Freedom Leaf Magazine - April 2016

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EDITOR’S note Chris Goldstein received an award from NORML while he was still on parole in 2015.

Chris Goldstein: Free at Last! Ever since I began editing Freedom Leaf 13 issues ago, we’ve been working at deficit. Senior Editor Chris Goldstein was on parole and couldn’t travel at will or smoke pot. This was the result of several arrests on federal property at the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia, where he and his cohorts regularly protested for freedom in 2014. Chris not only lit a joint once at 4:20 p.m. at Independence Hall, but twice, and was busted both times by Park Rangers. The second arrest drew the ire of a judge who fined Chris $3,000 and placed him on two years’ probation. This meant regular visits with his parole officer that included drug tests. If Chris didn’t want to go to jail, he had to stay clean. No weed— but, of course, he was free to drink and smoke cigarettes. Chris diligently counted down the days to the end of his parole like a prisoner scrawling numbers on a cell wall. At 12:01 a.m. on March 26, he was declared a free man. Chris and friends gathered in Philadelphia (not on federal ground) for his first pot smoke in 25 months. As he inhaled a joint filled with Blue Dream,


all Chris could say over and over was, “Wow!” And then he exclaimed, “Liberty in the city of liberty!” Indeed, a new liberty exists in Philadelphia, where Chris and others were responsible for persuading city officials to decriminalize marijuana in 2014. That’s what Chris does—he’s an indefatigable reformer who likes to push the envelope. Now that his parole is over, Chris is going to enjoy his freedom and make sure that he doesn’t give authorities any reason to throw the book at him again. First on Chris’ agenda are several trips to Washington, D.C. including the National Cannabis Festival, on April 23. Next is Colorado: Chris has yet to experience the joy of lighting up in a legal state. When Chris arrives in Denver, he’ll be welcomed with all manner of smokeables—from pre-rolls to dab hits. Chris is a prolific writer as well. Check out his articles in this issue on pages 8, 9, 35, 38, 40 and 51.

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S teve Bloom

Steve Bloom Editor-in-Chief


NONPROFIT LIASON MANAGER Chris Thompson LEGAL COUNSEL Keith Stroup EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT Felipe Menezes CONTRIBUTORS Ngaio Bealum, Russ Belville, Matt Chelsea, Chris Conrad, Frances Fu, Jen Hudya, Jazmin Hupp, Kevin Mahmalji, Mitch Mandell, Beth Mann, Lex Pelger, Rick Pfrommer, Amanda Reiman, David Rheins, Cheri Sicard, Roy Trakin Copyright Š 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.

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Decrim Is In: U.S. Cities Liberalize Marijuana Laws Marijuana decriminalization is taking hold in more and more municipalities every month, meaning lower penalties, no jail time and usually no permanent record for those caught with a small amount of pot. On March 17, the New Orleans City Council unanimously approved a process for officers to write tickets for first-time marijuana offenses rather than make arrests. It was signed by Mayor Mitch Landrieu on March 23 and will go into effect on Jan. 17, 2017. Also on March 17, the Tampa City Council passed a similar ordinance. In February, Wisconsin’s Dane County dropped their marijuana fine to $1. Nine of the 10 largest cities in the state, including Milwaukee, have reduced penalties for small amounts of cannabis. In Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh is in the midst of implementing a decriminalization policy, and the City Council of Harrisburg, the state capital, held hearings in March to consider giving tickets instead of hand-

cuffs for weed. Officials in Lancaster and Wilkes Barre indicate they’re ready to consider similar moves. Philadelphia, the nation’s third-largest city, decriminalized in 2014, making 30 grams or less a $25 civil fine, which has led to an 80% reduction in marijuana arrests. The Baltimore Sun recently reported that, since Maryland decriminalized pot in 2014, arrests for less than 10 grams of marijuana in Baltimore declined from more than 3,387 in 2013 to just six in 2015. And, as in Philadelphia, marijuana arrests in New York are reportedly down 80% since 2014, when Mayor Bill de Blasio directed the NYPD to issue summonses for small-scale pot offenses. Other decrim cities include Ann Arbor, Mich.; Berkeley, Calif.; Columbia, Mo.; Miami, Fla.; Santa Fe, N.M.; and Toledo, Ohio. In 2015, Delaware was the most recent state to pass a decrim law, joining 18 others. Oregon was the first, in 1973. — Chris Goldstein

Pennsylvania Passes Medical Cannabis and Hemp Bills The Keystone State legislature made several significant decisions in March. The House passed a medical marijuana bill, 149–43, after a protracted debate and many amendments. The bill allows only the use of oils, pills and tinctures, closely mirroring the limited medical cannabis products approved in New York and Minnesota; whole cannabis and home growing would still be prohibited. After the two chambers hammer out the final language, the bill will be sent to Governor Tom Wolf, who has promised


to sign the bill into law. It would take 18 to 24 months to formulate regulations and implement the program. The list of qualifying conditions notably includes autism and PTSD. Also in March, the state Senate, by a unanimous 49–0 vote, passed the Industrial Hemp Act, which calls for research into hemp crops to be grown by colleges, universities or contractors working with those institutions. Gov. Wolf is also expected to sign that bill into law. — CG

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From Soup to Nuts: The Presidential Candidates on Pot In this presidential election cycle, the Democratic and Republican candidates are confronting the issue of marijuana legalization on the campaign trail like never before. On March 8, the morning of the Michigan primary, Republican Ohio Governor John Kasich told WWJ Newsradio 950 in Detroit that he’d danced with Mary Jane. “Yes, I did smoke marijuana when I was younger,” Kasich grudgingly admitted. In the same interview, he said he’s “definitely opposed to” federal marijuana legalization. Republican frontrunner Donald Trump was next on the radio station’s phone line. “I never have smoked it,” he maintained. “I think it certainly has to be a state-by-state decision.” Trump also repeated his support for medical marijuana. Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, running for the Democratic nomination, then got on the phone. “When I was a young man I smoked marijuana twice, and the result was I had coughing fits,” Sanders explained. “I coughed a whole lot. That was my response to marijuana.” He added: “The decision to legalize marijuana is a state issue. But I don’t believe possession of marijuana should be a federal crime.” Hillary Clinton didn’t phone in that Super Tuesday morning, but during a January interview with Boston radio station WBZ, she said, “I think that states are the laboratories of democracy, and four states have already taken action to legalize, and it will be important that other states and the federal government take account of how that’s being done— what we learn from what they’re doing.” On several occasions Clinton has stated her support for moving cannabis from Schedule I to Schedule II in the federal Controlled Substances Act (CSA). But that’s a minor shift, and a somewhat antiquated position—especially coming from Clinton, who’s been a guest on Willie Nelson’s tour bus more than once. “Clinton’s presumption that it’s the

Bernie Sanders: “I coughed a whole lot. That was my response to marijuana.”

absence of scientific research that necessitates the need to remove cannabis from Schedule I is both ill-informed and unpersuasive,” says Freedom Leaf’s Senior Policy Advisor, NORML Deputy Director Paul Armentano. Sanders introduced a bill last year that would de-schedule cannabis from the CSA completely, which would allow states to regulate cannabis as they please. It would also remove the onerous federal restrictions on cannabis-business banking, bank loans and, possibly, interstate commerce. Trump’s Republican rival Ted Cruz is on the record as supporting states’ rights to legalize marijuana. “If the citizens of Colorado decided they want to go down that road, that’s their prerogative,” he declared at CPAC in 2015. The sentiment of the presidential nominees on the topic of marijuana could drive more young adults, in particular, to the polls. As in 2012, that may have an impact on the many statewide cannabis referendums expected to be on the ballot this November. — Chris Goldstein

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The Story of 420: How It Really Happened Once upon a time, a group of Deadheads lived in Northern California. They went to San Rafael High in Marin County and called themselves the Waldos. The year was 1971, and “whenever the Waldos passed each other in the halls they spontaneously erupted into a salute with the words, ‘Four Twenty, Louie,’” a reference to the Louis Pasteur statue where they would meet after school at 4:20, former High Times editor Steven Hager wrote in these pages last April. “Little did they know how far this ritual would eventually travel.” The 4:20 tradition expanded in Deadhead circles for years until 1990, when a flyer was distributed at Grateful Dead shows in Oakland, Calif. purporting to explain the origins of 420: “[420] started as the police code for Marijuana Smoking in Progress. After local heads heard of the police call, they started using the expression 420 when referring to herb—‘Let’s go 420, dude!’ After a while something magical started to happen. People started getting stoned at 4:20 a.m. or p.m. There’s something fantastic about getting ripped at 4:20, when you know your brothers and sisters all over the country and even the planet are lighting up and tokin’ up with you.” It took another five years for the real

The Waldos (above) started 420 in 1971 when they were students at San Rafael High.

420 originators, the Waldos, to step forward and dispel this myth (no such police code existed in California). However, while the Waldos may have coined the expression 420, the idea of 4/20 as a global stoner holiday came right from that little flyer. It continued: “We’re talking about the day of celebration, the real time to get high, the grandmaster of all holidays: 4/20 or April 20th. This is when you must get the day off work or school. We are going to meet at 4:20 on 4/20 for 420-ing… Take extra care that nothing is going to go wrong within that minute. No heavy winds, no cops, no messed-up lighters. Get together with your friends and smoke pot hardcore.” — Steve Bloom

Another Fun 420-Origin Story

This comes from the Bob Dylan song “Rainy Day Women #12 & 35,” which has the famous refrain, “Everybody must get stoned”: Multiply the two numbers and you get 420.

Born on the 20th of April

Reggae musician Stephen Marley, rapper Killer Mike and actors Ryan O’Neal, Jessica Lange, Andy Serkis, Carmen Electra, Crispin Glover and George Takei.


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Cannafest Redwood Acres Fairgrounds, Eureka, CA

Smoke Out Vancouver Sunset Beach Colorado First Amendment Protest State Capitol Building, Denver

17–18 EVENTS

Cannabis Science & Policy Summit The Graduate Center, New York




Elevated Cannabis Compliance Conference DoubleTree by Hilton, Rohnert Park, CA




4/20 Week

Clinical Cannabis Conference Baltimore Harbor Hotel

High Times Cannabis Cup & Carnival NOS Event Center, San Bernardino, CA Hempcon Cannabis Festival Cow Palace Arena, Daly City, CA New Jersey Cannabash NJ Weedman’s Joint, Trenton, NJ NJWeedmansJoint


Official 420 Rally Civic Center Park, Denver, CO

420 Toronto Yonge-Dundas Square


Sweetwater 420 Fest Centennial Olympic Park, Atlanta, GA

SSDP Conference Holiday Inn, Rosslyn, VA ssdp2016

UNGASS Demonstration Dag Hammarskjold Plaza, New York


High Times Colorado Cannabis Cup Awards & Concert 1st Bank Center, Broomfield, CO colorado 420 Eve Terrapin Crossroads, San Rafael, CA

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National Cannabis Festival RFK Stadium, Wash., D.C.

New England Cannabis Convention Hynes Convention Center, Boston, MA Camp Errl Patients Choice Awards The Domes, Casa Grande, AZ


Oregon Marijuana Business Conference Eugene, OR 11

BY Keith Stroup

Social Networking Cannabis users want to be able to get together for a smoke away from their homes. Marijuana smoking is, by nature, a social activity. When a smoker sees a circle of people acting furtively, he or she instinctively knows it’s a group of smokers passing a joint around, and that they’re free to join the circle, if they want. So, naturally, one of the early consumer issues to arise in the handful of states that have legalized responsible cannabis use is the need for places where smokers can gather publicly to enjoy cannabis in a social setting. Marijuana smokers need social clubs, coffee shops or similar establishments where adults can gather, just as alcohol drinkers need bars and clubs. If not legalized and regulated in the legal states, illicit smoking venues and black-market “smokeasies” will continue to surface—although most are quickly shut down. Denver NORML is spearheading an initiative known as “Responsible Use Denver,” intended for the ballot in November. It would license both marijuana social clubs and special events at which marijuana smoking is permitted, such as 420 celebrations and Cannabis Cups. Denver would be the first city to enact such a law. However, social use inititatives keep running into roadblocks. Earlier this year, the Washington, D.C. City Council voted to license smoking clubs, then, under pressure from the mayor, reversed their decision just a few minutes later. Similarly, in Alaska, the state regulatory agency proposed the possibility of issuing licenses that would allow some retailers to permit smoking on their premises, but they changed direction and now smoking


Denver NORML’s social-use initiative would allow on-site smoking at marijuana clubs and special events, like the Cannabis Cup.

clubs will not be allowed in Alaska when adult-use sales start later this year. In Vermont, a legalization bill passed by the state Senate on Feb. 18 originally called for cannabis lounges, but that was struck from the language. A similar effort in Denver was pulled a year ago, just as petition signatures were about to be approved with the hopes of being able to resolve the social cannabis issue by working with the city council and other local officials. But when these negotiations failed to yield results, Denver NORML decided it was time to end the impasse and take this issue directly to the voters. “We’re coming from the perspective of the consumer,” Executive Director Jordan Person says. “NORML wants to bring Denver closer to the goal of treating marijuana like alcohol, as the voters overwhelmingly approved when Amendment 64 was passed in 2012.” Keith Stroup founded NORML in 1970 and currently serves as Legal Counsel for NORML, as well as for Freedom Leaf.

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Students for Sensible Drug Policy

SSDP 2016 and UNGASS Demonstration April is a big month for Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP). First, we’re hosting SSDP 2016 in Rosslyn, Va. on April 15–17. Our international conference will bring together 400-plus advocates for a weekend of education, advocacy and celebration. Keynote speakers, and plenary and breakout sessions, will address the hottest topics in the world of drug policy reform, including harm reduction, psychedelics, criminal justice and skills for leadership, organizing and advocacy. A student congress will also take place at this year’s conference, during which members of our network are invited to take part in the governing of SSDP, and in the election of new members to our student-run board of directors. On Saturday evening, our awards ceremony will recognize outstanding students, chapter leaders, alumni and friends of SSDP. On Sunday evening, the last night of the conference, we’re presenting the first-ever SSDP Lightning Talks Session, where a few passionate SSDP students and recently graduated alumni will offer their “Vision for a PostProhibition World.” SSDP 2016 will also feature an alumni gathering, regional meetups, networking meals and other opportunities to connect with advocates and leaders of the drug policy reform movement. Following the conference, on Mon-

Executive Director Betty Aldworth (far right) with attendees of last year’s conference.

day, April 18, SSDP will converge on New York’s Washington Square Park for a public demonstration to draw attention to UNGASS 2016: United Nations General Assembly Special Session on the World Drug Problem. The protest will provide an opportunity for attendees to create art and theatrical pieces that express the relationship between youth and the War on Drugs. Art has always been a powerful vehicle to raise consciousness, and this demonstration aims to facilitate a community discussion about the failure of the current drug control system, and to align with the themes of the Stop the Harm campaign. We invite you to be part of SSDP’s activities this month. SSDP 2016 and the UNGASS demonstration are sure to be events you won’t want to miss. — Frances Fu, SSDP Pacific Region Outreach Coordinator

SSDP 2016 Highlights

15: Alumni Gathering •April 8–10 p.m.

16: Keynote address by •April reporter and author Maia Szalavitz

9:45–10:15 a.m. Diversity plenary session featuring J. Miakoda from Fierce Allies 12–1:15 p.m. Awards Ceremony and Dance Party 6 p.m.–1 a.m.


April 17: Lightning Talks •6–10 p.m. The conference will take place at Holiday Inn Rosslyn at Key Bridge, in Rosslyn, Va., just south of Washington, D.C. Registration fees range from $80–$325, with special discounts for students and alumni. There’s more info on the conference at ssdp2016.

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Women Grow Lobbies Oregon Legislators By Jen Hudyma On Feb. 25, a group of 22 women and three men converged on the Oregon State Capitol in Salem for a Women Grow Lobby Day. Attendees traveled from around the state to participate in a jam-packed day of meetings with more than 20 legislators. Our goal was to ensure sound implementation of the adult-use cannabis Measure 91 that was passed in 2014; advocate for preservation of medical marijuana patients’ rights; and ask for passage of legislation in support of fair access to banking for the state’s cannabis businesses. We split into small groups, with leaders to facilitate each meeting. Senator Chip Shields’ aide pulled him out of a legislative session to meet with us briefly in the hallway. Another group of women from Central Oregon met with a legislator from their area, who stated that although he didn’t personally support legalization of cannabis, he would uphold the wishes of constituents who had voted in favor of it. “I really felt like people were listening to us more than they have in the past,” comments Lori Duckworth, an attendee and group leader who’s been lobbying for cannabis reform at the Oregon State Capitol for many years. “Coming in as a unified group of strong, professional women really made an impression on the


legislators. Overall, we presented well.” If you’re interested in getting involved in cannabis reform in your area, find the closest Women Grow Chapter, or start one in your city. Bringing a group of unified, informed and professional women (and men) to a meeting with a legislator shows that the issue position you’re asking your representative to endorse is supported by committed constituents. These are the types of activities that inspire confidence in the legal cannabis industry among state legislators who are not yet convinced that it will have a positive impact on their communities. Crafting rules for an industry that’s moving so quickly is a difficult task, and participating in that process can be intimidating. Right now is a crucial time: Oregon medical marijuana patients are working to preserve their rights; cannabis business owners are struggling to gain access to banking services; and we’re all trying to create an adult-use industry in Oregon that sets the standard for legalization in other states. “We had great feedback from legislators, attendees and team leaders,” says Portland chapter Co-Chair Leah Maurer. “We plan to do another Women Grow Lobby Day during the next legislative session, hopefully with even more people and more impact.” Jen Hudya owns Urban Fields, a cannabis supplier based in Portland.

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Legalizing cannabis in Americas ’ largest state would have unprecedented domestic and global implications. By Amanda Reiman A goliath of government, industry and opinions, California will likely have the opportunity to vote for marijuana legalization in November. At press time, no initiative has yet qualified for the ballot. Legalization has been on the minds of Californians for decades. If it were to make the ballot and pass, this would create a ripple effect not only across the country, but around the world—similar to the situation in 1996, when California became the first U.S. state to legalize cannabis for medical purposes; since then, 22 additional states and several countries have followed California’s medipot lead. California has a chance to lead again. Colorado and Washington, in 2012, and Oregon, Alaska and Washington, D.C., in 2014, have already legalized cannabis for adult use. But ending marijuana prohibition in California would be the ultimate state endorsement because of its large population (38 million) and substantial revenue potential ($1 billion).


Such a windfall, along with California’s global visibility, would inevitably raise the eyebrows of other states and countries, who’d start to ask, “Why not us?” The UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs has long stood in the way of international cannabis legalization. In 1961, signees to the treaty agreed to never legalize drugs on the prohibited list except for medical or research purposes, as Israel and Canada have done. Since then, there’s been little discussion of whether the treaty is a good idea, or if it’s achieving the stated goals of improved public health and less drug dependence. However, concerns over the violence associated with the drug war; access to medical cannabis; and mass incarceration have many countries and international drug policy organizations now questioning the validity of the treaty. In 2001, Portugal ended the criminalization of personal drug use; and in 2012, Uruguay became the first country in the world to legalize cannabis for adult use, in clear violation of the treaty. This month, UNGASS 2016: United Nations General Assembly Special Session on the World Drug Problem, will be held to consider amending the treaty, setting the stage for the November U.S. election— and for the potential of global legalization that starts with California. If California voters legalize cannabis for adult use, it will surely be more difficult to deny the same right to smaller Latin American countries that have been mired in drugwar violence, and U.S. states that have lost much of their population to the criminal justice system. In a state as big as California, compromise is necessary. Creating a winnable initiative is about considering all sides. The citizens of California most likely will have an opportunity this year to not only change the legal landscape in their state, but also to influence global policies near and far. The world is counting on California. Who knows when this chance will come again? Amanda Reiman is Manager of Marijuana Law and Policy at the Drug Policy Alliance.

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The Future of Cannabis May Not Be So Bright By Ngaio Bealum

Is cannabis legalization a fait accompli? Can we really just keep on doing what we’re doing, and watch the money roll in? When the Justice Department issued the Ogden Memo in 2009, which stated that the Feds wouldn’t go after state-approved medical marijuana collectives and dispensaries, the industry boomed. Dispensaries sprouted all over medical marijuana states like there was no end in sight. But two years later, the Justice Department went after damn near everyone operating a cannabis business, and the results were devastating. People went to jail, and lots of jobs were lost. After voters in Colorado and Washington passed adult-use legalization in 2012, the Justice Dept. followed with the Cole Memo in 2013 that outlined specific rules that states had to adhere to in order to prevent a repeat of the post-Ogden memo crackdown. So far, so good. This year, as many as five states may pass laws to tax and regulate adult use. Nevada’s initiative has already made the November ballot, and Vermont may become the first state to legislatively legalize it. Reformers in Arizona, California and Massachusetts are working hard to get their initiatives on the ballot. The marijuana movement is gaining steam, and appears to be unstoppable. But if a hardline right-winger takes over

the White House in 2017, federal tolerance of statewide legalization could come crashing down. Bernie Sanders is the only presidential candidate in the race with a pro-cannabis platform. Hillary Clinton is “evolving” on the issue (she says she supports rescheduling marijuana), but still has old-school drug warrior blood in her veins. Ted Cruz says he’s for state’s rights, but against marijuana, so who knows what he would do. And don’t get me started on Donald Trump; he could de-schedule and reschedule marijuana on the same day just to get a rise out of people. I’m nostalgic for a time, just a few short years ago, when we were a secret club of pothead outlaws that didn’t have to worry about trademarks, intellectual property, water rights or non-disclosure agreements. Hell, back in the day, we were all operating under non-disclosure agreements. That still is the nature of the business. I’m not trying to bum you out. I want marijuana to be a vibrant industry in America for years to come. My point is this: Don’t get too comfortable. The price of freedom is eternal vigilance. Hope for the best, but plan for the worst. I’d hate to see the movement falter because people didn’t plan for the inevitable backlash.

“Don’t get me started on Donald Trump!”


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Ngaio Bealum is a Sacramento-based comedian and activist who regularly appears at cannabis events.

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Cannabis and Cancer Cannabinoids demonstrate powerful anti-cancer effects. So why is the U.S. cancer establishment suppressing clinical research? By Paul Armentano Does cannabis possess the ability to cure cancer? Many websites unabashedly make this claim, while others state that the U.S. government is gearing up to embrace the herb as a cancer healer. The reality of the situation is far more muddled. The original cannabiscures-cancer claim dates back to the mid-1970s, when investigators at the Medical College of Virginia first demonstrated that the administration of THC inhibited cancerous tumor growth, and significantly increased mean survival time in genetically modified mice. The scientists’ findings appeared in the Sept. 1975 Journal of the National Cancer Institute under the title “Antineoplastic Activity of Cannabinoids.” Over the following decades, scientists around the globe have repeatedly replicated these results in preclinical (nonhuman) settings, finding that various cannabinoids can selectively trigger apoptosis (cell suicide) in numerous types of cancerous cell lines, and halt the growth and spread of various types of cancerous tumors. Writing in 2003 in the esteemed scientific journal Nature, Spanish researcher Manuel Guzman summarized the relevant literature of the time: “Cannabinoids inhibit tumor growth in laboratory animals. They do so by modulating key cell-signaling pathways, thereby inducing direct growth arrest and


death of tumor cells, as well as by inhibiting tumor angiogenesis and metastasis. Cannabinoids are selective antitumor compounds, as they can kill tumor cells without affecting their non-transformed counterparts.” This latter effect is perhaps the most encouraging and significant; chemotherapy and other conventional cancer drug treatments don’t discriminate between healthy cells and malignant ones. In recent years, additional studies have continued to document the effects of various cannabinoids, especially THC and CBD, against some of the most aggressive cancers, such as glioblastoma, an often lethal form of brain cancer. In some instances, these compounds have shown greater anti-cancer activity when administered in combination with one another, rather than as individual components. In other cases, the adjunctive use of cannabinoids in concert with conventional anti-cancer drugs like temozolimide (TMZ) has resulted in anti-proliferative activity in cancers resistant to standard treatment regimens. The administration of synthetic cannabinoid medications, such as dronabinol (Marinol), has also been shown to reduce the spread of cancer in preclinical settings, and has been recommended as a “low-toxic therapy option” for patients with certain types of cancer, like leukemia. Case reports are also now available in the peer-reviewed literature that demonstrate an association between cannabis use and cancer regression in some pediatric patients. Case-control population studies also observe an in-

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Spanish researcher Manuel Guzman: “Cannabinoids can kill cancer cells.”

verse relationship between recreational pot use and the prevalence of certain types of cancer, including lung cancer, head and neck cancers, and bladder cancer. (However, other similarly designed studies have identified a potential positive relationship between cannabis smoke exposure and testicular cancer.) Yet, despite decades of consistent results at the preclinical level, several clinical trials and a number of intriguing case reports, scientists have not yet tried to replicate these results in clinical trials involving large cohorts of cancer patients. This dearth of clinical literature leaves unanswered the question of whether herbal cannabis would yield similarly effective results in human subjects, and renders the claim that “pot smoking cures cancer” premature at best, and reckless at worst. At present, neither the U.S. government nor the American Cancer Society (ACS) appears particularly interested in promoting clinical research in this area. A search of all worldwide FDA-approved clinical trials, using the keywords “marijuana” and “cancer,” reveals a small number of clinical trials assessing the


use of synthetic cannabinoid drugs, such as dronabinol and dexanabinol (a nonFDA-approved cannabinoid agonist), as potential anti-cancer agents. But, to date, there are no FDA-approved protocols designed to evaluate the impact of herbal cannabis administration on patients with cancer. (A single Israeli study seeking to evaluate CBD as a treatment for cancer patients remains in the pre-recruitment phase.) The Marijuana and Cancer page on the ACS website acknowledges both the promise of cannabis treatments and the lack of available clinical data—mostly due to the plant’s illegal status as a Schedule I controlled substance. But, as the largest non-governmental funder of cancer research in the U.S., the ACS is equally complicit in failing to endorse or promote any meaningful scientific inquiries into the cannabis plant. Predictably, the federal government continues to place pot politics above scientific discovery. Case in point: In 2011,, the website of the U.S. National Cancer Institute, publicly acknowledged the anti-cancer properties of cannabinoids, and appeared to advocate for their use, posting: “Cannabinoids appear to kill tumor cells, but do not affect their non-transformed counterparts and may even protect them from cell death… In the practice of integrative oncology, the healthcare provider may recommend medicinal cannabis not only for symptom management, but also for its possible direct antitumor effect.” This statement was scrubbed from the website a little over a week later, following complaints from NIDA and other federal agencies. Today, the website reads: “At this time, there is not enough evidence to recommend that patients inhale or ingest cannabis as a treatment for cancer-related symptoms or side effects of cancer therapy.” 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.

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Stocks & BUDS

Growing MassRoots The Denver-based social network is poised for a NASDAQ listing. By Matt Chelsea The publicly traded MassRoots (OTCQB: MSRT), the “social platform for marijuana,” expects to reach the critical one-million-user mark this month, after launching a little less than three years ago. The Denver-based company has been able to grow so quickly partly because Facebook, Instagram and other social media sites won’t let legal dispensaries post on their platforms since cannabis is still illegal under federal law. By offering their services only in states with legal cannabis, MassRoots has stepped in to fill that need. With adult-use referendums in Nevada and probably other states this November, the future looks bright for MassRoots. Expanding late last year from an app into a Web platform, MassRoots features include a Buds feed, where you can “Bud” someone instead of “Friending” them; a blog with entries on the latest legislative initiatives around the country; and how to roll a joint in the shape of a Star Wars TIE fighter. MassRoots expects to continue to generate revenues by helping dispensaries and users connect locally, with


real-time updates on special offers and community developments. Dubbed Facebook for stoners, MassRoots has become something of a press darling. There are probably tens of thousands of companies in the U.S. with 30 or so employees, but few of them get write-ups from financial media like Bloomberg, the Wall Street Journal and Forbes. CEO and co-founder Isaac Dietrich, 23, says the company got its start one day when he was smoking and he thought it would be fun if his friends could watch him. He decided to avoid Facebook, because all his family members are connected there. “I didn’t want my grandmother to see me taking a hit on Facebook,” he tells Freedom Leaf. “We wanted to create an environment for sharing cannabis.” Dietrich didn’t get any support from venture capitalists early on, so he bootstrapped the company with $17,000 of credit card debt. At an ArcView conference in 2014 for venture capital investing, MassRoots drew the attention of Doug Leighton, founder and Managing Partner of Dutchess Capital, a Boston-based hedge fund, which led the seed round for the company. Demeter

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MassRoots co-founder Isaac Dietrich: “The War on Drugs is morally wrong.”

Capital is another major backer. Since 2014, MassRoots has raised about $4.4 million in five rounds of venture capital from more than 150 investors. At the moment, much of the company’s funding comes from the sale of its stock (at press time, it was selling for $1.30). While dozens of cannabis-related companies trade on the OTC Bulletin Board, MassRoots took the relatively unique path of filing an S-1 registration statement last April with the SEC to list and trade their common stock on the OTC—the same process much larger companies use to go public on the NASDAQ or the New York Stock Exchange. MassRoots expects to meet the listing requirements to trade on the NASDAQ sometime this year. If it achieves this goal, MassRoots will be one of the first cannabis technology companies to do so, along with GW Pharmaceuticals. Unlike Facebook, which raised billions in private stock sales to large institutional investors prior to their initial public offering, Dietrich says MassRoots offers a lot more potential upside. That’s because they went public much earlier in their development than Facebook did, leaving more growth on the table for early stock investors. “Retail investors are looking for ways


to invest without touching the plant itself,” he notes. “The scalability of tech startups with cannabis is a very interesting story.” At current levels, MassRoots’ stock is very expensive when weighed against the small amount of revenue the company generates—about $200,000 in the second half of 2015. With millions of shares outstanding, the company’s market capitalization (the value of its stock) tips the scales at $46 million. MassRoots posted a loss of $3.4 million in the nine months ended Sept. 30, 2015, and has yet to make a profit. Like any young company, MassRoots has hit some bumps in the road. They’ve been blacklisted by Apple’s App Store (after some protest, Apple relented), and barred from competing in TechCrunch’s Startup Battlefield event. In another example, they won a berth to present at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in January, as a semifinalist in the Extreme Tech Challenge, only to learn that a judge representing Dell Computer pulled out, apparently because of the involvement of a cannabis business. The cold reception to cannabis from some tech outfits seems overly conservative, especially given the role marijuana played in Silicon Valley during the ’70s and ’80s, when the PC took off. But other corporate figures have been friendlier. As a result of winning a spot in the Extreme Tech Challenge, billionaire Richard Branson invited MassRoots and other semifinalists to his enclave at Necker Island in the British Virgin Islands. “I’m tremendously humbled that I had an opportunity to meet Sir Richard,” Dietrich says. “Our company is new, innovative and disruptive. We’re popular among millennials, and in synch with the social mission Branson shares with the UN Global Commission on Drug Policy.” Just as the baby boomers and generation X helped push for cannabis reform, the millennial generation continues to play a major role. “The War on Drugs is morally wrong,” Dietrich declares. “We’ve seen this huge growth in people that support legalization, driven by the Internet and being able to distribute factual information to people. That’s real power.”

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The cannabis legalization initiative best positioned to get on the November ballot in California is the Adult Use of Marijuana Act (AUMA). Its comprehensive nature means there are a lot of details to absorb. Assuming it does make it onto the ballot, here are 10 good reasons to vote yes on AUMA.


It Protects and Expands Current Medical Marijuana Laws

First and foremost, AUMA reinforces existing protections for cannabis patients in California, and adds parental and custodial rights, privacy rights and the right of adults to grow a small garden at home. Most people don’t realize that California case law generally treats medical use as a court defense, not a legal right. That’s led scores of local governments around


the state to ban sales of medical marijuana, and even home grows. AUMA will give all California adults (21 or older)— patients included—the right to grow six plants and use, store or give away the harvest, and it ends local bans on discreet, enclosed gardens (indoor grow rooms and greenhouses). To grow more than that amount, you’ll need a doctor’s approval. Citizens are afforded new legal rights within the framework of the laws AUMA will create. Local governments will still be able to ban outdoor gardens, and ban or regulate commercial activity, but not personal use, sharing and discreet enclosed gardens, or gifting marijuana among friends. However, it will cost the local government to have bans: The Board of State and Community Corrections shall not make any grants to local governments that have banned the cultivation, including personal [outdoor] cultivation, or retail sale of marijuana or marijuana products. Local governments are required to track how their policies affect illicit traffic in marijuana and shift the illicit market to legal access.

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It Enfranchises the Cannabis Community

It’s Not Merely Decriminalization; It’s Real Legalization Decriminalization laws remove criminal penalties, but leave fines, infractions and social stigma. AUMA will completely legalize possession, transportation and sharing/gifting of small amounts of cannabis, allow home growers to keep their entire harvest and restrict police searches and seizures. The industry will be legal and regulated—more so than I wish—but people who follow the rules and get licenses will not risk criminal charges. Remaining penalties are mostly downgrades of existing penalties, although wobblers—charges that can be filed as misdemeanors or as felonies—remain for some repeat offenses, such as sales, aggravating circumstances (environmental destruction) or sales involving minors.


Over the years, hundreds of thousands of Californians have been arrested, prosecuted and stigmatized for possessing, selling or growing cannabis, resulting in the loss of freedom, voting rights, education, housing and other social benefits. AUMA provides sentencing relief, resentencing and release for cannabis POWs, clearing records and removing barriers for reentry into society. Minors under 18 will not get a criminal record for youthful indiscretions. Prior offenders can get jobs and licenses in the industry. Ending the social stigma surrounding cannabis is central to the advancement of civil rights. The ability to advance further legislative reforms will be greatly increased after AUMA passes. Regulators will smooth out the licensing kinks, municipalities will receive new tax revenues, communities will reconsider bans on legal cannabis businesses and attitudes will change.

It Seeks to Preserve the Cottage Industry The underground cannabis economy has helped people pay their rent and bills for several generations, and not everyone who grows or sells in the illicit market will fit into the new paradigm. However, AUMA makes a sincere effort to help out by expunging criminal records, eliminating barriers to entry into the business, requiring state residency to get a license, favoring existing licensed marijuana businesses, encouraging small and microbusiness licenses, scaling fees to the size of the operation and blocking large-scale cultivation interests from the market for five years. It protects geographical naming rights, so if the label says Humboldt Gold, you’ll know it was grown there.

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It Directs Taxes to Help the HardestHit Members of Society Taxes specified in AUMA are not as high as in other states, but still higher than I’d like them to be: $9.25 per ounce of bud, $2.75 per ounce of leaf, a 15% excise tax, the 7.5% state sales tax, plus local taxes. Those taxes will pay for legal access, as well as fund scientific research, environmental cleanup and grants to community-based nonprofit organizations to support job placement, mental health treatment, substance use disorder treatment, system navigation services, legal services to address barriers to reentry and linkages to medical care for communities disproportionately affected by past federal and state drug policies. It also funds youth programs, such as accurate education, effective prevention, early intervention, school retention and timely treatment services for youth, their families and caregivers. Everybody should feel good about doing that.

AUMA will completely legalize possession, transportation and sharing/gifting of small amounts of cannabis, let home growers keep their entire harvest and restrict police searches and seizures.



It Gives a Boost to Industrial Hemp AUMA includes new industrial hemp reforms, as well. It adapts existing hemp laws, complies with federal law and makes it easier and safer to engage in legal industrial hemp research on a small (1/10th acre) or large scale, and supports sustainable commercial hemp farming. This could bring hemp horticulture back as the economic powerhouse that helped establish America.

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It Limits Legislative Change

The state legislature cannot modify a California initiative unless it says they can. Since AUMA is designed as a platform for further legalization, it must allow the legislature to make future changes, but limits its power: The Legislature may, by majority vote, amend, add or repeal any provisions to further reduce the penalties for any of the offenses addressed by this Act. Except as otherwise provided, the provisions of the Act may be amended by a two-thirds vote of the Legislature to further the purposes and intent of the Act. So, after voters pass AUMA, advocates can go back to the legislature to advance reform.


It Was Written to Get Approved by Voters and to Pass Federal Muster

Some of the things I don’t like about AUMA are among its strongest selling points to others. For example, while I’d prefer looser controls, AUMA complies with the federal requirement that state laws be strictly regulated and robustly enforced, so voters don’t have to worry about federal interference. I don’t like AUMA’s broad restrictions on public consumption or the distances set from schools, but some of my friends with kids favor them. The provisions that allow possession of one ounce of flowers and eight grams of concentrates, and the cultivation of just six plants, I consider to be unduly low, but sound great to friends who buy cannabis by the eighth and hash by the half-gram, and would love to grow a few plants in a backyard greenhouse. More importantly, these numbers don’t scare away other voters who want it legally controlled, but remain dubious

about how much marijuana people really need to have around if it’s just for their own use. After AUMA is passed, our new audience will be the legislature, and we won’t have to educate 10 million voters, just two houses and a governor. The more comfortable people are about voting Yes on AUMA, and the bigger AUMA’s margin of victory, the more pressure will be on the federal government to change.

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It Allows On-Site Consumption Have you ever been to Amsterdam and hung out with locals and other tourists at a “coffeeshop,” smoking joints, passing pipes and bongs, and using vaporizers as you laugh, listen to music and share your thoughts? Cannabis is a social lubricant, and consumers like to be in each other’s company. AUMA will allow on-site consumption by local permit, like beer and wine at a tavern—although it states that sale or consumption of alcohol or tobacco are not allowed on the premises. On-site consumption allows us to preserve our social network as a community. It would be sad to see cannabis assimilated into society, but acculturated as a solitary experience where people buy it at the store, then go home and smoke alone. People like to share cannabis with one another, tell stories and enhance each other’s experience. We want places to socially gather, just as drinkers of alcoholic beverages gather at bars. Likewise, when travelers visit the state, they will have places where they can go smoke and vape. On-site consumption is a big plus for AUMA.


The Big Picture: Message to the World

As beneficial as passing the AUMA initiative will be to California, it will have even greater impact around the U.S. and the world. California led the charge against the drug war 20 years ago with the passage of Prop 215, which legalized medical marijuana. Now, instead of being first, as California should’ve been, we can be part of the third wave of states to legalize. We’ve learned the lessons, both good and bad, from states that have legalized before us (Colorado, Washington, Oregon and Alaska). Likewise, other states will learn from us, but first we need to pass AUMA. The November election could be the death knell for marijuana prohibition, or it


could be its continuation. Not only is the message we send to the world important, so is the message we send to our neighbors, and also to ourselves. Once AUMA passes, we’ll no longer be labeled by our communities as outlaws, illicit users and criminals, but as people. Our legislators will not see us as scofflaws, but as constituents. We’ll look at ourselves in the mirror with the subtle but constant burden of prohibition-imposed stigma lifted from our backs, and see a free and law-abiding person staring back. And that can make all the difference. Chris Conrad is a court-qualified cannabis expert, co-author of The Newbie’s Guide to Cannabis and the Industry and a consultant with Drug Policy Action. Turn to page 76 for a review of his book.

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Will the Silver State Go Green?

Nevadans can vote for full marijuana legalization in November. By Chris Goldstein At press time, Nevada is the only state that will definitely get to vote on full legalization of marijuana in 2016. After an almost two-year effort, the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol won the right for voters to weigh in. In 2014, the campaign was required to gather 101,666 valid signatures from voters; they submitted more than 200,000. Local election law required the initiative to go before the state legislature in 2015. Politicians had the chance to pass the bill, but because they took no action, the measure, the Nevada Initiative to Regulate and Tax Marijuana, was certified for the ballot. Polling looks good, but the outcome is far from certain. Many factors will come into play, from media attention to politics. The fact that the campaign is happening in the same year as the presidential election means plenty of voters will be heading to the polls; good turnout is usually the key to winning a marijuana initiative. It took almost 15 years for Nevada to fully implement the state’s medical marijuana program, approved by voters back in 2000. Dispensaries began opening late last year. Notably, they’re allowed to accept medical marijuana registration cards from other states. Outside of the metro areas of Las Vegas and Reno, Nevada is pretty conservative. Three of the four members of Congress, and Governor Brian Sandoval,

Governor Brian Sandoval is one of many Republicans dominating Nevada politics.

are Republicans. The Nevada Senate and Assembly have GOP majorities. The Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol is backed by the Marijuana Policy Project, and is being run by a seasoned staff, many of whom worked on the successful Amendment 64 in Colorado four years ago.

The Language

The Nevada Initiative to Regulate and Tax Marijuana is one of the most comprehensive legalization proposals written

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to date. It’s stricter than Amendment 64, and contains some major departures from legislation passed in other states. In the Nevada proposal, adults aged 21 and over would be able to possess up to one ounce of marijuana and 3.5 grams of hash oil or other concentrates. By contrast, in Oregon, adults can possess up to eight ounces of flowers in their home, and one ounce on their person. Home cultivation of up to six plants would be allowed in Nevada, but only if a resident lives more than 25 miles away from an established retail store. Las Vegas is about 12 miles wide and 14 miles long. So just a single marijuana store could eliminate home cultivation throughout Sin City. The plant limit in Nevada would be similar to what passed in Colorado and Washington, D.C. Adults would be able to give away up to an ounce to other adults; but selling outside of licensed shops would be strictly prohibited. Taxes would comprise a 15% excise between cultivators and retail stores, plus the state’s sales tax, which ranges from 6.85% to 8.1% on retail. Making extracts at home would incur harsh penalties. The initiative specifies that anyone caught using butane or CO2 to create concentrated marijuana without a license would be subject to a category E felony charge. The good news is that entering the cannabis industry would be a lot less expensive than in other states. The initiative proposes licensing fees of $20,000 for a retail store, $30,000 for a cultivator, $10,000 for a product manufacturer and $15,000 for a testing lab. Compared to the hundreds of thousands of dollars in secured capital required in some states to establish medical marijuana facilities, this could really open the door to more small-business owners. The initiative does not provide any additional protection for employees, who would still be subject to individual workplace drug testing rules. Smoking in public would still be prohibited and subject to a fine of up to $600. Also, the bill states that “driving under the influence of marijuana would remain


illegal.” Currently, Nevada can convict a driver of DUI if they have more than 10 ng/ml of THC in urine or 2 ng/ml in blood. The first two offenses are misdemeanors; a third DUI within seven years is a felony. Drivers’ licenses could be suspended or revoked, even without a prosecution.

The Quarterback Steve Fox is one of the most experienced political operatives in the world of marijuana. He worked as the director of government relations at the Marijuana Policy Project before co-founding the National Cannabis Industry Association. Fox co-wrote Colorado’s Amendment 64, and is now helping to lead the Nevada Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol. “In Colorado, we had a real activist movement for seven solid years leading up to Amendment 64,” Fox tells Freedom Leaf. “So there was really more of a grassroots foundation in Colorado than you have in Nevada.” That means a bigger ground game will need to be waged. In the coming months, Fox says the campaign will be actively engaging voters, especially millennials, to get involved, largely through online efforts. “The overall message is the same anywhere,” Fox explains. “Marijuana prohibition hasn’t worked. People shouldn’t be arrested for using something less dangerous than alcohol. We should have it sold in legitimate markets instead of underground.” How much could Nevada end up netting with legal cannabis sales? “Ballpark—between $20 million and $25 million annually, aside from standard sales taxes at the state and local level,” Fox predicts. Getting the initiative this far wasn’t easy or cheap. It cost $2.3 million to pass Amendment 64 in Colorado, and “it will be something similar in Nevada,” says Fox. “We’ll be reaching out and looking to raise money and advertise as much as we can toward the end of the campaign.” Another factor will be local participation. In Washington State, Oregon and

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Colorado, many counties have banned marijuana businesses. “These laws are designed to evolve over time,” Fox says. “Only about 20% of localities in Colorado allow sale of adult-use marijuana. There may be some counties in Nevada that won’t allow it for a while. But we expect the larger counties, like Washoe [in which Reno is located] and Clark [which includes Las Vegas], will likely allow adult use to move forward, just as they allowed medical marijuana to move forward.” Another issue that’s come up in other states, especially for tourists, is social use. As smoking in public is banned, and hotels don’t allow visitors to toke in their rooms, few places exist for out-of-state visitors to enjoy a puff of legal bud. “There’s one provision in there that talks about the legislature addressing the ability for consumption being allowed at the retail stores,” Fox offers. “There’s additional language about not being able to consume in public places, but that’s defined as an area where the public is allowed without age restriction. So it may be possible, with local approval, that social use may be allowed. In a way this is similar to Colorado: A64 was meant to allow localities to permit social use with ordinances and regulations to deal with it. Glendale and Pueblo have laws on the books that allow social use.” Fox is aware of the impact casino magnate Sheldon Adelson could have on the vote. He’s worth $26 billion, owns several casinos on the Las Vegas strip and recently purchased Nevada’s biggest newspaper, the Las Vegas Review-Journal. In 2014, Adelson pumped $5 million into Drug Free Florida, a group that opposed Amendment 2, the medical-marijuana measure that lost at the polls by a razor-thin margin. “We’ve already seen reports that he’s asked the editorial board to revisit their

Steve Fox: “The more young people who vote, the better we’ll do.”

supportive position,” Fox acknowledges. “Certainly, it’s a concern. We’ve heard other stories that his ownership has affected how stories are being covered. We can only assume the articles will not be slanted in our favor throughout the campaign.” The presidential contest could have a real impact on how the Nevada marijuana legalization initiative plays out. “The more young people who vote, the better we’ll do,” Fox observes. “If you were to look at the election now, it certainly seems that Bernie Sanders is energizing young voters. If he were the nominee, it would help.” At the Nevada Democratic Caucus on Feb. 20, Hillary Clinton narrowly defeated Sanders, 52.6% to 47.3%. Nevada is the only swing state with a full legalization initiative on the ballot. Hopefully, in 2017, a trip to Las Vegas will include a legal toke. Learn more about the Nevada Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol at

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The Other Initiatives

More states may legalize cannabis in 2016. ADULT-USE LEGALIZATION Arizona

The Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol in the Grand Canyon State has raised more than $1.1 million and gathered more than 180,000 signatures. To qualify for the ballot, 150,642 verified voter signatures are needed. The measure is very similar to what is being proposed in Nevada (see “Will the Silver State Go Green?” on page 35). Arizona residents 21 and over would be able to possess one ounce of marijuana and five grams of concentrates, and could purchase marijuana products in 160 licensed adult-use stores around the state. Residents would also have the option to grow up to six plants at home, but no more than 12 plants in one residence. Arizona voters approved medical marijuana in 2010; they’re likely to approve full legalization in 2016.


Things were looking good in the Pine Tree State for legalization until the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol experienced an unexpected setback after submitting over 100,000 petition signatures; 61,123 valid signatures were needed. Maine’s Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap rejected almost half of the signatures, stating that over 26,000 were invalid because the notaries’ signatures on the petitions didn’t match those on file, and rejected another 17,000 that appear to be valid. The MPP is taking the case to court. Although a decision is expected in early April, it’s


unknown at press time if the vote will be able to proceed. Poll numbers have been especially strong in Maine, with about 65% of voters in support of legal cannabis.


After the Bay State Repeal initiative lost steam, the MPPbacked Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol picked up the momentum for legalization with its Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana Act. Residents 21 and up would be able to possess one ounce of cannabis outside of their home and 10 ounces in their home, and grow up to six plants at a time. Retail stores would be licensed with a state excise tax of 3.75%, along with regular sales tax. Towns and municipalities could impose an additional 2% local tax. Getting a measure on the ballot in Massachusetts is more complicated than in most other states. More than 70,000 signatures were certified by Secretary of State William Galvin in December, and the measure will now go to the legislature, where lawmakers have the option of passing the bill. If the legislature takes no action by May 3, then the campaign must collect an additional 10,792 signatures. Massachusetts voters decriminalized marijuana possession in 2008 and approved medical marijuana in 2012. A UMass Amherst poll in February found 53% of voters support regulation.


MI Legalize is gathering signatures for a ballot initiative to comprehensively change marijuana policy in the Wolverine State. Their plan

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would tax and regulate retail cannabis sales, and would also fully decriminalize possession and end civil asset forfeiture. Matt Abel, a Detroit area attorney who serves on Michigan NORML’s board of directors and is running the MILegalize effort, says they’ve spent more than $600,000 in their push to reach the 253,000-signature requirement by June 1. State legislators in Lansing have filed bills to legalize cannabis, as well. Polling shows 56% of voters back the shift.


The Show-Me Cannabis campaign is in the midst of gathering about 250,000 signatures for a full legalization push this year. With the support of Anthony Johnson, who helped get Oregon’s measure passed in 2014, the state could be a dark-horse success this year.


Voters in the Sunshine State will have another shot at legalizing medical marijuana this year. A constitutional amendment in 2014 fell short of the required 60% by just 2%. Undeterred, the United for Care campaign is back, headed by their brash frontman, attorney John Morgan. Polling continues to show majority support in Florida. With the vote coming during a high-profile presidential election year, a large turnout is expected, which could give the measure a solid shot at passing. However, like in 2014, this amendment requires 60% of the vote.


Several groups seeking to place medical marijuana on the ballot in Ohio had their efforts re-


The Green Mountain State may be the first legislative win for full legalization. The Vermont Senate passed such legislation in February. The bill, S241, would legalize possession of up to one ounce by adults 21 and older, and license cultivation and retail locations. While the manufacture and sale of edibles and home cultivation are notably omitted from the bill, this could change if it’s passed. The bill needs to clear the House before going to Governor Pete Shumlin, who has promised to sign it. In an editorial posted on the governor’s website in March, he wrote: “Vermont has a clear choice. As states nationwide and those close to home continue working to enact smarter policies around marijuana, we can be the first state to do it right. We can lift the veil of prohibition that’s prevented us from taking rational steps to address all the issues that come with marijuana use that exist right now.” fused by Attorney General Mike DeWine until the MMP fixed some minor discrepancies in the bill and resubmitted it. DeWine has accepted their language and certified it, allowing the group to begin a petition signature drive. A ballot initiative for full legalization was defeated last year in a low-turnout election. But on the issue of medical cannabis alone, voters are more aligned. — Chris Goldstein

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Freedom Leaf INTERVIEW

Mason Tvert Interview by Steve Bloom and Chris Goldstein As Director of Communications at the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), Mason Tvert gets around. Born in Scottsdale, Ariz., he attended the University of Richmond in Virginia before relocating to Colorado, where he founded Safer Alternative for Enjoyable Recreation (SAFER), which posited that marijuana is safer than alcohol. He spearheaded the campaigns to legalize cannabis in Denver in 2005 and, with Amendment 64, throughout the state in 2012. Following that victory, he was hired by the MPP, which is currently working on legalization initiatives in Nevada, Maine and Rhode Island, on a medical marijuana initiative in Ohio and on the legislative effort in Vermont. 40

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Let’s talk about Colorado. What are the biggest changes you see in Colorado now that marijuana is legal? Public attitudes toward marijuana have clearly shifted, and that was our goal when we started working in Colorado. We wanted to increase the percentage of people that recognize that marijuana is safer than alcohol, and get people to start thinking of marijuana as just another product that countless adults choose to use and should be allowed to use responsibly. The stigma has broken down quite a bit, and people seem far less worried about discussing marijuana with their friends, family members, coworkers and even strangers. It’s really starting to be treated more like alcohol. Would you do anything differently if you could rewrite Amendment 64? Not really. Perhaps I’d include some clarification about what constitutes “open and public” to prevent localities from adopting overly broad definitions, as Denver did to prohibit social use. Generally speaking, Amendment 64 accomplished exactly what it was supposed to accomplish: It ended prohibition and replaced it with a system in which marijuana is regulated and taxed, which will continue to evolve so that marijuana is treated more and more like alcohol as people adjust to it. Speaking of social use, how do you see that evolving, especially in states looking to take up the issue in 2016? As more and more people recognize that marijuana is less harmful than alcohol and agree that it ought to be treated that way, we’ll see support grow for allowing social use. Once a state or locality gets over its fear of marijuana itself and makes marijuana legal for adults, citizens will be more inclined to agree that there need to be places where adults can use it safely and legally. Those discussions are now occurring in Colorado, Oregon, Washington and Alaska. Ballot initiatives and legislative proposals are also

becoming more specific in addressing the issue. Also related to the social-use issue, High Times was recently rejected from holding the Cannabis Cup at the Denver Mart, and withdrew an application to stage the event in Pueblo. Is this good or bad news for Colorado? The Cannabis Cup would likely draw a lot of tourists to town, and have a significant and positive economic impact on our state, so it’s unfortunate that it was canceled. The Great American Beer Festival takes place in Denver each year, and is considered a huge tourist attraction, a big economic booster and a good time for adults who consume the products the event highlights. The same could be said for the Cannabis Cup when it comes to marijuana consumers, and the event ought to be treated the same. Sadly, there are still plenty of city officials and others who embrace alcohol yet dislike marijuana, and go out of their way to treat it differently. How can states be convinced that edibles won’t cause the same problems that have occurred in Colorado regarding dosages? Lawmakers are coming around to recognize the benefits of regulating marijuana, and the harms of prohibition. Sometimes it takes them longer to apply those same lessons to certain types of products, as we’re seeing with edibles in some states. My hope is that states that do allow them, such as Colorado, will continue to iron out their regulations until the point that the benefits of regulating edibles, and the problems associated with prohibition, can no longer be ignored. A legislative team from Massachusetts recently traveled to Colorado to visit retail stores and meet with local law enforcement. Their report advised to not legalize marijuana in Massachusetts. Were you surprised? It seemed pretty clear, based on the

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news reports, that these legislators already opposed legalization prior to making the trip to Colorado. Many lawmakers who make these trips tend to spend a lot more time meeting with law enforcement officials and others who opposed—and often still oppose—Colorado’s marijuana law than they spend meeting with officials who are supportive or neutral. Whenever we learn of legislators or other opinion leaders visiting Colorado, we do everything we can to make sure they’re getting both sides of the story. In March, the Supreme Court refused to take up the lawsuit from Nebraska and Oklahoma against Colorado over legal marijuana. Why is that significant for Colorado and the other states? The Supreme Court’s decision was not really based on the merits of the case, and was instead based on the procedure and questions regarding the plaintiffs’ standing. It’s significant that the Obama administration and the Colorado state government both urged the court to dismiss the case. And it’s significant that the court decided not to go out of its way to oppose state-level marijuana policy reform. The MPP is supporting AUMA in California. What do you think is the likelihood that it will pass, and if it does, what are the implications of the largest state in the nation legalizing marijuana? I think AUMA has a very good chance of passing. California is a very large and very diverse state, so it will surely reinforce the notion that public attitudes toward marijuana are shifting. Also, given the size of the state, it will lead to the creation of countless jobs, generate commerce for all sorts of other industries and produce significant tax revenue, all of which should pique the interest of state and federal officials around the country. And because California has a long history of being fertile ground for innovation with regard to both cannabis and technol-


ogy, we can expect to see a lot of ideas come out of the state that could have an impact on the broader marijuana industry. In March, Maine rejected the legalization initiative submitted by the MPP. You’re suing to get that ruling overturned. What do you expect will happen? The Maine campaign followed the law and collected more than enough valid signatures to qualify for the ballot. The Secretary of State improperly invalidated more than 17,000 signatures of registered Maine voters, and by doing so they’re wrongfully denying citizens their constitutional right to vote on the measure. We’re hopeful that the judge will agree. The Nevada ballot measure doesn’t allow for home cultivation by adults unless they live more than 25 miles from a retail store. What’s the strategy behind that language? While the initiative was being drafted back in early 2014, there were significant concerns about the level of public support for allowing home cultivation. The drafters worried that allowing it could result in the measure failing, but they also recognized that there needs to be some form of legal access for adults in the state in order to eliminate the underground market. They decided that adults must at least be allowed to grow their own marijuana if they live in an area that doesn’t allow for marijuana stores. Home cultivation rules, like possession limits, are one of those things that will surely continue to evolve along with public attitudes. While many states are moving ahead with legalization, there’s little to no movement from the federal government. Which do you favor: rescheduling or de-scheduling marijuana? While we’ve yet to see passage of sweeping legislation, we’ve seen a significant growth in support in the House and

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Amendment 64 accomplished exactly what it was supposed to accomplish: It ended prohibition and replaced it with a system in which marijuana is regulated and taxed.

the Senate, with the passage of multiple marijuana-related appropriations measures. While these are not permanent or ideal, they mark a massive shift in how marijuana is being viewed by members of Congress. As more and more states adopt laws making marijuana legal for adult use and/or medical purposes, we’ll continue to see growth in support at the federal level. This gridlock isn’t entirely unique to marijuana, and it’s also just symptomatic of a deeply divided federal political system. The Marijuana Policy Project fully supports removing marijuana from the federal drug schedules entirely. Schedule II, while an improvement, is not remotely good enough. The MPP gives Bernie Sanders an A rating in its presidential candidates’ guide. Hillary Clinton has a B rating, Donald Trump has a C+ rating and Ted Cruz has a C rating. What would happen to marijuana policy, depending on which of these four get elected? All four candidates have said they believe states should have the right to establish their own marijuana policies, and, given the number of states that have—and will have—adopted their own marijuana policies by the time a new president takes office, we shouldn’t expect to see any sort of major effort to roll back the progress that’s been made. Sanders has expressed support for removing marijuana

from the federal drug schedules, and Clinton has said she thinks it should be rescheduled, at the very least, but it remains unclear whether they could do it without action from Congress. It appears that both Democrats and Donald Trump strongly support the rights of seriously ill people to use medical marijuana, so it’s quite likely we’d see any of them support at least some shift in marijuana’s classification. What’s on the MPP’s agenda beyond 2016? MPP will work on implementing whatever laws pass this year, in addition to working on passing laws in even more states. We plan to support legislation that would legalize and regulate marijuana for adult use in states like Delaware, Hawaii, Maryland and New Hampshire, as well as support the creation of a regulatory structure in Washington, D.C. We also want to pass medical laws in any states that fail to pass them this year, such as Utah. We’ll have to wait and see what happens in Nebraska, Pennsylvania and other states. We will also be ramping up efforts in Congress to build support for significant and permanent legislation, in addition to the appropriations measures we’ve seen pass over the past couple of years. For more on the MPP, go to

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Adult-use marijuana stores and dispensaries on Airport Road in Breckenridge.

Blazing New Trails All eyes have been on Colorado since 2014, when it became the first state to sell marijuana commercially to adults. By Kevin Mahmalji

Colorado beat Washington State by a few hours to legalize marijuana on the same election night in 2012, then launched adult-use sales a full six months ahead of its Northwest counterpart. With annual sales expected to exceed $800 million by the end of 2016, Colorado continues to push the cannabis envelope as the leading experiment in the “laboratory of democracy”—the lofty term (coined by the late Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis) used by Barack Obama and others to refer to state marijuana legalization. On Jan. 1, 2014, legal recreational marijuana sales began in Colorado. During that first month of 2014, the state reported an impressive $14.6 million in sales, and that number reached $313.2 million to close out the year. In 2015, that figure nearly doubled, to $587 million. The tax scheme written into the state constitution under Amendment 64 utilizes multiple channels. There’s the standard 2.9% sales tax and a new 10% special marijuana sales tax, as well as a 15% excise tax on wholesale marijuana transfers, for a total of 27.9%. This doesn’t include additional taxes imposed by municipalities, like Denver’s 3.5% marijuana tax. Within their first year of operation,

even with only a handful of locations permitted to open, marijuana businesses in Colorado generated $44 million in state tax revenues, putting the marijuana industry on pace to outperform the state’s alcohol industry. This trend continued in 2015 as tax revenues almost doubled, and more than $48 million was earmarked for school construction projects, gained through the 15% excise tax applied to wholesale marijuana. Since legalization went into effect, the state has experienced a boom in cannabis-related tourism. Summer sales figures top all other seasons. Denver reports an increase of more than 15 million visitors over the last two years, and mountain towns with ski resorts, like Telluride, Breckenridge and Vail, have seen surges on the slopes. Legalization has not been without its controversies. While the lack of banking for cannabis businesses and the inability to consume cannabis socially remain unresolved issues, infused marijuana edibles and harmful pesticides have attracted the attention of the national media. The problem with edibles essentially is dosages. When Colorado lawmakers began the arduous process of creating the rules needed to regulate the sale of recreational marijuana, stakeholders worked with regulators to establish baselines for the new industry, adopting the

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Amendment 64 ushered in marijuana legalization in Colorado in 2012.

same rules and regulations that govern the state’s medical marijuana program. As a result, marijuana companies moved forward with a 100 mg standard for infused edible products, such as a chocolate bar. Newbies like New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd freaked out after consuming an entire “caramel-chocolate flavored” candy bar. Even worse, several deaths and numerous hospital visits have been linked to edibles use. The Marijuana Enforcement Division (MED) responded by enacting a series of emergency regulations that require child-resistant packaging for infused marijuana products, along with new limits on the amount of THC used for individual servings. While the main purpose of these new rules is to address public safety concerns, they also brought with them additional red tape that forced some manufacturers to completely overhaul their product lines and packaging, or completely reconsider their investment in an ever-changing industry. Another round of changes came with the passage of HB14-1366 in 2014, an attempt by Colorado lawmakers to address public safety concerns associated with the labeling and packaging of infused marijuana products. The requirements state that all edibles must be wrapped individually or scored in increments of 10 mg or less. Further, companies are now required to include


explicit warnings and directions for use on labels, with statements like, “This product is unlawful outside the State of Colorado,” and, “The intoxicating effects of this product may be delayed by two or more hours.” Due to the ongoing conflict between states that have legalized adult-use marijuana and the federal government’s archaic policies regarding cannabis, many businesses have been left to operate with little or no guidance. This lack of oversight has paved the way for the edibles crisis and the pesticide problem. In an attempt to offer some guidance to business owners and cultivators, the Colorado Department of Agriculture in January began listing products they consider to be safe for use. However, they failed to offer a list of products considered unsafe, which has cost business owners thousands of dollars and countless hours in legal battles, and put the health of thousands of marijuana consumers at risk. As a result, Denver regulators decided to take action. During the spring of 2015, the city’s Department of Environmental Health surprised several Denver-based marijuana companies by placing quarantines on more than 100,000 plants at 11 grow facilities, with an estimated retail value exceeding $1 million. When questioned about their actions, MED officials claimed to have received information suggesting several marijuana grow facilities were actively using commercial pesticides such as Avid and Mallet, as well as the petroleum-based antifungal product Eagle 20. Since then, recalls of plants and products due to contamination have created a pall over the industry. With more and more states embracing some form of taxation and regulation of legal marijuana, new doors will continue to open for marijuana businesses that have proven themselves in Colorado’s heavily regulated industry. By embracing lessons learned in Colorado, business owners will be better prepared to navigate the rough regulatory waters of America’s growing cannabis industry. Kevin Mahmalji, NORML Outreach Coordinator, is based in Denver.

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The Green Crush It’s been both hard and high times for Washington’s legal cannabis industry after getting off to a slow start in 2014.

By David Rheins

We’ve often heard that legal cannabis represents the fastest-growing segment of the U.S. economy, and on the macro level, the numbers are certainly impressive. ArcView Group recently reported that 2015 legal pot sales soared to $5.4 billion. MMJ Business Daily predicts the “marijuana economy” will hit $44 billion by 2020. According to BOTEC Analysis, a drug policy and criminal justice research firm, Washington State’s overall cannabis market is valued at $1.3 billion annually—$480 million (37%) in medical, $460 million (35%) in state-licensed recreational and $390 million (28%) in black-market sales. That’s a significant milestone, considering that adult-use commercial sales only began on July 1, 2014, 18 months after legalization went into effect following the passage of Initiative 502 in 2012. The Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (WSLCB), the regulatory agency that oversees the state’s adultuse cannabis market, reported $260 million ($200 million shy of the BOTEC figure) in sales in 2015, resulting in $65 million in new tax revenues for the state. The agency estimates that 2016 total sales will hit $600 million, generating $115 million in excise taxes. Hundreds of new cannabis businesses have been licensed by the WSLCB,

leading to thousands of new jobs. At press time, the WSLCB has provided 680 producer/processor licenses and 219 retailer licenses, with another 337 retail stores planned. The stores average $2.8 million in recreational marijuana sales every day. However, while sales are soaring, profits remain elusive. Lack of access to commercial capital and banking services represents a serious threat to the viability of many of the licensees, and will remain so as long as federal prohibition remains in place. Banks will not loan licensees money to purchase real estate, and many landlords are reluctant to take on the possible legal risk and social stigma. Those that do rent to licensees demand a pretty premium. Fierce competition and bountiful supply have driven down the retail price of cannabis flowers to less than $8 per gram, making it competitive with the black market, even as consumer demand is steadily increasing. Many stores are overworked and understaffed, and don’t have adequate capital to invest in staff, inventory or brand marketing. To make matters worse, Washington has the highest tax burden and strictest regulatory framework of all the legal marijuana states. Prior to July 2015, all producers, processors and retailers paid 25% of their marijuana sales revenue as excise tax. On July 1, 2015, the tax

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burden shifted to retailers, who now pay 37% excise tax. Compare that to Colorado’s 25% marijuana tax and Oregon’s 17%. Due to IRS Section 280e, cannabis businesses are not allowed to deduct, for federal income tax purposes, ordinary and necessary business expenses. This means that much of the profits that retailers do manage to create will be handed over to Uncle Sam. Even with the long hours and low pay, there haven’t been too many defections. Most of the state’s cannabis licensees remain committed, motivated at least partially by social purpose. For many, the social justice achieved through the marijuana economy is as sweet as the potential monetary rewards. These are heady times for cannabis consumers. Unlike the black-market experience, there’s no more waiting for the man in the supermarket parking lot. Legal recreational stores are upscale, well-lit and professionally designed. Cannabis in Washington is packaged in branded Mylar bags and stylish glass jars, and products are tested for both potency and contaminants, and clearly labeled. While flowers are preferred by most consumers, edibles, beverages, oil (especially for vape pens and cartridges) and concentrates are on the rise. There are also some excellent brands in the emerging cannabis-infused topicals market. Innovative companies like Cannabis Basics, Kush Creams and Ethos Extracts make lotions, salves and an arsenal of cannabis health and beauty aids that have created excitement among atypical cannabis consumers, like seniors, who never smoke pot and are not looking to get high. Since 1998, Washington has supported an “unregulated medical marijuana” system, based on a “collective garden” model. Washington legislators recently passed a new law that effectively ends the dispensary model, and calls for medical cannabis patients to now be served through the 502 adult-use system. Existing recreational pot shops will now have the opportunity to become certified in order to cater to the medical

Washington-based companies like Ethos Extracts are marketing products, such as lotions, salves and tinctures, to seniors.

cannabis community, with another 222 adult-use shops being added in the state’s regulated system. In assigning these new licenses to existing medical marijuana players, the WSLCB created a priority-ranking scheme, giving credit to businesses that have played by the rules and paid their local taxes. Many legacy dispensaries have closed voluntarily, or been served notice that they must shutter before July 1. Most of the state’s medical-marijuana farmer’s markets have also shut down, leaving many in the community enraged and concerned about the continued availability of their medicine. Northwest Patient Resource Center’s John Davis, Co-chair of the National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA) and founder of the Coalition for Cannabis Standards and Ethics (CCSE), is suing the WSLCB over the matter. Despite these concerns, it’s full speed ahead for adult-use marijuana. Alaska will begin sales this summer— joining Washington, Colorado and Oregon—and several other states may get legalization initiatives on the November ballot. In the meantime, long hours, fierce competition, stifling regulations, high taxes and no federal tax deductions mean that, for the foreseeable future, times will remain fiscally tight for most of Washington’s first crop of marijuana business owners. David Rheins is Executive Director of the Marijuana Business Association, based in Washington State.

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Third Time’s a Charm

Marijuana legalization is thriving in the Beaver State, thanks to numerous legislative improvements to Measure 91. By Russ Belville Oregon’s 2014 legalization initiative, Measure 91, copied the best of Colorado’s Amendment 64, passed in 2012. Among other things, it approved the possession of one ounce of flowers, personal home growing and a regulated system of cannabis commerce. And rather than follow Washington State’s Initiative 502, which also passed in 2012, Measure 91 rejected any sort of THC-impairment standard for “stoned driving,” and also insisted on personal home-grow rights, which were not included in 502. In addition, Measure 91 allows for the possession of one pound of edibles, 72 ounces of tinctures, an ounce of licensed (homemade) extracts and eight ounces of flowers at home. Originally, Measure 91 specified that possession of more than four ounces in public or more than 32 ounces at home would be a Class C felony. Then, the Oregon legislature downgraded those Class C felonies to Class A misdemeanors. Meanwhile, Washington still maintains a felony charge for possession of more than 40 grams of flowers, and in Colorado, it remains a felony to possess more than 12 ounces. So now, in Oregon, no amount of marijuana buds, edibles, tinctures or licensed extracts can result in a felony charge. The only marijuana felonies that remain on the books in Oregon are for possession of more than seven grams of unlicensed extracts; unlicensed cultivation of eight or more plants; commercial importing or exporting; adults over 21 selling marijuana to children


Like Denver is to Colorado, Portland is the hub for Oregon’s legal cannabusinesses.

under 18 (all Class C felonies); and manufacture or delivery within 1,000 feet of a school (a Class A misdemeanor). However, in Colorado, home grows can have six cannabis plants, while in Oregon, the limit is four; and Coloradoans may possess their entire home harvest, while Oregonians are limited to possessing just eight ounces. Unlike Colorado and Washington, Oregon was quick to get adult-use sales going. While Colorado took a year and Washington 18 months to license stores and producers, Oregon was up and running just three months after legalization went into effect. Last Oct. 1, the state’s existing medical marijuana dispensaries were authorized to begin selling a limited amount of flowers

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(seven grams), and cannabis seed and seedlings to any adult customer. The result has been a major price war along the Columbia River border between Portland, Ore. and Vancouver, Wash. Vancouver shops, used to being some of the top sellers in Washington thanks to business from Oregon residents, adjusted to the early sales in Oregon by dropping prices to as low as $45 per half-ounce—and that’s with Washington’s 37% tax included. In response, Portland prices have plummeted to as low as $79 per ounce. Oregon dispensaries have since been allowed to expand their product lines to include edibles, tinctures and extracts. Residency requirements to invest in Oregon’s new commercial licenses have been eliminated. When retail pot shops open this September, medical patients will not be required to pay taxes on purchases. The Oregon legislature has also reduced plant limits for medical producers to 12 in residential areas and to 48 in nonresidential areas—hardly a devastating cut—and existing dispensaries will continue to be licensed. Not all of Oregon’s marijuana developments have been positive. Most troubling is the legislature’s acquiescence to the rural pot-hating communities on the Eastern side of the state. Measure 91 requires a public vote for any locality that wants to ban pot licenses, and conservative Eastern cities and counties can institute bans simply by a vote of their city council or county commission. Since then, dozens of cities and counties have instituted bans, resulting in 92% of the state’s dispensaries being located West of the Cascade Range. As in Colorado and Washington, social use in clubs or lounges is forbidden. This strict policy forced the recent closure of the World Famous Cannabis Café in Portland. There’s still a lot to be improved in Oregon, but overall, the Beaver State is the place to be for legalized marijuana. Russ Belville hosts The Russ Belville Show daily at

The Next Frontier

As the stunning iridescent display of the Northern Lights fades across the sky and spring blooms on the tundra, Alaska is in the final stages of implementing the regulation of legal cannabis. The first cultivation applications to the state’s Alcohol and Marijuana Control Office (AMCO) are expected to be approved by June, and the first retail stores are expected to be approved by September. That means residents and tourists could be purchasing their favorite strains by Thanksgiving. The Alaska law, passed by voters in 2014, allows for local regulation, and also for municipalities to opt out of retail sales. Predictably, several cities have opened their arms to the new industry, while others have decided to exclude retail cannabis. Anchorage, Seward, Valdez and Cordova, on the state’s Southern coast, are going green, and outlying communities like Whittier, Cantwell, Healy, Galena and North Pole—all in the rugged interior—are also planning to allow stores. But Wasilla (home of one-time Governor Sarah Palin) and Palmer are opting out. Municipalities can also impose a local tax on top of state taxes for marijuana transactions; Anchorage has proposed a 5% tax. Many locals are already growing at home. The new law allows for six plants to be tended by each adult. With several months of continuous sunshine, savvy Alaskans can get a bumper outdoor crop going in the summer. Another potential evolution up North is the prospect of social clubs. The AMCO is looking into the possibility of shoppers being able to consume cannabis on the premises of retail stores. Social use is not yet allowed in Colorado, Oregon or Washington. — Chris Goldstein

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Title III - Realistic Optimism for Speculative Investment Instruments in the Cannabis Industry By: Tony Drexel Smith, CEO- Blue Moon Consortium 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

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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 (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:

in Las Vegas. Go to 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) 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 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.

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.

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 april 2016 53


april 2016

When Marihuana Crossed the Border

By John Charles Chasteen

Mexicans brought grifo to America at the turn of the 20th century and shared it with residents of Texas and Louisiana. Shortly thereafter, jazz was born. Limited but clear evidence shows that people in the United States first began to smoke marijuana cigarettes on the eve of World War I. These pioneers were laborers recruited in Mexico during the early 1900s to mine ore, maintain railroad tracks and harvest crops in the Western United States. Other migrants soon followed on their own initiative, seeking work. When Mexico’s great revolution of 1910 began, the northern part of the country was a major battlefield, dominated by the revolutionary general Pancho Villa. “La Cucaracha,” the song famously sung by Villa’s followers, refers to marijuana in its lyrics. Ten years of fighting probably encouraged

use of marijuana in a militarized Mexico, where it was regarded as a soldier’s vice. Meanwhile, noncombatants fled across the border to escape the fighting, often staying with relatives in the United States until it was safe to return home. The first piece of major historical evidence concerning use of the new drug on this side of the border was an investigation conducted for the U.S. Department of Agriculture in 1917. The investigator reported that marijuana was common in South and West Texas, whether homegrown, brought from Mexico by several companies or purchased in one-ounce packages from pharmacies and grocery stores, some of which even ad-

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The King & Carter Jazzing Orchestra was based in Houston. This photo dates back to 1921.

vertised and sold by mail order. As migrating workers moved North and West from Texas toward the cotton fields and citrus groves of California, into the mining camps of the Rocky Mountain states and, eventually, into the industrializing cities of the Upper Midwest, they took marijuana with them. It’s hard to know what marijuana signified in their lives. Unquestionably, though, its low cost constituted a powerful attraction. Marijuana is naturally an inexpensive crop to grow, store and transport. A migrant laborer might spend in an afternoon drinking beer money enough to buy marijuana for a month. Only illegality would make marijuana expensive, and it was not yet illegal in the United States. U.S. society as a whole had never heard of marijuana in the 1910s, but Mexican (and Mexican-American) society frowned on the drug. They more than frowned. They even endorsed the “reefer madness” image, whereby a few puffs of marijuana could turn anyone at all into a homicidal maniac. The men who actually smoked it obviously knew better, yet social disapproval led them to keep their marijuana out of


sight. I say “men” because there are few reports of women smoking it, with the regular exception of prostitutes. We have no good account of marijuana from this first generation of smokers themselves. Middle-class Mexicans and MexicanAmericans called them marihuanos, a strongly uncomplimentary term. The state’s English-speaking power structure took notice of marijuana only when a fight brought in the police. Such a fight in El Paso, Texas evidently led, in 1914, to the first municipal ban on marijuana smoking in the United States. The immigrants often lived isolated in mining camps, railroad boxcars or the rude housing provided for agricultural migrant laborers. Mainstream white society regarded them with virulent racism. Even when, in the 1920s, they began to find work in cities like Chicago, differences of language, class and culture limited the social contacts of Mexican migrants. No wonder few whites learned to smoke marijuana from them. Yet someone clearly did learn. The basic U.S. marijuana-smoking customs of the 1960s, such as passing around one cigarette, moistening it with saliva before lighting it and saving the unsmoked butt to recycle its

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Five Reefer Jazz Classics “Muggles” Louis Armstrong A pre-jazz euphemism for weed, this smokin’ instrumental was recorded in 1928 by trumpeter Armstrong with Earl “Fatha” Hines on piano. It was named after Armstrong’s favorite substance, which he said was a medicine and generated warm feelings between him and other “vipers.” “Reefer Man” Cab Calloway & His Orchestra The “Hi-De-Ho Man” was probably high when he recorded this weed anthem in 1932. A year later, the flamboyant singer/ bandleader performed the song in the movie International House. It’s the first tribute to a pot dealer, a theme Calloway returned to in “The Man from Harlem.”

contents, were unquestionably introduced from Mexico. Among non-Spanish speakers, those most likely to find themselves working alongside Mexican immigrants in the 1910s and 1920s were black laborers likewise attracted by marijuana’s low cost. Marijuana appeared by 1920 among the black working class in New Orleans, a city in close merchant shipping contact with Mexico. During the first half of the 20th century, Mexican marijuana represented the great bulk of what was consumed in the United States, and the consumers were generally brown or black, young and male, too. Among the blacks were a few hundred musicians who transformed U.S. popular culture in the 1920s, and it’s no exaggeration to say that marijuana was part of the process. Jazz music, as it was eventually called, had been created by

“Sweet Marijuana” Gertrude Michael Michael debuted this enchanting Latin tune in the 1934 film Murder at the Vanities, in a risqué dance number featuring topless chorus girls. Years later, Bette Midler camped it up under the title “Marahuana” on her 1976 album Songs for a New Depression. “If You’re a Viper” Stuff Smith & His Onyx Club Boys Originally recorded in 1938 by violinist Smith, this delightful ode to potheads was also cut by Rosetta Howard and Bob Howard (separately), and then renamed “The Reefer Song” by pianist Fats Waller in his 1943 version. “Viper Mad” – Sidney Bechet Accompanied by Noble Sissle’s Swingsters, saxophonist Bechet blew hot on this 1938 weed tune.

black musicians in New Orleans at the turn of the century. Before the 1920s, the only way to hear jazz was to go to the poor black dance halls of New Orleans or, famously, its red-light districts. Some jazz playing could be heard on Mississippi riverboats that operated upriver, as well. Then came the great migration of Southern blacks to the industrial cities of the Midwest and Northeast. New Orleans jazz could then be heard on the South Side of Chicago. Adventurous white working-class young people began to pay attention. New Orleans jazzmen who had moved north to Chicago in the 1920s moved east to New York City in the 1930s. Radio broadcast stations springing up across the country, and phonograph discs with one song on each side, took jazz to the masses. Jazz was becoming the national soundtrack, and beyond that, an interna-

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The basic U.S. marijuana-smoking customs of the 1960s, such as passing around one cigarette and moistening it with saliva before lighting it, were unquestionably introduced from Mexico. tional sensation of global modernity. Early jazz music, condemned as lascivious, even infernal, by the older generation, had clear affiliations with youth rebellion. Early jazz was dance music, above all, and U.S. young people succumbed to the notable dance craze of the 1920s. “Modern girls” of the 1920s, dance-floor “flappers,” wore their hair short and their skirts high. They might even smoke tobacco and drink illegal liquor, which wasn’t hard to find. Alcohol, not marijuana, was the principal intoxicant of the “Jazz Age,” perhaps ironically, given that the music’s unstoppable rise in popularity coincided with national Prohibition, from 1919 to 1933. Smoking tobacco taught this generation to inhale. Many of the musicians themselves preferred to inhale marijuana, which they most commonly called “reefer” (Mexicans called the stuff grifo). Jazz players smoked in and around their performance venues, and often during their practice sessions. A few songs even mention reefer in the title (see sidebar on page 57). Whether or not reefer made them play better—they thought so—it made them enjoy playing more. For jazz players, to smoke reefer was to belong to a kind of secret brotherhood. Sometimes they used their elaborate slang, called “jive,” to mention reefer (as “muggles,” “tea,” etc.) onstage, or even on recordings, an inside joke for other “vipers,” as they called themselves. Being a viper was part of the jazz players’ mystique. Jazz involved a sort of improvisation and rhythmic “swing” that could not be written down. And never, in the 1920s, could white and black musicians play in the same band, which would have been a sickening outrage according to the dominant racist sensibilities of the day. At first, the only way for whites to


learn jazz was to seek out black jazz players, watch them perform night after night, make friends with them and get some pointers. Eventually, most whites who learned to play jazz did so by wearing out the records of the New Orleans musicians who had created the style, lifting the phonograph needle over and over to repeat a particular passage. Whether in direct association with black jazzmen or by a more remote method, white musicians learned jazz by imitating black musicians. For some, that imitation included reefer. The association between jazz and marijuana is exemplified by the most influential trumpet player in global history, Louis Armstrong, who grew up in the roughest parts of New Orleans and started playing his horn in an institution that was a cross between an orphanage and a reform school. (He was sent there for firing a pistol into the air on the street, a typical expression of high spirits in his neighborhood.) Within a few years, he was part of the first wave of New Orleans musicians to make the move North to Chicago, and in the 1920s his recordings became widely copied models that defined the new musical genre. Armstrong was a lifelong viper who liked his band to practice “high,” and who, later in life, after enactment of the national ban on marijuana, wrote a letter of protest to President Dwight Eisenhower. By that time, the Federal Bureau of Narcotics kept a file on Armstrong, and files on many other jazz players From Getting High: Marijuana Through the Ages by John Charles Chasteen. Copyright © 2016 Rowman & Littlefield. Used by arrangement with the publisher. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or printed without permission in writing from the publisher.

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Smoking to


By Rick Pfrommer

This beautiful Southeast Asian country is a hot travel destination, 40 years after the Vietnam War.


nown for its white-sand beaches, ancient temples, roaring rivers and soaring mountains, Cambodia is also rich in cannabis culture. For centuries, the country—originally called Khmer or Kampuchea—was fought over like a scrap of meat. From China to the North, Siam (now Thailand) to the West and Vietnam to the East, the Khmer empire was under constant threat from foreign opportunists. Amazingly, the Cambodian people were able to endure and maintain their rich culture. From 1968–1972, the U.S. illegally carpet-bombed Eastern Cambodia as part of the expanded Vietnam War. During three years of aerial assaults, many residents fled their homes in the countryside and sought the relative safety of the cities. Even after the devastation of the Vietnam War, Cambodians could not have imagined the horrors that were about to unfold. The Khmer Rouge, led by Pol Pot, took over the country in 1975 with the goal of creating a revolutionary


socialist state. They abolished money, and shipped all city dwellers to the country to work. Anyone who was educated— teachers, artists, intellectuals—was immediately sent to a camp. Soon the genocide began: Over the next three years, the Khmer Rouge killed more than three million people, or a quarter of the entire Cambodian population (as portrayed in The Killing Fields). Forty years later, Cambodia is once again on the world tourist circuit. The temples at Angkor Wat are considered among the greatest ruins in the world. The country’s natural wonders are worldclass: primeval rainforests, the mighty Mekong River (one of the world’s largest) and mountains filled with bears, crocodiles, tigers and many newly discovered animal species. Cambodia’s Southeastern coast— it’s only coastline—is famous for two crops: Kampot peppers and cannabis. The marijuana grown in Kampot is exclusively sativa, as one would expect in Southeast Asia. The loose, immature lower grades available have no real calyx

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Cambodian travel Tips How to get there: Delta Airlines, Singapore Airlines and Korean Air all fly to Phnom Penh. Best deal at press time: All Nippon Airways for $650 from SFO.

Where to stay: Options for housing range from $25 hotel rooms in Phnom Penh to $200-a-night beach resorts. Check for the best rates. Where to eat: Cambodian street food is fairly safe, cheap and tasty. If you’re near coastal villages like Sihanoukville, seafood is a good bet. What to read: The Lonely Planet Guide to Cambodia. structure and contain seeds; they tend to be electric-green in color, with lots of red hairs. Surprisingly, though, some are real creepers, and a half hour or so Taxi drivers sell five-gram after smokbags for of herb for $20. ing you’ll be spacing out on the ocean or the rustle of the coconut palms. The seedless higher grades are more developed, with fully formed calyx structures and beautiful golden tones, with some red hairs, too. Prices vary wildly. The local tuk-tuk taxis are motorcycle-powered vehicles with carriages attached, and some drivers sell five-gram bags of herb for $20; they might start by asking for $40 or more, but after a quick refusal, they rapidly drop their price. Sihanoukville, near Kampot, is a tourist mecca; it’s right on the beach, and full of bars and other attractions. The town itself is a little grungy, and crawling with young backpackers drinking buckets of liquor every night. About a mile out of town is the real scene. The beaches of Otres are magical places. Otres Beach 1 is a quarter-mile strip with little bungalows and dorms bearing names like Last Hippie Standing and Mushroom Point (where all the bun-


galows are shaped like magic ’shrooms). Several of the bars sell grass, hash and edibles right over the counter; both local hash and imports are available. The town is teeming with hippie types, so finding even cheaper accommodations is not hard. Plus, there’s a rave party every week out in the jungle. Over on Otres Beach 2, hippies are colonizing the little village. Folks have set up teepees, and sell larger amounts of herb pretty openly. Some are even starting to work with local farmers to teach them more modern weed cultivation techniques. This all truly seems like paradise, and it is pretty sweet—for now. The international backpacker community is firmly ensconced there, and many expats own businesses. However, anyone with a business within 250 feet from the beach will soon need to vacate, the Cambodian press has reported; the stated reason is that the buildings are too close to the ocean, which has an environmental impact. The owners are working closely with local politicians to prevent this from happening. Only time will tell, so go now while you can smoke a spliff of some fine Cambodian sativa and watch the sun slowly slide into the Pacific. Rick Pfrommer formerly worked at Harborside Health Center in Oakland, Calif., and is currently running his own consulting company, PfrommerNow.

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Enjoyment of marijuana and food are, by nature, social activities. At 4:20 on 4/20, many joints, dabs and bong hits will be inhaled—and then munchies will ensue. The next order of business, of course, is to prepare food. The medicated recipes in this article might appear to resemble typical church supper potluck fare, but they each have a unique twist, in addition to the inclusion of cannabis.

Dressing • 1/2 cup buttermilk • 1/4 cup mayonnaise • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated • 1/2 tsp. salt • 1/2 tsp. black pepper • 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper (optional) • 1 gram decarboxylated dry-ice kief or finely ground hash

Salad Multilayered Salad with Buttermilk Bliss Dressing Assembling a salad in layers in a large glass bowl makes for a spectacular and colorful party presentation, but it also has a practical purpose. Stack delicate veggies (tomatoes, salad greens) on top of sturdier ones (broccoli, red cabbage). This helps keep everything crisp until serving time. When it’s time to eat, toss it all together with the medicated dressing and serve.


• 2–3 cups salad greens • 2 large red tomatoes, chopped • 1 large yellow bell pepper, chopped • 1 cup radishes, sliced • 1 cup raw broccoli florets, chopped • 2 cups red cabbage, shredded • 1 cup red onion, chopped Whisk all dressing ingredients together until blended. Set aside. Layer vegetables into a glass bowl, trying to arrange colors for contrast, and placing delicate or juicy veggies between layers of sturdier ones. Cover and refrigerate until party time. Toss salad with dressing at serving time. Serves 6.

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Sweet & Spicy Mota Meatballs These spicy little meatballs pack a punch. The recipe calls for bud, but you won’t taste cannabis in the finished product.

Meatballs • 1 lb. lean ground beef • 1 large egg • 1/3 cup Asian-style Panko breadcrumbs • 1 tsp. minced garlic • 1/4 cup yellow or white onion, minced • 1-1/2 grams ground marijuana bud • 1/2 tsp. chili powder • 1/4 tsp. smoked paprika • 1/4 tsp. ground cumin • 1/2 tsp. salt • 1/4 tsp. black pepper

Sauce • 3 tbsp. Tabasco sauce • 1/4 cup honey • 1/4 cup brown sugar, packed • 1/4 cup orange marmalade • 1 tbsp. cornstarch

Medicated Snacks On-the-Go If your 4/20 plans have you out and about instead of entertaining at home, consider taking along one of these portable medicated snacks. They’re easy to make if you substitute the butter or oil in traditional recipes with cannabis-infused versions. Here are some basics:

Potcorn: Salted or flavored with Parmesan cheese and/or spices, this is a delicious, nutritious portable snack. Add melted cannabis-infused butter.

Crispy Cereal Treats: Sweet little

snacks that are simple to make and travel well. Just substitute cannabis butter in the recipe on the back of the cereal box.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place all meatball ingredients in a large bowl and mix until they’re thoroughly combined. Roll meat mixture into small balls the size of a heaping tablespoon and place onto a rimmed baking sheet; you should have two dozen meatballs. Pour water in the baking pan to come about halfway up the sides. Carefully transfer pan to the oven and bake until meatballs are cooked, about 15–20 minutes. Prepare sauce by whisking together all ingredients in a small saucepan. Cook sauce over mediumhigh heat, stirring constantly, until well combined and slightly thickened. Remove meatballs from water in baking pan and place in sauce. Gently mix to coat. Serves 8.

Cereal Snack Mix: The Internet is

filled with variations on the traditional Chex mix that use butter or oil. Again, substitute a cannabis infusion. Also, look for the “Sweet and Spicy Nutty Snack Mix” in the March 2015 issue of Freedom Leaf for a medicated version.

“Baked” Chips: Cut corn tortillas into triangles, toss with canna-oil, sprinkle with salt and bake at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes or until crisp, and serve with salsa. This recipe (“Salted Lime Tortilla Chips with Mango Avocado Salsa”) is also in the March 2015 issue. Dabbalicious Pretzel S’mores:

See the September 2015 issue of Freedom Leaf for this snack that you can make with a dab torch.

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“Baked” Jalapeño Mac & Cheese This ultra-creamy macaroni and cheese recipe with just the right hint of jalapeño is the ultimate stoner comfort food entrée.

Pasta • 1 lb. elbow macaroni • 1/4 cup cannabis-infused butter • 3 large jalapeño peppers (2 finely chopped and 1 thinly sliced) • 2-1/2 cups half & half milk • 8 oz. cream cheese • 4 oz. sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (about 1-1/2 cups) • 4 oz. pepper Monterey Jack cheese, shredded (about 1-1/2 cups) • 1/8–1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper • Salt to taste • Black pepper to taste

Topping • 1/4 cup butter, melted • 1 cup Asian-style Panko breadcrumbs


Place a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat to 375 degrees. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add macaroni and cook until al dente, about 5 minutes. Strain, reserving 1-3/4 cups of the pasta water. Set strained pasta and reserved water aside. Melt canna-butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add chopped jalapeños to pot and cook, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside. Add milk to a saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat until it just comes to a simmer. Lower heat and continue simmering until milk is reduced to 1-1/2 cups, about 10 minutes. Add cream cheese and stir until melted. Whisk in the cheddar and pepper Jack until melted and sauce is smooth. Stir in macaroni and leftover pasta water until mixture is well combined. Season with cayenne, salt and pepper. Don’t worry if things look soupy, the macaroni will absorb lots of sauce as it bakes. Pour into a 13 x 9-inch baking dish. Mix breadcrumbs with melted butter and spread an even, thin layer of breadcrumbs over the top of the pan. Arrange jalapeño slices on top of the breadcrumbs. Bake until filling is bubbly and topping is lightly browned, about 20 minutes. Serves 8.

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Caramelized Banana Pudding This recipe takes Southern-style banana pudding—a classic potluck dinner favorite—up a notch by marrying it with components of another Southern favorite, Bananas Foster. The caramel not only provides awesome flavor, it makes an easy way to medicate the dish with cannabis-infused butter. • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar • 1/4 cup cannabis-infused butter • 1 tsp. rum extract • 4 ripe large bananas, peeled and sliced into 1/4-inch rounds • 4 large eggs, separated • 1/2 cup + 3 tbsp. granulated sugar • 2 cups half & half milk • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour • 1/4 tsp. salt • 1 tsp. vanilla extract • 1/8 tsp. cream of tartar • 50 vanilla wafer cookies Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. In a medium saucepan, melt canna-butter over medium heat and stir in brown sugar. Increase heat to medium-high and cook, stirring constantly, about 5 minutes. Stir in rum extract. Add bananas and cook, gently stirring to coat, for 5 more

minutes. Remove from heat and set aside. Whisk egg yolks and sugar in a medium saucepan. Place over medium heat and whisk in half & half, flour and salt. Bring to a simmer, then cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly until slightly thickened, about 10 minutes. Remove pan from heat and whisk in vanilla extract. Spread a thin layer of the pudding in the bottom of a 13 x 9-inch baking dish. Cover with a layer of cookies, followed by a layer of the caramelized banana slices. Pour the remaining pudding on top of the bananas. Beat egg whites and cream of tartar with an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in the remaining 3 tbsp. of sugar and continue beating until stiff peaks form. Spread the meringue over the warm pudding, being careful that it touches all edges of the pan (this will keep it from shrinking after baking). Bake until meringue is evenly browned, about 15–20 minutes. Cool for 15 minutes before serving warm; or cool completely, refrigerate and serve cold. Serves 8–10. Cheri Sicard is author of The Cannabis Gourmet Cookbook and Mary Jane: The Complete Marijuana Handbook for Women. Visit her blog at

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o dust ways t r off you d an brain gh. i your h h s e r ref MANN H


Back in the day, my stoner friends and I used to hang out in the snow-covered woods where we’d shiver and smoke out. One of us would inevitably say, “This pot sucks, I’m not getting high.” Then I’d remind them of the tried-and-true rule of smoking weed in the cold: Once you get warm again, your high will magically reoccur. So we’d race to the local arcade and, sure enough, over a game of Pac-Man or Asteroids (my personal favorite), the high would return. Flashing back to those heady days of yore got me thinking: Is there a way to reboot your pot-smoking experiences to protect them from diminishing returns? Here are some suggestions:

1. Stop smoking: Smoking marijuana daily for years creates quite a tolerance. You find yourself not getting as high as you used to, or needing more for any effect. And while quitting for a bit is not on anyone’s fun list, spring-cleaning your cannabinoid receptors can prove beneficial when you get back in the saddle. One way to know if you’ve scrubbed your system is that dreams return in flying colors during sleeptime. If you’re an average smoker, a few days will probably retrain your brain. For more serious smokers or dabbers, several weeks may be in order.

2. Smoke more: Maybe you’re just not trying hard enough. If you only smoke in the evening after work, why not 68

challenge yourself by getting high before work? You want to be on your game, you say? Aw, come on. What are you, a pilot or something?

3. Smoke better (or different) pot: If you find your-

self frequently couch-locked and catatonic, it may be time to switch from an indica to a sativa strain (which is more uplifting and energetic). And if you only smoke flowers, give your lungs a much-needed break and vaporize or use edibles instead.

4. Eat mangoes: Mangoes contain the terpene myrcene. When you consume a mango right before smoking, the myrcene interacts with THC and increases your high. Try it and see what happens. 5. Give back to your brain: Your brain needs love and

care for it to work optimally. Supply it with good fats that help rebuild damaged brain cells. Hemp seeds and hemp oil are great sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which are critical for brain health, and help you manage stress and anxiety.

6. Get a new life: Maybe it’s not the weed that’s lost its glossy sheen. Consider a major move, a new job or a more exciting partner. And stop looking to pot to provide all the answers. Beth Mann is President of Hot Buttered Media and a regular contributor to Freedom Leaf.

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UNGASS 2016 Reformers urge the United Nations to change its approach to the global “drug problem.” By Dr. Jahan Marcu

On April 19–21, a United Nations General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) will take place in New York City to discuss global drug policies. A road map for updating international cannabis policy could be on the agenda. Current international policies regarding cannabis are outdated. Marijuana remains on Schedule I of the 1961 UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, as amended by the 1972 Protocol. This category includes drugs like heroin that have “high potential for abuse.” Although Schedule I states that drugs in the category have “no currently accepted medical use in treatment,” this has clearly been proven false in regards to cannabis. It was hoped that the General Assembly would receive a recommendation from the UN’s Committee on Narcotic Drugs (CND) to change the scheduling of cannabis. The CND makes recommendations on the scheduling of substances based on “critical review” reports from the World Health Organization’s Expert Committee on Drug Dependence (ECDD). However, at a policy meeting of the committee in Geneva in November to discuss cannabis as well as other substances, the ECDD didn’t make any such recommendation, and will continue to review information for their next meeting, in two years. It’s vital that the UN takes up this issue. Today, more than two-thirds of the population of the U.S. and its territories live in regions with medical cannabis laws. More than 2.5 million people world-


wide are legally using medical cannabis; Canada, Israel, Netherlands, Czech Republic, Croatia, Mexico, Chile, Uruguay, Romania, Germany, Jamaica, Australia, Italy, Colombia and Switzerland all have national medical cannabis programs, and dozens of other countries are reviewing similar legislation. Administration of medical cannabis distribution programs is hampered by the UN’s international drug treaties. Many medical cannabis programs (including those in the U.S.) are arguably in varying degrees of conflict with the treaties. At least one key U.S. official is pushing for change. William Brownfield, Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, has requested the UN to “accept flexible interpretation” of the UN drug control conventions. “We’ll call for pragmatic and concrete criminal justice reform in areas such as alternatives to incarceration, or drug courts and sentencing reform,” he stated in March. Millions of patients who use cannabis as an effective therapy for numerous conditions face arrest and the risk of criminal prosecution because of domestic policies based on the UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs. That treaty, more than any other, has been used by governments across the globe to derail or greatly restrict attempts to reform medical cannabis laws and research. At the Medical Cannabis and Cannabinoids conference in Prague in March 2015 (see Freedom Leaf Issue 6), representatives from 13 countries met and established the International Medical Cannabis Patient Coalition (IMCPC),

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which now includes 39 member countries. IMCPC has issued a declaration addressing UNGASS 2016 that calls on the UN to take the following actions:

•• Recommend that increased attention

and resources be given at the national and international levels to treatment with medical cannabis and cannabinoids, and its research, in particular.

•• Invite all countries to secure stable,

safe, economically available access to medical cannabis and its derivatives to everyone who is indicated medically for such treatment.

•• Require that the United Nations General Assembly Special Session on the World Drug Problem request that governments either exclude cannabis from the 1961 UN Convention with no other actions, or prepare, debate and accept a Special UN Convention on Cannabis that would be based on scientific evidence, human rights and the well-being of societies. Many advocates will be traveling to

William Brownfield: “We’ll call for pragmatic and concrete criminal justice reform.”

New York to participate in this landmark moment for cannabis reform at the United Nations. There’s real hope that the next shift to end prohibition will not be in a single state or country, but worldwide. Jahan Marcu is Freedom Leaf’s Science Editor and Director of R&D for Green Standard Diagnostics.

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Advanced Cannabis Science

Cannabidiol (CBD) Much ink has been spilled on proving the beneficial properties of cannabidiol. It’s anxiolytic, antidepressant, antipsychotic, anticonvulsant, anti-nausea, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-arthritic and antineoplastic (anti-tumor). Its efficacy against the diseases of aging is powerful and unparalleled. But the mystery still remains for pharmacologists to ponder: How the hell does CBD work? CBD barely binds to the best-known cannabinoid receptors—the CB1 receptors, which are spread across the brain,


and the CB2 receptors within most of the organs. Even its relationship to THC— how the presence of CBD effects its psychoactivity and other properties—is still not settled definitively, but it does seem to potentiate THC in a number of ways. CBD acts as an antagonist at GPR55— the “putative” (commonly assumed) CB3 receptor. It also binds at several of the transient receptor potential (TRP) channels, sites in the cell wall that mediate sensations like pain or pressure by allowing electrical ions through the membrane. Researcher Vincenzo Di Marzo characterized them as “ionotropic cannabinoid receptors” due to the ability of the cannabinoids to regulate the transmission of sensations. CBD also stimulates adenosine receptor (the ones antagonized by caffeine) signaling, and this may account for its help in treating arthritis and other pain conditions. Intriguing results show that CBD interacts with the 5-HT1A partial agonist serotonin receptor, which might underlie its strong antianxiety effects and noted antidepressant actions. For pain, it acts as an allosteric modulator of some of our opioid receptors; some evidence suggests that CBD changes the binding properties of the opioids. For patients, this can mean that they can decrease their use of addictive painkillers. Similar allosteric modulations occur at the dopamine receptor D2, activated by stimulants, and the GABAA receptor, activated by alcohol, barbiturates and GHB. Deeper still, CBD binds to the PPARγ receptors that live on the membrane of the nucleus of certain cells. An Israeli study found 680 genes upregulated and 524 downregulated by CBD, a downstream effect so wide that it’s hard to imagine ever truly plumbing its depths. The ability of CBD to lessen acute and chronic inflammation is one of the sexiest of its properties. CBD decreases the production of nitric oxide—a signaling molecule so vital to cellular communi-

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cation that it was named “Molecule of the Year” in 1992. In addition, a dozen studies have shown CBD can inhibit the expression of inflammatory cytokines and transcription factors. CBD is especially potent as an antioxidant. It reduces the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in healthy cells, but increases the levels in cancerous tissue, leading to their suicidal apoptosis. Of all of CBD’s effects, the inhibition of the fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH) might matter most. This enzyme of the endocannabinoid system is responsible for breaking down anandamide—the first discovered endogenous (body-produced) cannabinoid, a major neurotransmitter swimming around the depths of our brain. With CBD inhibiting the FAAH enzyme, the levels of our own natural cannabinoid anandamide rise. With this host of biochemical effects, it’s no wonder that CBD shows such strong medical benefits and potential, but figuring out the biochemical details will keep researchers fitting together new pieces and making discoveries for decades to come.

Cannabidivarin (CBDV) While the pharmacological data on CBD alone is overwhelming, the information on its understudied cousin, the varin form of CBD—known as CBDV—can be reviewed much more rapidly with a clear benefit for many medical conditions. Since the non-intoxicating CBD shows the most promise for epileptic children who risk starving to death due to their seizures, scientists naturally looked to its propyl analogue, cannabidivarin, originally discovered in 1969. It took more than 40 years for the compound to first be studied in animals; in 2012, anticonvulsant effects in two in-vitro models and four rodent models of epilepsy were demonstrated, while also showing compatibility with existing meds for the conditions, and no negative effects on motor control. Follow-up research in 2013 looked

It took more than 40 years for researchers to begin seriously studying cannabidivarin, discovered in 1969.

at extracts from the whole plant; they experimented with leaving in the THC and found the only negative to be the effect on motor control. It’s not so much that the animals couldn’t control their bodies, as much as—perhaps somewhat predictably—they tended to stay in one place and not bother walking the balance beam as trained. CBDV’s mechanism of action is still unknown, though it might be the activation of the TRPV1 channels that are expressed in the brain. Tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV) received initial interest from GW Pharmaceuticals, but the activation of CB1 receptors made CBDV even more attractive to the British company. By 2014, their Phase 1 study treated 66 healthy subjects with no reported adverse effects. Their Phase 2 study began last spring with CBDV—now designated GWP42006—as an add-on medication for “inadequately controlled focal seizures.” Around the same time, they were awarded a U.S. patent for the treatment of general or temporal lobe seizures with Epidolex, their liquid formulation of CBD for convulsion control. We get the benefits of all the cannabinoids, working together, with wholeplant cannabis. But isolating these individual cannabinoids has become increasingly appealing for pharmaceutical applications. Lex Pelger is a writer and scientist, and hosts the Psymposia drug conference and “Psychoactive Storytelling” events.

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Willie Nelson Sings Gershwin Willie Nelson’s tribute to Great American Songbook icons Ira and George Gershwin coincidentally comes on the heels of his Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song last year, and this album showcases Nelson’s formidable ability to interpret others’ material. Nelson, who turns 83 on April 29, is on a bit of a career roll—and I don’t just mean his deftly rolled joints. Since signing to Sony’s Legacy Recordings four years ago, he’s released the superb Band of Brothers, in 2014—his first original songs in nearly 20 years—and last year’s collaboration with Merle Haggard, Django and Jimmie, which included his playful 4/20 ode “It’s All Going to Pot.” Summertime: Willie Nelson Sings Gershwin looks back to one of the most gilded catalogs in all of American pop music. The nostalgia of these songs takes on an autumnal haze, as if glimpsed


through the smoke-filled mist of Willie’s Reserve, his own premium designer blend of potent herbs. There’s a feeling of familiarity that comes as much from Nelson’s patented lived-in vocals as from the songs themselves. The arrangements are clean and simple, yet multilayered. Dean Parks’ subtly picked guitar leads sprinkle like fairy dust over “But Not for Me,” the song from the Gershwins’ 1930 musical Girl Crazy that garnered Ella Fitzgerald a Grammy in 1960; and Paul Franklin’s plaintive pedal-steel meshes with co-producer Matt Rollings’ single-note piano peppering on “Somebody Loves Me,” a hit for the Four Lads in 1952. “Although I may not be the man some girls think of as handsome,” Nelson croons on “Someone to Watch Over Me.” “To her heart, I carry the key.” Self-effacing, but pure of heart, he turns these narratives into autobiography. “Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off,” a duet with Cyndi Lauper, has a stoned playfulness in its

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“you say potato/I say pot-ah-to” exchanges. Longtime cohort Mickey Raphael’s pungent harp solo adds soul to Nelson’s reading of the Porgy and Bess blues “It Ain’t Necessarily So,” while his jaunty interpretation of “I Got Rhythm” shows he’s equally adept playing jazz. Nelson’s voice, together with pickings on his legendary and well-worn acoustic guitar, Trigger, are the aural equivalent of a blissful THC buzz. This mellowness especially comes across on “Love Is Here to Stay,” which was written by George Gershwin for the 1938 film The Goldwyn Follies, released shortly after his death, and later appeared in the 1951 movie An American in Paris. Its references could well describe today’s technological distractions: “The radio and the telephone and the movies that we know/All passing fancies/And in time may go.” The same goes for “They All Laughed,” written for the 1937 film Shall We Dance, with its references to inventors like the Wright brothers, Edison and Marconi, and its indelible punch line, “Who’s

got the last laugh now?” When Nelson calls “Come to papa do” to duet partner Sheryl Crow on “Embraceable You,” a song once covered by both Ginger Rogers (in 1937’s Shall We Dance) and Billie Holiday, the emotion lives up to the song’s name. Let your imagination flow on “They Can’t Take That Away From Me,” another Shall We Dance number. You can almost hear him substituting the lyrics: “The way you smoke that joint… No, no you can’t take that away from me.” The title track, the great Porgy and Bess aria, closes the album, with Rollings’ slinky piano leading into shimmering harp/guitar interplay between Raphael and Nelson. “The fish are jumping and the cotton is high,” Nelson gently sings. “Hush little baby, don’t you cry.” Nelson’s Summertime is the Great American Songbook for stoners, a cool, refreshing throwback that conflates the past and future in one glorious all-enveloping haze. All listening should be this easy. — Roy Trakin

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The Newbie’s Guide to Cannabis & the Industry Longtime hemp expert Chris Conrad and coauthor Jeremy Daw have written a book for stoners and curious cannabusiness observers alike. The Newbie’s Guide to Cannabis & the Industry, from Whitman Publishing (which also released Paul Armentano’s The Citizen’s Guide to State-byState Marijuana Laws, excerpted in Issue 12) looks, feels and reads like a textbook. The hardcover design and 240 glossy pages are perfect to place in a knapsack on the way to Oaksterdam University, where Conrad teaches a “Politics & History” course at the Oakland, Calif. cannabis institute. Now, all of his students can get the book and read along as he chronicles the long road from prohibition to legalization. The chapters titled “The Slippery Slope of Prohibition” and “Looking Past Prohibition” cover just that. Chapter 2 (“How Did We Get Here?”) traces cannabis’ timeline, from its origins in China dating back 5,000 years to Canada’s election of pro-pot Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in 2015. That’s a lot of years to cover, but the authors manage to touch all the right bases. Besides politics and history, The Newbie’s Guide devotes chapters to the various methods of consuming cannabis; medical marijuana; and the plant’s place in society. Three chapters toward the end focus on growing, harvesting and processing, and propagation and breeding.The latter chapter has a good strains section under the subhead “Heritage Cannabis Genetics.” The breakdown of the five U.S. schedules that drugs are separated into is also particularly helpful. The business side of the book, however, is less compelling. The authors are based in California, but their observations


Activist, author and hempster Chris Conrad.

have little to offer prospective businesses in states with much stricter medical marijuana laws, like New York or Minnesota, where the licensing process is extremely expensive and competitive. How does one navigate the byzantine rules established by various laws and implemented by health departments? This is not the book to find out. Conrad founded the Business Alliance for Commerce in Hemp in 1989, and wrote Hemp: Lifeline to the Future in 1993. In his newest book’s “Time for Hemp” chapter, he takes a stand against extracting CBD from hemp. “Using medical-grade bud and trim to make extracts is a more practical way to go,” he advises. Conrad also questions the wisdom of having “scantily clad 420 Girls… at some of the more raucous conventions around the U.S.,” and points to “badly named strains,” like Green Crack, “which create problems for medical users and providers.” Laid out like the textbook it is, The Newbie’s Guide contains way too many blank spaces and generic photos. It could have used some sharper art direction. But the writing is solid. With any luck, this book will be updated many times and go through numerous printings. — Steve Bloom

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Innovative Items For the cannabis consumer

H2FLO Want to turn your portable vaporizer into a water pipe? FlytLab’s H2FLO does just that. It’s a standard vape with a water chamber attachment. Load the ceramic oven and screw on the water chamber (filled a quarter high). Press the onbutton three times, and a red light will go on. Then choose your desired temp: blue (low), yellow (medium) or green (high). After about a minute, the red light will switch to the color you selected, signaling that it’s time to inhale. The first hit using the water chamber is smooth and tasty. After about five pulls, you’ll notice a burning taste. Time to empty the oven and repeat the process. For the ultimate hit, combine the air chamber, the flow control component and the water chamber. When they all stack up (just


shy of a foot tall), the vape looks like an oboe—but it’s fun to play and doesn’t require any lessons. $220

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