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32 34 36 48 51 58 8 9 10 11 76 77



women of Cannabis

Steve Bloom, Becky Garrison, Chris Goldstein & Susan Squibb




At the Polls: Weed Wins, Except in Ohio Chris Goldstein






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6 12 14 18 20 22 24 26 28 60 64 70 72

Editor’s Note Steve Bloom






Ngaio Bealum







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EDITOR’S note For our 11th issue, and our last of 2015, we’ve decided to pay tribute to the women of cannabis. This has been no easy task. There are so many women in so many facets of the marijuana world—from activists to caregivers to businesspeople. The question was: Where to begin? For me, the women’s movement within the cannabis community started in the late ’80s and early ’90s when a bunch of female activists founded the Cannabis Action Network as a reaction to male-dominated groups like NORML. At the time, I was an editor at High Times, and I had a hand in promoting CAN and the new “Women of Cannabis.” I’d become friendly with CAN’s founders—Debby Goldsberry, Maria Farrow, Missy Hendrickson and Monica Pratt. For the Feb. 1991 issue, High Times featured them on the cover with the headline, “Women of the Marijuana Movement.” Nearly 25 years later, so much has changed. Women are now at the forefront of all cannabis activities—and I’m not talking about wearing lingerie and bikinis at pot expos. When marijuana became a medical access issue, women stepped to the front lines. Thanks to Prop 215 in 1996, which legalized medi-pot in California, women began coming out of the cannabis closet in droves. Our selection process for the “Women of Cannabis” feature (page 36) was actually fairly simple. We drew up a list of about 50 women, and did our best to reach out to them via email, Facebook and, in some cases, their publicists. The first 20 to respond made it into the article. I’d like to point out another four leading women of cannabis who were featured previously in Freedom Leaf: Betty Aldworth (Issue 9), Diane Fornbacher (Issue 7), Cathy Jordan (Issue 5) and Cyd Maurer (Issue 10).



All Hail the Women of Cannabis!

Freedom Leaf’s Cheri Sicard: “I went from a typical closet smoker to an outspoken activist.”

I’d also like to direct the spotlight to Freedom Leaf’s regular female contributors: Beth Mann (check out her “Have Yourself a Mary Christmas” on page 60), Becky Garrison, Ellen Komp, Jazmin Hupp (read her Women Grow column on page 34), Susan Squibb, Frances Fu, Danielle Keane and, especially, Cheri Sicard. When I became editor of Freedom Leaf a year ago, I reached out to Sicard, author of The Cannabis Gourmet Cookbook. Every pot mag needs a good food writer, and she readily accepted my offer to scribe for

There are so many women in so many facets of the marijuana world—from activists to caregivers to businesspeople.

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Freedom Leaf. She’s proved to be one of our steadiest contributors—submitting columns before deadlines, with terrific food photos captured by her partner, Mitch Mandell. Sicard’s recipes are a joy to read—and even more fun to consume—and mirror her sparkling personality. This year, Sicard’s new book, Mary Jane: The Complete Marijuana Handbook for Women, was released. We reviewed her groundbreaking effort in Issue 5, and this issue contains an excerpt (“Starring Mary Jane,” on page 51). In addition, Sicard reviews Komp’s book, Tokin’ Women: A 4000-Year Herstory of Women and Marijuana, on page 77. “I came late to the party,” Sicard says. “I was in my late thirties before I started using marijuana regularly. My doctor recommended it for a medical condition. It helped that, and a few more. I was a writer, so I started using my research skills and found that everything I had been told was a lie. The war on cannabis was about as far from the ideals of what our country is supposed to be. In about six months, I went from the typical closeted marijuana smoker to an outspoken activist, and I haven’t looked back since.” We’re happy Cheri Sicard and the other women of cannabis have moved forward since the dark years when they were treated as less than equals in the pot world. The closet door is open, and women are pouring out and taking over, and that’s a very good thing. Steve Bloom Editor-in-Chief


Erik Altieri, Ngaio Bealum, Matt Chelsea, Frances Fu, Becky Garrison, Jazmin Hupp, Danielle Keane, Ellen Komp, Mitch Mandell, Beth Mann, Doug McVay, Rick Pfrommer, Cheri Sicard, Natalie Shmuel, Susan Squibb, Roy Trakin, Dan Viets Content and advertisements in this magazine are for information purposes only and are not representative, in any way, as a recommendation, endorsement or verification of legitimacy of the aforementioned herein. The opinions expressed here are those of the individual writers and may not be those of the publisher or staff of Freedom Leaf, Inc. Advertisers and/or their agencies assume responsibility and liability for content within their advertisement. Freedom Leaf Inc. assumes no liability for any claims or representations contained in this magazine. Reproduction, in whole or in part, without written consent is prohibited. Copyright 2015. Freedom Leaf, Inc. All rights reserved.

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At the Polls: Weed Wins, Except for Ohio Voters had their say this year in the United States and Canada as cannabis emerged as a major issue in national and local elections. The biggest victory came in the Great White North. Young, good-looking and the son of a previous head of state, Justin Trudeau was elected as the new Prime Minister of Canada. Trudeau made a promise to legalize marijuana for all uses, and he’s already living up to his campaign trail rhetoric. In early November, Trudeau issued a letter to Federal Health Minister Jane Philpott, Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale and Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould asking them to “create a federal-provincial-territorial process that will lead to the legalization and regulation of marijuana.” This change is strongly supported by Canadians, and could have a significant influence on the United States. The only U.S. state that had a full legalization initiative on the ballot in 2015 was Ohio. More than 1 million votes were cast in favor of ending prohibition. But it wasn’t nearly enough, as Ohio’s Issue 3 was defeated by a 2-to-1 margin. Establishment politicians and the Ohio GOP were united in their opposition to the measure, which would have legalized a retail market and allowed home cultivation. Tax revenue would have gone directly to


the counties, instead of being funneled to the State House. From the start of the effort, opposing groups and politicians decried the business structure for wholesale cultivation. More than 1,100 retail shops would have been licensed, but just 10 farm sites would supply all of the plants. The owners of those 10 sites were the same people who funded the Issue 3 campaign, run by ResponsibleOhio. Dividing voters over who stood to gain financially proved to be a successful opposition strategy. ResponsibleOhio says they plan to try again in 2016. The effort this year cost them an estimated $30 million. Elsewhere, voters in Portage, Mich. passed a decriminalization law. And in Keego Harbor, Mich., simple possession and non-remunerative transfer of one ounce of marijuana was effectively legalized. There are now 15 cities in Michigan that have decriminalized marijuana or made possession the lowest law enforcement priority. Reform proved to be a real asset for politicians at the polls. In Philadelphia, Jim Kenney, a Democrat who championed marijuana decriminalization there in 2014, swept the election to become the city’s next mayor. In Kentucky, Republican Matt Bevin won the race for governor, after making

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Dividing voters over who stood to gain financially proved to be a successful opposition strategy in Ohio. headlines when he supported medical marijuana and his Democratic opponent did not. In Colorado, voters had the choice of receiving a tax refund from surpluses collected on recreational marijuana sales, but they chose not to take the check. Proposition BB allowed the state to keep $66 million. The measure will spend $40 million on school construction and another $12 million on youth and substance-abuse programs. The remaining $14.1 million goes to discretionary accounts controlled by lawmakers. This coming year will be a much more active one for marijuana in the ballot booth. Arizona, Nevada, Massachusetts, Michigan and California are likely to see full legalization initiatives in 2016. Expect cannabis to be a key point of contention between Republicans and Democrats during the upcoming presidential primary season. — Chris Goldstein

December 12–13 Emerald Cup Sonoma County Fairgrounds, Santa Rosa, CA December 14–16 High Times Business Summit Washington Hilton, Washington, DC January 22–24 Hempcon Medical Marijuana Mega Show San Jose Convention Center January 30–31 Indo Expo Trade Show Denver Mart January 30–31 & February 5–7 High Times SoCal Medical Cannabis Cup NOS Events Center, San Bernardino, CA February 3–5 Women Grow Leadership Summit Denver, CO February 6 Medical Marijuana Benefit Concert Miami, FL February 13–14 International Cannabis Business Conference Hyatt Regency, San Francisco February 18–20 CannaCon Smith Cove Cruise Terminal at Pier 91, Seattle February 18–20 9 Mile Music Festival Historic Virginia Key Beach Park, Miami

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Kansas Canna-Mom Fights for Custody of Son When Shona Banda’s 11-year-old son questioned the anti-marijuana propaganda that passes for drug education at the Kansas school he attended last spring, school authorities called the state Department of Children and Families, which led to a police investigation. Two Garden City officers were on her porch when the 38-year-old marijuana advocate arrived home on March 24. After a judge issued a search warrant, they found marijuana and assorted related items, which Banda acknowledged using for the treatment of her Crohn’s disease. The state took her son and placed him in the custody of his father. Banda was subsequently charged by the county prosecutor with multiple felony and misdemeanor offenses, including marijuana possession and child endangerment. Police maintain the marijuana in the home was within reach of Banda’s son, hence putting him in danger. Her criminal case is proceeding while her child’s custody case is being litigated separately. A massage therapist, Banda authored the book Live Free or Die: Reclaim Your Life in 2010, about her experience using marijuana to treat Crohn’s. She’s represented in these cases by Lawrence, Kan. lawyer Sarah Swain and California civil rights attorney Matthew Pappas. In a press conference in Los Angeles in July, they declared they’d be filing a federal civil rights case in the U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas asserting that Banda’s Constitutional rights have been violated in the investigation and prosecution of these cases. They intend to argue that Banda’s fundamental right to custody of her child and her right to medicate outweigh the state’s interest in protecting her son. While such cannabis arguments have not been given great credence by U.S. courts in the past, they continue to become stronger as time passes. “I think it would be somewhat excessive to say that all parents who use marijuana should lose custody of their children,”


Shona Banda: “When a law is unjust, it’s your duty to stand tall and make it right.”

Richard Levy, University of Kansas J.B. Smith Distinguished Professor of Constitutional Law, told the Wichita Eagle. “There are people who use marijuana for medicinal or recreational use, and not all of those parents abuse or neglect their children.” On Nov. 16, Banda was scheduled for a preliminary hearing in Garden City. Swain cross-examined at least one prosecution witness before the prosecutors announced they intended to call her son to testify against her—a common tactic in such cases. Rather than put him through the additional trauma and stress of being forced to testify against his own mother, Banda decided to waive the remainder of the hearing and allow the case to proceed, which prevented her son from being brought to the stand, though this still might happen if the case goes to trial. She’s now scheduled to appear for arraignment in the upper division of the Circuit Court on Jan. 11. “Through this trial it will be possible to show the world what real Americans are supposed to act like,” Banda posted at Facebook. “When a law is unjust, it’s your duty to stand tall and make it right.” An online fund has been established to help pay for legal and other expenses related to Banda’s cases. Make contributions at — Dan Viets, J.D.

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Pot Shop Owner B-Real Talks Medical Marijuana B-Real and Sen Dog, the two California-based rappers who formed Cypress Hill with New Yorker DJ Muggs in 1989, have always featured marijuana as a central theme. Tracks like “Hits from the Bong,” “I Wanna Get High” and “Dr. Greenthumb” are essential listening for the discerning herb and music consumer. During a backstage interview with B-Real before the Cypress Hill show at TLA in Philadelphia on Oct. 28, we covered a range of topics, including his official entry into the medical cannabis industry in California. Last February, B-Real won a license to open a dispensary in Santa Ana. While hundreds applied, just 20 licenses were awarded. “I’m happy I got to play a part in that,” he said, in his patented nasal voice. The store is expected to open in 2016. Asked if he only sticks to his Cannabis Cup-winning sativa strain, Tangie, B-Real joked: “It’s so popular and goes so fast, I rarely get my hands on it. Tangie is a very special strain. Our growers are some of the best in the world. We’re doing good things with it, and a lot of people are very happy about our flowers.” Back home in Southern California, B-Real now prefers dab hits to bong rips or blunt tokes. “I am into oil,” he says. “At the B-Real TV studio we have a dab bar— we don’t even have a flower bong there. “But you wouldn’t get any of that if the growers making these flowers weren’t artists and scientists. So I’m always in allegiance to the flower before the oil, because if you don’t have the flower, you can’t make the oil.” Looking back at his career in music making and cannabis, B-Real was reflective. “When we started 30 years ago, it was very taboo. A lot of corporations, and opportunities from the corporate money structure, didn’t come our way because we were talking about legalization and marijuana culture. So a lot of opportunities were not afforded us then. But we took those shots and we made the sacrifice. We were rebellious enough to say, ‘Fuck

B-Real on Cypress HIll: “A lot of opportunities were not afforded us.”

it, we don’t care if you give it to us or not.’ “So here we are 25 years later—as musicians, as freedom fighters, as entrepreneurs—and we’re seeing all the doors that have opened, all the states that have opened up their arms to the thought of legalization. We’re on the cusp of it right now.” Cypress Hill had their biggest success more than 20 years ago when their second album, Black Sunday, topped the charts, thanks to the Top 20 single “Insane in the Membrane.” While it’s been five years since the group’s last album, B-Real has kept busy with a series of mixtapes and EPs. The band tours regularly, but B-Real likes to be close to home where he can take care of his ganja business. “The fact that the opportunity is there for anyone to create a business out of this is beautiful,” B-Real smiled, before excusing himself with a huge joint in hand. He had a concert to perform. — Chris Goldstein

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Congress’ 2016 Canna-Legislation Agenda

Here’s a look at some of the most important marijuana legislation currently pending on Capitol Hill. By Danielle Keane

Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2015: U.S. Senator and Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has introduced legislation to remove marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). The bill would eliminate all federal criminal penalties for possessing and growing the plant, and would give states the power to establish their own marijuana policies. Senator Sanders calls the present Schedule I status of cannabis under federal law “absurd,” adding: “In my view, the time is long overdue for us to remove the federal prohibition on marijuana... [S]tates should have the right to regulate marijuana the same way that state and local laws now govern the sale of alcohol and tobacco.”

House to permit states to establish their own marijuana regulatory policies free from federal interference. House Resolution 1013, sponsored by Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO), eliminates cannabis from the CSA. It also removes enforcement power from the DEA in matters concerning marijuana possession, production and sales, thus permitting state governments to regulate these activities as they see fit.

• Stop Civil Asset Forfeiture Funding for Marijuana Suppression Act: Congressmen Ted Lieu (D-CA) and Justin Amash (R-MI) have introduced HR 3518, which would end the DEA’s Domestic Cannabis Eradication/Suppression Program. The program currently distributes funds to state and local law enforcement agencies for the purpose of locating and destroying cultivation sites.

• CARERS Act: Pending in the Senate, the Compassionate Access, Research Expansion and Respect States Act would strengthen statewide medical marijuana protections and impose various changes to federal law. The bill now has 15 cosponsors, including high-ranking Democrat Charles Schumer (NY). Identical companion legislation, HR 1538, is also pending in the House. It has 22 co-sponsors, split evenly between Democrats and Republicans. Passage of these measures would permit qualified patients, doctors and businesses to engage in state-sanctioned behavior involving the production, sale or use of medical cannabis without fear of federal prosecution. The proposals reschedule marijuana at the federal level, and remove cannabidiol (CBD) from the CSA. Additional provisions would allow financial institutions to legally provide services to medical marijuana businesses, permit VA doctors to authorize medical cannabis and remove existing federal barriers to clinical trial research.

• Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment: At the federal level, perhaps most important are the upcoming budget negotiations that will fund the government for FY 2016. Typically taking place in December, it’s these negotiations in which marijuana-related amendments are attached to the annual spending bill, and they could have an immediate effect on the government’s role in enforcing federal laws in states that have legalized marijuana for both medical and recreational use. One such amendment that was passed for both 2014 and 2015 will likely be voted on again. Sponsored by Representatives Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) and Sam Farr (D-CA), it would prevent the Justice Department from prosecuting medical marijuana patients or distributors who are in compliance with the laws of their states. Similar language prohibiting the Justice Department from undermining state-sanctioned hemp cultivation programs also passed last year and will be considered again for 2016. For an overview of state legislation in 2015, turn to page 12.

• Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act: Legislation has been introduced in the

Danielle Keane is NORML’s Political Director.


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NORML Chapter Reports: Special Women’s Edition No social movement in America has ever achieved its goals without winning majority support from women. As recently as just a few years ago, this was a real issue when it came to building broad public support for marijuana law reform. For decades, there was a decidedly large gap—frequently of double digits—in national polling breakdowns by gender, with men typically backing reform and women opposing it. Thankfully, that’s drastically changed.

Many in the movement have acknowledged this weakness and put in the time and effort to address it. Groups like the NORML Women’s Alliance and Women Grow speak directly to women to address their concerns and empower them to join the ranks of activists fighting for change. To highlight some of the great work being done by female advocates, this month’s chapter update focuses on two reform groups led by women. — Erik Altieri

Orange County NORML Based in Southern California, Orange County NORML was established in 2003 after founder and Executive Director Kandice Hawes lost her student financial aid due to a drug charge. Since then, OC NORML has been one of NORML’s most active chapters, and won the NORML Chapter of the Year Award in 2012. Under Hawes’ leadership, the group has made a name for itself by organizing educational expos and seminars, and OC NORML has even formed a political action committee that works to support medical marijuana ballot initiatives in California. The PAC successfully placed a voter-initiated measure on the ballot in Santa Ana, which replaced a ban on medical marijuana collectives with sensible regulations. OC NORML holds bimonthly meetings aimed at bringing together two of the largest stakeholder groups in the reform movement and the marijuana industry: consumers and businesspeople. By connecting these two invested, powerful constituencies, chapter members can address each others’ specific concerns and work to find common purpose. Looking forward, 2016 promises to be a vital and active year for the organization. “We’re planning to educate the public on the multiple legalization ballot measures that will begin collecting signatures, and to help Californians understand the recently passed medical marijuana regulations,” says Hawes.


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Peachtree NORML

Reform in a red state with no ballot initiative process is often challenging, but what some would see as an obstacle, Peachtree NORML views as an opportunity. Any success in Georgia would generate powerful reverberations across the country, and the chapter has made great strides toward that goal since the group’s inception in 2012. “Three years ago we were met with laughter and whispers,” notes Executive Director Sharon Ravert. “Now, elected officials call our office and our cellphones.” The goal of Peachtree NORML is to educate Georgians, raise awareness surrounding the issue of marijuana law reform, build brand loyalty and create coalitions with local businesses and allied organizations. The group has worked hard to keep no-knock search warrants illegal—stemming from the Baby Bou Bou case, where a nine-month-old child suffered life-threatening injuries when deputies of the Habersham County Sheriff’s Department served a no-knock raid on his family’s residence and threw a flash grenade into the baby’s crib. Peachtree NORML mobilizes its members through action alerts, and is constantly working to engage and connect with local elected officials. Their current focus is on pending state legislative measures, including Senate Bill 7, modeled after the Arizona medical marijuana program; and Senate Resolution 6, a constitutional amendment to legalize and regulate marijuana, similar to the model implemented in Colorado. They’re also advocating in favor of a bill that would help ease the impact that a marijuana arrest has on an individual by striking down the mandatory six-month driver’s license revocation for those convicted of any crime involving cannabis. “Prohibition won’t end itself,” Ravert tells Freedom Leaf. “When we’re talking, were winning. So just keep talking.” Erik Altieri is the former Communications Director for National NORML.


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Students for Sensible Drug Policy

Women in Leadership Reform Roles on the Rise By Frances Fu Although the balance is slowly changing, traditional gender roles within the illicit world of cannabis use and distribution have, unsurprisingly, largely carried over to the new legal environment. The drug policy reform movement and cannabis industry tend to be “‘a bit of a guy’s club,’” wrote Wendy Chapkis (quoting Freedom Leaf Editor Steve Bloom) in her 2013 essay “The Trouble with Mary Jane’s Gender,” with Ethan Nadelmann of the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA), Allen St. Pierre of NORML, Rob Kampia of the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) and Rick Doblin of the Multidisciplinary Association of Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) all in leadership positions. At the time, the only woman in a leadership role in a major reform organization was Steph Sherer of Americans for Safe Access (ASA) (see interview on page 48). That’s since changed to include Betty Aldworth of Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP) and Jane West and Jazmin Hupp of Women Grow. The preponderance of men in the world of cannabis can largely be explained by gender roles. Men, in general, are expected to take more risks, and thus have traditionally been more prominent in the cannabis world. For women, gender expectations largely explain both their absence and their immersion in that world. “I became a mother when I was 37,” longtime Bay Area medical marijuana activist Debby Goldsberry told High Times in 2011. “I waited that long because I was a frontline reform activist. It was scary, because kids were being taken from their parents who were arrested for simple possession. After I became a stronger advocate and wanted to be a mother, my voice needed to be loud so I could get extra protection.” However, female gender expectations also explain why women are increasingly coming out of the “cannabis closet.” From “marijuana moms,” who contend that their


(From left to right) SSDP’s Lauren Mendelsohn, Betty Aldworth and Stacia Cosner.

marijuana use has genuinely made them better mothers, to the fact that more cannabis organizations today are being led by women, the role of women as caregivers remains consistent. As a female-led organization, SSDP is an exception to the rule. Our four most important positions are filled by women: Aldworth at the top, followed by Deputy Director Stacia Cosner, C ­ hair of the Board of Directors Amanda Muller and Vice Chair Lauren Mendelsohn. That these roles are filled by women represents the power and potential of SSDP—not just as a drug policy reform organization, but one that nurtures and develops the female leaders of tomorrow. Women’s support for and participation in cannabis policy reform is integral to the movement’s continued success. Organizations including the NORML Women’s Alliance, Mothers Against Misuse and Abuse, Moms for Marijuana and Women Grow encourage women to get involved. According to the Women’s Alliance, “There is no doubt that once women, especially mothers, become educated about the social and economic costs of marijuana prohibition… the scope of the national, mainstream conversation will be changed for good.” Frances Fu is SSDP’s Pacific Region Outreach Coordinator.

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A Positive Outlook For 2016

If the gay community could succeed, so can cannabis. By Norm Kent To inspire us as children, Mom and Dad used to put little magnet slogans on our family refrigerator. One of my favorites was, “Everything cometh to he who waiteth so long as he worketh like hell while he waiteth.” In short, persevere. Don’t give up. Have faith and fortitude, and you’re going to get there. Ohio did not lose an election for legalization last month—it changed the consciousness of the community. Instead of locking more people up for cannabis possession, voters were trying to figure out the best way for everyone to access cannabis through fair regulation. You don’t always get to the Promised Land on your first flight. Gay people know this. Before there was gay marriage, we had to settle for “civil unions.” Before civil unions, we compromised with “domestic partnerships.” The gay community can now fully serve in the military openly. Once, not too long ago, we couldn’t ask and we couldn’t tell. But before that, we couldn’t even serve. Civil rights don’t fall off a table. Historically, they’re usually achieved in little steps over a long period of time. Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, freeing slaves. America pushed through the Civil Rights Act to ensure legal protection for African-Americans a century later. This required judicial decisions—and many marches and protests.

their communities, reducing it to a civil fine, payable like a traffic ticket. Like the gay community, cannabis consumers are no longer being demonized, but normalized. Congress has passed legislation ensuring that the Justice Department may not use federal funds to prosecute medical dispensaries operating in compliance with state and local laws. Pot shops are being protected, not persecuted; regulated, not raided. (For more on federal legislation, turn to page 12.) As President Obama is pardoning some drug defendants, state legislatures and jurists everywhere are also reforming sentences for cannabis charges— even in federal courts, where unprecedented judicial rulings have seen judges choose to go below the sentencing guidelines, without U.S. attorneys appealing the reductions. It’s an incremental step. Forty years ago, NORML began fighting for the rights of cannabis consumers. Most of our efforts focused on advocating to keep people out of jail. Today, there’s a whole new debate. NORML is now fighting for your rights as consumers to get safe weed at sane prices, freely distributed and legally regulated. We may not be there yet, but we are on the cusp. That’s progress. America has been able to raise the rainbow flag. Sooner rather than later, a pot leaf flag will fly side by side with it.

Cannabis consumers reflecting on 2015 ought to look with optimism at 2016. In as many as half a dozen states, new initiatives for outright legalization are expected be on the ballot. In addition, municipalities across the country will continue to pass ordinances and implement policies making cannabis possession the lowest law-enforcement priority in


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Norm Kent is the former Chair of NORML, the publisher of the South Florida Gay News and Freedom Leaf’s LGBT Ambassador.

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Principles of Kwanzaa

’Tis the season to add high holiday spirit to the pot activist’s toolbox. By Ngaio Bealum

Kwanzaa has come a long way from its ’60s roots as a holiday alternative to Christmas. Far from being a celebration just for black people, it’s expanded to embrace all lifestyles and cultures willing to celebrate family and traditions. Each day of Kwanzaa has a theme. The point is to discuss what these principles mean to you and your family, and then do what you can to follow them all year. The Seven Principles of Kwanzaa (in Swahili) serve as a great guide for living an activist lifestyle. Umoja (Unity): Unity is important. We may have our differences (and I’m sure you know the cannabis movement is full of, um, strong-willed individuals), but we have to remember that we’re all on the same bus. There’s no need for name-calling and shit-talking. Being united in common cause despite our differences is a very American ideal, and we should all strive to live up to that. Kujichagulia (Self-Determination): Seems simple enough. Be yourself. Live your truth. Smoke your weed. Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility): The cannabis community is really good at this one. We love a good benefit fundraiser, and helping sick people. A quick note to all the business owners: Building up your business doesn’t mean you have to tear down someone else’s. Let’s support each other. Remember, unity is the first principle.

Nia (Purpose): The cannabis community is fortunate to already have a purpose: We want to end prohibition and demonization of the cannabis plant. Done and done. Let’s get back to work. Kuumba (Creativity): Think of this one as the “Campfire Principle.” Are your decisions as an activist going to make it easier and better for the activists that follow in your footsteps? Do you have any longterm goals or just short-term ones? Also: More art, please. Imani (Faith): This is an easy one. You can’t spend years, and money, and effort and sweat if you don’t have faith that your cause is right and just. I’ve always found weed activists to be unwavering in their conviction, at least in terms of their unshakeable belief in the healing properties of the cannabis plant. I’d like to wish you all a wonderful holiday season and an especially Happy Kwanzaa!

Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics): When I see all the cannabis dispensaries, edible makers, dab extraction companies, graphic design squads and cannabis event firms, I’m filled with joy. These cannacentric businesses are evidence of Ujamaa in action. Plus, we shouldn’t be spending our money in places that don’t support cannabis freedom. Do some research; support those that support our cause.


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420 Investor’s Alan Brochstein and New Cannabis Ventures connect marijuana businesses with capital. By Matt Chelsea As principal writer of the financial blog, Alan Brochstein is a widely known and quoted pundit in the world of penny stocks related to the rise of the legal cannabis industry in the U.S. But after cementing his name as a sharp equities analyst—first on the website, then with 420 Investor— Brochstein finds himself going beyond the realm of thinly traded stocks on the OTC Bulletin Board and into private capitalraising. New Cannabis Ventures, Brochstein’s recently launched marketing services network, marks a fresh effort to connect cannabis businesses with venture capital firms and other institutional resources seeking to seed future growth. “There are a lot of people looking for capital, and a lot of people that want to provide it, but no bridge,” Brochstein tells Freedom Leaf from his office in Houston. “It’s difficult to connect.” New Cannabis Ventures charges vendors $5,000 to $10,000 for virtual booths that show off their wares with corresponding editorial content at Members get a full-time presence, boosted by Brochstein’s social net-


working accounts on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and the blogger universe. Ebbu, a maker of cannabis beverages aimed at Colorado and other budding markets for legal marijuana products, signed up as one of the first New Cannabis Ventures clients. “In this industry, you’re faced with information overload,” the company’s CEO Dooma Wendschuh explains. “There’s simply too much happening, and it’s happening way too fast.” About Brochstein, she raves: “He’s legendary for his ability to cut through all the clutter and find the truly indispensable information—the news you need to be successful in this industry.”

Tweaking a New Model

New Cannabis Ventures came about during the carnage among dozens of cannabis-oriented companies in the penny stock universe this year. Speculative optimism had drawn new money into thinly traded Bulletin Board stocks ahead of retail sales of cannabis in Colorado and Washington State in 2014. But gains in penny stocks in 2013 and 2014 evaporated this year as volatility took hold in the overall equities market.

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Alan Brochstein: “I’ve been cautious, but not cautious enough.”

Brochstein continues to maintain a focus list of 30 or so penny stocks for a loyal subscriber base paying $42 per month, or $420 for an annual subscription. A separate monthly newsletter costs $99 per year. Some of these companies have hit rough spots, changed names, merged or disappeared. For instance, the Canadian-licensed medical marijuana producer Tweed bought Bedrocan (another LP) and became Canopy Growth. In another case, Blue Line Protection Group suffered a massive price drop and an unexplained CEO departure. “There are lots of stocks that have been removed from the focus list along the way,” Brochstein explains. “It’s disappointing to see how the public markets have evolved. I’ve been cautious, but not cautious enough.” Companies may issue additional stock to raise capital—a process known as dilution—with little to show for it down the road. While some penny stocks may eventually get big enough to list on the NASDAQ or New York Stock Exchange—home of trillions in investment dollars—that rarely happens. Virtually all the stock market’s big success stories—Google, Microsoft, Apple and Facebook, among others—never traded as penny stocks. They grew with backing from venture capital and some private equity firms in the venture capital market, expanded their businesses as private companies and finally floated initial public offerings. Your typical venture capitalist may invest early-stage seed money of $1 mil-

lion or more, and then later move on to lead larger rounds of $50 million and up, with other investors joining in, to help get a company off the ground. But even the best venture capital firms strike out most of the time. It takes years against long odds to make it up to the IPO stage, when the institutional investors often get paid back. At this point, a few venture capital funds are raising money to invest in cannabis businesses, and some have already announced transactions. In one deal, Greenfield Capital Partners provided $5 million in financing to BioTrackTHC, a Fort Lauderdale-based provider of transaction tracking software for legal cannabis. If all goes well, BioTrackTHC may go public in three to five years. One private equity firm, Austin-based Privateer Capital, has amassed millions to invest in the growing cannabis trade. The institutional money that steps in with preIPO capital in these deals rarely plays in the penny stock market, but as a group, institutions have been growing more interested in cannabis investing. Brochstein says he’s been watching the trend for a while, and launched a subscription service aimed at connecting venture capital to cannabis business, but it didn’t catch on. “I thought about how to approach this,” he says. “I’m not a broker, and I don’t want a piece of the action. I noticed the potential of higher-quality content sponsored by entrepreneurs, to get their story out.” Instead of generating his own content on the industry, he created a paywall-free approach with content aggregation from members. Thus, New Cannabis Ventures was born. Looking ahead, Brochstein predicts New Cannabis Ventures could serve as a launchpad for some of the more worthy cannacentric companies he tracks at 420 Investor. “It’s a tool for anyone looking to invest in the private side of the cannabis industry,” Brochstein notes. “While penny stocks remain choppy, the legalization movement continues to grow in the U.S., with more institutional investors stepping up as a willing source of capital.” Matt Chelsea writes about cannabusiness and finance for Freedom Leaf.

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Nevada honey kingpin Don Charleboix traded in his badge for a beekeeper’s suit.


he town of Pahrump, Nev. sits in the middle of a stark desert surrounded by tall, craggy mountains, a stone’s throw from the California border. Remote, dusty and home to extraterrestrial enthusiast/radio broadcaster Art Bell, the place has become a favorite for retirees looking to get away from city life. Now, the new buzz in the little town is all about bees and a retired Las Vegas deputy sheriff’s line of natural products. Don Charleboix reaps a significant harvest from what seems like a barren landscape at his Pahrump Honey Co. “There are millions of little flowers down on the ground here in the desert,” the 81-year-old apiarist tells Freedom Leaf. “Surprisingly, the desert is very alive. It just looks dead.” The result is his popular wildflower “desert honey” that’s been selling well in local farmers’ markets all the way to Las Vegas, about 55 miles to the East. “It’s distinct, dark and very rich,” he adds. Charleboix owned and operated a small garden nursery in Pahrump for years. But after the economic


downturn in the late 2000s, business started to dwindle. He came into beekeeping by chance: “Ten years ago, a guy owed me some money and couldn’t pay, so he gave me his beehive and then left town.” It turned out to be a very timely acquisition. Even though bee populations have been disappearing around the country, this is not the case out in the Nevada desert. “We don’t have wheat fields and cornfields,” Charleboix explains. “Those are the people using the GMOs. They’ve modified those crops to keep insects out. They have the empty-hive syndrome that we don’t have.” Honey isn’t the only thing that comes from beehives. There’s pollen, royal jelly (the food the queen bee produces for the larvae), beeswax and propolis (an edible mixture of resins and wax also used as a topical antibacterial). The bees themselves are also a commodity. “Holistic doctors sting their patients to relive arthritis,” he notes. Charleboix’s journey from wearing a bulletproof vest to donning a beekeeping suit took some time. “I bought a book, got out there and got a stung a few times, and then learned the business,” he says. Still, there are some real advantages to his new line of work. What’s the biggest difference between beekeeping and being a deputy sheriff? “It’s much easier,” Charleboix smiles. “They don’t shoot back.” For more info, go to

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A Banner Year for Legislative Reform

Many states updated their marijuana laws regarding penalties and sentencing, medical use and hemp cultivation.


ore than eight in 10 Americans believe that cannabis should be available for therapeutic purposes, and some six in 10 now express support for legalizing it for all adults. Yet, too often lawmakers at the state level remain reluctant to vote in favor of common-sense marijuana law reform. Fortunately, this attitude is changing. In 2015, legislators in more than a dozen states introduced measures to legalize and regulate adult cannabis use. Although none of these efforts proved successful, other measures proposing more incremental changes scored victories. Here is a look at some of the legislative progress reformers achieved over the past year. Lawmakers in several states passed legislation in 2015 that significantly reduces criminal penalties related to the possession or use of cannabis.




Delaware: In June, Democratic Governor Jack Markell signed legislation decriminalizing minor marijuana possession offenses. The new law redefines the penalty governing the possession of up to one ounce of marijuana (formerly classified as a criminal misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in jail) as a civil violation punishable by a $100 fine—with no arrest and no criminal record. Prior to the passage of the new law, Delaware ranked 17th in the nation in per-capita marijuana possession arrests.


Louisiana: Historically, cannabis consumers in the Pelican State have faced some of the harshest penalties in the country. Not anymore. In June, Republican Governor Bobby Jindal signed sentencing

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reform legislation mitigating penalties for repeat marijuana offenders—defendants who, in the past, faced up to two decades in prison. Under the new law, second-time possession offenders face a maximum sentence of six months in jail (reduced from five years), and third-time offenders’ potential maximum sentences were reduced from 20 years to no more than two years. The new law also permits offenders to have their records expunged if they remain arrest-free for two years.

Nebraska: In April, lawmakers signed off on legislation amending the Cornhusker State’s marijuana possession penalties. The new law reclassifies offenses involving the possession of more than a half-ounce of marijuana (but less than one ounce) from a Class A misdemeanor (formerly punishable by up to one year in prison and a $3,000 fine) to a Class B misdemeanor (punishable by up to 30 days in jail and a $1,500 fine). The law also requires first-time offenders to have their convictions permanently sealed by the court if they’re not convicted of another criminal offense within the next two years.

Oregon: Those formerly convicted of marijuana crimes can breathe a sigh of relief in Oregon. In June, Democratic Governor Kate Brown signed legislation allowing those with past marijuana possession convictions to have their criminal records expunged. Senate Bill 364 states, “When a person convicted of a marijuana offense based on conduct occurring before July 1, 2013 files a motion for a court order setting aside the conviction pursuant to ORS 137.225, the court shall consider the offense to be classified as under current law when determining if the person is eligible for the order.”

At the local level, council members in a number of municipalities also moved forward with new regulations that halt minor pot possession arrests. In Milwaukee, city council members approved an ordinance in June reducing personal possession penalties to no more than a $25 fine. And in the Sunshine State in July, numerous jurisdictions—including Key West and Miami Beach, as well as Florida’s largest

county, Miami-Dade—opted in favor of local ordinances providing police the option of fining minor marijuana offenders rather than arresting them.

Medical Marijuana While no state legislature approved legislation in 2015 that fully legalized medical marijuana, many states took steps to expand their existing programs or to acknowledge the value of cannabidiol (CBD).

California: In October, Democratic Governor Jerry Brown signed a package of bills—known as the Medical Marijuana and Safety (MMS) Act—regulating the state’s medical cannabis industry. The measures create a new state agency within the Department of Consumer Affairs to develop rules and licensing procedures for the establishment of for-profit medical cannabis dispensaries. Separate language in the MMS Act imposes rules in regard to growing, testing and labeling cannabis like other agricultural products. The MMS Act also seeks to provide additional oversight to physicians who recommend cannabis therapy. However, it does not limit physicians from recommending marijuana at their own discretion—activity that is codified under Proposition 215 (the Compassionate Use Act of 1996). In July, Gov. Brown signed separate legislation into law that allows medical marijuana patients to receive organ transplants. California is the first state to explicitly forbid hospitals from denying medipot patients the ability to receive these life-saving surgeries.

Colorado: In May, Centennial State lawmakers enacted legislation that allows qualified patients to legally access medicinal marijuana while on probation or parole. The new law states, “[T]he possession or use of medical marijuana... shall not be considered another offense such that its use constitutes a violation of the terms of probation.” Colorado legislators were the first in the nation to vote to extend medical marijuana rights to parolees.

• Hawaii: In July, Democrat Governor

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more than 5% THC. Like similarly written CBD-only measures in other states, the law doesn’t provide a legal in-state option for patients seeking to obtain the curative oil. Consequently, Georgia patients must procure the substance in a state where the plant is legal, such as Colorado, and then return home with the product—behavior that’s not only impractical, but also places them at risk of federal interstate drug trafficking charges.

There are now 21 states that have passed laws allowing the cultivation of industrial hemp.

David Ige signed legislation that establishes a system of medical dispensaries for the state’s nearly 14,000 patients. The new law permits state regulators to issue eight dispensary licenses statewide: three for the city and county of Honolulu; two each for the county of Hawaii and the county of Maui; and one for the county of Kauai. Two production centers will be allowed with each dispensary license, and licensees may establish up to two retail locations. The Hawaii Department of Health has until Jan. 4 to finalize the rules governing the new dispensary program. Licensed dispensaries are anticipated to open by July 15, 2016. Once operational, qualified patients will be able to obtain up to four ounces of cannabis or cannabis-infused products, such as oils, tinctures or lozenges, from a licensed provider every 15 days.

• Georgia: In April, Peach State lawmakers approved legislation that permits

patients with cancer, Lou Gehrig’s disease, seizure disorders, multiple sclerosis, Crohn’s disease, mitochondrial disease, Parkinson’s disease and sickle cell disease to obtain a physician’s authorization to possess up to 20 ounces of cannabis-infused oils. Under the law, oil products must be CBD-dominant and possess no


State lawmakers passed similar CBDspecific laws this year in Oklahoma, Tennessee, Virginia, Wyoming and Texas. However, the Texas measure requires physicians to “prescribe” cannabidiol—activity that’s in direct conflict with federal law. In Louisiana, lawmakers similarly enacted legislation in June calling on doctors to prescribe cannabis. Because of these drafting errors, it remains unlikely that either state’s law will ever be implemented.

Industrial Hemp

Following the passage of the federal Farm Bill in 2014, which explicitly permits state-licensed farmers to grow hemp as part of a state-sanctioned agricultural program, lawmakers in 21 states have moved swiftly to get such programs up and running. This year, Minnesota, Nevada, North Carolina and Virginia enacted new laws redefining industrial hemp as an agricultural commodity, and authorizing institutions of higher learning to cultivate the plant, while Maine and North Dakota updated their existing hemp laws by removing onerous provisions that required state growers to also be licensed by the federal government. For a summary of all pending state and federal marijuana law reform legislation, and to learn what steps you can take to enact change, visit NORML’s online Take Action Center at For an overview of federal legislation in 2015, turn to page 12. Paul Armentano is Deputy Director of NORML and Freedom Leaf’s Senior Policy Advisor.

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Celebrity Stoner

Whoopi Goldberg’s Greatest hits In recent years, Whoopi Goldberg has become one of the most outspoken mainstream supporters of marijuana legalization. A former heroin user, these days her drug of choice is pot, which she uses medically to treat glaucoma. Goldberg regularly discusses cannabis on The View—TV’s top women’s program, which she has hosted since 2007— and has even penned a few articles for The Cannabist in Colorado. She’s the recipient of two Emmy awards, as well as a Grammy, an Oscar and a Tony—what’s known as EGOT, sort of the Grand Slam for entertainers. Here are Goldberg’s best quotes about drugs: “You don’t want cocaine legal. Marijuana is OK— because I happen to believe from experience, both on the positive of having a good time with it, but now also from the medical. I know the good parts of marijuana.” Source: The View (2014) “If you are a sensitive type, you self-medicate. It’s easier to selfmedicate.” Source: Showtime documentary Richard Prior: Omit the Logic (2013)


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About getting high before she won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for Ghost in 1991: “Smoking cigarettes and pot, now and then, are my habits. I said, I’ve got to relax, so I smoked this wonderful joint that was the last of my homegrown. And honey, when [they] said my name I just popped up. Like, Oh fuck! OK, up the stairs—one, two, three, four, five. OK, around the podium. There’s millions of people. Pick up the statue! … My mother called me and said, ‘You smoked, didn’t you?’ She said, ‘Your eyes were just glistening.’ Oh, fine panic. So I got that Oscar tape to see whether or not you could see. And you couldn’t. She panicked … I know you’re not supposed to admit that you smoke pot. I don’t drink alcohol, so that’s my habit.” Source: TMZ (2011) “The vape pen has changed my life. No, I’m not exaggerating. In fact, her name is Sippy. Yes, she’s a she. And yes, I named her Sippy because I take tiny little sips—sassy sips, even—from her. And with each sip comes relief—from pressure, pain, stress, discomfort. “These glaucoma-induced headaches come on like freight trains—like, BOOM, my head starts hurting, my eyes start bugging, my whole body starts to tense up. But then I find her, and it relaxes everything and calms everything. It helps my head stop hurting, and with glaucoma your eyes ache, and she takes the ache out. It’s wonderful. “The high is different, too. It feels like a gentle, warm breeze at the beach. It’s like someone undoing a Vise-Grip very slowly. It’s not overpowering—and I’m certainly not looking for that high high. I’m looking for relief.” Source: (2014) “The beginning of the ’60s was a whole different groove. All of my friends from that time are dead, all the people who were doing the same kind of stuff. They saved me. They were slightly older than me and they said, ‘This is not for you. This is not the life for you, and we are not going to help you anymore. You need to stop.’ All the money went to drugs, heroin, acid, whatever was there. The people who I was using with stopped too and we all helped each other. It took about 10 days, but they cleaned me up.” Source: The Howard Stern Show (2013)

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Took Off

Co-founder Jazmin Hupp lays out the goals of her red-hot organization, and what they’re planning for 2016.


ighteen months ago, Jane West see. Our single largest communication stood onstage at the National Canchannel to new women is the popular menabis Industry Association conferdia, so we coordinated the featuring of feence in Denver and announced the formamale role models in over 100 press placetion of a new professional networking orments, including Newsweek’s “Women in ganization, Women Grow, that would emWeed” cover, which declared, “Legal maripower women to stake their claim in the juana could be the first billion-dollar induscannabis industry. I was sitting in the auditry not dominated by men.” ence that day. Since Women Grow launched in 2014, I’d helped guide Women 2.0 from its the cannabis industry has experienced humble start in the Bay Area to events in constant change. New regulations and six countries. This was the organization, laws, increased competition, expanding for women in technology, that Jane modmarkets and emerging consumer groups eled Women Grow after. have all shaped the inJane and I shared a dustry as it exists today. We’re more committed vision of the cannabis Meanwhile, mainstream inindustry as a once-investors are entering the than ever to building an a-lifetime opportunity to market, and power is being inclusive industry led by create a new American consolidated. Big business industry that would be not just women, but people has discovered what we’ve fair and inclusive from known all along: Cannabis of color and others who’ve is for everyone. the very start. We immediately began collaborat- endured relentless social and With large corporate ing on Women Grow. teams waiting in the wings, economic injustices due to our challenge in an exFrom the beginning, our aim was to suppanding legal marketplace the War on Drugs. port a new industry that is to ensure that the indusserves people of all gentry and its products honor ders, colors and ages. In August of 2014, the needs and preferences of diverse con70 women attended the first Women Grow sumers. We have to insist on our right to Signature Networking Event in Denver. choose cannabis products that best serve Since then, Women Grow has expanded our communities; and we have to make to include 30,000 women (and men) who and market those products ourselves. have attended events in 35 cities across Women Grow’s mission remains to the U.S. and Canada on the first Thursday connect, educate and empower the next of each month. generation of cannabis industry leaders. Each chapter offers a supportive enviBut as the industry has expanded, so has ronment designed to inspire newcomers our vision. We’re more committed than evand connect them with established cannaer to building an inclusive industry led by bis professionals. Women Grow also holds not just women, but people of color and welcome parties at four national conferothers who’ve endured relentless social ences to introduce newcomers to our netand economic injustices due to the War work. on Drugs. In many cases, the regulatory Convincing women to join a new indusand financial barriers to enter the industry try requires a combination of role modeling are increasing. Our task now is to empowand access; it’s hard to be what you can’t er diverse individuals to take charge of the


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Women Grow co-founders Jazmin Hupp and Jane West celebrate the high holidays.

cannabis industry’s executive suites and boardrooms. Women will always be at the heart of a truly inclusive and fair cannabis industry. Businesses that align with female leaders and customers today are wisely sowing seeds in their favor for the future. In the media and in our communities, we’re on the cusp of normalization—not just for cannabis, but also for women as cannabis industry leaders. There’s never been a better moment to build this industry on inclusion and fair business practices. In the rapidly growing cannabis industry, women will continue to lead this effort. In 2016, we plan to double our Women Grow chapter network to more than 60 cities in the U.S. and abroad. In February, our second annual Leadership Summit in Denver will bring inspiring, educational talks and workshops from luminaries in the cannabis space and beyond to more than 1,000 participants. When we started Women Grow, we created a scholarship program to provide underrepresented groups, particular-

ly women of color and low-income women, with access to important information and events. We’re expanding our scholarship program to provide 5% of all tickets to Women Grow events to scholarship recipients. By putting knowledge and a network in the hands of women, people of color and other traditionally disenfranchised groups, we’re guaranteeing that the next generation of cannabis industry leaders represents a diverse range of backgrounds and experiences. If cannabis is for everyone, professional advancement and leadership opportunities in the industry must be for everyone, too.Whether you’re a veteran activist or a curious newcomer, now’s the time to stake your claim in the cannabis industry. Regardless of gender or experience, we invite you to be part of our professional network at, as we build an inclusive, responsible foundation for the global cannabis industry. Jazmin Hupp is CEO and Co-founder of Women Grow.

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Women Cannabis

There are 20 women featured in this article, but it’s not your standard Top 20 list. We’re not ranking these women for their significant achievements in the cannabis community, but instead offer the diverse experiences and insights of all these leading voices. Now’s the time for the Women of Cannabis.

Ann Druyan Executive Producer of Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey, widow of Carl Sagan and member of NORML’s Advisory Board. “I began to smoke marijuana some 50 years ago, when I was 15,” Druyan tells Freedom Leaf. “My best friend’s older brother gave us a single joint, which we smoked in her backyard on a summer evening while her parents were out for dinner. I recall the bliss of it vividly. I remember feeling that a doorway had opened for me to greater awareness and a heightened appreciation of life’s beauty. Soon after, my own brother began smoking. We both enjoyed it so much, we immediately wanted to share it with our father. It changed his life, too. I feel a great


debt to THC—and can’t help but think that I’ve lived, loved and worked more completely because of my wholly positive lifelong relationship with cannabis.” Druyan teamed up with NORML in the 1980s, “during the most horrendous period of ‘Just Say No,’” she explains. “I was looking for a way to have my voice heard. I did make a scene at my kid’s D.A.R.E. graduation, but I was looking for some larger arena. Lester Grinspoon suggested I join the NORML board. Keith Stroup and Allen St. Pierre impressed me enormously. Their seriousness of purpose and practical approach gave me hope that we could bring about some change. That was about 25 years ago.”  Druyan, co-creator of the original Cosmos TV series that first aired in 1980, was an Executive Producer, a Director and writer of Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey, the 13-part series hosted by Neil deGrasse Tyson that premiered in March 2014 on the Fox and National Geographic networks. It remains the largest rollout of a television series in history, broadcast in 180 countries around the world, and deservedly won the Peabody Award, four Emmys and a dozen other awards. About her reform activities, Druyan pointedly observes: “Our society is on its way to a degree of sanity about marijuana. There are other forms of madness that seem to require our activism more urgently.” STEVE BLOOM

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Debby Goldsberry Executive Director of Magnolia Wellness in Oakland, Calif. Goldsberry founded the Cannabis Action Network (CAN) in the early ’90s, partly as a reaction to the male-dominated world of marijuana reform. She got her start in activism while attending the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. “My university had a historical marijuana movement, including celebrating Hash Wednesday each year with a big smokein,” Goldsberry recalls. “When I was a sophomore, the event had a lifeguard chair to smoke a 30-foot-long bong. The next year, the police raided the event, and beat up the students and arrested several people. Cannabis had helped me enormously. So we formed the Hemp Tour in order to have events on every college campus in Illinois the next year, and the tour quickly grew to a national phenomenon, with about 1,500 events over the years.” After a few years in Kentucky, CAN moved to the Bay Area, where Goldsberry has lived ever since. She co-founded Berkeley Patients Group and currently works with Magnolia Wellness in Oakland, teaches at Oaksterdam University and sits on the boards of the Coalition for Cannabis Policy Reform and CA NORML. “The climate for everyone has changed, as prohibition slowly dies,” Goldsberry explains. “For women, we have more leadership roles than ever before, support each other in business and socially, and have identified the need to actively work for equity and equality for all in the new cannabis millennium.” SB

Charlo Greene Executive Director of the Alaska Cannabis Club. Greene famously placed herself on the weed map when she announced on air that she was quitting her reporter job at KTVA in Alaska just prior to the state’s legalization vote in 2014. “While working as a journalist, I learned about the harm of cannabis prohibition and decided to do something about it,” Greene says. “That’s when I created the Alaska Cannabis Club, Alaska’s only safe access point in the entire state, to date.” In addition to the club, Greene is promoting her new nonprofit, Go GREENE, which she says is “aimed at cultivating diversity, unity and opportunity through cannabis.” She’s also relaunching “You can expect to see quite a bit from me in the coming months, from fashion and lifestyle to health and wellness.” Greene adds that “women have gone from a position of being overlooked and objectified to now influencing and taking an active role in just about every facet of our community and burgeoning industry. This moment in time offers something truly special for anyone brave enough to step up and take it.” SB

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Liana Held Owner of CPA firm Liana Limited in San Francisco.

Alison Holcomb Director of the ACLU Campaign for Smart Justice and Campaign Director of Initiative 502. Holcomb’s star has risen swiftly during the campaign to legalize marijuana in Washington State in 2012 and since its implementation. “Before joining the ACLU, I represented people in state and federal marijuana, forfeiture and civil rights cases for more than a decade,” she says. “My [legal] experience, representing one person after another in the criminal justice system, led me to want to work on policy change that could impact hundreds and thousands of people being touched by the criminal justice system.” Her latest job focuses on “state-level reforms that will reverse the explosion of incarceration rates in this country. We’re currently working with local partners to develop legislative agendas, proposals and strategies in about a dozen states nationwide. “Women are increasingly entering the medical and fully legal cannabis markets,” adds Holcomb, “bringing their perspectives to the table in the development of best practices, state and local regulation and consumer education and advocacy. This is great, but I’m concerned that we’re not seeing more women involved in campaign strategy and leadership roles. I hope 2016 looks different.” SB


Held has a way with numbers. After years as an activist and dispensary operator in the Bay Area, she decided to find a place for herself in the burgeoning cannabusiness as a CPA. “Currently, I’m assisting clients through my consulting, accounting and human resources company,” she says. “Cannabis businesses need licenses to succeed. I’m helping them with this process. I’m looking forward to the 2016 election and seeing an adult-use initiative winning in California.” Held, who regularly speaks at conferences, notes that “each time I attend a cannabis event, I see more women, but still not enough. In January, I attended a twoday conference and listened to 17 speakers, all women. There’s so much potential for women to succeed in cannabis.” SB

Catherine Hiller Author of Just Say Yes: A Marijuana Memoir. A newbie to the marijuana scene, Hiller has made a splash with her book Just Say Yes, released earlier this year. “I’ve been amazed at how positive the reaction has been,” she says. “I really feared I might be shunned by my neighbors, but that hasn’t happened at all. I’ve met both female and male pot bloggers. We’re all in this joyful movement together.” Hiller has five novels to her name, as well as a book of short stories. “Writing nonfiction is new to me,” she admits. “But I feel on fire when I write about cannabis. The words just pour out!” SB

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Wanda James Owner of Simply Pure in Denver and President of the Cannabis Global Initiative.

Dr. Julie Holland Psychiatrist, author of Moody Bitches and Weekends at Bellevue, and editor of The Pot Book. One of the country’s best-known psychopharmacologists, Dr. Holland started out as a harm reduction psychiatrist, and “had a growing interest in medicinal cannabis.” This led to The Pot Book, published in 2010. “The more I learned, the more I became convinced that the laws are based on xenophobia and corporate greed, not scientific information, and they need to change, and that access to this ancient medicinal plant is our birthright,” says Dr. Holland, who serves on the board of Doctors for Cannabis Reform. “I’m the medical monitor for FDA-sanctioned studies of PTSD using cannabis with U.S. veterans, which have been stalled due to the NIDA monopoly on research-grade cannabis,” she adds. About cannabis in general, Dr. Holland observes: “This is a female plant, a very yin-oriented experience and medicine, causing a rebalancing of homeostasis. It deserves a female-balanced community to properly honor its energy.” SB


A well-established figure in the Denver marijuana scene known for her politics, restaurants and business ventures, James has experienced the racist reality of marijuana prohibition. Her brother, at 17, was sentenced to 10 years in prison in Texas for possession of less than five ounces of marijuana. “It’s unconscionable the number of people arrested and attacked who look like me,” she points out. “You can’t ignore the impact on black and brown people.” James’ first cannabis business, Apothecary of Colorado, opened its dispensary doors in downtown Denver in the fall of 2009. She eventually sold the store to focus on her edibles company, Simply Pure, with her husband, chef Scott Durrah. After closing due to banking problems and lack of capital, this year James reopened Simply Pure as a medical and recreational dispensary. Before her career in cannabis, James worked as a political strategist, message developer, campaign manager and media planner. She has expanded her political work with the Cannabis Global Initiative, and consults for municipalities, policymakers and communities in local, national and global markets. “For people of color, I say, get involved,” James offers. “This will be the greatest industry, with so many different opportunities. Don’t let it pass you by. If you’re interested, get involved! For politicians and people in power, I say, wake up and get a clue. Stop acting in fear. For law enforcement, those days are numbered.” SUSAN SQUIBB

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Joy Beckerman Maher President of Hemp Ace International in Seattle.

Jaime Lewis Owner of Mountain Medicine in Denver and Board Chair of the National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA). Lewis has been making edibles since 2006, when she provided infused products to HIV/AIDS patients in San Francisco as part of a compassionate cooperative. She moved to Colorado and founded Mountain Medicine in 2009. “My involvement with marijuana reform has always been driven by a powerful conviction that cannabis is an incredible plant that should be accessible to everyone,” Lewis states. “As the cannabis industry has emerged out of successful activist efforts, I continue to support reform in the legal marketplace by advocating for sound policies and regulations that will bring cannabis to the masses in a way that honors the movement’s compassionate, patient-focused roots.” In addition to serving as NCIA Board Chair, Lewis recently formed the NCIA’s Edibles Advisory Council to support sound, responsible regulations that benefit both producers and consumers. “It’s important to recognize the vital role women advocates and activists have played in the success of legalization efforts,” she notes. “As cannabis consumption has become more normalized, more and more women are coming out of the cannabis closet. We’re seeing women draw on their strengths as advocates and caretakers to lead the cannabis industry.” SB

Beckerman’s involvement with industrial hemp began in 1994, when she opened Heaven on Earth in Woodstock, N.Y. The next year the store received a visit from the police on the behalf of the Secret Service, with a warning to stop stamping dollar bills with pot leaves and the words “I grew hemp” by George Washington’s mouth—a story which made Beckerman a national hemp celebrity. After the Vermont hemp bill passed in 1996, Maher moved to Burlington, Vt., where she served as Secretary of the Vermont Hemp Council and managed three Vermont Hemporium stores. In 1998, she relocated to Seattle. As the founding President of the Washington State Chapter of the Hemp Industries Association, she regularly interacts with the state Department of Agriculture and with legislators and local officials. Her other leadership positions include serving on the boards of the Center for the Study of Cannabis & Social Policy and NORML Women of Washington. Maher considers herself part of the first line of defense in protesting the objectification of women in cannabis advertising. “Images like these do not promote cannabis as a product that can heal the world,” she says. “I don’t find sexism to be an issue within the hemp industries in the U.S., though there are pockets of sexism in the movement itself. There isn’t much disparity on the business end because so few people work in industrial hemp at present. Fortunately, I have many opportunities to educate and spread the word.” BG

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Mary Lynn Mathre

Madeline Martinez

Co-founder and President of Patients Out of Time.

Founder of the World Famous Cannabis Cafe in Portland, Ore. and member of the NORML Board of Directors. Martinez began her career in cannabis activism as a volunteer with NORML in Portland, Ore. It wasn’t long before she was named Executive Director of Portland NORML, which soon became Oregon NORML. After serving in this capacity for eight years, Martinez became the first Hispanic woman on the NORML Board of Directors. “I take pride as a Latina in disproving the notion that we’re second-class citizens,” she says. In 2009, Martinez opened the World Famous Cannabis Cafe (WFCC) in Portland, where patients can come together for the social experience of using cannabis together. Now that recreational cannabis is legal in Oregon, the WFCC welcomes all adults over 21, and has entertained tourists from around the world. Martinez plans to open additional locations in Oregon, as well as spread out into other states like Washington and California, should they change their laws that currently prohibit cannabis-smoking lounges from operating. “Women are excellent multitaskers,” Martinez explains. “So once women became involved in the cannabis movement, you see how quickly it became legal.” BECKY GARRISON


A nurse and former NORML board member, Mathre has been involved with medical cannabis since the early 1980s. Her master’s thesis, “A Survey on Marijuana Disclosure to Health Care Professionals,” brought Mathre to the attention of NORML, who hired her as the director of their Council on Marijuana and Health, and later elected her to the board. “The more I learned from patients about the therapeutic value of cannabis, the more involved I became,” she says. In 1995, Mathre and her husband, Al Byrne, co-founded Patients Out of Time. It took five years for them to find an academic organization that would accredit a medical cannabis conference, and the First Clinical Conference on Cannabis Therapeutics, co-sponsored by the University of Iowa Colleges of Medicine and Nursing, was held in Iowa City, Iowa in 2000. Their 10th national conference will take place in Baltimore, from April 14–16, 2016. “Many women are beginning to recognize business opportunities in the cannabis and hemp industries, and I’m happy to see more and more women becoming involved,” adds Mathre, who’s also President of the American Cannabis Nurses Association (ACNA). “For medical cannabis, nurses are leading the push to end prohibition, along with patients. Nursing remains primarily a female profession, and a primary role for nurses is to serve as patient advocates. Those in the ACNA want safe access to this healing herb for their patients.” SB

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Amanda Reiman Manager of Marijuana Law and Policy for the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA). “I became interested in drug policy reform while I was an undergraduate at the University of Illinois, Chicago,” Reiman says. After she joined the newly formed Students for Sensible Drug Policy and attended their national conference, she “was amazed how many young, brilliant people felt the way I did about drug use and prohibition. It made me realize that I could have a career in advocating for changes in drug policy.” Reiman moved to Oakland in 2002 and continued her post-grad studies at UC Berkeley. “I decided to do my doctoral dissertation on medical cannabis patients and dispensaries,” she says. “That was what hooked me into this particular area of activism. And, I also really enjoy cannabis.” After a stint at Berkeley Patients Group, Reiman joined the DPA in 2012. “A new project I’m working on is building an infrastructure in the emerging cannabis industry for community reinvestment and corporate giving,” she says. “The industry has a responsibility to reinvest in communities and people most impacted by the War on Drugs.” Reiman thinks this is a great time for women to get involved. “Once the industry has the protection of banking, and the end of federal prohibition, it will likely look more like other industries,” she predicts. “But by then it will be too late—and women will be among the early moguls, solidifying female-friendly investments and presence in the future.” SB


Lorna Shannon Co-founder of Occupy Weed Street in New York City. Out of the ashes of Occupy Wall Street grew a sprout known as Occupy Weed Street, founded by Shannon, Harrison Tesoura Schultz and Natalie Shmuel. “In the summer of 2013 I quit my job as a preschool teacher in Manhattan to dedicate myself full-time to activism,” Shannon says. Since then, the group has hosted events for the cannabis community in New York. “Using art and recreational activities to debunk stereotypes and to engage the Occupy community, Occupy Weed Street has become the militant wing of the cannabis movement,” Shannon explains. “We use a diversity of tactics, working both within and outside of the system.” One tactic recently brought Shannon acclaim, when she publicly challenged Police Commissioner William Bratton on New York’s marijuana policy. Occupy Weed Street has launched a new campaign, Women of Weed Street (WOWS), that is “highlighting a multitude of women’s issues pertaining to sex, drugs and revolution,” Shannon says. “The War on Drugs is a war on women, a war on families and a war on human rights. Women of Weed Street is about changing stigmas and bridging the generational and class divides between all women whose lives have been affected by their use of cannabis and by cannabis prohibition.” SB

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Aundre Speciale Director of CBCB dispensary in Berkeley, Calif.

Dr. Sue Sisley Psychiatrist and researcher on PTSD and marijuana. Dr. Sisley became a news story in 2014 when the University of Arizona fired her after she received approval from the National Institute for Drug Abuse (NIDA) to perform a clinical trial investigating the efficacy of marijuana for military veterans suffering from PTSD. Undeterred, the project was eventually funded in part by a grant from Colorado’s marijuana tax revenue. Dr. Sisley is expected to begin administering federally supplied cannabis, with various levels of THC and CBD, to vets in Maryland and Arizona in 2016. “Individuals with PTSD suffer decreased quality of life,” she explains. “Anxiety increases, along with depression. PTSD sufferers face an increased risk of poor health. Relationships suffer, divorce rates increase, success in school fades and many become unemployed. An additional pharmacological agent to treat PTSD could be very beneficial for many patients.” Dr. Sisley has issues with NIDA: “The only information we get about this study drug is the ratio of THC to CBD. We won’t know anything else about the environment it’s grown in, the various other cannabinoids, the terpene profiles. There’s no transparency with the public, yet they accept millions and millions of taxpayer dollars.” CHRIS GOLDSTEIN

A dispensary operator in Northern California, Speciale speaks openly at trade shows and conferences about her personal experiences. “I was homeless at one point and on welfare,” she says. “Working in the cannabis community gave me an opportunity to provide an income for my family and to be able to give back to my community.” More than two decades ago, she tabled with Jack Herer, who regularly set up his hemp information booth on Venice Beach in Los Angeles. “I got to learn all about the cannabis plant and its history from Jack and his business partner, Captain Ed Adair,” Speciale explains. “I traveled on Hemp Tour throughout the state and the western part of the country, in a bus painted with pot leaves and dancing bears, from about 1989 to 1993. This education and experience made me want to devote my life to cannabis reform.” Speciale is a founding member of Americans for Safe Access, as well as Vice Chair of the board of MPP. In 2004, she opened the first of several dispensaries. “As far as being a woman in the cannabis world and cannabis community, I never felt disrespected or held back,” she adds. “I’ve always found this to be the most welcoming industry to women, with the most opportunities that I could possibly imagine.” SB

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Ah Warner Founder of Cannabis Basics in Seattle. Warner’s on-and-off career in cannabis topicals began in 1995 with the founding of Cannabis Creations. But after 10 years she closed shop, only to reopen in 2012 on the heels of Washington State’s vote to legalize marijuana. Warner renamed her company Cannabis Basics, and hasn’t looked back. More than half of her sales are to mainstream outlets, such as Seattle-based stores Sugar Pill and The Herbalist. Warner is currently working on a book, and has produced a short video series about how to make cannabis-infused topicals. “For me, the ultimate compliment would be to have people learn how to make their own products and start their own successful businesses from reading my book or watching my videos,” she says. This year Cannabis Basics was awarded the first federal trademark registration for a product with the word “cannabis” in the name and a cannabis leaf in the logo. In addition, Warner recently started the International Cannabis Health and Beauty Aids Producers Alliance (ICHABAPA). She’s also the founder of the private social club Women of Weed, and has guiding roles with both the MJBA Women’s Alliance and NORML Women of Washington. “It’s no secret that sexism is alive and well in the cannabis industry, but I’m the master of my universe and can work around it,” Warner says. “I’m ridiculously proud of the women in this industry who are really rocking it as businesswomen and activists.” BG


Jane West Co-founder and National Events Director of Women Grow, and CEO of Jane West Enterprises. Amy Dannemiller paid a high price for being part of Denver’s burgeoning cannabis industry in 2014 when she was fired “after executives at my corporate 9-to5 job saw me consuming cannabis in a CNBC documentary and asked me to step down.” Dannemiller, who goes by the name Jane West, “embraced the opportunity to go all-in, with a cannabis career that would support legalization and normalization. “When I dove into the cannabis industry, I realized that I wasn’t just starting a company,” she says. “I was joining a revolution.” Her company, Edible Events, got off to a notable start, hosting a series of Classically Cannabis concerts that drew the attention of local authorities because of onsite smoking and vaping. Her next move was to co-found Women Grow with Jazmin Hupp (read her article on page 34). “We’re cultivating the next generation of cannabis industry leaders, and are focusing now on ensuring that women, people of color and other traditionally underrepresented groups have positions on boards and leadership teams of cannabis companies,” West explains. “I’m also committed to educating consumers, particularly women, about cannabis. The next phase of my professional evolution is focused on showing women that cannabis can be part of a healthy, happy, family lifestyle.” SB

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Taylor West Deputy Director of the National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA). A college internship at DRCNet, which later transformed into, was West’s introduction to drug policy reform. After college, she worked on political campaigns in Iowa, Virginia and Washington, D.C., and as Communications Director of National Journal. West became Deputy Director of the NCIA just as legalized recreational marijuana took hold in Colorado in 2013. With her political and drug policy experience, she helped fuel the organization’s growth by adding her expertise from related business fields. The NCIA is dedicated to changing federal laws to implement fair tax policies and access to banking services for cannabis businesses, and to promote best practices for the emerging legal marijuana industry. West’s overall message emphasizes “the opportunity to build something new, and build it right,” and she’s excited to see businesses committed to these values. “We create that culture, and communicate the values to business newcomers.” When asked if she has a “shero,” West says she has a group shero: “One of the coolest things is how many phenomenal women are in the industry. We can build an industry better than any other industry.” SS

Becca Williams Host of the Marijuana Straight Talk web series. Williams recently moved to Denver to begin production of her edgy, topical show, Marijuana Straight Talk. Now working out of the Free Speech TV studios, Williams began her career with a strong background in daily broadcasting for Chicagobased television and radio stations, including the NPR affiliate. Williams began covering holistic medicine, health, nutrition and environmental sustainability as an editor of Conscious Choice. While researching the leading edge of natural approaches to health, she discovered the healing potential of marijuana for pain, both physical and emotional. Her goal for Marijuana Straight Talk is to reframe the conversation. “What we’re doing with the plant—integrating it into the culture—is pivotal,” says Williams. “Legalization is ahead of integration. We need to see the plant for what it is: an ancient healing agent.” SS

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Freedom Leaf INTERVIEW How are things going at Americans for Safe Access? Wonderful, but busy! The last two years have been really exciting, but keeping track of the needs of 40 states is a bit challenging. It’s a dream come true to work with mainstream organizations such as the American Herbal Products Association, American Chemical Society, Epilepsy Foundation, American Herbal Pharmacopeia and The AnswerPage. The Patient Focused Certification program is going really well, and it’s great to know that we can point patients toward safe products. We’re also engaging on the international level through an organization we helped launch in March, the International Medical Cannabis Patients Coalition. To what degree do you feel ASA is responsible for medical marijuana laws enacted since 2002?

Steph Sherer

Interview by Steve Bloom ­ In 2002, when Steph Sherer founded Americans for Safe Access (ASA), the cannabis community looked very different than it does today. At a time when all the U.S. reform movement’s leaders were male (and white), Sherer became the first woman to lead a major marijuana advocacy organization. Since then, 15 more states have passed fairly broad medical cannabis laws, largely due to the increased involvement of women. We asked Sherer, who continues to serve as ASA’s Executive Director, to comment on ASA’s accomplishments and future goals, and the general state of medical marijuana in America.


Until ASA stood up for access, the national debate around medical cannabis was focused solely on the legality and ethics of arresting and prosecuting patients for cannabis use. That experience is real, but reflected only a fraction of the experiences that patients and this community were having on a daily basis. ASA brought the patient’s voice to the table, and we shifted the debate to the real concerns of patients: legal access to medicine, and patients’ civil rights. This has meant the addition of distribution programs, civil protections and product safety protocols to medical marijuana laws. ASA has been engaged in every state process. Medical marijuana laws have become increasingly restrictive. Where do you stand on laws that don’t allow smoking, and strictly limit the number of qualifying conditions, as well as restrict strains and products, such as edibles? ASA has model legislation that we’re always striving toward; our work includes continuously monitoring and improving these laws. We have to do this by showing

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governments a need, and giving them the tools to properly regulate these programs. There was a backlash in 2010 that resulted in massive federal interference. Many states that were formulating their laws at this time created restrictive laws to avoid federal attacks. However, aside from the CBD-only states, we’re seeing trends toward the opening of condition lists. Is it safer for a medical patient to vaporize rather than smoke marijuana? As a general rule, yes. However, what the patients are vaporizing and/or smoking is even more important. I’m very concerned that companies are not adhering to basic product safety protocols and that they are testing their products on patients. Patients should ask their provider for proof that products are free of pesticide residue, solvents, molds, mildew and unsafe microbial levels, and that all products are safe for humans to consume by inhalation. Since 2014, 15 states have passed CBD-only laws that mostly benefit children suffering from seizure conditions. Do you think these laws are effective? Many of these laws will not work. However, I think they’re a starting point in states that might have never moved forward on any cannabinoids. Our work now includes collaborating with the states to improve the laws so that they can work for patients. Many states passed laws that were at first technically unworkable—Arizona and Maryland come to mind—and then were improved over time. What are the most important issues facing patients today?

Some activists think it’s best to focus on full legalization at this point, rather than spend significant resources on passing medical laws. Is medical marijuana on the way out? I think activists who were using medical cannabis as a “Trojan horse” or as a strategy to achieve recreational use are now focusing on broader legalization, so to those activists, focusing on medical marijuana may be on its way out. However, the issue of medical cannabis is moving toward a more accepted treatment worldwide. Has it been difficult for you dealing with what has been a largely male-dominated community? Yes and no. While we have some overlap with the broader reform community, we work primarily with patients, medical professionals, researchers and the industry, as well as collaborate with patient organizations, medical organizations and industry organizations, such as the American Herbal Products Association. If Hillary Clinton is the next President of the U.S., will this be good for patients? Yes. I’m certain that we’ll see congruency in policies from the Obama administration. However, I think we should all be trying to pass the CARERS Act this congressional session, so that the policies created by Obama will be set in law. This will mean that whomever is the next President will have to implement these laws. What’s next for ASA?

Which are the next states that you expect to pass medical marijuana laws?

We’re launching a Continuing Medical Education program later this year with The AnswerPage, planning our fourth National Medical Cannabis Unity Conference in D.C. in March 2016, working on passing the CARERS Act and gearing up for UNGASS 2016, plus we’re working with international partners to create more resources for medical cannabis research.

Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Florida and Georgia.

For more information about ASA, go to

Safe, reliable products; insurance coverage of their medicine; and civil protections, such as housing, employment and parenting rights.


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MARY JANE In this excerpt from Mary Jane: The Complete Marijuana Handbook for Women, Cheri Sicard examines the proliferation of pot-friendly roles for woman in movies and on TV.

Hooray for Hollyweed: Marijuana in the Movies For decades, marijuana has been both celebrated and vilified in film. Early movies like the infamous Reefer Madness (1936), and its legion of sensationalistic clones, spoke to the evils of marijuana. They are now viewed as kitschy, laughable relics of a bygone era, but in their day they fueled hysteria and helped push forward and cement the prohibitionist agenda. Fortunately, many of us have evolved to a place where marijuana use is simply seen as a natural, everyday part of life, and thankfully its portrayal in some more enlightened movies reflects that. In many films, just as in real life, it is women, and their use of marijuana, who are the catalysts for pushing the scene and the “normalization” of cannabis use forward. Paul Mazursky, who passed away in 2014 at the age of 84, began the whole women and weed movie trend back in 1968 with his screenplay of I Love You, Alice B. Toklas, in which Leigh Taylor-Young’s pot brownies created quite a transformation in Peter Sellers’ repressed lawyer character. Even though most early movies kept marijuana use strictly in the domain of men, Mazursky had his female leads, Natalie Wood and Dyan Cannon, smoking ganja when he wrote and directed Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice (1969), a film considered groundbreaking at the time for its exploration of partner swapping and sexual taboos. Later, his acclaimed An Unmarried Woman (1978) includes a scene in which a 15-year-old girl informs her mother’s new boyfriend, “I smoke pot sometimes.”

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Here are some of the most memorable women with weed on the big screen: Keaton insists on smoking marijuana • Diane before making love with Woody Allen in the

• • •

• • • • Top to bottom: Leigh Taylor-Young in I Love You, Alice B. Toklas; Diane Keaton in Annie Hall; Jane Fonda and Dolly Parton in Nine to Five; Susan Sarandon in Bull Durham; Frances McDormand in Laurel Canyon; Blake Lively and Benicio Del Toro in Savages.


comedy classic Annie Hall (1977). In fact, she even tries to convince Allen to join her, saying he might not need therapy if he would only partake. Lily Tomlin, Jane Fonda and Dolly Parton light up while plotting sweet revenge on their abusive boss (Dabney Coleman) in Nine to Five (1980). In a later scene, Fonda’s character, a cannabis newbie, proudly announces to her ex-husband while asserting her independence: “I smoke pot now!” Susan Sarandon, a real-life anti-drug war activist, smokes weed both on her own and with her lover (Tim Robbins) in the baseball comedy Bull Durham (1988). Cannabis is just a regular part of life in Stealing Beauty (1996), a visually stunning coming-ofage movie directed by Bernardo Bertolucci that has Liv Tyler’s 19-year-old character traveling to Tuscany after her mother’s suicide to discover the identity of her real father and lose her virginity. Some of the film’s most memorable scenes include Jeremy Irons, as a gay playwright dying of AIDS, bonding with Tyler’s character over ganja. Ten years later and Sarandon is still smoking marijuana on film. This time she costars with Julia Roberts in the comedy-drama Stepmom (1998), in which Sarandon’s character uses medical marijuana to treat her terminal cancer. Cameron Diaz’s character suggests using Mary Jane as a social stimulant in Being John Malkovich (1999). Her strategy works, as Catherine Keener, the object of desire, ends up rolling a joint for Diaz and her onscreen husband. Bette Midler plays Mel Gibson’s cannabis-imbibing psychotherapist in What Women Want (2000). Ganja is important to Frances McDormand’s free-spirited music producer character in Laurel Canyon (2002). McDormand tokes up on screen while trying to balance the stress of her career and coming to terms with her uptight son when he unexpectedly moves into her house with his fiancée. A disillusioned med student finds himself amid the marijuana farmers of California in Humboldt County (2008). This drama, starring Frances Conroy and Fairuza Balk, who both regu-

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larly partake on screen, drags a bit, but has some nice moments and presents a somewhat realistic glimpse into a counterculture world most people never encounter. Fonda is smoking again in Peace, Love, & Misunderstanding (2011), a generational comedy that also stars Keener as the uptight daughter of Fonda’s marijuana-growing 1960s-era matriarch character. It seems the two became estranged when Fonda sold weed at her daughter’s wedding, and little has changed when the mother is reunited with her daughter and granddaughters years later, after the daughter’s divorce. Blake Lively is the pot-smoking protagonist who propels the action in Oliver Stone’s marijuana-themed drama, Savages (2012). Although it bears little resemblance to the reality of the American cannabis world, Savages does show a gruesome glimpse into the havoc prohibition has wreaked south of the border. For pure entertainment value, though, this tense drama about a pair of U.S. pot growers whose shared girlfriend is kidnapped by a Mexican cartel delivers right up until the end—but I won’t give that away.

Marijuana in Your Living Room: Toking on Television

Weed is just part of everyday life for • Fiona Gallagher (Emmy Rossom) and

Mary Jane’s role on the small screen has definitely evolved since its reefer-madness low during the 1980s and 1990s. Back then, the government actually paid television shows to put antidrug messaging into their plotlines. The results were embarrassing, preachy propaganda pieces that now command the ridicule they so deserve. For instance, then-First Lady Nancy Reagan made a “very special” appearance on the hit TV show Diff’rent Strokes in 1983 to help spread her “Just Say No” message. That episode spawned a host of other “very special” episodes on other family shows like Full House, Family Ties and Growing Pains. Everyone’s favorite cartoon characters even got in on the act of teaching America’s kids all the “wonderful ways to say no” during a 1990 once-in

a-lifetime collaborative effort that accomplished the impossible and featured Disney characters romping around with Looney Tunes characters, Muppet Babies and other revered animated figures, all in the name of keeping kids off “drugs.” And in that era, the drug discussion always started with demonizing marijuana. Nowadays, it’s far more common to see marijuana use portrayed realistically as a normal part of life—as it is for millions of real cannabis consumers, whether for medicinal or recreational use. It may seem like cable shows are leading the charge, but the networks have been on board all along. In 1997, Murphy Brown’s then-scandalous use of marijuana to treat her cancer outraged DEA Administrator Thomas Constantine. Lots of other shows have dealt with it in a neutral or positive light through the years, including Roseanne, Home Improvement, Parenthood, Glee and How I Met Your Mother. To be sure, the number of television shows that make marijuana the primary or even secondary focus are far fewer in number than movies that do so. Nonetheless, there are some good ones, and others in which marijuana is regularly part of the background:

• • • •

other characters in Showtime’s Shameless. Mags Bennett (Emmy winner Margo Martindale) oversees a huge illegal weed empire in the FX series Justified (2010–2015). Gemma Teller (Katey Sagal) regularly indulges for medicinal and recreational reasons in FX’s Sons of Anarchy (2008–2015). Female leads Karen and Marcy (Natascha McElhone and Pamela Adlon) toke up in Showtime’s Californication (2007–2014), as do a host of other characters, male and female. It’s fairly common for women to­smoke marijuana throughout the course of AMC’s Mad Men (2007–2015). In Season 1, Rosemarie DeWitt plays lead character Don Draper’s pot-smoking Greenwich Village beatnik girlfriend. In later seasons, Draper (Jon Hamm) also

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Showtime’s Weeds featured Mary-Louise Parker.

• • •

smokes with his wife, Megan (Jessica Paré), who scores the weed for them while on vacation in Hawaii. Copywriter Peggy Olson (Elisabeth Moss) also gets in on the action starting in Season 3, when she proudly declares, “I want to smoke some marijuana.” Mary-Louise Parker stars as Nancy Botwin, a suburban housewife who turns to dealing marijuana to make ends meet after the death of her husband in Showtime’s Weeds (2005–2012), although she never actually smokes cannabis until the very end of the series. On HBO’s Six Feet Under (2001–2005), many of the leading and supporting characters smoke weed, including Brenda (Rachel Griffiths), Claire (Lauren Ambrose), Ruth (Frances Conroy) and Bettina (Kathy Bates). While you don’t actually see the characters use marijuana in Fox’s That ’70s Show (1998–2006), a sitcom about a group of 1970s-era Midwestern teenagers, the show usually begins and ends with the gang, including Laura Prepon and Mila Kunis, philosophizing in Eric Forman’s smoke-filled basement. One


episode also features Kunis’ character scoring a bag of weed. TV cannabis is not all about getting high—America’s acceptance of the medicinal use of marijuana is also showing up more frequently on the small screen. A 2013 episode of the CBS drama Hawaii Five-0 starred octogenarian Carol Burnett as a medical marijuana-using cancer patient. On Showtime, Edie Falco in Nurse Jackie (2009–2015) goes behind her hospital’s back in order to score a sick patient some marijuana. And Laura Linney’s terminally ill cancer patient shares cannabis with her husband in Showtime’s The Big C (2010–2013). The medicinal side of marijuana was also on prominent display in the Discovery Channel’s reality show Weed Wars (2011), which chronicles life at the nation’s largest medical marijuana dispensary, Harborside Health Center in Oakland, Calif. The shortlived series’ most powerful episode revolves around the moving story of a young child racked by violent seizures who becomes nearly seizure-free with the help of medical marijuana. Even the news has been jumping on the green bandwagon; all the major news networks have done specials on the growing legal marijuana industry. In addition, CNN’s Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta made a very public apology to the world in 2013 for misleading them about marijuana. The former anti-cannabis neurosurgeon admitted he had been duped into believing the government propaganda. Gupta had his epiphany while researching Weed, a CNN special on medical marijuana. When he witnessed young Charlotte Figi being cured of debilitating convulsions by cannabis, he could no longer deny the truth or stand silent about the government’s interference in medical and scientific research. In 2014, Gupta doubled down on marijuana and came out with Weed 2: Cannabis Madness [a CNN special report] to explore the subject further. Excerpted from Mary Jane: The Complete Marijuana Guide for Women, by Cheri Sicard. Published by Seal Press, members of the Perseus Books Group. Copyright © 2015.

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1 Gift Cards by KushKards Holiday-themed “Kards” are among a selection of 16 available on their website and at several Denver pot shops. The novelty is that they have a slot to add a “pre-rolled item of choice.” Price: $8 per card



Glass Accessory by Phuncky Feel Tips

Outerwear by HoodLamb

Created by B-Real, these glass tips are named after the Cypress Hill song “The Phuncky Feel One.” Cosponsored by Roor, they come in multiple colors and styles. Just attach a joint and light up for a clear hit.

Known for their hemp parkas, Dutch company HoodLamb offers numerous styles of jackets and hoodies. The shells are made with 55% hemp and 45% organic cotton, and the linings contain 20% hemp.

Price: $5.99–$49.95

Price: $309–$362


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4 Marijuana Jewelry by King Ice If you like wearing the weed around your neck, on your wrist or even in your mouth, King Ice has several 14K–18K gold pot leaf options, including the 3D Weed Leaves Top Grillz. Price: $20–$200



Leather Work by Andy Cox Andy Cox is currently serving a life sentence in a Louisiana federal prison on a marijuana conspiracy charge. While confined, he does leather work, all hand-sewn. Cox’s products include handbags and wallets. All money raised is deposited into his commissary account. For more info, contact cheri@ Price: $20–$60

Handbags by AnnaBís These elegant handbags come with “secret compartments and tiny little aroma-locking innovations to safely carry a stash of stinky French cheeses or your exotic greens,” according to AnnaBís. The Whoopee Vape Case should be of particular interest to the canna-woman on the go. Price: $120–$295

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7 Cheech & Chong Ugly Xmas Sweater OK, it’s “Ugly”—but this sweater is officially licensed by Cheech & Chong to Atom Age Industries, so it has to be cool, man. Crewneck style (no hoodies), with silkscreened lettering, pot leaves and images. Comes in one color: green, of course. Price: $27.99–$29.99

9 iRollie So you’re out and about, and it’s time to take a smoke break and roll a joint. First you need a flat surface. How about using the back of your iPhone? The iRollie is a mini rolling tray made of hard plastic. Just tuck your phone into the iRollie, turn it over and start rolling. It comes in six colors for iPhone 6 and 6S and iPhone5 and 5S. Price: $14.99–$19.99

8 My Dx Analyzer Rather than wait for a lab to test your weed, you can do it yourself with the My Dx Analyzer. Simply place a bud in the CannaDx Sensor and connect it to your smartphone, and in just a few minutes the device will determine the THC and CBD profiles and terpene levels. It’s pricey, but may be just what the doctor ordered. Price: $699


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Have Yourself A Mary Christmas

Our guide to a pleasant, pressure-free and pot-centric holiday season. By Beth Mann What other time of the year demands good cheer— and that you get along with your family? Not to worry. Here at Freedom Leaf, we care about your mental health. This handy guide to the holiday season contains psychobabble derived from a variety of self-help magazines, but with a merry green twist.

all over the world who have no stash this time of year. Some may possess a paltry collection of roaches dutifully saved all year, hoping to roll a pinner joint to share with loved ones around the Christmas tree. Or they’re forced to scrape their sad little bowls and make the best of what little black goopy tar they can muster. Take a moment to honor these ill-fated stoners.

Avoid Family Conflict.

The holidays are a prime time for arguments with family members. This year, do your best to steer clear of familial run-ins using any of the following helpful responses: • “Hmmm… I’m sorry you feel that way.” • “Hey, let’s talk about this another time.” • “Do you want to discuss this over a bowl of Sour Diesel?” • “Shhh... I’m too high to understand you.” • “Looks like someone needs to smoke a joint.” Often these responses are enough to subdue even the most volatile of holiday situations.

Remember those who are less fortunate than you. It’s easy to get swept away by what you don’t have during the holidays. But don’t forget that there are people


Feel your feelings… or not.

The holidays can evoke some of the darkest and deepest feelings of loss and sadness. We find ourselves waxing nostalgic over holidays past, or missing loved ones who simply aren’t around, whether by distance, death or disinterest. Make some time to feel your feelings. If you sense a good cry coming on, simply allow it to be. Or smoke pot and blissfully numb those feelings until after the holidays, when the pressure is off.

Find a support group.

Why go it alone this year? Support groups can be an invaluable resource of camaraderie. Share with others how you’re feeling and what you need. Undoubtedly, you’ll find that others are struggling too. Then light up to-

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gether and watch those cares go up in a communal cloud of smoke.

Eat well and prioritize smoke-outs.

We all know how easy it is during the holidays for our diets and smoking routines to fall by the wayside. Make sure you eat well and smoke out every day, even if it’s for only 15 minutes.

Don’t be S.A.D.

Seasonal affective disorder is nothing to laugh about… or is it? Even though lack of sunlight affects one in three people, it’s not schizophrenia or a real mental illness. So smoke some weed and spend some time outdoors laughing about another disorder for our neurotic populace to needlessly fret over.

Focus on what really matters… or don’t.

Sure, you could construct a gratitude list detailing the ways in which you’re blessed this holiday, but that takes time, a pencil and paper. Replace gratitude with attitude—the attitude that there’s a boatload of insignificant things you couldn’t care less about. Your list may include: • • • • • • • • • • • • •

The rising cost of citrus fruit The location of your nail clippers The end of the world as we know it The band REM The sanctimonious opinions of your uptight neighbor Owning an electric can opener “Making the grade” Returning that library book on tantric sex Melon liqueur Acid reflux Your loveless marriage The Macarena Paul Ryan


Be aware of overindulgence.

That’s it. Just be aware of it—then continue to overindulge anyway. Since holidays began, people have been overdoing it on food, booze and other consumables. Keep the tradition going strong. Raise a glass (then another, and another and another) to the bloated ancestors who blissfully binged out before you.

Cut back on commitments… completely.

The holidays are a prime time to overcommit, which often leads to exhaustion and blinding resentment. This year, make a clean break. Lock the doors, close the blinds and turn off the phone. When a holiday invitation comes your way, simply respond with a friendly “Thank you, but no fucking way.” People will quickly get the hint that you’re taking your lack of commitment seriously, and soon those invitations will stop and a happy holiday season will be all yours.

So there you have it: a quick-and-easy guide to a pleasant and pressure-free holiday. It just takes the ability to say, “Ho ho, hell no,” to tiresome familial obligations, and a desire to smoke a fat joint by the fireplace instead, just as God intended. Beth Mann is President of Hot Buttered Media and a regular contributor to Freedom Leaf.

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HEMPY HOLIDAY KITCHEN Recipes by Cheri Sicard • Photos by Mitch Mandell Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Solstice, Festivus. Regardless of what holiday you celebrate at this time of year, friends are sure to gather around the table to feast on all their traditional favorites—roast turkey with all the trimmings, stuffing, pumpkin pie and so on. These favorite foods could also contain an extra celebratory ingredient, cannabis, which can present a conundrum for the holiday host: How do you medicate only part of the meal, and clearly separate the medicated dishes from the unmedicated foods, so the wrong people don’t eat the right foods? Answer: Make individual, portion-controlled medicated dishes for specific guests. Forget about medicating the turkey; there really isn’t a reliable way to baste the entire bird with pot. But big-meal side dishes and desserts make a wonderful culinary canvas to enhance with Mary Jane.

Herbed Apple Casseroles I like to use sourdough bread to cut into cubes for this fruity recipe, but you can use other types of savory breads, as well. • 2 tbsp. cannabis-infused butter • 1/2 cup diced onion • 1/2 cup diced celery • 1/3 cup peeled, diced apple • 2 tsp. minced garlic • 2 tbsp. minced fresh Italian parsley • 4 cups stale bread cubes • 1 large egg • 1 cup chicken or turkey stock • 1 tsp. dried thyme • 3/4 tsp. dried sage • Salt and pepper to taste • 4 teaspoons butter, plus extra for greasing ramekins

Melt canna-butter in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add onion, celery, apple and garlic, and cook, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes or until softened. Stir in the thyme, sage, salt and pepper. Add to a large bowl along with the bread cubes, parsley and egg. Mix well. Add stock and mix until all ingredients are combined. Divide among the prepared ramekins. Dot butter on top of each ramekin and bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until cooked through and starting to brown on top. Serves: 4

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Butter four 1-cup ramekins. Set aside.


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Tips for Hosting the Holiday Meal I’ve singlehandedly served a full holiday dinner, everything homemade from scratch, for as many as 40 people. Here are my tips for hosts and hostesses: • Don’t do it all yourself: Guests are more than happy to help. Assign different people different dishes, so you don’t have to take on the entire meal and expense. I usually do the turkey, the dressing and the desserts, and let others help with the rest. • Organize, organize, organize: Make lists, including a detailed shopping list, so you don’t have to run out for forgotten items. Create a timeline of everything that needs to get done before the big meal and when it needs to get done by. Allow time for housecleaning, and washing tablecloths and napkins, and make sure you have enough roasting pans and serving dishes. • Make dishes ahead of time: Many recipes can be prepared in advance. Make a list of everything you possibly can do early and how far in advance you can do it, and then get those chores out of the way as soon as possible. For instance, the pumpkin cheesecakes, dressing, kugel, casserole and streusel topping for the sweet potatoes in this article can be made several days in advance.

Kushy Kugel The ultimate Jewish comfort food—rich egg noodles baked with a slightly sweet, raisin-studded creamy butter sauce. • 3/4 lb. egg noodles • 1/4 cup cannabis-infused butter, melted • 1/4 cup butter, melted • 1 lb. cottage cheese • 2 cups sour cream

• 1/2 cup sugar • 6 large eggs • 1 tsp. cinnamon • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg • 1/2 cup raisins

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Butter 8 small, 1/2-cup ramekins. Set aside. Heat a large pot of salted water to boiling, add noodles and cook for about 4 minutes—noodles should still be al dente. Drain. In a large bowl, mix cooked noodles with remaining ingredients and toss to combine well. Divide among the prepared 1/2-cup ramekins. Bake until they set and tops are beginning to brown, about 30 minutes. Serve warm. Serves: 6

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Streusel Stuffed Sweet Leaf Potatoes Your dab torch will come in handy for this recipe. • 4 large sweet potatoes or yams • 1/2 cup brown sugar • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon • 1/4 tsp. salt • 2 tbsp. cannabis-infused butter, chilled • 2 tbsp. butter, chilled • 1/3 cup chopped toasted pecan pieces • 1/3 cup miniature marshmallows Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Scrub potatoes well and prick with a fork several times. Bake for about 40 minutes or until a knife inserted into the potato goes in easily. While sweet potatoes are baking, prepare topping. In a medium bowl, mix together brown sugar, flour, cinnamon and salt until well combined. Cut butters into small pieces and, using a fork, mix with sugar mixture until topping resembles coarse crumbs. (You can also use a food processor.) Stir in the pecans and set aside. When potatoes are cooked, remove from oven and slice them down the center lengthwise. Push the ends toward the middles so the potatoes open up. Stuff each potato generously with topping and return to oven and bake for about 15 minutes more or until sugar and butter are melted and bubbling. Remove and top each potato with miniature marshmallows. Return to the oven just until marshmallows start to brown, about 6 minutes. For a better presentation, add marshmallows to the potatoes and simply use your dab torch to quickly brown the tops. Serve immediately. Serves: 4


Mini Pumpkin Cheeba Cheesecakes Use ramekins to make each guest their own individual medicated pumpkin cheesecake. Crust • Butter for greasing ramekins • 3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs • 3 tbsp. melted cannabis-infused butter Filling • 8 oz. cream cheese • 1/2 cup sugar • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree, fresh or canned • 1 large egg • 1 tsp. vanilla extract • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon • 1/2 tsp. ground ginger • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg • 1/8 tsp. ground cloves Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter six 1/2-cup sized ramekins. Melt canna-butter and mix with graham cracker crumbs. Use your fingers to press a layer of crust mixture over the bottom and about halfway up the sides of each prepared ramekin. Prebake crusts for 5 minutes. Remove from oven and prepare the filling. In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat cream cheese and sugar until fluffy. Add pumpkin, egg, vanilla and spices, mixing until just combined (do not overbeat). Spoon into each ramekin until 2/3 full. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until set with a slightly jiggly center and puffing around the edges. Cool completely in ramekins (don’t worry if the center sinks). Once cool, run a knife around the inside edge of ramekin and carefully invert to remove cake. Place each cake on a serving plate. Fill center with a dollop of whipped cream garnished with a slight dusting of nutmeg. Serves: 6

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Holiday Cooking Tips Cranberry Sauce: Stir some decarboxylated kief or ground hash into your favorite cranberry sauce recipe about a minute before the end of cooking. Chill as usual. Salad Dressings: Use canna-oil in your favorite salad dressing recipes. Coffee or Hot Chocolate: Stir a little decarboxylated kief discreetly into a hot cup of coffee or chocolate, and you have an instant medicated beverage. Ramekins to the Rescue: These small, round porcelain dishes are the medicated cook’s best friend. I use them to make individual-sized portions of edibles that are clearly separate from the rest of the meal.

They’re so inexpensive ($1–$2 each) that you can afford to buy lots of them. Ramekins are easy to tuck into small spaces around bigger baking pans in the oven, a real plus since oven real estate is always at a premium when making a large dinner. Gravy: Swap in canna-butter for the butter in the roux that forms the base of many gravy recipes. To preserve the THC, cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, just until the roux has the right consistency (be careful not to brown it), before adding the pan drippings. Mac and Cheese, Mashed Potatoes and Pie Crusts: These holiday meal staples contain plenty of butter that can be partially or fully swapped out for canna-butter.

Ganja Green Bean Mini Casseroles This classic comfort food side dish is an integral part of the holiday feast. • 3 cups fresh green beans, tips removed, halved widthwise • 2 tbsp. cannabis-infused butter • 1 tbsp. butter • 1/2 cup diced yellow onions • 1 cup sliced mushrooms • 1 can (2.8 ounces) cream of mushroom soup • 1-1/2 cups French-fried onions, divided • Salt and pepper to taste Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Butter four 1-cup ramekins. Bring a large pot of water to boil over high heat. Add beans and cook for 3 to 4 minutes (they should still be semi-crisp). Drain beans and set aside. Melt the canna-butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions and mushrooms and cook, stirring, until softened, about 5

minutes. Remove from heat and add the drained beans, cream of mushroom soup, 3/4 cup of the French-fried onions, and salt and pepper. Stir to combine well and divide among 1-cup ramekins. Top with remaining fried onions and bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until heated through and beans are tender. Serves: 4 Cheri Sicard is author of The Cannabis Gourmet Cookbook and Mary Jane: The Complete Marijuana Handbook for Women.

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Songwriter. Outlaw. Legend.

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

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

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


Jamaica Hosts The

Cannabi s Cup Despite high prices and moderate attendance, the first High Times Cannabis Cup held in Jamaica was lively, marking the island’s transition to legalization.


By Rick Pfrommer

amaica has long been associated with sun, sand and sinsemilla, and weed aficionados from around the planet have long traveled to the Caribbean isle for inexpensive cannabis. Bob Marley and other reggae greats extolled the virtues of the “collie weed” while chronicling the oppression suffered by Jamaicans and poor people worldwide. Legendary sativas of yore, like the fabled Lambs Bread, are hard to find, but popular strains from Holland, Canada and the U.S. have taken their place. Sour Diesel, Purple Skunk and Kush crosses now dominate the Jamaican ganja scene. Negril, on Jamaica’s Northwest coast, is the country’s epicenter of both growing and selling ganja. As Amsterdam has rapidly become less tolerant—police raided the Cannabis Cup there twice in the last three years—High Times decided to move the event to Negril. Working with local Rastafarian elders, High Times secured permission from Rastafari Rootzfest to not only have a cannabis competition, but to actually allow on-site sales. Jamaica’s new cannabis law, which went into effect last April, allows Rastas to possess up to two ounces and cultivate up to five plants under the law’s religious freedom section. Tourists with valid medical marijuana cards from any state or country can purchase ganja without fear of


being arrested. High Times planned this Cup on relatively short notice, and the turnout was low; maybe a thousand people or so attended (one-third the usual Amsterdam registrations). The cost of an event pass was $270 U.S. for the four-day event, or $90 per day. For $500, VIP tickets came with a T-shirt and access to a VIP area with a few chairs (and no beverages or food). The admission for Jamaicans was $20 U.S. per day, which might seem reasonable until one understands that the minimum wage in Jamaica is equivalent to $55 U.S. per week. As a result, most of the Jamaicans in the vicinity were at the parking lot across the street—a booming marketplace of food, crafts and copious amounts of ganja. The sight of the Jamaican police protecting people openly selling far more than two ounces was an inspiring sight. All manner of folks, from Rasta elders to young hustlers, were openly displaying pounds of freshly harvested ganja stalks. Inside the event, the herb was laid out on tables, farmers’-market style. There were actually two events happening next to each other. High Times and the vendors—mostly seed companies from Canada, like B.C Bud Depot, that each paid $2,500 U.S. for a booth—were set up in a hot, muddy field with no shade other than their tents. On the beach, under

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the shade of trees, the Rastafari Rootzfest hosted vendor stalls of their own, filled with local crafts like woodcarvings and steam chalices (water pipes made from a coconut with a bamboo stem and clay bowl). Many of the Rastas walked around openly puffing in front of the police. Others engaged the police in serious discussions about the herb and freedom. This was a scene that even a year ago few even dreamed was possible in Jamaica. The police, for their part, looked bored more than anything else. The ganja entered into the Cup was not very impressive, even by Jamaican standards; most strains were stringy, poorly cured sativas. There were also categories for herb from the States and Canada. (The judging for these had been done in San Francisco a week before the Cup started.) Much better herb was available at the various Cup booths—although the best could actually be found across the street in the impromptu herb village. There are three or four growing seasons in Jamaica of between 60 and 75 days. In the short seasons, plants only reach about a foot or two high and yield up to an ounce each. The long season— from April or May until October or November—produces the best flowers. These plants, which can reach four or five feet tall and yield a quarter-pound or more per plant, were being sold at the Rootzfest. In the growing regions, such as famed Orange Hill, herb sells for about $200 U.S. a pound, with ounces going for around $20– $30. Ice or bubble hash has become quite popular in Jamaica over the last decade, and sells for $5–$10 a gram.


A seminar at the Cannabis Cup in Jamaica.

An attendee of Kyle Kushman and Susie Ambrose’s wedding holds the ganja bouquet.

Prices at the event for local herb were more than double those given above—although price is ultimately determined by how much a buyer will pay and how good they are at bargaining with the seller. The eventual local Cup winners all came from Orange Hill, including second place for a Pineapple cross grown by Ziggy, a friend of this writer. Overall, the Jamaica Cup was a success, though many locals and some others complained that the price of admission was too high. Initially, High Times tried to charge local growers $1,000 U.S. to enter the competition, but when they received almost no entries, that provision was dropped. Even with the high admission prices for attendees and vendors, most seemed to enjoy the event. The freedom that can now be experienced in Jamaica is special indeed. This Cup enjoyed the most freedom yet—not only to smoke cannabis, but also to openly sell it. Jamaica’s history of cannabis oppression truly seems to be reaching an end. Rick Pfrommer is former Director of Education and Outreach at Harborside Health Center in Oakland, Calif. and is currently running his own consulting company, PfrommerNow.

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Advanced Cannabis Science

La b La dies 420


Women are on the cutting edge of quality testing and safety regulations in the marijuana industry. By Jahan Marcu, Ph.D.


hese days, women are not just cannabusiness executives, but true leaders in technology development, consumer safety and implementing regulations. Here are profiles of three female members of the American Chemical Society (ACS) Cannabis Subdivision, which, among other things, hopes to guide young scientists into the marijuana workforce. The ACS is the largest and oldest chemists’ society in the United States.

Quality Control Melissa Wilcox is Marketing Manager at Grace Discovery Sciences in Columbia, Md. and co-founder of the American Chem- Melissa Wilcox: “Cannabis is ical Society Canreally an extension nabis Subdivision. of the natural Best known for her products industry.” work on developing next-generation universal evaporative light-scattering detectors, she turned techniques such as flash chromatography into workhorses of the natural products world. Specifically, Wilcox has adapted flash chromatography to obtain reliable testing values from cannabis edibles—gummies, brownies, soda, pasta sauce and extracts.


How did a conservative specialty materials company like Grace Discovery Sciences, whose products usually cater to more traditional industries like pharma and biotech, enter the cannabis arena? Wilcox says she was “driven to see if our technology could be applied to cannabis analysis, or cannabis applications in general. The other thing is that I’ve always been interested in plants like cannabis and the science behind them. Cannabis is really an extension of the natural products industry. But this is a little more complicated due to its Schedule I status.” Wilcox believes organizations such as the American Chemical Society, the American Oil Chemists’ Society (AOCS) and others are going to help ensure product safety and quality, and guide states and maybe even the federal government to create sensible policies and regulations for these products. Beginning a career with professional training is key, Wilcox insists. “It certainly helps to have a background in pharmacognosy,” she says. “If your goal is to analyze cannabis or other natural products, having degrees is certainly going to help. There are a lot of good people making sure we have the right methods, tests and quality control in place, so that this industry can grow and flourish without harming anyone in the process.”

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For young professionals considering a career in cannabis, it helps to have a background in the science of horticulture and genetics. “I get a lot of inquiries from students about what classes to take to work in a cannabis lab,” Despress says. “I usually suggest going heavy on the analytical chemistry—70% chemistry and 30% microbiology.”

Reconsidering the Cannabis Plant Heather Despress: “My second day at CannLabs, I asked if we could get rid of everything they were doing and start over.”

More Than a Lab Coat Heather Despress, a former Lab Director at CannLabs, did her chemistry studies at the University of Colorado at Denver. With a strong analytical chemistry background, Despress hopes her work will spur every state to get on the same page regarding laboratory and testing regulations. While sitting on Colorado’s Amendment 64 task force, a state deputy attorney general passed her resume along to CannLabs, who hired her. She immediately began pushing the company to validate their methods and become compliant with industry standards, employing state-of-theart techniques. “My second day at CannLabs, I asked if we could get rid of everything they were doing and start over,” Despress recalls. Gender biases in the cannabis industry almost got the best of her at times. At one conference, she says, “an expo guy came to me said, ‘What are you doing here, sweetie? Where’s your bikini? Under your lab coat?’ It was infuriating. “That doesn’t happen so much now,” Despress continues. “The whole industry is upping its game. We’re seeing a lot more scientific and business conferences with higher expectations.” She hopes to continue analyzing cannabis, and is planning to attend training in January to become a cannabis laboratory auditor for Patient Focused Certification, an international program offered by Americans for Safe Access.


Several years ago, a dispensary contacted physical chemist and psychologist Susan Audino. “A friend of my brother said they needed me to work as Susan Audino: their quality control,” “Consumers Audino tells Freedom have a right Leaf. After first spurnto know what ing the offer, she beis safe, and this gan researching the is driving my plant and attending activity now.” conferences. “When I sat with Raphael Mechoulam at a Patients Out of Time conference, that completely changed my idea of cannabis,” Audino says, referring to the legendary Israeli chemist who discovered THC. “Consumers have a right to know what is safe, and this is driving my activity now.” Audino currently works an assessor for the American Association for Lab Accreditation (A2LA). She’s also a member of the A2LA Cannabis/Marijuana Team and the AOCS Cannabis Expert Review Panel. Her interests, however, go beyond product safety. As a psychologist, Audino is inspired by the diversity of the cannabis industry. “How many times in a person’s life is there a movement that is anthropological, social, legal and medical?” she asks rhetorically. “It’s a rare mix in someone’s lifetime. The most rewarding careers are those that typically come with no name, and that you create yourself. My advice is to think outside the box and be open to opportunities.” Dr. Jahan Marcu is Freedom Leaf’s Science Editor and Director of R&D for Green Standard Diagnostics.

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Chrissie Hynde, Reckless: My Life as a Pretender An all-American girl from Akron, Ohio, Chrissie Hynde was a typical baby boomer. She fell in love with the music and style of the British Invasion and early soul, and got her first kiss from singer Jackie Wilson while barely in her teens at an R&B concert, then experienced the disillusionment of the ’70s while at Kent State, where she witnessed the National Guard massacre students. Hynde’s new autobiography, Reckless, doesn’t discuss the formation of her chart-topping band, the Pretenders, in 1978 until two-thirds through the book. Her tale reveals some very dark times—including the controversial gang rape at the hands of what she refers to as the “Heavy Bikers”—likely her pseudonym for the Hell’s Angels (no doubt at the suggestion of a vetting lawyer). Hynde had a thirst for tattooed bad boys, booze and drugs along with the rock & roll that fueled her dreams, and her remarkable tale places her, Zeliglike, at several momentous occasions— from meeting guitarist Chris Spedding, who helped her gain a foothold as a writer and then a performer, to ending up in bed with longtime idol Iggy Pop. Traveling back and forth north to Toronto and south to Mexico, stumbling from her beloved Midwest across the ocean to Paris and London, Hynde was there when the Sex Pistols were created; was briefly a member of bands that eventually became the Clash and the Damned; and hung on the scene as both a journalist for New Musical Express and a shopkeeper for Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood, in between gigs as a waitress (famously put to use in the video for “Brass in Pocket”), bartender, cleaning lady and artist model. Throughout her colorful tale, there’s plenty of drugs and music, but surprisingly little sex; along with money and fame,


Chrissie Hynde is a founding member of the chart-topping rock band, the Pretenders.

sensual pleasure doesn’t seem to interest Hynde much. She only briefly describes a tempestuous relationship and brief marriage to one of her idols, the Kinks’ Ray Davies, and offers nothing at all of her later pairing with Simple Minds’ Jim Kerr. In many ways, Reckless rips the glamorous facade off rock & roll to expose its nasty underbelly. The book’s blurb describes Hynde as the ultimate survivor, and you get a sense of her strength from this story, in which she’s hardest on herself. That Hynde named her band the Pretenders is no accident: Even though she admits it came from a biker boyfriend who secretly admired Sam Cooke’s “The Great Pretender,” the moniker also refers to her own lack of self-confidence and belief in her abilities, which even success couldn’t quite overcome. Hynde carries her past like a burden she’s unable to shed, and in some ways seems incapable of enjoying her own achievements. Maybe Hynde was just doomed to dissatisfaction after an idyllic childhood underneath that cherry tree on Hillcrest Street where she grew up. She doesn’t even mention “My City Was Gone” in Reckless, but that betrayal, the loss of her

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Reckless rips the glamorous facade off rock & roll to expose its nasty underbelly. hometown to urban sprawl and neglect, permeates every page of this bittersweet memoir. Never has such a thrilling rock & roll life seemed so joyless, even if Hynde’s indomitable spirit and work transcend that despair. Reckless ends with the deaths of bandmates Jimmy Honeyman-Scott, from a co-

Tokin’ Women: A 4000-Year Herstory of Women and Marijuana Penned by herstorian Nola Evangelista (a.k.a. Ellen Komp, Deputy Director of California NORML), Tokin’ Women introduces readers to 50 fascinating and influential females, both actual and mythical, who had or have a relationship with marijuana. These individuals run the gamut, from Ishtar, an ancient goddess who brought the sacred herb to the mortal masses, to stars and starlets whose careers and lives were destroyed by Reefer Madness, to brave, pioneering women who have had the courage to rebel against society’s

caine overdose, and bassist Pete Farndon, who drowned after a heroin OD, followed by a couple of paragraphs that reveal she’s stopped drinking and taking drugs, and now relies on the Bhagavad Gita for spiritual guidance. The quintessential rebel without a cause, Hynde continues to tirelessly support her issues; she’s a radical vegan, and backs the legalization of marijuana. But in Reckless, her drug of choice is mostly alcohol, while her nod to the joys of herb is offered by a detailed explanation of how she learned to roll a European joint, with hash sprinkled onto a dismantled cigarette with a cardboard filter. Hynde may be reckless, but she’s never less than practical. — Roy Trakin rules and stigmas about cannabis. You’ll recognize many of the names, such as Elizabeth Taylor, Barbra Streisand, Miley Cyrus, Sarah Silverman and other A-list celebrities. However, some of the more obscure women come with the most compelling stories, including adventurous explorers (Gertrude Bell, Iris Tree); pioneers in art, science and literature (Alice B. Toklas, Louisa May Alcott); and other powerful women who lived their lives according to their own rules. Check out some of the cited source materials for more in-depth biographies of these inspiring, free-thinking women. Each profile is confined to two pages. The entry on Queen Victoria offers a snapshot of women using cannabis during pregnancy, from ancient times to the present; and the pages on Mary Todd Lincoln veer into an overview of hemp production in Kentucky and the U.S., along with the First Lady’s personal connections to the plant. Tokin’ Women is a fun yet educational stocking stuffer that should appeal not only to women, but to anyone interested in cannabis herstory. — Cheri Sicard

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Freedom Leaf Magazine - December 2015  

December 2015 - Issue 11: Whoopi Goldberg, Mary Jane in Hollywood, Holiday Gift Guide and Recipes, and The Women of Cannabis