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HEMP TO THE FUTURE ERIN HIATT Now that hemp is legal, expect to see CBD products in Walmart and Target soon.
MARIHUANA PROHIBITION: 1937-2019? ALLEN ST. PIERRE The longtime federal ban on cannabis may finally come to an end this year.
UNITED STATES OF CANNABIS Our color-coded map shows where legalization, decriminalization, medical marijuana and CBD-only laws are in effect.
GETTING HIGH ON OVERSUPPLY DOUG MCVAY Surpluses and shortages were big cannabis stories in 2018.
THE FINANCIAL FORECAST 2019 STEVE GELSI With beer sales declining, expect a big push in the canna-beverage market this year. 6
BUD TESTING RICK PFROMMER Clean cannabis sounds great, but what does it actually mean?
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LOUNGE WIZARDS DEBBY GOLDSBERRY Social cannabis use is spreading like a wildfire across America.
FREEDOM LEAF INTERVIEW: BEN DRONKERS The Sensi Seeds owner discusses the state of cannabis in the Netherlands.
EDITOR’S NOTE I STEVE BLOOM
NORML I PAUL ARMENTANO
SSDP I JAKE AGLIATA
THE 2ND ANNUAL FREEDOM LEAF BOOK CLUB We review Bong Appétit, The Essential Cannabis Book, Been So Long: My Life & Music, The Medicalization of Marijuana, Cannabis: A Beginner’s Guide to Growing, A Women’s Guide to Cannabis, Let’s Go (So We Can Get Back), I Might Regret This and Freak Kingdom. 8
WOMEN GROW I GIA MORÓN
CBD & SPORTS I DR. ASEEM SAPPAL
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2019: THE YEAR OF CANNABIS LEGALIZATION? THE NEW LEGAL MARIJUANA economy is growing with leaps and bounds. Ten states now have recreational cannabis laws on the books, and most have some sort of medical program. Now, even hemp is legal. Internationally, Canada eclipsed the U.S. when cannabis sales began there in October. Canadian companies have benefitted greatly from this policy and are some of the hottest stocks on the market, as Steve Gelsi reports on page 32. Will the U.S. follow Canada’s lead anytime soon? Currently, marijuana is still prohibited by the federal government, which causes conflicts with legal states. Taxes and deductions remain a problem for the nascent industry. But with the Democrats’ takeover of the House of Representatives in November, hope is springing eternal. Now the House can pass pro-pot bills without interference from Republican drug-war hawks. But the Republican-controlled Senate can block such efforts. That’s why we need to sway more Republican support to our side, as Allen St. Pierre outlines on page 22. Now that John Boehner is pitching for dispensary giant Acreage Holdings and Mitch McConnell pushed for hemp legalization in the Farm Bill, it’s clear that Republicans are gradually changing their views on marijuana. They may just be in it for the money, but support from former anti-drug Reps and Senators can only help the legalization cause. 10 FREEDOM LEAF
In this issue, we focus on the hottest trends of 2019. Besides political action and financial concerns, we look at hemp and CDB (Erin Hiatt on page 38), the issue of oversupply and shortages (Doug McVay on page 44), plant testing and how to grow non-toxic pot (Rick Pfrommer on page 46) and creating social areas for people to congregate with cannabis (Debby Goldsberry on page 50). It’s winter, so we’ve returned with our 2nd Annual Freedom Leaf Book Club, featuring reviews of nine titles, including A Women’s Guide to Cannabis, Bong Appétit, The Essential Cannabis Book, The Medicalization of Marijuana, Cannabis: A Beginning’s Guide to Growing and autobiographies by Jeff Tweedy, Abbi Jacobson and Jorma Kaukonen. Since Freedom Leaf started publishing in 2014 and over the years, we’ve affiliated ourselves with the best organizations in cannabis: NORML, SSDP, Women Grow and Oaksterdam University. We’re excited to add the Marijuana Policy Project to that stable. Like the others, they’ll contribute an article to each issue (see page 18) and partner with us in distributing the magazine far and wide. Buckle up. It’s going to be quite a ride in 2019.
Steve Blo m Steve Bloom Editor-in-Chief
FOUNDERS Richard C. Cowan & Clifford J. Perry
PUBLISHER & CEO Clifford J. Perry
EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Steve Bloom
CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER Laurence Ruhe
ART DIRECTOR Joe Gurreri
EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT Ray Medeiros
COPY EDITOR Janice Rhayem
VP OF ADVOCACY & COMMUNICATIONS Allen St. Pierre
CHIEF MARKETING OFFICER Chris Thompson
DIRECTOR OF TECHNOLOGY Rodrigo Chavez
CONTRIBUTORS: Jake Agliata, Paul Armentano, Russ Belville, Mia Di Stefano, Steve Gelsi, Debby Goldsberry, Erin Hiatt, Mitch Mandell, Ross Marinaro, Gia Mirón, Doug McVay, Rick Pfrommer, Dr. Aseem Sappal, Cheri Sicard, Roy Trakin, Bill Weinberg, Mikel Weisser Copyright © 2019 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.
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WHERE DOES YOUR GOVERNOR STAND ON MARIJUANA LEGALIZATION? BY PAUL ARMENTANO TO KICK OFF the 2019 state legislative season, NORML has released its 2019 Gubernatorial Scorecard. This extensive database assigns a letter grade for each state’s governor based on comments and voting records specific to marijuana policy. Never before have so many governors pledged their support for the responsible use of cannabis by adults. As a result, unprecedented levels of legislative activity pertaining to the regulation of the commercial cannabis market are anticipated at the state level in 2019 and 2020. KEY FINDINGS •Twenty-seven U.S. governors received a passing grade of C or higher (22 Democrats, 5 Republicans). Of these, nine governors— all Democrats— received an A grade; this marks a significant increase since 2018, when only two governors earned A grades. They are Gavin Newsom, California; Jared Polis, Colorado; Ned Lamont, Connecticut; J.B. Pritzker, Illinois; Gretchen Whitmer, Michigan; Tim Walz, Minnesota; Phil Murphy, New Jersey; Kate Brown, Oregon; and Jay Inslee, Washington. •Only five (22%) Republicans received a passing grade of C or higher. •All 23 (96%) Democratic governors received a passing grade of C or higher. •Among the 20 governors assuming office for the first time in 2019, six (30%) received an A grade. All are Democrats. 12 FREEDOM LEAF
KEY TAKEAWAYS •While almost half of all Democratic governors are now on record in support of adultuse regulation, no Republican governors currently advocate for this policy. •The results of the 2018 midterm elections show that advocating for marijuana legalization is a successful state-level campaign issue, with 30% of newly elected governors on record voicing support for legalization. This shift among governors bodes well for the prospects of passage of successful legislative reforms in various states in 2019 and beyond. •While only Vermont has legalized adult use via legislation (as opposed to voter initiatives), it’s likely that five additional states (Connecticut, Illinois, New Jersey, New York and Rhode Island) may follow the Green Mountain State’s lead. •Clearly, Republican governors are seriously out of step with the sentiment of voters when it comes to cannabis-law reform. Of the 19 governors receiving either D or F grades, all were Republicans. Yet such strong opposition, particularly to the question of medical cannabis access, is not shared by most Republicans. Just as Republican voters have evolved on the issue of marijuana-policy reform over the past decades, Republican elected officials must do likewise. Paul Armentano is NORML's deputy director.
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AROUND THE WORLD WITH SSDP BY JAKE AGLIATA LAST SUMMER, thanks to the generosity of our supporters, Students for Sensible Drug Policy launched the International Activities Fund (IAF) to give our members outside the U.S. additional support to end the War on Drugs in their countries. Since then, we’ve funded seven deserving projects in six different countries on three continents. AUSTRIA SSDP Austria will be hosting SubsTanzen 2.0, a public rally and event before the 62nd Commission on Narcotic Drugs meeting in Vienna March 18-22 to help spread public awareness about what happens there as well as local developments on drug policy in Austria. The IAF will help pay for sound equipment, materials for artwork and logistical costs. BELARUS SSDP Belarus is using the IAF to strengthen their organizational capacity by recruiting coordinators for all six regions of the country. These coordinators will facilitate peer-topeer drug education events this spring in each region, spreading SSDP’s message beyond the capital city of Minsk. BOLIVIA Three of our EPSD Bolivia chapter members used the IAF to help finance their trip to the 7th Latin American Conference and 2nd Mexican Conference on Drug Policy in October in Mexico City where SSDP members in Bolivia and Mexico gained valuable facetime with each other. 14 FREEDOM LEAF
GHANA SSDP Ghana hosted their 2nd annual Nation Open Forum on Drugs in Accra last August. Thanks to the IAF, the chapter was able to pay for an excellent venue, provide refreshments for all attendees and cover travel costs for students outside of Accra. Since then, the chapter has been calling on Ghana’s parliament to form a committee to discuss passing a new national drug law. IRELAND Two projects are being funded by the IAF in Ireland. One is the 5th annual SSDP conference in Dublin in June, hosted by Dublin City University SSDP. IAF funds will go towards travel for Irish members outside of Dublin, food for the event, conference materials and some of the venue costs. The other project is a drug-checking kit distributed by University College Cork SSDP. KENYA Kenyatta University SSDP is planning a national SSDP seminar in Nairobi open to all interested students and young people in Kenya. The seminar’s goal will be to inspire attendees to form SSDP chapters across the country in order to facilitate a national movement to reform drug policy. A second Kenyan SSDP chapter was recently launched at the University of Nairobi. Jake Agliata is SSDP’s international programs manager.
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WOMEN GROW EMBRACES THE EMERGING EAST COAST BY GIA MORÓN AS THE CANNABIS and hemp industries continue to build throughout the U.S., no area has experienced as rapid a growth as the East Coast. Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Vermont (plus Washington, DC) have all established medical-cannabis programs, and several states (Maine, Massachusetts and Vermont) have passed adult-use laws, and several more are on their way or still weighing the option. Hemp is also poised to be a major force in the region. Here’s how Women Grow plans to impact East Coast female entrepreneurs and business leaders. GROWING EAST COAST MARKETS As the popularity of adult-use cannabis legislation intensifies nationwide, East Coast governors have responded to this trend by accelerating legalization efforts. New Jersey and my home state of New York are discussing such measures, expanding their medical programs to serve more patients and embracing the rising industrial hemp industry. Women Grow’s headquarters and leadership has been on the East Coast since 2017 (we were founded in Denver in 2014). Based on feedback we’ve received, we intend to increase our East Coast presence in 2019, ensuring that women in these regions who seek to enter the industry have access to an active community and dedicated support. 16 FREEDOM LEAF
EDUCATION PROGRAMS Reparative justice, equity programs, diversity and inclusion, environmental and public-safety concerns and evolving regulations are all part of the ongoing conversation shaping East Coast cannabis. Educating our members on these and other issues related to business, healthcare and social justice is a major component to ensuring the viability of the entire industry. Women Grow will continue its series of educational initiatives aimed at preparing the next generation of women leaders and refining the skills of trailblazers already within the space. SUMMIT MOVES TO DC Women Grow will bring its annual Leadership Summit to Washington, DC in 2019. It will be the first woman-focused cannabis conference on the East Coast. This is a unique opportunity for us to carry our message to the nation’s capital while introducing the Women Grow brand to a new audience. Women Grow’s new leadership team also hails from the area, exemplifying the many opportunities now available to those outside of traditional cannabis strongholds. As the cannabis renaissance continues, the East Coast is sure to emerge as a major hub for years to come. Women Grow is committed to helping the women of the region be a part of this budding industry. Gia Morón is Women Grow’s executive vice president.
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MARIJUANA POLICY PROJECT Executive director Steve Hawkins (center) with other MPP staffers.
MARIJUANA POLICY PROJECT’S 2019 STRATEGY BY VIOLET CAVENDISH AFTER MORE THAN 80 years of U.S. cannabis prohibition, we’re seeing a new climate of acceptance that’s being translated into victories across the nation. In 2018, Vermont became the first state to legalize marijuana through their state legislature, traditionally conservative states like Oklahoma and Utah legalized medical marijuana and Michigan became the first state in the Midwest to legalize recreational use. We also saw unprecedented progress from our neighbors, with Canada legalizing marijuana and Mexico taking significant steps to do the same. Despite all this progress, it would be foolish to think that our work is anywhere near complete. Americans are still living with outdated and misguided marijuana policies, which continue to criminalize people for something that is now legal in one-fifth of the states. There are still 40 U.S. states with no adult-use marijuana laws and 18 with no workable medical marijuana laws. Americans have made it clear that they deserve better. An October 2018 Gallup poll found that two-thirds of Americans support legalization, with that approval cutting across societal and party lines. We’ve moved from asking which states might legalize marijuana to wondering when they’ll legalize it. In 2019, the Marijuana Policy Project is not slowing down; rather, we’re working to ensure that the momentum continues. Look18 FREEDOM LEAF
ing forward, we’re focusing our work in three core areas: •Protecting peoples’ right to use marijuana for medical and personal purposes; •Expanding economic opportunities for businesses and the jobs that are created; •Reaching a point where no one is arrested or jailed for minor marijuana offenses. Legislatively, MPP is excited for a busy year, ripe with opportunities. Through a combination of legislative efforts and ballot initiatives, we expect an additional 15 states to develop adult-use marijuana programs over the next three years. When half the states end prohibition, it will be the tipping point for the government to act on reforming marijuana policy at the federal level. In 2019, MPP is devoting significant resources to end prohibition and create adult-use programs in Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Maryland, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey and New York. Additionally, MPP is dedicated to developing best practices—a “gold standard”—that can be used for state cannabis regulatory frameworks under development, focusing efforts on providing crucial access for medical patients and ending criminal penalties for personal possession. Violet Cavendish is Marijuana Policy Project’s social media and communications coordinator.
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World Cup players can now use CBD.
CBD CATCHING ON IN SPORTS BY DR. ASEEM SAPPAL EACH PROFESSIONAL sports league has its own position and policy on cannabis. For instance, MLB doesn’t test for marijuana, while the NHL tracks players’ pot use to re-evaluate testing going forward. Other professional sports take a stricter approach. The NFL is the harshest, with a sliding scale of punishments that include constant drug testing and likely suspensions. In the NBA, a second positive test sets off a $25,000 fine and each subsequent test results in suspensions. The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) is the first organization to remove CBD from its banned substance list. Though cannabis remains on the list, WADA stopped prohibiting use of cannabidiol in October 2017. During the 2018 World Cup, soccer players were not penalized for having CBD in their systems. In a 2010 study of 644 retired NFL players, 52% used opioids during their NFL careers with 71% reporting misuse. Cannabis, and specifically cannabidiol (CBD), has been shown to treat acute and chronic pain, fight inflammation, improve focus, increase endurance, assist natural endorphins and eliminate pre-game anxiety. For athletes who participate in contact sports, the antiinflammatory properties of CBD reduce the swelling in the brain from concussions, which helps recovery from the injury itself. 20 FREEDOM LEAF
“Legalization is picking up steam on a global level and I feel like now is the time to spread information about the curing capabilities of this plant,” Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Montana maintains. “As with any medicine, increased accessibility comes with the need for education.” Other positive signs include the recent announcement by the BIG3, the professional 3-on-3 basketball league, that it now permits players to use CBD for pain management and recovery. “These guys put their bodies on the line for us and the fans to entertain us with their talent,” says BIG3 co-founder Ice Cube. “There’s something out there that can help them that doesn’t enhance their performance or intoxicate them. To me, it’s simple compassion.” There’s also a newly formed minor-league, the TBL (The Basketball League), that allows players to use CBD products. In fact, the league has partnered with Green Roads Athletics (the sports division of CBD manufacturer and distributor Green Roads World) for a one-year sponsorship. The evidence is clear that cannabis has medical and therapeutic benefits, especially for athletes. It’s time for professional sports leagues to stop standing in the way of its use. Dr. Aseem Sappal writes about various subjects for Freedom Leaf.
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The longtime federal ban on cannabis may finally come to an end this year.
BY ALLEN ST. PIERRE
22 FREEDOM LEAF
ould 2019 sound the death knell for marijuana prohibition as we know it in America? Will more states legalize the noble weed before year’s end? Can the federal government actually get out of its own way and allow the full flowering of legal cannabis commerce in the nation and around the world? Will the foreign abandonment of prohibition in favor of legalization push the U.S. to finally end its Draconian policy? These are important questions to ask while we barrel ahead as a movement and industry. There are two primary reasons why 2019 could actually top 2016 as cannabis’ most significant year of reform ever: The way states will end their prohibition regimes, and the fact that for the first time in the era of legalization (starting when Colorado and Washington voters legalized it in 2012) Democrats have control of the U.S. House of Representatives. With Canada fully ending cannabis prohibition last year (following Uruguay’s lead) and soon Mexico, dozens of countries around the world are currently passing medical access laws, attracting tens of billions of dollars in domestic investments from around the globe and creating an unprecedented socio-eco-political squeeze on the U.S. government to alter its policy. Here are some more questions to ponder: Will 2019 be the year state legislatures join the fray against federal cannabis prohibition? Will necessary changes in political leadership at the national level in Congress open the door for affirming federal legislation? Will a concerted and resourceful federal lobbying effort pay dividends?
The Dawn of Voter Initiatives
Historically speaking, most all substantive cannabis law reforms in America since 1996 have happened because of the efforts of reform organizations like NORML, Drug Policy Alliance and Marijuana Policy Project. They helped get state initiatives that asked voters whether or not they want to keep enforcing mari-
juana laws or instead tax and regulate the substance similar to alcohol and tobacco products on the ballots. After numerous electoral defeats at the ballot box from the early ’70s to the early ’90s, California voters surprised the state (and nation) in 1996 with the passage of Proposition 215, which legalized medicinal marijuana; it was the first such state law in the country. For the next seven consecutive two-year election cycles, from 1998 to 2010, activists placed more than a dozen marijuana measures on state ballots, with a mix of successful medical initiatives and unsuccessful legalization measures like California’s Prop 19 in 2010.
State Legislation Changes Everything
Traditionally, most U.S. state laws are derived from legislation, not binding voter initiatives. That’s why 2010 was so significant in the history of cannabis legalization in the United States. For the first time, significant law reforms happened at the legislative level when New Mexico and Colorado state representatives passed medical legislation that put their states in clear conflict with existing federal law by allowing for the regulation and taxation of marijuana products. Since 2010, numerous state legislatures have passed pro-medical cannabis bills and governors have readily signed them into law (i.e., Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Jersey, Illinois, Minnesota). The only state legislature to pass an adult-use measure is Vermont in 2018, but it timidly opted to not set up a legal industry. Advances for recreational legalization have primarily been limited to binding ballot initiatives. From 2014 to 2018, voters in Alaska, California, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Oregon and Nevada elected to end cannabis prohibition. This will likely be legislative legalization’s breakout year. Remarkably, the Connecticut, Illinois, New York, New Jersey, Rhode Island and Vermont legislatures are all poised to pass marijuana legalization bills (in Vermont’s case, it will add onto its current law) and send them to governors who’ve already indicated a WINTER 2019
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ATTORNEY GENERAL WILLIAM BARR, in 1991 when he first held the position, now says marijuana prohibition is "untenable and has to be addressed."
willingness to sign pro-reform measures. It seems likely, too, that legalization will once again be on an upcoming ballot in Arizona, where an initiative barely lost in 2016. The next epoch of cannabis legalization—buttressed currently by national polling indicating an eye-popping 66% of public support—is largely going to happen in legislative bodies rather than by asking citizens to cast “yea” or “nay” votes.
To the chagrin of anti-cannabis advocates and law enforcement, President Trump has largely practiced “benign neglect” as his preferred marijuana policy. 24 FREEDOM LEAF
The Republican Block
For the last eight years or so, the single one-word reason for why the federal government’s marijuana policy is so out of step with states legalization efforts has been: Republicans. Fundamentally, Democrats overwhelmingly support cannabis law reform, whereas Republicans doggedly back prohibition and its rigorous law enforcement. All national surveys examining cannabis legalization identify the biggest single problem for law reform going forward is, in America’s political duopoly, one party supports legalization while the other one doesn’t. With a gaping, 30-point difference separating Democratic support for ending prohibition and Republican opposition (65% to 35%) and with Democrats’ support for legalization almost in perfect synch with general national polling data, only changes in political leadership (or Republicans immediately ceasing their Reefer Madness ways) can steer the country away from a public policy that even incoming Attorney General William Barr says is “untenable and has to be addressed.” The recent change from Republican to Democratic leadership in the House of Representatives as a result of the 2018
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How to Win Over Republican Support
ALASKA’S LISA MURKOWSKI is among the few Republican senators in states with legal marijuana.
midterms redounds positively for the prospects of federal cannabis law reform. After years of Republican control of Congress’ political agenda, notably led by aggressively anti-marijuana committee chairman who bottled up dozens of sensible (and otherwise bipartisan supported) cannabis bills—ranging from allowing veterans access to medical marijuana to criminal justice changes and banking reforms—Democrats in control of the gavel are now in a prime position to advance numerous measures through the applicable subcommittee, committee and even House floor votes.
It’s well within the realm of political possibility that soon a Democratcontrolled House will pass legislation that effectively ends federal cannabis prohibition. 26 FREEDOM LEAF
With 10 states having already legalized cannabis and a half-dozen more poised to soon join them via legislation (two are national bellwethers, New York and Illinois), and 32 states with medical access, hundreds of members of Congress represent states that have effectively ended prohibition. Led by an ever-growing “Cannabis Caucus,” it’s well within the realm of political possibility that soon a Democrat-controlled House will pass legislation that effectively ends federal cannabis prohibition. Going back to that pesky Republican support for prohibition, despite whatever progress the House makes on any pro-pot bills, the Senate, in the hands of Republicans, can indefinitely stall such legislation. To date, GOP leadership has chosen to largely ignore cannabis measures. This could change. The initial wave of states that legalized marijuana via voter initiatives were almost entirely represented in the Senate by Democrats (save for Alaska’s Lisa Murkowski, Colorado’s Cory Gardner, Maine’s Susan Collins and recently defeated Dean Heller of Nevada, who was replaced by pro-pot Democrat Jackie Rosen). The expected second wave of legalization states via legislation will largely be propelled by Democrats. It’s anticipated that as state legislatures start passing legalization measures, more Republican representatives, senators and governors will likely cross the aisle and vote for cannabis reform. All of which creates clear and obvious political pressure on Republicans in Congress, the party’s political apparatuses and its popularity with rank-andfile voters to logically accept cannabis legalization’s inevitability at the state and, more importantly, federal level. What’s the rational alternative for Republicans? To strongly advocate for marijuana’s continued illegality and the tax-wasting government bureaucracies’ feckless application of an already well-proven unenforceable and socially unpopular policy?
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Here are three ways: • Launch a federal lobbying effort like no other, where millions of dollars are raised and donated to Republican lawmakers and candidates for office who favor marijuana legalization. This effort is already backed by the newly formed Cannabis Trade Federation, National Cannabis Industry Association and non-profit, law-reform groups. • Make Republicans hue to their claims of supporting “free market solutions,” “less taxation” and “smaller government.” • Acknowledge conservative intellectual William F. Buckley when he contended that prohibition promotes social disorder and conservatives are not inherently purveyors of social disorder. The Republican National Committee should look to red states like Oklahoma for guidance after state legislators there pretty clearly got the message from citizens last June after they decisively approved a voter initiative that allows medical access to cannabis products, resulting in state regulators issuing more than 2,100 cannabis business licenses by year’s end. Up until last year, Oklahoma had the most repressive marijuana laws in the country. Now, a medical industry is being established.
The Trump Wild Card
Cannabis prohibition at the federal level might have enjoyed a brief political revival under a Trump administration that was outwardly hostile to marijuana (think Richard Nixon or Ronald Reagan). He’d installed a hardcore drug warrior in Attorney General Jeff Sessions, but after a lot of bluster, Sessions didn’t accomplish much and was soon banished from the Cabinet. To the chagrin of anti-cannabis advocates and law enforcement, President Trump has largely practiced “benign neglect” as his preferred marijuana policy, saying and doing virtually nothing about the 81-year-old federal prohibition. Barr, a previous card-carrying drug warrior in the George H. W. Bush Administration as attorney general, has strongly signaled, in writing to U.S. senators from states with legal cannabis, that under his 28 FREEDOM LEAF
JOHN BOEHNER AND MITCH MCCONNELL have crossed over to cannabis and hemp.
tenure as the nation’s top law enforcement official he will respect state’s rights in regard to cannabis.
It’s Good for Business
Let’s face it, long opposed to legalizing marijuana, Republicans are now making moves in the burgeoning industry. When a hawk, like former Speaker of the House John Boehner, signs up as a board member of a large cannabis company (Acreage Holdings), which he did last year along with former Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, you know the tide is turning. Another good 2018 sign was Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s support of the Farm Bill, which led to legalizing hemp. McConnell may ultimately benefit financially from that (McConnell Hemp anyone?), but like people often say, the cat is out of the bag. Marijuana prohibition in the U.S. appears to be coming to an end. Will it happen in 2019? With full Democratic support and more and more Republicans recognizing that it’s better to join the majority rather than continue to stonewall, significant changes are on the horizon. Allen St. Pierre is Freedom Leaf’s VP of advocacy and communications and a former executive director of NORML.
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FINANCIAL FORECAST 2019
With beer sales declining, expect a big push in the canna-beverage market this year.
BY STEVE GELSI
all Street is certainly keeping an eye on the burgeoning cannabis industry. Financial analysts issue statements and predictions, but no one knows the space better than Vivien Azer, the managing director for consumer beverages, cannabis and tobacco at investment house Cowan and Company. She often asks beer company CEOs about legal cannabis taking market share away from the most popular alcoholic beverage in America in states where pot is legal. Routinely, the executives dis32 FREEDOM LEAF
miss any challenge from marijuana with the argument that people already get as much cannabis as they want on the black market, so any switch over to legal weed isn’t going to dent beer sales. On a January 8 conference call, Azer said 2018 was the “worst year for beer sales in the near decade we’ve been covering the alcohol industry and we continue to believe that growing cannabis use is a factor.” It’s all about re-engagement, a big trend for the current year and beyond. It goes like this: Once cannabis is legal,
more people who may have dabbled with it in college or whenever will return to the green herb and hence drink less beer. Cowen’s latest consumer survey shows that people who used pot in the past month climbed to 39% at the start of 2019 compared to 30% in September 2016. It also indicates that a large portion of consumers across all alcohol types report either already drinking less beer (60%) or anticipating to do so (70%). This and other data prompted Azer to hike her U.S. cannabis sales forecast by $5 billion to $80 billion by 2030, up from her earlier estimate of $75 billion. It’s one of many enthusiastic outlooks for the current year as the legal cannabis business continues its quick growth as a mainstream product. With recreational and/or medical markets coming online in Massachusetts, Ohio, Maine, North Dakota, Florida and possibly New York and New Jersey, Azer expects more substitution in place of all types of alcohol. “We’re increasingly cautious on beer,” she added. The analyst ranks Canadian cannabis producers Canopy Growth Corp. (NYSE: CGC) and Tilray Inc. (NASDAQ: TLRY) and U.S. container maker KushCo Holdings Inc. (OTC: KSHB) as strong buys, but is much less bullish about Anheuser Busch Inbev and Molson Coors Brewing Co. “For Canopy and Tilray, we should finally start to see the true benefits of adult-use sales, and the lapping of upfront investments made in calendar 2018 to scale up ahead of adult use,” Azer noted. “For Kush, we expect a fifth consecutive year of triple-digit growth as the company benefits from continued strong growth in California and Nevada, in addition to the new market opportunity in Massachusetts.” Despite these dire predictions, beer makers are fighting back. A rash of new joint ventures announced last year between big brewers and cannabis companies should make 2019 the year of the canna-beverage. Heineken’s Lagunitas and AbsoluteXTracts have already teamed up in California to create their non-alcohol canna-IPA Hi-Fi Hops. Similar products are expected from Molson and Hexo Corp., Constellation
Brands Inc. (NYSE: STZ) and Canopy Growth, and Anheiser-Busch and Tilray. All three Canadian companies made deals with alcohol conglomerates in 2018. The largest was Constellation Brand’s $4 billion buy-in to Canopy Growth. Another hot 2018 rumor was Coca-Cola negotiating with Aurora Cannabis (NYCE: ACB), but that seemed to fizzle. Asked if she thinks other Big Alcohol players like spirits maker Diageo will enter the cannabis space, Azar remarked tersely, “I’d expect all the large global alcohol companies are paying attention.” Thanks to passage of the U.S. Farm Bill, hemp and CBD products will keep ascending in wellness, beauty and food categories. Though no major supermarket or big-box retailer has begun to stock shelves with CBD creams and tinctures, Cowen & Co. projects the category could become a $1.6 billion business over the next few years. Outside of food, beverages and cosmetics, cannabis will keep impacting other industries like pharma and tobacco. This year may see some action from Altria Group Inc. on its $1.8 billion stake in Canadian producer Cronos Group Inc. (NASDAQ: CRON) that the maker of Marlboro cigarettes announced last year. Another tobacco manufacturer, Alliance One International, should see its 80% stake in the Goldleaf Pharm grow facility in Canada start to bear fruit. WINTER 2019
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Congressional legislation like the STATES Act would remove marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act, essentially legalizing it, while other bills deal with nagging issues like banking and tax equity. Matt Karnes of GreenWave Advisers predicts $12.7 billion in overall retail sales in 2019—up from about $9.3 billion in 2018—and says prepare to see more mergers in Canada and the U.S. “The bar will be raised in terms of talent pool as employees from more mainstream companies enter the sector,” he tells Freedom Leaf. Joe Lusardi, CEO of Curaleaf, the Massachusetts-based dispensary operator, thinks 2019 “is going to be the biggest year ever for legalization” because of the boost from Massachusetts and Michigan, in addition to activity underway in other states. Curaleaf currently operates 34 retail outlets, including one in Belmawr, NJ, which the company hypes as the biggest pot purveyor on the East Coast. They’re hoping to double the number of stores and expand to 10 states by the end of 2019. Brad Nattrass, CEO of Colorado-based Urban-Gro, an agricultural technology firm, thinks large corporations will invest millions in cannabis cultivation operations, but reminds in an email that “many cultivations in 2018 were not as profitable 34 FREEDOM LEAF
as was projected. There’s cautiousness in the market now with some growers and investors waiting to see how the market shakes out before pursuing new opportunities.” To be sure, plenty of obstacles remain. California’s cannabis business has yet to fully transition from the black-market economy. Profit margins may shrink in agricultural production because of competition, forcing operators to build for scale to compete. Capital is also a constraint because of the Schedule I classification of marijuana under federal law. This keeps banks, for the most part, from raising capital from investors and lending. While solutions to some of these challenges may be years away, they persist in shaping the new cannabis landscape. At the same time, the more immediate focus is on fueling growth and deal-making at an accelerated pace. “Last year was the year of the large multi-state operator for investors,” says Beth Stavola, president of operations at MPX Bioceutical Corp. (OTC: MPXEF), an Ontario-based company known for its Melting Point Extracts brand. “With more big industries entering the space, it will be interesting to see which operators will find homes in the beverage, pharma and tobacco industries or be acquired.” Canna-stocks will remain volatile until the sector trades more on its fundamentals like revenue and net income and less on speculation about future growth. Many big institutional investors that have capital to spend may stay away, at least until federal law prohibiting marijuana changes. “I do know there are institutional investors that, until they feel better about U.S. status, won’t touch cannabis, even in areas where it’s legal,” Azer asserts. “But there are some that have gotten comfortable with investing in compliant cannabis businesses.” Despite these and other headwinds, expect optimism to pervade in cannabis in 2019. Steve Gelsi covers canna-business for Freedom Leaf.
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2o the TOP
POT STOCKS 2019
ACREAGE HOLDINGS OTC: ACRGF Based: New York, NY Cap: $1.82 billion
Holds dispensary and cultivation licenses in 10 states; former Speaker of the House is on their board
NYSE: APHA Based: Leamington, ON Cap: $1.73 billion
Canadian licensed producer
AURORA CANNABIS INC. NYSE: ACB Based: Cremona, AB Cap: $6.17 billion
Canadian licensed producer met with Coca-Cola in 2018
CANOPY GROWTH CORP.
NYSE: CGC Based: Smiths Falls, ON Cap: $14.96 billion
Canadian licensed producer sold 38% of the company to alcohol maker Constellation Brands in 2018 36 FREEDOM LEAF
CHARLOTTEâ€™S WEB HOLDINGS INC. OTC: CWBHF Based: Boulder, CO Cap: $236.4 million
Produces hemp and CBD products
CRONOS GROUP INC. NASDAQ: CRON Based: Toronto, ON Cap: $2.71 billion
Canadian licensed producer sold 45% of company to tobacco giant Altria Group in 2018
CURALEAF HOLDINGS INC.
OTC: CURLF Based: Wakefield, MA Cap: $2.76 billion
Holds dispensary and cultivation licenses in 10 states
FREEDOM LEAF INC. OTC: FRLF Based: Las Vegas, NV Cap: $57.5 million
Publishes Freedom Leaf magazine and manufactures hemp-CBD products
GREEN ORGANIC DUTCHMAN HOLDINGS LTD.
OTC: TGODF Based: Mississauga, ON Cap: $705.5 million
Canadian licensed producer
GW PHARMACEUTICALS NASDAQ: GWPH Based: Cambridge, UK
Cap: $4.24 billion Maker of Sativex and Epidiolex, both approved by the FDA
OTC: HYYDF Based: Gatineau, QB Cap: $1.03 billion
Canadian licensed producer partnered with Molson Coors Canada in 2018
MPX BIOCEUTICAL CORP. OTC: MPCEF Based: Toronto, ON Cap: $3.4 million
Holds dispensary and cultivation licenses in three states
SCOTTS MIRACLE-GRO CO. NYSE: SMG Based: Dayton, OH Cap: $3.81 billion
Manufactures soil, fertilizer and hydroponic gardening equipment
IANTHUS CAPITAL HOLDINGS INC. OTC: ITHUF Based: New York, NY Cap: $361 million
Holds dispensary and cultivation licenses in seven states
KUSHCO HOLDINGS INC.
OTC: KSHB Based: Garden Grove, CA Cap: $475.3 million
TERRA TECH CORP. OTC: TRTC Based: Irvine, CA Cap: $61.8 million
Holds dispensary and cultivation licenses in two states
Manufactures packaging products for the cannabis industry
LIBERTY HEALTH SCIENCES OTC: LHSIF Based: Toronto, ON Cap: $213.8 million
Holds dispensary and cultivation licenses in Florida
MEDMEN ENTERPRISES OTC: MMNFF
Based: Culver City, CA
Cap: $348.6 million Holds dispensary and cultivation licenses in five states
THERAPIX BIOSCIENCES LTD. NASDAQ: TRPX Based: Givatayim, Israel Cap: $12.6 million
Pharma company moving into cannabis formulations for specific conditions
NASDAQ: TLRY Based: Nanaimo, BC Cap: $6.78 billion
Canadian licensed producer made deals with Novartis and AnheiserBusch in 2018 WINTER 2019
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TO THE FUTURE
Now that hemp is legal, expect to see CBD products in Walmart and Target soon.
BY ERIN HIATT On December 20, President Trump signed the 2018 Farm Bill, making it a historic day for hemp in the United States. After more than 80 years of prohibition, U.S. farmers are finally allowed to grow hemp legally. Section 10113 of the bill removes hemp from the Controlled Substances Act, extracting it from Schedule I status alongside its intoxicating cousin marijuana. In a victory for farmers, the bill removes banking, water and other regulatory roadblocks from hemp farming, plus authorizes crop insurance. It also allows hemp farming in communities left out of the 2014 Farm Bill, including U.S. territories, tribal lands and reservations. Now, hemp is clearly defined as “whole plant,” including extracts, and as cannabis containing less than 0.3 percent THC. Despite hemp’s previous illegality, the U.S. industry is booming. The Hemp Business Journal estimates that in 2018, the total retail value of hemp food, supplements and body care products in the U.S. reached $553 million. Eric Steenstra, president of Vote Hemp, a national advocacy organization dedicated to a free market for industrial hemp, thinks hemp 38 FREEDOM LEAF
farming will be only one trending item in 2019. Even without the protections of the 2018 Farm Bill, the acreage of hemp grown in the U.S. more than tripled from 2017 to 2018. With new protections, traditional farmers will feel more comfortable entering the hemp industry. “Companies will rise to meet the market,” Steenstra tells Freedom Leaf. “That’s a huge piece needed for the industry to be successful and grow, and I think we’ll see bigger companies like John Deere get involved." Colleen Keahey Lanier, executive director of the Hemp Industries Association, expects CBD to continue to be an ongoing wellness trend as existing CBD businesses begin to diversify toward becoming full-spectrum cannabinoid companies. CBD has seen astronomical growth and shows no signs of abating. Typically derived from the hemp plant, it’s non-intoxicating and reported to help all kinds of medical conditions, from epilepsy to rosacea. Cannabis market research firm The Brightfield Group reported that CBD sales garnered $591 million in 2018 and could reach a whopping $22 billion by 2022. Eric Steenstra
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WHOLE FOODS MARKET RECENTLY NAMED HEMP AS ONE OF THE TOP 10 FOOD TRENDS FOR 2019.
But one thing the Farm Bill did not do is legalize CBD. FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb, on the day it was signed in December, issued a statement reasserting the agency’s power to regulate cannabis products, specifically CBD. Citing concerns about CBD sellers touting the compound’s ability to cure, treat or prevent diseases, he said CBD products “must go through the FDA drug approval process for human or animal use before they are marketed in the U.S.” Only one cannabis medicine, the high-CBD Epidiolex, has received FDA approval. Lanier acknowledges the confusion around the legality of CBD. Even in marijuana-friendly—and legal—California, officials have said CBD products are offlimits in food and supplements. In South Dakota, legislators are considering a bill to criminalize CBD oil. But she believes the confusion is due to the FDA’s efforts to muddy the waters by referring to CBD generally as cannabisderived, and not demarcating the difference between marijuana and hemp. “When we’re talking about CBD, we specify the source,” she says. “Is it a marijuana source or a hemp source? If it’s a hempsourced CBD product or ingredient, it has all the benefits of being considered a commodity under the 2018 Farm Bill.” Even though the FDA has positioned itself strongly against CBD sales, Sean Murphy, founder of the Hemp Business Journal and director of hemp analytics at New Frontier Data, doesn’t see the letter from the FDA as a CBD smack down. "Our analysis is that in the next six
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months we’ll see [hemp] trade industries and the AHPA (American Herbal Products Association) work with the FDA to come up with a regulatory framework,” Murphy forecasts. As the dust settles around CBD and FDA regulations, he expects banks and credit card companies to start working with the industry. Then mass market retailers, like Walmart and Target, will begin stocking CBD and other hemp-based products. “The FDA has to work through the science and the regulation, but all roads are leading to mass-market retail,” he adds. Another trend on the CBD front is it being added to more skincare and beauty products. Whole Foods Market recently named hemp as one of the top 10 food trends for 2019. And professional chefs are already on board: In a survey conducted by the National Restaurant Association, 77% of respondents believe that CBD drinks will be the number one trend, followed by CBD food. Not since the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937, when hemp became de facto illegal, has the road been so open and free of obstacles for farmers, researchers, Big Agriculture and consumers to take full advantage of hemp’s myriad benefits, from industrial applications like construction materials to textiles, medicine, food and clothing. It’s about time.
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GETTING HIGH ON Surpluses and shortages were big cannabis stories in 2018.
BY DOUG MCVAY
he rollout of marijuana legalization has not been smooth. On one side, there’s a push for revenue; on the other, there’s a desire for tough regulations and enforcement. While businesses get caught in the middle, consumers go along for the ride and patients run the risk of being mowed over.
GREED RULES: THE CASE OF OREGON Legislators often see legal marijuana as a cash cow. If money is the motivation, authorities will push to issue as many licenses to as many businesses as possible, which can lead to overproduction and oversupply. Take the legal marijuana state of Oregon, for instance. People in Oregon grow a lot of weed. (The Beaver State has been a net marijuana exporter for decades.) The state’s medical-marijuana program was approved by voter initiative in 1998, yet it wasn’t until 2013 that the legislature passed a bill to license and regulate dispensaries. Voters approved a legalization measure in 2014, and adult-use sales started in 2015. Then, 42 FREEDOM LEAF
in 2016, the state legislature repealed a residency requirement for marijuana businesses and opened up Oregon’s marijuana industry to out-of-state investment. “We’ve created an oversupply problem,” says Anthony Taylor, co-founder and legislative liaison for the patient advocacy organization Compassionate Oregon. “Before we legalized cannabis for the adult-use population, we were already producing about five times what the state consumes, and when the Oregon Liquor Control Commission came in and threw all that infrastructure away in favor of their new infrastructure, it created this situation that’s virtually collapsing in on itself.” Taylor’s not just blowing smoke about over-production. According to an August 2018 report by the Oregon-Idaho High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area program, “A surplus of 344,730 kg (760,000 pounds) unsold cannabis [was] logged during the recent audit of the recreational system.” Clearly, Oregon is growing more cannabis than can be consumed in the state, hence the proposal by State Sen. Floyd Prozanski to be able to ship the surplus to neighboring legal states. On the bright side, not everyone is
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Canadians wait in line at Cannabis NB in Saint Stephen, New Brunswick.
suffering. Oversupply, combined with intense competition, pushes retail prices down and non-medical consumers reap the benefits. Retailers benefit as well because oversupply gives them leverage to negotiate lower wholesale prices.
GRIPPING TOO TIGHTLY: THE CASE OF CANADA While an over-abundance of cannabis is a huge problem for growers, at least in the short term, some people are happy. With undersupply, no one’s happy. That’s the problem Canada has been facing since legal adult-use sales began last October 17. Canada’s had legal medical marijuana since 2001, following a Supreme Court ruling in 2000, and a largely unregulated medical industry developed as a result. The Canadian government finally passed the Marijuana for Medical Purposes Regulations in 2013, which required patients to get their weed from licensed producers via mail order. (That requirement was overturned by the Supreme Court of Canada in 2016.) In 2015, Justin Trudeau’s Liberal Party took a majority in the federal elections and he became prime minister. Trudeau had promised to “design a new system of strict marijuana sales and distribution,” but the program so far has been struggling. “Stores have had to cut hours,” renowned Canadian researcher, writer and marijuana activist Chris Bennett tells Freedom Leaf. “They don’t have stock for meeting demands and it’s expected to be a year or more before this situation levels.” Scarcity means higher prices. Weed in Canada costs “about $16 a gram for legal pot compared to the typical $8-$12 that you could find at most dispensaries,” he says. 44 FREEDOM LEAF
“Plus, there’s been numerous quality issues with the ‘legal’ cannabis being sold.” It didn’t have to be this way. “The current legalization is largely seen by activists, dispensary owners and growers as an industry takeover,” Bennett adds. “If the Fed and Provinces had taken a more inclusive approach, existing dispensaries and growers could’ve been grandfathered in.” And, hence, prevented the shortages that are currently plaguing the program.
THE ROAD AHEAD Here’s Anthony Taylor’s advice for states and countries that plan to create regulated cannabis markets in the near future: • “Number one, don’t regulate it like alcohol. They’re two different creatures, and they need two different sets of regulations.” • “Two, create an independent, autonomous body to oversee all things cannabis, with the requisite rule-making authority, and allow the process to take several years, especially if you have an existing medical infrastructure in place.” As far as Oregon’s oversupply problem is concerned, he suggests licensing “a very small population of growers and see what happens. Don’t open it up for anybody in the world to come in and buy an Oregon Liquor Control cannabis license. Use a progressive licensing structure so that the mom and pops only have to pay $1,000 for a license, but the Coors, Marlboros and RJ Reynolds come in and pay $5 million. That’s a very important distinction to make, because it allows the small farmer to continue to grow and become an important part of the overall picture.” Doug McVay is editor of DrugWarFacts.org.
LEADERS OF THE CANNABIS ECOSYSTEM ARE POWERED BY MERIDA BANKING, GOVâ€™T & REGULATORY
CULTIVATION, PRODUCTION & PROCESSING
DISPENSARY & RETAIL
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BUD TESTING CLEAN CANNABIS SOUNDS GREAT, BUT WHAT DOES IT ACTUALLY MEAN?
BY RICK PFROMMER
In 2009, Steep Hill, the first analytical lab specifically created to test cannabis, was founded in Oakland. Prior to that, no labs would test cannabis. The basic mechanics of marijuana testing are the same as those employed to test everything from urine to soil. Gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GCMS) and high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) are used in cannabis analysis. Initially, GCMS was the preferred method, then most labs shifted to HPLC, which provides more consistent results. In states that have been fully legal for several years, like Colorado, Washington and Oregon, analytical labs are monitored by the government to ensure the methodologies and resulting data sets are accurate. In California, that process is still in development; incidences like the recent closure of Sequoia Labs for falsifying results have occurred. Ian Barringer, founder of Rm3 Labs, says this doesn’t happen in Colorado, where labs have been licensed and regulated by the state since 2014. Founded by Barringer in 2009, Rm3 has not only been 46 FREEDOM LEAF
testing cannabis for a decade, they also helped write the regulations that now govern the industry. “By rolling out our regulations incrementally, the state allowed us to work with the machinery, methodologies and our vendors to operate correctly,” Barringer tells Freedom Leaf. “California basically forced everyone to jump into the deep end of the pool.” Pesticide tests are relatively new in the cannabis world. The first five years of testing were all about THC and CBD. The biggest challenge with all of these tests is that no one has done research on the effects of smoking pesticides. “We just don’t have the data to know what amounts might be considered safe,” says Wilson Linker, Steep Hill’s former environmental service manager. Colorado differs greatly from California as far as the number of compounds tested for and the allowable limits of those compounds. Currently, there are just 13 pesticides on Colorado’s list compared to 62 on California’s. The Golden State has two categories: One for pesticides known to be harmful to humans, which there is zero
FREEDOM LEAF 47
SC Labs president Josh Werzer (bottom left) and various scenes of cannabis being tested.
tolerance for, and the other allows some amounts of certain substances. California’s extremely strict testing protocols have had a chilling effect on growers, whose 10- or 50-pound batches must be destroyed if they’re deemed unsellable. Many of these second-category substances contain metals that are naturally found in soil. Josh Wurzer, president of SC Labs in Santa Cruz (and also operating in Oregon), is all too familiar with the unique challenges of running a canna-lab. “The state challenges data results at least twice a week in addition to requiring that we submit to a third-party verification process called a ring test in order to make sure our results are correct,” he explains. California regulations require labs to be ISO-certified regarding standardization. Wurzer thinks more states will move in California’s direction when it comes to pesticides and the allowable amounts. Even with all the regulations, Wurzer believes California “basically got it right.” Marijuana became legal there on January 1, 2018, but the state didn’t require product testing until July 1. Many of the labs’ traditional clients were no longer testing since they’d lost the ability to sell directly to dispensaries and the new distribution companies were still getting up and running. This six-month gap made staying afloat a real challenge for SC, Steep Hill and other labs. Now that testing is required, Wurzer has an optimistic view of 2019. “Hopefully, we won’t see as much change as we did 48 FREEDOM LEAF
last year,” he says. “It’s going to be a matter of the state finding any pinch points and refining the process.” As more and more states go medical or recreational, there will be stronger voices for some form of national cannabis testing standard. Barringer is already working with lab owners and other stakeholders to help craft it. For his part, he thinks the California model, with its wide net and strong rules, is better than Colorado’s, which emphasizes not impeding business. The testing models in Oregon and Washington State fall somewhere between those in Colorado and California. While Oregon has had several incidents of labs falsifying results and their state oversight is considered amongst the laxest, Washington was the first to mandate ring testing of labs to ensure standardized results; they’ve had fewer problems, even though some labs have been known to report super-high THC percentages. Cannabis testing is still in its infancy. Ten years ago, there was no scientific analysis being done at all. Five years ago, very few people knew what a terpene was. Now terp testing is all the rage. The best thing about a false terpene amount? It won’t kill you. Now, consumers can be assured that their cannabis is clean and get a full cannabinoid and terpene profile to boot. There’s never been a more exciting time in cannabis science than right now. Rick Pfrommer owns the consulting firm Pfrommer Now.
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Vaping in Magnolia Wellness' consumption room.
LOUNGE WIZARDS SOCIAL CANNABIS USE IS SPREADING LIKE A WILDFIRE ACROSS AMERICA.
BY DEBBY GOLDSBERRY
ape lounges and cannabis cafes are popping up everywhere in 2019. San Francisco has the largest concentration of licensed facilities, with a dozen dispensaries that feature tabletop vaporizers, edibles consumption and, at some, even marijuana smoking. It’s a major trend that will continue around the country in legal states this year. At press time, the latest consumption room to open in San Francisco was Moe Green’s at 1256 Market St. Named after the notorious Las Vegas gangster, the store boasts “three lavish consumption lounges where you can chill, create, work and stop in for a quick smoke.” The Playground is “dedicated to vaping,” The Vault is “where concentrated cannabis extracts are consumed” and The High Roller “features five booths to roll up, light up and smoke.” Each room is styl-
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ized to attract a sophisticated techoriented crowd. The other San Francisco lounge that opened in January, the Vapor Room at 79 9th St., was closed due to local regulations and federal harassment in 2012, but is thriving again as a neighborhood joint. It makes no sense to legalize cannabis without creating places to use it. California’s state law baked the idea in right from the start, saying “a local jurisdiction may allow for the smoking, vaporizing and ingesting of cannabis or cannabis products on the premises of a retailer or microbusiness licensed under this division.” The law contains added provisions that only those over 21 are allowed access to the consumption area, the inside can’t be visible from the street and no sales of tobacco or alcohol are allowed. Long before the California legalization law passed in 2016, San Francisco,
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Cannabis cafés are like Starbuck's for stoners.
Oakland and South Lake Tahoe allowed onsite consumption at properly licensed facilities. Magnolia Wellness in Oakland has a vape lounge and is planning to open a larger one around April 20. This new site, in the former restaurant next door, will feature a cannabis café and art deco bar and an events center for music, poetry readings, farmer’s markets and other activities. Magnolia was the first dispensary anywhere in the U.S. to get a dram-style insurance policy for onsite consumption. Like at a bar, if someone consumes onsite and has an accident afterwards, insurance will cover the claim. The dispensary adapted the California Department of Alcohol Beverage Control’s intoxication guidelines for budtenders to use, so they know when to cut off service. It also provides operating procedures to manage medical emergencies that might occur. Odor control, fire safety and the well-being of the staff, who are exposed to particulates in the air from off-gassing vaporizer units, are challenges that have to be met on a daily basis. Vape and smoking lounges and cannabis cafés are expanding to other California cities. They’ve either opened or plan to open in Cathedral City, Emeryville, Eureka, Lompoc, Ukiah and West Hollywood. In Colorado, state law does not yet allow onsite consumption facilities, but Denver law does. Unlike California, though, cannabis sales are not allowed at 52 FREEDOM LEAF
retail outlets. Instead, Denver's The Coffee Joint (1130 Yuma St.) makes money selling event tickets, coffee and tea and retail items other than cannabis. (Denver's other social-use spot, Vape and Play, recently closed.) These are experiential lounges and experimental, too. They’re licensed under a local trial program, designed to evaluate their safety and use in order to establish a basis for a permanent local law and for an eventual change to state law, so they can continue to exist. Other state laws are changing fast, too. The Alaska Marijuana Control Board recently established rules for onsite consumption. It will require local approval to operate and no sites have been licensed yet, but they surely will be sometime this year. The Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission is writing rules for onsite use, which should be released this summer. They envision movie theaters and yoga studios with consumption lounges, as well as Amsterdam-style cafés where cannabis can be both bought and consumed. Las Vegas is also considering social lounges that would permit onsite vaporizing only. Due to a dearth of social-use regulations, community organizers have stepped in to fill the void by opening member-only cannabis lounges. These commonly charge an annual or daily fee to visit the facility, which is used for upkeep, staffing and security. Some give free cannabis to members and others transact clandestine marijuana sales. But most are BYOC spots, where locals come to hang out in places that look a lot like their own living rooms. None are city licensed, but many are tolerated by local law enforcement and regulatory authorities. Longtime legalization advocate John Sinclair recently announced he planned to open a cannabis café in Detroit, where consumers could meet, drink coffee and share their own cannabis. Unfortunately, Michigan currently bans such establishments. It’s not easy running a vape lounge, but it’s worth it. In fact, it’s a dream come true. Debby Goldsberry is CEO of Magnolia Wellness in Oakland, CA.
“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.”
email@example.com shop.chongschoice.us WINTER 2019
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FREEDOM LEAF INTERVIEW
Few people have had a greater impact on the international cannabis scene than Ben Dronkers. Born in Holland, he was among the first to start selling seeds, flower and hash in Amsterdam after founding Sensi Seeds. He’s since expanded his empire with HempFlax and several Hash Marihuana & Hemp Museums, one in Amsterdam, the other in Barcelona. When did you first come into contact with cannabis? I was just 17 and I discovered it like most people: through some friends. The first joint I smoked was in Rotterdam, and like many people, I didn’t feel much of it. Nevertheless, I tried it again and then I felt the good vibes of it. There wasn’t a real big cannabis culture back in 1966. It started a bit in Amsterdam with a few clubs, the Paradiso and, later on, the Bulldog, Cosmos and a few other places, but not many. The first coffeeshop also came out a bit later. In Rotterdam, there were no coffeeshops, they were mainly in Amsterdam. My friends and I would often go to Amsterdam to buy a piece of hash or weed, and we’d shared it when we came back to Rotterdam. We mostly bought hash back then because it was much better than the weed. The weed mainly came from Africa, Indonesia and Thailand. The hash came from Lebanon, Morocco and Afghanistan. In those days, hash was more important than weed. In 1985, you started Sensi Seeds. What was the reason? I’d started to travel the world a bit and discovered various hashes. When I saw farmers grow their hash, I became interested in growing it myself. A friend and
I began with just a few seeds to see what would happen. We had one plant under a heater, and it worked! For us, it was a revelation, a wonder. In America, you already had homegrown, but not in Europe. Not many people grew their own plants. For us, it was amazing that we could just put some seeds in the ground, give it water and grow your own weed. That made me travel the world more, visiting places like Lebanon, Morocco, Pakistan and Afghanistan. I brought different varieties back to Holland and we started to grow them in a greenhouse. But then I realized that there was a loophole in the Dutch drug laws: It was legal to just grow seeds. I went to an expensive lawyer to ask if my thoughts were right, and he confirmed it to me. So I started my own seed company, Sensi Seeds. I tried to sell weed in Amsterdam, but nobody wanted it because it was too green. They called it spinach. But, in fact, it was so good that, in a couple of years, everybody was fond of it. Because the seeds were legal, I kept growing for the seeds, not weed. Bringing things up to date, what has held back full legalization in Holland? Lies and deceptions, plus the story that the United Nations wouldn’t allow it. That’s what we heard for the last 20 years. WINTER 2019
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BEN DRONKERS: "In a few years when America completely legalizes cannabis, the rest of the world will follow."
At one time, we had 27 people in the Dutch Parliament who smoked weed and they wanted to legalize it. But then they said we couldn’t do that because of the Single Convention on Narcotics Drugs treaty from 1961. But that isn’t true, because in the meantime Colorado, Uruguay and Portugal all legalized it and many more countries are doing it now. It was bullshit then and it’s bullshit now. Marijuana and CBD oil cure people. It’s a medicine. In the Netherlands, you can get it at the pharmacy and travel the world with it legally.
You’ve expanded into the hemp market with your company HempFlax? How’s that going? We grow a lot of hemp with that company in the Netherlands and Romania. With that hemp, we make CBD oil, fibers and wool. This plant is very diverse. They say there are 20,000 to 50,000 different products you can make from hemp. You can buy the CBD oil from Sensi Seeds, but you can also get seed oil, hemp seeds and protein. It’s one of the plants that contains Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids. Meanwhile, the textile industry is entering the market, albeit slowly. At HempFlax, we make car products for the automotive industry. BMW, Mercedes, Jaguar and even the Bugatti Veyron all have our hemp fibers inside the dashboards and door panels. That saves a lot of plastic. Soon, you’ll find plastic bags on the market that will be totally biodegradable instead of the plastics that we use now. Those are some of the things hemp can do.
HEMP IS EVEN MORE IMPORTANT TO ME THAN CANNABIS, BECAUSE IT CAN SAVE THE WORLD. AT A MINIMUM, IT CAN SAVE A LOT.
Once a leader in cannabis, is the Netherlands now falling behind? The Netherlands is like an ostrich that puts its head in the sand. However, in a few years when America completely legalizes cannabis, the rest of the world will follow. You should be free to grow your own medicine and use it. Thousands of people grow their own in the Netherlands. When you buy some seeds and grow your own, it’s a very cheap medicine! The cat is out of the bag, they can’t keep it illegal anymore. They can’t hide that prohibition is coming to an end. 56 FREEDOM LEAF
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Clockwise: Ben Dronkers with Jack Herer and Howard Marks and at the Sensi Seeds shop.
Can hemp save the planet, like Jack Herer said? When Jack would say that, I’d tell him, “Come on, that is a bit too much.” But I really believe it now. Hemp’s a wonder plant, it’s amazing what it can do. It comes close to the tree of life. And yet people don’t believe it, they don’t know about it. When you look back at history, Columbus couldn’t have found America and Europe wouldn’t have had any colonies if it wasn’t for hemp. Wood and hemp made all those ships possible. The sails were hemp, the clothes were hemp, the food was hemp, the lights were powered by hemp oil. These are some of the reasons why we started with HempFlax. Building construction, aluminum, cement and all that stuff are real big pollutants. In the Netherlands, they have a large program for housing durability and they make insulation for the homes from glass fiber or rock fiber. They even use polyurethane foam and it’s so toxic. Glass fiber insulation is the new asbestos. But HempFlax produces good quality insulation made from hemp. It’s more expensive, of course, and the industries that are involved and the government don’t like it, so they keep it down. If people think that’s a conspiracy theory, trust me, I’ve 58 FREEDOM LEAF
been working with hemp for 27 years and it was never easy. It’s still not. Where do you see the global cannabis industry in 10 years? It will be an industry. It already is. In Canada, one of the biggest companies is Canopy Growth; they’re working together with a big alcohol company, Constellation Brands, to make cannabis-infused drinks. In both Canada and America, you can buy stocks now that are totally cannabis related. In Switzerland, you can buy cannabis cigarettes in the super markets and at gas stations. They’re low in THC, only 1%, and a bit high in CBD, but it’s there, in the supermarkets. It’s already happening, but it will take time. Hemp is even more important to me than cannabis, because it can save the world. At a minimum, it can save a lot. The sooner we can change from a plastic and oil industry to a sustainable industry, the better. And that’s with only one plant that doesn’t need insecticides or pesticides for industrial farming. There aren’t many plants that don’t need those. Interview provided by Amsterdam Red Light District Tours.
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THE 2nd ANNUAL
HERE’S WHAT WE’RE READING THIS WINTER. BONG APPÉTIT: MASTERING THE ART OF COOKING WITH WEED AUTHORS I EDITORS OF MUNCHIES
WITH ELISE MCDONOUGH PUBLISHER I TEN SPEED PRESS REVIEW BY CHERI SICARD
With the popularity of the Food Network and celebrity chefs and culinary competitions such as Top Chef and Master Chef, the American public’s appetite for food cooking information has never been higher. Bong Appétit, the Netflix show this book is based on, carries that obsession into the world of cannabis. Despite the interest in food shows, studies indicate that Americans are spending less and less time in the kitchen. A 2014 report from the market research firm NPD Group noted that, since 2001, fewer than 60% of dinners eaten at home were actually cooked there. 60 FREEDOM LEAF
The takeaway is that the shows are more aspirational than practical, which, for most people, will be the case with this book. They’ll drool over the mouth-watering photos and dream about infused
recipes like Brown Butter Gnocchi, Double Lemon Roast Chicken, Pakalolo Poke Bowl and Honey Rosemary Ice Cream and how awesome it would be if someone else made and served them. They’ll surely keep Bong Appétit prominently displayed on their coffee tables as a fun conversation starter. For casual edibles users or beginner cooks who don’t consider themselves “foodies,” a lot of the recipes might be over their heads and/or interest levels. But the knowledgeable chef will enjoy pushing the boundaries of their cannabis cooking repertoires thanks to the information and photos provided. The instructional chapters (the first 60 pages) tackle complex background information, procedures and science in an easy-to-understand way. Budding canna-gourmets will find the sections about matching cannabis and food flavors and terpenes especially helpful in elevating their cooking beyond the realm of masking marijuana’s flavor to using it as an integral culinary ingredient. Armed with this knowledge, creative cooks can confidently soar off on their own to create new cannabis culinary masterpieces. OGs may scoff at some of the low doses, many under 5 mgs THC per serving, suggested in the recipes chapters (the rest of the book). However, the point is not to get super high, but rather to create a cannabis-infused, fine-dining experience in which the marijuana flavor enhances the food. In that context, low doses make a lot of sense, especially if you’re creating an infused dinner party menu. The section on dosing explains this complicated subject so well, you’ll confidently know how to adjust the recipes up or down for your individual needs. The book’s tone matches the show’s young, urban hipster vibe, but the content is serious and sophisticated enough to appeal to gourmets of all ages. The recipes cover a wide range, including infused cocktails, appetizers, salads, side dishes, pastas, grains, meat, poultry, seafood and desserts. Chefs hoping to incorporate cannabis into their services will find no better guide.
THE ESSENTIAL CANNABIS BOOK: A FIELD GUIDE FOR THE CURIOUS AUTHOR I ROB MEJIA PUBLISHER I SPRING HOUSE PRESS
REVIEW BY RUSS BELVILLE
With the proliferation of legal and medical marijuana throughout North America, there’s been a flood of new books promising to be the perfect one for the cannabis beginner. Rob Mejia’s The Essential Cannabis Book fits this description. Motivated to discover how cannabis could help a family member with cancer, Mejia visits legal cannabis states in Rob Mejia the U.S., as well as Uruguay, the first nation to legalize marijuana. Mejia presents his experiences and knowledge in a short, easily readable softcover replete with color photos and explanatory tables. WINTER 2019
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BOOK CLUB Following a foreword by Irvin Rosenfeld, one of two remaining U.S. federal medical-marijuana patients, Mejia starts with “An Open Letter to Moms, Dads, Guardians, Friends, Etc. (of Cannabis Users).” This frames the book as one that a younger person, already knowledgeable about cannabis, might be gifting to an older person. Also, the term “Field Guide” evokes the small, pocket-sized books one takes with them on a hike for bird watching or mushroom picking. But this is not one of those; it’s more of a standard-sized book. The first half covers the history, science and medical benefits of cannabis as well as techniques for personal and responsible consumption. “Newcomers to smoking cannabis may have a picture of Cheech & Chong . . . guys who kept smoking well after they were stoned,” Mejia writes. “But responsible consumption starts with going low and slow.” That advice is very important for the second half of the book, which is dedicated to the techniques of infusing cannabis oil and butters, recipes for infused dishes and holding an infused dinner party. While the first half of the book works as a primer, the rest could stand alone as a cannabis cookbook. If you’re looking for those two books in one, you’ll appreciate The Essential Cannabis Book, but if you or the elder you’re giving it to has no interest in cooking, you may decide otherwise. The book concludes with a chapter on the activism surrounding marijuana, which could have been the closer for the first-half primer. There’s a useful appendix that summarizes the main concepts of the entire book in bullet-point form, followed by reading lists of similar books and websites. Mejia also includes sample sheets for a cannabis journal that readers can use or photocopy for their own strain evaluations. The information is well-presented and comprehensive, though some data has changed since publication. There’s plenty for beginners to learn about, but other real field guides and cannabis cookbooks out there do a better job. 62 FREEDOM LEAF
BEEN SO LONG: MY LIFE AND MUSIC AUTHOR I JORMA KAUKONEN PUBLISHER I ST. MARTIN’S PRESS
REVIEW BY BILL WEINBERG
Hardcore Tuna-heads already know the basic outline of Jorma Kaukonen’s life: An authenticity-obsessed student of traditional, finger-picking country blues in the folk revival of the early ’60s (Harlem legend Blind Gary Davis was his special inspiration), Kaukonen catapulted to stardom when he went electric as the lead guitarist for Jefferson Airplane, the flagship band of the psychedelic San Francisco sound. Together with Airplane bassist and childhood friend Jack Cassady, they formed Hot Tuna as a side group in 1969 that returned to Kaukonen’s country-blues roots before again going electric, this time as a heavy blues-rock power trio in the style of Cream. After Tuna split up in the late ’70s, he briefly experimented with the punk-blues band Vital Parts, but this didn't go over well
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Hot Tuna 1972
with his fans. In the ’80s, Kaukonen spiraled downhill; by the time he was called back for an Airplane reunion album in 1989 his career was at a nadir. Kaukonen subsequently revived Tuna as a country-blues group. In the 21st century, he went back to the land on a farm in rural Ohio where he now teaches guitar to kids from across the country, passing that old-school blues method to a new generation. In Been So Long, the real geeks get the details on every model of guitar Kaukonen ever played, as well as every make of car and motorcycle he ever rode. Fanatics get an inside look at his Finnish-Jewish ethnic roots, his boyhood as a globe-trotting Foreign Service brat, his early gigging on the Washington, DC bar scene and his recruitment into the Airplane. It’s hardly surprising that tales of drug use devour many pages. Cannabis was a “sacrament” for these early San Francisco musical pioneers, a rite of cultural bonding as well as enhancement to creativity. LSD trips followed. Kaukonen seems a little self-conscious about this, even deny64 FREEDOM LEAF
ing that the Airplane, quintessential icon of the countercultural explosion, was a “hippie band.” He claims to have never actually lived in Haight-Ashbury, but in fact the Airplane’s communal house at 2400 Fulton Street was just a few blocks north of the Haight. Kaukonen’s reticence about identifying with the hippies may have to do with acute awareness of his own self-destructive streak. For him, speed was a “work drug” used habitually to keep going through shows. His decline in the ’80s was, in large part, due to alcoholism and heroin use. The psychological toll of the related nightmare—financial woes, deeply dysfunctional relationships, rusting musical chops—is depicted unsparingly. But Kaukonen lands on his feet in the end, emerging from his trial by fire chastened but wiser. He establishes a new, stable and happy family life and wins less glittery but more meaningful acclaim as one of the nation’s foremost preservationists of intangible Americana. The embryonic journey he embarked on in the heady ’60s has brought him a hardwon fulfillment.
Jefferson Airplane 1967
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BOOK CLUB THE MEDICALIZATION OF MARIJUANA: LEGITIMACY, STIGMA, AND THE PATIENT EXPERIENCE AUTHORS I MICHELLE NEWHART
AND WILLIAM DOLPHIN PUBLISHER I ROUTLEDGE REVIEW BY DOUG MCVAY
In these days of the Green Rush and the apparently inevitable legalization of weed, it’s important to bear one thing in mind: Marijuana is a real medicine for many people. That’s made clear in Michelle Newhart and William Dolphin’s The Medicalization of Marijuana. This is not yet another rehash of published medical and scientific literature. It’s a fascinating look at how marijuana and its uses are perceived by society and how those perceptions have evolved since the first medical program began after the passage of California’s Prop 215 in 1996. The authors begin with an illuminating discussion about the development of antimarijuana propaganda that was rooted in earlier racist and classist anti-opium campaigns. U.S. marijuana policy went from “indifference to moral panic” in the first half of the 20th century thanks largely to Hearst newspapers’ “yellow journalism” and Harry J. Anslinger, who headed Michelle Newhart and William Dolphin
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the Federal Bureau of Narcotics. Cannabis may have been medicine and hemp was rope, but marijuana to these naysayers was “killer weed.” From that dire description to “dropout drug” to “Just Say No” and beyond, they trace the development of the stereotypes used to stigmatize and marginalize people who use marijuana. Forty Colorado patients were interviewed for this book. The decision to become a medical-marijuana patient is not an easy one. The biggest obstacle for the patients interviewed was the stigma attached to marijuana use. As the authors note, “The degree to which stigmas of recreational use have been internalized— either as they applied to oneself or, if one was never a social cannabis consumer, to others prior to medical use—can be factors in how well one manages the medical cannabis patient identity.” Stigma is not only related to marijuana use. There’s a lot of stigma attached to the label “patient.” The Americans with Disabilities Act only exists because there’s a long history of discrimination against people who are not fully abled. That’s
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BOOK CLUB also a reason why there are privacy laws in regard to healthcare. The privacy of medical marijuana patients isn’t so well protected, however. Many state programs require them to register, providing the state with their diagnosis as well as other personal data. It’s hard to overcome stigma, but people are managing. Much of the book covers how patients are changing stereotypes and overcoming the prejudice that still exists. It’s all part of the process of normalizing medical marijuana for the individual patient as well as for broader society. This allows people to more easily integrate the medicine they need into their daily lives. Simply put, The Medicalization of Marijuana is a great addition to the book shelf for anyone who’s interested in medical cannabis.
CANNABIS: A BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO GROWING MARIJUANA AUTHOR I DANNY DANKO PUBLISHER I HAMPTON
ROADS PUBLISHING REVIEW BY STEVE BLOOM
One of the most respected writers in the cannabis media, Danny Danko, has been covering cultivation and providing tips for growers in High Times for nearly two decades. One of his “mentors,” Jorge Cervantes, writes in the forward to Cannabis: A Beginner’s Guide to Growing Marijuana, “Danny Danko was my only choice to assume my question-and-answer column for High Times.” What Cervantes is referring to is his advice column in High Times, “Jorge’s Rx.” When he decided to move on, Danko was the natural candidate to take over the popular section in the magazine (renamed “Dear Danko,” which had previously been written by Ed Rosenthal as “As Ed"). Considering that High Times has long been the favorite journal of canna-growers, this was quite an honor. 68 FREEDOM LEAF
Prior to this book, Danko wrote The Official High Times Field Guide to Marijuana Strains in 2011. Eight years later, his follow-up covers much different territory. It’s a basic how-to-grow primer. While Cervantes and Rosenthal have written at length (in articles and books) about cannabis cultivation, Danko’s 140-page book boils it all down in an easy-to-understand way, with illustrations throughout rather than photos. Though knowledgeable about all aspects of pot culture and cannabis law reform, Danko stays focused and doesn’t wander from the subject at hand. Chapters cover grow-room setup, strains and genetics, germination, sexing, mother plants, cloning, vegetative growth, flowering, harvesting, pests and mold, and making concentrates, edibles, tinctures and topicals. His advice about storage in “The Proper Harvest” chapter is particularly helpful: “Never store cannabis in a refrigerator or freezer. Temperature and humidity levels inside fridges fluctuate too much and aren’t set at ideal levels to begin with. The freezer is even worse, as temperatures below freezing can separate trichomes from your pot.” Danko’s enthusiasm will make you want to order some seeds and start a mini
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grow-op. As he says in the introduction, “Growing your own is fun! Like modern-day alchemy, you can conjure connoisseur-quality cannabis with just the light, air, water and food.” So pick up this book and get growing.
A WOMAN’S GUIDE TO CANNABIS: USING MARIJUANA TO FEEL BETTER, LOOK BETTER, SLEEP BETTER – AND GET HIGH LIKE A LADY AUTHOR I NIKKI FURRER PUBLISHER I WORKMAN PUBLISHING
REVIEW BY ERIN HIATT
Nikki Furrer’s A Woman’s Guide to Cannabis is a magazine-style, nicely designed and easy-to-digest guide for women new to marijuana. Her claims to fame in cannabis until now are bud tending and cultivation. Before entering the industry, Furrer was a lawyer and also founded Pudd’nhead Books, an independent bookstore in Webster Groves, MO. 70 FREEDOM LEAF
The author first smoked pot in college. After learning that cannabis helps people with seizures—a condition experienced by her brother—she dove into the research to learn more. The book is broken down into six parts for quick reference. Sharing sunny anecdotes from female customers about how they benefited from the plant in a way that only an enthusiastic salesperson could, she’s a true believer; her enthusiasm for all things cannabis is clear throughout. Chirping frequently about how cannabis is the cure to any and all ailments, Furrer’s zeal in some ways undercuts her arguments. However, the author shines when she puts her background to work, explaining cannabis’ convoluted legality. She describes in detail how to choose a dispensary, questions to ask your local bud tender and the various intake methods, all of which can overwhelm newbies. Her knowledge of the plant is another strong point, as she shares the medicinal benefits of terpenes, potency, major and minor cannabinoids and their potential healing benefits, the entourage effect and how to pick a strain based on THC and CBD ratios. The collection of recipes in
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the back provides practical tips for making tasty edibles and infusions at home. All in all, A Woman’s Guide reads like an enjoyable Cannabis 101 textbook written to demystify marijuana with the well-being of women in mind.
LET’S GO (SO WE CAN GET BACK) AUTHOR I JEFF TWEEDY PUBLISHER I DUTTON
REVIEW BY ROY TRAKIN
Jeff Tweedy has been making music for a living for more than 30 years, going back to his first band Uncle Tupelo, which he formed with childhood pal Jay Farrar in 1987, and then, for the past 25 years, with Wilco. He’s Generation X’s version of Bob Dylan or Neil Young. The two cover photos on his memoir, Let’s Go (So We Can Get Back), tell the story: a cherubic, pie-eyed youth on the front and a more wizened, bespectacled and bearded veteran on the back. Although he’s denied it, this memoir follows a similar path as Bruce Springsteen’s Born to Run book, which is ironic because 72 FREEDOM LEAF
Tweedy’s first stab at being an artist came from telling his grade-school classmates that a taped cassette of Born to Run was his own creation. Like Springsteen, Tweedy grew up on Main Street, USA; in his case, Belleville, IL, a once-prosperous industrial hub a halfhour from St. Louis. Tweedy also had an overbearing, dismissive father who worked with his two way-older brothers on the railroad and a loving mother who encouraged his creative impulses and steered him away from the blue-collar world. Tweedy discovered his love for music from reading about it, particularly Lester Bangs’ massively influential essay on The Clash for New Musical Express when he was merely 10 years old. He also honed his musical education from his brother Steve’s hip record collection “which ran the gamut from Harry Chapin to Kraftwerk to Frank Zappa to Ammon Duul,” and during his apprenticeship at the local indie retailer Record Works. Tweedy’s not your typical rock star boasting of his conquests. He married local promoter Sue Miller in 1995, and they have two sons, drummer Spencer
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(his cohort in the band Tweedy) and multi-instrumentalist Sammy. After playing in an assortment of garage bands as a teen, Tweedy formed Uncle Tupelo with Farrar, which pretty much defined the emerging “No Depression” Americana movement at the time. After the band splintered in 1994, Tweedy formed Wilco with Tupelo bassist John Stirratt, new drummer Ken Coomer and ostensible co-leader Jay Bennett. After three albums on Warner/Reprise, the label decided to drop Wilco rather than release Yankee Foxtrot Hotel, which was deemed “not commercial” and rejected in 2001, forcing the band to distribute it digitally themselves. Tweedy’s autobiography is predictably forthright and honest, like spending time inside his head. For the most part, his life has been a series of fortunate events. And while Let’s Go, named after an expression of his father’s, is relatively free of tales of debauchery and drug-taking, one of its main narrative elements involves Tweedy’s addiction to opioids, his experiences in rehab and his father’s own drinking problem. Migraines and depression led Tweedy to seek pharmacological help in the form of Vicodin. His drug use eventually led to a mental collapse and several rehab stays. Prior to that, he used pot. “No one in my family had driven their car off the road on weed, so I smoked weed until eventually 74 FREEDOM LEAF
my anxiety disorder began to make every bong hit result in an almost instantaneous heart-pounding panic attack,” he writes. “For a while, my drugs of choice were mundane and relatively benign—Diet Coke and cigarettes—which would have been a resounding victory for a guy with my DNA if I’d been able to freeze my drug use at that level of potency.” The narrative takes us through different time periods—much like Bob Dylan’s Chronicles—but always returns to his bedrock beliefs and confessional nature. We learn that Tweedy writes lyrics by mumbling sounds until they form words and that he rarely listens to a song when he’s finished recording it. Standing by his wife while she fought cancer, then living through the deaths of his parents, Tweedy seems to have learned a little bit about facing his fears. Like Springsteen, Tweedy’s journey involved coming to terms with where he came from while also breaking free from its grip. He, too, was born to run, landing in Chicago, less than 300 miles from where he grew up. Rock & roll saved his life, and now he’s trying to return the favor.
I MIGHT REGRET THIS: ESSAYS, DRAWINGS, VULNERABILTIES, AND OTHER STUFF AUTHOR I ABBI JACOBSON PUBLISHER I GRAND CENTRAL
PUBLISHING REVIEW BY MIA DI STEFANO
In I Might Regret This, Broad City co-star Abbi Jacobson channels her anxiety over a bad breakup into comic relief. While the average stoner might roll up a sativa joint and meditate on the demise of a recent relationship, Jacobson decides to take a solo, cross-country road trip from New York to Palm Springs. This 216-page autobiography contains reflections on love, work and travel, with Jacobson’s black and white illustrations breaking up the prose. She writes about
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how things might be or might have been with a level of neurosis that will either make you laugh or clench your jaw. Jacobson’s description of heartbreak is painfully familiar. It leaves you wondering who drove her to spend many sleepless nights in bed and breakfasts and hotels across America after attempting to replace love lost by adopting a dog. When not writing about insomnia or her favorite podcasts, Jacobson delves into her Jewish identity (mostly involving bagels and sleepaway camp, but also tips like how to hide your weed in a Kiddush cup and to not sleep with guests at the bar mitzvah you’re photographing), how dating a woman threw her sexual identity for a loop, being a child of divorce and her start at the Upright Citizen’s Brigade improv comedy club in New York. After meeting and teaming up with Ilana Glazer, the duo started a YouTube series that eventually became the Comedy Central hit Broad City. It takes until the “Santa Fe Backlot” chapter in the middle of the book for her to explain how that all happened. (Amy Poehler gave them their big break when she signed on as executive producer of the show.) But otherwise, her early trials and tribulations are that of any twenty-something woman. 76 FREEDOM LEAF
Jacobson’s writing is engrossing the way reading your sister’s diary might be and full of personal details that most people wouldn’t reveal for worry of embarrassment—like how during college, even though she’s been a vegetarian since age 12, she ate venison because she wanted to impress a boy. The Abbi Jacobson we meet in I Might Regret This resembles the “Abbi” on Broad City, but not quite. Along the way, she realizes that she isn’t just a comedian, but a cocreator, writer and director. In one particularly hilarious list titled “On Snacks,” she profiles the character of different television networks and streaming services based on the food treats they offer to writers who pitch them. In one of the book’s most useful and relatable essays, “Working Woman,” Jacobson offers advice on undertaking the difficult transition from comedian/artist/ actress to being the boss. Topping that list are how to ask for things, how to tell people they didn’t do what you requested correctly and how to say no. The message is that it’s OK if leadership doesn’t feel natural, but a little bit of humor, fake-it’til -you-make-it confidence and politeness goes a long way. I Might Regret This arrives as Broad City enters its last season, marking a transition in Jacobson’s life and career. While in New Mexico, she noted: “I’m here in Santa Fe searching for something to light my life up in a new way, like Broad City did my creativity. The problem with searching is you often find everything but what you were looking for.” Abbi Jacobson
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BOOK CLUB FREAK KINGDOM: HUNTER S. THOMPSON’S MANIC TEN-YEAR CRUSADE AGAINST AMERICAN FASCISM AUTHOR I TIMOTHY DENEVI PUBLISHER I PUBLIC AFFAIRS BOOKS
REVIEW BY MICHAEL WEISSER
One of the most lauded 1960s rebels, Hunter S. Thompson has been idolized for decades by the counterculture as a drug-taking, ground-breaking writercum-social figure. Thompson is credited with creating a whole new literary form, “Gonzo Journalism.” Not only did he live and party hard and write even harder, Thompson covered some of the biggest political events of the ’60s and ’70s. He was there on the floor at the Republican National Convention in 1964 when Barry Goldwater won the nomination. He personally launched America’s hysteria over biker gangs (and got beaten badly as a result) with his first book, Hell’s Angels, in 1967. He was thrown out of a hotel window during the 1968 Democratic National Convention riots in Chicago. Thompson was even on the property at the Watergate Hotel as the infamous break-in took place. There’s a lot of potential for an exhilarating tour through America’s most interesting decade. As such, Freak Kingdom invites comparison to last year’s The Most Dangerous Man in America: Timothy Leary, Richard Nixon and the Hunt for the Fugitive King of LSD by Bill Minutaglio and Steven L. Davis. Both books chronicle their heroes’ journeys through hostile territories, rise to popularity as counterculture figures and rampant drug use. Both men were obsessed with Richard Nixon, who was president from 1969 until he was impeached and resigned in 1974. Like Leary, Thompson spewed vitriol about Nixon, had affairs and pissed off friends and enemies, but mostly Thompson drank and popped pills constantly. While the Leary bio was tautly written, 78 FREEDOM LEAF
Denevi’s narrative flourishes mostly fall flat or read awkwardly. Much of the book simply marks how many tabs of speed Thompson could swallow and what off-color remark he’d make next. Perhaps part of the problem is the comparatively random path of Thompson’s life and career during the period the book covers (1964-1974). He lived in multiple places in and around San Francisco, traveled to cover stories and eventually wound up in Colorado where Denevi squanders dozens of pages on Thompson’s futile attempts to shape local politics. Denevi includes just enough glimpses of Thompson’s compositional techniques and passages from his writing to make one wish they were reading the actual Hunter S. Thompson works, instead of about them. When you reach for a biography, you expect a few basic features: an interesting central character whose life is explained in a way that sheds new light on the subject, a unique lens that focuses history through the personal experiences of said subject and, of course, good writing. Timothy Denevi’s Freak Kingdom fails to deliver any of those things .
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ICBC and Spannabis are taking place in Barcelona in March.
NOCO HEMP EXPO Crowne Plaza, Denver, CO
THC FAIR Deschutes County Expo Center, Redmond, OR
ICBC BERLIN Maritim ProArte Hotel, Berlin, Germany
NATIONAL MEDICAL CANNABIS UNITY CONFERENCE Omni Shoreham Hotel, Washington, DC
STEPPING HIGH FESTIVAL Negril, Jamaica
HEMPFEST CANNABIS EXPO Shaw Conference Centre, Edmonton, AB HEMP & CBD EXPO Birmingham, UK CANNABIS & HEMP EXPO Stampede Park, Calgary, AB
ICBC BARCELONA W Hotel, Barcelona, Spain
SPANNABIS Barcelona, Spain 80 FREEDOM LEAF
CANNATECH TEL AVIV Tel Aviv Port, Tel Aviv, Israel CANNABIS CONFERENCE Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino, Las Vegas, NV
Hynes Convention Center in Boston
INDUSTRIAL CANNABIS EXPO Expo Square Exchange Center, Tulsa, OK
NEW ENGLAND CANNABIS CONVENTION Hynes Convention Center, Boston, MA
CANNACULTURE RETREAT Las Vegas, NV
HASH BASH CUP Wyndham Garden Hotel, Ann Arbor, MI
FREEDOM LEAF 81
Cannabis World Expo is at New York's Javits Convention Center in May.
PENNSYLVANIA CANNABIS FESTIVAL, Nay Aug Park, Scranton, PA
HASH BASH University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
HEMPFEST CANNABIS EXPO Halifax Exhibition Centre, Halifax, NS
RENO CANNABIS CONVENTION Whitney Peak Hotel, Reno, CA
Oâ€™CANNABIZ CONFERENCE & EXPO International Centre, Toronto, ON
CANNABIS SCIENCE CONFERENCE Baltimore Convention Center, Baltimore, MD
CANNABIS & HEMP EXPO Edmonton Expo Centre, Edmonton, AB
NIMBIN MARDIGRASS Nimbin, NSW, Australia
82 FREEDOM LEAF
VERMONT CANNABIS & HEMP CONVENTION Champlain Valley Exposition, Essex, VT
CANNABIS WORLD CONGRESS & BUSINESS EXPOSITION Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, New York, NY
CANADIAN CANNABIS SUMMIT Downtown Marriott, Calgary, AB
FREEDOM TO GROW CONFERENCE Skyline Ranch, Dallas, TX NATIONAL CANNABIS FESTIVAL RFK Festival Grounds, Washington, DC
ICBC ZURICH Atlantis Hotel, Zurich, Switzerland
THE HEMP BIZ CONFERENCE Crowne Plaza Denver Airport Convention Center, Denver, CO
CANNACON Cox Convention Center, Oklahoma City, OK
NYC CANNABIS PARADE & RALLY Union Square, New York, NY
Fran Drescher at Cannabis Science Conference
NORML ASPEN LEGAL SEMINAR The Gant, Aspen, CO
FREEDOM LEAF 83
Planet Earth’s Premier Cannabis Networking Event
W ORLD ME
AN ETS C
2 0 1 9 W O R L D S C H E D U L E HE
W O RL D M EETS C A
2 0 1 9 W O HRI LT OLN UUSA DN I O N S C H E D U L E SQUARE San Francisco USA • Feb 7 & 8 H I LT O N U N I O N S Q U A R E
SPAIN San Francisco • Feb 7 & 8
AUDITORI DE CORNELLÀ/W HOTEL
Barcelona • March 14 SPAIN
AUDITORI DE CORNELLÀ/W HOTEL
GERMANY Barcelona • March 14 MARITIM PROARTE HOTEL
Berlin • GERMANY March 31– April 2 MARITIM PROARTE HOTEL
SWITZERLAND Berlin • March 31– April 2 H O T E L AT L A N T I S
Zurich • May 15 & 16 H O T E L AT L A N T I S ZurichCANADA • May 15 & 16 W E S T I N B AY S H O R E H O T E L
Vancouver •SSept W E S T I N B AY H O R E H15 O T E& L 16 Vancouver • Sept 15 & 16
DE TAIL S : I NT E R NAT I O NAL C B C .C O M DETAI L S : I N TER N ATI ON AL C B C . C O M 84 FREEDOM LEAF
The Future of Cannabis, Hot Pot Stocks, Hemp Futures, Bud Testing, Social Use, Interview with Ben Dronkers