official has gone more smoothly than she expected. “My goals are very similar to what they were before,” she explains. As an attorney as well as the cofounder of THC Staffing Group, Title sought to help create a fair and equitable cannabis industry. “Now I’m working towards the same goal," she says, "but from a regulatory perspective." Kris Krane, cofounder and president of 4Front Ventures, thinks the regulators “did a great job” in fashioning Massachusetts’ new cannabis rules. “They held a lot of listening sessions, comment periods and accepted written comments and testimony. They probably took more feedback than anywhere else in the country.” 4Front’s subsidiary Mission Partners owns a dispensary in Worcester. However, Krane, whose company is based in Boston, warns that “the hard part is still ahead of us.” Many other legal states have run into problems implementing regulations. In some states, applicants who lost out on licenses have delayed the rollouts. 28 FREEDOM LEAF

SPRING 2018

In Massachusetts, businesses will have other hurdles to overcome, such as a regulation that limits indoor cultivation operations to 36 watts per square foot of canopy. That rule effectively limits cultivators to using only LED lights. “Trying to cut down the carbon footprint in the industry is a really laudable goal,” Krane explains. “But I think there are other things they could’ve done to reduce the carbon footprint,” such as considering total energy used at the facility rather than just focusing on lighting. Another requirement that businesses will have to contend with is the host community agreement. By requiring agreements with municipal officials— who have no set criteria for accepting or rejecting potential marijuana establishments—it effectively allows towns to ban cannabis businesses. Perhaps the most worrisome part of the process, however, is whether or not there will be enough supply to meet the demand. “There will be shortages come mid-July,” predicts Keith Saunders, a sociologist who researches drug policy and sits on NORML’s board. Given the timeline for evaluating applications, awarding licenses and building cultivation facilities, and then growing, harvesting and curing the marijuana, “new cultivators’ products will not be available until December.” Some advocates were also displeased with the delay in social-use licensing.


SPRING 2018

FREEDOM LEAF 29


Our goal is to promote and “encourage the inclusion of people from communities disproportionately harmed by prohibition.” Shaleen Title

Cities such as Denver and San Francisco have established municipal licenses for social-use businesses, and Massachusetts could’ve become the first state to license social use. “Lounges or cafes would be really impactful for the tourism industry,” says Krane. Other avenues to consumption are available. Saunders says when he worked with a cannabis trade show last year, he was able to find a venue that allowed cannabis consumption. “For the time being, those of us who would like to run a cannabis-consumption event just have to be sure to do it on private property.” Even without allowing social use, the state is set to become a tourist destination for cannabis. “Massachusetts will be the only state east of Colorado with a legal market, come July 1,” Saunders boasts. “There are about 25 million people within a day trip of Massachusetts.” The fight for equity in the industry will no doubt be a tough one. “Don't expect cannabis legalization to address the problems of capitalism and of greater racial 30 FREEDOM LEAF

SPRING 2018

problems,” Saunders says. “Banks are not going to suddenly offer business loans to poor people just because a section of law says they get first dibs on obtaining a business license.” Although the equity program will offer “assistance with identifying or raising funds or capital,” it’s no secret that sources for capital in the marijuana industry are hard to come by. Most institutional investors are barred from entering it, leaving a small pool of family and individual investors. But Title is up for the challenge. She’s looking forward to making the state’s legalization measure “manifest into reality” and to continued activism around the country, concluding: "Social-justice improvements such as sentencing reform, clemency for people incarcerated for marijuana offenses, expungement of past records and treating people who use drugs like human beings will be priorities for future generations.” Mona Zhang publishes the daily newsletter Word on the Tree.


SPRING 2018

FREEDOM LEAF 31


STATE- BY-STA TE GUIDE TO

U.S. CANNABIS N LEG• ALIZATIO PIERRE • BY ALLEN ST.

SINCE 2012, nine states and the District of Columbia have reformed their cannabis laws to allow adults to possess a personal amount of marijuana. In most of those places, adults can also cultivate a personal crop and purchase pot products in a manner similar to alcohol. Voter initiatives in eight states (Colorado, Alaska, Oregon, Alaska, California, Nevada, Massachusetts and Maine) brought about these longsought nation-changing political reforms, and Vermont’s legislature legalized cannabis possession earlier this year. In November, voters can make Michigan the 10th state with legal marijuana. Here’s an overview of what’s happening in the states that now allow recreational use by adults. 32 FREEDOM LEAF

SPRING 2018

ALASKA High prices (as much as $500 an ounce for flower) and a low tax rate have prevented consumers and the state from fully benefitting from commercial sales. • BALLOT INITIATIVE: 2014 • POSSESSION MAXIMUM: one ounce in public and up to four ounces in a residence • HOME-GROWING: six plants, three of which can be flowering (up to 25 in a residence) • PURCHASE MAXIMUM: one ounce • TAXES: $50 wholesale per oz. on flower and $15 per oz. on leaf • PUBLIC USE: not allowed • HOME DELIVERY: not allowed


CALIFORNIA

WASHINGTON D.C.

By allowing public use and home delivery (and already possessing a massive variety and inventory of high-quality cannabis products), California is currently the most cannabis consumer-friendly state in the country and perhaps the world. Commercial sales began in January.

District voters ended penalties for cannabis possession and home cultivation for adults, but failed to create a system for taxed and regulated sales. This has led to a gifting economy around marijuana in the nation’s capital.

• BALLOT INITIATIVE: 2016 • POSSESSION MAXIMUM: up to one ounce of flower, eight grams of concentrate and all cannabis produced by personal cultivation • HOME-GROWING: six plants, three of which can be flowering • PURCHASE MAXIMUM: one ounce and eight grams of concentrate in edibles • TAXES: 15% excise, $9.25 wholesale per oz. on flower and $2.75 per oz. on leaf, and 7.25% sales tax • PUBLIC USE: allowed (subject to local approval) • HOME DELIVERY: allowed • EQUITY PROGRAM FOR MINORITIES: only in Oakland

COLORADO With a windfall of tax revenue since sales began in 2014 (nearly $600 million), the Centennial State has shown how legalization can benefit state and local economies. • BALLOT INITIATIVE: 2012 • POSSESSION MAXIMUM: one ounce and all cannabis produced by personal cultivation • HOME-GROWING: six plants, three of which can be flowering • PURCHASE MAXIMUM: one ounce, eight grams of concentrate and 800 mg THC in edibles • TAXES: 15% excise and 15% sales tax • PUBLIC USE: not allowed (except for in Denver) • HOME DELIVERY: not allowed yet (services may begin in late 2018)

• BALLOT INITIATIVE: 2014 • POSSESSION MAXIMUM: two ounces • HOME-GROWING: six plants, three of which can be flowering • PUBLIC USE: not allowed • HOME DELIVERY: not allowed

MAINE Republican Gov. Paul LePage, who vetoed regulation legislation last November and again in April, has held up commercial sales. • BALLOT INITIATIVE: 2016 • POSSESSION MAXIMUM: 2.5 oz. and all cannabis produced by personal cultivation • HOME-GROWING: six plants, three of which can be flowering • PURCHASE MAXIMUM: 2.5 oz. • TAXES: 21.5% wholesale excise tax and 10% sales tax • PUBLIC USE: not allowed • HOME DELIVERY: not allowed

MASSACHUSETTS Retail stores are currently scheduled to begin operating on July 1. (See “Mass Roots” article on page 26.) • BALLOT INITIATIVE: 2016 • POSSESSION MAXIMUM: one ounce of flower (10 oz. in a residence), five grams of concentrate and all cannabis produced by personal cultivation • HOME-GROWING: six plants, not more than 12 per residence • PURCHASE MAXIMUM: one ounce of flower and five grams of concentrate • TAXES: 10.75% excise tax and 6.25% SPRING 2018

FREEDOM LEAF 33


sales tax, plus up to 3% local tax • PUBLIC USE: not allowed • HOME DELIVERY: not allowed • EQUITY PROGRAM FOR MINORITIES: yes

NEVADA Unlike Maine, Nevada rushed to sell recreational marijuana, licensing stores and processors just seven months after voters passed Question 2. In its first six months of legal sales, more than $30 million in tax revenue was raised. • BALLOT INITIATIVE: 2016 • POSSESSION MAXIMUM: one ounce of flower and 3.5 grams of concentrate and all cannabis produced by personal cultivation • HOME-GROWING: six plants, not more than 12 per residence, only for residents living 25 miles or more from a retail outlet • PURCHASE MAXIMUM: one ounce of flower and 3.5 grams of concentrate • TAXES: 10% retail excise and 15% wholesale • PUBLIC USE: not allowed • HOME DELIVERY: allowed

OREGON The Beaver State has seen precipitous drops in wholesale and retail prices over the last six months, leading to a product surplus and some of the lowest costs to consumers ($4 grams, $50 ounces) in the country. • BALLOT INITIATIVE: 2014 • POSSESSION MAXIMUM: one ounce of flower, five grams of concentrate, 16 oz. of cannabis-infused solids and 72 oz. of liquids • HOME-GROWING: four plants and eight ounces of dried cannabis • PURCHASE MAXIMUM: one ounce of flower, five grams of concentrate and 16 oz. of solid edibles and 72 oz. of liquid edibles • TAXES: 17% state sales tax and up to 3% local sales tax • PUBLIC USE: not allowed • HOME DELIVERY: allowed 34 FREEDOM LEAF

SPRING 2018

VERMONT The state legislature became the first in the nation to end penalties for cannabis possession and home cultivation for adults in March, but failed to create a system for taxed and regulated sales. • STATE LEGISLATION: 2018 (effective July 1) • POSSESSION MAXIMUM: one ounce; all cannabis produced by personal cultivation • HOME-GROWING: six plants, two of which can be flowering • PUBLIC USE: Not allowed • HOME DELIVERY: Not allowed

WASHINGTON Due to higher tax rates, the Evergreen State has outstripped Colorado in revenue collected on cannabis, with $656 million since 2014. However, it’s the only legal state that allows recreational use, but not home cultivation. • BALLOT INITIATIVE: 2012 • POSSESSION MAXIMUM: one ounce of flower, seven grams of concentrate, 16 oz. of solid edibles and 72 oz. liquid edibles • HOME-GROWING: Not allowed for non-medical use • PURCHASE MAXIMUM: one ounce of flower, seven grams of concentrate, 16 oz. of solid edibles and 72 oz. of liquid edibles • TAXES: 37% excise and 6.5% state sales tax, plus local sales tax (3.6% in Seattle and Tacoma) • PUBLIC USE: Not allowed • HOME DELIVERY: Not allowed Allen St. Pierre is Freedom Leaf’s vice president of advocacy and communications.


SPRING 2018

FREEDOM LEAF 35


THE HIGH SOBRIETY TREATMENT CENTER IN SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA USES CANNABIS TO WEAN ADDICTS OFF OPIOIDS. BY ROY TRAKIN

W

ith medical and, increasingly, recreational marijuana available in more than 30 states, the healing herb’s qualities have now spread to the field of addiction recovery, helping opioid users ease their way through the debilitating effects—nausea, stomach cramps, muscle spasms, irritability, insomnia and anxiety—of withdrawal. High Sobriety, a 24-bed in-patient facility in Culver City, Calif., uses cannabis as both a reward and a way to kick the physical cravings that come from opioids and alcohol and charges upwards of $40,000 for a month-long stay. Founded last year by three former colleagues at Malibu, Calif.’s famed Promises rehab facility—the recently departed Joe Schrank, Cassidy Cousins and Michael Welch—High Sobriety is now being run by Dr. Sherry Yafai, a trained emergency medical physician who practiced at the Releaf Institute before starting her own practice. “I’d been working in the emergency department for over a decade in Los An-

36 FREEDOM LEAF

SPRING 2018

geles and had grown frustrated watching kids overdose time and time again,” Dr. Yafai tells Freedom Leaf. “There had to be a better way to help patients achieve and maintain their sobriety. Last year, I opened my own cannabis-based office for pain management last year. I found that I could reduce their narcotic load dramatically while at the same time improve their pain management with cannabis alone. “It was around that time that I spoke with Joe Schrank from High Sobriety,” she continues. “It was speaking with Joe that changed my perspective on using cannabis as a part of treatment in addiction. I took this post with the intention of modifying the patients’ treatment plan and creating more of a bridge therapy for adults who’ve never known adulthood without the haze of intoxication. I believe that we can continue to do this better.” Despite his departure from High Sobriety, Schrank remains one of the leading proselytizers for alternatives to the traditional abstinence-based rehabilitation methods. The 48-year-old


®

Fetish Urine E QUALI OIC

TY

CH

R

100% NATURAL R SYN THET

IC

NE

VE

CULTURE M

A

G

A

Z

I

N

E

BETHLEHEM APPARATUS

BETHLEHEM BURNERS

SPRING 2018

FREEDOM LEAF 37


Recovery professionals Dr. Sherry Yafai and Joe Schrank

Orange County native, a Jesuit-trained, self-described “cultural” Catholic, ironically, has never smoked a joint in his life. A University of Southern California alumnus who holds a master’s degree in social work from the University of Illinois and is 20 years sober himself, Schrank initially subscribed to Alcoholics Anonymous’ long-held tenet of “total abstinence.” But he changed his mind after the comedian Greg Giraldo, a good friend and patient, died in 2010 at the age of 44 from an overdose of prescription medication. “I realized then we can’t just pontificate on a single road to recovery,” says Schrank. “Greg did everything we told him to do, attend meetings, get a sponsor. He’d be fine for periods of time, then reach a breaking point. Towards the end, I just started telling him to smoke pot.” That, in a nutshell, is the premise behind High Sobriety, a philosophy dubbed “harm reduction” in which the physical debilities of addiction—and the danger of accidental death by overdose—are mitigated by the regular use of marijuana or the distribution of clean needles. The “harm reduction” approach to treating addicts has been adopted in Portugal and Switzerland, where a prescription heroin program has substantially re38 FREEDOM LEAF

SPRING 2018

duced accidental ODs. Predictably, it has come under fire from AA partisans. “I knew there’d be a ton of pushback,” says Amanda Reiman, who has served as a consultant to High Sobriety. “The paradigm of abstinence has placed a stranglehold on the entire addiction recovery industry.” Schrank found himself caught between the principles of AA and his own common-sense crusade to make marijuana easily available to those it could help. Citing figures of a more than 95% relapse rate among participants in traditional 12-step recovery programs, he asks, “If something is helpful, why put up barriers to its use. If it’s legal, then you’re not a criminal. “I don’t know if it’s individually right for everybody, but it should at least remain an option in consultation with a doctor. Even if the story starts at harm reduction, we don’t know how it ends. As recovery professionals, we’re supposed to be non-judgmental and compassionate, to believe in progress, not perfection. In my view, giving up heroin for cannabis is a progression. As a Jesuit, I also feel the commitment to social justice. Possessing or using cannabis is not a crime for which a human should be put in a cage. It’s a disgrace to enlightened society.” Under Reiman’s guidance, Brandie Wilson, a 43-year-old veteran grower in Eureka, Calif. who turned to homemade edibles to treat her addiction to opioid painkillers, formed the Humboldt Area Center for Harm Reduction to provide “proper substance use education” and safe consumption sites, enabling users to make healthier decisions. Eddie Duckworth, a 39-year old flower vendor for Hife Farms in Northern California’s Yolo County, was shot in the knee making a delivery to a San Jose dispensary in 2016 and subsequently became addicted to painkillers. A lifelong imbiber, he favored a “well-grown and tended indica” to help ameliorate the effects of going cold turkey. “If I didn’t


SPRING 2018

FREEDOM LEAF 39


THE HEALING HERB’S QUALITIES HAVE NOW SPREAD TO THE FIELD OF ADDICTION RECOVERY, HELPING OPIOID USERS EASE THEIR WAY THROUGH WITHDRAWAL. have cannabis,” Duckworth notes, “I don’t know how I would’ve ever gotten off opiates. The physical needs are just so strong.” Both Wilson and Duckworth were turned off to not just AA’s abstinence policy, but much of the dogma and the stigma it places on those who don’t maintain a strict regimen of sobriety. Don Fertman, a top marketing executive at Subway and fervent AA supporter who just celebrated the 35th anniversary of “his last drink” (he refuses to call it “sobriety”) in June, is the founder of Recover Branches, which offers information and alternatives to AA such as Phoenix Multisport, which involves “sober” athletic activities such as rock-climbing and bicycling. “Sobriety is a nebulous term,” he insists. “It’s more a state of mind, because you don’t need a drink or drug in your system to exhibit non-sober behavior.” And while Fertman says a “drug-andalcohol-free” life is the ultimate goal, he notes the copious amounts of caffeine and nicotine consumed during a typical AA meeting and acknowledges that “using cannabis in place of something that will kill you is just common sense.” The day Schrank originally spoke to Freedom Leaf, while he was still with High Sobriety back in March, he’d just returned from a funeral for a young man 40 FREEDOM LEAF

SPRING 2018

on his way to entering the facility. But a lethal combination of benzodiazepines, alcohol and cocaine ingested during one final “farewell” party took his life. “I’d just told him, ‘Come here and get baked for a while, and see what happens,’” Schrank sighs. “One of my messages is, don’t wait until you’re in an acute crisis. You never know for sure about the warning signs. Anybody can be a Monday morning quarterback. You can have a physical exam, but sometimes all it takes is for someone to ask, ‘How are you feeling?’ to measure their emotional health. I take no pleasure in being right, but life beats death any day.” Schrank remains very active weaning addicts off life-threatening drugs by using marijuana. “This type of conflict is pretty common in the rehab world when you’re dealing with ex-addicts,” he says about his split with High Sobriety. “If there’s room for 14,000 abstinence-based treatment centers, there has to be room for ‘medication without shame’ facilities. I’m not giving up by any means. My goal is to expand the definition of recovery, to make the tent larger, to invite people who previously felt shamed or unwelcome. We’re not going to win this opium war any other way.” Roy Trakin is a music journalist who lives in Southern California.

LEAFLY

High Sobriety in Culver City, Calif.


digipathLabs When science maaers.

(OTCQB: DIGP)

MEDICAL & RETAIL CANNABIS TESTING Digipath Labs is Nevada’s #1 tessng facility that is seeng the industry standard by providing pharmaceuucal quality cannabis tessng to Nevada cullvators, producers & paaents.

EMERALD TEST AWARD WINNERS

GENETIC TESTING PLANT SEXING

HIGHEST CAPACITY IN NEVADA WITH 48 HOUR TURNAROUND DEPENDABLE ACCURATE RESULTS

EXPERIENCE THE DIGIPATH DIFFERENCE

WORLD CLASS SCIENCE TEAM

(OTCQB: DIGP) ALWAYS PERSONAL FRIENDLY CUSTOMER SERVICE

COMPETITIVE 702.209.2429 DigipathLabs.com PRICING SPRING 2018 FREEDOM LEAF 41


42 FREEDOM LEAF

SPRING 2018


FREEDOM LEAF INTERVIEW

BIOTRACKTHC’S

PATRICK VO BY DOUG MCVAY

Seed-to-sale tracking is in the news. MJ Freeway has had numerous calamitous hacks to its systems. But MJ Freeway’s chief competitor, BioTrackTHC, which operates in seven states, has not. Credit goes to the Fort Lauderdalebased company’s CEO, Patrick Vo, and his team of software engineers. He received degrees from the University of Arizona and Indiana University before beginning his corporate career at Price Waterhouse Coopers. After moving to Colorado in 2011, Vo dove into the marijuana industry, and soon was hired by BioTrackTHC. This interview was conducted in March. On Mar. 8, BioTrack announced it was merging with Helix TCS. Why the merger and why with Helix? Both companies provide ancillary support products and services to the cannabis licensees, and the shareholders and management of both companies believe that the merger will position both teams to excel. Both organizations will remain distinct business units, and leadership will not change for either team. However, we plan to rationalize common business functions and have each team leverage the knowledge, operational and economic resources of the other to create even more value to the customers that rely on us. All in all, we’re very excited for the potential this merger holds for both companies and look forward to what the future holds. Where were you born and raised? I was born in Muncie, Indiana. I’m a child of Vietnamese immigrants. That starting point shaped who I am. Woven through all of my choices is the idea that I’m “one of the lucky ones.” There are millions of others who were left behind [during and after the Vietnam War] and didn’t make it out. The greatest tragedy of my life would be to waste it by achieving mediocrity. What led you to enter the marijuana industry? I was a nerd when I was younger. Canna-

bis was something the cool kids did in school, so it was not a part of my growing up. That changed when I moved to Colorado and started working with a physician who provided medical recommendations for cannabis patients. I saw firsthand the positive impact cannabis has on patients with all sorts of conditions. I knew then that cannabis was where I wanted to be. A few months later, I met BioTrack founders Steven Siegel and Brian McClintock and was shown their software. It was just the two of them at the time. I told them: “You created the best cannabis software that no one’s heard of. Let me help you build a company around it.” The company initially developed prescription-drug monitoring software for the state of Florida in 2009. How did that turn into BioTrackTHC? The company was founded to develop technology that would prevent medicine from being diverted for non-medical use. The first target was the prescription-opioid epidemic. Around 2009-2010, Colorado cannabis licensees approached us and asked if we could pivot our software for cannabis workflows. With the prescription-drug monitoring software as a foundation, we began designing cannabis-plant and inventory tracking systems based on direct input from cultivators and dispensaries. SPRING 2018

FREEDOM LEAF 43


How does BioTrackTHC’s seed-to-sale tracking work? We have two seed-to-sale tracking systems: One is for businesses and the other is for governments to use. Every seed, clone and plant is issued and assigned a unique identifier. That identifier, the associated inventory record, carries information, such as the licensee that has custody of the plant, the plant/strain name, the date it was planted, its growth stage, which employee has interacted with it and so on. Once a plant is harvested, each category of plant material [flower, stems] is assigned its own unique identifier that’s a “child” of the preceding “parent” identifier. The assigning of unique identifiers and connecting new “child” inventory with its “parent” inventory creates a lineage chain from plant to plant material to consumable products. The system can tell any unique identifier’s characteristics and quantity, trace it all the way back to the plant from which it came and follow it to where it and any of its derivative products end up, whether it’s still in inventory, destroyed or sold. The government version captures all inventory activity throughout an entire state. Not only do the government regulators have visibility over what an individual business reports, they can see 44 FREEDOM LEAF

SPRING 2018

products move from one licensee to another, lab-test results and [have] controls in place to prevent malicious and unintentional breaking of the law. What are the advantages and disadvantages of using RFID chips? In industries where products move through an assembly line and conveyor belts, RFID [Radio Frequency Identification] chips provide an advantage over barcodes by reading through certain lightweight materials and boxes. The theory in our industry is that an RFID reader should be able to scan a tag or a group of tags from a farther distance than reading the tag number with your eyes or using a traditional barcode scanner, thereby decreasing the time it takes to undergo an auditor inspection. However, the RFID was not designed for that application. RFID waves can’t pass through items with high water content. Indoor lights and metal can cause interference with signal reading. Densely lining up tags together may cause “shadowing” where the first tag prevents the tags behind it from being readable. An indoor room with waterfilled plants that are densely arranged and surrounded by lights and metal is pretty much the worst environment for this technology.


Many of our customers operate in states that require RFID to tag plants and inventory. The feedback from essentially all of them is that RFID tags are not practical. They’re also for one-time use and cost nearly 50 cents each. In large quantities, this can have a major impact on revenues as well as the environment. To me, their only advantage is the appearance of being high-tech. Self-reporting is basically an honor system. How do you respond to that concern? Our platform requires that other parties input data where appropriate, removing many of the potential conflicts that arise from self-reporting. For example, state-recognized laboratories, not the licensees themselves, are responsible for inputting a product’s quality-assurance results, such as potency, microbial screening and pesticide residue, into the government’s system of record. When a licensee ships wholesale product to another licensee, our platform doesn’t automatically assign product custody to the receiving licensee. The product is categorized as “in transit” until the receiving licensee acknowledges in the system whether they’ve taken custody and the product quantity they’re accepting. Any unaccepted product goes back to the sending licensee, and any discrepancies between what was shipped and what was accounted for upon receipt, or that the shipment never made it to the destination, are reflected in one of the system’s many red-flag reports, so the state agency can be alerted and take appropriate action.

to MJ Freeway’s Leaf Data, leaving the state without a working tracking system. How did that happen? The original launch date was Nov. 1, and it was delayed until Jan. 1. Then, the system launch was delayed again until Feb. 1. On Feb. 8, the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (LCB) reported that an intruder had gained unauthorized access to the Leaf Data system on Feb. 3, less than 100 hours after the system launched. Transportation route information for wholesale deliveries from Feb. 1-4, as well as transportation vehicle VINs [vehicle identification numbers], license-plate numbers, and vehicle types were downloaded. Though Washington State makes most government data available for public records requests, detailed cannabis transportation information is typically redacted, since knowing which vehicles are transporting tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of product and exactly what routes they’re taking leaves them vulnerable to carjacking and theft. Prior to the expiration of our contract, Washington State offered us an extension. We didn’t say “no,” but we just couldn’t say “yes” until the security concerns that came to our attention were satisfactorily resolved. We couldn’t risk the security of our own systems and our livelihoods being commingled with MJ Freeway’s system, and so the contract expired.

“A LARGE-SCALE CRACKDOWN ON THE CANNABIS INDUSTRY WOULD BE POLITICAL SUICIDE.”

One of your competitors, MJ Freeway, has suffered a number of serious issues. Washington State recently delayed its transition from BioTrackTHC

What led to the delay and subsequent security breach? With only days until the expected decommissioning of the BioTrack government system, Washington State announced that MJ Freeway’s system would not make the Nov. 1 launch date, and that all licensees would have to report their plant and inventory quantities and activities via manual spreadsheets, something SPRING 2018

FREEDOM LEAF 45


“THE ASSIGNING OF UNIQUE IDENTIFIERS AND CONNECTING NEW ‘CHILD’ INVENTORY WITH ITS ‘PARENT’ INVENTORY CREATES A LINEAGE CHAIN FROM PLANT TO PLANT MATERIAL TO CONSUMABLE PRODUCTS.” that everyone involved with the industry knew would be devastatingly costly. To make sure that the Washington cannabis industry could survive the “manual spreadsheet era,” we practically cloned our Washington traceability software system overnight and deployed it as a private-sector system, independent of MJ Freeway and the state. Licensees and the majority of our point-of-sale competitors agreed that our Unified Cannabis System (UCS) was the best path forward for the industry. For a small monthly fee to cover the hosting costs of the UCS, nearly all licensees in the state were able to continue reporting to our private UCS system, which then coordinated the chain of custody transfer data between licensees and generated over a million individual spreadsheet files that were automatically submitted to the LCB. It’s not an exaggeration to say that the UCS upheld the Washington industry and automated the reporting for more than 1,600 licensees from Nov. 1 until MJ Freeway’s system finally launched on Feb. 1. Is MJ Freeway the only company operating in this space that’s been hacked? Why do you suppose that is? We’re all frustrated with MJ Freeway’s situation. Though we all compete with each other for business, we’re ultimately fighting together to build trust, confidence, credibility and professionalism for the entire industry. When one team suffers, we all suffer. What is BioTrackTHC doing to make 46 FREEDOM LEAF

SPRING 2018

sure that the data you’re processing and storing remains secure? Because the core of what we do is data— business management data, compliance data, patient/consumer data—system security has always been a top priority. BioTrack utilizes physical cryptographic security keys as well as passwords for multifactor authentication into critical systems. This means guessing or stealing an employee’s username and password is not enough to gain access. The unique security key must be inserted in the computer’s USB port to successfully log in. Google deployed the same security keys to more than 50,000 Google employees and found they’re incredibly effective. BioTrack also utilizes a technology that implements the Zero Trust architecture spearheaded by Google. It piggybacks on the security keys using a chained authentication system. Every developer log-in attempt is individually managed and independently tracked. Each log-in is limited in scope and valid for one-time use, and because there are no shared keys or shared developer environments, the ability for a would-be attacker to gain access to the system is dramatically reduced. And even in the highly unlikely event attackers gained access to one system, they couldn’t access other systems. When seeking state contracts, how does BioTrackTHC stand out from the competition? Providing business software is one of the greatest values we bring to the table.


“My goal is to have cannabis recognized by the American Medical Association as a viable medicine for various ailments, including Epilepsy, Alzheimer’s, MS, Cancer and who knows what else. That’s my goal.”

info@chongschoice.us shop.chongschoice.us SPRING 2018

FREEDOM LEAF 47


Building solutions that are informed by how licensed businesses actually operate and incorporating those real-world processes and workflows into an informed government platform sets up both the government and the industry to succeed. With so many new states coming online and the continued growth of the industry, we’ve seen both the good and the bad and can therefore help different governments navigate this new terrain more effectively.

It was originally supposed to get off the ground right around when Hurricane Maria hit the island in September. However, the cannabis businesses showed some real grit and were integral to restoring the island back to normalcy. Do you have any concerns about the legal cannabis industry grinding to a halt because of federal intervention? I’m not very concerned at this point. Popular support for the legal cannabis industry is too large for federal law enforcement to shut it down. [Attorney General] Jeff Sessions and the U.S. Attorneys have to know that a large-scale crackdown on the cannabis industry would be political suicide.

BioTrackTHC is currently operating in Arkansas, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota and Puerto Rico. What are the different regulations challenges from state to state? Every state’s cannabis program, How would and the rules you react if a and regulations U.S. Attorney surrounding it, is showed up at unique. Though your door one there are simimorning with a larities and overwarrant? lap, they’re all I would say, “Sir, individualized we’re a software to some extent. company. We Since we’ve develdon’t sell seeds.” oped both a govI would attempt ernment-grade to have a respectsystem and a ful and construcPatrick Vo with his wife and dogs business-grade tive conversation system, we poswith the U.S. sess a robust and diverse array of turnkey Attorney. Whether he or she is for or software features and workflow options against cannabis, society’s acceptance to build a system that can meet the vast of it is a foregone conclusion. Not everymajority of a new state’s needs right out one is pro-cannabis, but not everyone is of the box. Our team of experienced govpro-alcohol or pro-tobacco either. Even ernment-product managers is responsiif you don’t agree with the movement, ble for understanding all of the relevant everyone can support technologies that cannabis regulations in their assigned strengthen public safety through facilistates, for monitoring changes to those tating transparency and accountability. regulations and for managing the design If the U.S. Attorney continued to pursue modifications to the software to meet the the warrant, then so be it. We’re a part of needs of those regulatory changes. this industry and will continue to stand up for it. How’s the medical-marijuana program in Puerto Rico doing? Doug McVay is editor of DrugWarFacts.com. 48 FREEDOM LEAF

SPRING 2018


SPRING 2018

FREEDOM LEAF 49


50 FREEDOM LEAF

SPRING 2018


THE WHOLE ENCHILADA FORMER MEXICAN PRESIDENT VICENTE FOX IS PUSHING FOR MARIJUANA LEGALIZATION IN HIS COUNTRY, BUT HE WON’T BE HAPPY UNTIL ALL DRUGS ARE REGULATED AND THE CARTELS ARE SHUT DOWN. BY STEVE BLOOM

D

on’t get Vicente Fox started on Donald Trump and Jeff Sessions. Oh, why not? “I just don’t like those two guys,” he says during a phone interview from his home base in the village of San Cristobal, in the state of Guanajuato about four hours northwest of Mexico City. “I don’t think the United States should be in the hands of those two guys. The November midterm elections are a great opportunity for the people of the United States to stop Trump from doing crazy things, to stop him through a strong liberal Congress, a Congress that looks to the future, not this blinded position of Trump looking at the past. He wants a very strong government that controls the borders and decides the fate of society and people. Your citizens should never accept that. The United States is the vanguard, the leader on developed thinking, on freedom of choice, on unity of purpose. This guy should be kicked out.” It’s three weeks until the CannaMexico World Summit, the international cannabis conference that Fox’s company Centro Fox is presenting on May 30-31 in San Cristobal. It’s the main reason for the phone call, to get the word out to the U.S. industry. “It’s going to be a global event with people from Israel, Europe, South America, Mexico, the United States and Canada,” Fox explains. “The whole purpose

is to push forward the process of legalization. Medical use has been approved, but we have yet to see the regulation. We have to take the step to move forward to total legalization that includes responsible recreational use. We’re going to have 1,500-2,000 people here. It’s going to be a high-impact event.” But in the same sentence, he rails against his government’s plan to not allow local production and processing for medical cannabis, which he calls “absolutely stupid. How can you open an industry that’s going to generate income and jobs, and you don’t allow it to produce in Mexico? We are fighting against that.” On June 19, 2017, Mexico’s Congress legalized medical cannabis, but like many U.S. states, it permits only products containing less than 1% THC. As Mexican farmers can’t grow the stuff, low-THC cannabis has to be imported. In August 2017, HempMeds became the first foreign company to sell CBD oil to Mexico. “It’s going to be on the market,” Fox says. “The retailing will be here, but not the production. That’s wrong on the side of Mexican authorities. But the rest is wide open.” Fox is referring to the prospects of both overall cannabis legalization in Mexico and ending the prohibition of other illegal drugs. “One step we’ve already taken, which is medical,” he notes. “Now we have to move forward to recreational use. We have witnessed in the rest of the world SPRING 2018

FREEDOM LEAF 51


THE MARKET IN MEXICO IS NOT THAT WIDE OR SIGNIFICANT. THE PROBLEM IS THE HUGE, MAMMOTH DRUG-CONSUMER MARKET IN THE UNITED STATES.

that it works, and it works well. We see a lot of blood on the streets of Mexico today because of the criminals. It’s a profound change in policy. You can’t go with pieces, that’s where the authorities are wrong. We have to take the whole enchilada.” The violence and mayhem caused by the drug cartels are a foremost concern for the former president. “When I was president we had the lowest crime rate in Mexico ever, historically,” Fox recalls. “Today, the crime rate has gone up 400%! Legalization is a strategy that will result in a very significant collateral benefit of reducing violence, crime and the killings in Mexico. With that argument, we’ve been able to sell the public that this can be the best solution to something we have not been able to solve. The War on Drugs has been growing and growing not only here, but in the world. It’s useless. It has not produced the benefits that President Nixon envisioned 60 years ago. That has not worked. So, we have to come up with a new solution, not only using this plant for medical use and to solve many health problems that many people have, but also to solve the crime and violence that we have in Mexico.” In 2017, 25,340 people were

52 FREEDOM LEAF

SPRING 2018

murdered in Mexico, mostly by drug-cartel violence. That figure is expected to exceed 30,000 this year. Would legalization put the cartels out of business? “Not immediately, and not necessarily,” says Fox. “But certainly, it will be very helpful. It will take away a lot of the money they enjoy today.” Additionally, he points out that “all the money from the Mexican cartels is raised in the States. The market in Mexico is not that wide or significant. The problem is the huge, mammoth drug-consumer market in the United States. Public opinion is confused thinking that Mexicans are invading the market, but the Mexicans are the ones distributing the drugs. The drugs today are produced down south in Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador and Bolivia. Mexico is only the transit place. The drugs come through Mexico to reach the U.S. market. Yet, here in Mexico we’re killing ourselves trying to prevent the drugs from getting to the U.S. market.” Fox says legalization, like what’s happened with mar-


SPRING 2018

FREEDOM LEAF 53


THE WAR ON DRUGS IS USELESS. IT HAS NOT PRODUCED THE BENEFITS THAT PRESIDENT NIXON ENVISIONED 60 YEARS AGO. ijuana in nine U.S. states, “is the way to go. This change of policy would bring in many positive new things, like becoming an industry, jobs, paying taxes, creating entrepreneurs and improving farmers’ incomes. At the same time, it’s a big hit against criminal cartels.” He also favors giving “criminals that are trafficking to the United States the opportunity to participate in an open, legal business” as a form of an equity program. “The best two examples are Holland and Portugal,” Fox continues. “They really sold the whole package—total legalization for all drugs for all uses. This leaves the responsibility of consuming to the person, the consumer. The state won’t be able to prevent people from falling into this trap. We are each created free and we must make ourselves responsible to exercise that freedom.” One other country in the Western Hemisphere that has radically altered its cannabis policy is Uruguay, which Fox says is “one step ahead of Mexico.” Uruguay legalized marijuana in 2013 and started selling to registered residents via pharmacies last year. “It’s not a total open market yet, it’s not this philosophy of ethics and moral behavior that I’m pushing for, the new industry, but it’s one step further than Mexico is. I think Uruguay is doing well, a solution is being implemented.” That is foremost on Fox’s mind: Solv54 FREEDOM LEAF

SPRING 2018

ing the crisis in Mexico. This will largely be up to who’s elected president on July 1. Andrés Manuel López Obrador, candidate of the five-year-old left-wing MORENA (National Regeneration Movement) Party, favors legalization. The other two majorparty candidates—José Antonio Meade Kuribreña (from the governing PRI, the Institutional Revolutionary Party) and Ricardo Anaya Cortés (like Fox, from PAN, the center-right National Action Party)—don’t. “If it’s a conservative government, it will take a little bit more time,” Fox says. “Or it could be a liberal government respectful of freedom of choice. It depends on the election, but sooner or later Mexico will go for the whole enchilada. I’m absolutely sure, and I am already pushing for a total legalization of all drugs. Look at the incredible problem the United States is having with opioids now. What’s wrong with a plant like marijuana? It is not evil. We have to think differently. Human beings don’t respond to prohibitions. We respond to information and what is good for our health. Governments will never stop that.” The interview concludes with a question about Fox’s own cannabis use. Does he smoke mota? “No, I have not tried it, because I don’t feel like it,” Fox replies. “I have tried a lot of things, but not that one. My position is based on reason, science and humanism. That’s what I believe in. I don’t need to take the product to change my convictions. So, my beliefs are those. That’s why I’m associated to this movement. “And I also believe most importantly in peace and harmony. Peace and harmony is maybe the highest value we human beings can have. Pursuing that is my purpose. Let anybody have a little smoke of marijuana. Let them do it! It might make him more peaceful, it might bring harmony with himself. Those veterans coming back from war affected psychologically, let them have that. Me? I have a tequila. When I’m at a conference I have a tequila before I speak. I get very nice and smooth. It opens my mind.” For more info about CannaMexico, go to: cannamexico.com.mx


Pancho Villa (center) getting high on his ranch in Chihuahua.

A BRIEF HISTORY OF MARIHUANA IN

MEXICO MOTA TURNED ON MILLIONS OF AMERICAN POTHEADS, BUT HAS LED TO A VIOLENT STRUGGLE TO CONTROL THE DRUG TRADE. Mexican Revolution, “La Cucaracha,” is BY BILL WEINBERG about Pancho Villa’s peasant army getMexico has been key in the worldwide spread of marijuana use and cannabis culture. It was through Mexico that the plant found its way to North America’s jazz vipers, beatniks and hippies. But the absurd policy of attempting to suppress cannabis in the same way as truly dangerous drugs like cocaine and heroin is a large part of what has propelled Mexico into a crisis of relentless, nightmarish narco-violence. The legacy of the 500-year Moorish occupation of Spain was critical in Mexico’s rise as a global cannabis hub. The Moors brought hashish and the Maghrebi tradition of kif-smoking to Spain. It survived in the shadows among the Moriscos (crypto-Moors) even after the 1492 Catholic Reconquista and the Inquisition. Cannabis first entered the New World on Spanish galleons bound for New Spain (Mexico). It caught on with both peasants and the higher classes in Mexico over the centuries. The iconic anthem of the

ting high (“marihuana que fumar”) as they marched through the desert. Mexico banned cannabis in 1920. When Harry J. Anslinger launched his successful campaign to have marijuana outlawed in the U.S. in the 1930s, demonizing Mexican immigrants was a decisive tactic. In the 1960s, American hippies headed south of the border to Mexican states like Michoacán that grew large quantities of cheap mota. The explosion of cannabis use in those years prompted President Richard Nixon's 1969 Operation Intercept, which paralyzed traffic at the border crossings with car searches for hidden stashes. This prompted diplomatic protests from Mexico. But in 1978, the DEA began aiding Mexican police by spraying pot crops with the defoliant paraquat. Cannabis was how the notorious Mexican drug cartels got started. The embryonic cartels initially brokered exports for independent campesino (peasant) SPRING 2018

FREEDOM LEAF 55


Rafael Caro Quintero, co-founder of the Guadalajara cartel

growers in Michoacán, taking the biggest share of the profits, of course. But they soon consolidated control, forcing small growers out of the export market. The new heartland of cultivation became the “Golden Triangle” in the remote, rugged Sierra Madre Occidental mountains, where the states of Chihuahua, Durango and Sinaloa meet. This territory is now virtually colonized by the crime lords, with the Tarahumara and Huichol Indians forced to grow cannabis (and now opium too). As marijuana and opium production took hold in Mexico’s mountains, these criminal networks established themselves as middlemen for cocaine coming up from Colombia. The emergence of Mexico's first narco syndicate, the Guadalajara cartel, was actually overseen by the Federal Security Directorate (DFS), Mexico’s answer to the CIA. The role of the DFS in the Guadalajara cartel was revealed in Mexico's press (some reporters paid with their lives) after DEA agent Kiki Camarena was tortured to death in 1985 on orders from the cartel’s Rafael Caro Quintero in retaliation for the bust of his huge marijuana plantation in Chihuahua. Caro Quintero was sentenced to 40 years after his capture, and spent 28 years in prison before he was released on a legal technicality in 2013. The Guadalajara cartel was eventually absorbed into the Tijuana cartel as newer, bigger cartels emerged in the border cities. Then, in the ’90s, the middle-level syndicates in Mexico's interior began to revolt, demanding a bigger share of the pie. The most successful was the Sinaloa cartel, which started out as a satellite of the Tijuana cartel, but soon eclipsed it. For Mexicans, the old cannabis 56 FREEDOM LEAF

SPRING 2018

heartland of Michoacán now evokes the severed heads left around the state as a warning by the cultish crime machine known as La Familia. Urban warfare in the border city of Matamoros, mass graves along the south bank of the Río Grande, and mutilated bodies left hanging from highway overpasses in Ciudad Juárez all reflect the grisly struggle for control of Mexico’s narco trade. Since 2006, when then President Felipe Calderón sent the army in to fight the cartels, an estimated 200,000 people have been killed. Mexico’s “drug war” became a real war. While cannabis now plays third fiddle to cocaine smuggling and heroin production (with methamphetamine not far behind), it remains a significant factor in Mexico’s narco economy. That marijuana has come under the control of these ultraviolent criminal organizations is a bitter fruit of prohibition. However, all this drug-related violence has sparked a reckoning. Ex-president Vicente Fox (see page 50), who prosecuted the drug war aggressively while in power, has become an advocate for cannabis legalization. His successor, Calderón, signed a decriminalization law in 2009. While the maximum amount one can possess is five grams, activists are pressing to increase that, and also to expand the CBD-only medical-marijuana program that was launched last year. It will take years to undo the damage wrought by prohibition in Mexico, even as cannabis-law reform moves in the right direction, albeit at the pace of a cockroach. Bill Weinberg is the author of Cannabis Trips: A Global Guide That Leaves No Turn Unstoned.


“Cheech Marin is one of the biggest influences on my comedy and my marijuana advocacy. Whatever you do, do not smoke this book, read it!” —DOUG BENSON, COMEDIAN

ON SALE NOW

CHEECHMARIN.COM

SPRING 2018

Available in hardcover, ebook, and audio

FREEDOM LEAF 57


Welcome to

BaJa California Just across the Mexican border is a land of plentiful sun, beaches, seafood and mota. But is it safe?

I

BY CHERI SICARD

t’s just 17 miles from San Diego to where Mexico begins and two hours from Long Beach, where I used to live. Last year, I moved to Ensenada in Baja California, which is on the Pacific Ocean about two hours south of the border. Spanning 745 miles north to south, the Baja peninsula is one of the world’s longest. Halfway down it becomes another state, Baja California Sur, and at the southern tip is the tourist destination Cabo San Lucas. Before the move, I was bombarded with inaccurate information from wellmeaning friends about what to expect. The biggest misconception is that Mexico is dangerous. Yes, five of the country’s 32 states have Level 4 “Do Not Travel” warnings, “due to violent crime and gang activity,” according to the U.S. State De-

58 FREEDOM LEAF

SPRING 2018

partment. But Baja is listed as a Level 2, meaning “Exercise Increased Caution.” The state’s main tourist hubs— Ensenada, Rosarito and Tijuana—are considered safe (see “Baja California Travel Advisory” sidebar on page 62). Americans are easily frightened by sensationalistic media accounts of mass executions and cartel violence. But like the violent crime that occurs in the U.S. every day, these activities rarely affect the average citizen or tourist. Clearly, there are parts of Mexico that should be avoided. But statistically speaking, my new adopted city has far less crime, from petty theft to homicides, than Long Beach. Local expats laugh at the dire danger warnings delivered by people who’ve never been here. If anything, they help keep the wave of Americans migrating south of the border somewhat in check.


MITCH MANDELL

Quiere Mota?

Cannabis remains deeply ingrained in the public consciousness as a catalyst for the drug-cartel violence that’s devastated Mexico for decades. SPRING 2018

The second misconception uninformed Americans like to spread is how terrible the marijuana or mota is in Mexico. For people who grew up in the ’60s and ’70s, Mexican-grown pot was the first they ever smoked. It worked then, but now it’s considered low-end schwag. Tightly compacted, seed-studded Mexican brickweed still exists. But some Mexican growers have upped their games, and it’s not too hard to find nicely cured, midrange-quality buds for $50-$100 an ounce. They’re potent, but not necessarily the best tasting or most smooth on the throat. True connoisseurs should have little trouble finding U.S.-grown, dispensaryquality cannabis; a fair amount finds its way south to service the American expat communities. While locally grown mota

FREEDOM LEAF 59


LOPEZOBRADOR.ORG.MX

Mexican Presidential candidate Andrés Manuel López Obrador meeting with supporters in February. is a bargain, expect to pay American dispensary prices for weed that’s crossed the border.

Drug-Policy Reform in Mexico The final misconception is that Mexico has legalized medical marijuana and will likely legalize adult use soon. In actuality, last June, Mexico legalized “pharmacological derivatives of cannabis” to be regulated and studied by the Ministry of Health. Those products must contain less than 1% THC. Actual plant matter is not allowed. Three-quarters of the citizens in this heavily Catholic country support medical marijuana, but as far as recreational use, Mexico still has a long way to go. A 2015 poll showed 73% of Mexicans oppose legalizing marijuana, but also that year, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of home growing, though that has yet to legally happen. Possession of small amounts of various drugs for personal use was decriminalized in 2009; for marijuana, it’s less than five grams. Still, cannabis remains deeply ingrained in the public consciousness as a catalyst for the drug-cartel violence that’s devastated the country for decades. Mexico had 29,168 homicides in 2017, while the U.S., with more than twice as many 60 FREEDOM LEAF

SPRING 2018

people, had 17,793 in 2015. The fact that the cartels have drastically reduced their cannabis production due to competition from U.S.-grown pot, however, seems lost on casual observers. Popular former President Vicente Fox, in office from 2000-2006, is one of Mexico’s most vocal supporters of ending the drug war and legalizing cannabis. But in an interview with Bill Maher on Feb. 16 on HBO’s Real Time, he acknowledged that little is likely to happen in that regard, especially not before the July 1 presidential election. Legalization could be fast-tracked if Andrés Manuel López Obrador becomes Mexico’s next president. The leader of the leftist National Regeneration Movement party has vowed to end the drug war in Mexico within the first three years of his presidency. One of his more controversial plans is to offer the cartels amnesty in exchange for peace. At press time, López Obrador was ahead in the polls by 14%. Another recent vocal proponent of legalizing cannabis is Tourism Secretary Enrique de la Madrid, who thinks marijuana should be available at resorts in order to reduce drug war violence there. He suggested starting in Cancun and Cabo San Lucas, both popular tourist destinations that have recently seen spikes in gang violence. “It’s absurd that we’re not taking this step as a country,” he stated.


WILL PRODUCE 3 TIMES MORE THAN OUR COMPETITORS SAME SIZED UNITS IN 24 HOURS - 5L UNIT SHOWN HERE.

HIGH CAPACITY CO2 EXTRACTORS • SAFETY PRIORITY • HIGH PRESSURE/HIGH FLOW • EXPERTLY ENGINEERED • QUICK CLOSURE SYSTEM • 95% RECOVERY • SYSTEM AUTOMATION • 5 LITER - 500 LITER SIZES

CO2sales@NuAxon.com | 702.907.9202 SPRING 2018

FREEDOM LEAF 61


Mexico depends on tourism dollars, and violence in these areas generates negative international headlines. Whether De La Madrid’s theory of selectively legalizing marijuana would curb cartel violence is highly debatable, but it could provide a path towards national legalization.

South of the Border to Ensenada Three-quarters of Baja’s people live in the state capital of Mexicali, the sprawling border city of Tijuana or the port of Ensenada. Most tourists arrive at the latter on enormous cruise ships. There’s plenty to do in Ensenada for those operating on the tight time constraints of a cruise-ship schedule. Beyond the rows of stalls hawking cheap souvenirs and past the giant gold heads of Mexican heroes Benito Juarez, Miguel Hidalgo and Venustiano Carranza, you’ll find a bustling city with shops and restaurants that appeal to locals and visitors alike. Famous watering holes like Hussong’s Cantina at Av. Ruiz 113 fulfill obligatory margarita-consumption requirements. Visit the Museo de Historia de Ensenada at Boulevard Costero 2. Depending on when boats dock, the waterfront may be in the midst of one of its many food, wine, music, arts or holiday festivals. Celebrity chefs Anthony Bourdain, Eric Ripert and Rick Bayless have raved about Ensenada’s cuisine. The La Guerrerense street cart at Av. Adolph López Mateos 917 is a favorite; it offers a dazzling array of fresh shrimp, oysters, clams, abalone and octopus, served in various combinations as ceviche tostadas or in Mexican-style seafood cocktails. Seafood carts in Ensenada are common as coffee shops in Seattle. Those crossing over into Mexico by car at San Ysidro, just south of San Diego, should bypass the bustle of Tijuana and take the well-maintained toll road about two hours to Ensenada, enjoying breathtaking coastal views that rival those of Northern California. A city of more than half a million residents, Ensenada offers leisure activities for everyone’s taste, including fishing, 62 FREEDOM LEAF

SPRING 2018

BAJA STREET FOOD SPECIALTY ELOTE EN VASO (CORN IN A GLASS)

This popular Mexican street food is crunchy, spicy, zesty, sweet and salty, all at the same time. The recipe uses cannabis butter. Feel free to play with the proportions of ingredients to find a flavor mix you like. If you can’t find Mexican Cotija cheese, grated Parmesan makes a good substitute. • 4 ears sweet corn • 6 tbsp. butter • 2 tbsp. cannabis-infused butter • ½ cup butter, melted • ¼ cup lime juice • ¼ cup mayonnaise • 1 tsp. salt • 1 tsp. black pepper • ½ tsp. chili powder • ½ cup cilantro, chopped • ¾ cup Cotija cheese, crumbled • 1 tsp. hot sauce • Lime wedges for garnish Remove corn from cobs and place in a saucepan with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil over high heat, lower the heat to a simmer and cook for about 3 minutes. Drain. Mix hot corn with remaining ingredients and stir well to combine. Place in mug or glass. Garnish with lime wedges. kayaking, golfing, hiking, surfing, whale watching, natural hot springs, exciting nightlife and relaxing white-sand beaches—all at about half the cost or less of similar travel in the States. About an hour northeast of Ensenada is the Valle de Guadalupe wine country.


SPRING 2018

FREEDOM LEAF 63


MITCH MANDELL

It’s all about the seafood carts in Ensenada (left, right and below). Miguel Hildalgo (above) led a revolt against Mexico’s Spanish conquerors in the early 19th century.

! Take a leisurely tour along the picturesque Ruta del Vino and taste wines that have been racking up international medals. The area is also known for its innovative chefs and restaurants—several (Corazón de Tierra and Laja) are among the best in Latin America. With the political rhetoric about Mexico emanating from the White House so toxic these days, you might expect locals to be hostile towards Americans. For the most part, they’re warm and welcoming. In tourist areas, this might be attributed solely to economic self-interest, but in the surrounding towns and villages strong mutually beneficial community bonds that transcend politics thrive between Mexican citizens and expats. The groups work together to raise money for schools, seniors and orphanages, build homes for the poor, clean up the beaches and rescue unwanted animals. It’s all surprisingly harmonious, especially contrasted with the immigration debate in the States. One last suggestion for U.S. visitors: Just don’t mention the wall. Cheri Sicard is author of The Easy Cannabis Cookbook. 64 FREEDOM LEAF

SPRING 2018

BAJA CALIFORNIA

TRAVEL ADVISORY

!

The latest State Department travel advisories for Mexico, published in January, recommended “Do Not Travel” to five of Mexico’s 32 states (Colima, Guerrero, Michoacán, Sinaloa and Tamaulipas) and “Reconsider Travel” to another 11. Baja California is listed as Level 2 (“Exercise Increased Caution”). The warning for Baja reads: “Criminal activity and violence, including homicide, remain an issue throughout the state… The state experienced an increase in homicide rates compared to the same period in 2016. While most of these homicides appeared to be targeted criminal organization assassinations, turf battles between criminal groups have resulted in violent crime in areas frequented by U.S. citizens. Bystanders have been injured or killed in shooting incidents. Due to poor cellular service and hazardous road conditions, U.S. government employees are only allowed to travel on La Rumorosa between Mexicali and Tijuana on the toll road during the day. There are no U.S. government restrictions in tourist areas, which include Ensenada, Rosarito and Tijuana.”


SPRING 2018

FREEDOM LEAF 65


SPRING PLANTING GUIDE

Seven steps to having a successful outdoor cannabis garden.

BY JAMES ARABY 66 FREEDOM LEAF

SPRING 2018


I

t’s that time of the year when cultivators start preparing plants for the outdoor season. Here’s what you need to do to get your cannabis garden growing.

1

Choose Your Strains Wisely

Certain strains thrive in certain climates. Sativas like Blue Dream are generally more resistant to high temperatures and humidity levels. They can take up to 14 weeks to flower in the hot climates of the Southwest or Southeast. Indicas like OG Kush, which flower in seven to 10 weeks, are more acclimated to areas like the Midwest or Northeast. They prefer dryer climates. If it rains all summer, you may want to choose a hybrid strain. It’s important to think about your local climate when deciding which strains to grow and when to bring plants outdoors.

Hate, Germinate 2 Don’t

Start germinating seeds in early spring— April or May, depending on your climate. You can acquire them from a seed bank. To begin, take a small paper towel and dampen it. Squeeze out any excess water and lay the towel down on a flat surface. Put the seeds in the center of the towel, fold it two or three times, being careful not to lose any seeds, and then place it into a baggie or container. Leave it in a dark, warm place out of direct sunlight. Check the seeds daily to make sure they don’t dry out. Once little white sprouts are present, they’re ready to move to small cups or pots. Alternatively, you can start with clones from a previous crop or acquire them

from a friend or a dispensary. Simply take the cuttings and place them in a soil medium of your choice (see Step 3 below) and let them take root and flourish.

3

Grow Space and Soil

While the seeds are “popping,” you’ll need to decide whether to plant directly into the ground (assuming you have a backyard or land) or transplant them into 5- or 10-gallon buckets. You’ll also want to consider how much sunlight—you don’t want too much or too little—reaches your selected space. Keep all of nature’s elements in mind when thinking about where you want to grow; for instance, too much wind or torrential rains can damage or drown your plants. If you do decide to plant directly into the ground, test the soil’s pH. It should be between 6.0-7.0. If you elect to go with buckets, think about the kind of medium you want. Sandy soil is generally more acidic and lower in nutrients, but it holds warmth fairly well. Clay soil has a higher pH level and is jam-packed with nutrients, but tends to have drainage issues. A silty, plant-debris soil is the closest to pH balanced while still providing plenty of nutrients. Whatever medium you choose, be sure to check the pH regularly and test for any contaminants. You can use a soil testing service or order your own kit to make sure that it’s balanced and free of contaminants. One final note about choosing a location: The fewer people who know about your grow, the less likely it is that someone will tell someone who’ll tell someone else who may sneak in to your garden and harvest your plants before you do. SPRING 2018

FREEDOM LEAF 67


One month old Sour Diesel plant in a five-gallon bucket

4

Bring ’Em Outside

5

Fertilizers and Watering

After about a month, the seedlings will turn into small plants with a few sets of leaves. Transplant them again, this time into 5- or 10-gallon buckets. The more room the roots have to dig in, the larger the plants will be able to grow, so the bigger the buckets, the better. Dig a hole in the bucket and, turning the small pot upside down, carefully squeeze its side until the plant comes out. Place the plants in the buckets and gently pat them down with dirt; water each bucket generously. Put them in the area that you’ve selected.

Add organic fertilizers like worm castings, compost and fish meal to the soil Worm before planting and castings throughout the plant’s life cycle. You can get these products online or at most gardening-supply stores. 68 FREEDOM LEAF

SPRING 2018

More plants have died from over-fertilizing than from under-fertilizing. Plants strive to grow, so don’t get in their way. Avoid using soil with heavy fertilizers or time-release fertilizers, which can damage young plants. How often to water depends entirely upon your climate. A rainy climate may require adding gravel, perlite or clay pebbles to the soil to prevent fungus. A dry climate may call for daily watering, especially if the plants are in pots. If the soil’s dry about an inch below the surface, it needs water. Also, feed the plants liquid fish fertilizer during the vegetative period of preflowering growth. The containers list NPK. This stands for nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. A standard NPK for the vegetative period is 6-3-9. Once the plants start to flower, change the NPK to 3-6-9.

6

Keep Pests Under Control

You really don’t want to use pesticides, especially close to harvest, but you can’t let garden critters eat away your crop either. Diatomaceous earth is a natural


BE HARVEST READY New techniques that cut your time in half! Tips on: Flushing, Ripening, Picking, Processing, Drying, Curing and Storing

KILL MITES, GROW SAFE & TEST CLEAN MADE FROM ESSENTIAL PLANT OILS

READY TO USE

CONCENTRATE FORMULA

www.z-tolerance.com

Maximizing Quality & Yield in Your Cannabis Garden

Ed Rosenthal and David Downs

Order your autographed copy at

Ed Rosenthal

.com

10% off all books SPRING FREEDOM LEAF 69 apply coupon2018 code: GROW420


way to keep out pests with hard exoskeletons like cicadas. Simply sprinkle it around the plants. Grow companion plants like rosemary, marigolds and basil; they contain natural repellents that act as deterrents for pests.

7

How to Sex Your Plants

Cannabis plants become male or female as they mature. This will generally occur after a few months when the plants get a more balanced sun-to-darkness ratio, which triggers flowering. Males have pods about the size of popcorn seeds where the branch stems connect with the main stalk. A female sprouts two small white hairs, designed to catch pollen, in the same location. Remove all male plants before they pollinate. This will enable the females to spend their energy producing THC rather than seeds. If you wait too long, the males will pollinate the females and you’ll end up with seedy plants, which is not the goal (unless you’re growing a seed crop). Of course, if you start with clones, you already have females. We’ll be back with harvest advice in the next issue. This article was written by the Denver-based Green CulturED, which provides eLearning solutions for the cannabis industry.

WHAT YOU NEED FOR YOUR SPRING GROW Seeds: Generally available from

seed banks in England and Holland for about $10 per seed.

Clones: Purchase at stores in legal states for as low as $15 per clone. Soil/Mediums: Dirt is cheap

($8.99 for 16 qts.); just make sure it’s organic.

Pots/Buckets: A five-pack of

10-gallon containers costs $37.99 at Amazon. Five-gallon containers sell for as low as $1 each.

Fertilizers: A 15-pound bag of worm castings costs $19. Liquid fish fertilizers that contain seaweed are between $15-$20.

pH Meter: Soil testers run from $10-20 at Amazon.

Pest Control: Bags of diatomaceous earth cost $12-$25. PLANTING CALENDAR April 1: Start seeds. May 1: Transplant seedlings or clon-

ing tray to a 1-3 gallon soil container.

June 1: Transplant into 5- or 10-gallon buckets. Move outdoors. In 6-8 weeks, plants will transition from vegetative state to flowering. Male plant

70 FREEDOM LEAF

SPRING 2018

August 1: Switch to bloom fertilizer.


Cannabis has existed for 34 million years. Get to know it.

greencamp.com

SPRING 2018

FREEDOM LEAF 71


TERPS 101 “TERPENE” IS A NEW TERM IN THE CANNABIS GLOSSARY. TERPS PROVIDE THE SMELLS AND TASTES IN POT AND ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR A WIDE RANGE OF MEDICAL EFFECTS. BY HELENA MILES

72 FREEDOM LEAF

SPRING 2018


C

ANNABIS HAS A unique smell. Some people find it unpleasant and overwhelming, while most marijuana enthusiasts think it’s very calming and enjoyable. Just like any other plant, pot has components that are responsible for its flavors and aromas. These components are called terpenes. They’re aromatic molecules secreted inside the tiny resin glands of the flowers or buds. They produce a citrusy aroma in some strains and may smell and taste like lavender or even cheese in others. However, it’s not all about the smell. Terpenes also have medical effects; that’s what’s so captivating about them. There are at least 100 terpenes unique to the cannabis plant; the combination of these chemicals and cannabinoids is what creates such effects as being sleepy or energetic.

WHAT ARE TERPENES AND WHAT ARE THEY USED FOR? The easiest way to understand terpenes is to think of them as volatile aromatic molecules. They give plants their unique aroma. Terpenes are organic chemicals produced by most plants, and even some animals, such as swallowtail butterflies and termites. The term terpene is also often used to refer to terpenoids, which are oxygenated derivatives of terpenes. They’re derived from the basic molecule of isoprene, which replicates to make terpenes. These substances have two very important roles in every plant’s life: to protect the flowers from predators and to produce resin. Terpenes play a major role in resin development and are heavily used in the production of essential oils for medical and beauty products. That’s how terpenes made their way into the fragrance industry, as well as conventional and alternative medicine. They’re most commonly used in aromatherapy, but are also synthetically made as flavors and aromas and as food additives.

HOW DO TERPENES WORK WITH CANNABINOIDS? Terpenes coexist with cannabinoids like THC and CBD, but are not psychoactive like THC. They interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system and assist cannabinoids in entering the bloodstream. Myrcene, for instance, increases cell permeability and allows cannabinoids to be absorbed faster. Limonene raises serotonin levels, which influence one’s moods. According to Chris Emerson, cofounder and chief scientist at Level, an extracts company in California, terpenes make “the sum of all the parts that leads to the magic or power of cannabis.” When they interact with cannabinoids, they form a synergy that creates stronger and better effects and minimizes any side effects.

RESEARCH ON MEDICAL PROPERTIES OF TERPENES IN CANNABIS Swiss biochemist Jürg Gertsch first noticed the ability of the terpene b-caryophyllene to bind to the CB2 cannabinoid receptors. He called it a “dietary cannabinoid.” All green vegetables that contain this terpene are extremely beneficial for humans. In a 2011 article in the British Journal of Pharmacology, Dr. Ethan Russo pointed to the therapeutic properties of terpenes in marijuana, especially those missing in

Terpenes are organic materials produced by most plants. cannabis products that only contain CBD. He discussed the cannabinoid-terpene interaction as a “synergy with respect to treatment of pain, inflammation, depression, anxiety, addiction, epilepsy, cancer, and fungal and bacterial infections.” Further research discovered that terpenes, terpenoids and cannabinoids have the potential to kill respiratory pathogens, such as the MRSA virus. SPRING 2018

FREEDOM LEAF 73


THE TOP 15 TERPENES 1

HERE ARE THE BEST-KNOWN TERPENES FOUND IN CANNABIS, WHAT THEY DO AND WHICH STRAINS THEY CAN BE FOUND IN.

MYRCENE

It’s the most abundant terpene in cannabis. A 1997 Swiss study indicated that myrcene could be as much as 65% of the total terpenes in some strains. Its smell often has earthy, musky notes, resembling cloves as well as a fruity aroma like red grapes. Strains that contain more than 0.5% of this terpene are usually indicas with sedative effects that are good for insomnia. Myrcene is also useful in reducing inflammation and chronic pain, which is why it’s recommended as a supplement during cancer treatments.

STRAINS: Skunk XL, Special Kush, White Widow BONUS TIP: If you want to experience a stronger buzz from marijuana, eat a mango about 45 minutes before smoking or vaping. Mangoes contain significant amounts of myrcene, so consuming one will strengthen the effects of THC by increasing its absorption rate.

2

LIMONENE

It’s the second most abundant terpene in pot, but not all strains necessarily have it. Limonene gives strains a citrusy smell that resembles lemons (all citrus fruits contain large amounts of it). It’s commonly used in cosmetics and cleaning products. Limonene improves mood and reduces stress, has antifungal and antibacterial properties and may have a role in reducing tumor size. Sati74 FREEDOM LEAF

SPRING 2018

va strains that have “lemon” or “sour” in their names are usually rich in limonene.

STRAINS: Durban Poison, Jack Herer, Jack the Ripper, O.G. Kush, Sour Diesel, Super Lemon Haze

3

LINALOOL

This terpene is mostly responsible for marijuana’s typical smell with its spicy, floral notes. Linalool is also found in lavender, mint, cinnamon and coriander. Like those aromatic herbs, it has strong sedative and relaxing properties. Patients suffering from anxiety, depression, seizures and insomnia should benefit from this powerful terp.

STRAINS: Amnesia Haze, LA Confidential, Lavender, OG Shark, Special Kush

4

b-CARYOPHYLLENE

Best known for its spicy and peppery notes, b-caryophyllene is also found in black pepper, cinnamon, cloves and spices such as oregano, basil and rosemary. Since it attaches to CB2 receptors (it’s the only terpene that binds to cannabinoid receptors), b-caryophyllene is commonly found in anti-inflammatory topicals and creams. Besides its analgesic and anti-anxiety properties, some believe it helps people trying to quit using alcohol.

STRAINS: Rock Star, Super Silver Haze,

Skywalker


5

a-PINENE and b-PINENE

These two terpenes smell like pine trees, where they can be found in large amounts. Other plants rich in pinene include rosemary, orange peels, basil and parsley. Pinenes have anti-inflammatory effects. They help improve airflow and respiratory functions (for asthmatics) as well as memory, and can be beneficial for those suffering from arthritis, Crohn’s disease and cancer.

STRAINS: Blue Dream, Dutch Treat, Island Sweet Skunk, Jack Herer, Romulan, Strawberry Cough

6

a-BISABOLOL

Also known as levomenol and bisabolol, a-bisabolol has a pleasant floral aroma and can also be found in chamomile flowers and candeia trees. This terpene is primarily used in the cosmetics industry, but lately has caught the attention of researchers since it can be used to treat bacterial infections and wounds. It’s also an antioxidant with anti-irritation and analgesic properties.

STRAINS: ACDC, Harle-Tsu, Headband, OG Shark, Pink Kush

7

EUCALYPTOL

Also known as cineole, eucalyptol is the primary terpene of the eucalyptus tree. It has a recognizable minty smell, but most cannabis strains don’t contain much of it. It’s mostly used in cosmetics. Eucalyptol relieves pain and slows the growth of

bacteria and fungi. Although research is still in the early stages, it has shown some promising effects on Alzheimer’s patients.

STRAINS: Headband, Super Silver Haze

8

NEROLIDOL

Found mostly in flowers like jasmine and lemongrass, nerolidol smells like a mixture of rose, citrus and apples. It’s woody, citrusy and floral. This terpene is best known for its antiparasitic, antioxidant, antifungal, antimicrobial and sedative properties.

STRAINS: Island Sweet Skunk, Jack Herer, Skywalker OG

9

HUMULENE

It’s found in hops, clove, sage and black pepper and has an earthy, woody and spicy aroma. Humulene suppresses appetite (good for dieters), reduces inflammation, relieves pain, fights off bacterial infections and may prevent cancer cells from growing.

STRAINS: Girl Scout Cookies, Headband, Sour Diesel, Pink Kush, Skywalker OG, White Widow

10

CARENE

Also found in rosemary, basil, bell peppers, cedar and pine, it has a sweet aroma reminiscent of cypress trees. Carene helps heal broken bones, giving hope to patients suffering from osteoporosis, arthritis and even fibromyalgia. It also promotes memory retention, which could be useful for Alzheimer’s patients.

STRAINS: Skunk #1, Super Lemon Haze, Super Silver Haze SPRING 2018

FREEDOM LEAF 75


dient in perfumes and cosmetics and is also used for flavoring. Due to its sedative effect, terpineol can lead to couchlock. Medical benefits include antibiotic and antioxidant properties.

11

CAMPHENE

STRAINS: Girl Scout Cookies, Jack Herer, OG Kush

When mixed with vitamin C, camphene (also found in holy basil or tulsi leaves), becomes a powerful antioxidant. It’s widely used in conventional medicine as a topical for skin issues like eczema and psoriasis, and lowers the levels of cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood, reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases.

STRAINS: Ghost OG, Mendocino Purps, Strawberry Banana

12

14

VALENCENE

This terpene got its name from sweet Valencia oranges, where it’s found in large quantities. Its sweet citrusy aromas and flavors work as an insect repellent.

STRAINS: Agent Orange, Tangie

BORNEOL

With its minty scent, borneol can also be found in herbs like rosemary and mint, and trees like camphor. It’s a good natural insect repellent. A 2013 study found that borneol might kill breast-cancer cells. It’s also widely used in acupuncture for its anti-inflammatory effects.

STRAINS: Amnesia Haze, Golden Haze,

K13 Haze

15

GERANIOL

This terpene is also found in tobacco and lemons and smells like rose grass, peaches and plums. It’s used in aromatic bath products and body lotions. Geraniol is also an insect repellent and has shown potential as a neuroprotectant and antioxidant.

13

TERPINEOL

While its citrusy floral aroma is reminiscent of lilacs and apple blossoms, terpineol tastes like anise and mint. It’s a common ingre-

76 FREEDOM FREEDOM LEAF LEAF 76

SPRING 2018 2018 SPRING

STRAINS: Afghani, Amnesia Haze, Great White Shark, Headband, Island Sweet Skunk, Master Kush, OG Shark Helena Miles covers health for Greencamp. This article was previously published at greencamp.com.


SPRING 2018

FREEDOM LEAF 77


WILLIE NELSON AT 85: LAST MAN STANDING BY ROY TRAKIN WILLIE NELSON TURNED 85 years old on April 29. It’s become a tradition for him to release an album around his birthday; Last Man Standing is a fitting next episode in Nelson’s late-career renaissance. Teaming up again with producer/songwriter Buddy Cannon, the duo penned 11 new songs for the album. Like on 2017’s God’s Problem Child, Nelson takes inventory of those that departed on Last Man Standing, his 73rd studio album and eighth since 2012 with Sony’s Legacy Recordings. On the opening title track, he name-checks Waylon Jennings, Ray Price, Merle Haggard and songwriter Norris Wilson, and wonders “who the next will be.” Despite the sad theme, Nelson’s sunny delivery and clever wordplay make for a fun tune as he jokingly sings, “I don’t want to be the last man standing/On second thought, maybe I do.” 78 FREEDOM LEAF

SPRING 2018

The album’s filled with homespun wisdom about life and death, and making the most of what comes between. Over honky-tonk piano lines and Mickey Raphael’s slinky harmonica, Nelson adds a political charge to his musings on “Don’t Tell Noah” when he insists, “Don’t quit trying to change the government/And make them see how wrong they went.” There’s more Trump-era bewilderment on “Me and You” (“It’s like I’m in some moron country/I’ve never seen before"), which suggests circling the wagons with the ones you love (“The world has gone out of its mind/ Except for me and you”). However, unlike the Nelson favorite “Me and Paul,” there’s no reference to getting busted for weed. But that sentiment comes through on the rollicking Western-swing number, “Ready to Roar,” when Nelson recalls: “Well, I picked up a lid from a friend of mine/ And the man picked me up, now I’m doing time.” Nelson has been arrested for marijuana four times.


Songwriter. Outlaw. Legend.

At last, Willie tells the whole story. Download Willie’s original song “It’s a Long Story” at www.myredmusic.com/willienelson Free with proof of purchase. LITTLE, BROWN AND COMPANY

On sale now in hardcover, ebook, audio, and large print wherever books are sold

SPRING 2018

l i t t l e b row n . c o m Hachette Book Group

FREEDOM LEAF 79


The heart and soul of the album, the ballad “Something You Get Through,” is destined to take its place among Nelson’s alltime classics like “Always on My Mind” and “Crazy.” Based on a conversation with a close friend who’d just lost her husband, it offers not consolation, but strength: “It’s not something you get over, but it’s something you get through.” Accompanied by a funereal organ and Raphael’s plaintive harmonica, the song provides the album’s overall message: “Life goes on and on/And when it’s gone/It lives in someone new.” Much of Last Man Standing belies that sense of mortality with Nelson’s “refuse to go gently” spirit. Along with “Ready to Roar, the back-to-back tracks about femme fatales he fell for also rollick. On “I Ain’t Got Nothin’,” Nelson’s left high and dry by a shameless gold-digger (“I gave you the ring/And you gave me the finger”). It includes a weed reference as well. And on “She Made My Day,” an innocent flirtation turns into a “world of strife” (“She made my day/But it ruined my life”). The hilarious waltz-tempo ode to liquorinduced “Bad Breath” has Nelson ruminating about halitosis (“a word I never could spell”) and bad breath, which “is better than no breath at all.” The metaphysical two-step “Heaven Is Closed” finds Nelson asking, “Could it be hell is heaven/And that heaven is hell?” He then answers the question: “Heaven is closed/And hell’s overcrowded/So I think I’ll just stay where I am.” At the end, he toasts everyone with this herbal blessing: Let’s burn one for those still living in hell Let’s burn one for those who think they’re in heaven Burn one for everyone in the whole world And anyone stuck in between The rueful “I’ll Try to Do Better Next Time” and eerie “Very Far to Crawl” that close out the album add a level of sobriety to what is otherwise a celebration of a very lively octogenarian troubadour who’s not only surviving, but artistically thriving. This Last Man Standing plans to squeeze every drop out of his time left on Earth. Roy Trakin also writes for Variety and Pollstar. 80 FREEDOM LEAF

SPRING 2018

WILLIE NELSON’S

TOP 20

CHARTING ALBUMS SONG

YEAR NO.

Always on My Mind

1982

2

Band of Brothers

2014

5

To All the Girls…

2013

9

God’s Problem Child

2017 10

Heroes

2012 18

Country Music

2010 20

Red Headed Stranger

1975 28

Stardust

1978

30

Somewhere Over the Rainbow 1981

31

Tougher Than Leather Summertime: Sings Gershwin

1983 39 2016 40

Sings Kristofferson

1979 42

The Great Divide

2002 43

American Classic

2009 43

Countryman

2005 46

The Sound in Your Mind

1976

48

Let’s Face the Music and Dance 2013 49 Without a Song

1983 54

Moment of Forever

2008 56

City of New Orleans

1984 69


BOOTH/SPONSOR? MENTION THIS AD FOR A SPECIAL RATE SPRING 2018

FREEDOM LEAF 81


FREEDOM LEAF

EVENTS CALENDAR 21-22

{CANNABIS LIBERATION DAY{ MAY AMSTERDAM, THE NETHERLANDS

5

NYC CANNABIS PARADE & RALLY Union Square, New York, N.Y.

O’CANNABIZ CONFERENCE & EXPO The International Centre, Toronto, Ont.

9-10

IC3: INSTITUTIONAL CAPITAL & CANNABIS CONFERENCE JW Marriott, Los Angeles, Calif.

HIGH TIMES CANNABIS CUP Auto City Speedway, Clio, Mich.

21-23

15-17

NCIA CANNABIS INDUSTRY LOBBY DAYS U.S. Capitol, Washington, D.C.

MAINE VOCALS FREEDOM FEST Freedom Field, Harmony, Me.

25-27

17

LIFT CANNABIS BUSINESS CONFERENCE Metro Toronto Convention Centre, Toronto, Ont.

CANNABIS LIBERATION DAY Amsterdam, The Netherlands

30-31

9-11

MARIJUANA BUSINESS CONFERENCE & EXPO New Orleans Morial Convention Center, New Orleans, La.

12

CULTIVATION CLASSIC Revolution Hall, Portland, Ore.

15-17

CANNAMEXICO WORLD SUMMIT San Cristobal Center,

San Cristobal, Mexico

JUNE 1-2

CANNABIS WORLD CONGRESS & BUSINESS EXPO (CWCBE) Javits Convention Center, New York, N.Y.

2-3

CHAMPS AC Convention Center, Atlantic City, N.J.

19-20

THC FAIR Red Lion, Coos Bay, Ore. CANNAGROW EXPO Palm Springs Convention Center, Palm Springs, Calif. 82 FREEDOM LEAF

8-9

HIGH TIMES CANNABIS CUP Sonoma County Fairgrounds, Santa Rosa, Calif.

5-7

CANNAWEST Crowne Plaza Redondo Beach & Marina Hotel, Redondo Beach, Calif.

SPRING 2018

{CWCBE { NEW YORK, NY

22-24

ALASKA HEMPFEST Flag Day Fest Campground, Wasilla, Alsk.

24-26

INTERNATIONAL CANNABIS BUSINESS CONFERENCE Sheraton Wall Centre, Vancouver, B.C. Monthly event listings are posted at freedomleaf. com/events.


2018 CONFERENCE SCHEDULE BERLIN, GERMANY APRIL 11-13 VANCOUVER, CANADA JUNE 24-25 PORTLAND, U.S.A SEPT. 27-28

The International Cannabis Business Conference, with prior events in Europe, Canada and the U.S., is the world’s premeire cannabis industry destination. The groundwork the ICBC has put in place has become the foundation for the industry’s strongest and most productive global networking event. Returning to the Maritim ProArte Hotel in Berlin this April 11-13, the ICBC comes right to the heart of the European cannabis industry, capitalizing on Germany’s new burgeoning market. Then it’s off to Canada just one week before national legalization, June 24-25 at Sheraton Wall Centre in Vancouver, BC. The ICBC finishes the year back in the U.S., with an event in Portland, Oregon Sept. 27-28. All of these events will be instrumental in shaping the direction of their respective markets, so join us as we ride the wave of global cannabis expansion at the International Cannabis Business Conference, where the world meets cannabis!

TICKETS AND MORE INFORMATION AVAILABLE AT INTERNATIONALCBC.COM SPRING 2018

FREEDOM LEAF 83


84 FREEDOM LEAF

SPRING 2018

Issue 32 - Spring 2018  

Living in Baja, Mota History, Terps Guide, Mass Goes Legal

Issue 32 - Spring 2018  

Living in Baja, Mota History, Terps Guide, Mass Goes Legal

Advertisement