NEWS & REVIEWS
28 33 36 44 50
SATIVA LAS VEGAS Mitch Wilburn
8 9 10 11 74 76 78
CELEBRITY MAD DASH TO SUPPLY LEGAL GRASS Steve Bloom
LAS VEGAS DISPENSARY GUIDE FREEDOM LEAF INTERVIEW: TOMMY CHONG Steve Bloom TURNING OVER NEW LEAFS Alec Pearce THE HIDDEN DANGERS OF PORTABLE VAPORIZERS Chris Goldstein and Dr. Jahan Marcu
ANTI-POT BILLIONAIRE BUYS VEGAS JOURNAL-REVIEW Chris Goldstein BLACK LIVES MATTER IN D.C.’S HOME-GROW MARKET Valencia Muhammad EVENT CALENDER DR. DOG: THE PSYCHEDELIC SWAMP Steve Bloom
STORIES I TELL MYSELF: GROWING UP WITH HUNTER S. THOMPSON Roy Trakin INNOVATIVE ITEMS FOR THE CANNABIS CONSUMER
6 12 14 16 18 20 22 24 60 64 68 70
EDITOR’S NOTE Steve Bloom THE SPRING CANNA-CALENDAR: CONFABS GALORE Allen St. Pierre CBD AND EPILEPSY Paul Armentano TEN YEARS AFTER: ARRESTED FOR POT AT UMD Stacia Cosner WOMEN TAKE CHARGE AT DENVER SUMMIT Jazmin Hupp BOYS ON THE SIDE AT WOMEN GROW SUMMIT Amanda Reiman CANNABIS TALES FROM THE ROAD Ngaio Bealum TERRA TECH TARGETS VEGAS AND RENO Matt Chelsea ICBC ROCKS SAN FRANCISCO Steve Bloom MEDICATED VEGAN DINNER PARTY Cheri Sicard INTERVIEW WITH A LEPRECHAUN Beth Mann THE OTHER CANNABINOIDS, PART 2 Lex Pelger
Cover photo of Las Vegas sign by Somechaij via Bigstock Photo
Freedom Leaf’s Steve Bloom with Tommy Chong.
EDITOR’S note March madness in vegas
Not being a resident of Las Vegas, but an occasional visitor, my view of Sin City has always been informed by legendary author Hunter S. Thompson and his drug-fueled novel Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, written in 1971.Then there are Hollywood’s tales, like The Godfather 2 and Bugsy, of how organized crime built the town out of a desert in the 1950s. All these years later, Vegas is on the verge of becoming a marijuana mecca. It happens to be the home of Freedom Leaf—and upwards of 15 dispensaries, all compiled in our “702 Dispensary Guide” (page 33). Nevadans will have the chance to vote for adult-use marijuana legalization in November. If that passes, many think it would set the stage for Las Vegas to eventually become the nation’s cannabis capital—just as it is for gambling and prostitution. We asked local food and drink writer Mitch Wilburn to take us, while marginally under the influence of our favorite plant, on a tour of Vegas. His article “Sativa Las Vegas” (page 28) pays homage
to Thompson without destroying any hotel rooms (though he does fire a gun in the desert, just because you can in Nevada). Thompson’s son, Juan F. Thompson, has written a book about growing up gonzo. Roy Trakin reviews Stories I Tell Myself: Growing Up with Hunter S. Thompson (page 76). Another Vegas angle is covered by Chris Goldstein’s news story (page 9) about marijuana foe Sheldon Adelson buying the Review-Journal, Nevada’s largest newspaper, which may impact the election outcome of the state’s marijuana ballot initiative in November. This issue is chock-full of terrific articles and interviews, including my sitdown with Tommy Chong (page 36). Alec Pearce tests out Leafs by Snoop products (page 44); and Chris Goldstein and Dr. Jahan Marcu reveal “The Hidden Dangers of Portable Vaporizers” (page 50). And in the spirit of St. Potty’s Day, Beth Mann tracked down a stony leprechaun to interview for her monthly column (page 68). It’s Issue 13. The letter “M” (for marijuana) is the 13th letter of the alphabet. It’s also March. Enjoy!
S teve Bloom
Steve Bloom Editor-in-Chief
DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS
PUBLISHER & CEO
Richard C. Cowan & Clifford J. Perry Clifford J. Perry
Chris M. Sloan Keith Stroup
COPY EDITOR G. Moses
SENIOR POLICY ADVISOR Paul Armentano
SCIENCE EDITOR Dr. Jahan Marcu
ADVERTISING SALES Ray Medeiros
Erik Altieri, Ngaio Bealum, Matt Chelsea, Stacia Cosner, John Fortunato, Frances Fu, Jazmin Hupp, Beth Mann, Mitch Mandell, Ross Marinaro, Valencia Mohammed, Alec Pearce, Lex Pelger, Rick Pfrommer, Amanda Reiman, Cheri Sicard, Allen St. Pierre, Roy Trakin, Mitch Wilburn Copyright ÂŠ 2016 by Freedom Leaf Inc. All rights reserved. Freedom Leaf Inc. assumes no liability for any claims or representations contained in this magazine. Reproduction, in whole or in part, without permission is prohibited.
Celebrity Mad Dash to Supply Legal Grass In the race to capitalize on America’s expanding legal cannabis industry, launch parties to premiere celebrity pot products have become de rigueur. In November, Snoop Dogg debuted his Leafs by Snoop line at a Denver soiree (reviews on page 44), and on Feb. 6, which would have been Bob Marley’s 71st birthday, his son Rohan was in Los Angeles, where a high-end party launched Marley Natural strains and concentrates, now available at several SoCal med shops. It’s just the tip of the celeb-pot iceberg. Tommy Chong’s Choice brand of buds began circulating in Washington State adult-use stores in January; a day after the Marley Natural bash, Chong was at the High Times SoCal Medical Cannabis Cup in San Bernardino promoting the new brand with an arcade-style crane machine filled with fat green nugs. Just a week earlier, it was Wiz Khalifa’s turn to let the world know that he, too, is making a Green Rush move with his Khalifa Kush strain and other products to be grown and sold in RiverRock’s two Denver locations. In a press release, Khalifa stated: “These products have taken years to perfect. I’m really excited to share them with the public and to work with RiverRock to raise awareness and end marijuana prohibition nationwide.” Khalifa has also extended his existing partnership with RAW to include new versions of his branded Khalifa cones and papers, and other merchandise. “He just really, really liked RAW,” the company’s Founding Director, Joshua Kesselman, tells Freedom Leaf. “The relationship
grew until one day it was time to turn it into an actual joint venture.” Partnerships abound in the brave new world of legal cannabis. The Marley family has partnered with Privateer Holdings; and Willie Nelson has received investment support from Tuatara Capital for his Willie’s Reserve product line, expected to launch on 4/20. Singer Melissa Etheridge is also getting into the cannabiz with her private-label, weed-infused red wine, created for Greenway Cannabis Relief in Santa Cruz, Calif. by Lisa Molyneux (see Freedom Leaf Issue 5); the bottles are currently only available to members of the medical marijuana collective. At the Women Grow Summit in Denver in February, Etheridge told the crowd: “It’s time for us to run that business with the knowledge of health and wellness, and also the other energy of capitalism. We’ll show that it can work.” Several celebs are looking to get in on the retail cannabis boom. As we reported in Issue 11 (“Pot Shop Owner B-Real Talks Medical Marijuana”), rapper B-Real won a license in 2015 to open a shop in Santa Ana, Calif. He’ll be competing with Roseanne Barr, who’s invested in another Santa Ana store. Lastly, in Hawaii, noted actor and hempster Woody Harrelson has applied for a license to operate two dispensaries and two cultivation facilities on Oahu. Harrelson and Nelson live on nearby Maui, and Willie’s Reserve will likely be available in those stores if the licenses are granted. — Steve Bloom
Anti-Pot Billionaire Buys Las Vegas Journal-Review The Initiative to Regulate Marijuana, which is on the November ballot in Nevada, has a potential enemy in wealthy casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, who owns both the Sands and Venetian hotels on the Las Vegas Strip. According to Forbes, he’s worth $26 billion and is the world’s 15th richest person. Now, Adelson also owns the Silver State’s largest newspaper, the Las Vegas Journal-Review, which he purchased in December for $140 million. Drug reform advocates are concerned that his past support of anti-marijuana initiatives could potentially affect coverage and the outcome of the vote. Some of the worst fears of longtime employees regarding how Adelson would run the publication are apparently being realized. The journalism institute Poynter recently noted that posts about Adelson or his businesses are being scrubbed from the paper’s website. Management and staff changes are now underway. In 2014, the Review Journal editorialized: “Legalizing recreational pot is good
Hotel and casino tycoon Sheldon Adelson.
policy… It’s an important step forward in fixing a failed policy.” Adelson donated $5 million to Drug Free Florida in 2014 to fight off Amendment 2, which would have legalized medical marijuana statewide. He was the primary source of funding for opposition to the measure, which narrowly lost by two percentage points, receiving 58% of the vote (constitutional amendments in Florida require 60% approval). Ironically, in 2013 Adelson’s Medical Research Foundation funded a study conducted by Tel Aviv University that concluded cannabis is beneficial for inflammatory diseases such as MS. — CG
Facebook Targets Marijuana Dispensary Pages A strange thing happened in cyberspace starting in early February, when Facebook took down the pages of many state-regulated marijuana businesses across the country. It started in New Jersey, as pages for three medical cannabis facilities suddenly went offline on the same day. New Jersey’s Alternative Treatment Centers (ATCs) had been using Facebook to update registered patients about available strains, hours of operation and other important information. Subsequently, the pages for California NORML, Mary’s Medicinals, in Colorado, and Breeze Botanicals, in Oregon, were also removed. Facebook has sporadically taken down pages related to marijuana for years. During this recent shutdown, page owners received notes from Facebook
stating that their content violated the social network’s “community standards,” but specifics were not offered. Facebook has strict rules against promoting tobacco, firearms and “drugs.” Meanwhile, alcohol and pharmaceutical companies are welcome to promote on Facebook. The FB page for Budweiser has 13 million followers; and drug maker Pfizer has almost 200,000 likes. The good news is that some of the removed pages, such as those for New Jersey’s Compassionate Sciences ATC and Breakwater Treatment & Wellness ATC, have since been restored after owners filed appeals. Others will likely return, as well. For alternatives to Facebook, check out cannabis-friendly social networks like Mass Roots, Weedmaps and Leafly. — Chris Goldstein
Steph’an Bishop Davis wants the black community to have a seat at D.C.’s legal weed table.
Black Lives Matter in D.C.’s Home-Grow Market It’s been a year since the home-growonly form of recreational marijuana became legal in the District of Columbia. While Washington, D.C. has more than 650,000 residents, only a small portion are taking advantage of this new freedom. Many poor, primarily African-American residents living in public housing face criminal charges if marijuana is found or consumed inside their apartments. Meanwhile, other residents in more affluent areas can enjoy the plant in the privacy of their homes. This is causing a rift in the community. “The lack of statehood and the interference by Congress is a huge factor,” Shelly Brackenridge, a Northwest D.C. resident suffering with a severe form of lupus, tells Freedom Leaf. “What bothers me the most is that D.C. is still predominantly black, yet the legal medical marijuana businesses and head shops are predominantly white-owned. I feel like we’re limited from doing groundbreaking things.” While the politics of D.C.’s recreational cannabis law guarantee more twists and turns, low-income residents are trying to navigate the maze. Many can’t afford to grow marijuana “when they live off food stamps, free housing and $90 a month in cash,” notes another local, Onika Gray.
“We voted for recreational marijuana for all D.C. residents over 21. We had no idea it would exclude a huge population.” Prior to the legalization vote in 2014, Washington’s mostly black Northeast and Southeast neighborhoods had the most arrests for small amounts of marijuana, while white communities remained largely unaffected. “Now that it’s legal to carry up to two ounces on your person and grow marijuana in your home, the makers of the initiative haven’t concentrated in these areas to ensure the community understands it must focus on growing and sharing marijuana, rather than engaging in illegal activities,” Leo Wilson Jr., who owns A Thought Processed, a cannabis awareness and education group, points out. “But it’s very hard when the highest unemployment rates in D.C remain in these communities.” Steph’an Bishop Davis, whose Gifts from the Earth group holds monthly edible events to draw Northeast and Southeast consumers into the industry, contends: “We must empower the black community by educating them on every aspect of recreational marijuana. We’re laying the foundation of what recreational marijuana will be like in D.C. It’s important that those who have suffered for decades have a seat at the table.” — Valencia Mohammed
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NoCo Hemp Expo Loveland, CO nocohempexpo.com Hash Bash Ann Arbor, MI hashbash.com
Clinical Cannabis Conference Baltimore Harbor Hotel 14–16 patientsoutoftime.org National Medical Cannabis Unity Mar. Conference 2016 18–22 Cannafest Loews Madison Hotel, Apr. Washington, D.C. 16–17 Redwood Acres Fairgrounds. Eureka. CA, cannifest.com safeaccessnow.org/unity_2016 Mar.
Cannabis Grand Cru Fremont Foundry, Seattle cannabisgrandcru.com California Cannabis Industry Association Policy Conference Sheraton Grand, Sacramento cacannabisindustry.org
Cannabis Science & Policy 17–18 Summit The Graduate Center, New York cannabis-summit.org Apr.
17–19 Holiday Inn, Washington, D.C.
BY ALLEN ST. PIERRE
The Spring Canna-Calendar: Confabs Galore Back in the day, the only cannabis-related public meeting event that consumers and activists could place on their calendars was the annual NORML conference. It was pretty much a one-and-done deal. Thankfully, today, commensurate with the proliferation of cannabis law reforms in a majority of states in America, there are now dozens of canna-centric conferences, business-to-business trade shows, judging contests, meetups and seminars for consumers, activists and businesspeople. There’s certainly something for everyone. Looking ahead over the next three months, among not-to-be-missed cannabis events are those organized by Students for Sensible Drug Policy, Americans for Safe Access, the National Cannabis Industry Association, Patients Out of Time and Marijuana Business Daily (see the Event Calendar on page 11 for more information). Going into our 46th spring, National NORML and our network of over 150 local chapters will be busy hosting a lobby day for cannabis consumers, a legal cannabis seminar in Colorado and dozens of events at the local and state levels (see sidebar) Not too long ago, attending a cannabis-related event was perceived as a potential social or employment risk. However, as cannabis increasingly progresses from being an illegal and untaxed drug to the darling of Main Street retailers, the types of public events listed here are becoming increasingly prevalent, popular and mainstream. Also, springtime in America is synonymous with 4/20 celebrations around the country. Over the last few years, April 20
NORML Lobby Day Conference May 23–24, Washington, D.C. America’s only lobby day for the country’s millions of cannabis consumers. Day one is devoted to learning the basics of citizen lobbying in a seminar setting; day two focuses on visiting the offices of representatives and senators to lobby them to end the federal prohibition on marijuana. NORML Legal Seminar June 2–4, Aspen, Colo. The only legal seminar that NORML permits non-lawyers to attend is held in this wonderful Rocky Mountain location, where cannabis is as legal as alcohol products. Attendees are also invited to a soiree at Hunter S. Thompson’s home in nearby Woody Creek. NORML Chapters NORML chapters have put the grass in grassroots organizing, and they’re always busy with conferences, protests, debates, lobbying and celebrations. Check the Google calendar section on the right-hand sidebar at norml.org for dates and times of chapter meetings and other events. has become the favored day on the calendar for companies to roll out new and/ or improved cannabis-related products and services. If you’re keen on cannabis, don’t let this spring go by without attending one or more cannabis-related public events, where you’re guaranteed to learn a lot and make valuable new friends and business contacts. Allen St. Pierre is the Executive Director of NORML in Washington, D.C.
CBD and Epilepsy New studies confirm CBD-rich cannabis oil is an effective treatment for seizures. By Paul Armentano From Biblical days to the modern age, evidence of marijuana’s therapeutic prowess is abundant, and new studies continue to expand the long list of the plant’s proven healing properties. Recently, no one claim has captured the public’s imagination and inspired greater political action more than the notion that cannabis can dramatically halt the onset of seizures in adolescents suffering from severe forms of epilepsy. Since 2014, 16 states have passed laws permitting people with epilepsy to either possess non-psychotropic cannabidiol (CBD) or access it in state-sponsored clinical trials. Politicians have been moved to act based on heart-wrenching testimonials from families seeking an alternative to pharmaceutical drugs for their sick children in the form of cannabis plant extracts high in CBD, known to many as Charlotte’s Web—the name of a high-CBD strain popularized by Dr. Sanjay Gupta in his Weed specials on CNN. However, none of these state programs provide a legal, in-state source of CBD-dominant strains to make oil with. Notwithstanding the current difficulties in preparing and procuring CBD extracts, clinical trial evidence from around the globe now substantiates longstanding
claims that cannabis can significantly reduce seizure activity. Here are four promising studies on CBD and its effect on epilepsy: • Last June, University of Colorado researchers published a study that examined the effectiveness of orally administered cannabis extracts in patients with various forms of child-onset epilepsy, such as Dravet’s syndrome and LennoxGastaut syndrome. They reported in Epilepsy & Behavior that nearly 60% of subjects experienced improvement in seizure control, and one-third had a greater than 50% reduction in seizure frequency. Many patients also noted such therapeutic benefits as improved alertness and motor skills. • Preliminary data from a state-sponsored clinical trial, known as “The Carly’s Law Study,” at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) show an even greater success rate. An estimated 90% of patients experienced “some improvement” following CBD administration, with over half of all subjects having a 50% reduction in their total number of seizures. Investigators are set to formally announce the study’s results at the annual conference of the American Academy of Neurology April 15–21 in Vancouver, B.C.
• A multicenter U.S. trial, posted in December on the Lancet Neurology website, evaluated the safety and efficacy of CBD extracts in more than 200 subjects with intractable types of epilepsy. Following CBD treatment, four out of 10 patients cited a reduction of 50% or more in motor seizures, 21% had a reduction of 70% or more and 9% had a reduction exceeding 90%. “[T]reatment with pure cannabidiol led to a clinically meaningful reduction in seizure frequency in many patients, and had an adequate safety profile in this patient population with highly treatment-resistant epilepsies,” the authors concluded. • Israeli researchers evaluated the effects of CBD-rich medical cannabis extracts in children undergoing treatment at five pediatric epilepsy clinics. Participants in the trial had failed to respond to conventional medications and were placed on a treatment regimen of high-CBD oil for a period of at least three months. Following treatment, 89% of subjects reported reduced seizure frequency. The inves-
tigators also “observed improvement in behavior and alertness, language, communication, motor skills and sleep” after CBD dosing, they reported in Seizure in January. “The results of this multicenter study on CBD treatment for intractable epilepsy in a population of children and adolescents are highly promising.” Additional ongoing state-sponsored trials involve the administration of Epidiolex—GW Pharmaceuticals’ proprietary high-CBD extract that contains only nominal amounts of THC. In 2013, the FDA approved the clinical use of Epidiolex as an “orphan drug” to treat rare medical conditions. Additionally, four distinct pieces of legislation are presently pending before Congress to either reschedule CBD or to exempt CBD-rich strains from the federal government’s prohibition of marijuana. Paul Armentano is Deputy Director of NORML and Freedom Leaf’s Senior Policy Advisor, and the author of The Citizen’s Guide to State-By-State Marijuana Laws.
Students for Sensible Drug Policy
Ten Years After: Arrested for Pot at UMD Busted for marijuana as a college freshman, SSDP’s Deputy Director explains how it motivated her to fight the War on Drugs.
The night before classes were scheduled to begin for my second semester as a freshman at the University of Maryland, I heard a knock at the door. Alone in my dorm room, I’d lit up a joint to relax before I went to bed. Without a peephole to see who it was, I opened the door to find three police officers. I was scared and surprised as they barged past me, demanding that I tell them where the marijuana was. In an effort to cooperate, I gave them everything I had: a glass pipe and less than half a gram of marijuana. The officers proceeded to turn my room upside down, searching for anything else I might be hiding. My anxiety overcame me, and, after briefly fainting, I woke up handcuffed to my desk chair. The officers then paraded me out of my room in front of dozens of fellow students, and took me to a police station in the nearby town of Hyattsville, in Prince George’s County. The officers laughed at me as I cried, making fun of the “little college girl who was upset because she got caught with pot.” I was placed in five-point restraints, with cuffs and chains around my ankles, wrists and waist, and fingerprinted and photographed. I spent the next nine hours in a cell with a woman who was clearly in crisis, possibly experiencing withdrawal or mental illness, and not receiving the help she desperately needed. When I was released the next day, I had no phone or wallet, so I crossed the street to a gas station and asked the attendant for directions to the University of Maryland campus. Still in my pajamas, I walked a few miles back to my dorm building. There, I was met with notices of
By Stacia Cosner
SSDP Deputy Director Stacia Cosner.
suspension and eviction. I had to move out of the dorm within 48 hours. To avoid suspension, I later agreed to two years of twice-weekly drug tests. I was a straight-A student and in several honor societies; to say that this was a new experience for me would be a major understatement. Not knowing where else to turn, I contacted the leaders of UMD Students for Sensible Drug Policy and NORML, who immediately came to my aid. They did everything they could to help me, providing much needed emotional support and finding an attorney to navigate the school’s judicial process. Members of SSDP and NORML made me understand that I was part of something much bigger—and didn’t treat me as a pitiful 18-year-old girl overreacting to a relatively minor run-in with the law. The two organizations provided a perfect outlet for me to take action against these injustices, and helped me recognize how fortunate I was, especial-
ly after learning what others had been through. I wanted to know how the drug war impacted others, and the more I read, the more outraged I became, and the more I realized that the damage caused by these drug policies is diverse and widespread. I’m fully aware of how mild this experience is in comparison to those who’ve been incarcerated and treated like criminals for using their medicine, or have lost custody of their children, or been denied job and education opportunities. Still, it was very traumatic for a relatively sheltered young woman just learning how to navigate the world on her own. After I graduated from UMD in 2009, I was hired as an Outreach Director for Students for Sensible Drug Policy in Washington, D.C. Today, I’m the Deputy Director. It’s very fulfilling to be able to work for and with students who want to make a difference in the world by advocating for alternatives to drug prohibition. Knowing that SSDPers are the future of drug policy reform, I’ve never been more
I was a straight-A student and in several honor societies. to say that this was a new experience for me would be a major understatement.
confident that we can and will succeed in ending the harm caused by the current draconian system of fear and punishment imposed by the United States’ failed War on Drugs. Contribute to SSDP at ssdp.org/donate.
Women Take Charge at Denver Summit
Scenes from February’s Women Grow Leadership Summit in Denver.
By Jazmin Hupp The second annual Women Grow Leadership Summit, February 3–5 in Denver, made one thing clear: Cannabis industry women are radically rethinking the way we do business. In the midst of a paradigm shift that’s changing society’s relationship with cannabis, 1,300 women (and a few good men) attended the event. Women are on track to lead the country’s newest billion-dollar industry, and I’m proud to be a part of this historic change to the corporate power structure. The cannabis movement is cultivating savvy, brave women who are taking risks as advocates and business leaders. At the summit, CannaMoms founder Moriah Barnhart talked about the risks she has taken to provide cannabis for her gravely ill young daughter, who is well today, thanks to Barnhart’s courage and intuition.
The 2016 summit was one of the most significant events of my life, not just because of the production’s large scale or the number of tickets sold, but because of those who were there and created a safe space for sharing. While offering her CHOIR principles—Courage, Honesty, Openness, Integrity and Respect—former Assistant U.S. Attorney Sheri Orlowitz came out as a lesbian on stage in front of a large, supportive crowd. Singer Melissa Etheridge spoke of her struggles during breast cancer treatment, and the relief she found in cannabis. Our stories bind us. In a theater, it’s not uncommon for patrons to leave their programs behind in their seats as they exit the building. After a full day of lightning talks, I walked down the aisles of the Ellie Caulkins Opera House and noticed only a few programs on the seats—a good sign that, together, we’ve created something valuable. Everyone who attended the summit took a piece of the experience home with them in the form of a program, an idea or a new friendship. The atmosphere of bravery and vulnerability made the 2016 Women Grow Leadership Summit special. I’m profoundly inspired by the dedication, resourcefulness and passion of the women who joined us. I hope to lead with the values and strength I encountered over the course of those three amazing days. There’s power in resisting the old to create the new. This kind of change can only happen with a strong base of solidarity among women leaders, entrepreneurs and activists in the cannabis space. Together, we have strength. Now’s the time to take concerted action: Know your intentions, lead with your passion and be willing to act. Let’s walk forward together, help one another and rewrite the rules. Jazmin Hupp is CEO and co-founder of Women Grow.
Boys on the Side at Women Grow Summit
Women Grow co-founder Jane West and Steve Fox at the Leadership Summit.
By Amanda Reiman There’s no shortage of assumptions about what women do when they get together without the presence of men.. Pillow fights, hair braiding, gossiping, perhaps some cookie baking—these scenarios have been part of pop culture for decades. However, one scenario increasingly discussed is forecast for the fastest-growing industry in America. At the Women Grow Leadership Summit in Denver Feb. 3–5, there might have been a pillow fight or two, but the real message of the event came through loud and clear: The cannabis industry is for women too, and we need to take our rightful places as leaders and entrepreneurs. Held at the kitschy Curtis Hotel and the iconic Ellie Caulkins Opera House in downtown Denver, the summit drew women from all over the country, from the cannabis farms of Mendocino to big cities of Detroit and Chicago. The 65 speakers included Melissa Etheridge, Betty Aldworth and Ellen Komp, and Women Grow founders Jane West and Jazmin
Hupp. The talks were sprinkled with a sense of vulnerability and wonderment, offering a different atmosphere than male-driven conferences. Attendees were encouraged to revel in learning what they don’t know, and to seek answers and solutions in concert with other women. This is a far cry from the keep-your-cards-close-to-the-vest mentality that pervades most other industry events. The summit challenged stereotypes of women being catty and in competition with each other, and instead created an environment of inclusiveness and camaraderie. As a group that has endured persecution throughout history, women understand the need to fix the foundation of our society and be mindful of its vulnerabilities before attempting to build an industry on top of it. We understand that ignoring the cracks and weaknesses in the foundation will never allow the industry to grow strong. In my time working for the Drug Policy Alliance, I’ve addressed many cannabis industry audiences and talked about the cracks in the foundation, and the social- and racial-justice issues that must be considered as we construct this new industry. I gave that talk again at the Women Grow Summit, and for the first time in a long time, the audience was not just listening, but clearly absorbing the information. The shifting of the market from illicit to licit requires special care and an awareness of the history of drug prohibition. It’s not just about bottom lines, as we often hear at business seminars. It’s about freeing those who are incarcerated for cannabis, and about employing people impacted by the drug war. Women seem to be the ones bringing these discussions to center stage, especially at energizing events like the Women Grow Leadership Summit. Amanda Reiman is Manager of Marijuana Law and Policy at the Drug Policy Alliance.
Cannabis tales from THE ROAD Our favorite stoner comic gets around. Here's the inside dope on his recent tour of Texas. By ngaio Bealum
Traveling with cannabis is pretty easy. I mean, don’t bring a pound and a half with you, but a personal amount should not raise an eyebrow. Flying out of San Francisco to San Antonio, the TSA agent asked about the portable microphone I had in my jacket, but she didn’t say anything about the pipe and the small bag of weed right next to it. No agent wants to spend all day doing paperwork at the airport because someone has four grams of weed in his or her suitcase. Soon after landing, my San Antonio homies hooked me up with a variety of fine cannabis—Gorilla Glue, Headband and Bubba Kush. Most of their pot came from California or Colorado (don’t tell anyone), and it was all pretty good. Next stop was McAllen, Texas, right on the U.S.-Mexico border. Everyone warned me that it was OK to bring weed to McAllen, but to be sure not to take
anything from McAllen, because the Border Patrol has dogs. So I left most of my pot in a safe (OK, under my buddy’s couch) in San Antonio, and tried to smoke the weed I brought for the one night I was going to be in McAllen. I failed miserably. People in McAllen like to drink. They’re fond of what they call “shot bars” that specialize in making all kinds of shots. I had more than a few. I left my McAllen homies with a fat sack, and drove up to Austin. The Border Patrol didn’t even sweat me. They sent me on my very merry way, probably because I look more like a professor of African-American studies than an illegal immigrant. Austin is in Travis County, which is a lot more liberal than the surrounding counties, making it a haven for stoners. Austinites are still talking about how the Texas legislature almost legalized it in 2015. Texas doesn’t have an initiative process like the Western states, and the legislature only meets every two years, but I have a feeling it may be one of the first Southernmost states to legalize cannabis. My time in Texas was especially gratifying. If Arizona and New Mexico manage to end cannabis prohibition in 2016 (and there’s a good chance they will), and Texas can legalize it in 2017, we’ll be able to grow, sell, smoke and enjoy cannabis all over the entire West Coast and Southwest. Yee-haw! Ngaio Bealum is a Sacramento-based comedian and activist who regularly appears at cannabis events.
Terra Tech Targets Vegas and Reno The California company is making moves in Nevada’s new medical market.
By Matt Chelsea With a market valuation of over $35 million, and its recent $20 million-plus acquisition of the Oakland, Calif. dispensary Blum, Terra Tech Corp. is on the verge of a huge growth spurt. Between now and 2017, the publicly traded, Newport Beach, Calif.-based company (OTCQX: TRTC) plans to open four new Blum dispensaries in Nevada, and to start growing and selling its own branded cannabis, IVXX (Roman numerals for 420). “That’s our focus,” founder and CEO Derek Peterson tells Freedom Leaf. “We want to control the supply chain for our brand reputations. Our model is to control the seed-to-sale process.” The timing is ripe, as states continue to legalize medical and recreational marijuana, and institutional investors and individuals with beaten-up stock portfolios seek ways to tap expected growth in the nascent canna-industry. However, Terra Tech has yet to show a profit after several years in business, with $2 million in revenue in its latest fiscal quarter and nothing but net losses to show thus far. Like other cannabis stocks, Terra
Tech has been volatile, with its barely micro-cap stock trading at 26–80 cents per share over the past year—not exactly the stuff of Wall Street dreams. But like other startups, whether in the tech or biotech space, Terra Tech continues to plow capital into building its business by tapping its own revenue and investment dollars from an institutional backer, Dominion Capital LLC, along with money from selling common stock on the OTC market. Those investments are fueling rapid growth. With 23 employees, Terra Tech will add roughly 70 more after the company closes on the Blum acquisition (the merger was announced on Jan. 12). Nevada is in line to become Terra Tech’s largest employment hub, with plans to hire as many as 150 workers for new cultivation operations, and for three dispensaries in downtown Las Vegas, and another in Reno. Nevada’s policy of serving medical cannabis cardholders from other states should boost dispensary sales (Las Vegas currently sports 15 retail locations— see our guide on page 33). The company seeks to open their first Vegas shop this
Terra Tech CEO Derek Peterson: “We want to control the supply chain.” year, and the other three in 2017. “We have the Strip covered, and one in downtown Reno,” Peterson explains. “All those will be Blum-branded, with an identical look and experience that ties back into the location in Oakland. We’ll have the IVXX brand, and wholesale it to other providers.” Although a required trip to the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles may slow in-state patient participation, millions of people who visit Nevada each year come from California, the original medical-marijuana state. “A significant customer base won’t want to fly with it,” Peterson points out. This latest phase of company growth comes just six years after Peterson launched Terra Tech’s predecessor, GrowOp Technology, a provider of cultivation technology. At that time, he was a banker at Morgan Stanley, a part-time surfer and a recreational cannabis user. After a surfing accident left him with a neck injury, he turned to marijuana to avoid the addictive nature of painkillers. GrowOp Technology, which Peterson started as a side business, eventually led to him leaving the bank, and he used his skills gained on Wall Street to help finance Terra Tech. The volatile world of penny stocks didn’t deter him from obtaining a listing for his startup; he was already familiar with that world.
“That was the road I had to go down,” Peterson relates. “Venture capital back then wasn’t interested in the [cannabis] space. Since I had access to public equity markets, I steered the company in that direction.” Asked about any past mistakes that helped him prepare for his current effort, Peterson mentions weGrow, a hydroponic superstore venture in Oakland that didn’t work out. “The lesson is your team and the people you work with are more important than your résumé,” he advises. “We’ve got operations in Nevada, a farm in New Jersey and a dispensary in Northern California. It’s challenging from a communications standpoint, so the better the team works together, it’s just paramount. What I learned is, you pick your partners and pick your team members carefully—not just how somebody looks on paper.” Like most entrepreneurs, Peterson remains upbeat about his prospects to turn a profit down the road. It’s currently a big election year for the industry, with voter referendums already on the ballot in Nevada (adult use) and Florida (medical), with other states (California, Maine, Massachusetts, Arizona) expected to follow suit. The momentum continues to build behind a much larger cannabis industry to come. While dispensary chains like Oakland’s Harborside Health Center remain private companies for now, Peterson is positioning Terra Tech to become possibly the first pure-play cannabis producer and seller to trade on the NASDAQ. Once there, a wider range of institutional investors could wade into the stock. As federal headwinds against pot dissipate, and the business becomes less risky, those that determine stock listing eligibility will gain interest, Peterson insists. The company already meets many of the listing requirements of the NASDAQ Small Cap market, but Peterson isn’t launching a formal bid for the exchange just yet. “We want to build our size and scope before we attempt a NASDAQ listing,” Peterson says. “They’d want to make sure we’re not a tiny company.”
Our Hunter S. Thompson devotee takes a tour of Sin City, Fear and Loathing 2016-style.
here’s no going half-speed in Las Vegas. Like football and relationships, if you hold back, that’s when you’re going to injure yourself. Vegas has long been a destination for those looking to expand their mind, or at least their capacity for hedonism, and today it’s still a place where stories begin. That time in Vegas never ends in a dull fashion. In a town where everyone is meeting each other saddle-to-saddle, dunking back cocktails and fried food for the sole purpose of extracting something from you, trust is at a premium. The scruffy Juggalo with the cardboard sign and Skullcandy earbuds begging for your dollars is the least of your problems; at least with
him, you know you aren’t getting anything in return. Vegas exists on the pretense that there’s at least a chance that you’ll win the Big Prize. Even eating out is a gamble, and just like the slot machines that retirees plug themselves into, the celebrity names attached to restaurants are not a promise. Gordon Ramsay or Mario Batali, or even the Mayor of Flavortown himself, Guy Fieri, can open up a golden palace of food or a generally overpriced eatery. I’m a big brunch-advocate, only in the way that I think a reluctant atheist like me needs something on my one day off a week to get out of bed for. I like a glass of champagne or two and maybe a Bloody Mary with brunch. It’s much better to snag an edible beforehand, to really enjoy a swanky brunch while a little turned on, and there’s nothing quite like putting on fancy duds for Bardot Brasserie (3730 S. Las Vegas Blvd.), which offers some of the finest brunch fare on Earth, and plenty of it when the hunger grabs you. Besides, the bottomless sparkling rosé at Bardot pairs well with the dark-chocolate Kiva bar I consumed on the car ride over.
Illustrations by Pasta Boss pastaboss.deviantart.com 29 www.freedomleaf.com
I walk off that big meal in a place of entrancing beauty—the Bellagio Conservatory & Botanical Garden (3600 S. Las Vegas Blvd.). There’s nothing quite like a million live flowers embedded into giant moving sculptures, dancing in the daylight. It’s the Chinese Year of the Monkey, and there are plenty of interesting depictions of Sun Wukong, the trickster-hero Monkey King from the culturally significant epic Journey to the West. The garden is an enduring fixture of the ’90s casino revolution led by hotel owner Steve Wynn. The Bellagio is to Wynn as David was to Michelangelo; not even the creator himself could top his own masterpiece. It’s time to get medicated. The most Vegas way to do that is to take a ride in 420 Dispensary Tours’ (844-TOUR-420) rolling doctor’s office, known as the Cannabus. As simple as getting an Advil in a drugstore, I sit in the vehicle with a few other people for a “doctor’s consultation.” We all receive said consultations and are swiftly dropped off at one of the city’s 15 pot shops (see “Las Vegas Dispensary Guide” on page 33). We land at The Source (2550 S. Rainbow Blvd.), and peruse the merchandise. As something of a novice to Nevada’s system of legally obtained fun, I choose a couple of prerolled joints of a strain that sounded cool (9 Pound Hammer) and some peanut butter cups. My utter paranoia of accidentally leaving the chocolates around where a nonconsensual underage dosing might take place leads me to eat them immediately, which
hits me hard a good half hour later. Back on the Strip, I take a detour to the Louis Vuitton store at the Shops at Crystals (3720 S. Las Vegas Blvd.), where artist James Turrell has an exhibit called “Akhob.” These chambers of shifting lights and colors are an unearthly trip, perfect to zone out or meditate to. As the sun sets on Sin City, the real light show begins. Viewing the glittering swaths of neon from a big red convertible driving from the south end of the strip is an essential part of a Vegas experience. It’s a pilgrimage worth stretching out into a day; but it’s time to recharge the personal batteries. After a quick smoke break, I quench my munchies at one of Vegas’ finest buffets—the Wicked Spoon inside the Cosmopolitan (3708 S. Las VegasBlvd.), where the build-your-own mac ’n’ cheese station has no safe word, and the desserts would make even Willy Wonka drool. I take an early-evening detour to the Pinball Hall of Fame (1610 Tropicana Ave.), where a fistful of quarters can entertain you, with dozens upon dozens of old-school pins, classic video games and arcade quarter-busters like Skeeball. Over at the bizarre ghost that is Circus Circus (2880 S. Las Vegas Blvd.), a favorite spot of Hunter S. Thompson’s (he wrote about it at length in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas), roller coasters
cheat death. But it’s all ’70s nostalgia and decay. The new epicenter of Vegas bedlam is the mutated brother of Las Vegas Blvd. known as the Freemont Street Experience. It’s a modern River Styx, a place of lost souls and utter madness. There are droves of street performers dressed up as giant hairy babies or to-be-feathered showgirls, and vendors and stalls hawking the talismans of drunken fratboys. The history of this spot as an open-air crack market and rube hunting ground is a distant memory, replaced by flyover couples and tragic hipsters sporting low-testosterone beards. Nearby stands an island of classic Vegas sleaze and kitsch, Frankie’s Tiki Room (1712 W. Charleston Blvd.). It’s a smoky, dark box of retro style and fruity high-octane cocktails, the kind of bar full of cartoonish people, each one the start of an interesting story. Cocktails in Vegas are a great culture, fueled by buckets of cash and truly passionate pros. Another favorite spot of mine, Atomic Liquors (917 Fremont St.), has a great menu of fancy and rare craft beers in addition to seasonally rotating drinks, like the Hunter S.Mash which blends Old Crow with Aperol, ginger and bitters.
Hungry for a late-night snack, I head over to the Truck U Barbecue food truck at S. Bruce St. and E. Sahara Ave. in Francisco Park. Chef Mike Minor is cranking out his Mexi-Cali “burnt ends” burritos, exactly what the doctor ordered—that is, if the illness is a severe lack of smoked brisket tip, duck-fat fries and Oaxacan aoli. By this point, the streets are emptying of even the most persevering partiers. The Strip continues to flicker and beam, graveyard workers start packing up and the sun begins to peek up behind the aptly named Sunrise Mountain. The next morning, I need to get away from these sickening lights and people. The natural beauty of the desert pierces this haze—and reminds me that I live in a lawless hellhole. So, like a good red-blooded American, I grab my collection of legally ambiguous firearms and go out into the desert to destroy some things; mannequin heads, busted television sets, propane tanks and various bits of scrap are all struck down, round after round. Hunter S. Thompson would’ve been proud. Mitch Wilburn is a food and drink writer based in Las Vegas
Las Vegas Dispensary Guide
In 2000, Nevada became the 16th state to legalize medical marijuana. Thirteen years later, the state legislature decided that dispensaries could open for business. What’s unique about the law is that it allows reciprocity with the other 22 states with similar laws. In other words, a nonresident with an out-of-state medical card can purchase pot in Nevada. The nascent industry is just getting started in Las Vegas. Here’s where to find legal medical cannabis in Sin City. 1. Euphoria Wellness 7780 South Jones Blvd., 702-960-7200 euphoriawellnessnv.com Offers eight flower strains, 11 concentrates, six edibles, prerolls and CBD products. Prices: $15–$450 for flowers, $30–$70 for concentrates, $22–$35 for edibles, $11–$35 for prerolls and $35– $70 for CBD products. 2. Inyo Fine Cannabis Dispensary 2520 S. Maryland Pkwy., #2, 702-707-8888 inyolasvegas.com Offers six indica, eight sativa and 19 hybrid flower strains, a high-CBD strain, seven concentrates, five kiefs, 14 edibles and prerolls. Prices: $16–$275 for flowers, $35–$75 for concentrates, $46–$50 for kiefs, $22–$150 for edibles and $13–$36 for prerolls. 3. Las Vegas ReLeaf 2242 Paradise Rd., 702-209-2400 lasvegasreleaf.com Offers 17 flower strains, five concentrates, five edibles, 12 topicals and prerolls. Prices: $19–$360 for flowers, $35 for concentrates, $11–$30 for edibles, $13–$159 for topicals and $15–$35 for prerolls. 4. Nevada Medical Marijuana 3195 St. Rose Pkwy., #212, Henderson, NV, 702-737-7777 5. 1975 S. Casino Dr., Laughlin, NV, 702-737-7777 Offers nine sativa and four indica flower strains. Prices: $14–$220. All strains display THC percentages, such as Snowcap, at 26%. (Store is not on the map.)
6. NevadaPURE 4380 Boulder Hwy., 702-444-4824 nevadapure.com Offers five indica, two sativa and two hybrid flower strains, nine extracts, their own branded line of edible chocolates, chewies, honey and peanut butter, and two branded topicals. Prices: $18–$340 for flowers, $25–$70 for extracts, $15– $35 for edibles and $30–$50 for topicals. 7. Nevada Wellness Center 3200 S. Valley View Blvd., 702-470-2077 nvwellnessctr.com Offers three indica, four sativa and four hybrid flower strains, and CBD products. Prices: $18–$350 for flowers and $29– $330 for CBD products. 8. Oasis Medical Cannabis 1800 Industrial Rd., Suite 180, 702-420-2405 oasismedicalcannabis.com
The interior of Las Vegas ReLeaf at 2242 Paradise Road in Downtown Las Vegas.
Offers six indica, seven sativa and 12 hybrid flower stains, eight concentrates, six edibles, prerolls, CBD products, vape pens and portable vaporizers, dab rigs, grinders and papers. Prices: $17–$95 for flowers, $25–$60 for concentrates, $10– $30 for edibles and $10–$12 for prerolls. 9. Sahara Wellness 420 East Sahara Ave., 702-502-3770 At press time, the store had yet to open. 10. Show Grow 4850 South Fort Apache Rd., Suite 100 showgrowlv.com The store opened for business in February. Their menu was not available at press time. 11. The Apothecarium 7885 W. Sahara Ave., #112, 702-778-7984 apothecariumlv.com Offers two sativa, two indica and five hybrid flower strains, and five edible cookies and brownies. The Travel Pack includes four individual grams and one preroll. Prices: $20–$115 for flowers, $30 per edible and $12.50 per preroll. The dispensary, owned by former Vegas policeman Dave Kallas, also has a location in San Francisco.
12. The Apothecary Shoppe 4240 W. Flamingo Rd., 702-740-4372 theapothecaryshoppe.com Offers eight indica, five sativa and three hybrid flower strains, four kiefs, four concentrates, five edibles and three topicals. Prices: $16–$365 for flowers, $35 for kiefs, $55 for concentrates and $20– $35 for edibles. 13. The Source 2550 South Rainbow Blvd., Suite 8, 702-708-2000 thesourcenv.com Offers five sativa, two indica and 11 hybrid flower strains, seven concentrates, four kiefs and prerolls. Prices: $15– $59 for flowers, $30–$45 for concentrates, $35 for kiefs, $10–$32 for edibles and $12 for prerolls. All strains list THC percentages, such as Kimbo Slice, at 29.52%. 14. Thrive Cannabis Marketplace 2775 W. Cheyenne Ave., Suite 103 15. 1112 S. Commerce St. thrivenevada.com The W. Cheyenne St. store opened in February and the S. Commerce St. location is scheduled to open this month. Their menus were not available at press time.
Freedom Leaf INTERVIEW
Tommy Chong Interview by
Legendary stoner comedian Tommy Chong is now a part of the Green Rush, offering cannabis products under his brand, Chong’s Choice, to adult-use stores and dispensaries. Turning 78 in May, he’s been dealing with cancer issues for the last decade. These days, Chong rarely performs with his comedy partner Cheech Marin. Instead, he’s attending trade shows, like the International Cannabis Business Conference in San Francisco in February, where this interview was conducted.
diately thought, Oh my god, that’s where I put the suppository. Could it be? Yes, it could—that I didn’t get lab-clean oil. I asked the cancer doctors. They have no clue. It could have come from the prostate, or it could’ve been exactly what I said. What’s your treatment regimen this time around?
Tommy Chong in Canada in 1969.
Back in October, you had cancer surgery. How are you doing? I’m here. I’m alive. I’m vertical. I’ve got new plumbing. If it weren’t for cannabis, I wouldn’t be here today. You’ve been using cannabis to help you deal with cancer. How’s that going? I was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2005. Then I went on a very holistic diet. I asked this holistic doctor in Victoria, Canada how I should treat the prostate with cannabis oil. He suggested that I use suppositories. I used to make a joke out of it and everybody laughed. And then I was on Dancing with the Stars, and the next thing you know I was having a No. 2 issue. I went and got it checked out, and I found that I had a fucking tumor in the rectum! It’s the worst place you can get a tumor, believe me. I imme-
I decided to go both ways. I told the straight doctors that I’ll do the operation and I’ll do the chemo treatment, but I’m going to do a shitload of cannabis oil, too. They said yeah, fine, no problem. I did the operation. I was only laid up for about a week. Then I started walking. The worst thing about cancer is you lose your appetite. Food doesn’t taste good. And when you stop eating, that’s when your body starts really deteriorating. So I started smoking pot again. I didn’t feel like it, but I knew I had to. And thank god, one night I woke up and I was hungry. I had the munchies. I went to the refrigerator, which I hadn’t done for two weeks, and I opened it like a stoner in the middle of the night. There was some roast chicken. I had a feast. You have a Scottish/Chinese background, right? My father was Chinese and my mother was a waitress. No, that’s a joke. She was Scotch Irish. In those days it was actually illegal in some states to have such a mixed marriage. I had an older brother, thank god, because then I didn’t have to do all the fighting. He did it. As soon as I can remember, we were fighting going to school and fighting coming back, because we were children of color. This was in Calgary, where you grew up. What was that like? I was always reminded, real early in my life, that I was not a white kid. In fact, I was close to a First Nations reserve up there. I actually identified more with them than I did with the white kids in the neighborhood. I grew up like an outcast.
When did you first smoke pot? We had a jazz club in Calgary. I was 18 at the time, trying to get through high school. A Chinese bass player named Raymond Mah gave me a Lenny Bruce comedy album and a marijuana joint. He waited for me to light it, but I’d put the joint in my pocket, so he lit his joint, and it was the first time I ever smoked. And how was that? It changed my life. I was listening to music, to a tune by Ornette Coleman called “Lonely Woman.” I could see the woman the song was about in the window of a balcony of a hotel, and she was all alone. When you get high with jazz or a beautiful woman, it just makes everything so magical. So I knew, right then, what I had to do. The next day I went and quit school. You’re not teaching me anything I need to know. I’m wasting my time here. I’ve got to get on the street and learn how to be a blues musician. You became a guitarist, and played in the band Calgary Shades, which evolved into Bobby Taylor & the Vancouvers, who were signed by Motown and had a few hit songs in 1968, including “Does Your Mama Know About Me.” How did the band get on Motown? Diana Ross heard about us, so the Supremes came down and saw the band. They loved us. She phoned [Motown founder] Berry Gordy. He flew to Vancouver, saw the band and signed us right away. And then he forgot about us. What happened? It was crazy. When Berry Gordy ignored us, Bobby said, “Come on, let’s work our way to Detroit.” We were the type of band that attracted people like Jimi Hendrix. He came to see us before he was Jimi Hendrix. He got inspired by us! In L.A., we played a club called Maverick Flats. Everybody who was anybody in the music business was there—Chaka Khan,
Cheech & Chong in 1972.
Earth Wind & Fire, the Fifth Dimension. They’d heard about Bobby. And when we played Detroit, it was something else. All of Motown was sitting there: the Temptations, the Four Tops, the Supremes. They were all in the audience listening to Bobby sing. After your experience with Motown, you went back to Vancouver and started working in sketch comedy at local clubs. That’s when you met Cheech. How did that come about? He was a draft dodger from the States. Cheech was working for an underground newspaper. The Russian guy who owned it was a fan of our show. He told me, “I’ve got a perfect guy for the straight man.” So that’s how I was introduced to Cheech. I didn’t know what the hell he was. What is he? Iranian? No. I’d never met a Mexican before. I’m from Canada, man. It was weird. I found out later that he’s Mexican. He was very straight. His
Tommy Chong to Freedom Leaf Editor-in-Chief Steve Bloom: “When I was sick, I had tons of pot given to me free. That’s what we do as growers and pot lovers.”
name was Richard Marin. He never did a Mexican accent. So you started performing together? First we put a band together. We had a gig at this place that was doing a battle of the bands. We thought we’d do some comedy and then play some music, but we started doing the comedy and we couldn’t get out of the comedy. We did 45 minutes of comedy, and the crowd loved us. We actually won the battle of the bands, without playing a note! Afterwards, we decided we had an act. What should we call ourselves? Richard & Tommy? Nah. Marin & Chong? No. I asked him if he had a nickname. He said, “Yeah, it’s Cheech.” Cheech & Chong! Perfect. That’s how it was born. What was it about Cheech that made you guys so special together? Cheech can imitate practically anybody. He’s one of the greatest mimics ever. His comedic mind was just through the roof. But I had to kind of pry it out of him. We used to do typical hippie humor until we got to L.A. It was a dancing crowd, and they didn’t want to stop dancing to watch
us. We had to hit them with something. Cheech and I had a discussion and we decided he could do the low-rider character. The minute he said, “What’s happening, man,” the crowd immediately went crazy. Forget dancing, they wanted to see this guy. That was the beginning of a very lucrative career. You recorded a number of comedy albums, and in 1978 had your big breakthrough with Up in Smoke, regarded by many as the greatest stoner movie of all time. Up in Smoke was directed by Lou Adler, officially. He did as much as he could, because we would make up things as we went along. We’d change stuff. That’s the way we did our live show—we didn’t think about it until we had to do it. So we never really followed a set script. Lou’s cut didn’t have an ending; it was an itwas-all-a-dream kind of ending. When we screened it, the Paramount brass walked by us like they were viewing an open coffin. They gave us that look, like, Oh boy, you guys really fucked up. I told everybody that we had to reshoot the ending, it had to be a better ending. I told them I was going to direct it. So I ended up di-
recting the ending of Up in Smoke, and that propelled us into the movie career that we wound up having. It also made me the director of the rest of the Cheech & Chong movies. You went on to make six more films with Cheech. Which are your favorite Cheech & Chong movies? I guess Up in Smoke. After that, probably Still Smokin, because Still Smokin was our live show. It was shot in Amsterdam. We got offered a million bucks to do a live show. I thought, why not make a movie? It’s more fun than just your live show. Richard Pryor was in it, and it was also the first time Prince’s music was used in a movie—“Delirious,” in Still Smokin. By the late ’80s, you and Cheech went your separate ways. What happened? It was because Cheech got offered a movie—Born in East L.A. We kind of had our problems on The Corsican Brothers. Cheech said the dope thing had run its course. If we’re going to do it, let’s not have any dope in it. It was like a challenge, so I agreed to that. The studio that did it, Orion, sent me memos almost every day asking, “Where’s the pot?” It was kind of funny. So Cheech and I had our differences. Columbia offered him a movie without me. Cheech just got tired of doing Cheech & Chong. He hunkered off on his own. While Cheech was playing a cop on Nash Bridges, you got to play yourself on That ’70s Show. What was it like working in TV after all those years making movies and doing standup? I turned down a lot of television before That ’70s Show. When Cheech got Nash Bridges, Don Johnson also asked me if I wanted to be on it. I couldn’t see myself as a cop. When I got offered That ’70s Show, I took it because I knew they had pot smoking in it. They wanted the character I created in Up in Smoke. It was real easy. I loved it.
Your life took an unexpected turn in 2003 when you were arrested as part of Operation Pipe Dreams, and your Chong Glass company was charged with illegal interstate sales. You pled guilty and spent nine months in a federal correctional institution. How did that all affect you? I always had this curiosity about jail. I walked in there and it was like I was with my fans. The first day I spent posing for pictures. You don’t turn those guys down. Actually, it was cupcake for me. The first night was rough—I went from a palatial house and king-sized bed in the Palisades [in Los Angeles] to a little cot next to a cement wall. You could hear the door being locked, and I got a chill being locked in there. It was a dormitory, and there were 200 men doing nighttime men sounds. It was like a jungle. I was like— Oh my god, I’ve got to be here for nine months? Then this peaceful thing came over me. I’d always been into the spiritual world. I could feel this calmness. From that day on, it was just an experience. I felt like an embedded journalist. So much has changed in the marijuana world since you got out of jail in 2004. Cannabis is now legal in some form in 39 states. What do you think of the Green Rush that’s currently happening around cannabis? It’s so exciting. Everything happens for a reason. Being illegal, as it was, created this super plant we have today. We know how to grow it, we know how to cure it, we know how to make oil out of it, we know how to use it medically. We know all this stuff in spite of the laws of the land. We have a system in place. So these laws that they’re trying to pass— you can’t have a dispensary near a school and all these stupid, alcohol-related laws—are laughable. People that buy pot buy it because they need it. It’s not like alcohol, where you get addicted and all of a sudden you need your alcohol or you’re drinking rubbing alcohol. Pot is so relatively harmless. What happens to people that smoke too much pot? They
Pot calms everything down. I couldn’t live without it.
have a good sleep, that’s all. Making laws that treat it like a dangerous drug is ridiculous. How would you rather see marijuana regulated?
Here’s the way I think it should be done: Sales tax. That’s all it should be. Pay your 10% or whatever to the government, and that’s it. When I was sick, I had tons of pot given to me free. That’s what we do as growers and pot lovers. If someone needs it, you don’t charge them, you just give it to them. Treat pot for what it is—it’s a gift from the creator. It can feed us, it can clothe us, it can make us smile, it can make us eat, it can make the sexual experiences out-of-this-world, it can keep marriages and families together. There’s so much. And it can cure a lot of things. I cured my cigarette addiction with pot. When I was 21, I used to smoke cigarettes. Every time I felt like a cigarette, I’d light a joint. Finally I was cured, totally off tobacco. What else does it do for you? There are so many things that pot encourages. It encourages your curiosity. But more than anything, it calms the brain. Pot calms everything down. Next thing you know, you’re not having seizures. You’re healing. When you sleep and calm down, then your body can heal itself. You’re body is a phenomenal piece of art. It can do everything itself. It
can heal. Pot calms everything down. I couldn’t live without it. You recently came out in support of Bernie Sanders for the Democratic presidential nomination. When did you start to “Feel the Bern,” and why the decision to back him over Hillary Clinton? My son Paris turned me on to Bernie. So I started checking him out. I love what he has to say. He’s very humane. He’s the perfect guy for the job, because he’s doing it for the love of the people. Hillary’s doing it for the love of the name. She wants to be the first woman president. I’d rather see Elizabeth Warren be the first woman, if anybody. Hillary cares about her legacy, based on the fact that she’s a Clinton. But that’s not enough. Her and [Florida Congresswoman] Debbie Wasserman Schultz still think marijuana is a gateway drug. I don’t want anyone like that anywhere near ruling. Bernie tells the truth. Like the Bible says, the truth will set you free. I see it in Bernie. You’ve had some choice words for Donald Trump. What do you think of him? Donald Trump really is the Republicans’ karma. All the years they tortured Barack Obama, you get Donald Trump in return. Donald Trump says what the Republicans think in their hearts. He says it out loud.
TURNING OVER NEW LEAFS California rapper Snoop Dogg makes inroads in Colorado with his line of pot products. TEXT AND PHOTOS By Alec Pearce Snoop Dogg debuted his Leafs by Snoop line of cannabis at a launch party in Denver Nov. 9, and the buzz around the celebrity brand has grown quickly. Snoop personally selected the strains and has licensed them to LivWell, the exclusive grower and retailer of LBS flower, wax, shatter and edibles throughout Colorado. Eight LBS flower and concentrate strains are now available at LivWellâ€™s seven medical and recreational marijuana retail locations. march 2016
Marketing Director Matthew Givner provided the following samples for Freedom Leaf to review: Blueberry Dream, Lemon Pie and Tangerine Man flowers; and Banana, Cali Kush and Purple Bush concentrates.
This indica-dominant shatter was stable at room temperature, almost rubbery-feeling and not sticky. It was murky-brown and slightly transparent. The sample had nucleated, resulting in the waxes separating out slightly. The flavor was mild, with a tongue-coating residue that packed a good punch. Rating: 4/5
One of the all-time favorites from California, this sativa-dominant strain lacked something—an aroma—even as I broke up the wellformed, tightly trimmed buds. It was almost a real letdown. Did the oldschool genetics get lost in the curing process? Drying and curing cannabis is an art unto itself, and Colorado’s arid climate poses an additional challenge, as terpenes and other volatile constituents of cannabis will easily evaporate and dissipate unless the harvested buds are cured properly. I pondered this on the dry toke, but the herb came to life with the addition of flame. After half a joint, I began to drift into a blue-edged power nap—with something spiky, almost like a berry thorn, in the head and ubiquitous notes of the terpene carene. With its terrific visual appeal, this flower stoned me into a dream-like consciousness. Rating: 4/5
PURPLE BUSH WAX
This midlevel-grade indica wax looks like burnt sugar, but it has a stable, pleasant aroma. The dark-brown concentrate turned into “autobutter” and failed the visual appeal test; it tasted overcooked, with no flavor. A bonus, however, was the lack of butane in the hit. It had the familiar indica high with the added effect of a third-eye hit, providing a pleasurable ride for the money. Rating: 3/5
The aroma of this sativa-dominant strain is marked by strong pinene and spicy linalool terpenes, and an earthy bottom tone rounding out the smell as well as the high. The dry toke revealed a very smooth draw with a lemon-scented floor-cleaner flavor. I liked the physical effects of this Diesel cross. Under the microscope, the trichomes were not as pronounced as I would have expected for such a high-end product. The tester I shared the sample with could hardly stand after inhaling. Rating: 4.5/5
Said to be Snoop’s favorite strain, this sativa-dominant cross combines an energetic high with a mellow but heavy indica feeling. It’s super-fragrant, with the very strong limonene terpene providing a citral overtone. This was my favorite of the three flowers; it made me feel lightheaded. Several of my fellow testers (all industry professionals) would only sample this strain. The nuggets were thin, shapely and coated with trichomes. However, after I rolled up a Dutch-style spliff, I noticed black ash off the charred nugget, an indication of too much fertilizer and not enough flush. Rating: 5/5
CALI KUSH WAX
This yellowcolored wax indicates high quality, and cleaner processing of long-chain hydrocarbons (butane and propane) out of the finished product (it’s the only LBS concentrate that had both polar and non-polar gases used in the extraction process, with a vacuum purge). This hybrid extraction tasted like a vape pen product, with a flavor that stung the nose, a result of the residual solvent gases. It possessed a subtle but very beta-pinene note, nevertheless. The high was short and mild, accompanied by a brief headache. Rating: 4/5
Alec Pearce is a photographer and cannaseur based in Colorado.
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the hidden dangers of portable vaporizers Batteries, flavoring agents and glycol, oh my. What you need to know about your vape pen. by jahan marcu
and chris goldstein
The hottest trend in cannabis accessories today is the discrete, portable vape pen. The telltale warm glow of a LED light as a consumer takes a puff has become ubiquitous across the country. Medical dispensaries and retail stores are selling hundreds of thousands of these devices. Some new medical marijuana laws, like in New York, have prohibited smoking altogether and allow vaporization instead. But even though vape pens have been around for about a decade, there’s no research into their long-term health effects. Pre-filled hash-oil cartridge pens are beginning to dominate the market. Many are cheap, disposable and mass produced, and fail frequently. In Colorado and California, pot shops have closets full of defective pens returned by consumers; they regularly get up to 25% of them back. Now two emerging companies are looking to change the game with higher quality and reliability. Todd Mitchum of ION Vape in Denver has made it his mission to build a better low-cost pen. “I got into this after literally witnessing bad tech,” he tells Freedom
Leaf. Mitchum runs down the list of the most common problems: “Exploding batteries, low-grade plastic cartridges and glue that’s used to hold the atomizers and pieces in place.” Mitchum should know about vaporizers and cannabis oil. He worked at O.PenVape in Denver as Chief Revenue Officer until he left to start his own businesses in 2014. He’s since founded the dating service High There, and now ION Vape. “I saw the shortcuts manufacturers use in products,” he explains. “Listening to consumers and lawmakers, they were all concerned about safety. We started asking lots of hardware experts how to build a cleaner, safer, better product.” It took some time, but now ION Vape is confident they have a winning formula: a recyclable cartridge made from medical-grade glass you’d find in a laboratory. “It keeps all the contaminants out without degrading,” Mitchum says. “If you have plastic in your cartridge, it could be out-gassing plastic into your body.” He contends that many companies are putting top notch-oils into bad cartridges: “It would be horrible to find out
Todd Mitchum says each ION Vape pen “is tested and inspected as they’re assembled.”
one day that all the good we’ve done with cannabis can be undone by bad hardware.” In California, Bloom Farms manufactures a vape pen named the Highlighter. Unlike Ion Vape, Bloom Farms makes their own oil, using supercritical carbon dioxide, not butane or other solvents. All of the extraction and filling of the cartridges is done in a clean facility that mirrors a chemistry lab. “We’re here to bring a healthy perspective to life with cannabis,” proclaims the company’s mission statement. Not only are their pens recyclable, the packaging is responsibly sourced. Bloom Farms products are currently available at 25 dispensaries and delivery services in California.
The Battery Breakdown The lithium-ion batteries used in many compact electronic devices, such as cellphones, have the ability to store large amounts of energy in a small space. They’re also sometimes described as a “mini-bomb in your pocket” due to their known ability to ignite; photos of charred cellphones litter the Internet. Lithium batteries drew the attention of the nation when hoverboards, the gift fad of this past holiday season, were shown to catch fire with alarming regularity; many of these battery fires were shown on TV news reports. In 2014, the U.S. Fire Administration published a report that identified at least 25 incidents involving fires caused
by e-cigs. The majority occurred while charging the devices. It should be noted that none of these cases involved a pen used for cannabis. In 2015, an article in The American Journal of Medical Case Reports documented a lithium battery-powered e-cigarette going fully thermal in a man’s pants pocket: “While attending a rock music concert, the man reported hearing a sudden loud noise described as an ‘explosion,’ which caused his entire right pants leg to rapidly ignite in flames.” The victim suffered burns over 8% of his body. A number of factors can cause a lithium battery-powered device to enter a condition known as “thermal runaway,” where the battery temperature increases to the point of combustion. Poor design, use of low-quality materials, manufacturing flaws and defects, and improper handling all contribute to the risk of a fiery malfunction. Batteries are also the main reason the failure of many disposable pens and e-cigs. “A battery is inherently a device that, if not treated properly, can do damage,” cautions Mitchum. “They don’t get wired properly, or cases get damaged, or people use a different charger. Batteries that fail and leak can explode or overheat.” ION Vape and Bloom Farms purchase batteries manufactured in China. Both companies have found ways to reduce battery failure to a fraction of that of similar products. Bloom Farms performs their own quality testing on batteries, and claims to have less than 1% returns. The key is to have better management of the battery production process. “We have a team in China on the ground that oversees this,” Mitchum offers. “Each battery is tested and inspected as they are assembled.”
Oil Additives and Flavoring Agents There are also safety concerns about the cannabis oils used to fill cartridges. Like nicotine e-juices, many cannabis oils include additives, such as vegetable glycerin and propylene glycol. These liquids
dilute the oil and make it flow better, but when heated at high temperatures, they can produce toxins. Bloom Farms uses polyethylene glycol 400, known in the industry as PEG or PEG-400. Commonly found in creams, shampoos, eye drops, vitamins and suppositories, PEG-400 is a pharmaceutical-grade product that can create formaldehyde at smoldering temperatures. About 10% of the oil in the Bloom Farms cartridges for their Highlighter pens consists of PEG-400. While oils produced by Bloom Farms are fortified with extracted cannabis terpenes, no
Bloom Farms’ Highlighter color-coded vape pen product line comes in three categories: indica, sativa and hybrid.
other flavors are added. It’s the fruity flavorings often found in oil cartridges that consumers should be especially beware of. An irreversible respiratory disorder known as “popcorn lung” made some headlines a few years ago; it’s primarily characterized as bronchiolitis obliterans, which can occur from chronic inhalation of certain flavoring compounds. Butter flavoring containing diacetyl was identified as the cause of an outbreak of lung disease in workers at a food plant in 2000. Litigation documents suggest was related to diacetyl-containing formulations. Such cases have created a call for increased criminal penalties against companies and executives who knowingly hide information relevant to worker and consumer protection, and showcase the need for systemic changes in food-prod-
uct regulation, and for corporations to act responsibly. This effort may now need to extend into the world of cannabis product manufacturing. Both diacetyl and acetylpropionyl— two chemicals approved as flavoring additives, found in 72% of nicotine e-cig products—are now associated with respiratory disease. The same chemicals can be found in some flavored cannabis oil cartridges, but manufacturers seldom fully list ingredients and are not inclined to reveal what’s in their cartridges. Dilution liquids and flavorings don’t have to be used at all, according to Mitchum, who says the ION Vape works perfectly fine with pure hash oil: “The atomizer is wrapped in titanium, so you don’t need to put in polyethylene in order to vape. It’s designed to use oils that aren’t cut at all.”
like nicotine e-juices, many cannabis oils include additives, such as vegetable glycerin and propylene glycol. Is the Pen Mightier Than the Pipe? How beneficial is vaping for respiratory health compared to smoking cannabis? America’s leading cannabis and lung expert, Donald Tashkin (see “The Pulmonary Soothsayer” in Issue 10), thinks the benefits of switching from smoking flowers to vaping hash oils are relatively minor compared to those of transitioning from tobacco smoking to nicotine vaping. Cannabis smoking is associated with some chronic respiratory symptoms (coughing, wheezing, sore throat, phlegm), but not with shortness of breath or the disabling symptoms of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which are commonly associated with tobacco use. The weight of epidemiological evidence regarding old-fashioned joints and pipes doesn’t show significant airflow obstruction and “argues against cannabis as a risk factor for respiratory cancer,” Tashkin has stated. Cannabis vaporization is preferred for individuals already suffering from a respiratory illness, such as asthma. For this population, smoking could worsen their symptoms or preexisting pulmonary disease. However, vaping cannabis is now considered to be safer than smoking. Vape pens are perceived as less deviant and more normalized than joints and pipes, facilitating the use of cannabis among people who generally would shy away from smoking. It’s important to note that cartridge pens don’t vaporize oils in the same way that a Volcano vaporizes whole-plant
cannabis. Portable pens work by “heating the oil to a temperature that’s adequate to release the cannabinoids into the air,” says Mitchum. “It vaporizes like water would under extreme heat. Differentviscosity oils vaporize at different temperatures.” The famous Volcano, which revolutionized the nascent vaporizer industry with its ease of use and turkey-bag functionality, heats dried cannabis flowers to a point where cannabinoids are released, but the plant material itself does not reach combustion. “With smoking, you can burn off 40% to 60% [of the cannabis],” Mitchum points out. “But vaping is much more efficient. In general, with the right hardware, it can be 40% cheaper than smoking.” Vape pens and e-cigs have gone largely unregulated. If federal cannabis policy changes, and marijuana is eventually re-scheduled under the CARERs Act or de-scheduled under Senator Bernie Sanders’ bill (see “Bernie Sanders Wants to De-Schedule Marijuana” in Issue 12), it would open possibilities to improve product safety. “With the right tech and the right oils, it’s the way of the future,” Mitchum predicts. “Vaping is going to be one of the things that really pushes cannabis into the mainstream.” For more info go to ionvape.com and getbloomfarms.com Chris Goldstein is Senior Editor of Freedom Leaf. Dr. Jahan Marcu is Freedom Leaf’s Science Editor and Director of R&D for Green Standard Diagnostics.
FINANCIAL SERIES: THE EVOLUTION OF CANNABIS RELATED FINANCING
Title III - Realistic Optimism for Speculative Investment Instruments in the Cannabis Industry By: Tony Drexel Smith, CEO- Blue Moon Consortium www.BlueMoonConsortium.com On February 16, 2016, the SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy issued a Bulletin that stated, in part:
raise in this manner, it clearly provides a new source of capital for the Cannabis Sector.
“Crowdfunding generally refers to a financing method in which money is raised through soliciting relatively small individual investments or contributions from a large number of people. Over the last few years, crowdfunding websites in the United States have proven a popular way by which to solicit charitable donations and to raise funds for artistic endeavors like films and music recordings. Under recently adopted rules, the general public will have the opportunity to participate in the early capital raising activities of start-up and early-stage companies and businesses. Starting May 16, 2016, companies can use crowdfunding to offer and sell securities to the investing public.”
Alternative financing is nothing new to entrepreneurs in the Cannabis Sector since access to traditional capital resources has been so limited. Whereas most billion-dollar industries in the United States have access to commercial loans and investments from institutional sources, the Cannabis Industry has had to resort to every conceivable way outside normal channels to capitalize their start-ups. Unfortunately for many, due to the limited avenues available, most capital raise techniques have been archaic, lacked proper disclosure, suitable documentation, and follow-up. While Title II and Title IV of the 2012 JOBS Act have been active for two years for accredited investors, the Regulations did not allow general solicitation to all. Title III, when combined with a compliant investment operating system, will solve these challenges.
With the approval of Title III, of the JOBS Act, General Solicitation Equity Crowd Funding (Reg. CF), non-accredited investors will have the opportunity to invest and participate in funding startup businesses and private firms online. This will bring more capital to private markets by allowing everyday citizens who were unable to participate in the fundraising process previously to invest smaller amounts of money in new start-ups. Although Title III has certain limitations on the amount of money that a start-up can
Following the trend toward crowdfunding as a legitimate source of fundraising in other sectors, Title III, “Equity Crowd Funding” (not to be confused with royalty, reward, gift, or donation crowd funding) disrupts the investment world by opening up a new investment vehicle for entrepreneurs. For the first time since the Securities Act of 1933, all investors, accredited
and non-accredited, can leverage their investment dollars and move into private securities investing. With the enhanced technology breakthroughs associated with compliant online white label crowdfunding software such as CommunityLeader.com (and 16 other competing software companies), the private securities industry and the Cannabis Sector are likely to grow exponentially. The rules permit a company to raise a maximum aggregate amount of $1 million through crowdfunding offerings in a 12-month period. While gamblers may lose all their money in a variety of ways, Reg CF is designed to prevent excessive losses. The Rules include a provision limiting investor participation in the following ways: If either your annual income, or your net worth, is less than $100,000, then during any 12-month period, you can invest up to the greater of either $2,000 or 5% of the lesser of your annual income or net worth. If both your annual income and your net worth are equal to, or more than $100,000, then during any 12-month period, you can invest up to 10% of annual income or net worth, whichever is lesser, but not to exceed $100,000. The following Table provides examples: The SEC website also provides Tables to assist individuals and couples in calculating their net worth. Entrepreneurs should begin preparing themselves if they intend to participate in Title III crowdfunding by attending education forums to learn the Rules and Regulations regarding solicitation, marketing, advertising, compliance, pre-investment documentation, proper disclosures, the use of compliant investment operating systems, investor data management, security, information management, and post-investment documentation.
in Las Vegas. Go to www.sumaticinc.com to learn more about the details and get registered. The $500 registration fee will be well worth the return on investment. Freedom Leaf (FRLF) has partnered with a new enterprise known as Cannabis Capital Associates, Inc. (CCA) www.cannabiscapitalassociates.com. CCA is in the process of applying for its member status with FINRA as a Title III General Solicitation intermediary crowd funding portal. As such, it intends to be ready to launch Cannabis related fundraising opportunities to the general public on May 16, 2016. CCA intends to focus all of its services, including due diligence, business finance documentation, marketing and compliance departments into one industry: Cannabis. CCA is concurrently applying for FINRA membership, developing its education curriculum and preparing clients for qualification at the same time. Go to www.cannabiscapitalassociates.com today and begin the Capital Readiness Review process to see if it may be the right fit for your cannabis business and its realistic, compliant approach to gaining access to capital.
Starting May 16, 2016, qualified, compliant and prepared companies can use crowdfunding to offer and sell securities to the investing public.
Freedom Leaf is co-sponsoring a three-day workshop the weekend before Regulation CF becomes effective May 13th to the 15th
Sponsored article All companies listed are currently in the capital readiness preparation process. Fund raises will not begin until Title III becomes effective May of 2016.
The All American Seafood Co.
Security Raise Min. Purchase Max. Purchase
Confidential Confidential Confidential Confidential
Beulah Valley Farms
Confidential Confidential Confidential Confidential
Seven Summits Alchemy, Inc.
www.CannabisCapitalAssociates.com Security Raise Min. Purchase Max. Purchase
Security Raise Min. Purchase Max. Purchase
Confidential Confidential Confidential Confidential
Call 702.551.7134 ext. 5 to learn more about these pending private investment opportunities.
To make sure your company is fund ready, go to www.BlueMoonAdvisors.com and complete the complimentary Fund Readiness Review. march 2016
www.SevenSummitsAlchemy.com Security Raise Min. Purchase Max. Purchase
Confidential Confidential Confidential Confidential
Disclosure: The information contained herein and all associated verbal, electronic or other statements made regarding this document are for informational purposes only and do not constitute an offer to sell or a solicitation of an offer to buy any security which may be referenced.
The Bay Area is a great place to hold a pot conference. In February, the International Cannabis Business Conference (ICBC) returned to San Francisco with another stellar event. ICBC is based in Portland, Ore., where they host biannual conferences. In 2015, Executive Director Alex Rogers decided to expand to California, and, after two successful events in San Francisco, he recently announced plans to take the show to Vancouver this October, and to Berlin in 2017. Unlike other business conferences, the ICBC is a relatively intimate affair. The expo is limited to a handful of companies, and there are no breakout sessions. Rogers prefers to have everybody in one room at one time, rather than splintering off into smaller groups; that way, nobody misses anything. I know this because Iâ€™ve had the plea-
Rocks San Francisco
AUMA supporter Chris Conrad.
Conservative pundit Andrew Sullivan.
some OF OUR favorite quotes at the ICBC: • Dr. Jocelyn Elders: “Prohibition laws waste money and lives, and aren’t working.” • Rep. Earl Blumenauer: “We have watched the tide starting to shift.”
Raul Del Pina from Spannabis.
• Rep. Dana Rohrabacher: “We won the Cold War, but lost the War on Drugs.”
• Chris Conrad: “We need to pass the Adult Use of Marijuana Act [AUMA] in California.” • Debby Goldsberry: “Let’s make businesses that give back to our communities.” Dr. Jocelyn Elders
sure of participating in both San Francisco events. Initially, Rogers contacted me in hopes that I could help him lure a few celebrities to the Hyatt Regency on the Embarcadero. (I‘m also the publisher of CelebStoner.com.) This time around we were able to convince Tommy Chong to attend. My job was to interview him onstage right after 4:20 on the opening day, Feb. 13. Rogers stacked the conference bill on day one, with former U.S. Attorney General Jocelyn Elders and Congressmen Earl Blumenauer and Dana Rohrabacher in the morning, and California and Canada sessions leading up to my sit-down with Chong in the afternoon. After a morning keynote by conservative pundit Andrew Sullivan, day two was devoted to business concerns, with a focus on entrepreneurs and international issues. The next Oregon Marijuana Business Conference is scheduled for April 24 in Eugene. For more info, go to oregonmbc. com. — Steve Bloom
• Amanda Reiman: “California started this. It’s time to retake our position as the leaders in cannabis commerce.” • George Zimmer: “We’re on the threshold of legalization in the largest state in the U.S. I’m supporting this referendum [AUMA].” • Andrew Sullivan: “Marijuana is not some opioid that was made in a lab. This is a plant.” • Arjan Roskam: “A lot of people who live around the equator depend on marijuana.” • Tommy Chong: “Pot calms everything down. I couldn’t live without it.” (For more on Chong, turn to page 36.)
Medicated Vegan Dinner Party Recipes by Cheri Sicard Photos by Mitch Mandell
A higher percentage of vegetarians and vegans seem to exist in the cannabis community than in the general population, although, to my knowledge, this has not been scientifically verified. Vegan recipes are indeed the most popular special requests I receive at my blog, at public appearances and at speaking engagements. Producing great-tasting medicated foods presents a challenge in and of itself. When you factor in the parameters of a vegan diet, the task becomes somewhat more daunting, although it can be done. Fortunately, most vegans are used to preparing their own food, as it’s the best way to obtain consistently healthy and delicious meals while living in an omnivorous world.
Green Ganja Gazpacho Make this chilled soup a few hours ahead of time to give the flavors plenty of time to meld. • 1 medium cucumber, peeled and seeded • 1 medium yellow bell pepper, cored and seeded • 2 medium yellow tomatoes, stems removed • 1/4 medium sweet onion • 1 large ripe avocado, pitted • 1/2 cup vegetable stock or water • 1-1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon or lime juice • 2 tbsp. olive oil infused with cannabis • 3/4 cup loosely packed cilantro • 1 tsp. minced garlic • 1 small Thai chili, cored and seeded • 2 tsp. soy sauce • 1 tsp. black pepper • Salt to taste • Lemon slice and chopped green onions for garnish (optional) Whirl all ingredients together in a blender or food processor until pureed to your preference. Chill for at least 2 hours before serving. Serve cold, garnished with lemon slices and chopped green onions if desired. Serves 4.
Grilled Kush Corn Salad Sweet corn on the cob gets a taste of smoke from the grill before blending with fresh veggies and a citrus dressing for a great vegan side dish. If you don’t want to go to the trouble of building a fire, instead use a cast-iron grill pan on the stovetop or countertop grill to grill the corn.
Salad • 4 ears fresh corn, shucked • 2 tbsp. olive oil • 2 large ripe tomatoes, seeded and finely chopped • 1/2 large bell pepper, finely chopped • 1 large jalapeño pepper, minced • 2 large green onions, finely chopped • 1/3 cup chopped cilantro, packed finely
Dressing • 1/4 cup lemon or lime juice • 1/2 cup olive oil infused with cannabis • 1/4 tsp. minced garlic • 1 tsp. sugar • 3/4 tsp. dried oregano • 1/8 tsp. cayenne (optional) • Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat grill to medium heat. Brush shucked corn ears lightly with olive oil and place on grill. Cook, turning frequently, until most corn kernels have started to brown, about 12–15 minutes. Allow corn to cool before proceeding. Use a sharp knife to cut grilled corn kernels from the cob into a large bowl. Add tomatoes, bell pepper, jalapeño pepper, green onions and cilantro, and toss to mix. Place lemon or lime juice, cannabis oil, garlic, sugar, oregano and cayenne (if using) in a blender or food processor and blend until mixed and emulsified (or whisk ingredients in a medium bowl until emulsified). Pour dressing over salad, and toss to mix and coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve immediately or chill. Store leftovers up to 3 days in the refrigerator. Serves 6.
Vegan Dinner Dosages If you prepare these recipes for a dinner party, I suggest one of two choices, as nothing ruins a party atmosphere like guests who are couch-locked and/ or paranoid from too much medication: Pick one recipe to medicate, and make the rest without cannabis; or reduce the dose of each recipe by a quarter or more.
Grilled Veggie Sativa Stacks Could there be a more elegant vegan entrée than these gorgeous grilled veggie napoleons? I like to serve them nestled on a bed of pesto-coated angel hair pasta, but they can also stand nicely on their own.
Veggie Stacks • 2 tbsp. olive oil infused with cannabis • 1 tbsp. garlic, minced • 4 large portobello mushrooms • 8 slices grilled eggplant • 4 large slices grilled onions • 8 long planks grilled zucchini and/or yellow squash • 4 large slices raw ripe tomato • 4 stalks fresh rosemary • 8 slices vegan cheese, optional
Pesto • 1/2 cup fresh basil, loosely packed • 1/2 tsp. garlic, minced • 1/2 cup toasted pine nuts or walnuts • 1/2 cup olive oil • 2 tbsp. nutritional yeast (optional) • 1 package angel hair pasta • Salt and pepper to taste
Grill veggies over a fire, or on a cast-iron grill pan or countertop grill appliance, until marked, but still crisp. Be careful to not cook too long on the grill; they’ll cook again in the oven. Place garlic in canna-oil and set aside for a half hour before assembling the veggie stacks. Mix pesto ingredients in a blender or food processor until pureed and emulsified, and set aside. Boil angel hair pasta until soft. When done, add yeast (optional) as a substitute for Parmesan cheese. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease a baking sheet with cooking oil. To assemble vegetable stacks, start with a grilled portobello cap or eggplant slice as the base. Brush with cannabis-infused garlic oil. Cut grilled squash horizontally and place in a layer, side-by-side, on top of the mushroom or eggplant. Place a slice of vegan cheese, if using, on top of the squash. Now stack an eggplant slice, and brush it with the remaining garlic cannaoil. Follow this with a grilled onion slice, a fresh tomato slice and another optional slice of cheese, and top it all with another eggplant slice. Use a rosemary branch to skewer the whole thing together down the center. Repeat with remaining stacks. Bake for 12–15 minutes or until veggies are heated through and cheese has melted. Toss cooked angel hair pasta with pesto sauce and divide among four plates, making a slight well in center of pasta. Serves 4.
Tips for Vegan Cannabis Cooks Cannabis-infused olive oil is handy to have on hand for salad dressings and for drizzling on grilled or steamed veggies, or grilled tofu or seitan. Infused coconut oil can be substituted for canna-butter in most baking recipes. Use a heavy hand with flavors and seasonings like garlic, onion, herbs and spices, so your foods don’t end up with an overly “green” cannabis flavor.
Cocoa Banana OG Orange Mousse
Vegan umami (savory) foods make good candidates for medicating, as they’re flavorful and substantial. Defined as one of the basic taste sensations along with sweet, sour, bitter and salty, umami foods have a strong “meaty” taste— like, for instance, portobello and shitake mushrooms, and soy sauce.
This recipe is rich, creamy and fudgy, but with no dairy, gluten or sugar. It only takes about five minutes to make. • 1 medium ripe banana • 1 medium ripe avocado • 3 tbsp. Dutch process cocoa • 2 tbsp. orange juice • 2 tbsp. agave nectar • 1/2 gram decarboxylated kief or hash, ground • 2 tbsp. chopped pistachio nuts for garnish, optional • grated orange zest Place all ingredients in blender or food processor and mix until smooth, stopping to scrape the sides. Place in hollowed orange halves or serving dishes and sprinkle chopped nuts on top. Chill until ready to serve. Serves 4.
Use an outdoor or indoor grill to take food taste levels up a notch with flame-kissed flavor. Cheri Sicard is author of several books, including The Cannabis Gourmet Cookbook Vegan Edition e-book. Visit her blog at CannabisCheri.com.
Interview with a Leprechaun By Beth Mann What’s not to love about those adorable, rosy-cheeked, green-attired troublemakers? A lot, apparently. Leprechauns smell horrible, are vulgar and make jokes that only they get. Although leprechauns, by nature, are very secretive, we were able to score this exclusive interview with one. Why did you grant Freedom Leaf an interview? My agent told me you were “green-friendly,” so it seemed like a natural fit. What are you anyway? A little person? A pixie? A gnome? I’m not a fucking gnome. We’re degenerate fairies who make shoes, play jokes on humans and hoard gold. According to lore, if I catch you and squeeze you tight, you have to give me your riches. Go ahead and try. Make my day. [Due to the overwhelming stench of the leprechaun, this reporter declined.] You reek of booze. Are you drunk? Well, we’re legendary distillers, so sure, we’ve been known to imbibe from time to time. What’s it to you anyway? Are you the sober police? Let’s talk about the pipe, then. What’s in it? What do you think is in it? Wow, so leprechauns are for the legalization of marijuana? Hel-lo! Of course we are. The whole shamrock thing? It actually started off as a pot leaf. But our in-house artist can’t count past three, so we just went with the shamrock leaf instead. What kind of tricks do you play on pot smokers? Lost keys are our specialty. We keep
many a stoner busy looking for them. It’s high-sterical. And lighters… we love lighters. I have millions. Why do you do these things? Because it’s fun to mess with humans. They’re so serious and full of themselves. When we play tricks on them, they’re forced to see the futility of trying to control things. It keeps them humble and on their toes, basically. So what’s the best way for a stoner to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day? The drunks have really co-opted this holiday, which is very unfortunate, because they’re so annoying. Last St. Patty’s Day, some college jerk barfed green beer all over me, then threatened to beat me up. What did you do? After he passed out, I tied his shoes together and drew a very large penis on his face. Don’t fuck with a leprechaun! Then, with a wink and a fart, the crusty redhead disappeared into the night, taking his own special green magic with him. And my lighter. Beth Mann is President of Hot Buttered Media and a regular contributor to Freedom Leaf.
Advanced Cannabis Science
Tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV) Although tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV) was discovered by E.W. Gill back in 1970, much confusion still reigns about its pharmacology. Even current research papers seem unable to explain just how this mysterious cannabinoid works. L.E. Hollister first tested THCV on humans in 1974, when six healthy volunteers were intravenously administered 7 mg of pure THCV. All but one noticed a distinct stoning effect, suggesting that THCV functioned as an agonist (activator) of the CB1 receptors that are spread across the top areas of the brain. More recently, a 2015 study, published into the HOurnal of Psychopharmacology, treated 10 males with a week of daily THCV capsules, followed by a 1 mg intravenous shot of THC; nine subjects reported that THC effects were weaker following THCV ingestion. THC’s usual impairment of memory disappeared with the week’s priming of THCV, but, conversely, in another test, the sub-
jects experienced more memory intrusions (errors). Adding to the confusion about how THCV actually modifies the effects of THC, MedicalJane.com reports that THCV-heavy strains have “more of a psychedelic, clear-headed effect [that] causes the effects of THC to hit you much faster, and some think it could be the reason for those ‘one-hitter quitter’ strains.” Girl Scout Cookies and Durban Poison are both high in THCV. In 2007 pharmacologist Roger Pertwee threw one of the biggest wrenches into the mix when he showed that THCV acted as an antagonist (blocker) of CB1, both in vitro (in cells) and in vivo (in animal models); furthermore, the presence of THCV inhibited the effects of THC in mice in earlier studies by Pertwee. This suggested that THCV at low doses acts as a CB1 “neutral antagonist,” but as an agonist at high doses. A neutral antagonist is a compound that binds, but causes no activity, blocking the potential activation of the receptor. None of this has been completely figured out, and drives home the important point that mechanistic studies in a petri dish don’t necessarily correlate to the functioning pharmacology of an animal. Many in the media refer to THCV as a CB1 antagonist, and, while not completely wrong, this misses the nuance of its still mysterious functioning. As a 2015 study by Pertwee and others stated, “It remains to be established how THCV produces apparent CB1 receptor activation in vivo but not in vitro at doses above those at which it can block CB1 receptors both in vivo and in vitro.” GW Pharmaceuticals’ early pre-clinical trials, reported in 2008, were so tantalizing that the British company commenced a Phase I study, “which yielded highly promising results” in regard’s THCV’s efficacy as a “treatment of diabetes, especially in obese individuals.” Twelve volunteers demonstrated “desirable effects on plasma insulin, leptin and adiponectin levels, hormones of particular relevance,” plus a reduction in total cholesterol, with an increase in the proportion of the “good” HDL variety. How-
ever, the effect of activating CB2 with THCV—a potent agonist of immune-system-modulating CB2 receptors spread across the body—may prove even more fruitful. Along with reports that the CB2 receptor agonist THCV is effective against many types of pain (inflammatory, neuropathic, post-surgical, cancer), a 2010 THCV study by Daniele Bolognini et al found it reduced inflammatory pain in mice. Since antagonists of both CB1 and CB2 attenuated the effects of inflammation, this suggests that THCV might be packing an important one-two punch. This same combination of CB1 and CB2 antagonism has been suggested for strokes and chronic liver disease. THCV is good for the brain, too. It
can help with the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, perhaps by utilizing the glutamate system. In rat brain tissue, a 2015 study reported by the British Pharmacological Society found that THCV acts via 5-HT1A receptors for an antipsychotic effect. And in 2010, researcher A.J. Hill concluded THCV caused significant anti-epilepsy activity in a seizure model in rats. Lex Pelger is a writer and scientist, and hosts the Psymposia drug conference and “Psychoactive Storytelling” events.
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In a world full of compromised teen idols and formulaic mainstream hacks, it’s good to know that a few respected indie pop bands still manage to thrive. Hailing from West Grove, Pa., guitarist Scott McMicken and bassist Toby Leaman met in middle school and formed Dr. Dog in 2001. Perhaps informed by fellow Keystone State artists, such as eclectic bohemian eccentrics Ween and punk satirists the Dead Milkmen, Dr. Dog has gained underground accolades for consistent studio sets and vibrant live shows, which have expanded far beyond their scruffy beginnings. A prolific combo, Dr. Dog recently revisited, revived, revamped and redeveloped their earliest unreleased songs for their eighth studio album, The Psychedelic Swamp. Continually polishing their Beatles/Beach Boys-inspired melodic ideas and masterfully adapting elliptical lovestruck imagery to surrealistic postcards from the edge, they’ve maintained the highs achieved on 2007’s majestic We All Belong and 2008’s serendipitous Fate (highlighted by the brassy “hung over and stoned” track, “Worst Trip”). The spontaneous combustion fueling 2010’s Shame Shame and 2012’s Be the Void spiced up the studio performances, giving a looser feel to their overall sound. Undoubtedly, the impulsive energy sparking those previous two albums has enlivened The Psychedelic Swamp’s newfangled explorations. By exchanging the amateurishly incongruent ambiguity of the original tracks for the well-structured arrangements and finely detailed execution defining the newer versions, Dr. Dog provide a clearer, cleaner vision of each song.
Trading the original disjointed dissolution of “Badvertise” for a neo-classic rock approach (reminiscent of Electric Light Orchestra), the song’s brisk Theremin-injected industrial groove upgrades the tenuous initial treatment. Originally, “Swamp Is On” featured disoriented chatter, but its spiffed-up remake offers lightly strummed acoustic serenity and drifting ethereal mysticism. The high-pitched squeals of “Swampadelic Pop” have been disregarded for the more effective swirling harmonies resonating through the moodier modern version. The frayed touches of “Golden Hind” are more distinctly defined, as well. By ridding its obtuse, Syd Barrett style languidity for a more bewitching organ-droned and sax-blurted phantasmagoria, “Engineer Says” shows off a crisper dynamic approach and forthright attitude. And the beautifully melancholic, windswept ballad “Bring My Baby Home” glides heavenward, in a similarly infectious manner as the mellifluous, gently swaying vignette “Holes in My Back.” The album peaks with “Dead Record Player,” a teasing T. Rex ringer celebrating the stereophonic ’60s spirit of “high and low fidelities attacking my brain,” delivered in a narcotic Marc Bolan-esque glam-rock moan. Although they haven’t received the commercial exposure they surely deserve, Dr. Dog remain committed to creating contagiously catchy psychedelic-tinged pop. Whether masterfully resurrecting rock ’n’ roll artifacts or just having fun crafting first-rate pop, there’s no denying the Dog’s wholehearted ambition. — John Fortunato
Stories I Tell Myself: Growing Up with Hunter S. Thompson
BY Juan ThompsoF. n
t’s hard to believe that renowned gonzo journalist and notorious hard-drinking and -drugging writer Hunter S. Thompson had a son, let alone one as level-headed and painfully sincere as Juan, his only child by way of his first wife, Sandy. Juan spent his childhood cowering from his father’s vicious temper and inebriated cruelty at Thompson’s fabled Owl Farm residence in Woody Creek, Colo. until his parents divorced when he was 13. Even so, Juan F. Thompson, now 51, sought his old man’s approval up until—and even after—Hunter committed suicide in 2005. Call it “unlike father, unlike son,” this kind of generational flip-flop—which shows that an apple can fall very far from the tree—spawned a straight-and-narrow computer nerd who became an IT guy—as far from his dad’s drug-crazed, hell-bent, larger-than-life charisma as genetically possible. This is not a biography, but a memoir, taking us inside Hunter’s cherished compound to the “Command Chair,” with its IBM Selectric typewriter at the ready, and the “War Room,” where his archives and cherished gun collection were stored. Stories I Tell Myself offers a portrait of a recalcitrant father through the eyes of a son who only wants to please him, and who overcomes an adolescence of abject fear to learn that paternal love comes in many forms: skinny-dipping together in a neighbor’s pool after midnight; watching The Big Sleep or The Maltese Falcon in appreciative silence; discussing politics; building a fire from scratch; sharing the birth of his own son. Juan doesn’t attempt to match his father’s delirious
highs and anarchic life, but certainly inherited his surprising moral rectitude and compassion for victims of all stripes. That Juan not only survived but ulimately thrived with this unconventional upbringing seemed a source of quiet satisfaction for Hunter’s questionable parenting skills. “That I emerged from the maelstrom of his own life appearing relatively normal filled him with wonder and pride,” Juan writes. Like many great mythic journeys, Juan searches for a father’s elusive love in an attempt to posthumously know the man—which, given his father’s oversized reputation, not to mention his aversion to
BOOK REVIEW intimate conversations, has made this a virtually lifelong pursuit. There are glimpses behind the elder Thompson’s carefully constructed wildman facade, including the factoid that pot made him mellow and talkative, and greased the wheels for his incredible storytelling skills. He considered LSD a sacrament, which he called “Walking with the King.” As for cocaine and booze, Juan explains that the pairing “didn’t even qualify as drugs, they were a staple of his daily diet, like pink grapefruit, orange juice and vitamins,” and reveals that Hunter would take maintenance hits of powder from the moment he woke in midafternoon, cutting it with a fifth of whiskey daily. While the first half of the book details Juan’s attempts to find his own identity and discover his unique path—a search that took him to Eastern prep schools and Tufts University—the later chapters reveal a growing bond between fa-
ther and son, built on shared activities and rituals. On the climactic final day at Owl Farm, where Juan and his family sat with Hunter prior to his suicide, ominous signs led to the great writer slumped over his chair, a thin stream of blood dripping from his mouth. The story culminates with details of the funeral six months after his death, paid for by Johnny Depp (who portrayed Thompson in the film Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas), during which a huge cannon lofted Thompson’s ashes into the air and scattered them over his beloved Woody Creek. Juan F. Thompson is blessed with a gift for language—not quite his dad’s feverish prose, but a contemplative voice that matches such fierceness with a gentility no less heartfelt and passionate. In the end, Juan has lived up to Hunter’s imposing legacy in his own way. A father can’t ask any more from a son than that. — Roy Trakin
For the cannabis consumer
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