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When They Go Low, We Get High Talk about “the good news in marijuana reform” (Freedom Leaf’s slogan): On Nov. 8, eight states passed legalization measures, upping the national total to eight adult-use states and 29 medical marijuana states. California, Maine, Massachusetts and Nevada joined Alaska, Colorado, Oregon and Washington in the full-scale legalization category, which allows personal possession (generally up to one ounce), home-grow (with the exception of Washington and limited grow in Nevada), and legal markets for sales, production and testing. Florida, Arkansas and North Dakota joined the 26 states with existing medical cannabis programs. Also, Montana, already among this group, can now restart its dispensary system that had been shut down by the state legislature and courts. The biggest winners are California and Florida, the first and third most populous states in the country. Long viewed as the cradle of cannabis, California will finally get the chance to provide legal weed to its 39 million residents, and Florida will open the doors to patients in the nation’s southernmost state. Along with Arkansas, Florida has cracked the South’s longtime opposition to medical cannabis. The elephant in the room, however, is President-elect Donald Trump, and whom he appoints as U.S. Attorney General. It’s unclear how Trump’s administration will deal with the latest surge in statewide marijuana legalization. In FL issue 19, NORML’s new Executive Director, Erik Altieri, argued persuasively that Trump’s election would bring harm to the marijuana cause. “Those who contend that Trump is secretly in favor of marijuana legalization are sadly mistaken,” he wrote. Altieri quoted Trump’s statement regarding legalization in Colorado: “They’ve got a lot of problems going on right now, some big problems.” Trump’s inner circle includes avid


drug warriors—and possible AG choices —Chris Christie and Rudolph Giuliani, and Vice President Mike Pence. When Christie campaigned against Trump during the Republican primaries, he warned, “If you’re getting high in Colorado today, enjoy it [because] as of January 2017, I will enforce the federal laws.” If appointed AG, Christie would likely unleash the Justice Department in legal states, directing law enforcement to start shuttering stores and grow facilities, as was done in medical states (primarily California and Colorado) during the Bill Clinton and G.W. Bush presidencies. On the other hand, Trump has said that he supports states’ rights (“I really believe we should leave it up to the states”). This has me wondering what Trump will do when he takes over the White House in January. Will he heed the advice of the drug warriors, and stomp all over legalization? Or will he see the new marijuana market as a big, burgeoning business that create jobs, raises taxes and keeps people out of jail? This is a true test for Trump. Only time will tell what happens next. Be ready for anything, my cannabis comrades. And remember, when they go low, we get high!

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Steve Bloom

Steve Bloom Editor-in-Chief



FOUNDERS Richard C. Cowan & Clifford J. Perry

PUBLISHER & CEO Clifford J. Perry









CONTRIBUTORS: Ngaio Bealum, Russ Belville, Adam Buckman, Matt Chelsea, Frances Fu, Chris Goldstein, Erin Hiatt, Norm Kent, Elizabeth Lunt, Mitch Mandell, Beth Mann, Madison Margolin, Lex Pelger, Rick Pfrommer, David Rheins, Dr. Azeem Sappal, Cheri Sicard, Roy Trakin, Neal Warner, Rachel Wissner Copyright © 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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Eight Is Enough: Pot Legalization Sweeps the Nation On Nov. 8, voters in eight states expressed widespread approval for cannabis legalization. Five states voted on adult use, which was defeated only in Arizona, and four states voted on and passed measures to legalize medical marijuana, continuing a trend of legalization across the country. While it’s unclear how Donald Trump’s stunning presidential upset over Hillary Clinton will affect federal cannabis reform, these election results signal a tipping point for state-legal cannabis, and will have international implications. The most important measure was in the Golden State, where 55.8% of voters approved Proposition 64. Adults 21 and older can now possess up to an ounce of cannabis in California, which boasts a population of nearly 40 million and has the largest economy of any U.S. state. California was the first state to legalize medical marijuana, in 1996, and already has a legal medical cannabis market estimated at $2.7 billion. Despite opposition from many in the medical marijuana industry, full legalization signals a shift after a similar measure was rejected six years ago. Advocates are hopeful


that Prop 64’s success will spur reform on the federal level; it’s also likely to affect the policies of other nations, especially Mexico. Another important win for cannabis legalization came in Massachusetts, where 53.6% of voters approved Question 4 to legalize adult use. Also in New England, Question 1 in Maine passed, but barely, with 50.3% of the vote. The East Coast has lagged behind the West when it comes to cannabis policy reform. Since many Eastern states lack provisions for ballot initiatives, legalization in Massachusetts and Maine could encourage other state legislatures to act. “It’s an important benchmark for the movement,” says Tom Angell, Chairman of Marijuana Majority. Nevada added another draw for tourists, with 54.5% of voters approving Question 2. Now, visitors to the state can enjoy legal cannabis alongside a myriad of entertainment options. Legalization passed despite strong opposition from casino magnate and Las Vegas Review-Journal owner Sheldon Adelson, who gave $2 million to the No on 2 effort. Nevada’s neighbor Arizona was the only state to reject a cannabis ballot measure, when 52.2% voted against Prop 205. Angell blames the defeat on “huge and unseemly contributions to the opposition campaign from Big Pharma

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[Insys], a company that makes money selling food to prisons [Services Group of America] and a casino billionaire [Sheldon Adelson, who gave $500,000].” In a boon for patient access, all four states with medical marijuana ballot measures voted to approve them. In Florida, Amendment 2 passed with 71%, a huge victory in a state where a similar measure was defeated two years ago with just 58% (60% is needed to pass). The passage of Issue 6 in Arkansas also marks a turning point: It’s the first Bible Belt state to legalize medical marijuana, with 53.2% voting in favor. In North Dakota, voters overwhelmingly approved Measure 5, with 63.7% support. “Very few people expected this result, and it happened with almost no coordination or major assistance from national organizations,” Angell adds. And last, but certainly not least, 57% of voters in Montana approved Initiative 182. Voters passed medical cannabis in 2004, but in recent years, the state legislature and state supreme court rolled back the program. Following a legislative battle, the court limited registered medical marijuana providers to three patients each, causing providers to shut down and patient numbers to drop substantially. The passage of Initiative 182 essen-

tially re-legalizes medical marijuana in the state. “Voters have once again proven that cannabis legalization is not only a moral imperative, it’s also extremely popular public policy,” says David Bienenstock, Head of Content at High Times. “No longer can our elected officials defend the government’s self-destructive and utterly failed War on Marijuana. This in many ways is like the end of alcohol Prohibition in 1933—except now we can party all night and not have hangovers in the morning.” Trump’s shocking victory has left some advocates worried. New Vice President-elect Mike Pence has a history of opposition to cannabis reform; in 2014, as Governor of Indiana, he fought against a legislative effort to lower penalties for pot possession. “[Trump’s] most likely appointees to senior law enforcement positions— Rudy Giuliani and Chris Christie—are no friends of marijuana reform,” notes Ethan Nadelmann, Executive Director of the Drug Policy Alliance. However, Angell remains hopeful: “President-elect Trump has clearly and repeatedly pledged to respect state marijuana laws, and we fully expect him to follow through on those promises.”

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Oregon Bans Weed Strain Names That Appeal to Children The facade of BPG’s store in Berkeley, Calif.

Feds Drop Case Against Berkeley Patients Group On Oct. 31, the federal government ended its case against Berkeley Patients Group (BPG), California’s “longest continuously operating dispensary.” In 2013, then-U.S. attorney Melinda Haag sent a letter to BPG and its landlord warning that forfeiture proceedings would be forthcoming. The following year, the dispensary moved to a new location to avoid such actions. But Haag then tried to seize that property. BPG complied with city and state regulations, and has enjoyed the support of key local officials. The City of Berkeley even filed claims to the property in hopes of helping the dispensary. “I’m very pleased with the outcome of this case,” Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates said in a statement. “BPG has been an invaluable asset to our community through its service to patients, [its] support to local non-profits and [by] setting the gold standard for safe access.” The case against BPG was similar to the one against Harborside Health Center; earlier this year, the Justice Department dropped a forfeiture suit against the Oakland dispensary after a four-year legal battle. Both cases were brought by Haag, who worked with other U.S. attorneys and the DEA on the biggest crackdowns on medical cannabis in California history, which resulted in more than 500 dispensaries being shut down over an eightmonth period from 2012 to 2013. Haag stepped down in 2015. “This case has been putting a damper on our ability to serve our patients,” BPG spokesperson Victor Pinho told “We’re very happy it’s over.”


The Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC), tasked with regulating the state’s legal adult-use cannabis industry, announced on Sept. 23 its plan to bar cannabis producers and retailers from using cartoon characters, such as Grape Ape, Dr. Who, Smurf and Bruce Banner, for strain names. The ban also includes Star Wars-themed strains like Death Star and Skywalker OG, as well as kidsy titles like Candyland, Bubblelicious and Cinderella. Anthony Johnson, Campaign Manager for Initiative 91, which legalized marijuana in Oregon in 2014, tells Freedom Leaf: “On the one hand, it does amount to government overreach and overregulation. On the other hand, the OLCC is tasked with helping prevent minors’ access to cannabis, so they’re under political and legal pressure to fulfill that obligation. With all the issues facing the cannabis industry and community, the ban on certain strain names is a relatively low priority, and a worthwhile tradeoff to establish a legal market.” The high-CBD strain Charlotte’s Web is also on the OLCC’s hit list, because the name is the title of a children’s book; it was actually named after young epilepsy patient Charlotte Figi. However, the new rules will not affect medical marijuana patients in Oregon. “The Oregon Health Authority [OHA] does not have a similar rule regarding strain names that may be attractive to minors,” Jonathan Modie, a spokesperson for the OHA, tells Freedom Leaf. The OLCC is encouraging cannabis license holders to submit strain names for “guidance on this ‘attractiveness to children’ standard.”

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Maverick Brooklyn District Attorney Succumbs to Cancer

The Great Wall of China runs east and west in the direction of Turban in NW China.

Ancient Cannabis Plants Discovered In Western China In October, archeologists reported that they had found 13 well-preserved cannabis plants at a 2,500-year-old tomb at Jiayi cemetery in Turpan in Western China’s Xinjiang Province. Researchers describe the discovery as “an extraordinary cache of ancient, well-preserved cannabis” that “appears to have been locally produced and purposefully arranged and used as a burial shroud.” In 2008, archeologists discovered another cache of ancient cannabis in the same province. Xinjiang has a long history with cannabis—from the ancient Subeixi culture to the Muslim Uyghurs who continue their tradition of hash-making to this day. The latest finding marks the first time complete cannabis plants from this period have been unearthed. It confirms what archeologists have long suspected: that cannabis was cultivated in the region at that time. The flowers of the newly discovered plants are resinous and hairy, and so well preserved that the trichomes are still visible. “Researchers suspect that this marijuana was grown and harvested for its psychoactive resin,” states National Geographic, which broke the story.

Less than a week after Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson announced that he would be taking a medical leave after being diagnosed with cancer, he suddenly passed away on Oct. 9. Thompson was 50 years old, and had served as district attorney since 2014. Despite his short time in office, Thompson effectively instituted a policy of not prosecuting low-level marijuana offenses in Brooklyn prior to changes made by Mayor Bill de Blasio in 2014. Under his watch, anyone without an extensive criminal record who was busted for pot would have their case dismissed. The policy applied to amounts less than 25 grams, which are decriminalized in the state. “The processing of these cases exacts a cost on the criminal justice system and takes a toll on the individual… the burdens that [the cases] pose on the system and the individual are difficult to justify,” Thompson said when he announced the policy. Not only did Thompson change the way his office handled marijuana offenses, it also erased thousands of outstanding warrants for minor offenses, which overwhelmingly affect people of color. “Our courtrooms and our communities have no doubt been dealt a blow with Ken’s passing,” New York Mayor Bill de Blasio stated. “I’m confident the indelible mark left by his public service will forever be a part of the fabric of our justice system.” Mona Zhang publishes the daily cannabis newsletter Word On The Tree. Sign up for WOTT at

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The Good News About Medical Marijuana

Studies show surprising benefits in states where therapeutic use is legal. By Paul Armentano Increased access to medicinal cannabis is improving patients’ quality of life in ways few advocates could have predicted. As the number of Americans utilizing marijuana grows, so too does our understanding of its societal benefits. Here are some of the latest and most significant scientific findings.

• More Pot, Fewer Opioids: Medical cannabis legalization is associated with lower rates of opioid abuse and mortality. According to data compiled by the RAND Corporation in 2015, patients are far less likely to become addicted to opiate pain relievers in jurisdictions that permit medical marijuana. Fewer opioid addicts mean fewer deaths, says the Journal of the American Medical Association; its 2014 study determined that opioid-related overdose deaths fell 20% in the first 12

year following the implementation of legalization, and declined by as much as 33% by the sixth year.

• Reduced Prescription Drug Spending: It’s not just patient use of

opiates that’s in decline in states with legal medical marijuana. According to a University of Georgia study, released in July, patient use of all varieties of prescription drugs is reduced when medical cannabis is an option. Researchers assessed the relationship between medical marijuana legalization laws and physicians’ prescribing patterns in 17 states from 2010–2013. Specifically, they assessed patients’ consumption of and spending on prescription drugs approved under Medicare Part D for nine domains, or conditions: anxiety, depression, glaucoma, nausea, pain, psychosis, seizures, sleep disorders and spasticity. They reported that pharmaceutical drug use fell

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significantly in seven of these domains, resulting in an annual savings of $165.2 million in prescription drug spending.

• Less Obesity: Those with access

to cannabis tend to be more active and are less likely to drink alcohol, argue the authors of a 2015 study published in Health Economics. Investigators at San Diego State University reviewed 12 years of data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control’s Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System to examine the effects of medical marijuana laws on body weight, wellness and exercise. “The enforcement of MMLs (medical marijuana laws) is associated with a 2% to 6% decline in the probability of obesity,” they reported. “Our estimates suggest that MMLs induce a $58 to $115 per-person annual reduction in obesity-related medical costs.” For those aged 35 or older, authors determined that the passage of medical pot laws is “associated with an increase in physical wellness and frequent exercise.” For younger adults, researchers theorized that obesity declines were likely due to a decrease in alcohol consumption.

• No Adverse Impact on Traffic Safety: Concerns that liberaliz-

ing medical marijuana access would lead to increased dangers on the road have not come to fruition. According to fatal-accident data compiled by the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, deaths on America’s roadways have declined to historic lows in recent decades. In some medical cannabis states, like Nevada, fatal accidents fell as much as 25% in the years immediately following legalization. A 2011 study published by the Insititute for the Study of Labor in Germany, found that the regulation of medical cannabis in the U.S. has been associated with, on average, “a nearly 9% decrease in traffic fatalities.” Experts speculate that this decline is likely the result of fewer patients using alcohol or opioids, both of which are known to impair driving ability to a far more significant degree than cannabis.


• Greater Workforce Participation: Increased medical cannabis

access is also having a positive impact in the workplace. According to a 2016 study published in Health Economics, following medical marijuana legalization, full-time employees between the ages of 50 and 59 were 13% less likely to report absences due to illness. Those aged 40 to 49 were 11% less likely to do so, and those aged 30 to 39 were 16% less likely to report a medically related absence. “Although there is not a direct identification of those who use marijuana for medical purposes in the data, overall sickness absence is reduced for those in age and gender groups most likely to be cardholders,” the study concluded. “The results of this paper therefore suggest that medical marijuana legalization would decrease costs for employers as it has reduced self-reported absence from work due to illness/medical issues.” Another study, published in October by the National Bureau of Economic Research, a private nonprofit organization, reports that the enactment of statewide medicinal cannabis programs is associated with greater participation in the workforce by those aged 50 and older. “Health improvements experienced by both groups (older men and women) permit increased participation in the labor market,” the authors wrote. Specifically, investigators determined that the enactment of medical pot laws was associated with a “9.4% increase in the probability of employment and a 4.6%–4.9% increase in hours worked per week” among those over the age of 50. “Medical marijuana law implementation leads to increases in labor supply among older adult men and women,” the study concluded. “These effects should be considered as policymakers determine how best to regulate access to medical marijuana.” Paul Armentano is Deputy Director of NORML and Freedom Leaf’s Senior Policy Advisor, and the author of The Citizen’s Guide to State-by-State Marijuana Laws.

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Students for Sensible Drug Policy

DARE to Take a Stand Against Oppression and for Diversity By Rachel Wissner Founded in March 2011 by Shaleen Title and Froggy Vasquez, the SSDP Diversity Awareness Reflection and Education (DARE) committee has undergone several changes, but its mission remains the same: “To ensure that the wide range of perspectives and personal experiences of all communities and individuals negatively impacted in the War on Drugs are represented and integrated into SSDP and the drug policy reform movement at large.” DARE’s work is intended to reflect the drug policy reform movement’s understanding that the drug war was born out of racism, and is perpetuated in a way that negatively affects society’s most marginalized people. In order to fight to end the drug war, we must acknowledge the racism at its core, its intersections with other social-justice issues and the bigger picture of structural oppression. Every cultural and ethnic identity and community is affected differently by drug use and drug policy. Marijuana legalization in several states has not solved every problem that arose out of its prohibition. African Americans and Hispanics are still being arrested at rates much higher than whites in those states. And parents and pregnant women who use marijuana can still lose custody and parenting rights regardless of the legal status of marijuana in their state. Each issue of DARE’s newsletter, the Monthly Mosaic (online at blog/tag/dare), which started publishing in September 2015, focuses on either a specific aspect of the War on Drugs and the communities it affects, or a social-justice aspect that intersects with drug pol-


icy reform. The August issue (“Back-toSchool: Building an Inclusive Chapter”) challenged students to think about how they’ve structured their SSDP chapter in regards to inclusion, the experiences of students of color in the chapter and why their chapter is invested in diversity. Beyond the monthly newsletter, DARE offers special programs at SSDP conferences, where we also sponsor dinner meetups for attendees. During the “Eliminating the Need for Safe Spaces: Combating Oppression in Activist Communities” panel discussion—featuring Scott Cecil, SSDP’s Southeast and Southwest Outreach Coordinator; Kyle Harrington of the UConn SSDP chapter; recent University of New Mexico School of Law graduate and American Constitution Society board member Monique Chavez; SSDP Executive Director Betty Aldworth; and myself—at the 2016 SSDP conference in April, we discussed how racism, sexism, queerphobia and other forms of oppression can spill over into activist communities, and how we must combat this in order to advance our mission of social justice. The DARE committee strives to promote inclusivity within the SSDP network, and to facilitate collaboration and engagement with underrepresented perspectives, individuals and movements. We invite people to submit ideas for upcoming issues of the Monthly Mosaic, to join us on our monthly conference calls and to visit our SSDP DARE Facebook page, where we’re constantly sharing relevant news stories. Rachel Wissner is an SSDP board member and former SSDP chapter leader at SUNY New Paltz in New York.

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THE DRUG THEFAILED. DRUG WAR Start making sense™ WAR FAILED. Start making sense™

Start a chapter, join the Sensible Society, and learn more at Start a chapter, join the Sensible Society, and learn more at november 2016


Stirring the Cannabis Melting Pot and there’s no reason a record of arrest or incarceration for a nonviolent drug Remember the American “melting pot” offense should prevent a person from we learned about in middle school? employment. Forward-thinking states alWell, that melting pot wants pot. Canready recognize this. Yours should, too; if nabis companies will do well to encourit doesn’t, start lobbying. age diverse views in the workforce and Second, diversity is good for busiboardroom, so as to broaden our perness. It includes not just people of color, spective—and our market. but also means tapping some of AmerFirst of all, it’s the right thing to do. ica’s burgeoning and talented demoMinorities have paid the highest price for graphic groups to help grow business. the drug war, the abject failure of which is The fastest-growing segment of the popfueling legalulation is ization efforts people over and thus our 65, which industry. We is expected stand on the to double in shoulders of the next 20 many who years. Think have been baby boomharmed by ers don’t marijuana’s know weed? illegal status. Think again, The ACLU and then start reports that hiring. Ditto “between for women: 2001 and A study by 2010, there McKinsey A recent Women Grow networking event in New York. were over 8 & Company million pot arshows that rests in the U.S. That’s one bust every companies do better when there are 37 seconds, and hundreds of thousands women on the board of directors and in ensnared in the criminal justice system.” upper management. Although pot use among African AmerDiverse representation across genericans and whites is roughly equivalent, ations and genders, sexual orientations, African Americans are arrested at nearly religious beliefs and ethnic backgrounds four times the rate as whites. Lives conbrings expanded perspective and market tinue to be destroyed by the failed War insight. Having that melting pot inside our on Drugs, and the cannabis industry companies is key when trying to reach a can help. wider customer group, and strengthens As the industry grows, diversity in our chances of doing so. employment and entrepreneurial opDiversity brings a multitude of views portunities must shape this newest of and gives a voice to the many. And the America’s great enterprises, and offer a bigger the pot pie, the greater our busichance to give back to the communities ness opportunities. ravaged by the drug war. Many people with criminal records have expertise that Elizabeth Lunt is Co-Chair of the Women can be put to good use in the industry, Grow Baltimore chapter. MELISSA MEYER

By Elizabeth Lunt


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It’s About Liberty, Not the Leaf By Norm Kent We call ourselves NORML, and that stands for the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. You may know of us—though chances are we predate you, the average Freedom Leaf reader. We’ve been around since 1970, likely before you were born. Let me tell you a secret. We have never really been about pot. We have always been about liberty. Yes, like you, we want to “free the weed.” But the truth is that we believe in something greater. NORML stands for the fundamental tenets of liberty originally advocated by one of England’s most precocious social philosophers, John Stuart Mill. Mill’s conception of liberty justified freedom of the individual in opposition to unlimited state control. Pot is about your personal freedom, your right to choose. Every adult citizen of the United States should be able to make decisions about the substances they put in our bodies, whether it is pizza or pot. Don’t tell me who I can make love to. Don’t tell me what I can eat. Don’t tell me what I should smoke. You want to share with me the risks? Fine, do so. But don’t make the decision for me. As Americans, we should insist on


a government that doesn’t restrict the rights of any, but secures the rights of all. In order to achieve that, we have to protect as inviolate certain fundamental principles of individual free will and choice, whether it’s about where you want to live or the herb you choose to inhale. When the Supreme Court said a women’s body is her own, it helped you roll your joint legally. When the Supreme Court ruled that states can’t pass laws restricting consenting adults from engaging in same-sex partnerships, it helped you plant your garden. Individual liberty and personal choice are paramount in a truly free society. So do me a favor when you light your next joint or toke on your vape pen. Be thankful for the fact that we live in a society where new laws are being passed that expand your rights and protect your freedoms—and fight each and every day to make sure that you never lose them. It’s never been about the pot. It’s about people like you standing up, asserting their individualism and being heard. Norm Kent is a criminal defense attorney and publisher based in Ft. Lauderdale. He is Vice Chair of the NORML board of directors.

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Oaksterdam University: America’s Premiere Cannabis-Themed College By Dr. Aseem Sappal When Oaksterdam University (OU) was founded in 2007, there was no place like it in America. Today, the school is the leader in providing high-quality training to people interested in a career in the cannabis industry, and OU continues to address the growing needs of the marijuana legalization movement, from patients to regulators. With the knowledge, input and support of our 150-plus faculty, industry pioneers, employers and cannabusiness leaders, Oaksterdam’s curriculum is the most well established and comprehensive in the nation. OU faculty helped write California’s Proposition 215, Senate Bill 420 and many other state ballot initiatives, and OU continues to write and advise on legislation and regulation of cannabis for local, state, national and international governmental bodies and agencies. Our academic departments consist of nine disciplines—business, culinary arts, history, horticulture, law, science, life science, social science and applied science—taught by experienced faculty. Oaksterdam’s horticulture professors, for example, each have a minimum of 20 years’ experience, and engage with students in OU’s innovative hands-on cannabis grow laboratory. The school offers education and certification along with legislative, networking, internship and employment opportunities—resources only an academic institution with credibility and longevity can provide. Countless journalists from


a wide variety of news and documentary outlets regularly call on OU as a credible source of information. Students—not all of whom are cannabis consumers—range from experienced health professionals and entrepreneurs to growers, caregivers and patients. Since 2007, Oaksterdam has created a growing base of alumni that now totals over 30,000. In addition to classes held on Oaksterdam’s campus, the school holds four-day seminars across the country based on the same curriculum. Upcoming seminars will take place in Las Vegas from Nov. 11–14 and in New York from Dec. 3–6; both will focus on horticulture. As cannabis continues to be legalized throughout the world, Oaksterdam has been invited to share its expertise in other countries. In August, our faculty participated in Expoweed in Mexico City, and on Dec. 9–11 we’ll be in Negril, Jamaica for Rastafari Rootzfest, where we’re hosting the seminar program for the second year in a row; this event is approved by the Ministry of Justice and endorsed by the Negril Chamber of Commerce and the Westmoreland Hemp and Ganja Farmers Association. Registration is open for the upcoming seminars in Las Vegas and New York, as well as for Rastafari Rootzfest in Jamaica. For more information, go to or call 510-251-1544. Dr. Aseem Sappal is Provost and Dean of Faculty at Oaksterdam University.

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Diversity Making Progress in the Cannabis Industry By David Rheins The cannabis industry is vast and growing rapidly. It operates in large and small communities scattered across, at press time, 26 medical states and four legal states. Every market has its own idiosyncratic scheme dictating who can obtain a business license, and for how much; what products can be sold and where; the size of the grow; and the types of pesticides that can be used. Since cannabis has so many commercial applications, it’s difficult to look at it as a single, unified industry. In many ways, it’s really a collection of cottage industries manufacturing everything from infused edibles and hemp fashions to fertilizers and farm equipment, and involving diverse professionals from digital artists to marketers. The cannabis industry is a great melting pot. Just walk the floor of any trade show and you’ll see people from all walks of life with disparate skills and experience—detail-oriented CPAs, doctors and lawyers, freethinking creatives and activists. In that aspect, the industry is as diverse as they come. However, minorities and women are still painfully underrepresented. Much of this has to do with how the War on Drugs is prosecuted along racial lines, and also because of how states have structured licensing and financing requirements. Lack of access to commercial capital negatively impacts minority communities disproportionately. It’s time for the industry to reach out to minority communities. The War on Drugs is responsible for mass incarceration of African Americans and Hispanics—mostly nonviolent male offenders. Legal weed can provide the gateway to prosperity; it’s proven to be an unprecedented job- and wealth-creating machine. I’m encouraged by the creation of grassroots organizations like the Minority


Cannabis Business Association ( For the past three years, the Marijuana Business Association (MJBA) has worked to establish integrity and legitimacy, create common market standards, provide market intelligence and develop best ethical business practices for participants in the emerging legal marijuana industries. Through job fairs and business boot camps, we’ve hosted meetings with employment lawyers, HR professionals, state regulators and business leaders to discuss common industry challenges. We’re especially proud of the many women-run businesses we’ve supported through the MJBA Women’s Alliance. So robust and successful are our many “Power of” seminars—women’s business events featuring leading industry voices like LEAP’s Diane Goldstein, “Cannabis Maven” Susan Squibb, Eden Labs’ CEO AC Braddock and Cannabis Basic’s founder Ah Warner—that we created the Cannabis Women’s Alliance earlier this year. Let’s all work toward making 2017 the year of cannabis diversity. David Rheins is Executive Director of the Marijuana Business Association, based in Washington State.

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Rockin’ Stock Maven Hails Diversity Investor Jeff Siegel seeks companies that embrace sustainability. By Matt Chelsea The issue of diversity continues to pick up steam in the investing world, and in the world of cannabis stocks. Jeff Siegel, a rock musician and stock market guru, says the cannabis industry has made good strides with women in senior roles. But in terms of African American and Hispanic representation, the legal cannabis business has further to go. “Diversity should play a huge role in every industry, and there should be more in the way of black and Latino representation because the War on Drugs has really affected those populations,” states Siegel, who is Managing Editor of Green Chip Stocks as well as an editor at Wealth Daily. “I would like to see more diversity.” One way to address the imbalance is to change laws that prevent people with criminal records from running dispensaries. Such a movement is underway in Oakland with the city’s new Equity Permit Program. Siegel traces his ESG (environmental, social and governance) investing


Jeff Siegel bring his rock & roll sensibility to the cannabis investing world.

roots to a memory from when he was 8 years old. The iconic image of Iron Eyes Cody, the Native American with the tear running down his face featured in the “Keep America Beautiful” public service announcement from the 1970s, stayed with him and helped spark his interest in the environmental movement. ESG investing, or impact investing, is particularly appealing to millennials who like to put money behind private startups and public stocks. In the 1980s, the ESG movement pushed for an end to apartheid in South Africa by divesting from companies that were benefiting from it. Other ESG investors avoid tobacco stocks because of their impact on global health, or coal stocks because of air pollution caused by coal-fired power generation plants. Growing up in Maryland, Siegel was a band geek who played the clarinet in school but later gravitated toward Washington, D.C.’s hardcore scene in the

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late ’80s. He joined the metal band Dog Fashion Disco in 1998 as their keyboardist, playing all over the world and opening for big acts like Slayer and Stone Temple Pilots. The rock experience seasoned him for the spotlight when he provides stock and investing commentary on cable TV and other outlets. Siegel is 100% opposed to the drug war, which he calls “one of the biggest tragedies in the world. Anything we can do to facilitate the end of the drug war is a socially responsible endeavor. Also, the idea that a sick person cannot medicate because the government decides a plant is illegal is absurd.” Working with a client list of high-networth individuals that write checks from $20,000 to $400,000, Siegel looks for companies that embrace sustainability, often with a cannabis-friendly agenda. He helps bring private capital to bear on these and other issues through private funding for startups and younger companies, as well as through public stock investing. Siegel views cannabis investing through the filter of an environmentalist, with concerns about sustainable growing techniques, use of pesticides and other issues. “If cannabis companies I look at are doing it all wrong—they don’t care about their carbon footprint—I set them aside,” he explains. One company that suits his principles is Défoncé Chocolatier, a San Franciscobased maker of cannabis-infused chocolate that uses cacao beans sourced directly from farmers, and sun-grown cannabis from Hummingbird Medicinals. Among publicly traded companies, Siegal’s high on Canada-based OrganiGram (TSC-V-OGI), which he praises as the only pure-play organic cannabis stock in North America. As ESG investing evolves, Siegel sees a greater role for diversity on the horizon. But it will take time. “I’ve seen Asians, African Americans and Native Americans in legal cannabis companies, but in very small numbers,” he remarks. “It would be better to see the market develop in a way that becomes more inclusive.”


MassRoots Rebounds While many marijuana stocks on the OTC Bulletin Board gained strength around the historic marijuana referendum votes on Nov. 8 in California and eight other states, MassRoots Inc. (OTCQB: MSRT), the social media destination for cannabis lovers, has also gained a higher stock price. The stock took a dive this fall after MassRoots defaulted on payments for its nearly $1 million in debt. The Denver-based company also shed 14 out of 33 full-time positions in a move to save $146,000 a month. Then, in late October, its fortunes reversed. MassRoots completed a $5 million equity offering with support from founder and CEO Isaac Dietrich, along with former CEO Steve Markowitz, Aphria and the Delvaco Group. Dietrich said he expects the funds will allow the company to start generating positive cash flow and to work to reach a wider audience. From below 50 cents a share in October, the stock rose to more than $1 a share at press time. Such bumps in the road remain common for companies in their younger years. To their credit, MassRoots have turned things around pretty quickly. — Matt Chelsea

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Obama: A Presidential Reefer Retrospective

How good or bad has the Obama administration been for marijuana policy reform? By Allen St. Pierre 30

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o other president besides Barack Obama has backed the federal government away from both enforcing cannabis prohibition and propagandizing against its use. Despite not running on a pro-pot platform in either his 2008 or 2012 presidential campaigns, or choosing to de-schedule cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act, Obama nonetheless will be credited with being the first U.S. president who didn’t have the stomach to keep justifying a failed public policy such as cannabis prohibition.

HAWAII AND the Choom Gang Born in Honolulu on Aug. 4, 1961,Obama was raised in Indonesia after his parents divorced and his mother remarried and moved to Jakarta when he was 4 years old. In 1971, Obama returned to Hawaii, where he lived with his grandparents until he graduated high school in 1979. Of those years, Obama wrote in his 1995 memoir, Dreams from My Father: “Pot had helped, and booze; maybe a little blow when you could afford it.” He and his friends called themselves the Choom Gang; “to choom” was their slang for smoking marijuana. In his 2012 book, Barack Obama: The Story, Davis Maraniss reported, “Barry Obama was known for starting a few pot-smoking trends.” One was called “total absorption,” which involved holding in hits for as long as possible. Another Obama innovation was the “interception,” where he would jump into the circle to take the next hit from a joint being passed around. According to Maraniss, Obama and his crew drove around Honolulu in a VW bus dubbed the Choomwagon, in which they “turned up the stereo playing Aerosmith, Blue Oyster Cult and Stevie Wonder, lit some sweet, sticky Hawaiian buds and washed it down with greenbottled beer.” Although Obama never got in trouble for these activities, his alleged deal-

er, Ray Boyer, did get arrested, and was killed by his gay lover in 1986. In 2006, Obama took a swipe at Bill Clinton when he revealed, “When I was a kid I inhaled frequently. That was the point.”

FROM COLLEGIATE POTHEAD TO POTUS From 1979–1983 Obama attended Occidental College in Los Angeles and then Columbia University in New York, and continued his studies in 1988 at Harvard Law School, where he graduated in 1991. He subsequently settled in Chicago, where he taught constitutional law at the University of Chicago Law School and met his future wife Michelle (they married in 1992). After a stint at a law firm, Obama decided to run for the Illinois Senate in 1996. He served several terms in the Statehouse before turning his focus to Congress. During the U.S. Senate race in 2004, Obama made his first public comment about marijuana in front of an audience of Northwestern University students. “The War on Drugs has been an utter failure,” he told the collegiate crowd. “We need to rethink and decriminalize our marijuana laws.” Obama won the race and joined the Senate in 2005. In a letter to his constituents a year later, he wrote: “I’m aware of the argument that legalizing marijuana would make the drug more ‘controlled’ or safer, and that it may curb the violence associated with the sale of an illegal substance. I also appreciate that many physicians believe that medicinal marijuana can be helpful to some patients.” Not yet finished with his first term on Capitol Hill, Obama set his sights on the White House. During his 2008 presidential campaign, he told reporters in New Hampshire, “I would not have the Justice Department prosecuting and raiding medical marijuana users,” which had been a regular occurrence— mostly in California—under the second Bush administration. He took frontrunner Hillary Clinton by

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Obama on pot in 2006: “When I was a kid I inhaled frequently. That was the point.”

surprise and defeated her in the Democratic primaries, leading to his party’s nomination. After a disastrous G.W. Bush presidency, Obama overwhelmed Republican challenger John McCain to become the 44th president of the United States.

First Term: A Nod to Legalization During the 80-day period before his 2009 inauguration, Obama warned the DEA and U.S. Attorneys that federal marijuana raids in states like California would be subject to immediate review in the new administration. Unlike the previous drug-warring presidents (from Nixon to G.W. Bush), Obama’s newly appointed drug czar, former Seattle Police Chief Gil Kerlikowske, invited NORML and other drug policy reform groups, for the first time, to the Office of National Drug Control Policy to suggest drug policy reforms for the new president to consider. As “the first social media president,” soon after taking office Obama agreed to participate in a town hall-style meet-


ing broadcast on the Internet, working off of a set of the most popular questions derived from online petitions. Unsurprisingly, one of the top questions at the March 2009 event, watched live by millions, was whether or not the new president supported cannabis legalization as a means of improving the economy and creating jobs. Obama’s reply was disparagingly comedic, and also disappointing: “I don’t know what this says about the online audience. This was a fairly popular question, we want to make sure that it was answered. The answer is, no, I don’t think that is a good strategy to grow our economy.” Cannabis activists, consumers and industry professionals went into an uproar about this presidential weed diss. However, at that time, while I was executive director of NORML, I saw Obama’s laughter more as a type of gallows humor about a serious public policy concern that was quite rightfully being overshadowed by far more pressing matters confronting him: the major policy reforms that he campaigned for and was already trying to ram through Congress, such as dealing with the banking and insurance company crisis; an auto industry bailout; Obamacare; and closing the Guantanamo Bay prison, to name just a few. But Obama’s response also indicated that, despite his Choom Gang roots, he wasn’t going to dive into the marijuana legalization issue. Decrim seemed a more preferred position for him to adopt at that point, as was also the case with same-sex civil unions, which he preferred to legalizing gay marriage. However, as time would pass, Obama would evolve on both of these issues. One of Obama’s first executive orders, issued on May 20, 2009, instructed federal bureaucracies to largely defer to local and state laws and regulations— which seemed to be laying the groundwork for allowing greater state autonomy in creating cannabis policies that would conflict with anti-cannabis federal laws and enforcement efforts. Later in 2009, on Oct. 19, the Justice Department under Attorney General Eric

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Holder issued its first major policy statement regarding marijuana. Penned by Deputy Attorney General David Ogden and known as the Ogden Memo, it discouraged U.S. Attorneys from interfering with state medical marijuana laws. “As a general matter,” Ogden wrote, “pursuit of these priorities should not focus federal resources in your States on individuals whose actions are in clear and unambiguous compliance with existing state laws providing for the medical use of marijuana.” On June 29, 2011, in a second memo on the same subject, Ogden’s replacement, James Cole, reminded prosecutors “that it is not likely an efficient use of federal resources to focus enforcement efforts on individuals with cancer or other serious illnesses who use marijuana as part of a recommended treatment regimen consistent with applicable state law, or their caregivers.”

Second Term: Laboratories of Democracy The 2012 presidential election was momentous for several reasons: Obama defeated Mitt Romney, and two states, Colorado and Washington, voted to legalize all uses of marijuana, not just medical. Just weeks after the election, 18 members of Congress sent a letter to the DEA and DOJ asking that they exercise “restraint” in the new legal and medical states. They invoked what Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis once said about the states—that they are “laboratories of democracy.” Four years later, that phrase would be included in the Democratic Party platform, In April 2013 at the White House Correspondents’ dinner, Obama cracked up the crowd when he acknowledged his prior pot use: “I remember when BuzzFeed was something I did in college around 2 am.” But in a speech given a month later in Guadalajara, Mexico, he reiterated his stance that “legalizing drugs is not the answer. Instead, I believe in a compre-

Known for his great speeches, Pres. Obama delivers one during the 2008 campaign.

hensive approach—not just law enforcement, but education, prevention and treatment. And we’re going to keep at it, because the lives of our children and the future of our nations depend on it.” With full legalization then in effect in two states, the DOJ issued its third marijuana memo, again authored by Cole, which aimed to clarify how states could stay within federal law while implementing their new cannabis policies: No distribution to minors; no sales to cartels; no diversion to other states; no trafficking of other drugs; no violence and use of firearms; no cultivation on public land; no use on federal property; and prevention of drugged driving. As long as these eight rules were followed, the Feds promised not to interfere. From 2010 to 2014 these DOJ memos spurred numerous state legislatures to pass legislation and/or regulations that allow for the production and sale of cannabis for medical use with a recommendation from a licensed physician. Unfortunately for patients, providers and entrepreneurs in California—due in part to the state legislature’s longstanding inability to create a regulated and taxed

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medical cannabis industry—federal prosDinner in May, 2014, Obama joked about ecutors led by San Francisco’s Melinda marijuana legalization in Colorado, which Haag continued to raid medical cannabis had begun in January: “It’s an interesting businesses, tried to shut down Oakstersocial experiment. I do hope it doesn’t dam University and arrested its founder lead to a whole lot of paranoid people Richard Lee in 2012. The legal shenaniwho think that the federal government’s gans of the federal attorneys against the out to get them and listening to their medical cannabis industry in California phone calls. That would be a problem.” strongly suggested that, absent state Though he’d chosen an attorney genlaws establishing adult-use legal caneral who apparently shared his views nabis production and sales, the federal about marijuana, Obama neglected to government would continue prosecutmake changes at the DEA, allowing Bush ing patients and dispensaries, despite appointee Michele Leonhart to remain as changing public opinion and the stated the agency’s administrator. Leonhart was will of the president. a bad fit for the Obama administration. Early in 2014, Obama said of his She took issue with Obama’s statement youthful use: “I made bad choices. I got about marijuana being not more harmful high, without always thinking than alcohol, and even chided about the harm it could the White House for pardo…. I grew up in an ticipating in a softball environment that was match against drug Obama a bit more forgivreformers (the ing. So when I White House will be credited made a mistake lost), and for with being the first the conseflying an AmerU.S. president who quences were ican flag made not so severe.” of hemp over didn’t have the He clearly the White stomach to keep was referring House on July to the legal 4, 2013. perpetuating a failed consequencFinally, public policy such es so many after the emas cannabis Americans— barrassment especially African of a sex scanprohibition. Americans—have to dal involving DEA deal with when they’re agents in Colombia, arrested for marijuana Obama asked for and possession, which he manreceived Leonhart’s resigaged to avoid. nation, on April 19, 2015. But it was In a New Yorker interview a month nearly seven years too late, and the earlier, Obama told David Remnick: “I damage of her tenure had already been smoked pot as a kid, and I view it as a done. Leonhart’s replacement, Chuck bad habit and a vice, not very different Rosenberg, hasn’t been much from the cigarettes that I smoked as a of an improvement. In November 2015, young person up through a big chunk of he stated: my adult life. I don’t think it is more dan“What really bothers me is the nogerous than alcohol.” tion that marijuana is also medicinal—beThe latter statement received quite cause it’s not. We can have an intelleca bit of attention, since this has been the tually honest debate about whether we contention of many legalization advoshould legalize something that is bad and cates. If alcohol is more dangerous than dangerous, but don’t call it medicine— marijuana, then why is the former legal that is a joke. There are pieces of mariand the latter prohibited? juana—extracts or constituents or comAt the White House Correspondents’ ponent parts—that have great promise.


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But if you talk about smoking the leaf of marijuana—which is what people are talking about when they talk about medicinal marijuana—it has never been shown to be safe or effective as a medicine.” Meanwhile, Holder moved ahead with a series of DOJ reforms to the federal criminal justice system; he also criticized drug war police tactics and even instructed U.S. Attorneys to no longer include the weight of seized drugs on the charging documents, so as to not add even more prisoners to the already overburdened federal criminal justice system. During this time Obama distinguished himself from any previous president by minimizing the role of the ONDCP. In 2014, he replaced Kerlikowske with Michael Botticelli, a former alcoholic who is openly gay. In 2015, Botticelli told a House subcommittee: “The administration continues to oppose attempts to legalize marijuana and other drugs. It bears emphasizing that the Department of Justice’s responsibility to enforce the Controlled Substances Act remains unchanged.” In 2014, when Nebraska and Oklahoma filed lawsuits to compel Colorado to re-prohibit marijuana, the DOJ sided with Colorado (and, by extension, the many other states that have already created legal and taxed cannabis commerce). The Supreme Court dismissed the case on March 21, 2016. In a 2015 YouTube interview, Obama clarified his administration’s approach to legalization: “What you’re seeing now is Colorado and Washington, through state referenda, they’re experimenting with legal marijuana. The position of my administration has been that we still have federal laws that classify marijuana as an illegal substance. But we’re not going to spend a lot of resources trying to turn back decisions that have been made at the state level on this issue. My suspicion is that you’re going to see other states start looking at this.” He was right. Two more states—Oregon and Alaska—joined Colorado and Washington in 2014, and four more— California, Maine, Massachusetts and Nevada—were added qin 2016.

When Justin Trudeau was elected prime minister of Canada in 2015, he rode to victory on a magic carpet made of hemp; one of his major campaign promises was to legalize marijuana. While that appears to be at least a year or two away from happening, there has been no anti-pot bluster directed at our Northern neighbor from the White House. Neither has the State Department, ONDCP or DEA under Obama protested or interfered in the domestic affairs of Uruguay, Jamaica, Mexico and other countries in the Western hemisphere that are evolving away from pot prohibition and moving toward full cannabis legalization. During Obama’s two terms, there has been a significant decline in marijuana arrests nationwide. Since a high of 873,000 arrests in 2007 under G.W. Bush, that number went down 26%, to 643,000, in 2015. In addition to states voting for legalization, many cities—New York, Philadelphia and Chicago, to name a few—passed decrim regulations during the last eight years. In New York, where pot arrests peaked at 50,000 a year under Mayors Giuliani and Bloomberg, that number is now under 20,000. However, the historical racial disparity in national cannabis arrests stubbornly persists, with minorities apprehended on marijuana charges nearly four times as often as whites. National polling in favor of legalization now tops 60%. More and more states are passing cannabis legalization policies, and invoking the Ogden and Cole memos. Meanwhile, surrounding countries in the hemisphere continue to legalize their own systems of cannabis commerce. While he didn’t end cannabis prohibition in America on his eight-year watch, President Obama and his administration unequivocally did more to advance state and national cannabis law reform than any previous president. History will show that the pot prohibition epoch in America largely came to an end during his tenure. Allen St. Pierre, the former Executive Director of NORML, is Freedom Leaf’s VP of Advocacy and Communications.

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Legalization Nation Key players in the cannabis community sound off on the Election Day near-sweep of eight out of nine statewide marijuana measures.

Keith Stroup, Founder of NORML: As you know, Don-

ald Trump said during the campaign that he would continue the Obama doctrine of allowing the states to experiment with legalization plans, without interference from the feds. It obviously makes me nervous that two of his closest advisers are Giuliani and Christie—two anti-marijuana zealots—but if Trump stays with the position he expressed during the campaign—a big “if”—we should be fine. With the success of all but one of the nine marijuana initiatives, I doubt that Trump will want to get on the wrong side of this popular movement. While the presidential election has most of us shaken to our core, the fact remains that marijuana legalization was the big winner, with a record of eight out of nine. I’ll take that winning percentage anytime. The political winds are clearly blowing in our direction, and there is no


reason to think that is going to change over the next few years.

Ethan Nadelmann, Executive Director of Drug Policy Alliance:

Marijuana reform won big across the U.S. on Election Day—indeed it’s safe to say that no other reform was approved by so many citizens on so many ballots this year. But Donald Trump as our next president concerns me deeply. His most likely appointees to senior law enforcement positions —Rudy Giuliani and Chris Christie—are no friends of marijuana reform, nor is Vice President-elect Mike Pence. The momentum for ending marijuana prohibition took a great leap forward with the victories in California and elsewhere, but the federal government retains the power to hobble much of what we’ve accomplished. The progress we’ve made

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and the values that underlie our struggle—freedom, compassion, reason and justice—will be very much at risk when Donald Trump enters the White House.

Allen St. Pierre, VP of Advocacy and Communications of Freedom Leaf Inc.: The

large slate of victories in the 2016 election for state cannabis law reform should once and for all seal pot prohibition’s fate as an unpopular and failed public policy. With nearly a quarter of the U.S. population now shunning pot prohibition in favor of tax-and-regulate policies, the federal government needs to finally address cannabis policy in ways that respect the voters’ will and states’ rights. When marijuana law reform began in the early 1970s, little more than 10% of the public supported legalization; today, national polling indicates 60% support for reform, with an average of 54% public support at the election booth affirming legalization. The federal government can no longer even pretend that it can maintain a national pot prohibition.

Rob Kampia, Executive Director of the Marijuana Policy Project: This

is the most momentous Election Day in history for the movement to end marijuana prohibition. From Los Angeles to Boston, voters cast their ballots in favor of sensible marijuana policy reforms. The results are right in line with national polls showing record-high support for making marijuana legal. These votes send a clear message to federal officials that it’s time to stop arresting and incarcerating marijuana users. Congress must take action to ease the tension between state and federal marijuana laws. Once this new batch

of state laws takes effect over the next couple of months, marijuana will be legal in eight states, and we expect several more to follow during the 2017–2018 legislative and election cycles. The end of prohibition is near, and it would be a mistake for the federal government to continue waging war on its own nonviolent citizens. How do you ask a DEA agent to be among the last to enforce a mistake? Most voters do not think that otherwise law-abiding citizens should be criminalized for using a product that is much safer than alcohol. They want marijuana to be sold inside regulated, taxpaying businesses, not on the streets, where sales enrich cartels and drug dealers. There’s a general consensus that law enforcement should be fighting serious crimes rather than enforcing failed and deeply unpopular policies.

Steph Sherer, Executive Director of Americans for Safe Access: With newly

successful ballot measures, voters in four states—Florida, Arkansas, North Dakota and Montana—now bring to 29 the total number of states that guarantee safe legal access to medical cannabis. Time and again across the country, voters have overwhelmingly declared that the criminalization of medical cannabis is an antiquated and arbitrary restriction that unfairly punishes sick people and undermines American values. The passage of Amendment 2 in Florida is historic, as it marks the first time that a state has evolved from a limited CBD-focused program to a comprehensive medical state. With Arkansas joining Florida as the 27th and 28th medical cannabis states, 2016 marks the year that comprehensive medical cannabis programs were established in the South. The passage of North Dakota Medical Marijuana Legalization (Measure 5) is perhaps the biggest surprise for patient advocates in 2016. The grassroots initiative received little national funding

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or attention, yet managed to pull off an impressive victory to become the 29th state with a comprehensive medical cannabis program. The victory of Initiative 182 in Montana means a restoration of the state medical cannabis program that nearly evaporated after a state court lifted an injunction that had prevented parts of a 2011 bill from nearly repealing the entire program. The I-182 win means that patients will once again have access to medical cannabis products through regulated retail dispensaries, and the qualifying conditions list will expand. With more than 29 states in support of laws that legalize cannabis for medical use, it’s up to the federal government to follow their lead, end the prohibition on medical cannabis and ensure that all Americans who need this drug have reliable access.

Lester Grinspoon, author of Marihuana Reconsidered: Social scientists

in the future will look back at the 80-year marijuana prohibition epoch and openly ask, “Why did this happen? How could it have happened? What were political leaders thinking?” The tens of millions of marijuana-related arrests that have negatively impacted people’s lives, notably young people, are regrettable legacies of a terribly failed government prohibition on a plant that is of such utility for millions of consumers and patients for its therapeutic, spiritual and creative qualities.

Richard Cowan, Co-Founder of Freedom Leaf Inc.: The major victories for the marijuana legalization movement were overshadowed by the presidential race, but we should recognize that these state initiatives,


Thank God for legal pot. This gift will help us get through the next four years. — Tommy Chong

especially California’s, will have a global impact. The world now has a green light to legalize marijuana. Everyone seems to agree that the American elites are badly out of touch with the American people, but few seem to see the most obvious and explicit example of that—the overwhelming rejection of marijuana prohibition—and, despite the major victories, the elites, right and left, still don’t “get it.”

Steve DeAngelo, Co-Founder of Harborside Health Center: A law

that never should have been enacted is over [in California], and a valuable plant that never should have been illegal will once again be freely available. It’s the beginning of the end of the global war on cannabis. For the millions unjustly arrested, it’s a chance to clear their names and restore their reputations. For all Californians, it’s progress toward a more tolerant, inclusive and equitable way of life; and for prisoners of cannabis in other states and all around the globe, it’s a promise that change is coming. The voters’ validation that we were right all along feels great, but this dismantling of Prohibition makes the tragedies and suffering it has caused seem all the more absurd and senseless. Billions of wasted dollars, millions of unjustified arrests, hundreds of thousands of wrongful imprisonments, and decades of suffering are finally over—but they never should have happened in the first place. For more election coverage, turn to page 8.

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Freedom Leaf INTERVIEW

Montel Williams Interview by Steve Bloom Joining the wave of cannacelebs entering the industry with a product line, longtime medical marijuana patient and activist Montel Williams has launched his new brand, LenitivLabs, that will provide patients with innovative delivery systems. Williams, who suffers from MS, can’t roll joints or fill a bowl, so he needs properly dosaged edibles and carefully calibrated cannabis oils to inhale via vape pens—and he wants pure and properly prepared medicinal cannabis products to become more widely available. The hotly anticipated rollout will begin this month at Bay Area dispensaries. Williams, who lives in New York, met with Freedom Leaf at his offices in Manhattan’s Herald Square.


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I never thought about how hard it could be for MS patients to roll a joint. I can barely button my buttons. This is one of those things that MS does to people. You think I’m going to roll a joint? By the time I’m done it’s going to be all over the table. Or if I open something and want to put it into a bowl, I can spill half of it all over the table. I want convenience for the patient like me that has difficulty. Are you unhappy with the products that are currently available for patients? I’m tired of seeing people who claim they’re selling medication when they really aren’t. You want to sling weed, sling all the weed you want. Have as much fun as you want, get as high as you want. I could care less. You want to get high and smoke as much butane as you want, go ahead. But if you’re trying to tell people that you have something you’ve prepared medically, then start preparing it that way. Don’t give that to a child who has epilepsy and claim that you’re giving them medication. Don’t give it to a person who has MS or a person who has a neurological disease. I want to make sure that people like me have a place they can go to, and the confidence that the product that’s being given them has been prepared with care, for patients by patients. My 85-year-old mother has had multiple forms of cancer. She’s not dabbing anything. She’s not rolling a joint or a blunt. She wants to take medication the way she’s used to taking medication. Why don’t we have delivery systems for people who are ill? What does Lenitiv stand for? “Lenitiv” is a term used in the pharmaceutical industry. It means assuaging pain. I love the term. For the last 16 years, I’ve been a daily cannabinoid consumer. It’s the only thing that’s helped me assuage my symptoms. That’s why

we named it LenitivLabs, because I literally want to turn this into a pharmaceutical company. I believe the same standards used in pharmacology right now should be used for those who are seeking it out as a medication. What are some of the products you’ll be releasing? I’ve got some proprietary delivery systems that I’ve created myself and have been working on for quite a while. One is a vapor product. [He takes a prototype out of his bag and shows me.] It allows me to eat and vape at the same time. [He opens it, pulls it out and licks the oil.] That’s about 17 mg of cannabinoids that I just took in. It’s 60/30/10—60% THC, 30% CBD and a 10% blend, plus some terpenes. Myrcene is a good vehicle when it comes to pain. We’re using all the individual terpenes and putting them back in for diseases that they seem to work best for. Will Lenitiv have edible products? One of my first products out the block is going to be an edible. It’s 100% all natural, no preservatives or additives, and one of the fastest all-food-based delivery systems that we have. I’m positive that a patient is going to like this delivery system. I’d rather you take 5 mg or 10 mg, then take another 5 mg or 10 mg—I want them to sit and wait at least an hour before they ingest another one. Then, you should be able to figure out for yourself, over a two-day period, your titration level. The worst thing about edibles is that you can never take it back. Once you put it in, you’ve got to ride it out. I’d rather you be able to inch your way slowly. When will your products hit the market? We’re going to have a launch event in Berkeley by Nov. 15. I want to introduce it there first. I plan to have products on shelves in stores by Dec. 15.

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What kind of diet are you on?

How does the MS community deal with you, and your beliefs about marijuana? The MS community can’t stand me. This is the mentality of these assholes out there—and that’s exactly what they are. I have one of the six most pervasive chronic deadly diseases in this country. Most people who have MS die from the disease. The progression of the disease can be insidious. I began this as an MS patient. I’m still consuming today as an MS patient. And I’ll consume 10 years from now as an MS patient—until someone comes up with something that has the exact same effect for me and my disease. I almost was in a wheelchair four years ago. Cannabis wasn’t the only thing that got me back, but I’m here to tell you it’s the entire regimen that’s holding this disease at bay. What is your regimen? I take Western medication. I take Eastern medication. I take a combination of medications that nobody on this planet takes. Marijuana is nothing more than another weapon in my arsenal to fight my illness. There are 15 injectable drugs. I’ve been injecting every day for 15 years at a cost of $1,500 a month! I take another injectable every day, as well— more of a therapeutic injectable. It’s out there on the fringe. People think I’m crazy. I can care less. I’m on a vitamin regimen that is literally unheard of. I take 1,000 mg of vitamin D every day. I take magnesium every day. I can’t recommend this for anyone else because it takes three months to get used to. I’ve changed my entire diet. I exer- cise every day—once a day, sometimes twice a day. It depends on how much pain I’m in. I have to get up every single day and crack my body out. I do a stretching routine. I do a resistance routine. I’m 60 years old with MS. I should be “primary progressive,” which means a person that doesn’t walk. I should have rolled in here to do this interview.


I don’t believe in diets, I believe in eating regimens. My nemesis is coffee. That’s probably the only bad thing I eat. I try to get all the white things—sugar, flour—out of my diet. I stay away from gluten. I went vegetarian for about two years, which almost killed me. I was so jaundiced at the end of a year and a half that I was starting to have some liver issues and some other issues. The second year, I began putting some fish back in. I eat red meat now once every 10 days. Between that, I eat chicken probably on four of those 10 days and then the other five is fish. What about the cannabis part of your regimen? I take about 200 mg of cannabinoids a day. I can eat a quarter of a 100 mg THC candy bar in the morning, get to 12 o’clock and eat another quarter of that. Then at 12, I’ll also take 100 mg of CBD oil straight up. From 1 o’clock on I’ll vape until about 6 o’clock. At 6 or 7, I eat somewhere between 40–60 mg, and then another 40–60 mg before I go to sleep. I was doing a CBD extraction in my kitchen before anybody knew what it was. I’m my own guinea pig on my own personal formula. Cold press extraction is really the only way this should be done. The proper cold press machine costs about $500,000. It’s not cheap. Some people question the quality of the CBD products on the market. That’s because they’re using hemp. The famous Israeli chemist Dr. Raphael Mechoulam told me that cannabinoids really work like an orchestra. Why are we taking out cannabinoids? What we need to do is balance them for the tune that you’re playing. It’s as simple as this: It’s what tune you want to play. If that tune is epilepsy, you may need to have a higher level of CBD. But it needs THC to be the accelerant to get to the blood cells. People don’t know this. That’s what it’s about, and that’s what we should be doing.

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They’re the most ignorant, stupid laws ever. It’s like saying, “I’m going to feed you a steak, but I’m going to take all the meat out.” How do I get relief without the components that actually make those other cannabinoids work? It’s time for companies to use some of that money they’re making on cannabis and put it into research. We’re going to find out that there are probably 400 cannabinoids. Every other week another two come out. Just like we’ve done the genomic code for human beings, and figured out the interaction of certain genes, we need to do the same thing for this plant. That’s called science.

I got involved in this for medical reasons. I’m involved in it now for medical reasons. I’ll be involved in it until the day I die for medical reasons.

What do you think of the CBD-only laws that have been passed in 16 states?

Where does legalization for adult use leave medical marijuana patients? It’s left 99.9% of the patients on the battlefield. The ones who made it possible for people to make all this money are the patients like me who were the ones who were getting arrested just because we were trying to maintain some sort of balance in our lives. I got involved in this for medical reasons. I’m involved in it now for medical reasons. I’ll be involved in it until the day I die for medical reasons. I have family members and friends who get high all the time. It’s OK with me if that’s what they want to do. But what I put in my body, I have to have confidence that it is not going to do any damage to me. At the CWCBExpo in Los Angeles in September, you said that you support legalization because it will grant

access for more patients. Prior to that, you never really defended legalization, but will you now if it helps patients? Absolutely. Anything that gives patients better access, I say, “Go for it.” You also said, in Los Angeles: “I’m sick of celebrities who are in it for the money. Melissa Etheridge is the only one who isn’t.” Maybe I shouldn’t have disparaged them that way. I don’t have a problem with them. This is a burgeoning business. It’s an industry that’s just beginning. But we can’t see past tomorrow. We’re all fighting for that one little foot of a corner on X Street and Y Street, so we get the 12 people who walk by. What happens when the FDA approves Sativex or another drug? Are we even thinking that way?

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has six million patients that could have access and get some efficacy from cannabis. [There are currently less than 10,000 registered patients.] Do you utilize the program?


No. It’s such a daunting process. Plus, I’m literally on the road 24 to 26 days a month, so I’m not here. How do you think things are going with diversity in the marijuana community and industry? No question, the industry is failing at practically every level in terms of diversity. With respect to the broader community, the problem isn’t the broader movement not welcoming diversity—the problem is that marijuana Montel Williams at the CWCBExpo in Los Angeles on Sept. 8. is a very different thing for people of color. Marijuana is something that people of color Even if you’re selling it for rec, change still regularly and disproportionately get the standard. Be involved! arrested for.   Some people think the industry is Have you seen improvements? excessively regulated.   Sadly, no. Think about what happened at the end   of Prohibition: We had a million moonAre there sufficient opportunities for shiners across America. People were minorities in the marijuana industry? dying from alcohol that was distilled by If not, how can that be improved? some butthead who used something they   shouldn’t have used. So, I don’t have I think the opportunities vary by jurisa problem with the government when it diction, but one wonders when you see comes to safety. The second you say each and every applicant of color turned you’re selling medical, then check with down for a [cannabis] license in a particyourself because your mother may be ular jurisdiction. I think the question we buying it. have to ask is why more people of color aren’t choosing to enter this industry. What do you think of New York’s ComNot unlike other industries, ours needs passionate Care Act? to reach out to communities of color if it wants to increase diversity. It’s an abomination. The state probably


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Do the Right Cannabis Thing A fixture on the West Coast weed scene, comedian and activist Ngaio Bealum challenges the industry to “diversify your holdings.” I’ve been a cannabis activist for more than 20 years. When I first started out, I noticed that activists were a diverse and motley crew, folks of all colors, persuasions, religions, shapes and sizes coming together in the name of social justice (mixed with a bit of enlightened self-interest), challenging city, state and federal laws to create a new reality where marijuana was not an evil drug, but a healthy alternative for many people, and perhaps a gateway to a better society for all. It all began with the gay communi-


ty. The healing and comforting effects that medical cannabis had on the victims of the AIDS crisis galvanized an entire community to work toward cannabis freedom. Activists like Brownie Mary and Dennis Peron were instrumental; they didn’t just provide cannabis to people in need, but also pressured city officials to stop arresting people for possessing and using cannabis. Back then, there weren’t any dispensaries. Marijuana was still an underground thing. I mean, Peron was run-

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ning a full-on pot shop, but many of us the century, however, there were plenty still had to call the weed man, or visit of well-run, community-minded dispenthe projects in search of a nickel bag. I saries/social clubs in the Bay Area, such remember people being against Proposias Berkeley Patients Group, C.H.A.M.P. tion 215 (the initiative that legalized med(Cannabis Helps Alleviate Medical Probical cannabis in California) because “it lems), the Vapor Room and several othdidn’t go far enough.” Well, look how far ers. Every club offered more than just we’ve come. cannabis. Members received all kinds of Activism was a bit easier then, at services including peer counseling and least in San Francisco, where you could massage therapy, game and comedy always get a few hundred people to nights, live music, potluck dinners and attend a rally. Hell, you could attract a just about any other social activity could few thousand if you called it a “smokebe found. out” and got a band or two to perform. Things have changed a lot. DispenPeople love to stand around and smoke saries these days aren’t allowed to have weed and listen to music. Throw in a on-site consumption, and many are litfew great speakers (Jack Herer and Ed tle more than one-stop pot shops. I’m Rosenthal would not complaining; usually get the back in the day, the crowd all riled Feds raided clubs up), invite the all the time. Now, local newspaper the zoning board to take a picwill send a shop a ture of someone letter telling them smoking weed on that they’re out of the steps of City compliance. LetHall, and boom, ters are better than mission accomraids any day of plished. the week. It was around The idea that a 1992 that I met cannabis dispenDebby Goldsbersary is just anothry—she had just er business and started the Cannot a blight on the nabis Action Netcommunity has Ngaio Bealum: “Things have changed a lot.” work, which later really taken root in kind of morphed into Americans for Safe California, and law enforcement officials Access—and activists Chris Conrad and are starting to see the writing on the Mikki Norris. At that time, we all thought wall. In fact, the federal government just that since Bill Clinton had smoked a little dropped its longstanding case against weed in college, he might actually help Berkeley Patients Group (see page 10). us legalize marijuana. Not quite: ClinThis is progress. ton’s DEA threw so many people in jail The battle is not yet over. There’s for cannabis it wasn’t even funny. But we still work to be done. Until we can have a remained steadfast and undeterred. cannabis farmers’ market in Idaho, hemp After Prop 215 passed in 1996, it grown in the cornfields of Nebraska, no was maybe five or six years before the one going to jail for marijuana no matter seriously for-profit dispensaries began how much they possess (I could have to pop up around the Bay Area. Before a semi-truck full of booze in my house then, it was all done in a low-key speakand no one would say a damned thing) easy style. Peron had a giant five-story and the release of all the prisoners of dispensary in the heart of downtown San this racist and unjust war on a harmless Francisco—his third club location—but plant, we have to keep on pushing. he was a bit of an outlier. By the turn of As we stand on the precipice of

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nationwide cannabis legalization, I would like to give a shout-out to all of the OG cannabis law reform activists who have been waging (and winning) this battle for more than 20 years—people that I know like Peron, Goldsberry, Conrad, Norris, NJ Weedman, Steph Sherer, Sonjia Miles, Vivian McPeak, Radical Russ Belville, Dominic Holden, Don E. Wirtshafter, Steve Bloom, Deborah Smalls, Marc and Jodie Emery, Todd McCormick, Chris Goldstein, Don Duncan, Paul Cheatham and Paul Scott (they opened one of the first dispensaries in Los Angeles), James Anthony and the DeAngelo brothers (Steve and Andrew)—and countless others who have given their time, tears, money and attention to the fight for cannabis freedom. Thank you for your efforts, for your spirit and fearlessness, and for putting your businesses and your freedom at risk in order to fight for a worthy cause. The cannabis industry is changing. Ten years ago, I had an opportunity to open a dispensary; I declined, mostly out of fear, because I know that the authorities go after minorities first. That’s just how it is. Virgil Grant, who got out of federal prison earlier this year, was incarcerated for owning three dispensaries in L.A. All of his shops were compliant with the laws at that time. Of all the dispensary owners in L.A., he’s the only one I know who received prison time. Grant is a black man, so big surprise. Now, the city of Oakland is looking for a way to help minorities and those most affected by the War on Drugs to get a head start in the new industry. Portland, Ore., which doesn’t have many black people at all, has more than a few blackowned cannabis businesses. This is also progress.

To all of the “new” (less than 10 years in the biz) folks: Welcome to the cannabis industry! Please remember that cannabis legalization is, first and foremost, a social-justice issue. In your quest to make money, please keep in mind the words of the great American Benjamin Franklin: “Do well by doing good.” It isn’t enough to make money. Anyone can make money. We have to be better than that. We have to use cannabis as a tool for social justice and environmental protection, and to secure the blessings of liberty not just for ourselves, but for future generations. Capitalism is fine as far as it goes, but the cannabis industry needs to be about more than just market share and gross profit. I’m asking all you new folks to look around. If your business meetings seem to be a bit monochromatic, fix it. Hire women and people of color. Invest in underserved communities. Go out of your way to find people with cannabis skills that don’t look anything like you. It may be a challenge for some, but it will be worth it in the long run. Studies show that businesses with diverse employees do better and make more money. You want to make more money, right? Diversify your holdings. The fact that all these rich white folks want to get into the game is proof that cannabis is winning. Our job is to make sure that cannabis wins the right way, and does the right thing. And while it may sound odd, asking stoners to pay attention, it is possible to make the world a better place by advancing the cause of cannabis freedom.

Hire women and people of color. Invest in underserved communities. Go out of your way to find people with cannabis skills that don’t look anything like you.


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

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november 2016


Healing Sweepstakes One couple gets a winner’s tour of the Mile High City— and some pain relief. By Chris Thompson Earlier this year, NORML and Freedom Leaf teamed up on the Presidential Primary Membership Drive for national marijuana reform. The campaign included a sweepstakes with the grand prize of a weekend trip for two to Denver, sponsored by My 420 Tours and Colorado Cannabis Tours. More than 2,000 people entered the contest; the winners were Glenn and Mindy Miller of Springfield, Ohio.

Medical Challenges

The Millers were so excited about winning the sweepstakes that they decided to celebrate their wedding anniversary at that time, from October 14_17. Glenn has chronic medical issues because of complications from back surgery he had in 2010; he suffers nearly constant pain due to a bisected nerve in his ribcage, which can be so painful that he’s often unable


to wear a shirt. Glenn’s doctors have prescribed him a plethora of medications, many of which are dangerous opioids like fentanyl. He says that the opioids no longer dull the pain, and only help him sleep for a couple of hours before they wear off and the pain returns, waking him up. Neither Glenn nor Mindy had ever tried medical marijuana before their sweepstakes trip to Denver.

Taking the Canna-Tour

MassRoots is the largest marijuana social media platform for cannabis users, and the first stop on the Millers’ Friday tour was the MassRoots office, located on the 16th Street Mall in downtown Denver. The Millers were given MassRoots hoodies and other swag by Hayley Thomas of their user support team, and got advice on which dispensaries were best to visit. Afterwards they participated

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Grand-prize winners Glenn and Mindy Miller got an all-expenses paid trip to Denver.

in a cannabis cooking class hosted by Colorado Cannabis Tours (which also offers classes in pottery, painting and pipe-making). My 420 Tours booked the Millers into the downtown Convention Center Hotel, which features a public smoking area for guests to enjoy legal marijuana, and also provides vaporizers in each room. That Saturday, the couple went on a four-hour bus tour that starting at a totally packed Cheeba Hut and rolled on from there in a cloud of smoke. “I’ve never seen that much bud,” Glenn exclaimed. The tour visited two retail locations, the River Rock adult-use store at 990 West 6th Street and the Medicine Man dispensary at 4750 Nome Street. The couple was amazed at the legal prices, and snagged an eighth for $16 and several Mary’s Medicinals THC/CBD transdermal patches at River Rock. During a consultation with a budtender there, it was recommended that Glenn take one patch, cut it into four pieces and then apply two pieces at a time to his “pulse points to help get the medicine into the bloodstream.” After the day’s tour ended, the couple headed back to the hotel to try their new marijuana-based medicine. “It was amazing how fast and how well the patches worked on my nerve pain,” reports Glenn, who slept comfortably through the night. “No oth-


er medicine has ever helped me sleep that long.” That Sunday, the Millers went to the Mile High Marker at the State Capitol and the Denver Museum. “It’s an absolutely beautiful city,” Melinda raves. “It was so nice to take a personal vacation, and great for Glenn to try medical cannabis.”

A Greener Future

Following the event-packed sweepstakes trip, the pair have looked for a way for Glenn to use medical cannabis in Ohio. Although a medical marijuana law was passed there in June, the couple doesn’t have much faith in its effectiveness. “It doesn’t allow personal growing or edibles,” Glenn says, “and it doesn’t take effect until 2018.” The good news is that the Millers are “actually considering moving to Colorado, or maybe Michigan,” says Melinda. In the meantime, however, Glenn has little choice but to continue taking opioid medications for his chronic pain. More than half of the states has adopted some form of medical marijuana, and with several legalization measures on the 2016 ballot, Glenn and Melinda’s relocation options are only going to grow. Chris Thompson is Freedom Leaf’s Community and Nonprofit Manager.

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november 2016

“ in many countries, there is a declared or de facto decriminalization, and israel too should move in that direction.” – Tamar Zandberg, Knesset Member

november 2016


Joints from a dispensary in Israel.


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november 2016



Flying High with Oakland’s

2 0 &

By Rick Pfrommer

The cannabis industry, long a bastion of white men and some white women, is increasingly looking more like the rest of the nation, with more African Americans and Hispanics getting involved. The recently formed Oakland delivery service and lifestyle brand 4&20 Blackbirds is a prime example. Founded by John Moore, Myles Rob- son and Jenny Love in July as a collective, 4&20 is committed to repping Oaksterdam’s cannabis ethos citywide and beyond. “We believe deeply in Oakland, and wouldn’t try to find another town to nest in,” Moore says with a chuckle. Each member of the trio offers their special skill set to the company. A longtime San Francisco resident, Moore, who is African American, has deep roots in the cannabis business, including many years both growing and selling high-quality Cali green; with the advent of legal dispensaries, he began to supply them. Love, who lives in nearby Petaluma, is also a weed veteran who’s worked in the marijuana supply chain doing everything from cultivation and trimming to distributing to dispensaries. The British-born Robson spent a decade at Apple working on apps before joining Moore and Love in their new endeavor. Moore is the visionary and prime driver of the group, although, in true collective fashion, everyone’s voice



is heard. Asked about diversity in the industry, he says, “As a black CEO, I knew it would be more challenging to talk to investors, so I wanted other folks involved as well”—referring to his partners, who are both white. Robson’s vast knowledge of social media and his ability to efficiently create and disseminate videos and photos of “blackbirds” (their term for tokers) via Instagram and Facebook quickly boosted 4&20’s online reach. Why did he leave his high-paid gig at Apple? “I wanted to be part of an industry that values wellbeing,” Robson tells Freedom Leaf. The delivery service, which launched in late October, is the financial engine that will allow the lifestyle aspects of 4&20 to be funded. Love handles the nuts and bolts of the service; it specializes in high-quality flowers, concentrates and edibles, including chocolate bars made by professional chocolatier Défoncé (French slang for high or stoned). Love was moved to get into the cannabis world after watching family members suffer from cancer. “I saw the many benefits, like appetite stimulation and relief from excruciating pain,” she states passionately. Thanks to progressive companies like 4&20 Blackbirds, the days of the cannabis industry looking like a Shriners convention are finally coming to an end. Rick Pfrommer is the Principal Consultant at PfrommerNow.

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november 2016


CB1 By Lex Pelger

receptor structure discovered

Researchers have finally diagrammed the crystal structure of human cannabinoid receptor 1, known as CB1. Its discovery and cloning in the late 1980s first hinted at this neurochemical secret underlying the power of medical marijuana. But we still didn’t know what the receptor looked like until now, thanks to a report in the October issue of Cell. Discovering the crystal structure of a receptor remains one of the highest achievements of the chemical arts. For CB1, solving the crystal structure meant locating all 2,312 atoms. Within its class of G proteincoupled receptors (GPCRs)—a cell’s eyes and ears to its environment—CB1 is now believed to to be the most highly expressed GPCR in the brain. But the true workings of these GPCRs remain as mysterious as they are fundamental. The first step toward discovering a crystal structure involves freezing the receptor into place. For CB1, the researchers used AM6538, a synthetic cannabinoid named for the lab of Dr. Alexandros Makriyannis, where it was developed. AM6358 was designed specifically to bind very strongly as an antagonist, because that makes it easier to freeze the receptor-ligand complex into a stable crystallized form. To facilitate crystallization, the researchers also modified the native CB1 sequence of


AM6358 by replacing a few of its amino acids with more thermodynamically stable mutations. All of these steps served to optimize the molecule for visualization by a stream of X-rays. The widespread technique of X-ray crystallography, perhaps best known for revealing the structure of DNA’s double helix, still resembles more art than science. Perseverance and vision are necessary to fix the molecule and then interpret the thousands of images generated as X-rays pass through the sample; the electrons occasionally deflect that electromagnetic radiation on their way to the detection screen, giving a clue to the location of the atoms. But from those streams of messy data and hard work, the structure of the CB1 receptor finally emerged to reveal “an expansive and complicated binding pocket network consisting of multiple subpockets and channels to various regions of the receptor,” according to the research team. Perhaps this knowledge will help us to build better drugs to act on this receptor, or to explain why THC never causes overdose deaths. This first clear mapping of the CB1 receptor will enable scientists to better work with the endocannabinoid system, and its ability to balance our body and mind. Lex Pelger is a writer and scientist. He hosts “Psychoactive Storytelling” events in New York.

november 2016

Lifetime Warranties on the Most Vital Parts of Each Model. Not believing any vaporizer should see the bottom of a junk drawer, replacement parts for all AccuVape models are available in-store or online. AccuVape also warranties the most vulnerable parts of each vaporizer, insuring when someone buys an AccuVape product, they can enjoy it for life.

november 2016




Tailgate party

These recipes will help keep you and your friends well fed during the football season, whether you enjoy them at home in front of a large-screen tv, or in a stadium parking lot.

Recipes by Cheri Sicard

Photos by Mitch Mandell

Tailgate Party Tips • Large insulated jugs used for cold drinks in the summer work just as well for hot liquids in the fall and winter. Use them for soups, hot cocoa, spiced cider and other food and drink designed to keep tailgaters warm. • Cooler chests can also be used to keep foods hot until they’re ready to serve at a tailgate party. Wrap hot sandwiches in foil, then wrap them in a clean towel and store in a cooler chest, which is also good for covered casseroles and side dishes like baked mac and cheese. • Make a list! Nothing ruins an outdoor party like not having a bottle opener, or spoons, or napkins, or something


else you need to have with you. Bringing the complete list of items can prevent major and minor disasters. • Hamilton Beach’s “Stay or Go” slow cooker is ideal for transporting chili, soups and stews with no mess. It’s also perfect for infusing cannabis butter or oil. • Coleman makes an array of tailgate party-inspired products that allow you to cook on-site with either small propane canisters or via a battery charge that you can replenish using your vehicle’s cigarette lighter. These include a grill, toaster oven, blender, slow cooker and a portable hot-wateron-demand system.

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Slow Cooker TexasStyle Cheeba Chili Texas style means beef with no beans and no tomatoes. The addition of cannabis may not be traditional, but it’s bound to make the game more interesting, no matter who wins. 3-1/2 cups beef stock, divided 3 lb. boneless beef chuck, trimmed of fat and cut into 3/4inch chunks 2 oz. dried chiles 1 medium yellow onion, diced 1 tbsp. garlic, minced 4 tsp. cannabis-infused oil 1 tbsp. olive oil 2 tbsp. cider vinegar 1-1/2 tsp. ground cumin 2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper 1 tbsp. salt 1 tsp. oregano 1 corn tortilla 1/2 cup black coffee 1 tbsp. brown sugar 1/2 tsp. cayenne (optional) Grated cheese and diced raw onions for garnish (optional) Place chiles in a cast-iron skillet over medium-low heat and toast until fragrant, about two minutes per side—be careful not to burn them. Place toasted chiles in a bowl, cover with boiling water and soak until soft, about 20 minutes, turning once or twice. Heat corn tortilla in skillet, about one minute on each side. Remove from heat and puree to fine crumbs in a blender or food processor. Set aside. Drain the chiles, split them open and remove

stems and seeds. Place seeded chiles in the blender with cumin, oregano, black pepper, salt, 1/4 tsp. cayenne and two tsp. of cannabis oil. Puree, adding two cups of beef stock until it’s a smooth paste. Add to a large slow cooker set on high. Return skillet to medium-high and add two teaspoons of olive oil. Brown beef in two batches, turning on all sides. Add cooked beef to the slow cooker. Add remaining olive oil, onion and garlic to skillet and cook, stirring until just starting to brown, about two minutes. Add to slow cooker. Add pureed tortilla, remaining beef stock, coffee, brown sugar and cider vinegar to slow cooker and stir to blend well. Cover and let cook for 4–6 hours or until beef is tender. Serve garnished with grated cheese and diced raw onions, if desired. Makes 4 servings.

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Ganja Green Chile Vegan Chili Cannabis and fire-roasted chiles add a double dose of green to this healthy chili bursting with rich flavors and varied textures. 2 cans (15 oz. each) fire-roasted chopped tomatoes 1 can (15 oz.) black beans, rinsed and drained 1 can (15 oz.) kidney beans, rinsed and drained 3 cups vegetable stock 12 oz. vegan crumble 3 large mild green chiles, preferably Anaheim 2 tbsp. olive oil 2 tbsp. cannabis-infused olive oil 1/2 cup dark beer, such as Modelo Negro 2 cups chopped kale 1 large yellow onion, diced 1/2 large red bell pepper, diced 2 tbsp. garlic, chopped 2 tbsp. chili powder 1 tbsp. dried oregano 2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper 1 tsp. salt Cayenne pepper to taste Cook chiles over a hot grill fire, directly on the flames of a gas stove or under a broiler until blackened, turning to cook all sides. Remove hot chiles, place in a paper bag and close. Let sit for five minutes. Run chiles under water to easily peel. Remove stems and seeds, and dice. Heat olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add chiles, onion, red pepper, garlic and vegan crumble, stirring for 3–4 minutes. Stir in cannabis oil and cook, stirring for another minute before adding beer, tomatoes and remaining ingredients, except kale. Bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer for 15–20 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in kale and simmer for another five minutes, or until kale softens. Makes 8 servings.


Veggie and Bean Salad This sturdy salad can be made several hours ahead of the tailgate party. Everyone will love its bright colors, crunchy textures and refreshing flavors.


1/2 small jalapeĂąo pepper 3 tbsp. lime juice 2 tbsp. cannabis-infused olive oil 1 tbsp. olive oil 1/2 tsp. sugar 1/2 tsp. salt 1/2 tsp. pepper Hot sauce to taste


1 English cucumber, peeled and diced 1 can (15 oz.) black beans, rinsed and drained 1 can (15 oz.) corn, drained (or 1-1/4 cups frozen corn, thawed) 1 large red bell pepper, seeded and diced 1-1/2 cups cherry tomatoes 1/2 cup packed fresh cilantro, chopped 1 avocado, diced Salt and pepper to taste Add dressing ingredients to the container of a blender or food processor and puree until mixed and emulsified. Combine salad ingredients in a large bowl. Pour dressing over vegetables and toss to coat. Refrigerate salad. Serves 6.

november 2016

Far-Out Football Whoopie Pies The nation’s favorite retro lunchbox dessert gets a makeover in both appearance and effect with this medicated, gridironinspired version.


1 cup flour 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder 1 cup sugar 1 tsp. baking powder 1/4 tsp. salt 1 large egg 1 cup milk 6 tbsp. cannabis-infused butter


1/2 cup butter 1 jar (7 oz.) marshmallow crème 1 tsp. vanilla extract 1 cup confectioners sugar Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. In a large bowl, mix together cocoa, sugar, flour, baking powder and salt. In a small bowl, beat the egg with milk and stir in the melted cannabutter. Add wet ingredi-

ents to dry ones and stir with a wooden spoon until well combined. Place batter in a large pastry bag. (If you don’t have a pastry bag, seal batter in a zip-top plastic bag and snip off a corner to make a temporary one.) Pipe 12 oval footballshaped outlines, about two inches long each, onto the parchment baking sheets. Pipe batter down the centers of the outlines and use a small spatula to fill in the shapes and smooth the tops. Make 24 “footballs.” Bake for about 12 minutes or until set and the top springs back when slightly pressed. Cool completely before filling. To prepare filling, beat butter with an electric mixer until fluffy. Add marshmallow crème and confectioners sugar and beat until smooth. To assemble, spread a generous layer inside one cookie and top with a second cookie. Once sandwiches are filled, place remaining icing in a pastry bag fitted with a small round writing tip, and pipe lines to resemble a football on top of the cookie sandwiches. Or purchase a tube of white writing icing in the grocery store for the decorating part. Makes 12 servings. Cheri Sicard is author of The Cannabis Gourmet Cookbook and Mary Jane: The Complete Marijuana Handbook for Women.Visit her blog at

november 2016


Fleegal Farms’ Dope Soaps Texas company makes anti-aging hemp cleansers. By Erin Hiatt “Soap is a medium that complements my personality well,” says Elly Fleegal, founder of Fleegal Farms, an eco-friendly body-care company in Austin, Texas that makes hemp-based soaps. “I wanted to pay homage to this overlooked resource, so I created our Dope Soap bar back in 2008.” Fleegal was looking to create a business that upheld her social values while also allowing her to be a full-time parent to her four stepchildren, so she started Fleegal Farms. Although the company offers other product, such as lip balm and sugar scrubs, where Elly really shines is as a soap maker. She’s experimented with different combinations of herbs, clays and minerals to create her soaps’ bold colors and aromatic scents—none of which, she notes, come from a fragrance company’s bottle. “I loved that I was able to create much healthier skincare options while maintaining my goal to keep my line completely natural,” Fleegal says. “My soap studio is surrounded by nature, just feet away from our organic vegetable and herb gardens.” While researching new product development, Fleegal discovered hemp seed oil’s anti-aging and moisturizing properties. An added benefit of hemp is its environmental sustainability. “I read about how hemp could produce the same amount of paper products in a single season that a hardwood forest could in 10 years,” she explains.


All of Fleegal’s soaps—25 different kinds, including Mexican Chocolate Spice—are made with cold-pressed hemp seed oil (the same kind that makes a nutritious salad dressing), as well as olive and coconut oils. Made in small batches to uphold product integrity, the soaps also contain natural essential oils like patchouli, spearmint, clove and basil. Fleegal is proudest of the fact that her products are botanical, vegan and animal-friendly. She’d like to grow the wholesale side of the business to allow for more time at home and less on the road selling products. “Though I learn a lot and love hearing my customers’ amazing feedback,” says Fleegal, “I’m really a homebody at heart.” Crafting the soaps is a labor of love for Fleegal, who enjoys watching how every use reveals a new surface and changes in the marbling and patterns. “All my life I’ve enjoyed and taken pride in what I can make,” she says. That love and care is clearly evident in her products. Find the soaps and more at and Etsy. Erin Hiatt writes about the cannabis industry. Follow her on Twitter @erinhiatt.

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november 2016


Be Grateful

th Be By ann M

Holiday Season Reasons to It’s that time of year when we’re socially coerced into feeling appreciative. Add the strain of dysfunctional family relations, and the holidays can be too much pressure for any mellow stoner to endure. But before you pack your pipe and run for the hills, consider all the things you should be grateful for.

• Your reliable dealer: Back in the dry days of yore, the only dealer in town usually had nothing to offer but dry, seedy and overpriced weed. Nowadays, even in the most far-flung of locations, it’s fairly easy to score, and score well. You might want to consider tipping your dealer a little something extra this holiday season. But go traditional: an apple pie or a box of candy (nothing marijuana-infused, they’ve been there, done that). • You’re not an alcoholic: Most

potheads stay on the green side of the fence. So while your family is embroiled in a booze-fueled argument, congratulate yourself on choosing a drug that rarely leads to more than fighting for the remote control.

• You’re more socially acceptable than ever: Gone are the days when you

had to hide your love of all things green and smokeable. With legalization in a number of states, it’s a New World Order. Now you can proudly saunter into your holiday gatherings, bringing only Mary Jane as your plus-1.

• Your family members are more captivating than usual: Pot has the

reputation of emotionally distancing you from others. But that’s not necessarily the case. The cannabinoids in marijuana and the “love hormone” oxytocin both interact with the same parts of the


brain, meaning that cannabis can actually improve interpersonal bonding. After a couple of bong hits, Uncle Charlie’s nonstop complaints about his sciatica and Aunt Sally’s martini-induced ramblings seem actually kind of endearing.

• The munchies help you appreciate lesser-liked Thanksgiving dishes:

Just because it’s a holiday doesn’t mean all the food is delicious. But a few tokes beforehand make the following suspicious dishes almost palatable: creamed spinach, Jell-O salad with pecans, canned cranberry sauce, candied sweet potatoes with marshmallows, and mashed turnips. Even the vapidly bland veggie tray is transformed into a veritable taste extravaganza.

• You’re the doctor in the house:

Whether it’s a crippling hangover, indigestion or the accidental fracture of a limb during a Frisbee match gone horribly wrong, you, my friend, are the inhouse hero with the magical cure-all. Friends and relatives will be stunned and amazed at how marijuana relieves pain and nausea, and reduces the inflammation suffered during the family football game. So Happy Danksgiving! Beth Mann is President of Hot Buttered Media.

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november 2016


FL’s Denver bud reviewer samples several official Willie Nelson strains. By Adam Buckman

Red Headed Stranger Lemon Skunk

Named after Nelson’s 1975 album, this Williams’s Wonder x Tom Hill’s Haze cross is a heavily medicinal flower. William’s Wonder hails from Afghani lineage and Tom Hill’s Haze descends from Mexican, Colombian, Thai and Indian landrace sativas. High in CBD, Red Headed Stranger (RHS) is terrific for patients seeking relief from pain, nausea, muscle spasms or headaches. The sativa effects are particularly helpful for those with ADHD, depression and low energy. Since this was a pre-roll, I couldn’t really observe the look and smell of the flower. After an immediate head rush, my vision appeared brighter and more vivid, backed up by a racy, energized feeling. It’s spicy and earthy, with an added sweetness that hides in the back of your tongue. A perfect daytime smoke, RHS didn’t make me feel groggy at all. However, if you have to sit through class or a meeting, I don’t recommend this buzzy bud. RHS is a typical sativa that will give you a boost without any added anxiety.

DNA Genetics crossed two different Skunk phenotypes that have very zesty and lemony terpene profiles to create this sativa-dominant hybrid. It’s dark green, has short orange hairs and is caked with trichomes. With fresh lemon juice undertones, this is one of my favorite-smelling buds, and since Skunk is an all-time classic strain, I had major hopes that it would deliver a strong punch. Unfortunately, this strain didn’t taste nearly as good as it smelled, and the effects were mild at best. This Skunk strain looked great and smelled even better, but it would take a large amount to medicate properly.




november 2016

november 2016


Blueberry Headband This powerful hybrid combines Blueberry and Headband (Emerald OG Kush x Cali Sour Diesel). It’s a 50/50 sativa/indica split that reeks of berries and sweet fruits, with diesel undertones. I don’t usually stumble over my thoughts, but the pre-roll had me locked up—not in a couch-lock sort of way, but more as though there was a wall between me and the rest of the world. Not everyone will enjoy that, but there are some nights when you just want to turn off and reset. A classic creeper, it started out as a sativa high, but as time passed, the indica heaviness set in. But then the effects quickly faded. This one may be good for the everyday recreational user, but I’d recommend other strains for medical patients.


Afghani One of the oldest pure landrace strains on Earth, Afghani has the couch-lock effect most indicas are known for. The pre-roll was pungent and sweet with very fresh herbal and floral notes, but the effects were oddly nonexistent, beyond mild relief from anxiety and stress. Due to its high couch-lock tendency, anyone with a low tolerance should steer away from this strain. However, it’s perfect for medical patients, specifically to help with insomnia and appetite stimulation. I had huge expectations, but unfortunately it did not live up to the hype.



OG Bubba Kush

This combination of Ghost OG and Pre-98 Bubba Kush is an amazing indica-dominant hybrid. The sample was bright green with light brown and orange hairs, but the trim job could’ve been better. It smelled citrusy and earthy, and tasted like sweet lemons and cream. With each hit it just got tastier. OG Bubba starts energetic and happy, and then transitions into a warm indica buzz that helps you sleep. It’s good for patients who suffer from multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, eating disorders or chronic pain in the joints, tendons or muscles. Tested at 18.6% THC, this is one of the most complete strains I’ve ever smoked, meaning that all of the cannabinoids and terpenes work together to create the full experience. It’s light years better than anything else I tried from Willie’s Reserve. This OG belongs on the top shelf.

Rating: All the strains tested were acquired at Lucy Sky Cannabis Boutique in Denver. Adam Buckman attends the University of Denver.

november 2016

november 2016


Green Day Returns With Revolution Radio By Roy Trakin

For a group that started off in 1986 extolling the joys of jerking off, smoking pot and staring at the tube, Green Day seemed the least likely band to be the spokesmen for Generation X. But that’s just what they became with 2004’s American Idiot, and they continue to lambaste modern society with their latest set of songs, Revolution Radio. After a public meltdown at the 2012 iHeartMusic Festival in Las Vegas, Green Day singer and guitarist Billie Joe Armstrong entered rehab. In 2015, Green Day was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Consequently, the new album is alternately introspective, autobiographical and nostalgic for lost innocence, but also expresses resilience. The band celebrates its unlikely survival on pop-punk anthems like “Somewhere Now” (“I’ve grown up and am medicated/ On my own cellular waves”), “Still Breathing” (“I’ve been running all my life/Just to find a home that’s for the restless”) and “Too Dumb to Die” (“I was a high school atom bomb/Going off on weekends/ Smoking dope and mowing lawns”). Armstrong has found personal contentment, but that doesn’t mean he’s ready to stop railing against those who seek fame through senseless acts of violence (“Bang Bang”), the narcissism of social media (“Revolution Radio”), police brutality (“Say Goodbye”), while noting the downfall of those who ignore history at the risk of repeating past mistakes (“Troubled Times”). What distinguishes Green Day—the trio of Armstrong, bassist Mike Dirnt and drummer Tre Cool—from many of their punk brethren is the sweetness of Armstrong’s sentiments, whether he’s


Following a stint in rehab, Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong is back leading the band.

reflecting about being saved by love on the Beatles-esque “Youngblood” (“She’s my weakness, fucking genius/Swear to god and I’m not even superstitious”), or accepting domestic bliss on the acoustic closer, “Ordinary World” (“Baby, I don’t have much/But what we have is more than enough”). On the masterful three-part “Forever Now,” a Who-like mini-rock opera, Armstrong confesses, “My name is Billie/And I’m freaking out.” Later in the song, he admits, “I never learned to read or write so well/But I can play the guitar/Until it hurts like hell,” then proclaims, “I wanna start a revolution/I wanna hear it on my radio.” In an era of instant gratification, streaming and ubiquitous music, it seems almost quaint that Green Day still look to the radio as a means of social upheaval. It’s even more amazing that, after hearing these songs, you almost believe it’s still possible. Roy Trakin is the former Senior Editor of HITS magazine and currently writes for Freedom Leaf and All Access.

november 2016

november 2016


Joe Dolce’s Excellent Cannabis Adventure By Steve Bloom Joe Dolce says he’s not a stoner—right on the back cover of Brave New Weed: Adventures into the Uncharted World of Cannabis—but that’s not entirely accurate. I’d call him a stoner with issues. The former editor of Details and Star decided that marijuana is his new subject of interest, and he has created a compelling book that stands alongside deep reads like Martin A. Lee’s Smoke Signals and Michael Pollan’s The Botany of Desire. Dolce places himself among a generation of lapsed 50-something pot smokers who got away from it after college. “I never deemed a mere weed to be worthy of respect,” he writes in the introduction. “Because of its prevalence, I just assumed cannabis wasn’t very interesting.” But it’s during a trip to Denver that we find out what’s really been bothering Dolce about marijuana, when he takes a dab hit and gets sick. “I stumble outside in hopes of cold air slapping me straight, but it’s too late,” Dolce confesses. “A heave rumbles in my gut, kicking its way into my throat and out of my mouth, ending in a full Linda Blair exorcism.” It’s this kind of graphic honesty that makes Brave New Weed so compelling. On a mission to better understand the plant, Dolce jets to Israel where he visits the lab of Dr. Ralph Mechoulam, the Israeli chemist who discovered THC in 1963. In answer to Dolce’s nagging question about why marijuana has made him ill, Mechoulam describes it as a form of overdose. This revelation leads Dolce to the endocannabinoid system and the many chemicals and flavonoids in cannabis, such as CBD and terpines. After much searching, he finds a 1:1 THC/CBD


spray to his liking, and a vaporizer (Storz & Bickel’s PLENTY) that “unleashes a sunny high with far less face-punching cognitive disturbance than you’ll get from a joint.” By the time he finishes his cannabis studies, Dolce has become an expert, predicting the future of pot in the final chapter, beginning with “Designing Your Highs.” Dolce seeks dosage reliability, and contends that “this consistency is the primary reason that people who like control shy away from pot and veer toward more predictable substances.” By the end of his adventure, Dolce seems to have his issues with weed under control, and simply asks that “science take the lead.” That’s a reasonable request from a born-again toker who now believes that “pot, used intelligently, might actually be good for you.” Amen, brother.

november 2016

november 2016



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The Oregon Marijuana Business Conference will take place on Nov. 19 in Ashland.

Oaksterdam University Horticulture Seminar Plaza Hotel, Las Vegas lasvegas2016


Humboldt Hemp Fest Mateel Community Center, Redway, CA

Arcview Investor Forum The M Resort, 12300 S. Las Vegas Blvd., Henderson, NV lasvegas World of Cannabis Summit Palms Casino Resort, Las Vegas

Jack Herer Cup Hard Rock Live, Las Vegas


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Marijuana Business Conference & Expo Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas Oregon Marijuana Business Conference Ashland Hills Hotel & Suites, Ashland, OR


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Amsterdam Unity Cup The Melkweg, Netherlands

Expoweed Parque O’Higgins, Santiago, Chile

Oaksterdam University Horticulture Seminar Hotel Beacon, New York Native American Marijuana Conference Viejas Casino & Resort, Alpine, CA Rastafari Rootzfest Ganjamaica Cup Negril, Jamaica

The Emerald Cup Sonoma County Fairgrounds, Santa Rosa, CA

For more events, go to: events.

november 2016



Songwriter. Outlaw. Legend.

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

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

november 2016

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



november 2016

november 2016



november 2016

Freedom Leaf Magazine - Issue 20  

Legalization Nation, Diversity in the Cannabis Industry, Assessing the Obama Years, and Montel Williams' Pot Project

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