Freedom Leaf Magazine - Jan. / Feb. 2016

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Cover photo of Justin Trudeau from Northern Tour 2015 via Facebook

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Freedom leaf goes global As we roll into 2016, Freedom Leaf has big plans. Our goal is to produce the best marijuana magazine on the market. We know we have a lot of competition, but we’re up to the challenge. Thanks to our terrific staff and contributors, Freedom Leaf’s 12th issue and first of 2016 sets the bar particularly high. It’s a presidential election year— that alone will fill plenty of pages. And with a half-dozen statewide legalization initiatives expected to be on the ballot in November, our focus is clear. To help you get a better handle on the primary and caucus season, we asked Erik Altieri to break it all down and make some predictions (page 40). Besides what’s happening in the U.S., major cannabis rumblings are occurring both North of the border, in Canada, and South, in Uruguay. Our international specialist Bill Weinberg provides a geopolitical look at Canada, with a particular focus on the October election of Liberal Party leader Justin Trudeau as the country’s new Prime Minister (page 28). During the campaign, Trudeau promised to legalize and regulate marijuana. Plans are moving ahead, but will international treaties and the Conservative Party get in the way?


The situation is different in Uruguay, the tiny South American nation that legalized cannabis in 2013, and only now is readying to make cheap, government-grown weed available to the country’s 3.3 million residents. Amanda Reiman has been to Uruguay twice since the dramatic policy change. On page 34, Reiman reports on her latest visit to Montevideo and Uruguay’s second annual Cannabis Expo, which she found delightfully devoid of “business presentations on marketing, branding, investing, economic growth and banking.” Reiman argues that Uruguay’s bottom-up approach to legalization—giving stakeholders a chance to participate instead of being swept aside by corporate entities—is preferable to the top-down boom that’s happening in the States. It’s winter, and that means people are skiing, snowboarding and watching football. Our senior editor, Chris Goldstein, digs deep into his memory to recall his experiences working at a New Mexico ski area nearly 20 years ago. Long known as a haven for pot smokers, Goldstein takes us on a snowy journey up and down the slopes and into the caves where stoners lurk. My main contribution to this issue is

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EDITOR’S note The Steves: DeAngleo (left) and Bloom.

the Freedom Leaf interview with former NFL All-Pro lineman Kyle Turley, who’s leading the charge to bring awareness of how marijuana can help players suffering from both orthopedic and neurological conditions they sustained on the football field. Without cannabis, Turley would still be on a steady diet of painkillers, muscle relaxers and psychiatric meds. Turley founded the Gridiron Cannabis Coalition as a way for players to unite around medical marijuana. “Cannabis,” Turley contends, “will save football.” But first, the NFL has to embrace it, which he contends won’t happen until the federal government ends pot prohibition. Another important figure in this issue is Steve DeAngelo, my old friend from NORML and the hemp company Ecolu-

tion, who’s gone on to big things since he moved from Washington, D.C. to California, where he co-founded the world’s largest dispensary, Harborside Health Center, in Oakland. DeAngelo is the author of The Cannabis Manifesto, and is traveling coast to coast giving readings and seminars, attended by rapt cannabistas. (Check out Matt Chelsea’s coverage on 24.) I caught up with DeAngelo at a HighNY event, where he signed my copy of his book: “Be well, be free.” That’s a great message for the readers of Freedom Leaf: Be well, be free, indeed!

FOUNDERS Richard C. Cowan & Clifford J. Perry


PUBLISHER & CEO Clifford J. Perry




SENIOR EDITOR Chris Goldstein

CONTRIBUTORS Erik Altieri, Ngaio Bealum, Matt Chelsea, Frances Fu, Becky Garrison, Jazmin Hupp, Norm Kent, Ellen Komp, Mitch Mandell, Beth Mann, Mikki Norris, Lex Pelger, Rick Pfrommer, Amanda Reiman, Cheri Sicard, Roy Trakin, Bill Weinberg


Steve Bloom S teve Bloom Editor-in-Chief

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.

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Cannabis Reform Sprouts International Roots Mexico, Costa Rica, Chile, Colombia Make Moves While the U.S. has been drawing most of the attention regarding marijuana legalization, other countries around the world are also showing real progress. In this issue, we report on the latest developments in Canada (page 28) and Uruguay (page 34). Much has been happening in Mexico, Costa Rica, Chile, Colombia and Australia, as well. Mexico decriminalized possession of up to five grams in 2009, along with the downgrading of penalties for “personal use amounts” of all drugs. Last November, the Mexican Supreme Court issued a landmark ruling that declared overall prohibition unconstitutional in a case

brought by four citizens. While it only applies to the plaintiffs who have since been given special permits to grow, possess and use cannabis, the high court’s decision significantly moves the marijuana issue forward, and politicians have begun holding meetings around Mexico to explore how best to legalize marijuana in the country. Due to its almost year-round outdoor growing climate and proximity to the U.S., Mexico has been a key supplier of marijuana to America for more than a century. But tighter post-9/11 border security, shifting U.S. laws and an American appetite for higher-quality cannabis has seen the market for Mexican mota shrink considerably. The Supreme Court ruling could spur

Australia: Medical Marijuana Down Under

The marijuana legalization spirit is strong in Australia’s biggest city, Sydney.

In October, Australia joined the medical marijuana movement, announcing plans to allow the cultivation, distribution and possession of cannabis for such purposes. The shift occurred after more than a quarter-million Aussies signed a petition urging the government to take action. One of the first proposed growing sites will be on Christmas Island, which is actually closer to Indonesia than Australia. AusCann hopes to begin planting on the island this spring, and the government plans to conduct extensive scientific research into the efficacy of cannabis for a variety of conditions. Supporters of full legalization were buoyed by the decision. Possession for personal use is a crime in Australia, with penalties varying around the country. Attitudes about cannabis Down Under are generally relaxed among citizens, but enforcement remains intense. There were 62,000 marijuana arrests in 2014, representing 80% of all drug arrests on the continent of 23 million people.


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EVENTS February 6 Medical Marijuana Benefit Concert Gramps, Miami February 13–14 International Cannabis Business Conf. Hyatt Regency, San Francisco February 18–20

hundreds of similar lawsuits unless legislative reform is enacted. If the court rules four more times in a similar manner, it will effectively legalize marijuana for Mexico’s 125 million citizens. Mexico is moving to legalize medical marijuana, as well; Senator Cristina Diaz has sponsored a bill that she expects will pass by the summer. South of Mexico, in Central America, another landmark court ruling was delivered in Costa Rica on Jan. 19 when a local criminal court acquitted lawyer Mario Alberto Cerdas Salazar, who was arrested for growing 170 marijuana plants in a rooftop garden. The ruling affirmed that specifics of prohibition laws only apply to those who sell or traffic in cannabis, not grow it for personal use. The ruling could have wider implications in Costa Rica because it affirms that consuming cannabis is not a crime. Another surprise came in December when Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos signed a decree legalizing medical cannabis. The South American country is considering several new approaches to drug policy, after being a haven for violent cartels for decades. Further South, in Chile, the world’s largest medical cannabis garden was unveiled in January. More than 1.5 tons of government-grown cannabis is expected to be supplied to 4,000 patients this year. Chile is also considering decriminalization for personal-use amounts.

CannaCon Smith Cove Cruise Terminal, Seattle February 27 9 Mile Music Festival Virginia Key Beach, Miami February 27–28 Southwest Cannabis Conference + Expo Fort Worth Convention Center March 3–5 Marijuana Investor Summit Hilton Union Square, San Francisco March 7–9 CannaTech Summit Sheva, Tel Aviv, Israel March 11–13 Spannabis Barcelona, Spain March 19 Cannabis Grand Cru Fremont Foundry, Seattle

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Bernie Sanders Wants to De-Schedule Marijuana U.S. Senator and presidential candidate Bernie Sanders spurred a new wave of federal marijuana reform in November when he introduced a bill that would definitively end national prohibition. The legislation, S2237, seeks to de-schedule marijuana, removing it completely from the federal Controlled Substances Act (CSA). Elegantly simple compared to other, voluminous bills in Congress, S2237 carefully untangles cannabis from the entrenchments of an antiquated and ineffective policy. The concept of removing marijuana from the CSA’s Schedule I is far from new; former Pennsylvania Governor Raymond P. Shafer proposed the same solution in 1972. When the CSA was created in 1970, drugs were divided up into five “schedules.” Those substances deemed to be without any medical value and with a high potential for abuse, like heroin and LSD, were placed in the most restricted category, Schedule I—along with cannabis. Other drugs were tightly regulated, but not outright prohibited, and put into

Sanders’ Senate bill would remove marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act.

Schedule II, like cocaine and opiates. Despite the fact that the Shafer Commission concluded marijuana possession should be a non-criminal offense, the Nixon administration ignored those recommendations and relegated cannabis to the harshest schedule. This has kept cannabis illegal for the last 45 years. (Marijuana was officially prohibited federally in 1937.) Sanders’ bill would finally correct a decades-old wrong that’s seen tens of millions of Americans arrested, jailed and discriminated against. The bill has been referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Vermont Governor Backs Legalization Effort While Colorado, Washington, Oregon and Alaska have all legalized marijuana via ballot initiatives since 2012, no state legislature has Vermont Governor yet to follow that Peter Shumlin lead. However, at least one governor who will sign legislation if it ends up on his desk. Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin endorsed legalization during his final State of the State address on Jan. 7, when he called on the legislature to “craft the right bill that thoughtfully and carefully eliminates the era of prohibition that is currently failing us so miserably.” A bipartisan Vermont Senate bill


sponsored by Democrat Jeanette White and Republican Joe Benning proposes to legalize possession of up to one ounce of marijuana, and personal cultivation in plots of up to 100 square feet, and to create as many as 86 adult-use stores and 46 smoking lounges. “I’m committed to bringing awareness to the failures of marijuana prohibition, and working toward a safer Vermont,” added former state Attorney General Kimberly Cheney. “Without further delay, the Vermont Legislature should move forward with plans to regulate marijuana in 2016.” Vermont legalized medical marijuana in 2004, and decriminalized recreational use in 2013. “I believe we have the capacity to take this next step and get marijuana legalization done right,” stated Gov. Shumlin.

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Federal Judge Denies Bank for Marijuana Businesses On Jan. 5, a federal judge in Denver rejected a bid by Fourth Corner Credit Union, which aims to serve cannabis businesses in Colorado, to receive full accreditation from the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas. Currently, banks are restricted by federal law from transacting with businesses that cultivate, process or sell marijuana. Medical marijuana establishments and retail cannabis stores in the U.S. can’t process credit cards, write checks or get bank loans for property or investment, and are left without safe places to deposit money. Specialized security firms have sprung up that operate fleets of armored vehicles staffed with armed guards, who pick up cash from cannabis businesses and secure it in safes and steel vaults. A glimmer of hope emerged in 2014 when the Department of the Treasury’s Financial Crime Enforcement Network issued a set of guidelines for banks intending to work with cannabis businesses. Fourth Corner Credit Union had received a routing number from the American Bankers Association, and several high-profile endorsements, including support from Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper.

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper thinks banks should work with cannabusinesses.

But the National Credit Union Administration refused to issue a charter to Fourth Corner, and the Federal Reserve Bank denied their application to assign a master account. Both are required for a legitimate bank to operate with other financial institutions. Federal District Judge R. Brooke Jackson sided with the Federal Reserve, which argued that because marijuana is illegal under federal law, money from cannabis businesses should not be allowed into the banking system. The Marijuana Businesses Access to Banking Act of 2015 was introduced in Congress last year in both the House and Senate. There was no action on the legislation, however. The district court ruling means cannabis businesses will remain cash-only until federal marijuana reform happens.

Delaware and Pittsburgh Decriminalize Possession On Dec. 18, Delaware enacted its marijuana decriminalization law. The First State joins 18 others, including neighboring Maryland, along with dozens of U.S. municipalities, in downgrading simple possession. Now, adults 21 and over found in possession of one ounce or less will receive a $100 civil fine. Meanwhile, the Pittsburgh City Council passed a decrim bill by a vote of 7 to 2, which was signed into law by Mayor Bill Peduto on Dec. 22. The measure applies to less than 30 grams of marijuana, and up to eight grams of hash or hash oil. Fines will range from $25 to $100. “We’re very happy that the two largest cities in the Commonwealth have

embraced cannabis reform,” says Pittsburgh NORML’s Executive Director Patrick Nightingale. Philadelphia enacted a similar policy in 2014. Arrests in the City of Brotherly Love are down almost 80% since the change.

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Pittsburgh NORML Deputy Director Theresa Nightingale



Will 2016 Be a Banner Year for Marijuana Reform? It’s 2016 and the smell of personal freedom is in the air. According to the latest Gallup poll, 58% of Americans—both smokers and non-smokers—support ending marijuana prohibition and adopting a system of legal regulation. Since cannabis users comprise only 14% of the voting public, it’s absolutely crucial to retain the support of a majority of non-smokers if legalization is going to move beyond Colorado, Washington State, Oregon and Alaska. There will likely be full-legalization voter initiatives on the ballot in at least five states come November. The best news is the agreement reached by most of the major players in California to coalesce behind one initiative, the Adult Use of Marijuana Act (AUMA), with crucial leadership being provided by Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom. (For more on AUMA, turn to page 18.) The other states that appear poised to approve full legalization via voter initiatives in 2016 are Arizona, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada and possibly Michigan. Needless to say, if all six states, including California, approve these initiatives, 2016 will truly be a banner year for cannabis law reform. In addition to winning full legalization in these new states, a priority this year must be to circle back to those states that have legalized marijuana to fix the employment, social-use and child-custody issues. No parent should be presumed unfit simply because he or she smokes marijuana. Before challenging parents’ right to maintain custody of their children, state child welfare agencies should be


required to have evidence of actual child abuse or neglect, not the mere presence of marijuana. The same is true for marijuana users’ employment rights. No employer should be allowed to fire a worker for testing positive for THC without showing that the individual was impaired on the job. Even in legal states, employees can still be fired for having THC in their systems (it can be detected more than a month after use), and this happens to thousands of hardworking Americans each year. Legislation is needed to fix this problem in all states, but especially in those that have legalized medical or recreational use.

There will likely be fulllegalization voter initiatives on the ballot in at least five states come November. Lastly, it’s time lounges are approved in states that have legalized marijuana. There’s absolutely no valid reason to deny users the right to congregate and enjoy their favorite herb in social settings outside of their homes. Alaska has begun to plan for marijuana cafes located in some of the retail outlets that are expected to open by midyear, and in Denver there have been some early efforts, not yet successful, to legalize pot smoking in bars and lounges. The stage is set for some incredible advances in 2016—progress that should demonstrate beyond any doubt that we’ve passed the tipping point in this country regarding the legalization of marijuana. Keith Stroup founded NORML in 1970 and currently serves as Legal Counsel for NORML, as well as for Freedom Leaf.

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Overcoming Opiates with Cannabinoids By Paul Armentano Can cannabis play a role in helping people addicted to illegal or prescription opiates? Several recent studies say yes. Most recently, last year researchers at Columbia University assessed the use of cannabinoids versus placebos in the treatment of opioid-dependent subjects who were given naltrexone, an opiate receptor antagonist. Investigators reported that the administration of oral THC (dronabinol, a.k.a. Marinol) during the detoxification process lowered the severity of subjects’ withdrawal symptoms compared to placebo, but that these positive effects did not persist long-term. By contrast, patients who consumed herbal cannabis during the outpatient treatment phase were more readily able to sleep, reported experiencing less anxiety and were more likely to complete their treatment. “One of the interesting study findings was the observed beneficial effect of marijuana smoking on treatment retention,” the authors concluded in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence. “Participants who smoked marijuana had less difficulty with sleep and anxiety and were more likely to remain in treatment as compared to those who were not using marijuana, regardless of whether they were taking dronabinol or placebo.” Recent observational data from states in which medical marijuana is legal further substantiates the contention that legal cannabis access is a significant harm reducer for patients at risk of opioid dependency or mortality. According to data published in 2014 in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), states with medical marijuana laws experience far lower opiate-related deaths than states that prohibit marijuana. To reach this conclusion, investiga-


tors from the University of Pennsylvania, the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City and the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore conducted a time-series analysis of medical cannabis laws and state-level death certificate data in the U.S. from 1999 to 2010—a period during which 13 states instituted laws allowing for cannabis therapy. “States with medical cannabis laws had a 24.8% lower mean annual opioid overdose mortality rate compared with states without medical cannabis laws,” they reported. Investigators from the RAND Corporation and the University of California, Irvine reached similar findings last year in a policy paper for a nonpartisan think tank, the National Bureau of Economic Research, concluding: “States permitting medical marijuana dispensaries experience a relative decrease in both opioid addictions and opioid overdose deaths compared to states that do not.” Some scientists believe that cannabis may act synergistically with opiates. Clinical data published in 2011 in the journal Clinical Pharmacology & Therapeutics show that the administration of vaporized cannabis “safely augments the analgesic effect of opioids.” The authors speculated that this “synergistic interaction” between cannabinoids and opioids “may allow for opioid treatment at lower doses with fewer [patient] side effects.” Consequently, some pain physicians are now recommending that certain patients use cannabis adjunctively or, in some cases, prior to using opiates as a “harm reduction strategy [to] reduce the morbidity and mortality rates associated with prescription pain medications.” Paul Armentano is Deputy Director of NORML and Freedom Leaf’s Senior Policy Advisor. This article originally appeared at

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Students for Sensible Drug Policy

Building a Better Cannabusiness By Frances Fu Based in Davis, Calif., Cal Heritage is an intergenerational network of cannabis policy stakeholders in California. This public benefit company has a vision for the future of cannabis that lives up to the ideals espoused by original and current policy reform activists: freedom, social justice, civil and human rights, community and environmental stewardship, gender equality and new paradigms of wellness. “The cannabis industry has a somewhat limited viewpoint,” Cal Heritage COO Eric Gudz tells Freedom Leaf. “A lot of folks don’t fully conceptualize how far it can really go. With a public benefit structure, we hope to change that.” In a public benefit company or corporation, the organization’s bottom line is positive community impact, rather than profit or shareholder satisfaction. “You’re literally obligated to make a difference in the world, specifically within the community you’re working in,” explains Katie Stone, Cal Heritage Community Development Director. “As an agricultural town, Davis has a lot of people who’ve been operating in the industry for a long time. Regardless of whether their involvement is legitimate or not, there are a lot of ways that people can get involved in the industry, and it’s up to us to provide that path.” Gudz and Stone have long sought innovative ways to create meaningful social change, which has provided each of them with a variety of experiences. However, their discovery of Students for Sensible Drug Policy reaffirmed for both that the drug policy reform movement is where they are meant to be. Before joining SSDP (he’s the former president of the UC Davis chapter), Gudz served as a commissioned Army officer in Afghanistan, specializing in operational management and intelligence forecast-


Cal Heritage’s Eric Gudz and Katie Stone.

ing. Afterward, cannabis helped him to cope with the trauma experienced by many veterans. At Cal Heritage, he brings his commitment to sensible cannabis policy reform and his passion for innovative city planning to facilitate collaboration across diverse groups of people. Stone infuses the values of transparency, accountability and ethical interaction with community members into her work. She is currently enrolled in the Transformative Leadership MA program at the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco, and is dedicated to implementing alternative methods of community development. “It’s exciting to be a part of a brandnew industry that’s quickly becoming perfectly legitimate,” she observes. “We have a blank slate for how to move forward. It’s about using drug policy reform to create a model for meaningful social change.” For more info, go to Frances Fu is SSDP’s Pacific Region Outreach Coordinator.

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In Favor of California’s Adult Use of Marijuana Act By Amanda Reiman

This year means different things to different people. It’s the year that we elect a new president. And for residents in a handful of states, 2016 just might be their year to legalize marijuana. California, in particular, has enjoyed decriminalization since the 1970s, plus two decades of legal medical cannabis. For some, organic sun-grown cannabis can be delivered to their door in 20 minutes, and for the farmers providing it, things appear to be working pretty well right now. But the system is broken, and despite what’s happened in California over the past 20 years, the needed fixes will not come about without policy changes. Enter AUMA—the Adult Use of Marijuana Act. Touted as the initiative most likely to make it to the ballot and garner the financial backing to run a winning campaign, AUMA addresses some very important policy issues that will move racial, social and economic justice forward in California. Given that AUMA paves new ways in many important areas, it’s hoped that this initiative will become law and serve as a model for future legal state programs.


Here are three reasons why the DPA is supporting AUMA: 1. It allows for social consumption. One of the big problems with Colorado’s Amendment 64, which passed in 2012, is that adults don’t have safe places to consume cannabis outside of their homes. Nonresidents visiting Colorado can’t legally smoke, vape or dab their products, resulting in riskier methods of consumption (such as edibles) for naive users. Furthermore, those who live in public housing or shared housing are also left out in the cold, and are subject to fines for public consumption. AUMA allows localities to license social-consumption centers, or lounges (essentially marijuana bars or coffee shops, as in the Netherlands). 2. It will be the first legalization push that allows those with prior drug convictions to participate in the cannabis industry as licensees. This is huge. The harms of marijuana prohibition, including criminal convictions, have been disproportionately heaped on poor people of color. AUMA provides a pathway for those impacted by the drug war to become business owners and participate in the new legal cannabis industry. 3. It prevents localities from banning personal cultivation, as long as the area is enclosed and secure, and not visible from the road. This means that people can grow in their homes, or in a secure greenhouse or shed. Protecting this right is crucial, as localities will still have the ability to ban commercial marijuana activities; and because many localities have been banning medical marijuana, leaving patients across the state without any access. Prohibition is harmful and has been going on for too long. AUMA isn’t a magic bullet, but it’s a start. It’s certainly better than what we have now, and it’s an opportunity to create future marijuana regulations outside of the assumption of criminality. Amanda Reiman is Manager of Marijuana Law and Policy at the Drug Policy Alliance.

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N ’S T R A V E S L



my campaign for marriage equality. But I’m just one voice, and the broader, wider chorus is what’s getting the job done. Perhaps by making the conservative case for cannabis legalization, I can help jog some lazy thinking out there on the right.





Bernie Sanders is the best presidential candidate on marijuana issues. Would you consider voting for him?

eve Blo


With one foot in activism and the other in business, the second annual International Cannabis Business Conference in San Francisco Feb. 13–14 is a star-studded affair. Among the speakers scheduled are Tommy Chong, former Surgeon General Dr. Jocelyn Elders, Rep. Earl Blumenauer and Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, Andrew Sullivan, Arjan Roskam from the Green House in Amsterdam, Dale Sky Jones, Debby Goldsberry, Ed Rosenthal, Philippe Lucas and Ngaio Bealum. The event at the Hyatt Regency includes a VIP party and a performance by Bay Area hip-hop legend Del tha Funky Homosapien. We spoke with Sullivan in advance of his Feb. 14 keynote address. He’s the author of The Conservative Soul: How We Lost It, How to Get It Back and is a frequent guest on Real Time with Bill Maher. Since you started speaking out on cannabis, many states have changed their laws. Do you feel you’ve had an impact on these changes? No. My role on The Dish [blog] was to campaign on this for years, rather like


This will be the first election I can vote in, and all I can say is that I won’t vote for Clinton, Trump or Cruz. The man who could really shift this debate is the current President, regarding the absurd federal classification of marijuana. I suspect his super-stoner past inhibits him from saying this. But we should push more aggressively. What’s your take on Donald Trump? Will he win the Republican nomination? It’s perfectly possible that he’ll win the nomination. I couldn’t vote for him in a million years. He’s a neofascist. He’s the American version of Putin. He could ignite a global religious war. He knows next to nothing about politics or policy. His candidacy should be treated as a farce. What should we expect from your presentation at the ICBC in San Francisco? Some sanity and passion, I hope. I believe cannabis is not just permissible in the modern world—I think it’s actively beneficial for the individual and society as a whole. What we need to do is make the argument that cannabis is good. We need to stop being defensive and start being proudly positive about the benefits of legal cannabis for everyone, including those who choose not to smoke it. I’m working on an essay on those grounds, and I hope to learn from the conference as much as speak there. For more info:

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The marijuana roots of African-Americans are long and deep. February is a good time to give that some thought. By Ngaio Bealum American Black people and cannabis go back to at least the 1600s. Without weed, we wouldn’t have jazz music. Did you know that joints used to be called “jazz cigarettes”? And African landrace strains, such as Durban Poison and Malawi Gold, formed part of the backbone of the early cannabis counterculture of the ’60s. Racism is one of the reasons we have marijuana prohibition. Harry Anslinger (Federal Bureau of Narcotics director from 1930 to 1962) concocted fantastical tales of marijuana making white women want to have sex with Negroes and turning Mexicans into crazed rapists, in order to convince people that reefer is a dangerous, mind-destroying narcotic, and a gateway to deviant behavior and murder. Today, attitudes toward pot are different, but some things don’t change: Although black and white people do drugs at about the same rate (white folks actually do slightly more drugs), black folks are four times more likely to be arrested for weed and receive longer sentences. But I digress. I’m here to celebrate the accomplishments of black stoners everywhere, so big-ups to Louis Armstrong, Rihanna, the entire Marley family, Peter Tosh, Snoop Dogg, Wiz Khalifa (I have


tried his Khalifa Kush; it’s tasty and really strong), Redman and Method Man, President Barack Obama, Morgan Freeman, Whoopi Goldberg and all the folks that work to end criminalization of marijuana and black people. I would like to give a special shout-out to Michelle Alexander, author of the book The New Jim Crow, for shining a light on the systemic racism inherent in America’s current drug policy. Which brings us to this: Now that pot is more legal than it has ever been, we need to ensure that the people most harmed by the War on Drugs are able to reap the benefits of this new paradigm. I attend a lot of cannabis business conferences, and they’re generally filled with white dudes. I have nothing against white dudes, but we could really use some outreach in the community so that women and people of color also get the chance to run pot businesses. Several organizations are working toward this, such as the Minority Cannabis Business Association ( and Women Grow (women-

Now that pot is more legal than it has ever been, we need to ensure that the people most harmed by the War on Drugs are able to reap the benefits of this new paradigm. If you own a cannabis business, look around your workspace. Do you have a nicely diverse crew? Studies show that diverse workforces are more creative and capture more market share. To sum up: More black people in the cannabis industry equals more business opportunities for everyone. And, as some in the cannabis reform movement seem to have forgotten the social-justice aspects of cannabis legalization in favor of a more capitalistic approach, we need to remind everyone to be more inclusive, so that everyone can make some money. Ngaio Bealum is a comedian and activist who regularly appears at West Coast cannabis events.

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Stocks&BUDS Steve DeAngelo’s Manifesto DestinY The famous founder of California’s Harborside Health Center wears a lot of hats—from dispensary owner to investment guru to author.

Steve DeAngelo’s long career in cannabis qualifies him as a blue chip stock in the world of weed. As investors from penny stocks, venture capital and Silicon Valley converge around cannabis, DeAngelo stands out as an entrepreneur, activist and author who bridges these and other camps—from activist organizations to budding businesses. “I know that the industry is going to be growing very rapidly, and it has a lot of unmet needs,” he tells Freedom Leaf. “Identifying and developing businesses that will yield a financial return will allow me to advance the thing I care most about—building a healthy and responsible cannabis industry.” DeAngelo’s primary business, Harborside Health Center in Oakland, Calif., is the world’s largest legal cannabis dispensary and boasts annual sales of $30 million, with roughly 225,000 medical patients in its care. Harborside is DeAngelo’s largest venture to date, among many other businesses in his portfolio. In 2008, DeAngelo co-founded Steep Hill Labs, the first commercial cannabis testing facility in the U.S. He’s also co-founder and co-owner of the ArcView Group, an investor network that’s drummed up some $60 million in backing for cannabis businesses since its launch in 2010. ArcView also holds shares in Canopy Boulder, a seed-stage business accelerator in Boulder, Colo., that offers capitol and a mentor boot camp for cannabis startups in return for an equity stake. In addition, DeAngelo’s an original investor in Green Flower Media, an online community offering courses, classes, videos and articles about cannabis.



By Matt Chelsea

Steve DeAngelo wants to build “a healthy and responsible cannabis industry.”

A shift in California laws would allow Harborside to change its structure from a nonprofit to a for-profit enterprise, but DeAngelo is not in any rush to take the dispensary public. For one thing, Harborside isn’t large enough yet to list on the NASDAQ or the New York Stock Exchange, where newly listed companies typically generate annual revenues of $100 million to $500 million or more. “Our intention is to remain a private company for the foreseeable future,” he explains. “I wouldn’t say we’d never do an IPO, but we’d only consider it if it made sense.”

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Harborside began with its flagship location in Oakland, then expanded to nearby San Jose and recently to Portland, Ore., marking Harborside’s initial foray into non-medical adult sales, which became legal in Oregon in 2014. A new dispensary in San Leandro, Calif., just south of Oakland, is slated to open this spring. Like most entrepreneurs, DeAngelo has had his share of setbacks, usually due to opposition from various governmental agencies. In 2014, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health denied a Boston health facility application from DeAngelo’s Green Heart Holistic Health & Pharmaceuticals because of his 2001 criminal conviction for cannabis in Maryland (he received a five-year suspended sentence). Prior to moving to California in 2006, DeAngelo launched a hemp clothing company, Ecolution, which ultimately folded during the hemp industry’s infancy in the ‘90s. Another enterprise, his consulting company CannBe, shut its doors in 2011 following a crackdown by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in California. “The lesson from CannBe is to be very careful about growth,” he cautions. “That’s one of the underappreciated lessons for entrepreneurs. While it’s thrilling and exciting and rewarding, it sets up a lot of potential traps. You have to find the right balance between rapid growth and too-rapid growth.” Always active with various media projects, DeAngelo made a splash on cable TV as a central figure on the popular 2011 Discovery Channel series Weed Wars. Lately he’s been touring the country in support of his new book, The Cannabis Manifesto. At a New York City event hosted by HighNY on Dec. 17, DeAngelo drew an admiring crowd of at least 100 for a book reading and signing, and a lively Q&A. Asked about competing ballot initiatives in California to allow retail sales of adult-use cannabis, he observed: “Frankly, I think that there’s way more heat around this than there should be. In California, we’re a very large and very diverse state. There are a lot of interests,


DeAngelo has been touring the country to promote his book, The Cannabis Manifesto.

even within the cannabis community. Those interests aren’t always aligned with each other. It’s never easy for us to achieve unity in California. At the end of the day, I would vote for either one of them, and I’d be damn happy that they’d passed.” Whichever measure makes it to the ballot will probably win, he added. (Read more about AUMA on page 18.) On the legal front, DeAngelo says he continues to fight a 2014 effort by federal prosecutors to shutter Harborside by launching forfeiture proceedings and seizing its property. DeAngelo’s trademark look—two long braids, shirt and tie, and a flat-brimmed porkpie hat—will remain front and center. He credits his memorable appearance to the famous Comanche chief Quanah Parker (1845–1911). “Quanah came from the margins of society, from a group that was hounded and despised, and he adopted to a changing world and became a successful businessman,” DeAngelo says with a wry smile. “He never cut his braids and he never stopped caring for his people.”

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CANADA’S Countdown to Legalization Following Uruguay’s lead, newly elected Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has promised to legalize and regulate cannabis. By Bill Weinberg


fter nine years of Conservative rule, Canada’s Liberal Party had a momentous election night on Oct. 19, gaining a majority of seats in Parliament, and a new Liberal Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau. The handsome and charismatic son of former PM Pierre Trudeau, the younger Trudeau worked as a schoolteacher in Vancouver before becoming a member of Parliament (MP) representing Quebec. He has promised a new beginning in Canadian politics—and a break from the increasingly right-wing policies of his predecessor, Stephen Harper. It remains to be seen if he will follow through on his ambitious promises, including legalizing cannabis. Trudeau has won accolades, first and foremost, for his pledge to reboot the country’s relationship with the First Nations—the native peoples of Canada. Speaking to the Assembly of First Nations shortly after his election, Trudeau said, to applause: “It’s time for a renewed nation-to-nation relationship with First Nations peoples, one that


understands that the constitutionally guaranteed rights of First Nations in Canada are not an inconvenience, but rather a sacred obligation.” He promised a “complete review” of all Harper-era legislation affecting the First Nations, and to overturn any laws that violate Section 35 of the Constitution with respect to aboriginal and treaty rights. The 2% cap on funding for First Nations programs, instated by the Harper government, will be lifted, Trudeau vowed. The October federal election also saw a record 10 First Nations candidates elected to Parliament, indicating that Native voters were mobilized by Trudeau’s campaign.

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Trudeau has also pleased progressives by dramatically breaking with Harper’s demonization of Muslim immigrants—an ugly play for the xenophobic vote. Trudeau has pledged to resettle 25,000 Syrian refugees in the coming months, and used his Christmas address to urge fellow Canadians to welcome the refugees. He even personally greeted the first group of refugees to arrive at the Toronto airport aboard a military transport plane. But his government has acknowledged it might not reach its target of resettling that many refugees on schedule—an admission that lofty goals are often tempered by political realities. Which brings us to what may be the stickiest issue of all: Trudeau’s audacious campaign promise to legalize pot. This pledge first occurred at a September stop in British Columbia, where he said: “The Liberal Party is committed to legalizing and regulating marijuana… We are going to get started on that right away.” When pressed by reporters as to what “right away” meant, he hedged: “We don’t yet know exactly what rate we’re going to be taxing it, how we’re going to control it or whether it will happen in the first months, within the first year or whether it’s going to take a year or two to kick in.” On Nov. 13, Trudeau sent letters to Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould, Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale and Health Minister Jane Philpott mandating that a process be created to legalize and regulate marijuana, among other sweeping policy changes. Trudeau has long personally advocated for legal-

ization. In 2013, he even admitted that he’d toked since becoming an MP five years earlier. Trudeau has also revealed that his younger brother Michel was facing cannabis possession charges before his death in an avalanche in the Canadian Rockies in 1998, which hastened his decision to call for legalization.

Family Legacy Trudeau’s family background gives the new Prime Minister’s trajectory a sense of inevitability. Pierre Trudeau was not only his father, but is seen by many as the father of modern Canada. As Prime Minister almost continuously between 1968 and 1984—when Canada’s unity was threatened by the emergence of a Québécois separatist movement—he forged a new social contract that arguably saved the country. Trudeau oversaw the formal process of independence from the British Parliament, and the drafting of a new Constitution with a Charter of Rights and Freedoms. He astutely instated official English-French “bilingualism” to quiet the Quebec separatists (while taking a firm hand with their armed underground wing). In short order, Trudeau shook up what had been a very conservative society with libertine social attitudes. In 1967, as Justice Minister, he introduced a bill to lift penalties on gay sex, famously declaring, “What’s done in private between adults doesn’t concern the Criminal Code.” These were radical words for the day. His open-minded attitudes also extend-

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ed to cannabis. In 1969, as Prime Minister, he launched a royal commission to determine if there was sufficient evidence to justify its prohibition. The LeDain Commission sought testimony from notable figures including John Lennon and Yoko Ono, following their famous Montreal “Bed-In for Peace.” In 1972, the commission called for repealing the prohibition of simple possession. However, the political conditions were not in place for Trudeau to follow through. Ironically, convictions for simple possession exploded during these years, from 431 in 1967 to 8,389 in 1971, primarily due to fast-growing marijuana use among Canadian youth. And it was something of an open secret that Trudeau’s flamboyant and controversial wife Margaret, Justin’s mother—later to be diagnosed with bipolar disorder—was toking behind the backs of her RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police) bodyguards. In 2013, at a Canadian mental health conference, she stated: “I took to marijuana like a duck to water…. It opened up my sense of perception, and opened up the way I looked at and saw things.”

The Medical Program The first significant breakthrough for cannabis in Canada was the establishment of a medical marijuana program following the 2000 landmark decision in Regina v. Parker, concerning Toronto-area epilepsy sufferer Terry Parker, in which the Court of Appeal for Toronto found that the Narcotic Control Act violated Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms by denying Parker’s right to medicine. The medical marijuana market in Canada, though growing fast, still remains small, at just 30,000 registered patients. Under the Marihuana Medical Access Regulations (MMAR) enacted in 2001, Prairie Plant Systems, based in Saskatoon, had the sole government contract to grow medical marijuana. Then, in April 2009, Canada’s Supreme Court let stand a lower court ruling against the federal government’s power to maintain a monopoly over medical


marijuana. But the opening that followed this decision—allowing for small-scale private cultivation—didn’t last long. While Vancouver became the first Canadian city to regulate dispensaries, they remain officially banned under federal law, despite the 2009 Supreme Court ruling. The city now has about 80 such shops. Last year, the Harper government instructed the RCMP to send many of them threatening letters warning of imminent raids if they didn’t close their doors. The official federal marijuana program got tighter under Harper (he was elected PM in 2006), with some court rulings lubricating the clampdown. In February 2013, the Ontario Court of Appeal upheld Canada’s general ban on cannabis, overturning a lower-court decision that found the nation’s marijuana laws unconstitutional. The case concerned Matthew Mernagh of Toronto, an activist and fibromyalgia sufferer who was charged with home growing after failing to obtain a medical exemption. The high court found that even serious illness did not give rise to “an automatic right to use marijuana.” In June 2013, Ottawa (the national capital, where Parliament is located) overturned the MMAR, revoking the right of patients to grow their own cannabis or designate a grower. The new system, the Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations (MMPR), mandates that patients purchase dried cannabis via mail order from large-scale operations known as “licensed producers” (LPs). A case challenging the new regs, Allard v. Her Majesty the Queen, won an injunction halting the ban on patient cultivation just days before the planned switch to the MMPR on April 1, 2014. But that case, brought on behalf of Neil Allard, a neuro-immune disease sufferer in British Columbia, only applied to the 45,000 patients under the former MMAR system. There are currently 25 LPs, including Prairie Plant Systems and CanniMed Ltd. (also located in Saskatoon), and Tweed Inc., which operates out of a converted Hershey’s chocolate factory outside Ottawa. Many LPs are listed on the stock

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market, and are now anticipating an expansion into regulated recreational cannabis. These expectations raise the questions of how soon this might actually occur, and whether there will be a place for small operators in a fully legalized market.

Tory Intransigence At the same time the MMAR medical program was being launched, there was a push to legalize recreational use. Since 2002, when the Coalition of Progressive Electors, a municipal political party, gained a majority on the Vancouver City Council, the city has had a tolerant drug policy based on a “harm reduction” model that deemphasizes enforcement and allows for Amsterdam-style coffee shops. In 2003, three cases challenged Canada’s pot prohibition law on constitutional grounds: Regina v. Caine and Regina v. Malmo-Levine launched in British Columbia, and Regina v. Clay in Ontario. Courts found in favor of the litigants in all cases, seeming to render Canada’s entire prohibition regime null and void. But the two B.C. cases were merged as the Crown appealed to Canada’s Supreme Court, which that December overturned the lower-court decisions, finding that only Parliament has the power to determine cannabis’ legal status. The high court ruled the same way in the Ontario case. When Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson along with four former Vancouver mayors issued a call for legalization of cannabis in 2011, Harper quickly replied: “No, it will not happen. We are strongly opposed to the legalization of drugs and very concerned about the threat of drugs to our country.” In 2012, on the very same day that voters in Colorado and Washington State approved cannabis legalization, the Safe Streets and Communities Act took effect in Canada. For citizens caught growing as few as six plants, the punishment became a mandatory six-month sentence— twice the term for some forms of child abuse, critics point out. On the campaign trail in 2015, Conservative Party leader Harper respond-


Trudeau has long personally advocated for legalization. He even admitted in 2013 that he’d toked since becoming an MP five years earlier. ed to Trudeau’s legalization proposal: “Tobacco is a product that does a lot of damage. Marijuana is infinitely worse, and it’s something that we do not want to encourage.” The Tories went so far as to mock Liberal Party calls for legalization in TV attack ads. This would come back to haunt Harper in October, when he was soundly defeated by Trudeau and the Liberals.

Regulating Recreational Use Now we’ll see how—or, more pessimistically, if—Trudeau will be able to follow through with his pot pledge. The new Liberal platform encouragingly states: “We will legalize, regulate and restrict [youth] access to marijuana.” But the Conservative Party still holds a substantial minority of Parliament seats (99, to the Liberals’ 184), and has little interest in altering the country’s marijuana laws. With 44 seats, the New Democratic Party (NDP) is the third-largest bloc in Parliament. While they’re to the left of the Liberals on most issues, the NDP prefers decriminalization to legalization. With just 10 seats, Bloc Québécois is pro-decrim; and the sole Green Party MP is pro-legalization. Legalization could pass if the Liberal MPs maintain party discipline, but not all of them are as open-minded as their leader. Trudeau is now trying to bring the skeptics into line, emphasizing that the modest revenues expected from taxes

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Justin Trudeau: “We’re going to get this right in a way that suits Canadians broadly.”

and fees from legal cannabis should go toward funding addiction and recovery programs, and warning against a private-enterprise windfall. “It was never about a money-maker,” he told the Canadian Press after taking office. “It was always about public health, public safety.” Trudeau even implied that he’d be willing to sacrifice revenues in the interest of keeping cannabis under tight regulation: “The fact is that, if you tax it too much, as we saw with cigarettes, you end up driving things toward a black market, which will not keep Canadians safe—particularly young Canadians. We’re going to get this right in a way that suits Canadians broadly, and specifically in their communities.”

International Outlook Another major hurdle will be how to finesse Canada’s treaty obligations under the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, the 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances and the 1988 UN Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances. According to a Trudeau administration memo obtained in January by the Canadian Press national news agency, through the Access to Information Act: “All three require the criminalization of possession and production of cannabis. As part of examining legalization of can

nabis possession and production, Canada will need to explore how to inform the international community, and will have to take the steps needed to adjust its obligations under these conventions.” The memo notes an upcoming discussion of drug policy at the UN General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) on Drugs in April, and invoked the possibility of Canada forming a bloc with other countries in the Americas to challenge the global prohibition regime: “At the meeting, several South American countries as well as Mexico wish to discuss what they perceive as more effective policy approaches to respond to the current realities of the drug problem, which could include decriminalization/legalization of illicit drugs, harm reduction and/or a call to renegotiate the international drug control conventions.” The three treaties are enforced by the UN International Narcotics Control Board (INCB), which has limited powers. The INCB is currently in a dialogue with Uruguay on how that country can maintain its commitments to combat the illicit drug trade since legalizing cannabis in 2013. (For more on Uruguay, turn to page 34.) Canada can expect a similar demand for accountability from the INCB upon legalization. But the INCB’s potential punitive measures, even under a worstcase outcome, amount to little more than formal censure. And if Canada joins with Uruguay, Colombia, Mexico and other nations seeking a new approach to drug control, it could change the nature of the dialogue. Rather than the UN pressuring member states to uphold the treaties, the international body could itself come under pressure from governments to change the terms of the conventions. No matter what the international bodies decide, one thing is for sure: Justin Trudeau’s vision and courage have made Canada the place for cannabis advocates worldwide to watch in 2016. Bill Weinberg is the author of Cannabis Trips: A Global Guide That Leaves No Turn Unstoned and other books. He produces the websites Global Ganja Report and World War 4 Report.

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Why Uruguay?

In 2013, the small South American country became the first nation in the world to legalize marijuana. By Amanda Reiman


n early November, I attended the Marijuana Business Conference in Las Vegas. The event provided great insight into where the cannabis industry is going in the U.S., and gave more attention to advocacy than most business conferences. Cannabusiness is moving further away from the consumer and closer to the CEO. I found myself constantly wanting to ask the nicely dressed businesspeople with their gigantic, expensive displays, “Do you even use cannabis?” This model of industry should surprise no one. This is, after all, Ameri-


ca. In our consumption culture, capitalism transforms customers into dollar signs, and relies on blurring the line between “want” and “need.” The American cannabis industry will be no different. I didn’t need that gold Pax 2, but I certainly wanted it. Some argue that the infusion of capitalist imperatives into this new industry is a reason to keep prohibition going. That, of course, is absurd, given the harms of cannabis prohibition, which fall disproportionately on poor people of color. But it does raise the question: What would legalization look like in a parallel universe?

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What if there was no industry, except to facilitate individual cultivation and consumption? What if cannabis legalization in America really could take down capitalism and become the first U.S. industry by and for the consumer? Well, if that were the case, it might look something like Uruguay, the first country to legalize cannabis in 2013. For decades, cannabis legalization was a non-starter in the global discussion of health and social justice. While residents and visitors to Amsterdam have enjoyed de facto legalization for some time, no country had ever fully legalized it. This

is mostly due to the 1961 U.N. Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, which forbids all signatory countries from legalizing drugs on the restricted list, except for medical or research purposes. For more than 50 years, this treaty was enough to stifle discussions of legalization. However, in 2013, a bold declaration came from a small South American country. Not only had Uruguay signed the Single Convention, they, like many other countries, had also agreed to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights 65 years earlier, in 1948. Uruguay announced that their compliance with the Declaration was in conflict with their inability to legalize and regulate cannabis. The president at the time, José Mujica, had already led several progressive policy changes, including legalizing abortion in 2012 and gay marriage in 2013. The former guerilla leader continued to show that he was a president of and for the people by expressing his belief that arresting citizens for cannabis use, and perpetuating the violent illicit market was in violation of his country’s responsibilities under the Declaration of Human Rights. He contended that the nation could not uphold both treaties, so the government decided to break with the Single Convention, and passed legislation legalizing cannabis in Uruguay. Interestingly, at first, the citizens of Uruguay were not pushing for legalization. However, since it occurred, interest has grown in the medical and therapeutic uses of cannabis, and the ability to conduct novel research without the restrictions faced in the States.

Uruguay’s New Rules In 2013, I was invited to speak at a government-sponsored medical cannabis symposium in Uruguay’s capital city, Montevideo. Cannabis was already legal for adults at the time; Uruguay was not only the first country to legalize it for adult use, but also the first to legalize it without previously legalizing medical use. While legalization in the U.S. traditionally takes the top-down approach, by licens-

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ing commercial entities at the state level, Uruguay is utilizing the bottom-up approach instead. Each user must register with the government and select one of three ways to obtain cannabis (see box below). The government will soon be licensing producers and pharmacies. However, more than two years into legalization, the only access to marijuana continues to be via personal cultivation and private club memberships; consumers 18 and older can participate in home cultivation, or become members of social clubs that allow the growing of up to 99 plants at one time per club. Two producers have been licensed, but the product (said to be priced at $1 per gram) is not yet available for commercial sale. So, cannabis in Uruguay remains a personal issue, largely untouched by large institutions. Many of the clubs are actively engaged in medical cannabis advocacy, especially around access for children. The first such club to be officially recognized, in 2014, was the Association of Cannabis Studies, founded by activist Laura Blanco. The impact of this rollout was very noticeable when I returned to Montevideo in December to participate as a speaker at Uruguay’s second annual Cannabis Expo. The expo’s goals were to educate people about the cannabis plant and the science behind it; to allow the cannabis clubs to promote themselves; to highlight NGOs (non-governmental organizations) doing important work around medi-

Adults in Uruguay can access cannabis in three ways:

.. They can grow up to six plants. .. They can belong to a private

club where members have access to cannabis grown by the group for the group (akin to traditional cannabis collectives and cooperatives in California).

.. They can purchase it from a pharmacy.








Uruguay is tucked between Argentina and Brazil on South America’s Atlantic coast.

cal cannabis access and other social-justice issues; to provide physician access for those looking to become medical cannabis patients; and, yes, to have fun.

Touring the Town Montevideo is home to 1.3 million people, comprising about one-third of the population of Uruguay. It’s considered to have a high quality of living, and is also the continent’s most gay-friendly city. Montevideo sits at the mouth of the Río de la Plata, which leads into the South Atlantic Ocean. It’s similar to San Francisco, with spectacular bay and ocean views. This time, I rented a bicycle and spent a few hours pedaling along La Rambla on the coast. Uruguay is located on the southeastern coast of South America, nestled between Brazil to the North and Argentina to the East. Due to its position in the Southern Hemisphere, it was summer during my December visit. The 82-degree weather and 8:30 p.m. sunsets were heaven. Uruguay doesn’t receive many American tourists, which makes it easier to experience the true culture. However, given that traditional Uruguayan diet involves a lot of meat consumption, this vegan survived on cheeseless pizza and French fries. My favorite things about Montevideo, besides the legal cannabis, are its affinity for ’80s American music and vintage dog breeds. There’s also free Wi-Fi everywhere.

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Expo booths representing Uruguayan cannabis clubs offered paraphernalia and clothing.

Building a Simpler Expo The first thing I noticed in the expo hall at Montevideo’s LATU was the large number of flowering cannabis plants on display, illustrating the differences between various strains. It reminded me of California circa 2002, when Oaksterdam was a neighborhood and cannabis was still a nascent movement. Most of the market focus back then was on the consumer: Cannabis expos in San Francisco and elsewhere included booths with pipes and bongs, and T-shirts and hats sporting pot leaves and “420.” People at those events were cannabis consumers, many for decades, finally enjoying the ability to openly consume and socialize together. Legalization was on everyone’s mind, but not in the way we talk about it now. FAMM (Families Against Mandatory Minimums) was always a fixture, as was WAMM (Wo/Men’s Alliance for Medical Marijuana); now they’ve been supplanted by software companies, industrial grow systems and extraction machines. The Uruguay expo offered a science exhibit where attendees could view various


strains under a microscope, and they al so had information on terpines and the medical action of cannabinoids. There were lab folks on hand to talk about the various exhibits and videos on display. My favorite display was a comparison of cannabis oil made from plants obtained from a club vs. product obtained on the street. As personal cultivation is popular, many consumers were on the lookout for exotic seeds and clones. Booths representing the cannabis clubs were interspersed with companies selling personal cultivation systems, and purveyors of the usual T-shirts, pipes and other stoner gear. The Uruguay Cannabis Business Association had two large cannabis plants on its table; next to them was the Cannabis Museum booth, which was focused on educating consumers and the public. Physicians on call saw hundreds of people who wanted to become medical cannabis patients. Most of the attendees were from Uruguay, but they also came from Brazil, Argentina and Chile. Speakers covered a wide range of topics, including how to be a better cultivator, how to start a cannabis club and the medical

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uses of cannabis. Absent were business presentations on marketing, branding, investing, economic growth and banking. In the midst of it all, Andrew Tosh, son of the legendary Peter Tosh, arrived to speak to the crowd, and then played a concert, after which he personally bid farewell to each attendee as they left. Smoking was not allowed in the expo hall, but just outside, in the chill-out area, attendees inhaled joints as they relaxed and listened to DJs and bands. The few joints I smuggled from California impressed locals, though my lovely Humboldt-grown cannabis appeared to be a bit too strong for some of the locals I shared it with. While some of the homegrown Uruguayan bud I tried was excellent, they have a long way to go to match California’s cannabis prowess. There were no dab rigs to be found; this was a more innocent and far less intense event than the cannabis expos I’ve recently attended in the States. Again, the vibe of consumer and community trumped that of industry and profit.

A Uruguayan-grown Skywalker Dog plant.

Bottom Up vs. Top Down My point here is not to discredit the hardworking and well-meaning folks trying to succeed in the U.S. cannabis industry, but to illustrate an alternative model. Indeed, many of the early pioneers embraced the bottom-up approach. Visionaries like Valerie Corral and Dennis Peron have long known that cannabis is about community, and they helped shape the early clubs, which are reflected in the cannabis clubs of Uruguay. And, as I’m fond of telling those who fear “Big Marijuana,” cannabis can do a lot, but it can’t take down capitalism. So where does that leave us? Are we destined to create a cannabis industry behemoth in the tradition of alcohol, tobacco, food and tech? Or can we take some lessons from the recent U.S. locavore movement, which advocates locally sourced food consumption, and examine the evolution of legalization in places like Uruguay to remind us how to preserve where we came from? We may live in America, but that doesn’t mean that the cannabis industry has to remain inherently American. American industry proclaims freedom of opportunity, but then refuses to hire those with marijuana convictions. American values say that anyone can succeed if they try hard enough—then systematically prey upon those who are most vulnerable, ensuring their continued struggle. We might be forced to build this industry within the framework of capitalism, but that doesn’t mean we must forsake the consumer for the CEO. Through community reinvestment, the cannabis industry has the potential to empower those at the bottom so that they can finally reach their full potential without the restraints of social injustice. This concept, which is being put into practice by our friends in Uruguay, is also distinctly American. Amanda Reiman is Manager of Marijuana Law and Policy at the Drug Policy Alliance.

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PRIMARY COLORS Every four years, Americans select a new president. But first, candidates have to go through the grueling process of primaries and caucuses.

By Erik Altieri


the 2016 presidential election is officially underway. The first ballots in the race for the White House were cast on Feb. 1 in Iowa, followed by New Hampshire eight days later. Republican and Democratic candidates have been crisscrossing the country for many months, reaching out to voters and participating in an endless stream of media interviews. This is the heart of what is called primary season, the process through which political parties choose their candidates for the general election in November. The presidential primaries and caucuses are a series of elections held at the state level (territories such as Puerto Rico also host their own) that serve to decide the allotment of each state’s Republican and Democratic delegates to their respective national conventions. These delegates are pledged to support specific candidates at the conventions, where the party nominees are chosen.


Primaries vs. Caucuses A primary functions much like any other election: Voters go to polling locations and cast ballots for candidates vying to be the parties’ nominees. The purpose of these primaries is ultimately to decide on the number of state or territory delegates allotted to each candidate and pledged to support them at each party’s national convention. Both the Democratic Party and Republican Party currently use a proportional delegate system, with each candidate getting a percentage of the state’s delegates directly based on their percentage of the vote in that state. One notable difference between the two parties is that, on the Democratic side, it’s required to achieve at least 15% of primary voters’ support to get a delegate’s backing, whereas Republicans don’t have such a threshold requirement. Primaries come in two different forms, depending on the state. Some

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have open primaries, where any registered voter can vote in the primary of their choosing, either Democratic or Republican. Others are closed primaries in which in order to participate, voters must be registered members of the party whose primary they want to vote in. Not all states have voting primaries, and instead utilize a caucus process, which is a bit more complicated. A caucus requires potential delegates to be actively involved and show support for their candidates. Caucuses are held simultaneously across a state, and voting is often done physically, by either a show of hands or by voters standing or sitting in an area of the caucus venue designated for the candidate of their choice. The potential delegates address all attendees and make the case for their candidates directly to fellow voters. After everyone makes statements, support for each candidate is tallied. Like voting primaries, caucuses can be open or closed (some states even allow voters to register the night of the caucus, or even switch party affiliation at the caucus itself). The rules vary widely from state to state. For instance, Texas utilizes an unusual two-step process that involves both a direct voting primary and a statewide caucus. After all localities host their primary or caucus, the next step is each party’s national convention, which the respective delegates assigned at those events all attend. This year, Republicans will convene

in Cleveland July 18–21, and Democrats will gather in Philadelphia July 25–28. Delegates allotted through the primary/caucus process are called pledged delegates, and are assigned to specific candidates. Another class of delegate is also in attendance at the conventions: unpledged delegates on the Republican side, and superdelegates on the Democratic side. These are typically current or former elected officials and other notable names in each party. Unlike the pledged delegates elected at the primaries and caucuses, these delegates are free to support any candidate they choose. Typically, the eventual winner of the nomination is obvious before a convention even begins. But due to sheer delegate support, or because certain candidates have dropped out or conceded, it’s possible to have what’s known as a “brokered convention.” This occurs if no candidate can achieve majority delegate support at the convention after several rounds of voting. At that point, all delegates are released to support any candidate they want. It’s only happened a few times in modern political history (1924, 1932, 1948 and 1952), but is a distinct possibility this year, especially for the Republicans, whose overload of candidates could make it difficult for anyone to achieve majority support if most of them stay in the race until the convention.

February 1: Iowa Caucuses The first state to voice its opinion on party nominees is Iowa, where both parties will hold their caucuses on Feb. 1. Iowa is often thought of as a state that can make or break a candidate by either giving their campaign a boost of momentum or showing the weakness of their organization. Iowa’s population, however, is not very representative of American as a whole, with an overwhelmingly white electorate and large representation from extremely conservative evangelical voters. Since Iowa utilizes the caucus process, it gives candidates who may be struggling with fundraising the opportu-

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41 41

From left: Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio.

nity to chalk up a victory by maximizing face-to-face interactions and retail politics over massive ad buys and rallies. The GOP (Grand Old Party, i.e., Republican) candidates who appeal to Iowa’s staunchly conservative and religious base generally do well in caucus states. Despite his strong numbers nationally, it’s a tough state for Donald Trump to win. Senator Ted Cruz defeated him by 3% in Iowa. Eight years ago, Hillary Clinton was the overwhelming favorite to win the Democratic nomination going into Iowa, but she suffered an embarrassing thirdplace finish, which drained a lot of energy out of her campaign and created the opening for Barack Obama to move into a dominant position in the race. Clinton learned valuable lessons from that Iowa debacle and invested very heavily in the Hawkeye State, building an impressive organization. Her ground game is not to be taken lightly. Senator Bernie Sanders campaigned hard in Iowa, drawing the biggest crowds of any candidate from either party. Iowa was a true test of Sanders’ enthusiastic base vs. Clinton’s well-oiled political machine. Clinton eked out a victory by less than 1% over Sanders in Iowa.

February 9: New Hampshire Primary The next state on the calendar, New Hampshire, has the first direct voting primary of the year. As in Iowa, Granite State voters are far more persuadable by handshaking and retail politicking, and it’s also a mostly white state that doesn’t represent the American population in its demographics. Due to the state’s small size, candidates can cover a lot of


ground in a short time, and for not much money. New Hampshire was considered a must-win (or at least a must out-performexpectations) state for many Republican candidates. How they did in the first primary of the season can make or break candidates struggling to get out of the lower tier in the polls. New Hampshire Republicans are much more traditional and business-oriented than those in Iowa. That’s why “establishment” Republicans like Jeb Bush, John Kasich and Chris Christie devoted most of their time and money on the New Hampshire race. A strong first-, secondor third-place finish gives candidates the fuel and momentum needed to continue on, but a solid loss may lead to a few of them dropping out of the race. Trump was expected to take the Republican vote in New Hampshire by 10%, with Cruz, Senator Marco Rubio, Kasich, Bush and Christie trailing behind, according to For Democrats, New Hampshire is Bernie Sanders territory. All the town hall meetings and trips across the state paid off for the Vermont senator, who consistently led Clinton by double digits in the polls. predicted Sanders had a 57% chance of victory with just a 2% edge over Clinton.

February 20 and 23: Nevada Caucuses Nevada is much more diverse than Iowa and New Hampshire, with a 25% Latino population. On the Democratic side (Feb. 20 vote), Clinton is the favorite, having built a strong statewide infrastructure in 2015. However, Sanders has also been advertising and campaigning in the Silver

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State and might be able to eke out a victory there. On the GOP side (Feb. 23 vote), Cruz and Trump will probably do well, especially in Las Vegas and Reno. Expect a close race with several candidates picking up a decent number of delegates.

February 20 and 27: South Carolina Primary South Carolina’s population is 30% black and Latino, but it’s also home to a large number of social conservatives and Tea Party voters. Trump’s opinions on ISIS and immigration seem to have resonated strongly with the base. He should win on Republican primary night (Feb. 20). Democrats (Feb. 27 vote) in the Palmetto State heavily favor Clinton, who has very strong ties to South Carolina. The local Democratic Party apparatus and her big lead among non-white voters there give her a significant advantage over Sanders. In order to prove he’s electable, Sanders needs at least a solid showing in South Carolina. If it’s a total blowout for Clinton, as some are predicting, this could make things tough for the Sanders campaign as it moves into Super Tuesday.

March 1: Super Tuesday Fourteen different states hold their primaries or caucuses on Super Tuesday. This is where the rubber meets the road for most candidates. Unlike the early voting states, competing on Super Tuesday requires momentum and lots of cash. With so many states deciding their delegate allotments all at once, it’s often a deciding factor for the entire primary process. On Super Tuesday, nine states have primaries (Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Massachusetts, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont and Virginia), two have Democratic and Republican caucuses (Colorado, Minnesota) and three have Republican caucuses (Alaska, North Dakota and Wyoming). After Super Tuesday, the Republican field will be winnowed down to two


Will the large number of Republican candidates divide the early states among themselves evenly and set the stage for a brokered convention?

or three candidates (most likely Cruz, Trump and Rubio). Sanders will need to remain competitive against Clinton or be decisively put on the sidelines. The four preceding primaries and caucuses are all about building momentum to go into Super Tuesday, and the winners and losers of these early contests will dictate who is truly in contention. The 20 primaries and caucuses through the rest of March will see leads solidified, and perhaps one Republican candidate will pull away from the pack. Will Sanders go toe-to-toe with Clinton and continue the race into the latervoting states? Will the large number of Republican candidates divide the early states among themselves evenly and set the stage for a brokered convention? In politics, anything can change in a heartbeat. The run-up to primary season has been anything but boring, and some of the best is yet to come. Register to vote and participate. The future of the country is at stake. Erik Altieri is President of The Agenda Project and the former Communications Director for NORML.

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Freedom Leaf INTERVIEW You’ve said, “Cannabis will save football.” How did you reach that conclusion?

Kyle Turley Interview by Steve Bloom

Two-time NFL All-Pro Kyle Turley is the leading advocate for marijuana use among football players. A former longtime user of pharmaceutical medicines to deal with both orthopedic and neurological issues, Turley recently discovered the benefits of medical cannabis. Now, he wants the whole world to know what he’s learned.

I suffer from traumatic brain injury from playing this sport. I’ve seen this firsthand in multiple scans of my brain. I understand that it’s an occupational hazard. The fact that there are zero medications to stop the progression of this condition should impel everyone to search for an answer to this problem. If we want to save football, then we’ve got to start looking at solutions, not just count concussions. Cannabis is that potential savior. Seventy percent or more of the players use cannabis in the NFL today, because they know it works. During your playing days with the Saints, Rams and Chiefs from 1998– 2007, did you use marijuana? I started using marijuana my second year in the NFL. I was dealing with a lot of neurological issues. They were prescribing me a number of things that weren’t helping at all. How did you deal with drug testing? Marijuana is a once-a-year test only. You usually know when that test is coming, it’s usually before the season. Pass the drug test the NFL gives you once a year for street drugs, and you’re able to use marijuana freely. I think they know it works and they want players to use it. They just hope players won’t have it in their cars or get busted for marijuana. They’re doing a silly dance around cannabis, when they should be leading the charge. When you suffered injuries, what kind of medications did they give you? I was pretty much on everything for 20 years—from painkillers, to muscle relaxers, to anti-inflammatories, to psych meds. It’s been about a year now that

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I’ve been 100% free and clear of all those chemicals, and just using cannabis. I’m so much better. I haven’t had a fight or raged on my family in almost a year now. That’s a big deal in my house.

was pawned off as no big deal by the doctors and coaches. The orthopedic issues, I expected that. The neurological issues I didn’t expect. These are the biggest problems in our community.

Did you suffer concussions?

Are you disabled?

Yes, multiple concussions.

I need a cane every now and then. At any moment I can throw my back out, which I’ve done multiple times. Cannabis is allowing me to get my life back. I’m back in the gym now. My emotional state is so much more positive. I’m pushing through the orthopedic pain more than I’ve been able to do over the last seven years or more. I’ve got plates and screws, bone on bone, in almost every joint. At any moment it can all fall apart, which it does sometimes. I don’t take any painkillers or muscle relaxers anymore. Cannabis has kept me from all those things.

You joined the players’ suit in 2011 vs. the NFL regarding concussions. Yes. But the settlement doesn’t really address these issues the way it should. You’ve said, “Marijuana could potentially prevent and postpone any damage done from concussions.” Is there actual scientific evidence to back this up? The National Institute of Health has studies they’ve published that specifically deal with post-traumatic brain injury. Ten months ago I was diagnosed with having early-onset Alzheimer’s. I’m night-andday different than I was a year ago. After your football career ended, what kind of lingering physical injuries did you have? I blew my back out, blew my knee out, blew my ankles out, blew my shoulder out. I had arthritis and sciatic nerve pain. I’ve had close to 10 surgeries already, and probably need another five more. Orthopedically, the game took its toll on me. I played in the interior line, in the trenches. But it was the neurological issues that really started surfacing in a big way. I had vertigo issues early on in my football career—as a rookie, these things started manifesting more and more, and became very frequent. Postcareer, I had to deal with it daily. This ultimately put me in the hospital when I passed out eight years ago after having a seizure. On top of that, I had emotional issues from the brain damage of the frontal lobe, which deals with decision-making, rage and emotions. It was a progression, but


You’ve also talked about being suicidal. This was during the use of narcotics— psych medicines, in particular. Cannabis was the only thing that saved me from going over the edge. I’m not thinking of suicide anymore. I played football for 10 years in the NFL, in college and in high school. I beat the shit out of my brain. It is what it is. I need a medication to deal with it. Cannabis is the only medicine that deals with this injury. It doesn’t need to be this way, and I’m furious about it. I believe my friend Junior Seau would be alive today had he been prescribed cannabis instead of the myriad of psych and pain meds they prescribed to deal with all the issues he had going on. He and every other player in the NFL that’s committed suicide may not have done so had they had cannabis as an option, as a medicine. Are you a legal medical marijuana patient? Yes, in California. I moved to California a year and a half ago. I’d been living in Nashville.

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Seventy percent or more of the players use cannabis in the NFL today, because they know it works.


Do you regularly go to dispensaries? I’ve visited a number of dispensaries. I have a good network of people I’ve met at the dispensaries and conventions. I’ve met some good growers. For me, it’s about the strain. I know now what strain I need to get through my days. I’m very particular about that. Which strains do you prefer? To resolve headache issues, any of the OG Kush family is best. My personal preference is the San Fernando Valley OG Kush. It knocks out a migraine headache in a minute, and is a great mood elevator, but it kind of makes you high, so I don’t use that all the time. For my daily medicinal issues, it’s a sativa-hybrid blend. Jack Herer is my personal go-to. I can smoke Jack Herer all day long and I won’t act or feel high. It resolves anxiety, light sensitivity and depression in a major way. It allows you to feel normal. My goal every day is to only smoke two joints. If I go over that, it’s no more than three or four. Why did you found the Gridiron Cannabis Coalition? The goal is to collect voices and guys who want to stand up for cannabis. The more guys that come together on this, we can have a group that will be able to show up at congressional hearings,

and conventions around the country, to add our voices and stories. The more we have, the better we’ll be heard. Everybody’s just kind of kept quiet. The GCC allows us to step forward from behind these narratives that are our experiences. Have any other high-profile players joined the coalition? It’s open enrollment right now. Nate Jackson is very vocal; he’s a part of our coalition. Ricky Williams is a partner. We’ve got fresh faces like Evan Britton, who recently retired. A lot of collegiate athletes have contacted us. We’ve got a lot of big ideas, like opening treatment centers. We’re a growing organization. We just started this. Each year, dozens of NFL players are suspended for failing marijuana drug tests or getting arrested for pot. Do you expect the NFL to change these policies anytime soon? They haven’t done anything progressive. They’ve been very reactive. Can there be any hope for change as long as Roger Goodell is the commissioner of the NFL? He’s a mouthpiece for the owners. He works for them. If they do want to save football, they need to support cannabis.

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Have you had any conversations or meetings with NFL officials about cannabis? We’ve sent messages to the NFL, to the direct contact of Goodell. We haven’t heard anything back. We’ve extended every olive branch in their direction. We’ll see. It’s on their time. What does the Players Association think of your coalition? The Players Association is actually much worse than the NFL when it comes to any player issues. We’ve received no contact or interest from them whatsoever. This has been brought to their attention by numerous players, and met with deaf ears. I don’t expect the Players Association to do anything at all, and that’s quite unfortunate. They’re the ones that need to be rallying alongside our coalition. They’re complicit in the NFL drug testing policies pertaining to cannabis. They are quite complicit in the neglect and ignorance. Former Steelers receiver Antwaan Randle El recently said he wishes he had played baseball instead of football, and he predicts that football won’t be “around in 20, 25 years.” Does football have a future? They can be doing so many things to save the sport, to be the dream that it was for me growing up as a kid. From what I’ve found with cannabis, I can say firmly that I would play this sport again—if I could do it all again with the knowledge that I have, and stay away from their doctors, who only have the teams’ interest at heart. I could’ve helped myself in such a greater way as a player, neurologically and orthopedically, in dealing with my issues through cannabis, rather than having made these injuries and all these other things worse by putting all these horrific chemicals into my body. Football is going to stick around. But it risks becoming, like Malcolm Gladwell predicts, a ghettoized sport, much like boxing. That’s the direction football is


Turley played for the Saints, Rams and Chiefs during his 10 years in the NFL. heading if they continue to ignore their biggest issues. What else can football do to protect players? Rule changes are not going to help anything. It’s a violent sport. There’s no getting around that. I don’t want it to change. I love football. It was an unbelievable experience. People love it because of its primal origins, and everything around it that speaks to alpha males. Unfortunately, there are certain inherencies within the sport that are going to create injuries. How long will it take for the NFL to come around on this? As soon as the government changes its policies, the NFL will change its policy. Meaning the end of federal marijuana prohibition? Exactly. If the federal government approves it and they can make money on it, you better believe the NFL will exploit the shit out of it. We can’t leave cannabis on the sidelines any further. This has got to be on the field. For more about the Gridiron Cannabis Coalition:

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F i res on the Mountain Getting high at high altitude By Chris Goldstein

It wasn’t until I moved to New Mexico from New Jersey in 1997 that I experienced the strong affinity for marijuana among snow-sports enthusiasts. Next thing I knew, I was on a chairlift to an altitude of 12,000 feet at Ski Santa Fe in the Santa Fe National Forest. By 7 a.m., the sun was already blazing its way through the sky and striking trillions of tiny ice crystals blowing through the air. Brilliant clouds of this frozen dust swept around me. Snow draped over the huge trees that whisked by under my dangling skis. The deep, dry powder was dream-like, perfect. But I was there to work, not ride. The trail groomers who’d been up all night had put their huge SnowCats into the sheds, and the ski patrol was just arriving. We were there to run the lifts. For my first season, they put me right up at the edge of the sky. On the chair with me was the rest of the top crew. We’d be stuck in the little wind-battered steel shacks for the rest of the day. I’d moved to Santa Fe on a whim and was renting a room for $200 a month in the back of a motorcycle repair shop. The job on the mountain was the first steady employment I could find. The fact that I’d never even seen a ski area before didn’t deter me. As far as marijuana use on the glistening slopes, I had no idea what to expect. Cannabis was a regular part of my life, but I was worried about employee drug tests and long hours at work. Was there anywhere to sneak a toke? It turned out almost everyone I met at high altitude was a stoner. Among the lift crew, there were long-held traditions about where and when to smoke: Never


around guests, or while the chairs were open. Everything else was fair game. Back then, a pipe was called a “wrench,” and weed went by the Mexican slang, mota. Everyone happily shared. We built huge snow caves a dozen yards away from each lift. The cold caverns blocked the prying eyes of park rangers, our bosses and the ski patrol— some of whom were off-duty law enforcement—when we enjoyed our puffs. In just a few months, the guys had become true friends, our tight bond forged around a common love of cannabis. A hearty hippie from Wyoming, Jay was a hardcore Telemark skier (combining Alpine and Nordic styles). When he wasn’t repairing trucks, native New Mexican Chris lived to ride his battle-scarred snowboard. In his early thirties, scruffy Coloradan Mike was the “old man” of our crew, and the most skilled and fearless in the snow. From the chairs we soaked up breathtaking views from the southern tip of the Rocky Mountains. The ultra-blue sky was a mosaic of astounding cloud formations. We could see down the Rio Grande Valley to Albuquerque and beyond. To the North, we could pick out peaks reaching all the way into Colorado. Wearing ski pants, heavy coats with huge hoods, thick gloves, hats and tinted goggles, it often felt like we were going to the Moon, but it kept us warm in the often sub-zero temperatures. The privilege of being on top of the mountain for a few hours each day was deeply appreciated. The stunning winter-wonderland landscape was ours to treasure. We’d start our days with a few bowls of cheap brick weed and cups of steaming-hot coffee. The trick was to unzip

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your jacket and flick the lighter in a protected alcove without setting your scarf on fire. We often joked that we were the highest people in New Mexico. It was true. The days began by shoveling the endless supply of snow and carefully shaping the chair exit ramps. If they were too steep, riders would fall on their faces; too shallow, and the chairs hit them in the back of the head. It took some skill in snow sculpture, and liberal use of a pickax, to get it just right. When the lifts opened to the public, we spent hours picking up guests as they all-too-often tumbled off the chairs into a heap of skis, poles and limbs. Our job was to brush off their egos and send them on their way. Still, it was backbreaking work in the windy high altitude and bitter cold. My friends taught me how to survive in the harsh environment, and were also patient enough to help me get my feet turning and knees bending, and keep my skull from hitting a deadly spruce or fir, on my snowboard. While they’d been carving powder their whole lives, I spent the first season cutting more grooves in the slopes with my face than my boards. They slid down huge cliffs, ran moguls like high-speed pistons and flew past trees with aplomb. Luckily, I was a fast study and eventually began to catch up. At $8 an hour, it was a labor of love. The real value hung around our necks in the

form of laminated employee passes. On our days off, we skied for free. Invariably, we spent almost seven days a week on the mountain from November until April. Every ski area has secluded spots along the slopes that stoners favor for short smoke sessions, colloquially called “safety breaks.” Ski Santa Fe had an old avalanche shelter deep in the trees, and the remnants of an ancient lift line long out of use. Some days there were dozens of skis and boards lined up around these sweet-smelling locations. The other major perk was the two guest ski passes we’d receive with each paycheck. These were worth about $70—as good as gold in Santa Fe (about a half-hour’s drive away), where you could trade a pass for a meal at a highend restaurant, or for a half ounce of herb. Santa Fe itself sits at 6,500 feet above sea level, the highest elevation of any state capital. Athletes of all types often move there to acclimate to high altitude. Santa Fe is also known for its spas, art galleries and its sumptuous hotels. Many A-list Hollywood and music celebrities keep homes there. I met Melissa Etheridge, Val Kilmer, Shirley MacLaine, Gene Hackman and even Queen Noor of Jordan during my decade in Santa Fe. I also met many climbers preparing to scale the most extreme places on Earth, like Mt. Everest and K2. Rather than spending weeks acclimating just before their

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expeditions, they gain advantage by living for a year at mile-high altitude. The body copes with the arid climate and lower oxygen level by producing more red blood cells, which helps to absorb and transport oxygen more efficiently. Runners and cyclists also like to train at high altitude for an extra edge. In his bestselling book Into Thin Air, Jon Krakauer chronicles one of the deadliest days ever on Everest. After barely getting down alive, Krakauer made his way back to Kathmandu, where he purchased a bag of local Nepali cannabis

and sat in his hotel room smoking, more to deal with his emotional and physical trauma than a desire to get high. He also noted that many Westerners puffed at Everest base camp. For me, smoking a joint or bowl and then hurtling down ski runs at 60 mph were some of the most exhilarating experiences of my life. Ice, snow, THC and pushing the limits of endurance are forever entwined. Skiers and snowboarders are well known for smoking it up on the slopes. Many dedicated mountain climbers

Unfortunately, none of the Colorado ski areas have adopted a policy welcoming the new, green crowds. 52

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also travel above the timberline with marijuana in their packs. Some of the allure may be to alleviate the pain and exhaustion inherent in such activities. But more often, it’s to bring another level of enjoyment to the experience. By contrast, alcohol is especially intoxicating at altitude, and saps the body of moisture. Staying alert, well hydrated and relaxed are essential to surviving and thriving on the mountain. Consuming cannabis is not uncommon among top-level winter athletes. In 1998, Canada’s Ross Rebagliati was the first person to win an Olympic gold medal for snowboarding. It wasn’t for flips and tricks back then, but for the downhill giant slalom. Rebagliati immediately tested positive for THC. Olympic officials initially stripped him of the medal. But, at the time, marijuana was not actually on the IOC’s list of banned substances. So, after an immediate appeal, Rebagliati’s medal was quickly returned. The World Anti-Doping Agency

(WADA) is the drug police of sports. They seek out substances and practices considered performance-enhancing that could provide an unfair advantage. For a full year leading up to any Olympic Games, athletes are subject to random drug tests. Medal winners are also tested immediately following events. Back in 1998, the WADA testing threshold was 15 nanograms of THC per milliliter of blood. That could end up catching people who’d smoked weeks before a competition. Rebagliati, who tested at 17.8ng/ml, always claimed it was from secondhand smoke. (In 2014, WADA raised the testing threshold to 150ng/ml, turning the focus to those who used cannabis during a competition. Essentially, marijuana use is no longer prohibited, except on the day of an event.) Rebagliati embraced his status as a medal-wearing cannabis enthusiast, even launching his own brand of medical cannabis, dubbed Ross’ Gold, along with a line of custom glassware, in Whistler, north of Vancouver in British Colum-

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bia, where he’d refined his snowboarding skills. Rebagliati plans to open a coffeehouse/dispensary in the town once Canada liberalizes its pot laws. In fact, another snowboarder who carved turns on Whistler’s famed slopes may take cannabis higher in the Great White North. Justin Trudeau, once an instructor there, is the newly elected Prime Minister of Canada, and he’s pledged to fully legalize cannabis for all uses. (See “Canada’s Countdown to Legalization” on page 28.) The evolving U.S. laws haven’t quite made it all the way up the hill. Colorado is home to some of the most epic vertical snow on the planet, and over the last two years it’s become the center of the legal retail cannabis market, yet none of the Colorado ski areas have been allowed to adopt a policy welcoming the new, green crowds. Hot chocolate mixed with hard liquor remains their staple. Technically, any public smoking—on a chairlift, on a slope or around town—is still prohibited. Some of Colorado’s most famous mountain-resort towns, including Vail, have opted to ban cannabis retail stores. Breckenridge had one store that attracted quite a stir, as documented in the CNN series High Profits, but the town eventually held a vote and banned the store from being on Main Street. Still, four shops have opened in the next town over, Frisco, and several more in nearby Steamboat Springs. While the ski resorts are private enterprises, many actually exist on tracts of forested federal land. This may be a source of their reluctance to tolerate THC travelers. Getting caught in a National Park with any amount of marijuana can be a serious offense. (In 2013, I was busted twice on federal property while protesting. The first time I received a ticket for $175. The second time I was fined $3,000, and I’m serving two years of supervised probation for having half a joint.) In February 2014, a “saturation patrol” of park rangers wearing flak jackets and carrying guns descended on the parking lots of Taos Ski Valley, citing people for cracked windshields and marijuana. Former New Mexico Governor

Olympic gold-medal snowboarding winner Ross Rebagliati tested positive for THC at the 1998 Games, but retained his trophy.

Gary Johnson—an avid skier, mountain climber, cannabis reform advocate and resident of Taos—was particularly ticked off by the tone of the action. “This was way, way over the line,” he fumed. Rangers aside, stoners have always been on the slopes, and aren’t going away anytime soon. Twenty years ago, I found a decidedly laissez-faire attitude about marijuana among the alpine crowd, one that clearly continues unabated. Today, it’s more discrete and refined: Instead of joints on the lifts, there are vape pens. Edibles and even transdermal cannabis patches make it easier than ever to slide high without attracting attention. When legalization goes fully national and international, there’ll be cannabis in the bars, along with beer and spirits. But until then, the stoners of the snowy mountains will have to make do in caves and hideaways, and wherever else smokers go to turn the lush winter scenery green. Chris Goldstein is Senior Editor of Freedom Leaf.

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igins of Pot Prohibition Th e O r By Paul Armentano

umans have cultivated and consumed the cannabis plant since virtually the beginning of recorded history. Cannabis-based textiles dating to 7000 B.C. have been recovered in northern China, and the plant’s recorded use as a medicinal and euphoric agent dates back nearly as far. Modern cultures continue to use cannabis for these same purposes, despite a virtually worldwide ban on its cultivation and use. Americans lived in harmony with the marijuana plant from the Colonial era until just after the turn of the 20th century. Some historians believe that settlers harvested America’s first hemp crop in 1611 near Jamestown, Va. Shortly thereafter, the British Crown ordered colonists to engage in wide-scale hemp cultivation—a practice that farmers continued in earnest for the next 300 years. Physician William O’Shaughnessy introduced Americans to the herb’s medicinal value in the mid-1800s. While practicing in India, O’Shaughnessy began documenting the medical uses of cannabis, which he introduced into Western medicine in 1839. By the 1850s, oral cannabis extracts became available in U.S. pharmacies, where they remained a medical staple for the next 60 years. Despite the drug’s widespread availability as an herbal remedy, reports of recreational abuses of cannabis were virtually nonexistent in the literature of that time. In fact, during congressional hearings leading up to the passage of the Harrison Narcotics Act of 1914—the nation’s first federal anti-drug act—witnesses argued against



Textiles made from cannabis are originally produced in China.


prohibiting cannabis, stating that “as a habit-forming drug, its use is almost nil.” Congress heeded their advice and wisely excluded cannabis from the statute. But reefer sanity quickly gave way to reefer madness. Over the following years, legislatures in several U.S. states, including California, Colorado, Maine and Massachusetts, outlawed the plant’s possession—often citing lurid, unsubstantiated claims about the weed’s adverse effects among predominantly poor and ethnic populations. By the late 1920s, newspaper headlines and editorials sensationalizing the alleged dangers of pot began sweeping the nation. Respected publications like the New York Times proclaimed that marijuana intoxication caused incurable insanity, while law enforcement personnel alleged that pot use triggered wanton sexual desires and irreparably destroyed the brain. “If continued, the inevitable result is insanity, which those familiar with it describe as absolutely incurable, and, without exception, ending in death,” declared a 1933 editorial in the Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology. Few among the public, and even fewer elected officials, disputed these claims. By 1937, members of Congress— which had resisted efforts to clamp down on the drug some two decades earlier— were poised to take action. Following the lead of the states, most of which had now banned the plant’s possession and use, federal politicians readied to enact their own pot prohibition. On April 14, 1937, Rep. Robert L.


The first American hemp crop is harvested in Virginia. British settlers are ordered by the Crown to grow hemp for seed and fiber.

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Doughton of North Carolina introduced House Bill 6385. The measure sought to stamp out recreational use of marijuana by imposing a prohibitive federal tax on the plant’s cultivation and possession. Members of Congress held only two hearings to debate the merits of the bill. The federal government’s chief witness during the hearings was Harry J. Anslinger, a law-and-order evangelist and director of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics. Anslinger’s anti-pot zealotry was legendary. Under oath, Anslinger told members of Congress, “This drug is entirely the monster Hyde, the harmful effect of which cannot be measured,” and called for its blanket criminalization. Over objections from the American Medical Association, which testified vociferously against the proposed federal ban, members of the House and Senate overwhelmingly approved the measure. That August, President Franklin Roosevelt promptly signed the legislation into law. On Oct. 1, 1937, the Marihuana Tax Act officially took effect, thus setting in motion the federal prohibition that continues unabated today.

The Shafer Commission and the Advent of Decriminalization While federal pot prohibition began with the passage of the Marihuana Tax Act, the plant’s present-day illicit status is a consequence of its classification under the U.S. Controlled Substances Act. (The 1937 law was ultimately ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in 1969.) Of the five drug categories established by the CSA, politicians placed cannabis in the most prohibitive category, Schedule


After practicing in India, Dr. William O’Shaughnessy introduces Americans to the medical value of cannabis.


I. But this decision was intended only to be temporary. That’s because the act called for the creation of a federally appointed commission to study all aspects of the cannabis plant, its use and its consumers. The presumption was that lawmakers would revisit pot’s restrictive status once this blue-ribbon commission completed its work and reported its findings back to Congress. But things didn’t work out as planned. After nearly two years of scientific study, Congress’ marijuana commission —known as the National Commission on Marihuana and Drug Abuse (aka the Shafer Commission, named after its chairperson, Pennsylvania Governor Raymond P. Shafer)—completed its investigation. The multimillion-dollar fact-finding mission, titled “Marihuana: A Signal of Misunderstanding,” was trumpeted upon its completion as “the most comprehensive study of marihuana ever made in the United States.” The commission issued its report to Congress and to President Richard Nixon on March 22, 1972. In unambiguous language, it rebutted virtually every negative claim made about the herb’s alleged dangers. Specifically, the commission concluded that pot was not a so-called “gateway drug”; that its use was not associated with violence or aggressive activity; and that its consumption was not physiologically or psychologically detrimental to health. “Neither the marihuana user nor the drug itself can be said to constitute a danger to public safety,” it concluded. “Therefore, the Commission recommends... [that the] possession of marijuana for personal use no longer be an offense, [and that the] casual distribution of small amounts of marihuana for no

Thanks in large part to Harry J. Anslinger, marijuana is prohibited by the federal govern -ment.


Thanks in large part to Richard Nixon, the modern-day War on Marijuana begins.


Colorado and Washington vote to legalize marijuana. In 2014, Oregon and Alaska follow suit.

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remuneration, or insignifThese policy changes What icant remuneration, no allowed states to free longer be an offense.” up judicial and proswas once This public-policy ecutorial resources reefer sanity recommendation, to focus on more sequickly gave known as “decrimrious crimes, and did way to reefer inalization,” stipunot result in increased lated that those who marijuana use among madness. possess or dispense young people or the personal-use quangeneral public. In fact, the tities of the herb should federal government’s own no longer face arrest or review of statewide decrimijail time; instead, minor pot nalization policies (“Marijuana Leviolations would be punishable by the galization: The Impact on Youth 1976 payment of a small fine. By contrast, –1980”) concluded: “[D]ecriminalization large-scale dealers and traffickers would has had virtually no effect either on maricontinue to face criminal sanctions, and juana use or on related attitudes and bethe plant itself would remain contraband. liefs about marijuana use among AmeThe commission’s findings and recrican young people. The data show no ommendations should have triggered evidence of any increase, relative to the a serious review of federal marijuana control states, in the proportion of the policy and penalties. That didn’t happen. age group whoever tried marijuana. In Instead, President Nixon vehemently fact, both groups of experimental states rejected the commission’s conclusions, showed a small, cumulative net decline and the federal government doubled in annual prevalence after decriminaldown on demonizing pot. As had been ization.” the case more than three decades The popularity of decriminalization earlier, science and reason held little waned in the ‘80s—a decade that sway with federal policymakers, who marked the zenith of drug-war fervor. instead chose to embrace cultural Predictably, no additional states passed and racial stereotypes over facts and cannabis decriminalization laws during evidence. Flexing the muscle of the this time period. Yet, despite the advent newly formed anti-crime super-agency, of “Just Say No,” advocates managed to hold the line. Throughout the Reagan/ the Drug Enforcement Administration, Bush era, no state legislature repealed Nixon declared that his administration their decriminalization laws. was launching the first official “war” on By the late ‘90s, state politicians drugs. Public enemy No. 1 in this battle began once again to consider the benewas marijuana. fits of decriminalizing pot. In 2001, NevaAlthough federal officials ignored the da became the first state in over two Shafer Commission’s call to decriminaldecades to reduce marijuana possession ize pot, state politicians took notice. In penalties to a fine-only offense. In recent 1973, Oregon became the first U.S. state years, several additional states have to amend its marijuana laws in a manner enacted similar changes in law, reducthat followed the commission’s recoming minor pot possession offenses from mendations. Over the following years, 10 criminal misdemeanors to civil infractions more states—Alaska, California, Colorapunishable by a fine only—no arrest, no do, Maine, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nejail and no criminal record. braska, New York, North Carolina and Ohio—decriminalized marijuana possesExcerpted from The Citizen’s Guide to sion offenses. In each of these states, State-by-State Marijuana Laws by Paul minor marijuana offenders face fines, but Armentano. Published by and no longer risk prison time (and, in most distributed by Whitman Books. Copyright cases, they also no longer face a crimi© 2015. nal record).


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A judge’s guide to the best outdoor-grown pot in the world

By Rick Pfrommer The Cannabis Cup has come a long way in the nearly 30 years since High Times held their first contest in Amsterdam. I was privileged to be at that event. At the time, I was working as an intern at NORML in Washington, D.C. and our director was invited to come as a guest judge. He declined, and I leapt at the chance. I paid my own way, and became the photographer’s assistant. Judging consisted of just four people, Ed Rosenthal among them, smoking as much cannabis as they could in five days, taking notes and declaring a winner. Some 20 years later, in 2010, I attended my first Emerald Cup, an independent event held at founder Tim Blake’s legendary Area 101 in Laytonville, Calif. Nearly a thousand people showed up throughout the evening, mingling among several tents and the stage area, and I was fortunate enough to meet




the original judges, Swami and Nikki. Folks were familiar with the work I’d done to promote outdoor-grown cannabis for Harborside Health Center, and welcomed me into the Northern Cali grow scene. With my prior experience judging High Times Cannabis Cups, I figured I was a shoo-in to be a judge the next year. I couldn’t have been more wrong. In 2011, I asked Blake if I could be a judge at the Emerald Cup. He looked at me for a minute before ever so politely informing me that folks waited years to be a judge. Famed cannabis comic (and Freedom Leaf columnist) Ngaio Bealum just became a judge this year, after a three-year wait. I was surprised; surely I was a worthy judge. Then I realized that it had nothing to do with my credentials. The folks behind the Emerald Cup wanted to know who I really was, not just what I’d done. After a couple more years, the folks from the North Country slowly began to accept me. To my delight, I was asked to judge in 2013. Blake founded the Emerald Cup in 2002. It’s evolved from a few attendees at his place to over 20,000 people at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds in Santa Rosa on the second weekend of December. All cannabis entries must be organic and sun-grown, which alone distinguishes this event from any other cannabis competition in the world. The judging pro-

The famous display case at the Emerald Cup.

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cess now occurs over a three-week pejudges, which, of course, leads to more riod. I was one of 15 judges selected for smoking. this enviable task. All of the samples are tested for poOne of the really nice things about tency and pesticides. In 2015, over 20% EC judging is the balance of men and of the samples were discarded due to women in the judging pool. From the high pesticide levels. One of the very famed Bud Sisters—Pearl Moon and dirty secrets of the Emerald Triangle is Dr. Joyce Centofanti—to Baked in Humthat many growers, especially large-scale boldt’s Rachel Hill, women were well repones, use pesticides. Fortunately, with inresented, which is often not the case creasing legalization and regulation of at other cups. With more than 500 enproduction, this is changing. tries, judges are, by necessity, divided inThe big reveal of the Emerald Cup to groups, and each group receives a set comes on Sunday afternoon. In addiof samples from tion to flowers, which they pick judging of soltheir top 20. vent-less hash, During the edibles and even next round, all of topicals takes the groups’ top place. Aficiona20 samples are do Seeds has then distributwon several firsted among all the place awards at judges, and then past cups, and judged again. The 2015 was no difprocess is repeatferent as Chered until the final ry Limeade—a top 20 is decidcross of their ed. Judges’ meetaward-winning ings are raucous, Black Lime Reherb-smoking serve and Cherry marathons that Lime Kush—took often last for five the top award. or six hours. EnAn Emerald Cup tries are judged win translates inon Appearance, to not just bragAroma, Taste and ging rights, but Effects. Each increases in seed of the first three sales. The main expo hall at the Emerald Cup. criteria has a No disrespect 10-point maxito High Times, mum score, and Effects can top out at 20 but Blake has built, over the course of points. Since judges test so many strains the last 13 years, the ultimate Cannabis at one time, effects do indeed become Cup. Folks travel from all over the world difficult to distinguish. Some might argue, to participate and share in Northern Cali’s this author included, that having double herbal bounty. Anyone interested in expoints for effects is perhaps not the best ploring the modern cannabis industry in way to score. California should come to this event. It’s The beauty of the lengthy judging too bad it only takes place once a year. process is that the cream of the crop always rises to the top. Some judges like Rick Pfrommer is former Director of Edfruity strains, others like fuelly buds, but ucation and Outreach at Harborside all agree on what makes cannabis great. Health Center in Oakland, Calif., and is As the process unfolds, judges start to currently running his own consulting comhave favorites and promote them to other pany, PfrommerNow.


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he 12th night after Christmas marks the official beginning of Mardi Gras season. Costumed balls, parades, parties and all manner of merriment continue until precisely midnight on Fat Tuesday—the day before Ash Wednesday and the start of the Christian Lenten season. This year Fat Tuesday falls on Feb. 9. Although Mardi Gras in the United States officially started in Mobile, Ala.—where it’s still celebrated with gusto, as it is all along the Gulf Coast from Florida to Texas—most people associate Mardi Gras with New Orleans, and for good reason. A big part of that has to do with food. Many diverse cultures came together in New Orleans and its surrounding areas, and nowhere is this more evident than in the region’s culinary history. Those who were forced to go to Louisiana—African and Caribbean slaves, and the Acadians, who the British exiled from Canada’s Maritime Provinces during the French and Indian War—had the greatest influence on the unique local cuisine, which would become world-renowned.



Exotic spices from the islands and plentiful ingredients in the port town evolved into the city’s upscale and sophisticated Creole style—incorporating influences from France, Spain, Germany and elsewhere in Europe—often at the hands of slave chefs and “free people of color.” The Cajuns (descendants of the Acadians), meanwhile, offered a more rustic country counterpart, using fish, game and whatever ingredients they could get their hands on. Native American foods also contributed to the gastronomic culture. These traditions became intertwined in the city’s melting-pot culinary landscape, making New Orleans a major foodie destination.

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. . . . . . . . . .

SAtIVA SHRIMP CREOLE Sweet shrimp swim in a spicy tomato sauce in this classic Creole dish served over white or brown rice. I prefer to medicate this recipe with kief or hash. To decarboxylate kief or hash, bake it for 20 minutes at 250 degrees F before using in recipes.

Melt butter along with oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add flour and cook, whisking constantly until it’s a light-brown roux, for 4 minutes. Add onions, bell pepper and celery to pan, and stir with wooden spoon to combine well. Cook

until vegetables are softened—about 4 minutes. Add garlic and cook for another minute. Add tomatoes, stock, bay leaf, cayenne, parsley, salt and kief or hash. Increase heat and bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Add shrimp, stir to combine and cook for 5 minutes or until shrimp are reddish and no longer translucent. Serve over rice. Serves 6.

A ROUX WARNING! . . . . . . . . . . . .

•. 1 tbsp. unsalted butter •. 1 tbsp. olive oil •. 2 tbsp. all-purpose flour •. 1/2 small onion, peeled and diced •. 1/2 small green bell pepper, cored and diced •. 1 large celery stalk, finely diced •. 2 tsp. minced garlic •. 1 15-oz. can of crushed tomatoes •. 1 cup chicken or vegetable stock •. 1 bay leaf •. 1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper •. 2 tbsp. chopped fresh Italian parsley or 2 tsp. dried parsley •. Salt to taste •. 1/2–1 gram decarboxylated kief or finely ground hash •. 1 lb. medium shrimp, raw and peeled •. Cooked rice

One of the first and most important lessons instilled in any competent Creole cook is to never leave a roux while it’s on the stove. The cooking combination of flour and fat can turn into a burned mess in a matter of seconds. Stir constantly, and I do mean constantly, until other liquid ingredients are incorporated.

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A huge part of the Mardi Gras tradition is King Cake parties, which date back to local observances of the Feast of the Epiphany, although through the years King Cakes have become less religious and more of a party tradition. The King Cake features a small baby figurine, usually made of plastic, hidden somewhere within, and is decorated in traditional Mardi Gras colors—gold, purple and green—representing power, justice and faith. The lucky individual who gets the piece of cake with the baby in it is supposed to take on the duty of throwing the next King Cake party, or at least providing the group with their next King Cake. Here’s how to make one.

. . . . . . . . . . .

KING kUsH cAkE The King Cake is actually more of a sweet bread than a traditional cake. This is a simple version flavored with lemon and a few spices (you could also stir in raisins or nuts, or even make fancy fillings). If you don’t have an electric mixer for the dough, use a heavy-duty food processor, or do it by hand, which requires a lot of kneading. •. 1/2 cup warm water (100 degrees F) •. 1 packet (2-1/4 tsp.) yeast •. 1/2 cup plus 2 tsp. sugar, •. 3-3/4 cups flour •. 1 tsp. nutmeg •. 1-1/2 tsp. cinnamon •. 2 tsp. salt •. 1 tsp. lemon zest •. 1/2 cup warm milk •. 5 egg yolks •. 1/2 cup cannabis-infused butter, softened •. 1 egg beaten with 1 tbsp. milk, for egg wash



•. 2 cups confectioner’s sugar •. 3 tbsp. lemon juice


•. 1-1/2 cups granulated sugar •. Food coloring •. 1 tiny plastic baby Sprinkle yeast and 2 tsp. sugar over warm water in a small, shallow bowl. Let stand for 10 minutes in a draft-free place until yeast starts to bubble up and mixture almost doubles in volume. In a large


bowl, mix flour, 1/2 cup sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon, salt and lemon zest. Using an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine yeast mixture, warm milk and egg yolks. Gradually add dry ingredients and softened canna-butter to achieve a medium-soft ball of dough. Continue mixing for 3–5 minutes until elastic. Place dough in a buttered bowl in a draft-free place, and cover with a clean kitchen towel. Let rise for about 1-1/2 hours until dough doubles in size. In the meantime, butter a large baking sheet and set aside, or use a silicon mat. When dough has risen, remove from bowl, punch down and roll into a cylinder, then twist it into a circle; pinch the ends together to complete the circle. Place on baking sheet or mat. Cover and let rise until doubled—about 45 minutes. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Brush top and sides of cake with egg wash, and bake for 25–35 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool completely on wire rack before hiding baby doll inside and decorating. Find a spot you like and push the plastic baby doll into the cake. Make colored sugar by mixing a few drops of food coloring into about a half-cup of granulated sugar. Keep stirring until everything is evenly incorporated and you have a shade you like. Mix blue and yellow for green, blue and red for purple, and use yellow for gold. Make the icing by whisking lemon juice with confectioner’s sugar. Spoon icing over cake and let set for 5 minutes, then drizzle stripes of yellow, purple and green sugar over the icing as shown in the photo. Serves 8.

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. . . . . . . .

Jambalaya traditionally includes chicken, sausage, seafood and lots of flavor with a little spicy kick. The Cajun version doesn’t use tomatoes, but many Creole recipes add them. This one includes tomatoes, and ganja. •. 2 tsp. olive oil •. 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces •. 1 lb. smoked sausage, cut into 1-inch pieces •. 1/2 pound medium shrimp, raw and peeled •. 2 medium yellow onions, diced •. 2 large celery stalks, diced •. 1 large green bell pepper, diced •. 2 tsp. minced garlic •. 1-1/4 uncooked white or brown rice •. 6 tsp. cannabis-infused butter or oil •. 1 15-oz. can crushed tomatoes •. 4 cups chicken stock •. 2 bay leaves

•. 1 tsp. dried thyme •. 1 tsp. dried oregano •. 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper •. 1 tsp. hot sauce, such as Tabasco Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook, stirring often, until browned. Add sausage, onions, celery and pepper and cook, stirring often, for 10 minutes. Add garlic, rice and cannabis-infused butter or oil, and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Add stock. Scrape up any browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Add bay leaves, thyme, oregano, salt, cayenne and hot sauce. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Add shrimp, stir, cover and continue to simmer until most of the liquid is absorbed, shrimp is cooked and the rice is tender—about 10 minutes. Serves 6. Cheri Sicard is author of The Cannabis Gourmet Cookbook and Mary Jane: The Complete Marijuana Handbook for Women.

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How to Love Your Weed

Valentine’s Day advice for the high and hopeless By Beth Mann If you’re alone this Valentine’s Day, why not consider dating pot? Chances are, you’ll get more from dating a herb than a Herb. And here’s why: First off, marijuana relieves lonelyness. Lonely people who use marijuana reportedly have higher levels of selfworth and better mental health than non-users. Secondly, while pot may have a negative impact on memory, it’s ideal for relationships. Who doesn’t want to forget that nasty crack your last significant other made about your cooking? With pot, say goodbye to longstanding resentment and hello to, “Huh? I don’t really remember that.” Pot is also smokin’ hot and smells good. It can be stuck in a drawer when you’re done with it. And it doesn’t mind talking to you about deep, heavy stuff (pot embraces that shit). It just wants to see you happy and put a smile on your face. I know, you’re rolling your eyes and thinking: Oh come on, you’re being silly now. Pot can’t love. Pot doesn’t have feelings. You need feelings to be in a relationship. Whoa, whoa, whoa. Let’s set the record straight: Feelings are definitely not necessary for a relationship. Think of the biggest relationship problems you’ve ever experienced. What did they all have in common? Feelings—dumb, mercurial feelings. You’re probably feeling something right now. Guess what? It’s going to change in, like, two minutes. How reliable is that? But if you’re a romantic purist and feelings are a necessity, well, pot is just a plant, right? Plants have feelings too. Researchers at Michigan State University discovered that plants have a rudimentary nerve structure that allows them to feel pain. According to Plant Physiology,


plants are capable of identifying danger and marshaling defenses against perceived threats. “Plants not only seem to be aware and to feel pain, they can even communicate,” claims botanist Bill Williams of the Helvetica Institute. If pot protects me from dangerous situations, feels pain and communicates, then it’s already doing better than three of my previous partners combined.

Here are some more benefits of loving your weed: • It doesn’t borrow your money or stretch • • • • • •

out your socks. It doesn’t break up with you two weeks after you lost your job and put your dog to sleep. It doesn’t mind arranging a corny romantic dinner or reciting a poorly written poem while you’re in the shower. It doesn’t hold your occasional meltdowns against you, but finds them cute, even endearing. It doesn’t call you “dude.” (Well, OK, pot does do that sometimes.) It doesn’t buy you a gold bracelet with flowers on it when you only wear silver. It doesn’t want to text you to death and would rather see you in person.

So the next time you’re feeling lonesome just because you don’t have that special someone on Valentine’s Day, just check your stash—the answer was there all along. Unless you don’t have a stash, which means you’re leading a loveless existence. But, hey, that happens sometimes too. Beth Mann is President of Hot Buttered Media and a regular contributor to Freedom Leaf.

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Advanced Cannabis Science

Of the approximately 420 chemical compounds found in the cannabis plant, more than 80 cannabinoids have been identified. Much is known about THC, and, more recently, the healing properties of the nonpsychotropic CBD have excited much interest, but there’s much more to be discovered about the other cannabinoids produced by the plant.

Cannabigerol (CBG)

Cannabigerol is often referred to as the mother molecule. As the primary biosynthetic precursor of THC, CBD and CBC (cannabichromene), CBG is the stem cell of cannabinoids. Only found in trace


amounts in the plant, CBG has not been particularly well studied since its discovery and isolation. However, researchers have already found an intriguing number of medical uses. Compared to the greatly psychoactive THC, CBG only binds slightly to the CB1 receptors spread across much of the top area of the brain—roughly with the same affinity as CBD. It also appears to interact with the CB2 receptors of the body and immune system, but whether it functions as an agonist or antagonist is still unclear. A more potent painkiller than THC and a powerful treatment against the MRSA infection, CBG is also almost as effective a phytocannabinoid (a cannabinoid produced by a plant) against breast cancer as CBD, and is known to be effective against highly resistant carcinoma cells in prostate cancer. Adding to the evidence of its anti-inflammatory properties, and many anecdotal reports of use, scientists have confirmed, in animal studies, that CBG helps improve bladder issues and inflammatory bowel disorders. Like THC, it also appears to be effective in lowering glaucoma’s high eye pressure. CBG inhibits GABA (gamma-Aminobutyric acid) uptake more effectively than THC or CBD, and since GABA is the main inhibitory neurotransmitter of the brain, this might explain the antianxiety effects of CBG. It’s an intriguing cannabinoid in many ways, and most certainly worthy of greater study.

Cannabichromene (CBC) Depending upon conditions in the plant, CBG undergoes conversion to any number of other cannabinoids. One of the most exciting of these understudied molecules is cannabichromene. Most often found in freshly harvested cannabis, it’s especially concentrated in young plants and in the leaves of more mature ones. Often misidentified as CBD until the mid-’70s because they share almost the same characteristics in gas chromatography, CBC is generally considered a minor cannabinoid because it usually only represents a maximum of 5% of the canna-

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binoid fraction in most strains. It typically occurs at higher levels than CBD in the psychoactive strains, and at lower levels than CBD in the fiber strains. However, examples of Afghan hashish and Korean fiber landrace strains have been found with up to 30% CBC acid. CBC has long been proven as an anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and modest painkiller. In animal models, CBC sedates dogs and decreases muscle coordination in rats, but causes no high in monkeys. An excellent recent pharmacological evaluation of CBC in a classic mouse tetrad assay of cannabinoid activity found that, at very large doses, CBC causes significant locomotor suppression, catalepsy, painkilling and hypothermia. In one of the most intriguing effects of relevance to the many diseases of neurodegeneration, researchers Vincenzo Di Marzo and N. Shinjyo, in their 2013 study “The Effect of Cannabichromene on Adult Neural Stem/Progenitor Cells,” demonstrated that CBC increases the viability of adult stem cells in mice. CBC shows promise in the treatment of cancer, because it greatly increases the levels of anandamide, which inhibits cell proliferation. A 2012 Italian study found that CBC helped with diarrhea (gastrointestinal hypermotility) without decreasing transit time—an intriguing result because current drugs are often associated with constipation—though the mechanisms are still mysterious because they seem to occur independently of the known cannabinoid receptors.

Cannabinol (CBN) In 1895, the first cannabinoid was isolated by Wood, Spivey and Easterfield. It took another 40 years for R.S. Cahn to figure out the structure of CBN. Roger Adams found it only 10% as active as a purified cannabis extract in various tests on animals. CBN may have been mistaken for THC, whose molecular structure was not known until decades later. Thus, LaGuardia Committee marijuana researchers may not have known CBN’s chemical structure in the early 1940s, when they tested CBN capsules on pris-


oners housed on Welfare Island (now Roosevelt Island) in New York City. CBN can produce contrary results; as researchers John McPartland and Ethan Russo report, “CBN potentiates the effects of THC in man, yet it antagonizes the effects of THC in mice.” Rarely occurring in fresh cannabis, CBN results from bud being exposed to the air, which oxidizes THC into the much less potent CBN. It’s often used to date a cannabis sample; when Russo and an international team of researchers analyzed 800 grams of ancient cannabis discovered in a 2,700-year-old tomb in Turpan, China in 2008, they found more CBN than any other cannabinoid—indicating it once had been primo, THC-heavy pot. CBN has also demonstrated anticonvulsant and anti-inflammatory properties, as well as potent antimicrobial effects against MRSA. As for pain, when CBN is administered with THC, they potentiate each other, their synergistic effects hinting at action via a novel cannabinoid receptor or ion channel pathway. CBN’s anti-inflammatory effects help in the treatment of asthma in mice, and reduce eye pressure from glaucoma synergistically with THC. Leafly and others predict that the demand for medical cannabis products— such as oils, edibles, capsules and patches—that incorporate higher levels of CBN and other “minor cannabinoids” will undoubtedly grow. Their medical potential has yet to even be realized. Next month: THCV, CBDV and THC11. Lex Pelger is a writer and scientist, and hosts the Psymposia drug conference and Psychoactive Storytelling events.

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stoner movies 2015 BY STEVE BLOOM

Usually, at least one stoner comedy does boffo box office business each year—like Neighbors ($150M) in 2014, We’re the Millers ($150M) in 2013 and Ted ($218M) in 2012. But in 2015, only Ted 2 ($81M) came close to those numbers. The Night Before, starring Seth Rogen, struggled ($43M). However, Trainwreck, in which Amy Schumer plays a female stoner, had solid numbers ($110M), and the stony Sisters racked up $86M. In a genre usually dominated by men, women had a breakout year. Schumer, Amy Poehler, Tina Fey, Kristin Stewart, Amanda Seyfried, Kristen Wiig, Meryl Streep, Lily Tomlin, Blythe Danner and Helen Hunt all used marijuana in some form (mostly joints) in their movies. On the drama side, the year was all about cartels and drug wars South of the border. Sicario ($46M) led the way, followed by Escobar: Paradise Lost and the documentary Cartel Land (neither cleared a million dollars at theaters). On the TV side, Netflix offered the Escobar-themed Narcos. It may not have been the greatest year for stoner movies at the box office, but there were plenty to choose from. Here’s my Top 22 of 2015.


American Ultra

Stewart and Jesse Eisenberg team up again (they previously appeared in Adventureland) for this action-comedy directed by Nima Nourizadeh (Project X). Eisenberg’s character Mike works at a convenience store, but little does he know that he’s been programmed by the CIA to be a killer. When the CIA decides to put him out of commission, Mike’s special powers (aided by plenty of marijuana inhalation) work to his advantage. Stewart is terrific as his loyal stoner girlfriend.

2. Sicario

Set in Juarez, Mexico, Denis Villeneuve’s gripping film is like an extension of Traffic, especially with Benicio Del Toro in the cast (he appeared in Traffic and also starred in Escobar: Paradise Lost). The movie focuses on female FBI agent Kate Maurer (Emily Blunt), who is assigned to a manhunt to capture the leader of the Sonora cartel and is soon over her head in a male world that brazenly breaks the rules of engagement. Roger Deakin’s landscape cinematography is a major highlight of this drug-war saga.


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stoner movies 2015

3. Ted 2 5.

Like its predecessor, this sequel is a pot-centric romp. Ted (voiced by Seth MacFarlane, who also directed and cowrote both films) marries Tami-Lynn (Jessica Barth); the opening musical number at the wedding is pretty spectacular. Ted and Tami-Lynn want to have a baby, but Ted, who’s a stuffed animal, is kind of limited in that area, so they seek legal assistance from stony lawyer Samantha, played by Seyfried. When we first meet her, she’s under her desk sucking down a bong hit. Later, on a road trip to New York, Ted, Samantha and John (Mark Wahlberg) bunk out under the stars at a weed farm. Samantha hits it on the head when she observes, “The War on Drugs is a joke.”

4. Dope Part Boyz in the Hood, part Risky Business, Rick Famuwiya’s film about a trio of friends who inadvertently become drug dealers “offers a brand of comic-book charm with an optimistic, yet never sentimental, multi-cultural mix that’s revolutionary in its now subtle way,” wrote Freedom Leaf contributor Roy Trakin. Newcomer Shameik Moore plays Malcolm, a straight-A student who fends off jocks and dealers as he rides around Inglewood on his BMX bike. When he’s stuck with a bag containing a large quantity of Ecstasy, Malcolm, Diggy (Kiersey Clemons) and Jib (Tony Revolori) decide to sell it on the Internet and use the money to pay for college.


(Tie) Trainwreck ; Sisters

After several years on Comedy Central, Schumer made a bold leap to the big screen in Judd Apatow’s Trainwreck. Playing herself, Amy is single and not looking to commit, until she meets sports doc Aaron (former SNL cast member Bill Hader). The traditional roles reverse: Amy likes to smoke pot and Aaron doesn’t. She sneaks a toke here and there and, in the film’s climactic scene, is chided by Aaron after taking a one-hit break. The romance isn’t very compelling, but Schumer is in her movie debut. Fey and Poehler are a hoot in Sisters. Kate (Fey) and Maura (Poehler) decide to throw a party at their childhood home. It’s a pretty tame affair until Pazuzu (wrestler John Cena) arrives with a boxful of drugs. They opt for the weed, which Kate uses to make “space cake.” Maura and her crush James (Ike Barinholtz) have a romantic moment after smoking a joint in the attic. As party movies go, this one’s a real barnburner.

6. The Diary of a Teenage Girl 7. Cartel Land 8. Love & Mercy 9. Escobar: Paradise Lost 10. (Tie) Janis Joplin: Little Girl Blue; Amy 11. Rock the Kasbah 12. The Night Before 13. (Tie) Ricki and the Flash; Danny Collins 14. (Tie) I’ll See You in My Dreams; Grandma 15. Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead: The Story of the National Lampoon 16. I Smile Back 17. Ride 18. The Green Inferno Freedom Leaf Editor-in-Chief Steve Bloom is co-author of Reefer Movie Madness: The Ultimate Stoner Film Guide.

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january / february 2016



Cookbooks for Cannabis Gourmets Marijuana cookbooks have come a long way since the poorly produced, self-published pamphlets that used to be the norm even a few years ago. So high is the production value of The Cannabis Kitchen Cookbook (Skyhorse Publishing) and Herb: Mastering the Art of Cooking with Cannabis (Inkshares) that these books are equally at home on coffee table as they are in the kitchen. Penned by classically trained chefs, both books feature sophisticated, upscale cuisine and a wide variety of courses: soups, salads, brunch items, main courses, desserts and drinks. Each book features gorgeous photographs sure to inspire even the most couch-locked stoner to create magic in the kitchen. The Cannabis Kitchen’s instructional chapters are outstanding. Robyn Griggs Lawrence does a terrific job of including every question a cannabis cook could have, providing all the necessary answers. This hardcover book starts with a discussion of “The Plant” itself, followed by an introduction to cannabinoids and terpenes, including a nifty chart that helps home chefs match flavors, as well as cook for specific medicinal effects. The practical exploration of both the culinary and medicinal properties of marijuana continues in the “Buyer’s Guide” chapter that offers a snapshot of the most popular strains, and what home cooks can expect from them. Dosing is covered in detail, including a handy mathematical formula that can help approximate the milligrams of THC and CBD you can expect in your finished edibles. One of the best things about The Cannabis Kitchen is is the variety of methods used to medicate the recipes. Its chapter on “Infusions and Extractions” offers instructions for 10 different butters and three alcohol infusions/tinctures, and recipes for infused honey, agave, simple syrup, milk and cream. With these building blocks, the home canna-cook can easily medicate a huge variety of foods,


including many that are already in their regular cooking repertoire. Herb authors Laurie Wolf and Melissa Parks pepper their pages with sidebar notes containing expert tips, as well as ways to vary the formulas, subtly teaching readers how to creatively improvise in the process. The basics are adequately covered for beginners cooking with cannabis, including information on dosages and how to make herb-infused butter and oils. While Herb has a better range of everyday fare and comfort food, The Cannabis Kitchen tends more toward gourmet recipes. The clear instructions in both books make it possible for cooks of all skill levels to get great results. These books are highly recommended, with a slight edge to The Cannabis Kitchen Cookbook. — Cheri Sicard

january / february 2016

january / february 2016



january / february 2016

january / february 2016



january / february 2016

january / february 2016



january / february 2016

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