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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








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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.


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


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


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


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


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


Common Ground Damien Williams is pushing boundaries in the way women are represented in the cannabis industry.



124 departments

online Exclusive!


d New Chinese Language “Yelp”

20 News Nuggets 26 By the Numbers 30 Local News 34 Legal Corner

38 Healthy Living


42 Strain, Edible & Concentrate Reviews 52 Holiday Gift

Guide 62 Entertainment Reviews 66 Liner Notes

in every issue

116 Shooting

Gallery 118 Growing Culture 120 Destination Unknown 122 Profile in Courage 124 Recipes 128 SoCal Now! 130 News of the Weird



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, Jefferson VanBilliard, Simon Weedn, Zara Zhi Photographers Kristen Angelo, Steve Baker, Kristopher Christensen, John Gilhooley, Joel Meaders, Josué Rivas, Duncan Rolfson Art Director Steven Myrdahl production manager Tommy LaFleur Graphic Designer Tanya Delgadillo sales director Justin Olson los angeles Jon Bookatz sales manager Account Executives Eric Bulls, Kim Cook, Cole Garrison, Gene Gorelik, 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 1,500 locations throughout Southern California. No articles, illustrations, photographs, or other matter within may be reproduced without written permission. Culture® Magazine is a registered trademark. All rights reserved.

2175 Sampson Ave. | Suite 118 Corona | California | 92879 Phone/Fax 888.694.2046

CULTURE® Magazine is printed using post-recycled paper.





/iReadCulture DECEMBER 2016










Ojai Permits Medical Cannabis Delivery and Pickup Ojai City Council voted unanimously in November to allow the delivery and pickup, by appointment, of medical cannabis within the city, however medical cannabis distributors will first need to obtain a license from the city. According to the council meeting agenda, the ordinance was set for “prohibiting outdoor cultivation, prohibiting smoking and consumption of marijuana in public places, and regulating delivery of marijuana within the City of Ojai.” Creating a licensing system to regulate medical cannabis in the city will be led by City Manager Steve McClary. The ordinance does not permit outdoor cannabis cultivation, although many people at the meeting spoke in favor of it. The council said they would revisit that topic at a future meeting, which could be expected to happen as soon as March.

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.

Riverside County Aims to Stop Illegal Distribution of Synthetic Drugs It is common knowledge that synthetic cannabis drugs like spice are far more dangerous than the original, natural alternative. Also, dangerous synthetic drugs that are fashioned to look like illicit drugs like cocaine are also extremely dangerous. During a meeting on October 4, Supervisor Chuck Washington presented a submittal to the Board of Supervisors of Riverside County with an ordinance that aims to criminalize synthetic substances in order to keep them off the streets. “The purpose of proposed Ordinance No. 932 is to supplement state and federal laws so as to provide the county with the means to address the dangers posed to the community by illicit synthetic drugs not regulated by state or federal law,” Washington’s submittal stated. “Ordinance No. 932 shall not apply to any activity that is already regulated by the State Synthetic Drug Laws, the Federal Controlled Substances Act or any other applicable state or federal law or regulation.” Following Washington’s statement, the council voted 5-0 to approve the ordinance, which will criminalize the sale, supplying or possession of synthetic drugs and is effective after November 22.

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. 20









The percentage of residents in Los Angeles County who made their voice heard and voted to approve Proposition 64: (Source: California General Election Results)


The number of pages that list the details of California’s recently passed Proposition 64:

The amount of money, in thousands of dollars, that the city of Santa Ana is agreeing to pay one local collective for the police harassment that occurred in a raid in 2015: (Source: Los Angeles 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:


(Source: Orange County Register)


The percentage of votes that were in favor of Measure MA, a Long Beach city tax on medical cannabis (Source: Long transactions: Beach Press-Telegram)


The percentage of Californians who voted to approve Proposition 64, as of November 17: (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)


"Special Meeting" on van nuys cannabis

WHAT: "Special Meeting" on Van Nuys Cannabis. WHEN/WHERE: Wed, Dec. 7. Van Nuys City Hall, Council Chamber, 14410 Sylvan St., 2nd Floor, Van Nuys.  INFO: Visit for more information.  While many people take to social media to complain to their network of friends and family about politics, we recommend getting out there and being an active part of your political scene . . . especially when it pertains to cannabis rules and regulations. This special meeting will be held for public to comment on the future of cannabis retail locations in the Van Nuys area and Proposition D. Now




that cannabis has been legalized for adult use in California, there is a group of Californians advocating to allow Prop. D medical cannabis collectives to transfer to retail licensees next year. Whether you have a strong opinion on the topic, or you are just interested to see some grassroots politics in your local neighborhood, this special meeting is one you may want to attend. DECEMBER 2016







Raw Science Film Festival


Cannabis business investors see California as goldmine


by Jamie Solis s one of the largest economies in all the world, the state of California made international news when voters passed Proposition 64 on November 8, permitting recreational cannabis for adults ages 21-andover. Now projections for a bigger and brighter future for The Golden State have been pointing to astronomical numbers for cannabis business investors. In a special Election Day update, Arcview Market Research along with New Frontier Data shared projections for the adult use cannabis market in California. The data showed that now that Proposition 64 has passed in California, there is a projected $4.1 billion added to their 2020 market forecast. This means that cannabis for adult-use and medical use in legal states could potentially generate a whopping $7.6 billion by 2020. According to a release by Marketwired, Arcview’s Chief Executive Officer Troy Dayton shared his thoughts on the future. “This is the vote heard ‘round the world. The other states that have passed legalization are like pilot studies compared to the seismic shift in the market that legalizing marijuana in the sixth largest economy in the world will cause,” Dayton said. “There is nothing more powerful than an idea whose time has come. This is marijuana’s moment.” New Frontier Data Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Giadha DeCarcer, also shared how California will be a much more powerful market than any recreational market that has come before. “With the passage of adult use in California, the state has become the new epicenter of the legal cannabis industry. As both the oldest medical cannabis state and the largest cannabis consumer population, sales in California are projected to dwarf those of any other market,” DeCarcer said. “Additionally,



the integration of California’s technology and marketing expertise will be enormously into the cannabis industry both domestically and internationally,” Meital Manzuri is an experienced attorney who specializes in cannabis law and is based out of Beverly Hills. Manzuri shared insight with CULTURE on how more investors will come on board as local communities begin permitting cannabis businesses. “As January 1, 2018 nears, we will see more local governments issue licenses. A local government license is the ‘bulletproof’ protection most investors look for,” Manzuri said. “Up until now it has been highly speculative and risky. As such, I see more and more investors coming in from other markets, and even more, these investors will not likely want to be in the shadows.” There are already large investment firms in California that are gearing up for recreational cannabis licensing to start rolling out. Seventh Point LLC is an investment firm has been very up front about its mission in California. According to the company’s website, “Seventh Point is working to acquire a majority share of legal cannabis assets in Los Angeles, California." Seventh Point aims to achieve and maintain a market-dominant position with legal cannabis through the acquisition of "compliant cannabis" businesses. The statement continues to explain these assets include brands, cultivation centers, collectives, intellectual property and technologies. In addition to the various avenues of the legal cannabis industry to invest into, one new investment opportunity that will also be significant will be cannabis cafés, as Prop. 64 permits public consumption of cannabis in licensed locations. Overall, adult-use of cannabis will further strengthen California’s economy. c

This film festival is one-of-a-kind with captivating films, virtual experiences and tons of excitement. Get ready to watch film festival winners at the Winner’s Screening, which will be comprised of both student films and professional films. While the films are both from the non-fiction and fiction categories, the unifying quality between all the films is their focus on science and technology. This event also features various virtual reality experiences, which just proves how far into the future science and technology have brought us. Following the Winner’s Screening, attendees can opt in to the VIP Awards Ceremony. The emcee of this exclusive event will be Paul Hynek of Giant Studios. There will be speakers like Naveen Jain from Moon Express and Peter Samuelson from Revenge of the Nerds, among others. If you love science and technology, then this film festival is one event you don’t want to miss.  WHAT:  Raw Science Film Festival. WHEN/WHERE:  Sat, Dec. 10. Zanuck Theater, Fox Studios, 10201 Pico Blvd., Los Angeles.  INFO:  Visit www. for more information. DECEMBER 2016






legal corner

Criminal Justice Reform Cannabis cultivation, distribution and sales were previously charged as felonies across the board and carried heavy consequences. Now, under Prop. 64, these activities are classified as misdemeanors, carrying up to a year in jail. Moreover, a previous felony conviction for cannabis can be reduced down to a misdemeanor.

Now for the Tricky Part— Obtaining Cannabis Legally

Your Rights as a Patient Under Prop. 64 by Attorney Meital Manzuri On November 8, voters stood united and passed Proposition 64, the Adult Use of Marijuana Act. The passing of Prop. 64 created two cannabis markets in California—the medical market and the recreational market. With the passage of Prop. 64, adults 21-and-older are permitted to possess, transport and consume cannabis recreationally, and adults who are of age can grow up to six cannabis plants and be in possession of up to one ounce of cannabis. Here’s a few answers to the questions that everyone is wondering about.

When is this effective? Prop. 64 went into effect midnight on November 9, 2016!

What has changed? Cannabis can now be consumed much like alcohol. No, you can’t walk down the street smoking cannabis, just like you can’t walk down the street with a cocktail.



Where can I smoke cannabis? Under Prop. 215, medical cannabis could be smoked anywhere tobacco smoke was allowed. Under Prop. 64, recreational can be smoked in a private residence and cannot be smoked in public or where tobacco is not permitted. Recreational users also cannot smoke outdoors within 1,000 feet of a school.

Myth buster: Prop. 215 v. Prop. 64 There is nothing in Prop. 64 that negates the laws and rights created under Prop. 215. In fact, Prop. 64 explicitly protects and enhances Prop. 215 creating child custody protection for patients, placing a $100 cap on state ID cards, enforcing medical record privacy, and explicitly guaranteeing that the new limits, regulations and licensing applied to non-medical cannabis do not apply to Prop 215 patients.

Although California is recreationally legal, we cannot expect retail locations to sell cannabis recreationally until January 1, 2018. Therefore, recreational customers cannot simply walk into a collective because medical cannabis collectives are still only for medical patients. This is because recreational cannabis businesses will not be licensed until 2018, similar to the licensing that is being created under the Medical Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (MCRSA). Obtaining recreational cannabis may be a gray area for a while. Once you have it though, the possession of it is legal, but if you pay for it, you may be breaking the law in obtaining it.

The Gift of Cannabis

(getting in the holiday spirit) So how can recreational users obtain cannabis outside of the current medical system? Californians who are medical cannabis patients can enter any collective and get their hands on cannabis. Is it legal for a medical patient to give me cannabis? Yes! If you want to get cannabis legally now, you’ll need to be friends with someone who has their medical card. They can acquire cannabis from a collective and “gift” it to you, but money cannot exchange hands. Although the residents of California have passed recreational use for adults, our work is not over. Similar to when the MCRSA passed last October, we expect that there will be some “clean up” legislation to follow. Stay tuned— California is just getting started! c DECEMBER 2016







Treating Parkinson’s Disease with U.S. Patent 6630507

“The ability of the age-old medicine cannabis to mitigate Parkinson’s and other movement disorders has been known for a long time dating back to 1839 when medical cannabis pioneer Dr. William B. O’Shaughnessy penned that cannabis is “an anti-convulsive remedy of the greatest value.”

by Lanny Swedlow, RN LNC


arkinson’s Disease (PD) mainly affects people over 60 years of age, as it is a long-term degenerative disorder of the central nervous system with symptoms appearing slowly over time. The most common symptoms are tremors of the hands, arms, legs, jaw and face with depression, difficulty speaking and skin problems occurring frequently. Levodopa, developed in the late ’60s, remains the most common longterm prescription drug used to treat PD. It is very effective but has multiple side effects the most common being nausea and dyskinesia (impaired voluntary movements). Other side effects include dizziness, constipation, insomnia, numbness and mental changes including delayed cognitive processing, depression, impulsive gambling and thoughts of suicide. Levodopa’s effectiveness begins to wear off after five years and many find it no longer effective after 10 to 15 years of persistent daily use. There are few other drugs that effectively treat PD, so when Levodopa is no longer effective many patients turn to a surgical procedure called Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS). Using a surgically implanted, batteryoperated medical device that delivers a continuous electrical stimulation to targeted areas of the brain, DBS disrupts the neurotransmissions that are the source of the disabling motor symptoms of PD. The negative consequences of implanting electrical devices in the brain is axiomatic. With America’s population of people



over 65 growing from about 45 million in 2015 to a projected 55 million in 2020, there has to be a better way to treat this common ailment of the elderly. It just so happens there is, and it is nothing new under the sun. The ability of the age-old medicine cannabis to mitigate Parkinson’s and other movement disorders has been known for a long time dating back to 1839 when medical cannabis pioneer Dr. William B. O’Shaughnessy penned that cannabis is “an anticonvulsive remedy of the greatest value.” A study published in the European Journal of Pain in October 2016 confirmed Dr. O’Shaughnessy’s much earlier and correct conclusion reporting that “Cannabis improved motor scores and pain symptoms in PD patients.” This new study at Tel Aviv University confirmed a March 2014 study at the same university that found “significant improvement after treatment in tremor, rigidity, and bradykinsea (slowness of movement). There was also significant improvement of sleep and pain scores.” Most significantly the study concluded that “No significant adverse effects of the drug were observed,” and it provided this “significant improvement” in just 30 minutes. Levodopa put that in your pipe and smoke it. PD has been linked to a dysfunction in the body’s dopamine system. Research has demonstrated that our endocannabinoid neurotransmission system modulates dopamine transmission. Cannabis is effective in treating PD tremors and other movement disorders

because it provides the dopamine modulating cannabinoids needed by the profusion of cannabinoid receptors located in the basal ganglia, the area of the brain that regulates body movement. PD is also caused by oxidative stress where our bodies produce more free radicals than we need for life processes such as digestion and immunity. These “excess” free radicals, produced in response to everything from emotional stress to pollution to chlorinated water, have been linked to a host of human ailments from aging to cancer to PD. Cannabinoids are able to protect neurons from oxidative stress so effectively that in 2001 the U.S. government filed for and received U.S. Patent 6630507 entitled “Cannabinoids as Antioxidants and Neuroprotectants.” In applying for the patent, the U.S. Government wrote: “The cannabinoids are found to have particular application as neuroprotectants, for example in limiting neurological damage following ischemic insults, such as stroke and trauma, or in the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and HIV dementia.” Even though our federal government has been paralyzed by “Reefer Madness” for the last 80 years, the U.S. Health and Human Services Department, holder of patent 6630507, by default recognizes the enormous potential for protecting the brain and central nervous system from the damage that can lead to PD and other movement disorders. c DECEMBER 2016






strain, edible & concentrate Kaneh Co 24 Karat Brownie

Available at: Various collectives in California.

The 24 Karat Brownie made by Kaneh Co contains 1,000mg of THC baked into pure, decadent, chocolatey chunk bliss and topped with chocolate ganache and finished with gold leaf to provide a VIP edible experience. The rich flavor masks the medicinal taste so deliciously that patients should be careful not to overindulge. The effects are intense and long lasting, making this an ideal treat for those experiencing moderate to severe pain or insomnia. Kaneh Co also offers 500mg brownies to cater to the discerning palate. GET YOUR CLICKS


Available at: Strain Collective in Chatsworth.

Citrus Sap Adding to the ever-growing market of Gorilla Glue cross strains comes Citrus Sap, a hybrid of #4 and the popular Tangie. The attributes that make Gorilla Glue such a sought after flower (high resin and THC content, large distinctive flowers, total body relaxation) are notably present while the Tangie has added a fragrant, almost fresh-cut smell of ripened tangerines, and a light energy that keeps you balanced. Patients can expect to feel very comfortable and euphoric as soon as the flowers begin to take effect without fear of couch-lock or anxiety. All pains and aches will melt away with this sweet citrus gift. This strain is usually hard to find, but if you are lucky enough to live in Chatsworth you can stop by Strain Collective and find out why we can't stop praising Bio-Logic’s growing capabilities.

Available at: La Brea Collective in Los Angeles.



Jupiter OG Ground control to Major Tom, we have lift off. Named after the largest of all the planets in our solar system, Jupiter OG will have you orbiting the couch or refrigerator, and drifting into what will surely be a "deep sleep." These dense flowers come covered in sticky red hairs full of gorgeous trichomes, ensuring a quality taste and high-THC content. Patients seeking relief from insomnia and chronic pain will find this celestial body to have a profound effect on their symptoms. Just make sure you medicate later in the day as you're likely to fall into a "space sleep" after a few inhales. All systems go towards La Brea Collective in Los Angeles for all your planetary needs. 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 California-based company is rolling out its 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, syringe-type 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.

King Louis Available at: Third Eye Wellness in Los Angeles.

At this point in time we'd like to note that this aromatic flower may be just as famous as the wig wearing French king it takes its name from, and we can imagine that they just about smelled the same. These dense nugs give off a powerful smell of earth and pine while showing off its forest-green flowers coated in rich thick resin. The king must have been a big fan of napping as this indicadominant hybrid's main effect is drowsiness.

Bhang CBD Gum Bhang's new CBD-infused gum is ideal for patients seeking an inconspicuous way to get relief without the task of using a flower. The mint taste is refreshing with not even a hint of green taste. The effects are felt within minutes, lasting a few hours, and carry none of the psychoactive effects linked to cannabis containing higher amounts of THC. This is a perfect product for a working professional who needs relief but also needs to get stuff done. Stop by your local collective and demand some of this delicious and relieving Bhang CBD Gum.

Available at: Various collectives throughout Southern California.

Available wherever: Pure products are carried.

Pure Premium CO2 Wax If you're a fan of wax concentrates but not a fan of the usual chemmy taste, then Pure has got you covered. Their concentrates are made using only the finest flowers and a pure CO2 process that removes all impurities and ensures patients have safe access to a solvent-free form of perfect medication. Available in Grape (hybrid), Mint (indica), Strawberry (hybrid) and Blackberry (indica). Our sample of the hybrid Strawberry tasted fresh and fruity and slightly reminiscent of that delicious Fruity Pebbles taste. Now you can medicate with a tasty little dab throughout the state of California, or anywhere Pure products are sold.





Emperor OG Mary Jane's Collective in Los Angeles always has a great selection of flowers to suit any patient. That's why we weren't surprised to see this particular strain in their arsenal. The indica-dominant hybrid's main reason for its cult-like following is due to its sleep-inducing and euphoric effects as well as its tightly bound nugs gleaming with cannabinoids. This strain will soon be a staple in every patient’s repertoire—you will feel like royalty with this kind of relief. Add this to your regular rotation and become one of its loyal subjects—you’ll thank us later.

Available at: Mary Jane's Collective in Los Angeles.

Kimbo OG Available at: Medical Caregivers CoOp in Los Angeles.

Like a one-two punch in a backyard brawl, this indica-dominant hybrid's got the muscle to make even the most chronic of pains go "lights out." Don't let the indica label fool you though, it has very little skunkiness, and this particular strain packs a powerful and refreshing rolling relief paired with its scent of berry and lemon when groundup. Kimbo OG's effects are somewhat immediate and felt throughout patients’ neck and back first, settling in the stomach where it sends hunger pangs to replace any chronic pain that was once felt anywhere in the body. Feed that hunger pang and it's probably going to be a short fight ending in a perfect yet powerful sleep, so make sure you medicate towards the end of your day. Stop by Medical Caregivers Co-Op in Los Angeles and bring a pillow.

Jamaican Lion

Available wherever: Cannafornia Health Group in Los Angeles.

This CBD-rich strain is a total sativa flower, with robust energy, pain relief and euphoria, without the heaviness of high-THC. Straight from the tropical coastlines to Southern California, the aroma is citrus-forward and full of bright yet subtle Tiki-like fragrances emitting from this well manicured flower. This is a great strain for patients looking to medicate during the daytime, for chronic pain and sore joints, or for anyone who is trying to avoid the classic couch-lock effects found in other strains.

Available at: HPRC in Mission Hills.

Satellite OG Once our heads drifted back to Earth and settled on our shoulders, we realized this indica-dominant hybrid somehow manages to leave patients sharp and creative despite what its couch-locking lineage might suggest. The pungent, skunky aroma and dense resinous visuals prove to be both inviting as well as serving as a warning to patients about the strength of this hybrid. Great for creativity, this strain will make you want to consider building your own space suit out of found objects, or drawing a comic book of your imagined outer space adventures. Launch yourself into the cosmos by stopping by HPRC in Mission Hills and picking up your own Satellite OG sample.







Toker Poker

GU IDE! 2016

Get the hottest gift item of the season—the legendary Toker Poker! Finally your poker/dabber, tamper, hemp wick and lighter are all in the same place. This 420 multi-tool has everything you need to vape, dab, roll and toke. Its ergonomic design provides the most basic but essential tools for any smoker. Glow in the dark, chrome and other limited editions are now available online. Sure to be a stocking stuffer hero! Use “CULTURETP16” at check out for 20 percent discount online at (offer expires 12/31/16).  Price: $7.95 Website:

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:

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:



Nexus Vape Pen

Nothing says “I care about you” more than a highquality vape pen. For your loved ones, choose a Nexus Vape Pen to give them one gift that will continue to keep giving. It has a temperature controlled battery for 340°, 400° and 460°, and offers a 20-second drag time. All Nexus Vape Pens come complete with a USB charging port, for quick and convenient charging, as well as a lifetime warranty on the provided battery. Plus, it comes in four colors (matte blaq, pearl white, gunmetal and ruby red), which will help you narrow down exactly what your giftee might want. Price: $79.99 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

GUID E! 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: 54


Ceramic Kitty Pipe

Handmade quality appeals to many different kinds of people, and when applied to the intimate act of enjoying cannabis, the appeal is massive. Ceramic artisan Katie Marks owns Silver Lining Ceramics @ anotherseattleartist in Seattle, WA, and sells out every unique and creative pipe she makes within minutes. But she keeps ‘em coming! Her Kitty Pipes are gorgeous little pretty things that are easy to clean, store and use—and these unique little meowfaces are so cute. Get that special someone in your life an adorable Kitty Pipe to enjoy their favorite cannabis out of. Price: $75-$100 Website: shop/silverliningceramics DECEMBER 2016





Silver Lining Ceramics Bubbler

Some gifts, like scarves or gift cards, aren’t always the best way to show your love or appreciation for someone during the holidays. Often enough, one-of-akind gifts are the golden ticket to seeing their faces light up with holiday glee. A Ceramics Bubbler from Etsy creator Silver Lining Ceramics is the perfect example of a truly unique gift. Made by hand, a little ceramics bubbler like this one will blow all other gifts out of the proverbial water. Be careful though, this seller sells her wares out quickly! Price: Prices Vary Website: silverliningceramics

Joint Chiefs Complete Chief Kit

GU ID E ! 2016 .cont

There’s a reason gift baskets are a great gift—they come with so many small gifts, that it’s often more exciting than getting one single present. Joint Chiefs has caught onto this trend, and as a result came up with the ultimate gift for cannabis users—the Complete Chief Kit. In it comes a rolling tray and stick, an ashtray, a grinder, two four-ounce jars, two books of hemp rolling paper, six pre-rolled cones, six plastic tubes for easy storage, a beanie and a neat box made of mangowood to keep it all together. It’s everything a consumer needs in order to keep them ready and prepared to consume cannabis. Price: $99 Website:


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: 58


There’s no need to invest in old technology. If Apple can remove the decades-old headphone jack from their phones, then companies like Prazmatic can reinvent the lighter. The Black Ops Plazmatic X isn’t called the “original dual beam lighter” for nothing. This unique gadget is eco-friendly, with its ability to recharge via USB, and it can work in any weather or condition—and also saves buyers a ton of money from buying old disposable lighters. This electric lighter offers 50-100 lights per charge, and it only takes 1-2 hours to complete a full charge cycle. Price: $69.96 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) 62


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






liner notes


by Kevin Longrie he last month—hell, the last year—has been one of massive upheavals. There was the unlikely election of President-elect Trump. There was the passing of a musical legend, LEONARD COHEN. People felt less and less safe at music venues because of shootings at The Pulse and last year’s Bataclan show. Earlier this year, we lost DAVID BOWIE and PRINCE, among others; we collapsed into more and more bitter political rhetoric; and we all felt a little less kind. Taking a survey of the last year, even John Oliver recently produced a video segment for his show, Last Week Tonight, in which people from all over, including a few celebrities, said “F*ck you, 2016!” But this column is not really the best place to parse political goings-on, nor do I have the energy, given the echo-chamber of social media, to keep going over it again and again. Let’s move on to a much better Donald. DONALD GLOVER’s new album Awaken, My Love! is out December 2, under his musical moniker CHILDISH GAMBINO. The 11-song tracklist has been released online as well as the first track, “Me and Your Mama.” Glover has been absolutely killing it with his new TV show, Atlanta, which loosely follows a man hoping to become a music producer. The show has an absurdist strain, which brought comparisons to Louie, Louis CK’s hit show; these are not unfair comparisons, but they do miss a lot of the amazing work that Atlanta is doing. The passing of Leonard


Cohen was felt deeply in the musical community, though it was not unexpected. Cohen had given interviews recently in which he was very clear about how he was “ready” to die. His last album, You Want it Darker, released just a few weeks ago, also has a fatalistic bent. His ineluctable mortality looms large on the record, which is, it should be said, a masterpiece. Just like Bowie before him, he left an album that he knew, more or less, would be his last and it contains much of what he wanted to say, beautifully, to his listeners. Dozens of news sources and music mags have started publishing think-pieces, lists, and interviews with Cohen, trying to process the loss. Much of this centers on “Hallelujah,” the song which he is perhaps most identified with, despite the

DECEMBER2016 october 2016

fact that much of that attention came from covers. “Hallelujah” was covered by JOHN CALE, JEFF BUCKLEY, and countless others, making it one of the most reinterpreted songs of all time, up there with Radiohead’s “Creep.” In fact, both were covered in a recent Saturday Night Live. The Dave Chappelle episode began with Kate McKinnon, dressed as Hillary Clinton, singing “Hallelujah” in earnest, a tribute to Cohen and a bid for political hope. At the after party, Chappelle himself covered “Creep.” Speaking of solemn tributes, STING recently played the Bataclan club, becoming the first musical act to play there are the shooting one year ago which claimed the lives of 89 people. Sting asked for a moment of silence during his

set, honoring the victims of the killing. On his Instagram, Sting posted “In re-opening the Bataclan, we have two important tasks to reconcile. First, to remember and honour those who lost their lives in the attack a year ago, and second to celebrate the life and the music that this historic theatre represents. In doing so we hope to respect the memory as well as the life affirming spirit of those who fell. We shall not forget them.” This last sentiment, about affirming life and about loving through music, is now more important than ever. As the Bataclan fills back up with more artists and attendees in the coming weeks, it’s important to remember the communal power of music. Let it, here, there and everywhere, heal us. 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





“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. >> p h o t o s b y Ma n h art p h o t o grap h y 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





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.

p h o t o s b y t o n y a per m e p h o t o grap h y

“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





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.” >> DECEMBER 2016


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.” >>

The leaders helping this industry grow to exponential heights 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


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 102


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


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


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.” 108


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 18:1 110


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. “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



A Man in the Female Sector of the Cannabis Industry

by M. Jay

Damien Williams’ Facebook page boasts a picture of him as a young child looking lovingly into his mother’s eyes. This innocent love of women has led him to create a female focused company that gives part of its proceeds to #HeForShe, The Herbalista Set. The magic of the cannabis plant has already been lost in the newly formed cannabis industry. Companies use scantily clad models to hand out product samples at shows. Social media and cannabis advertising focus on the female body to highlight their products. Even ancillary products are geared toward men. Damien Williams, founder of The Herbalista Set seeks to change this. >>



“We will keep working to fulfill our mission of empowering women and of reconnecting the world to Mother Nature through the magic of the cannabis plant.” DECEMBER 2016


much need to advertise it at all—cannabis would speak for itself. We don’t see people advertising parsley or oregano, and a culture that never criminalized this downright miraculous plant in the first place just wouldn’t need to be sold on it.   How do you see your company changing the male-focused perspective of the cannabis industry? We do this by highlighting the femininity of the plant itself. In the eyes of the industry, male cannabis plants are virtually worthless. All of the plants grown for production purposes are female, as it is the females that produce the signature flowers replete with the powers of healing and transformation. My goal with this company is to restore awareness of, and reverence for, the sacred feminine, as it is expressed all throughout nature. This starts with Why do you feel so strongly about representing women of cannabis? Damien Williams: Cannabis is sacred to me. It has the capacity to treat people’s ailments to an almost unbelievable degree, and it can transform human consciousness. It has the ability to cure us on physical levels, and on unseen, spiritual planes too. Furthermore, the cannabis plant carries distinct male and female sexes—a rather unique trait shared by only about 10 percent of all plants. When it comes to cannabis, it is the female of the species that bears the greatest healing and transformative properties. In my view, it’s not just cannabis that’s sacred, but all of nature. It’s about more than going outdoors and seeing nature as beautiful. In much the same way, it’s about more than recognizing the purely physical beauty of women.    If you could start cannabis advertising over again, how would you advertise? Honestly, if we were doing this all from scratch, I don’t think there would be



“Cannabis is sacred to me. It has the capacity to treat people’s ailments to an almost unbelievable degree, and it can transform human consciousness.”

helping women themselves reconnect with the magic of the cannabis plant. Who’s the woman you look up to the most? Despite her political affiliations, it’s Coco Chanel. Her story is the stuff of legend. She grew up in an orphanage, starting at absolute zero. There, she learned how to sew, and subsequently transformed that humble skill into her own empire. She literally created the basis for the modern woman’s look, being the first designer to make pants for women, as well as the originator of the woman’s suit. She is the most influential person in the world of fashion.     What do you think the most misunderstood thing is about women and cannabis? The industry’s past tendency has been to hyper-sexualize women. At best, this is an appeal to the basest of male instincts—attempts to speak to the pleasure of the cannabis experience by evoking male enjoyment of the female form. At worst, they suggest that cannabis women are of “loose morals,” with inhibitions perhaps lowered as a direct result of cannabis consumption. This association is damaging to all of us. It debases the true essence of the cannabis experience by nullifying the powerful connection that the feminine element has to the plant and to the natural world at large.    What’s next for The Herbalista Set? We launched our beautiful, allinclusive, portable vaporizer kit called the Goddess Vape Set. This product invites our Herbalista community to elevate themselves and become their own goddesses. In just weeks, we will expand the Herbalista experience with several new health and wellness, bath and beauty, and fashion products, many of which will contain 50-state-legal CBD extracts. We will keep working to fulfill our mission of empowering women and of reconnecting the world to Mother Nature through the magic of the cannabis plant. c DECEMBER 2016



High Times Living Experience

photos by Kristopher Christensen 116



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: Cannabis Orange Bitters Cannabis Mulled Apple Cider




Infused 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!

Cannabis Orange Bitters 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


Makes 250ml (about 1 cup)

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.


Local eateries with similar dishes: Wild Boar Cafe

1510 S College Ave., Fort Collins (970) 472-1074

Work & Class

2500 Larimer St., Denver (303) 292-0700

Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse 1770 13th St., Boulder (303) 442-4993 DECEMBER 2016



Infused 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

Cannabis 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.



socal NOW! event listings

“Picasso and Rivera: Conversations Across Time,” Opens Dec. 4

Pablo Picasso and Diego Rivera were both very ambitious and internationally famous artists. Now you can see the similarities and differences in their artwork at this exhibit, which consists of 150 watercolors, paintings and etchings. LACMA, Los Angeles

Cinematic Arts Film Festival, Dec. 9-11

This is a film festival that is by filmmakers and for filmmakers. International and local artists will thoroughly enjoy watching the variety of films of many genres and cultures. Various Theaters in Hollywood, Los Angeles and Santa Monica

Snoop Dogg, Dec. 10

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 Microsoft Theater L.A. Live, where this former CULTURE cover star will be spitting rhymes new and old. Microsoft Theater L.A. Live, Los Angeles


featured event

KROQ Almost Acoustic Christmas, Dec. 10-11

Two-nights of acoustic music from all your favorite rock and alternative artists could be considered a dream come true. Treat yourself to this exciting event where acts like No Doubt, Green Day, The Killers, Rage Against the Machine and others grace the stage. The Forum, Inglewood

American Me Comedy, Dec. 28

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 self-proclaimed “Caucasian Asian” will make you laugh with his quickwitted humor. Ontario Improv, Ontario

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.

Henry Rollins, Dec. 28

Joe Rogan, Dec. 31

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. The Observatory, Santa Ana


Stevie Nicks, Dec. 18

The Forum, Inglewood

This outspoken advocate for cannabis and various other causes is not only helping to spread awareness to the masses, he’s also pretty hilarious. Come see his standup where he is part serious, part intelligent and a whole lot funny. Orpheum Theatre, Los Angeles

Together As One New Year’s Eve, Dec. 31

This celebration will bring you into the New Year with music from well-known DJs leading the way. Come together as one with the rest of the world as we bid farewell to 2016 and welcome 2017 with hope and love. Union Nightclub, Los Angeles

The Holiday Craze for Cannabis is Growing Green Friday and Weed Wednesday prove to be great for cannabis sales M

any people rewarded themselves on another successful Thanksgiving spent with their families, by taking advantage of the “Green Friday” deals cannabis businesses put on the day after Thanksgiving. In 2015, a number of collectives and dispensaries teamed up to offer Black Friday deals on cannabis. This resulted in a 13 percent increase in cannabis sales versus a regular Friday. This year, the biggest names in cannabis teamed up with to send out e-blasts and mobile alerts for shops all over the country. Collectives in California, Michigan, Arizona, and dispensaries in Oregon, Washington and Colorado were included in the e-blast. Some offering a 25 percent

discount on ounces of flower. A shop in Spokane, Washington gave away more than $30,000 in cannabis this year. The store gave away a free ounce of cannabis to the first 180 shoppers with a valid medical cannabis card. The cannabis was donated by BBB farms, under the motto of “the need, not the greed.” “In states where adult use is fully legal, like Colorado and Oregon, cannabis promotions around Black Friday have been common, and we expect we’ll see more of that happening as prohibition eases across the country,” Adam Bierman, co-founder of MedMen, told Bloomberg. In addition to Green Friday, the day before Thanksgiving, cleverly referred to as “Weed Wednesday,” also saw a

significant rise in cannabis sales. Last year, Weed Wednesday resulted in a 27 percent increase in cannabis sales. Dispensaries also reported that edible sales were up 28 percent and that cannabis-infused beverages were up 72 percent. With the sentiment on cannabis quickly shifting from banned substance to acceptable recreational product, one day people may start bringing cannabis to Thanksgiving parties instead of a bottle of wine. It is known that 74.2 million shoppers participate in Black Friday every year. So, after a long stressful day of fighting crowds and checking people off your Christmas list, what better way to unwind, than with some discounted cannabis? c 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). 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 safetycontrol 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. u Simple As That: (1) British farmer Pip Simpson, who lost nearly 300 sheep to rustlers in recent years, recently sprayed his remaining herd of almost 800 sheep a bright luminous orange (harmless, he said, though the sheep’s opinions are unknown) to make them less attractive to thieves. (2) Saudi Arabia switched to the 365-day Gregorian calendar on Oct. 2, in part to reduce government expenses. Bureaucrats had been using the Islamic lunar Hijri (354day) calendar, but now must work a 3 percent longer year for the same salaries.

PEOPLE WITH ISSUES u Based on recent convictions for indecent exposure, Anthony Hardison, 50, has a public masturbation habit, and it is apparently so bad that he engaged once again in August—while he was in the lobby of the sheriff’s office in Seattle, where he had reported to register as a sex offender. He was arrested. THE PASSING PARADE u Austrian Edition: (1) A massive, mile-long traffic jam on the Austrian A2 highway in October between Inzersdorf and Vosendorf was caused by a huge flock of starlings crashing into cars and falling to the road. Ornithologists told reporters that the birds must have earlier feasted en masse on fermented berries and were navigating under the influence. (2) In September, an unnamed woman was detained at the airport in Graz, Austria, because her suitcase held two plastic containers with her late husband’s intestines. She had

come from Morocco seeking doctors’ opinions whether he had been poisoned (but doctors told local media they would have to examine the entire body to determine that). Police said no laws had been broken. A NEWS OF THE WEIRD CLASSIC (DECEMBER 2012) u Gary Medrow, 68, has periodically surfaced in News of the Weird since 1991 for his unique behavior of using a false identity to persuade Milwaukee-area strangers over the phone to lift other strangers off the ground—behavior for which he has occasionally been jailed and ordered to psychiatric care. After a recent period of calm, Medrow slipped in November (2012) and was charged with impersonating a photojournalist to convince two Cedarburg (Wisconsin) High School students to hoist each other on their shoulders. At an earlier hearing, Medrow said that his “addiction” helps him to relieve tension and anxiety. DECEMBER 2016








Culture Magazine SoCal December 2016  
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