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contents Vol 8 IssUE 6



exponential growth Michael Straumietis, aka Big Mike, is the founder of Advanced Nutrients, which is making great strides in the cannabis industry.




p h o t o b y J o h n G i l h o o le y DECEMBER 2016





50 72

feature 30 66


86 18 News Nuggets 20 By the Numbers 22 Local News


66 Holiday Gift Guide 70 Entertainment Reviews 72 Strain, Edible & Concentrate Reviews

in every issue

80 Growing Culture 82 Destination Unknown

84 Profile in Courage 86 Recipes 90 NorCal Now! 92 News of the Weird


The Cannabis Captains These cannabis industry leaders are paving the way for successful cannabis businesses in every sector.


Switching Gears Former Senior Policy Advisor for the Bureau of Medical Cannabis Regulation, An-Chi Tsou is excited to take on the challenge of working in the private cannabis sector.


Fighting Illness With Cannabis Appreciate the incredible journey of an eight-yearold who suffers from epilepsy and how cannabis has saved her life.


A Year In Review Whether you look back at the ups or downs, 2016 was quite a year for cannabis.


Industry Insider California may have legalized cannabis, but it is people like Senior Regulatory Analyst Alex Zavell that will keep it that way.


Tough Love Devotion Famous rapper Asher Roth is dedicating his life to his fans and college students in need.

online Exclusive!

departments news



d New Chinese Language “Yelp”

Style App Coming for Cannabis Investments d CULTURE’s Guide to Staying in Compliance with Cannabis Advertising Regulations in Every State

Vol 8 IssUE 6 DECEMBER 2016
















Publisher Jeremy Zachary Editor-In-Chief Evan Senn associate Editor Ashley Bennett Editorial coordinator Jamie Solis Editorial Contributors Benjamin Adams, Sheryll Alexander, Marguerite Arnold, Jake Browne, Cole Garrison, Jasen T. Davis, Alex Distefano, David Downs, Natasha Guimond, Addison Herron-Wheeler, Anthony Herrold, Pamela Jayne, Heather Johnson, Joe Jatcko, David Jenison, Kevin Longrie, Emily Manke, Tyler Markwart, Meital Manzuri, Sandy Moriarty, Madison Ortiz, Denise Pollicella, R. Scott Rappold, Paul Rogers, Joy Shannon, Lanny Swerdlow, Simon Weedn, Zara Zhi Photographers Kristen Angelo, Steve Baker, Kristopher Christensen, John Gilhooley, Joel Meaders, Duncan Rolfson Art Director Steven Myrdahl production manager Tommy LaFleur Graphic Designer Tanya Delgadillo sales director Justin Olson Regional Manager Gene Gorelik Account Executives Jon Bookatz, Eric Bulls, Kim Cook, Cole Garrison, Teddy Helms, Beau Odom, Chris Thatcher, Vic Zaragoza general Manager Iris Norsworthy Office Assistant Angelina Thompson digital content manager David Edmundson digital marketing Alazzia Gaoay manager Ctv Contributors Quinn Marie Distribution Manager Cruz Bobadilla Culture® Magazine is published every month and distributes magazines at over 600 locations throughout the Bay area. No articles, illustrations, photographs, or other matter within may be reproduced without written permission. Culture® Magazine is a registered trademark. All rights reserved.

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/iReadCulture DECEMBER 2016




Legal Cannabis Operation Shutdown by Sheriff in Calaveras County, California A raid on a legal cannabis cultivation facility in Calaveras County has sparked controversy. The facility claims it was working in compliance with local and state laws, while the local Sheriff Rick DiBasilio, in charge of the raid claims the facility was in violation of the local Calaveras County “Urgency Ordinance.” The cannabis that was seized was valued at $10 million. CULTURE chatted with Ata Gonzalez, who is the founder of G FarmaLabs and consulted the licensees who were raided. “The sheriff’s comments [on] why he shut it down were completely wrong,” Gonzalez stated. He continued to share that the sheriff claimed they transported cannabis that was grown legally onto a property that was not licensed, which was untrue. Gonzalez set the record straight on what actually happened. “We were just bringing our product to that facility which was licensed, and we didn’t go to a warehouse where it wasn’t licensed, we didn’t register a second license on that property,” Gonzalez said. Instead, Gonzalez believes that DiBasilio was trying to make a negative example out of the facility prior to the November election, because Measure D was on the ballot, which set out to allow processing of cannabis. Gonzalez shared that the plan is to take the sheriff to court for wrongfully raiding the facility.

Ireland’s Minister of Health Calls For Cannabis Research Ireland is a bit behind the rest of the world, as it still does not permit its citizens to use cannabis for medical purposes. However, that might be changing soon. Ireland’s Minister of Health, Simon Harris, gave a statement in November regarding the future of cannabis in the country. “This is not a discussion about decriminalizing cannabis in any way, shape or form, it is about reviewing our current policy and seeking to inform ourselves of the latest medical and scientific evidence on the potential medical benefits of cannabis for some people with certain medical conditions.” He continued to share that although he is aware that many patients are interested in using cannabis as a treatment, it hasn’t undergone the necessary regulations that medicines must go through to be proven as effective and safe treatments. That is why in his statement, Harris asked the Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA) of Ireland to provide expert scientific advice regarding cannabis.

Oakland City Council Decides Against Controversial Cannabis Equity Program A vote at Oakland’s City Council meeting on November 4 forces the council to abandon its proposed cannabis licensing plan that was causing a ton of controversy. The plan was controversial because it made the city of Oakland a partner in all new cannabis businesses. The public was invited to comment at the meeting, including Debbie Callahan, a resident of Oakland, who shared how the equity program could harm cannabis businesses. “The 25 percent equity proposal could completely squash out some of the cannabis companies that are already in operation that have been struggling. Personally, I work in the cannabis industry and my company has 90 percent Oakland residents and most of them grew up in Oakland, and they support their children and their families on the wages that they receive from the cannabis industry.” The proposed plan was also controversial because it would have given half of the city’s cannabis business licenses to people who had been incarcerated for cannabis-related charges. Callahan also weighed in on this issue. “In the cannabis industry, it is by far very important for there to be an equity clause to protect the residents of Oakland and to prevent further gentrification,” Callahan stated. “At the same time, it has to be fair on both sides.” New laws are expected to roll out in January, which will be modeled after the tax incentives plan. 

Temporary Rules Issued for Cannabis Growers and Producers in PA Temporary rules were set forth by Pennsylvania’s Department of Health in a release from Official News for Pennsylvania State Agencies. Health Secretary Karen Murphy shared the agency’s intention behind this decision. “We’re especially looking for comments from the laboratory community to help us develop regulations that protect the integrity of the medical marijuana testing process,” Murphy stated. “As we move forward in this groundbreaking effort, we want to make sure that patient safety is paramount, and laboratories are essential to meeting that goal. These regulations are designed to ensure we have a safe and responsible process in place.” The temporary rules can only be in place for up to 24 months. They allow processors and growers to import seeds and immature plants from out of state, whereas before they were only allowed to import seeds from out of state. The new rules doubled the number of growing districts in Pennsylvania, and growers now have 90 days to get their grow sites up-and-running. These regulations also ensure the hiring process for cannabis cultivators provides equal opportunity to all, and officials are not allowed to disqualify a candidate’s application on the basis that another state rejected the candidate. 18



The number of votes, out of seven, that were submitted by the Oakland City Council in favor of writing new laws to revise the current equity permit program: (Source: San Francisco Gate)


The number of votes, out of six, by the San Leandro City Council that were in favor of approving a third medical cannabis collective that (Source: will open in June 2017: East Bay Times)



The amount of money, in millions of dollars, that Bay Area-based cannabis delivery service Eaze received from a total of five investors: (Source: Forbes)

The number of local NorCal mayors who attended the Inaugural Bay Area Summit on Urban Manufacturing and announced a region-wide manufacturing plan in light of cannabis legalization in (Source: The California: Mercury Times)



The percentage of banks in the U.S. that are currently providing basic banking services to the cannabis industry: (Source: Bloomberg)


The percentage of Americans who stated their support for cannabis legalization three weeks prior to the election: (Source:


The percentage of Californians who voted to approve Proposition 64, as of November 22: (Source: California General Election Results)

The estimated number of people who attended a cannabis information session in Waikiki, Hawaii to discuss cannabis job openings, investment opportunities and other information about the state’s new cannabis industry: (Source: Hawaii News Now)


The percentage of Wyomingites who stated that they support medical cannabis: (Source: Casper Star Tribune)


The Emerald Cup

WHAT: The Emerald Cup. WHEN/WHERE: Sat, Dec. 10-Sun, Dec. 11. Sonoma County Fairgrounds, 1350 Bennett Valley Rd., Santa Rosa. INFO: Visit for more information.  The Emerald Cup is returning to NorCal, and it’s bringing the ultimate cannabis experience you’ve been craving. This fun event features two lounges with huge screens, couches, panels and snacks. There will be a medicating lounge with complimentary cannabis goodies in addition to a dab bar. While everyone who is at least 18 years old may attend The Emerald Cup, the medicating section is exclusive to medical cannabis patients




in California. There will be plenty of musical guests, which include Damian Marley, Thrive, Dirty Heads and Natali Rize, among others. The event will be more than just good fun, there will also be knowledgeable speakers giving attendees more insight into the many wonders of cannabis. Finally, The Emerald Cup is most importantly a cannabis competition. In its 13th year, the best growers of cannabis and makers of cannabis products will submit their goods. DECEMBER 2016





SF Cannabis Task Force prepares to give its recommendations


by Jamie Solis he San Francisco Cannabis Legalization Task Force will be bringing its recommendations for how to regulate the recreational cannabis market in the city and county of San Francisco. The Task Force is scheduled to share its recommendations with the Board of Supervisors on December 12 at the Land Use and Transportation Committee meeting. CULTURE was able to connect with the Task Force Chair, Terrance Alan, to discuss the future of cannabis legalization in San Francisco. San Francisco residents are notorious for having an inclusive, liberal and alternative way of life. Alan classified the unique quality of his city to the “San Francisco way.” When it comes to cannabis legalization in San Francisco, the Task Force took into consideration the relaxed attitude that already exists within the city and county, in addition to making sure no stone was left unturned. Although the Task Force started before California voted to allow recreational cannabis, Alan shared how the Task Force still used Proposition 64 as the potential framework for what adult legalization could look like. Moving a substance from prohibition and into the recreational market is a complicated process, and the Task Force took upon the task of hammering out every single avenue that would need to be regulated by San Francisco. “We’ve talked about public safety, youth access and exposure, tourism and hospitality, social justice and equity, taxation and revenue, licensing, land use, public consumption and how are we going to create agency oversight and accountability,” Alan stated. Alan shared how the Task Force viewed Colorado’s ban on public consumption lounges, aside from the recent victory for Denver. San Francisco already allows



Eye Heart New Year’s Eve consumption lounges in accordance with their medical cannabis program. While consumption lounges are an important way for people to obtain and consume cannabis, Alan explained that allowing consumption lounges means even more than just that. “Consumption lounges aren’t necessarily just about consuming, they’re about consuming with other people,” Alan stated. “So what does the socialization aspect of cannabis legalization mean short- and long-term to our culture? And that to me is why my heart and soul is in the project.” Alan continued to state how San Francisco has provided many people in the LGBTQ community with socialization opportunities. Now it’s time for them to provide the same to the cannabis community. “By having a consumption lounge, it provides a way for the cannabis community to find its cannabis family and do so in a very public way without shame and do so in what I imagine to be pretty cool places,” Alan stated. “I think it will be a very cool social experiment, and that to me embodies the San Francisco way.” The Task Force would also like to see those who have been negatively affected by the war on drugs to have access to programs for job training when they are released, so they can either work in the cannabis industry or go on to become entrepreneurs. The Task Force also outlined its recommendations for an age appropriate education compliment, among other important topics. It’s pretty clear that San Francisco’s inclusive and thoughtful approach to legalizing cannabis may set a precedent for other cities and counties in California. Alan finished the interview with a final thought, “Look to San Francisco to provide a progressive, urban template for what cannabis integration will look like in three, five and then 10 years, when it’s almost completely normalized.” c

New Year’s Eve is a holiday that has become synonymous with classy champagne and partying into the evening. Party it up in style with this epic New Year’s Eve party. Say “good-bye” to your troubles of 2016 and “hello” to all the new possibilities that 2017 has in store. Be sure to dress to impress, while you enjoy top-shelf cocktails. There will also be some of the hottest local DJs bringing you tunes, so you can dance the night away with cool lighting and visuals on the dance floor. There will also be art installations to keep the party classy, in addition to interactive, multimedia displays and so much more! When the clock strikes midnight, there’s no telling what kind of fun will break out. Get out and celebrate, after all, the New Year is finally upon us! WHAT:  Eye Heart New Year’s Eve. WHEN/WHERE:  Fort Mason Center, 2 Marina Blvd., San Francisco.  INFO:  Visit fortmason. org for more information. DECEMBER 2016





Cannabis Industry Leaders The leaders helping this industry grow to exponential heights by Addison Herron-Wheeler

Nick Kovacevich, Kush Bottles

Every day, more people are getting on board that cannabis should be decriminalized, legalized or made available as medicine. However, many are still concerned about how to keep cannabis out of the hands of children. Most kids know to avoid alcohol, but the worry is that tasty-looking edibles or other disguised products could be accidently ingested. Thanks to the innovations of people like Nick Kovacevich at Kush Bottles, parents who use cannabis can rest easy. Kovacevich and his team are helping to create safe, child-resistant packaging that will protect children from products, even if they do accidently get their hands on cannabis. CULTURE caught up with Kovacevich to talk to him about the ever-changing industry and how his products are providing people with peace of mind. “We got started in 2010, and our goal was to bring childsafe, pharmaceutical-grade packaging to the emerging legal cannabis industry. Our mission was to legitimatize the industry,” explained Kovacevich. “We looked at what was being called medical marijuana at the time and a lot of the practices weren’t exactly up to medical standards, so I think that’s when we came in and wanted to provide something that was child-resistant, medical grade, compliant and above board. We changed the perception of marijuana and allowed the industry as a whole to be painted in a better light.” Through their innovative product, Kush Bottles are offering safety and security to parents and adults who use cannabis.



Ashley Preece-Sackett, Cascadia Labs

As the cannabis industry expands, it’s hard not to constantly be struck with new ideas for businesses and services needed by the industry. So it’s no surprise that Ashley PreeceSackett, the Founding Chapter Chair of Portland, Oregon’s Women Grow Branch, came up with the muchneeded concept of the Ethical Cannabis Alliance. The idea behind this group is to act as a resource for those in the cannabis industry who want to abide by standards and have good practices, and who also want to network and make the industry a communicative and positive place. With a background in horticultural science, Preece-Sackett is interested not just in the legal and business sides of the industry, but also in growing great cannabis that meets industry standards. “With Ethical Cannabis Alliance I would like to gather the voice of the nation and eventually the global voice, to find out what the industry would like to see as far as standards for environment and labor,” Preece-Sackett told CULTURE. “I would like to unify that voice, and then execute on offering a certification body so that people can voluntarily get a certification to show that the business model and the practices they use are above par. Right now there is nothing really available to show they are different than the next person, so I’d like to try and make that happen, but rather than use my own opinion and thoughts on the industry, I want to gather what others want to see.” >>

Anthony Silvaggio, Humboldt Institute for Interdisciplinary Marijuana Research

One area of the cannabis industry that often gets overlooked, but shouldn’t, is the academic realm. In addition to all the medical research that needs to be done in the world of cannabis, it is also necessary to study the social and cultural aspects of cannabis to understand why it has been feared and discriminated against, and why many people find refuge with the plant. As Assistant Professor of Sociology at the Humboldt Institute for Interdisciplinary Marijuana Research, Anthony Silvaggio got to witness the drug war first-hand in his home state. “[I want] to enhance knowledge available to communities, researchers, educators and others in better understanding the past, present and potential future role of cannabis at it relates to the regional economy, workforce development, health, environment and community,” he told CULTURE. “Having lived in Humboldt County, the center of cannabis culture and economy for two decades, I’ve witnessed the militarization of the drug war and the state terrorism that was brought on cannabis communities as a result of insane prohibitionist drug policy. These events led me to teaching courses and conducting research on the collateral damage of the drug war. As an environmental sociologist, I was most interested understanding the environmental consequences of the war on drugs in the region, and how drug war policies have exacerbated environmental devastation on public and private lands.”

Tony Verzura, United Cannabis

Those who have used cannabis as medicine first-hand know best how beneficial it can be, and often end up dedicating themselves to furthering the cause of medical cannabis once they’ve been healed by the plant. Tony Verzura, Chief Technical Officer of UCANN United Cannabis and A.C.T. Now, is one of those cases. Once a pain medication addict combatting pain from multiple car accidents with oxycodone, Verzura discovered cannabis during the lowest point in his struggle with pain pills. Thanks to the plant, he was able to get back his appetite and gain weight, sleep through the night and get rid of a lot of his physical pain. Now, Verzura is developing additive-free medicines for other patients in need, and giving back through the industry as an advocate and philanthropist. “I am hoping to make a large impact on people in need of a medicine that is plant based, not synthetic, and can offer an improvement in their lives” Verzura explained. “And ultimately, I am hoping to have the world see this as a neutral supplement, a supplement that our body needs, and not something to be looked at as just a way to get high. My long-term goal is to help touch as many patients as possible, give them an alternative, let them know not everything has to be synthetic based.”

Thomas Lavigne, Cannabis Counsel P.L.C.

The cannabis industry is quickly growing and expanding, and in order to keep up with the quickly changing regulations, and lack of regulations in some area, it is extremely helpful to have knowledgeable legal counsel on hand. That is where attorneys like Thomas Lavigne of Cannabis Counsel P.L.C. law firm come in. Lavigne started practicing in Hawaii where he took his first cannabis case and realized how much the industry needed help in areas like compliance and copyright law. He dove further and further into the industry until his current practice was born. “Cannabis Counsel is a growing law firm and what we want to achieve is representing clients and finally coming into the daylight and getting licenses, building successful, profitable businesses and servicing this market place which is a significant and large market place,” Lavigne explained. “We want to help clients with new business and products to get licenses, cultivators to get grow licenses, facilities that need to be in compliance and companies representing scientists. And then we also represent people’s constitutional rights and upholding those before the highest courts.” In addition to his paid legal work, Lavigne works with MI Legalize in Michigan to push for patient and usage rights, and even educates his personal care doctor during visits about the benefits of cannabis.

Bianca Green, Spark the Conversation

Those in media get to sit back and watch the entire show unfold, and for individuals involved with cannabis media, the view is particularly special. Not only do members of the cannabis media get to chart the progress of one of the most exciting new cultural and economic movements, they also get to shape it, because what they write about shapes how people perceive the industry. For Bianca Green, who started out as a High Times correspondent for the West Coast, and later produced the documentary Culture High, having a front-row seat to the ups and downs of the industry was second nature. Her inside knowledge and passion for the cannabis industry prompted her to start Spark the Conversation, the non-profit media platform she has been using to spread her message. “Spark the Conversation’s goals are to continue changing the stigma of cannabis and people who use it and to keep the conversation going,” Green explained. “In 2017 we are launching podcasts, video series and content that focus on the zeitgeist of the culture through an advocacy angel. We are a fundraising platform also, so we raise money to give to organizations that are fighting for personal freedom, cannabis and environmental issues. We want to honor a community voice. We feel ending the drug war is a priority and it can only be done collectively. Because we are a 501c3, we can bring brands together who support the same message and in turn each other. It is a joint effort.” >> DECEMBER 2016


The leaders helping this industry grow to exponential heights Dave Branfman, Branfman Law Group, P.C.

Cannabis entrepreneurs are everywhere, so there needs to be someone to help these enterprising businesspeople figure out things like copyright and patents. That’s where Dave Branfman, practicing attorney, comes in. Branfman founded his company, Branfman Law Group, P.C., in order to help those in the cannabis industry wade through the difficult and ever-changing world of rights, ownership and legalities. Branfman has been practicing law since 1979, and focuses on the business of cannabis. “I am trying to help innovators and creators in the cannabis industry protect their ideas and maximize the value of their ideas through a strategic use of the four intellectual tools: trademarks, copyrights, patents and trade secrets,” he told CULTURE. “And basically what we do every day is answer the following question. I realized a couple months ago that I’ve been asked more or less one question for the last 30 years over and over again, and it’s this question; how do I protect my fill in the blank? How do I protect my idea, concept, name, invention, whatever it may be?” In addition to rights advocacy, Branfman dedicates his days to ensuring that new ideas in the industry are protected.

Andrew Modlin, MedMen

One of the most quickly expanding fields in the cannabis industry is management. As more businesses pop up every day and multiple corners of the market continue to be exploited, it is key for these companies to run well and be organized in order to have a competitive age. This is where major cannabis management companies like MedMen in Los Angeles come along. Andrew Modlin, COO and Co-Founder of MedMen, has seen his company grow from a startup idea for a management company to an organization that provides funding for new cannabis businesses and support for every niche in the industry. “We are trying to transform the way people view marijuana, whether you are user or not,” explained Modlin. “We are trying to make cannabis as normal as wine or beer. Bringing marijuana into the mainstream, legalizing it and setting regulations and standards only makes it a safer, better product for everyone.” MedMen are currently working on raising industry standards and improving the overall culture one business at a time.



Devon Richardson, Nerve Cannabis Consulting

Colorado is full of young people who moved to the city to take part in all the amazing career opportunities offered up by the cannabis industry. Devon Richardson moved to Denver from Brooklyn in order to try and make her dream of working in cannabis marketing a reality. She pioneered her own unique cannabis consulting brand, Nerve Cannabis Consulting. As the founder and president of Nerve Cannabis Consulting, Devon is proud of the work she does in the industry. “I want to facilitate my clients being really successful,” Richardson explained. “At the end of the day, their success is my success and that’s the only way I will survive. Not everyone knows how to get their idea to market or how to create this brand and I really want to help them facilitate their vision to help them change the industry and create new products and brands so we can help change current restrictions and scheduling.” Richardson works as a local advocate, and tirelessly provides marketing and consulting solutions for her clients.

Jason Pinsky, VICE / Cannastract

Many in the cannabis industry are forced to be jacks of all trades. Due to the lack of banking options and regulations, as well as the many challenges that come with marketing, selling, growing, packaging and certifying a product, it is necessary to get familiar with many aspects of the industry if you work in it at all. That is why individuals like Jason Pinsky thrive in the world of legal cannabis. In addition to running his New York Citybased consulting company, Cannastract, Pinsky also runs a BBQ restaurant, has a background in technology and digital recordings that he still taps into and is currently producing a cannabis cooking show-series for VICE called Bong Appétit, which debuts on VICELAND television channel on December 15. In 10 years, I see cannabis woven into the fabric of society just like technology,” he told us when asked what he sees for the future of the industry. “It won’t be weird to go to Starbucks and get a cannabis latté because people won’t think it’s weird to add CBD to food. People will use cannabis more in everyday life and it will be much more of a regular thing. My son is nine, and he doesn’t know about ‘just say no’ or the drug war. He knows of cannabis as a plant and will have been exposed to a world where this is just normal. That’s the kind of future I want for the industry.” c DECEMBER 2016


“This is our chance to say hey, the government can help people. Working with people who are passionate about what they are doing is just so infectious. It is an exciting time for the industry. To be part of that, to be part of history—that is awesome!”




If you take a look at An-Chi Tsou’s resume, you may guess her next big career move would be to run for Governor of California. Tsou completed her PhD at UC Berkley in 2012 and began service in the public sector the same year. She is most recently known for her role as the Senior Policy Advisor for the Bureau of Medical Cannabis Regulation. She, along with 10 other employees, has been responsible for creating the medical cannabis regulations in California, which are set to be put into practice early next year, with licensing beginning in 2018. Tsou did not major in political science, however. She has a rather extensive background in science, bio-engineering to be precise. After her last year of graduate school, Tsou took a fellowship that merged science and business in the public sector. She has been on the political road ever since, until now. Tsou has decided to give up the public sector and move into the private one. CULTURE had the privilege of interviewing An-Chi Tsou on her last day as Senior Policy Advisor. She talked with us about her position in the bureau, her future endeavors now that she is changing roles and even a little about Ultimate Frisbee. >> DECEMBER 2016


What do you look forward to most when it comes to moving into the private sector? Part of it is, I like new challenges. I am excited about meeting a variety of people and hearing their stories and then being able to help. That feeling of helping people, I get a high off of that. Tell us about your new role as a consultant in the private sector. I’m actually opening up my own firm— Tsou Consulting, LLC. One of my goals is to work with underrepresented groups to create equal access. How will you combine your knowledge of California’s current cannabis policies with Tsou Consulting, LLC? Using my experience and understanding of the regulatory and legislative processes to create my own strategy and materials. My experience gives me a unique perspective that can help people in the industry. Have you played ultimate Frisbee lately? Who would you love to play (and beat)? (Laughs.) I have. I’m the Co-Captain of a team, with my husband, the Polar Bears. We just finished our main season. I would love to play Serena Williams because she is an incredible athlete, very competitive and a role model. She has been at the top of her game for so freaking long. She is an inspiration to me and many other athletes. Writing regulations is a long and tedious process. Where was your group in this process when you left? We just finished the pre-regulatory stake holder meetings and came up with some initial ideas to pitch to the public. A lot of progress was made, a lot of people I know are really anxious to see the end result. What did you feel most strongly about in regulating medical cannabis in California? There are three highlights for me, personally. First, patient safety is of huge importance. Some businesses try their best to create products that are safe. But, without state and local standards, that is sometimes hard to do. This is also important to me because of my bio-engineering background. I



have met people with chronic diseases with no other solution. This gives them access to medicine that makes them feel better. One of the reasons I went into public policy is because I wanted to help people. Second is public safety. I have talked to stakeholders about what they are going through. I have a lot of respect for companies that have been in existence for multiple generations. This can be a dangerous business in some circumstances. Finally, protecting the environment is critical to having strong regulations. A lot of damage has been

“Patient safety is of huge importance. Some businesses try their best to create products that are safe. But, without state and local standards, that is sometimes hard to do.” done to certain parts of the state and there is a great deal of work ahead of us to fix those problems. What regulations did you least look forward to? I don’t think there’s anything I am looking forward to the least. There are a lot of hot button issues that will be challenging. My friends will tell you I don’t shy away from challenges. With the new addition of a license distributor, people are nervous that

cannabis prices will shoot up. Do you believe this will happen? I think this is the least understood license under the medical program. It was put there to be a third party inspection and quality assurance type of agent. I really think the first thing we have to do is educate folks on what the license is. Will the newly legal recreational cannabis affect the work that has been done thus far in the medical regulations? Will it change anything? Or delay the structuring? There is some flexibility there to be able to change it. So it could take longer. I suspect there will be a bill to make some changes to one or both. December will be really interesting to see what new bills will be put out there. Yet another reason to get engaged. You speak several languages. How do you think you can help non-English speaking people grasp the importance of medical cannabis and its regulation in California? I want to really help; I feel inspired as a woman of color to help out different businesses and am happy to partner with minority owned businesses. I want to help people learn how to get involved and to understand the process. What does a typical day as the Senior Policy Advisor for the Bureau of Medical Cannabis Regulation look like? I don’t know if there was a typical one. Some days I was making informational materials for the public, meeting with the legislature and writing analysis on different things. Other days I was meeting with stakeholders, or other regulatory agencies, or researching or meeting with other states. It definitely depended on the day. What inspires you to be part of the cannabis industry? It is a fascinating policy area. It is so rare that anyone in the public sector is able to create something new. Some policies have been around a really long time. I say “new,” but I put quotes around it because it has actually been around a long time. This is our chance to say hey, the government can help people. Working with people who are passionate about what they are doing is just so infectious. It is an exciting time for the industry. To be part of that, to be part of history—that is awesome! c DECEMBER 2016





The Eight-Year-Old Epilepsy Warrior Kara and her medical cannabis journey

“We know we’re getting there with her medication, we just have to figure out the best strains and consistencies.” 36


story and photos by Madison Ortiz

Kara is an eight-year-old epilepsy warrior from Michigan who has legally been medicating with cannabis for just over two years. Krista, Kara’s mother, talked with us without skipping a beat, “She’s not cognitively impaired but she’s classified as otherwise health impaired. Though she’s in second grade, she has the maturity level of a kindergartner.” Kara’s Dad David chimed in, “We’re still trying to figure out what’s going on inside her brain.” Kara’s parents aren’t entirely sure if the development issues are more attributed to the seizures or the cocktail of medications that have made their way through her body. Despite being a bit behind other kids

her age, Kara’s spirit and soul shine brighter than bright. At eight months old Kara had her first febrile seizure and again at 22 months. Her current diagnosis is “Generalized Epilepsy with Febrile Seizures Plus,” but she’s a bit of a specialized mystery case as many of her critical tests (PET, MRI, CAT) show results that don‘t line up. The frequency of her seizures is regular, occurring about every one-and-ahalf to two weeks. Prior to cannabis, they lasted a minimum of four but up to nine minutes. After cannabis was introduced to her medication regiment they are typically a minute or less; the longest ever while medicating with cannabis being three minutes. >> DECEMBER 2016


“I then told my wife that when the doctor made his rounds the next day that they weren’t taking no for an answer . . . That was the best moment ever, really; to get that signature.”

Kara’s history with pharmaceuticals is not an uncommon story for epilepsy warriors, filled with additions and subtractions of varied substances to find just the right fit. Doctors started Kara on Trileptal, added Keppra added Onfi (which she is still on). Trileptal and then Keppra were weened, when a “thick disgusting cherry flavored” Depakote was added. Additionally Zonegran was added. At three years old, Kara was forced to receive blood draws every few weeks to check her platelet levels. Both parents agreed, “Her personality, appetite, everything changed. She wasn’t eating, wouldn’t get off the couch, she was pale and would bruise really easily.” She was cut ‘cold-turkey’ off of Depakote after tests alerted them of an alarming platelet count of 60,000 (normal range is 150,000-450,000). “She almost died because of what Depakote put her body through. They have to actually check the levels of this medicine in your blood because it is toxic is if builds up in your system.” Mom and Dad hope to one day eliminate all pharmaceuticals for their daughter. For the past two years, Kara has been legally using cannabis oil in addition to her prescribed pharmaceutical regiment. Since Kara’s success with cannabis oil, the rescue medication Klonopin is rarely used because cannabis has shortened the length of time she seizes for. Regarding Kara’s cannabis-related regiment (at 50 lbs), she receives 18:1 38


CBD:THC tincture three times a day, 1:1 three times a day, and RSO two times a day (just not before school). Her medicine comes in fractionated coconut oil; liquid form. A syringe with a bottle; same type of thing was you’d figure out dosage with other medicines for children; by weight. “She gets her syringe, and I say ‘here Kara it’s time for your green medicine.’ Getting her to take medicine has never been an issue. You can give her two pills tell her to take them, she takes them; give her a syringe she sucks it down; but with ‘green medicine’ she sucks it down and pulls the syringe out and walks around sucking on the tube cause she likes it so much.” With Kara being one of the youngest Michigan medical cannabis patients, you may be wondering about what the process was like for an eight-year-old to obtain a legal medical cannabis license. Dad explained that “you need two doctors to get a minor’s [medical card].” His advice to other families with desire to help a patient who is a minor, “If you can, try to get a family doctor on board that is willing to recommend cannabis,” providing one of the two required signatures. Initially upon discussion with their doctor, formerly the head of Pediatrics at Children’s Hospital, there was repetitive resistance. The turning point was when Kara was brought to the ICU following a 40 minute long seizure. She was given so many Benzodiazepines in the ICU that

she wasn‘t able to breathe and they were going to have intubate her to help her breathe. Kara’s Dad said “It was getting super critical. We were super scared. Thankfully, she came out of it. I then told my wife that when the doctor made his rounds the next day that they weren’t taking no for an answer (in regards to getting him on board with signing off on Kara’s cannabis treatment). That was the best moment ever, really; to get that signature.” Determined to help more people than his daughter, Kara’s father donates thousands of raised funds to the Epilepsy Foundation of Michigan every month. Over 12k has been donated in the past five months, alone. As many parents would, Kara’s Mom wonders if she will go to college and be able to be self efficient. Cannabis improves her quality of life, but she’s still taking pharmaceuticals that seem to be slowing her down. Optimistic for her future, both Krista and David keep their eyes and ears out for success with cannabis oil-related treatments including those applied to the feet or with a nasal spray; Krista mentioned they would be excited to try if they can gain access to it. They are also looking into trying 50 percent activated/50 percent inactive THCa and CBD. “We know we’re getting there with her medication, we just have to figure out the best strains and consistencies.” c DECEMBER 2016





by Marguerite Arnold As much as the U.S. has moved ever more slowly towards state-by state reform this year, cannabis legalization is taking place all over the world. Some of it is less impressive than what is going on in the U.S., some of it more progressive and encompassing. Regardless of the status of the change, however, prohibition here on Planet Earth is clearly coming to an end. >>




The United States Nine states voted on cannabis reform—both medical access and recreational use—during the national elections. Of these initiatives, eight passed—including four recreational reform states (California, Massachusetts, Maine and Nevada). Of these by far California’s recreational proposal—Prop

Canada & Israel Canada is on the verge of national recreational reform. In the meantime, like Israel, the medical industry is getting organized, regulated, and growing up into a real business. In October, in fact, both Canada and Israel saw their country’s largest pharmacy chains make serious moves to begin distributing medical cannabis throughout the country. Unlike the U.S. most countries, starting with these two, will not have a segregated “cannabis dispensary” system. Medical cannabis will be distributed like any other drug. Canada also began exporting medical grade cannabis around the world this year, most notably to Europe and Australia. Israel, perhaps in reaction to the same, apparently is headed in this direction too after many years of denying that it would consider cannabis exports anywhere.



64—is expected to have the most influence of the pace of change in other states as well as at the national and even international level. It is clear that cannabis prohibition in the United States, sooner rather than later, will be seen as a strange political if not medical anomaly of the 20th century.

Australia Australia is moving in the direction of most European countries right now. In the beginning of November, the country announced that it was beginning the growth of its own medical-bound crop while formulating national regulations and funding R&D initiatives. DECEMBER 2016



Europe right now is undergoing a fascinating, multi-state reform process, although inevitably there are those who seem to be doing it right and those who seem to be acting defensively, particularly in the southern part of the continent, to limit smuggling and black market activities. The leader in the EU right now is probably Germany, which began importing medical grade cannabis from Canada late in the summer. The country is well on its way to rescheduling the drug to a Schedule III and covering it under health insurance as early as spring next year. Plans are also afoot to create a national cannabis regulatory agency which will then regulate the growth of the domestic medical only (for now) crop. Italy, however, is also shaping up to be a contender in the medical space. In fall, the country’s military began distributing its first cannabis crop to local pharmacies. In anticipation of greater reform, there are also reports of more or less private cannabis clubs mushrooming around the country.

Rome also saw the opening of its first “cannabis café”—where registered patients can go into a private back room and imbibe. In the U.K., British authorities issued notice in October that they too were beginning to regulate the industry, although in this case, at this juncture, CBD only. It is likely that the British will then extend the same regulatory oversight to THC. In the meantime, all growers, distributors, manufacturers and sellers will be subject to some kind of regulatory oversight—although the exact parameters of the same has yet to be determined. This is also taking place against the backdrop of GW Pharma, one of the world’s best known canna-based pharma companies, outsourcing its British grown cannabis to the country’s largest sugar supplier. Carry on cannabis, indeed. In Spain, authorities are closer than ever to passing legislation, currently also slated for early 2017, to better regulate the sprawling and increasingly popular cannabis club culture that

The Beginning of a Global Export Market Just as significant as individual reform going on in sovereign countries right now, is the rise of the ex-im market. As Canada just proved, international regs are clearly being reconsidered. Other countries such as Israel are taking note. However it is not just European countries and Canada that are considering getting in on a booming and highly valuable 46


international agricultural commodity game. One of the most surprising developments of the last few months was Chubut, Argentina—which not only announced the incorporation of high CBD hemp oil into its health system, but also announced that it was importing the hemp oil from The Stanley Brothers, creators of the Charlotte’s Web strain. c

has continued to expand over the last decade. Currently, just as in other parts of the world, Spaniards can consume cannabis in members-only private clubs. The grows that support the same, however, particularly the larger ones, are increasingly raided by police. The pending legislation is expected to formalize how clubs can operate, and where they can get their cannabis from. Other contenders for legalization are also popping up around Europe. Croatia began distributing Canadian imported THC oil from Canada. Greece announced this fall that it was changing its medical laws to incorporate cannabis. And last but not least, Turkey has also weighed in on reform in an effort to cut down on its still booming illegal hash market. For now, the government has legalized cannabis cultivation bound for medical users and research in 19 of its 81 provinces, but it is still early yet to see how the industry plays out here. DECEMBER 2016


Industry Insider

“The medical cannabis laws that passed on the ballot did it in places like Arkansas and North Dakota that are traditional Republican states, so support for medical cannabis is not a partisan issue in this country anymore.”

Senior Regulatory Analyst and Prop. 64 expert Alex Zavell

by R. Scott Rappold


annabis is finally legal in California. Take a breath. Shrug off the bad vibes of this contentious national election and focus on the positive. Now say it again. Cannabis is legal in California. But for policy wonks like Alex Zavell, getting cannabis legal may have been the easy part. The devil, as they say, is in the details. As a senior regulatory analyst



for renowned cannabis attorney Robert Raich, Zavell sees a long and complicated road ahead, both in implementing Proposition 64 as well as the host of new medical cannabis regulations that were in the works before the election. Add to that the fact that local governments will still be able to make their own rules on cannabis, and the wonks and lawyers have a lot of work ahead of them.

“There’s obviously a general attitude across this county that cannabis prohibition has failed and legalizing adult use of cannabis is a better path forward,” said Zavell, 25. “The details though are very important. For some time the writing has been on the wall that that’s the direction of the country but how we legalize it and the details are the hard parts and equally important.” >> DECEMBER 2016


Interest in cannabis


When he was a senior in high school, Zavell was assigned to write a report on a U.S. Supreme Court case. “I had just became aware of cannabis and the policies surrounding it as an individual and had an interest in it,” he said. So he chose the case of Gonzales v. Raich, in which his future employer represented two California medical cannabis patients facing charges for their home grows. The Court ruled against Raich. For Zavell, learning about the case lit a fire in him and he decided he would pursue cannabis law as a career. He had a friend who had interned with Raich and in 2010 he became an undergraduate researcher for the attorney. Three years later, it became a full-time job. Since then, much of his work has pertained to the policies of local governments, who in the absence of state policies became the sole regulators of the cannabis industry. “It’s certainly challenging. Each city and county has its own way of doing things and there’s a tremendous diversity of approaches among local governments in this state,” he said. While some municipalities like San Francisco had plenty of resources to put towards regulating dispensaries and drawing up detailed policies, others were small towns with all-volunteer councils and tiny staffs to deal with the same issues. Though he’s not an attorney himself, Zavell has represented the industry at council meetings and task force sessions. He has advised statewide and regional organizations on policy issues and chairs a local policy committee for the National Cannabis Bar Association. It’s all put him in a good position to gauge where the state is headed, as far as regulating this industry. And the answer is, well, it’s complicated.


Medical vs recreational

When California lawmakers passed the Medical Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act in 2015, it created the framework of industry regulation. A new state agency was formed from scratch and officials held public meetings across the state to get input before getting to work on the rules. Then along came Proposition 64, legalization of adult use, which passed with 56 percent of the vote. “Obviously it changes the whole conversation in California,” said Zavell. Local control is a key tenet of both measures, and he expects recreational cannabis, like medical, will become a patchwork of different rules. Cities can ban recreational stores outright, and some already have, while others can may allow cultivation but no dispensaries or vice-versa. But while the industry is used to dealing with the whims of local officials, the impending arrival of state rules leaves plenty of questions. One of the only sure things is the state will begin issuing licenses for cannabis businesses on January 1, 2018. “There’s a lot of uncertainty about various details as to how it will be implemented. I think in general that sense of regulatory uncertainty is difficult for businesses to



“There’s obviously a general attitude across this county that cannabis prohibition has failed and legalizing adult use of cannabis is a better path forward.” deal with in planning how they’ll proceed, with questions like the cost of licensing and how the tax structure will ultimately be implemented,” said Zavell. Will medical and recreational operations be subject to different rules? Will they be forced to have completely separate supply chains? Will employees still be subject to termination for failing a drug test? Will the tax on sales be a flat tax or progressive? Where will people legally be allowed to light up? Zavell expects to be heavily involved in answering these questions in the coming year as policy makers hash them out. Proposition 64 is a 62-page document, he said. There are bound to be areas where it needs to be cleaned up. In the meantime, he says, don’t panic. “In a lot of ways regulation is long overdue. There are certain aspects of the informal economy that has prevailed over the past decades that clearly call for and require the tools that the regulatory framework our state has adopted will afford us,” he said. And then there’s the wild card, President-elect Donald Trump. After years of the Obama Administration’s handsoff policy towards weed, will things change under Trump? “The President-elect has, whenever asked about his approach to cannabis law, repeatedly said he considers it a state issue . . . My hope and expectation is that he sticks to that policy,” Zavell said. He also pointed out that eight of nine statewide ballot measures on cannabis passed on November 8, meaning medical use is legal in 28 states and recreational in eight states. “The medical cannabis laws that passed on the ballot did it in places like Arkansas and North Dakota that are traditional Republican states, so support for medical cannabis is not a partisan issue in this country anymore,” he said. “It seems like there are many other issues that would probably be higher priorities to try to change federal policy on.” c DECEMBER 2016


THE EVOLUTION OF ASHER ROTH From rap music and adolescence to advocacy and giving back by Pamela Jayne

“There are so many people, rather it be for seizures or people suffering from leukemia, using it as medicine. Those are the people I want to speak for.”



Having successfully broken free of the confines of the frat rap genre he was unceremoniously relegated to after the monster success of his first single, “I Love College,” Asher Roth has graduated into a new phase of personal introspection, social consciousness and an alternative experimental hip-hop sound that proves wrong the critics who once designated him as a one hit wonder. Fret not though beer pong players, he is still the same fun loving, down-to-earth, joint smoking, beer drinking guy he was back in 2009. Now 31, his hair is longer, his rhymes are wiser and his world view is focused more on those in need of inspiration rather than intoxication. Asher is more dedicated than ever—not only to his own future, but also the future of his fans. While creating new, authentic music and touring, he is also building a foundation to aid those burdened by student debt. The aptly named I Love College Foundation, inspired by his sister, is still in its infancy, but will soon be a hub for those in need of relief from college debt. CULTURE recently had an in depth conversation with Asher about his past and present success, his future in music, his tough love style devotion to his fans, and his love for and advocacy of cannabis. >> DECEMBER 2016


You went from being a normal college kid, to a rap star in a relatively short period of time. What was that like? It happened so fast, you almost don’t even realize what’s happened. When I sat back and realized where I was, and how I’ve come along, it was about getting to a place where I could create a platform that allows me to speak about things I’m passionate about and not just about getting rich and famous. For those who haven’t followed you since the “I Love College” days, how would describe your current sound? I like to change things up from project to project, but my drums are always gonna be rooted in hip-hop. Whether we’re using guitar or accordion, it’s gonna be a little tripped out. I don’t ever want it to be the case where someone puts on my stuff and goes ‘Oh, I’ve heard this before.’ I want to keep challenging myself, challenging my listeners, becoming a better songwriter, and developing my sound over time. Alternative experimental hip-hop gives me a lot to work with. Can you tell us about the I Love College Foundation? Setting up the I Love College Foundation is something I hold dear and is a top priority to me. I’m working out the logistics of the whole thing, we’re going to have to find funding. Proceeds from



what I do will go towards it. I meet kids, some are up to 140K in debt. What are you even supposed to do with that? Your introduction into the adult world has you playing from so far behind, and I just don’t think that’s fair. Especially when all you’re pursuing is higher education. What made you go from being a casual, recreational smoker, to a full-blown cannabis advocate? Personally, I’m one of the lucky ones. I don’t need cannabis medically. There are so many people, rather it be for seizures or people suffering from leukemia, using it as medicine. Those are the people I want to speak for. I got so passionate about marijuana because of how magical it is, and how many people it’s helped. It’s helped me become self-aware, and understand the importance of balance and diet. It’s grounding. When I smoke, recreationally, I might add, it helps me stay grounded. I can see things that I might not have been as receptive or sensitive to at the time, now I become extremely receptive to. I just think it’s wildly helpful and a wonderful alternative medicine. What is your favorite strain? Do you have a preferred method of cannabis consumption? I tend to lean towards the Kushs, the OG Kushs. I like the heavier stuff at night. I typically go for either sativa hybrids for the daytime and heavier indicas for

“I got so passionate about marijuana because of how magical it is, and how many people it’s helped. It’s helped me become self-aware, and understand the importance of balance and diet.” night. I really enjoy a clean bong rip, I do like smoking joints. I’m really impressed with the antiinflammatory properties of CBDs. Marijuana has really helped me when I get bummed out. It gives you a little boost in optimism, like “Hey man, the world’s not a terrible place.” There’s few things better than smoking and going for a walk. The world is so crazy right now! I think we should all smoke a little weed and go for a walk. So what’s next? Do you have more new music or tour plans in the works? is the hub. I built that to have a place to share my music and ideas. When people sign up for the mailing list we send them content like the conversation that you and I are having. My thing is building that up further to be a multimedia company. That’s where I’m at, and rap music is my vehicle. I came back to Philadelphia to work on a record that should be out in 2017. It’s gonna be back to the fun. I’m not making music just for myself, I make it to share. I make it for others to enjoy. c DECEMBER 2016




p h o t o s b y J o h n G i l h o o le y

“I fell in love with the plant once I started taking care of it and growing it.”

Raising the Bar in Cannabis Growth Advanced Nutrients’ Founder Michael “Big Mike” Straumietis is helping this industry reach new heights

by R. Scott Rappold


he first thing you have to know about Michael “Big Mike” Straumietis is this— when he first started growing cannabis in his home state of Illinois, having up to 20 plants could get you six years in prison, 50 plants 10 years and more than 200 plants, 30 years. Oh yes, and those prison sentences were mandatory minimums. The early 1980s was not a good time to be caught cultivating. It was a life in the shadows, a life on the run. So you’ll forgive Big Mike if he is living a bit, well, ostentatiously lately. You may have seen him on Instagram, the “Marijuana Don” partying at his mansion with bikini models and huge quantities of premium herb or hopping across the country on a private jet.

The six-foot-seven-inch giant is living the high life for the rest of us and he doesn’t care who knows about it. As the founder of Advanced Nutrients, Straumietis has done well for himself in the cannabis revolution of the past two decades, through his company Advanced Nutrients, the world’s largest hydroponics nutrient company specifically for cannabis. He’s been tweaking his formulas for three decades and had scientists in Bulgaria studying cannabis long before states began legalizing it for recreation. Straumietis recently took time out of his busy partying . . . um, work schedule to talk with Culture about the past and future of cannabis growing, why he feels cannabis strains will someday be a thing of the past and what it’s like to be Big Mike. >> DECEMBER 2016


Have you always been “Big Mike?” Yes, because my last name is such a mouthful to say. All my friends when I was growing up, because I was always the tallest kid, they just called me Big Mike, and it stuck so it’s easier to remember than my last name. What was your first cannabis experience? I was 12 years old. My half brother Andy came back from Vietnam and he showed up at our door one day, and he was into weed. He gave my father three joints, which my father never smoked. I would look in his drawer and they were just sitting there. I decided to take one and smoke it. I liked it so much I took the other two.


When did you start growing your own? I was 23 years old. I had a lawn care company . . . I had a couple guys working for me, salesmen. They go, “Hey, I’ve got this thing.” “What is it?” “You can make lots of money.” “Tell me about it.” “You’re not ready.” They would tease me every once in a while . . . and one day they took me into their basement and they go, “Do you want to see what it is?” They opened the door and it was these six-foottall cannabis plants growing under these metal halo lights. I asked how it worked and they explained it all to me. I was hooked, and I wanted to make some extra money, and I fell in love with the plant once


I started taking care of it and growing it. I was amazed how it goes from veg into bloom and when you harvest it, how the plant goes through this metamorphosis. It’s really cool. Given the lack of knowledge out there, did you teach yourself how to grow? I was always doing different things, fertilizer wise, to the plants. One day I said to my friends, “I can do a better job than what we’re buying.” So I did and that was it. How did you know which ingredients to use? I experimented. Eventually I took tissue cultures from a bunch of different varieties of plants through the different phases of growing. I took

them from the roots, stems, stalks, leaves and buds. I looked at what the plant utilized in different phases it was going through and from that I was really able to dial in the fertilizer even better. Before that, I realized the plant consumes a lot of potassium and didn’t want a lot of phosphorus. They use a lot of nitrogen. I always had to boost the calcium and magnesium from the fertilizers that were out there. When did you move to Canada? I moved to Canada in 1996. I had already been growing for 13 years . . . If you grow or consume in Canada, you’ve benefited from something I’ve done. >> DECEMBER 2016


You founded Advanced Nutrients in 1999. What inspired you to go legitimate and start your company? I built this huge organization, 200 people working for me, and I watched it all get obliterated by the police. I said, “I never want that to happen again. I love the community I’m in and I’ll just focus on Advanced Nutrients.” I got a license to grow from the Bulgarian government. There are like three licenses like that in the world. At any one time, I have 23 PhDs working and a lot of undergraduates as well . . . With that license I was able to research the plant without any repercussions. What was your vision for Advanced Nutrients to set it apart from the competition? Right off the bat, it was for cannabis and I never shied away from that. I said, “This product is specifically made for cannabis.” My whole life has been spent studying the plant and how to manipulate it . . . I wanted the best product in the marketplace. I wanted it for myself and wound up turning it into a company for other people as well. How was it different from other products on the market? Most of the products at the time were for general agriculture so they had a high phosphorus number. Cannabis doesn’t use hardly any phosphorus. It doesn’t like it. I got sick of watching these fertilizer companies harming patients with heavy metals because they had sky-high phosphorous rates. >>




And it’s about to get a lot faster after this election. Imagine a big fence with wolves on the other side. Right now you’ve got a few rogue wolves jumping the fence . . . Those wolves, the really big ones that are on the other side, the Big Pharma, Big Ag, they’re waiting for the federal government to make it legal. When that happens and the gate opens up and those 800-pound wolves come, you’d better be prepared. I am. Most people aren’t. And there’s going to be a huge mass of consolidations. I’ve built the machine to withstand those guys. I have a very strong machine, and I’ve built it for when this day is coming, and they will not be able to move me off my number one position.

There’s a perception that it’s a weed and is easy to grow. Do you disagree? My friend started growing and we used exactly the same strains, cuttings from the same mother all the time. His weed was just, he would get $2,200 for $2,400 a pound and I was getting $3,000 to $3,400 and he was like, “Jesus, what’s the difference? I don’t understand it. It’s a fucking weed.” I said, “Listen you’re treating it like a weed. You need to give it TLC and treat it like a plant. This plant is going to make you comfortable. It’s going to make you a lot of money, so treat it like a high-value proposition you’re involved in.” The guys who treat it like a weed wind up with a really shitty end product, and the guys who treat it like a plant, love the plant, it’s different. I think the plants can sense you’re taking care of it and they respond better. You’ve talked about your belief that cannabis consumers in the future will focus less on strains and more on “outcomes.” Can you explain that? The regular patients out there, they don’t care about strains. They hunt down strains because that’s all that’s available to them. If I had a product that says, “Hey, this is going to let you sleep better. This is going to give you better sex. This is going to stop your convulsions. This is going to repair your muscles faster. This is going to be for weight loss” . . . You can dial in exactly the outcome. People want outcomes. They want relief from



specific problems, ailments they have. Those things are based on outcomes, not on strains. So the future will be outcomebased not strain-based . . . Think about corn. They have all kinds of different corn you can grow. Do you go into the supermarket; are you looking for DeKalb 604 or Pioneer 901 corn? No. You’re looking for sweet corn.

And why is that? Because I’ve already got my marketing funnels set up. I’ve already been in this industry for a long time. I’ve been growing for 33 years. I’ve had the business for 17 years now. We’re the most profitable cannabis company in the world. I have done more cannabis research than practically anyone else has. I have built my company for withstanding the onslaught of the big boys.

Doesn’t cannabis affect different people in different ways? You’re going to run them through a program and I will be able to deliver an extract based on genetic information that’s available and make a product for you that is just for you. We can already do that to some extent. We know some people carry a gene that’s going to make them paranoid. I happen to carry that gene. And we can make a product where you’re not going to get paranoid.

I want to ask you about your public persona. All the parties and the social media posts, is it something you do to boost the profile of the Advanced Nutrients brand or just what Big Mike does when he can afford it? It’s part of my lifestyle and I show that, the cooler aspects of it. My personal life and my business life are kind of just all one right now, and I like it that way. It’s a little bit of everything I try to show people. If you look at the Instagram, it’s not just jets and weed and women. My charity is on there, my philanthropy. I try to show the full circle, everything that I do.

So you would give customers a blood test? A dab of saliva. You’ll run it through a program and based on that we can deliver a product for whatever problem or ailment you have, deliver the outcome that’s not going to get you paranoid . . . I’ve been able to predict everything with great accuracy on where this marketplace is going. The only thing I’ve gotten wrong is the speed. This marketplace is almost two years faster than what I thought it would be like now. It’s moving really fast.

The jets, bikini models and mansion parties—is this a dream come true for you? Who would ever think some skinny tall kid who grew up in rural Batavia, Illinois, a country kid, would be sitting in Hollywood and be in a position I am in. I thank myself every day. I literally give myself gratitude. I get high in the evenings. I think about business when I get ready to go to sleep. I walk around my big-ass yard here and I see the views of Los Angeles and the Valley and I say to myself, “You’ve done real good.” c DECEMBER 2016


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GU IDE! 2016

Grow For Vets USA

To honor, give thanks and give back to U.S. veterans, O.penVAPE has created a fundraising promotion with our partner Grow For Vets USA. We’ve designed two batteries, one customized with a camouflage design and the other an American flag. Both will be sold online and in retail outlets across the country. For every battery sold, one dollar is being donated to Grow For Vets USA. The organization’s primary mission is to save the more than 50 veterans who die each day from suicide and prescription overdoses. Grow for Vets provides veteran heroes with a safe alternative to deadly prescription drugs. Helping wounded veterans to receive the respect and dignity of life that they deserve is a mission we are proud to be part of. Price: $24.95 Website:

Holiday Wellness Pack Lock N Load Glass Containers

If you know a cannabis consumer who is always on-the-go, then the Lock-N-Load Chillum Display glass containers might make the perfect gift. These tiny, 9mm containers come with a twist cap for safe storage and easy opening that will help keep that unique cannabis smell hidden until you or your giftee is ready to use it. Best of all, these containers come in a display case of 48, which means that a gift like this will become an instant stocking stuffer favorite. Price: $2 each, 48 count per display Website:



Here’s a gift that keeps on giving. Dark Heart already has a smash hit on their hands with their Alchemy line of experience-based vape pens. For the holidays, they bundle up two sets in a commemorative decorative tin. Inside is the Alchemy line of aromatic and tasty cannabis oil cartridges. The full four-pack comes with four experiences: Relax (Indica), Awaken (Sativa), Explore (Hybrid) and Inspire (Hybrid). Awaken your holiday cheer with a sativa, mint and citrus blend. Explore holiday festivities with a hybrid, rose and jasmine blend. Relax with an indica, lavender and chamomile blend. Inspire your decorating with a hybrid, chai blend. Alchemy donates some of its proceeds to Friends Outside—helping children and families of those incarcerated during the holidays. All the experiences contain 30 percent THC, which is just the right amount to provide a controlled lift for seasonal cannabis users. Price: $70-$170 Website: DECEMBER 2016


Smokies Toke Couture Marijuana Rose Necklace

Now that cannabis has been legalized in even more states, a lot of things are going to change in the cannabis community. Take this moment to jump ahead of the incoming trend of cannabis jewelry with a gift like the Smokies Toke Couture Marijuana Rose Necklace. This beautiful bronze metal cannabis leaf necklace is complimented with a soft pink resin rose to add a classy touch to a simple look. Cannabis couture is about to become much more than green and Rastafarian-color inspirations, and it all starts with gifts like this one! Price: $28 Website: SmokiesTokeCouture

GUI DE ! 2016 .cont

Dr. Bronner’s Arnica-Menthol Organic Magic Balm

Here is a stocking stuffer perfect for all those hardworking folks on your holiday shopping list. Dr. Bronner’s Magic Balm is here, and it’s going to make sure that sore muscles, aches and pains are a thing of the past. Just rub a little bit of this magic balm on problem areas, and you will instantly feel a tingly, hot and cold sensation washing over your skin. The effect becomes stronger with time, and soon your sore muscles will feel like they’ve just received a hug from a minty gum chewing fairy. While you certainly want to grab one of these tins for a friend, you’re best advised to grab one for yourself too! Who says you can’t buy yourself something nice for the holidays? Price: $9.99 Website:

KandyPens Galaxy Tornado Limited Edition Vape Pen

For a sleek, good looking vape pen, you can hardly do better than the KandyPens Galaxy Tornado Limited Edition Vape Pen. Before you inspect any of this pen’s specifications, its shiny metallic exterior (offered in four colors: Gun metal, gold, chrome and rose gold) will instantly impress. Look deeper into this pen and you’ll find that it’s tornado coil, temperature controlled battery (at 350°, 390° and 430°), lifetime battery warranty and much more are equally impressive. This is going to be a hot Christmas item, as only 500 units were made! Price: $144.95-$149.95 Website: 68


Chewy Grinder

Long gone are the days of carrying around a heavy metal cannabis grinder! Now, technology proves once again that it makes our lives much easier, and with an portable electric grinder like Chewy Grinder, cannabis can be ground up quickly and at any time. This device supports a simple 9-volt battery that can provide an estimated 19 hours of use, and can also carry and store up to two grams of cannabis, making it perfect for any user out there who wishes to grind on the go. There are numerous colors to pick from, and we’re thinking this is the kind of tech that every cannabis user could benefit from. Price: $49.99-$89.99 Website: DECEMBER 2016





Sacred Bliss: A Spiritual History of Cannabis Mark S. Ferrara


Until The Hunter

Rowman & Littlefield GAME Sacred Bliss is a great new book by author Mark S. Ferrara that delves deep into the spiritual and curative traditions of cannabis use through historical cultures around the world. The author challenges traditional attitudes about cannabis by tracing its essential role in Asia, the Middle East, Africa, Europe, and the Americas from ancient times to the present day. Sacred Bliss offers great historical evidence of cannabis as an entheogen used for thousands of years to evoke peak-experiences, or moments of expanded perception or spiritual awareness by looking at sacred and secular texts from around the world, offering further support for cannabis as not just a medicine but also as an aid to increase imagination, creativity, heightened spirituality, perspective and deeper levels of thought. (Alex Bradley) 70


Pocket Buddy Designed by Neon Roots Developed by Pocket Buddy Gamers have always been fascinated by games about growing and harvesting, so it’s no surprise that a mobile game like Pocket Buddy has captured the hearts of cannabis lovers everywhere. This quirky farming game allows you to grow unique and exotic strains of cannabis from the seed up, and then continue to harvest and sell your greatest growing creations. It’s the perfect game to add a little canna-fun to your day, and is also bound to keep you occupied during family gatherings this holiday season too. (Nicole Potter)


Sausage Party Dir. Conrad Vernon, Gren Tiernan Columbia Pictures It would be hard to predict that a bunch of sentient grocery items discovering the fact that they are about to be consumed by the humans who are purchasing them would go on to become the highest grossing R-rated animated movie ever. Yet, that is exactly the plot of Sausage Party, and it is indeed what it has accomplished since its release. From the minds who brought you classics like Superbad, Pineapple Express, This Is The End and The Interview, Sausage Party is another solid contribution of theirs to the modern cannabis comedy cannon. (Simon Weedn)

Hope Sandoval & The Warm Inventions Tendril Tales For her first album in seven years, former Mazzy Star frontwoman Hope Sandoval returns with her longtime collaborators, The Warm Inventions, to deliver a record as lush and dreamy as the material which made her famous in the ‘90s. Until The Hunter is filled with rich, textural soundscapes and thoroughly smooth, polished production that will put a smile on the face of any dreampop fan. Additionally, the album has a few heaters on it that step up the pace enough to keep the album moving, but never so much as to lose that languid, velvety sound. (Simon Weedn) DECEMBER 2016



strain, edible & concentrate Available wherever: Zlixir products are carried.

Available at: Various collectives in the Bay Area.

Chocolate Extreme Donut Move over, Hostess. Strictly Edibles of California is serious about their desserts—as demonstrated by this mega-potent, ridiculously delicious three-pack of chocolate donuts. Edible cannabis formulations are beloved by certain high-tolerance patients for their long-lasting body-focused effects. Patients with the most severe conditions, including, cancer, Multiple Sclerosis, and former opioid and cocaine-dependent patients report using high doses of edible THC to relieve pain and anxiety and get some rest. The Chocolate Extreme Donut three-pack comes in a professional, resealable pouch, and each batch is lab-tested to 200 milligrams of THC per donut—or 20 standard doses. The donuts smelled rich, fresh and chocolatey, with an equally phenomenal taste that invites extra bites. The indica hybrid effects can take as long as 90 minutes until onset, so set a timer.



Zlixir Premium Jack Shatter New to the market—Zlixir is back at it again with another topshelf concentrate. Last year, they wowed Bay Area extract-lovers with top-shelf crumble. Now Zlixir nails a top-shelf shatter with the same great terpene profile and taste! This solid cannabis resin tests at 71.2 percent THC—or three times stronger than flowers— yet still has an amazing sweet/piny terpene profile. The source strain Jack Herer is among the world’s leading sativas, combining Northern Lights #5, Skunk #1 and Haze. Grown indoors, Zlixir used butane to concentrate the plant’s essential oils, and tested it for purity through CW Analytical in Oakland. Dabbers are going to love this extract on a nail or e-nail. Expect an energetic, uplifting and euphoric effect that goes great with an active day. DECEMBER 2016



POP Naturals Premium Oil Stick One of the most trusted names in medical cannabis extracts ups their game yet again with the POP Naturals Premium Oil Stick. The Californiabased company is rolling out their award-winning, super-pure cannabis oil in a revolutionary, easy-to-use applicator. The entire thing looks like a white tube of lipstick, and after you unscrew the child-proof top, the oil sits underneath in an applicator. Tucked inside the bottom of the stick is a screw-on, stainless steel applicator head perfect for flowing oil into vaporizer cartridges or dabbing. Just twist the applicator to cause an internal plunger to push the oil out the head. The container is discreet and looks more medical and user-friendly than more traditional, syringetype oil containers. POP Naturals’ ultra-pure, strain specific Indica, Sativa, Hybrid, HIGH CBD and SUPER CBD™ CO2 oil can be vaped, dabbed, eaten or applied topically. Patients consume extracts primarily to treat pain, stress, insomnia and many other conditions without burning or smoking cannabis. Available wherever: POP Naturals products are carried. Available wherever: The High Teas products are carried. GET YOUR CLICKS

HERE Cranberry Vanilla Tea Add this drink to your holiday punch to ensure survival at the next heated family gathering. The High Teas’ cranberry vanilla-flavored, THC-infused beverage is specially designed for stress, and anxiety. Bonus: It’s an alternative to alcohol. The High Teas’ company is aiming for the newly legal, lower-tolerance demographic with a very mellow effect for social engagements. Cannabis artisan Monique Ranae for The High Teas puts about 50 standard doses of THC, extracted from organic Holy Grail, in each 750 milliliter bottle. Add one shot of tea into your cup of soda water or cranberry juice for a very controlled uplift and make sure to wait 90 minutes before doubling down. Designed to play nice with tons of mixers, the drink tastes sweet, sugary and fruity, like cherry juice plus cranberry and vanilla—with only a hint of extract in the aftertaste. The High Teas also work on muscle pain, and insomnia, and extra strength is available. Available wherever: Kind products are carried.

Kind Suppository Suppositories have been used as medicine by humans for thousands of years. This form of medicating is efficient and direct into the blood stream. Kind Suppositories are made using cannabis infused organic coconut oil and organic cocoa butter. These come two to a package and are available in CBD, indica and sativa varieties. Kind Suppositories can be used rectally or vaginally depending on the individual need. Both methods of delivery can treat lower abdominal pain, cramping, back pain and nerve conditions. The easy bioavailability of cannabinoids through the intestinal lining can also deliver a dose of cannabinoids to the central nervous system, treating a variety of conditions including epilepsy. Suppositories are also an excellent way to get THC and CBD into the bloodstream without any compromising psycho-activity. These natural and well tested products can now be an option to medical cannabis patients who desire high quality medicine. Always chemical, CO2 and solvent free. Kind Medicine products are available at collectives throughout California.





Blue Diamond Cookie Settle in for the night with a cup of hot chocolate and some Blue Diamond Cookie flowers and you are virtually guaranteed to have a relaxing time. First Hemp Bank carries this very trendy, heavy, indica flower, which is among the most potent on the market. Blue Diamond Cookie is an offspring of the famed Cookies-line of award-winning indica hybrids. Since Cookies debuted, breeders have been adding complimentary flavors, like the Black Diamond OG, and now the heavy indica Blue Diamond. Our sample was about as dense and resinous as flowers can get, with dapples of purple leaf and copious orange hairs. Rich, hashy, indica, cookie aroma emanated from the bag and funked up the room with dankness. The dense buds really gave the grinder a workout, and the thick-bodied, hashy, cookies smoke instantly settles the mind and body.

Available at: First Hemp Bank in Oakland. GET YOUR CLICKS


MediX Vape Cartridge Say goodbye to reeking of cannabis with the MediX line of high-THC, near odorless vape cartridges. Vape cartridges are pre-filled reservoirs of THC oil that pair with an electronic cigarette battery. You just screw the cart onto the battery and inhale to actuate the built-in, electric atomizer and generate a hyper-light yet potent THC oil aerosol that takes effect in seconds. Vape carts are great not only for on-the-go medicating—they make it very easy to take the right amount of THC, or “titrate” the drug. Created by Dabface, the new steel MediX cart is super-high quality, with oil that’s super-pure and flowable and more than 70 percent THC—about three times as strong as the strongest flower. With cannabis legal, it pays to be a model toker. Odor-free vape carts are perfect for keeping the peace among neighbors in multi-unit housing.

Available at: Canna Culture Collective in San Jose.



Available at: Theraleaf in San Jose.

Lucky Lemon Cookie When life gives you lemons, sell them and get a Lucky Lemon Cookie from Canna Culture Collective. Each cookie comes with 16 standard, 10mg doses of THC, the main active ingredient in cannabis. Patients eat edibles to get the therapeutic properties of cannabis—including pain, muscle spasm, anxiety, insomnia and inflammation relief—without having to smoke the raw flowers of the plant. These Lucky Lemon Cookies are hardcrafted by gourmet edibles-maker Darby Bakery and come as single cookies in a resealable plastic pouch that blocks out the sun. Inside the plastic wrapper is a really delicious-looking, freshly baked cookie that smells like angel food cake—sweet, with hints of white chocolate and vanilla. The cookie crumbled but wasn’t overly dried and contained big chunks of white chocolate and macadamia nuts. Just a nibble causes hybrid cannabis effects in up to 90 minutes. Make sure to put the cookie away so as not to over-eat. DECEMBER 2016



Orange Guava Rosin Roll Sometimes you just need a fatty. In those trying moments, Fatty’s Rosin Roll stands ready with massive, mind-numbing indica hybrid effects. Fatty’s has crashed the pre-rolled joint party with their line of strain-specific, hash-infused cones. Now, they’ve added rosin rolls, wherein they infuse potent flower bud with the strain’s “rosin” wax, then dip it in hash and roll it in kief. With the Fatty’s Rosin Roll Orange Guava you get as close as one can to a cigar-like experience. Prepare for an ultra-thick, flavorful, blindingly potent hit off this thing—perfect for meditatively practicing smoke rings. We got a tasty, sweet guava note on our first dry hit, but when the Rosin Roll gets fired up, the delicate flower notes get buried under a wall of three-way hash smoke. It is recommended for high-THC patients only.

Available at: Fatty’s products are carried.

Available wherever: Hemplify products are carried.

Hemplify Tropical Punch Cannabis and related products are tackling sports injuries like never before. Now, drink maker Hemplify aims to box out leading sports drinks with its new, hemp-infused sports drinks. Hemplify Tropical Punch contains 8.5 milligrams of “Hemp Extract Oil (stalk)”, plus a bunch of vitamins, and omega 3s. The drinks are also sugar-free, vegan, non-GMO and gluten free, with no refrigeration required. The Tropical Punch flavor tasted surprisingly palatable, much like Gatorade. There was a delicious pineapple-mango flavor with no hint of hemp or oil taste one might expect. Hemplify is specially processed to preserve the hemp extract then become available for rapid absorption in the body. Hemp can contain trace amounts of therapeutic cannabinoid cannabidiol (CBD). Hemp-sourced CBD has risen dramatically in popularity in the last few years. GET YOUR CLICKS

HERE Fire OG Caliva is one the cleanest, nicest collectives in San Jose, and their standards extend to their flowers like this Fire OG—an elite cross of OG Kush and San Fernando Valley OG Kush testing 21 percent THC. We rarely see Fire OG shine so bright. Our sample was immaculate, and ideal—over-sized and totally resinous. It felt dense, with freshly dried leaf and beautiful orange pistils, leaving a pungent sticky stink on one’s fingers. Caliva’s Fire OG had everything you want in an OG’s aroma—that lemon top-note with a piney middle and biting touch of fuel. The nicely handtrimmed bud was expertly cured down to its dense center stem. It smoked like a huge OG—lemony, medium-bodied and ultrapotent. Great for an after-work head change, indica hybrids can help stress and anxiety patient shake off gnawing worries and be present in the moment.



Available at: Caliva in San Jose. DECEMBER 2016


culture growing RECIPES UNKNOWN

by Ed Rosenthal

Two months ago, I started an experiment for making seed that would produce only female plants. To do this I started applying “masculinizing chemicals” that induce female plants to produce male reproductive organs, that is, flowers. The pollen that results from this process carries no chromosomes or genes for maleness, so all the seeds that are produced using this pollen will produce female plants. These are popularly called, “feminized seeds.” The three treatments I originally used were Silver thiosulfate (STS) sprayed to drip weekly, colloidal silver 30ppm sprayed to drip daily and a commercial product advertised to produce male flowers on female plants. Within 30 days of starting application of the three different treatments, only one of them, the commercial product, actually induced flowering. I collected the pollen by placing the plants on horizontally with collection paper under each plant so that pollen could drop off onto the paper as the flowers opened. Only a small amount

of pollen was collected this way so we removed the flowers from each of the four plants, each a different variety: Blue Dream, Candy land, Sour Diesel and Girl Scout Cookies. We shook the flowers for a few seconds and then gently screened them through a stainless steel mesh hash screen. Three varieties yielded pollen but the Blue Dream did not. Using separate fine size watercolor paintbrushes we “painted” the pollen on separate branches of two flowering female plants that had not been treated with any chemicals. The flowers on both plants were mature but young so we assumed that they would be receptive to viable pollen. At the same time as we were applying pollen we replicated the experiment in part but changed the parameters. We started with two plants each of four varieties: Candy land, Gelato, Girl Scout Cookies and Sour Diesel that we separated into two groups. We started spraying the first group daily, rather than weekly, with silver thiosulfate and the second group was sprayed daily with 100-PPM colloidal silver, rather than 3O-PPM.

The results so far:

The plants pollinated with pollen from each of the three masculinized plants that produced pollen from the commercial masculinizing product seem to developing seeds. None of the newly sprayed plants that were treated with STS or colloidal silver have developed male flowers.

Analysis of Results and Future Plans:

Although literature states that colloidal silver induces male flowers a number of experimenters have not had success. However, several experimenters said that they had the same problem, no male flowers, but solved it when they used home made colloidal silver. Producing it is a simple process- running an electrical trickle through water. When they tried the same experiment using homemade colloidal silver, the plants produced copious male flowers and pollen. I plan to make my own to treat the plants following the path of the successful experimenters. It’s not clear why the STS didn’t work. There is a possibility that the plants are dose sensitive, so I am going to change the amount the plants receive. I will give one group half the dosage and another group twice the strength. Meanwhile, we are awaiting seed development. c







A cardboard barrier was used separate the two groups of plants when they were sprayed.

Male flowers were profuse, but yielded small amounts of pollen.

Handscreening was used to separate pollen from flowers.

Viable flowers painted with pollen using a water color brush.

Pollination was successful. Seeds are growing.

Copyright by Ed Rosenthal. All rights are reserved. First North American Magazine rights only are assigned to culture Magazine. No other reproduction of this material is permitted without the specific written permission of the author/copyright holder.



At harvest the bud is a jewel surrounded by base metal. To make use of it, the large fan leaves and the smaller gland heavy trim leaves are removed. Rather than treating them as trash, you can make them into stash. Here are some ways they can be used: Use a screen to separate the trichomes (glands) from the trim leaves. The powder is called kief. Use leaves and trims to create a “sleep pillow.” Place about two ounces inside a loosely woven pouch or sachet. Place it above the bed near the head; It promotes less disturbed sleep, with fewer episodes of wakening. Replace weekly. Use in a pipe or to enrich a joint, As raw material for rosin. Kief adds little taste or odor when used for cooking. DECEMBER 2016



if you go:



Time to Go: Winter Weather: Freezing temperatures and regular snowfall Budget: $$$$$

Whistler Wows as a Winter Wonderland






by Sheryll Alexander


Whistler is British Columbia’s winter wonderland par excellence, plus this mountain village is an active cannabis enthusiast’s dream come true. So, come along on this travel guide ride to winter 2016 in Whistler. What could be better for cannabis patients than a winter vacation to a wonderfully walkable and charming remote alpine town with some of Canada’s most openly cannabisloving locals? Built with the 1968 Winter Olympics in mind, Whistler’s central village and professional recreational venues were refurbished and completely renovated to host the 2010 Winter Olympics. That’s why there’s an incredibly long list of winter things to do outdoors. As for skiing and snowboarding, there’s lessons along with heli, cat, backcountry and

Nordic styles. Other winter adventures include ziplining, dog sledding, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, hockey, ice fishing and Olympic sports tours. In fact, the two side-by-side mountains of Whistler and Blackcomb offer one of the longest ski seasons in North America with 8,000+ acres, 200 runs, 16 alpine bowls and three glaciers. Accommodations in Whistler also abound from cozy rental cabins to Air BNB rooms to mid-priced hotels to some of Canada’s classic luxury hotels. Wherever you stay, the action in Whistler is on the slopes during the day and in the village at night where you can do everything from eat breakfast to shop ‘til you drop to party all night long at jazz clubs, cowboy bars, craft brew bistros and heart-pumping nightclubs. c

Fun-Filled Facts Whistler deals with its hordes of young tourists visiting during the cold winter holidays by building an indoor family fun zone. Open from December 17-30 (closed December 25) and held at the Whistler Conference Center, the “Whistler Holiday Experience” caters to the kid in everyone with mini putt-putt golf, bounce houses, video and table games, handicraft making and much more. Adult children can relax in the nearby lounge with coffee or hot chocolate. 1


If you happen to be visiting Whistler this year on December 17, get ready to be part of “Dress As Santa Day.” Locals (and in-the-know tourists) don a Santa costume all day long to ring in the season in cheeky style including on the slopes. 2

Just like most medical cannabis states, Canada’s vast British Columbia province has a patient licensing system along with Canadian-citizensonly cannabis dispensaries. However, a new law put into effect in August by Health Canada now allows citizens (or their friends who are forced to undergo a background check) to legally “produce a limited amount of cannabis for his/ her own medical purposes.” Of course, these grow-at-home patients must register with Health Canada and are limited in their grows depending upon daily dosage. What this means for cannabis-seeking visitors to BC and Whistler is both good and bad. The bad news is non-Canadian citizens cannot legally buy, smoke or ingest cannabis. The good news is Canada has a lax view of small, individual amounts of cannabis and smoking too for that matter (as long as you keep it away from crowds, hotels and government buildings). Most locals recommend buying bud in Vancouver before the long drive to Whistler as it is less expensive, easier to get and more safe. If you end up in town empty handed, however, befriend some of the chill-looking locals (as most of them smoke anyways) and politely ask if you can score a little something for the slopes. DECEMBER 2016


culture RECIPES


Jefferson VanBilliard

Age: 31






Condition/Illness: ADHD



When did you start using cannabis: I started using cannabis when I was 24. Did you try other methods: Yes. As a teenager, I was prescribed a common, stimulant-based prescription drug that left me feeling despondent and bored. I had trouble connecting with my peers and caring about anything besides getting away from school. I stopped taking it and struggled for years with my diet, sleep schedule, and ability to focus and enjoy each moment until I tried cannabis—haven’t looked back since. What’s the most important issue or problem facing medical cannabis patients: The most important thing we can all do, as a community, is to help remove the stigma that all marijuana users are the

stereotypical “burnout” with no education or motivation to succeed in life. Doctors, judges, firefighters, teachers and even the President have admitted to using marijuana, and I still have to convince my family that I won’t become a junkie on the streets after taking a dab. What do you say to folks that are skeptical: I work in the cannabis industry and I work as a bartender. As a bartender, I use cannabis to keep a cool head and to regulate my sleep patterns, and usually when someone finds out that I am a part of the medical cannabis industry they’ve had no prior indications that I medicate all day, every day. When I point out the fact that they’ve probably never seen me not medicated, it usually tears down the common misconceptions people have about cannabis use and allows me to further educate people about all of the profound effects this plant could have on our world. c

Are you an MMJ patient with a compelling story to tell? If so, we want to hear from you. Email your name, contact information and details about your experiences with medical cannabis to DECEMBER 2016


culture growing

Holiday Bliss in the Kitchen Menu: Medicated Orange Bitters Medicated Mulled Apple Cider




Medicated Bread Pudding with Bourbon Sauce

recipes and photos by Monica Lo from Sous Weed Nothing screams ‘The Holidays’ like the warm fall flavors of cinnamon, apple, nutmeg and citrus. Monica Lo from Sous Weed has the perfect simple recipes for this holiday season. Medicated bitters make for great DIY gifts for your friends and family— medicated mulled hot apple cider and infused bourbon bread pudding are the perfect accents to add to your personal holiday celebrations. The best part is you can customize these recipes with all sorts of spices and aromatics! The possibilities are endless!

Medicated Orange Bitters Makes 250ml (about 1 cup) Ingredients

1 cup Everclear (or any high-proof liquor—at least 100 proof or 50% alcohol by volume)

1/2 tablespoon crushed green cardamom pods

6 grams ground, decarbed cannabis

1 teaspoon allspice




Peel of two oranges


1/2 tablespoon dried gentian root

1/2 tablespoon coriander seeds 1 teaspoon cloves 1 star anise

Directions Set your sous vide water bath to 70˚C. Place all ingredients in a zip seal bag and seal using the water displacement method. Submerge and sous vide for 1 hour. Remove from water bath and let cool to room temperature. Strain out the solids and discard. Keep bitters in a bottle in a dark cabinet. 

*Always start small when using bitters and tinctures. 1-2 drops and wait 30-60 minutes for full effects. Increase dosage if needed.




Medicated Bread Pudding with Bourbon Sauce Serves 6


Ingredients for Bread Pudding: 1/4 cup raisins

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/3 cup crushed walnuts

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

2 tablespoon bourbon

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1 1/4 cup whole milk

2 eggs, beaten

1/2 cup brown sugar

5 cups cubed brioche bread, about 9 ounces

1 tablespoon vanilla extract


Ingredients for Medicated Bourbon Sauce 1/4 cup butter

1/4 cup medicated orange bitters

1/4 cup bourbon

Directions: To prepare pudding: Combine raisins and 2 tablespoons bourbon in a small bowl. Let soak for 30 minutes. Whisk together soaked raisins, milk, walnuts, brown sugar, vanilla extract, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and egg until well fully combined. In a loaf pan, add cubed brioche and pour the raisin mixture on top. Cover with foil and refrigerate to soak for at least 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 350˚F. Remove loaf pan from refrigerator and add a cup of hot water on top. Cover again with foil and place in oven to bake for 20 minutes. Uncover and bake for an additional 10 minutes. To prepare sauce: In a small saucepan on medium-low heat, combine sugar and butter and stir until combined, about 1 minute. Remove from heat and whisk in bourbon and medicated bitters. Remove the bread pudding from the oven and drizzle the medicated sauce on top. Serve warm. 


1/2 cup brown sugar

Medicated Mulled Apple Cider

Serves 1

Ingredients: 1 1/2 cup apple cider

1 teaspoon brown sugar

1.4 teaspoon whole cloves

1/2 orange, cut into rings

2 whole allspice

2 drops medicated orange bitters

1 inch cinnamon stick

Directions: Combine apple cider, spices, sugar and orange rings in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for another 2 minutes. Strain into a mug and add two drops of orange bitters. Garnish with cinnamon stick.  Legal Disclaimer Publishers of this publication are not making any representations with respect to the safety or legality of the use of medical marijuana. The recipes listed here are for general entertainment purposes only, and are intended for use only where medical marijuana is not a violation of state law. Edibles can vary in potency while a consumers’ weight, metabolism and eating habits may affect effectiveness and safety. Ingredient management is important when cooking with cannabis for proper dosage. Please consume responsibly and check with your doctor before consumption to make sure that it is safe to do so.



NORCAL NOW! event listings

American Me Comedy, Dec. 7

This comedy show plays off of the show creator’s ability to play the race card as an adopted Korean kid growing up in a white picket fence neighborhood. This selfproclaimed “Caucasian Asian” will make you laugh with his quick-witted humor. San Jose Improv, San Jose

2016 Lighted Boat Parade, Dec. 16

featured event

This holiday tradition has lasted for over 10 years, and it’s returning this year to bring holiday cheer by the way of the water. Over 60 boats and vessels with be adorned with holiday lights and decorations, and local restaurants will be serving up special holiday menus as well. Aquatic Park, PIER 39, the Marina Green and Crissy Field, San Francisco

All-You-Can-Eat Crab Fest, Dec. 20

San Francisco Great Santa Run, Dec. 11 The holiday spirit is alive and well. Throw on your Santa suit, and head over to San Francisco Great Santa Run. Participants can choose to do the Great Santa Run 5K or the Rudolph 1 Miler. Either way, you will have a great time getting active and being silly. Crissy Field, San Francisco

Snoop Dogg, Dec. 12 As one of the most iconic cannabis and hip-hop icons, Snoop Dogg is a performer you have to see live at least once in your lifetime. Check him out at the Fox Theater in Oakland, where this former CULTURE cover star will be spitting rhymes new and old. Fox Theater, Oakland


The 3rd Annual All-YouCan-Eat Crab Fest returns, and it’s bringing even more Dungeness crab, drinks, live music and food trucks. There will also be garlic noodles, salad and fresh sourdough bread provided. SoMa StrEat Food Park, San Francisco www.somastreetfoodpark. com

Kung Pao Kosher Comedy, Dec. 23-25 This is the 24th Annual Kung Pao Kosher Comedy, and it’s for good reason! Jewish comedy happening on Christmas Day inside a Chinese restaurant is perfectly ironic, and it features a lot of hilarious comedians. Listen to comedy from Elayne Boosler, Eddie Sarfaty, Alex Edelman and Lisa Geduldig while enjoying a seven-course banquet dinner or the vegetarian option. New Asia Restaurant, San Francisco


Stevie Nicks, Dec. 13

It’s a dream come true when you hear that Stevie Nicks will be performing alongside The Pretenders, and that’s exactly what’s happening. Get ready to put on your bellbottom pants and vintage t-shirt to listen to hits from Nicks into the evening. Golden 1 Center, Sacramento

Henry Rollins, Dec. 29 As a man of many talents, Henry Rollins is an actor, comedian, radio host, writer, musician in addition to hosting television shows. He was on the cover of CULTURE back in 2013, but that doesn’t mean we’ve forgotten how intelligent his humor is live and onstage. Herbst Theatre, San Francisco

10th Anniversary Passport to the World, Dec. 31 Travel the world on New Year’s Eve without leaving San Francisco. This party features 11 unique areas, seven rooms of entertainment, tunes and so much more. Travel to the U.S.A., Europe, Asia, South America and the North Pole during this exciting evening. The Westin St. Francis, San Francisco DECEMBER 2016


Chuck Shepherd's

News of the

Weird LEAD STORY—EXTREME HOBBIES u John Weigel and Olaf Danielson are engaged in a frenzied battle of “extreme birdwatching,” each hoping to close out 2016 as the new North American champ of the American Birding Association, and a September Smithsonian piece had Weigel ahead, 763 to 759. Danielson is perhaps better known for doing much of his birding in the nude (and is the author of the provocatively titled volume, “Boobies, Peckers and Tits”—all common names of popular birds). The old one-year record was 749, and the association attributes the larger numbers this year to El Nino, which has disrupted food supplies and driven birds into different locations.

FUN WITH PENNIES u (1) Robert Napolitan, 34, was arrested in Taylor, Pennsylvania, in September and charged with theft of a drum containing 300,000 pennies from his employer, Pyne Freight Lines. That steel drum weighs several tons and, of course, netted Napolitan only $3,000. (By contrast, in New York City’s Diamond District in September, a brazen thief made off with a 5-gallon drum containing 86 pounds of something else—gold flakes, valued at more than $1 million—and is still at large.) (2) For some reason, according to a High Point, North Carolina, TV report, Larry Hall of Randolph County took seven-plus weeks out of his life recently and glued pennies to cover (except for windows and chrome) his 2000 Chevrolet Blazer (a total of 51,300 coins). 92


GREAT ART! u The 1,496-page German novel “Bottom’s Dream,” translated into (broken) English, more than twice as long as “War and Peace,” recently reached U.S. bookstores as a 13-pound behemoth, bound with a 14-inch spine that, based on a September Wall Street Journal description, will almost surely go unread. The story follows two translators and their teenage daughter over a single day as they try to interpret the works of Edgar Allen Poe, making for slow going for anyone not already conversant with Poe. BRIGHT IDEAS u While other vehicle safety-control engineers work on actually slowing down cars and buses when a risk is detected on the road ahead, one of Volvo’s recent innovations appears aimed merely at bullying pedestrians to get out of the way. According to a September report on, the safety “control” for a Volvo bus consists of progressively louder horn-honking to scare off the pedestrian. LATEST RELIGIOUS MESSAGES u In 2014, British entrepreneur Azad Chaiwala, 33, created the matchmaking service Second Wife— because, just as men have trouble finding that special person, some Mormons, Muslims and others have at least as much trouble finding that special additional person. (Most clients, he said, are in the United States and the United Kingdom, though bigamy is illegal in both places.) The service was so successful that Chaiwala this year inaugurated, which he adamantly defended as a moral alternative to adultery and one-night-stand services DECEMBER 2016





Culture Magazine NorCal December 2016  
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