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inside

contents

12.2016

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exponential growth

Michael Straumietis, aka Big Mike, is the founder of Advanced Nutrients, which is making great strides in the cannabis industry. ON THE COVER: p h o t o b y J o h n G i l h o o le y

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feature

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

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

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Alt-Rock Obsession Gazebos’ music is addictive, inspiring and downright relatable.

departments news 12 News Nuggets 13 By the Numbers 14 Local News 16 Legal Corner reviews 18 Store Highlight 20 Company Highlight 22 Strain & Concentrate Reviews 24 Holiday Gift Guide 28 Entertainment Reviews in every issue 50 Growing Culture 52 Destination Unknown 53 Profile in Courage 54 Recipes 58 News of the Weird

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online Exclusive! d New Chinese Language “Yelp”

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

Vol 8 IssUE 6


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CULTURE M

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Publisher Jeremy Zachary Editor-In-Chief Evan Senn associate Editor Ashley Bennett Editorial coordinator Jamie Solis Editorial Contributors Benjamin Adams, Sheryll Alexander, Marguerite Arnold, Jake Browne, Cole Garrison, Jasen T. Davis, Alex Distefano, David Downs, Natasha Guimond, Addison Herron-Wheeler, Anthony Herrold, Pamela Jayne, Heather Johnson, Joe Jatcko, David Jenison, Kevin Longrie, Emily Manke, Tyler Markwart, Meital Manzuri, Sandy Moriarty, Madison Ortiz, Denise Pollicella, R. Scott Rappold, Paul Rogers, Joy Shannon, Lanny Swerdlow, Simon Weedn, Zara Zhi Photographers Kristen Angelo, Steve Baker, Kristopher Christensen, John Gilhooley, Joel Meaders, Duncan Rolfson Art Director Steven Myrdahl production manager Tommy LaFleur Graphic Designer Tanya Delgadillo sales director Justin Olson Account Executives Jon Bookatz, 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 600 locations throughout Washington. No articles, illustrations, photographs, or other matter within may be reproduced without written permission. Culture® Magazine is a registered trademark. All rights reserved. 815 1st Ave | #220 Seattle | Washington | 98104 Phone 888.694.2046 | Fax 888.694.2046 www.iReadCulture.com

CULTURE® Magazine is printed using post-recycled paper.

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/freeculturemag

/iReadCulture

/iReadCulture


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NEWS

nuggets

Washington Sees Large Growing Demand for High-CBD Products It appears that cannabis products that contain high cannabidiol (CBD) are growing in popularity across Washington State. A public report by cannabis data analytics provider, Headset, showed that although CBD products are not sold as frequently as cannabis products with THC, there is an increasing demand for them. The report speculates that this increase in demand correlates with consumer awareness of CBD. The report explains how quickly the CBD market is growing. “Overall high-CBD sales have increased significantly from last year, to the tune of 200 percent,” according to the report. “While many of the big players from last year continue to dominate, and have even had significant growth, the expansion in the overall market and addition of new segments within it have caused their market share to decline.” Washington State sold more than 800 different CBD products in 2015, which accounted for 2.8 percent of its cannabis sales. This number has even increased, with CBD products accounting for 3 percent of sales in October. CBD products come in many forms like flower, pre-rolls, vaporizer pens, concentrates, beverages, edibles, capsules, tinctures and topicals. 

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.

WSLCB Asks for Input Regarding Cannabis Research Licenses The Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (WSLCB) continues to evolve the state’s cannabis rules and regulations. Most recently, the WSLCB sent out a “Notice of Rule Making” for a proposed rule on research licenses for cannabis. The proposed rule set out to regulate scientific reviewers of cannabis. “A marijuana research license allows a holder of the license to produce, process and possess marijuana for the limited research purposes provided in [Revised Code of Washington] RCW 69.50.372. The WSLCB designates a scientific reviewer to review research applications and make recommendations for the approval or denial of research projects and to assess licensed research activities.” The proposed rule implements additional requirements, which include making reviewers keep cannabis and cannabis products for research separate from product grown and processed for commercial sale, in addition to where they are able to grow and process cannabis and cannabis products for research purposes. Various other requirements outline rules for multiple applications processes, the involvement of the WSLCB along the way and more. The full list of proposed rules can be found on the WSLCB’s website. Those who would like to give their input on the rules can submit their input via mail, e-mail or fax. All the input must be received by December 28, 2016. 

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. 12

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NEWS

The percentage of women who contribute to cannabis sales in Washington State: (Source: Headset)

The amount of money, in millions of dollars, that the state of Washington has collected in recreational cannabis sales revenue since the first day that retail sales began on July 8, 2014:

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681.6

(Source: The Business Journals)

The number of Washington medical cannabis patients that have signed up to purchase “medical-grade” cannabis products with higher potency between July and October 2016: (Source: Washington Department of Health)

13,014

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

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

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The amount of money, in millions of dollars, that King County made in cannabis sales between July 2014 and June 2015: (Source: The Business Journals)

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The percentage of cannabis sales that were made from highCBD products in Washington State during October 2016: (Source: The Cannabist)

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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)

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

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Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour

WHAT: Downtown Ferndale Holiday Ice Festival. WHEN/WHERE: Thurs, Nov. 10. Schiffer Park, W. Nine Mile Rd. at Planavon St., Ferndale. INFO: Visit www.downtownferndale.com for more information. Whether you’re personally into extreme sports or you just like to watch them on TV, this film festival will spark your interest. From arctic climbing to dangerous slack-lining, this film festival will show films that showcase the wonders of extreme sports. Many of the films are just five minutes long, while others are as long as 44 minutes. Some of these adventurous films are The Accord, which shows the tropical surf world of Iceland. DreamRide is a five-

minute mountain bike adventure that will open your eyes to the wild possibilities of extreme athleticism. Another captivating film is Doing it Scared, which follows climber Paul Pritchard who returns to climb the Totem Pole after becoming partially paralyzed doing the same climb 18 years prior. The world tour is quite literal in its name, as this festival will travel to the United States, Canada, Korea, Lebanon, South Africa and many other destinations. 

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NEWS

LOCAL

“There’s a lot of uncertainty about what will happen with recreational. I think having so much tax revenue go to the State is probably one thing that will save our industry. No matter who’s in power, Right or left.”

MONETARY SUCCESS

Cannabis continues to rake in cash for Washington State

by Emily Manke

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ashington State recreational cannabis has been a resounding success. Prices have reduced to the point that customers are satisfied, and there is enough competition with the black market that sales are booming. Tax rates and prohibitive regulations have lessened, allowing producers, processors and retailers to begin to turn a profit. Some brands flourish, while others flounder, all typical of an emerging, competitive industry. This healthy cannabis market is reflected in the tax dollars earned from recreational cannabis sales. So far in 2016, Washington State residents have spent over $900 million on legal cannabis in, earning an impressive $205 million in excise tax, according to 502data.com. Hundreds of billions of dollars in taxes for a state struggling to pay for education, is something skeptical residents should take note of. All of that cannabis, and all of that money, means something else for Washington State: Jobs! With 341 retailers, and 983 producer and processors, Washington State is a cannabis-producing and selling powerhouse. Each one of those facilities, large or small, is providing skilled jobs for members of the community. That’s thousands and thousands of jobs for Washington residents, all over the diverse state. The Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board opened up licensing for producers, processors and retailers in recent years, which may explain 2016’s surge in cannabis sales. In 2016, sales so far are already

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more than $400 million higher than 2015, which ended at $555 million in retail sales. All those hundreds of millions of dollars mean the state, and some canna-businesses, are raking in the dough. But what do canna-business owners think about all this tax money? CULTURE spoke with Brandon Caffrey, CEO of Creekside Cannabis, to ask him what he thinks about taxes and cannabis in Washington. “Washington State has earned $350 million so far in taxes. That’s since the inception of the Washington State recreational market, so since July of 2014 until present. As far as what I think about it, I look to other states that have legalized recreational cannabis. Mainly Colorado, but now Oregon, and others. Washington State is paying the highest percentage in taxes, by far. More than any other state. “So on the one hand it’s a lot, because obviously, it affects prices. But on the other hand, I don’t necessarily think it’s a bad thing. Especially now, after what just happened with the election. There’s a lot of uncertainty about what will happen with recreational. I think having so much tax revenue go to the state is probably one thing that will save our industry. No matter who’s in power, right or left,” Caffrey told CULTURE. No matter what happens with federal or state government goings-on, one thing is for sure. When your industry is bringing in hundreds of millions of dollars for the state each year, it makes all arguments against it a little weaker. Hopefully, future administrations will continue to love money more than government overreach. c

Two Five Trees Old School Night Let’s take it back to the good ‘ol days with some of our favorite names in rap and hip-hop. The line-up for this epic night will include Busta Rhymes, DMX, E-40, Too $hort, Kokane, Phaycyde, Money B and Young Hump of Digital Underground. The wildly famous Method Man and Redman duo will also be at this flashback event, which many fans will remember their hilarious movie from 2001, How High. As one of the only ladies included on the lineup, Da Brat is an American rapper who we first fell in love with back in 1991, which could possibly be before some of our readers were even born. Either way, take the recommendation from CULTURE, and head over to this unique opportunity to kick it old school.  WHAT:  Two Five Trees Old School Night. WHEN/WHERE:  Fri, Dec. 16. Tacoma Dome, 2727 East D St., Tacoma.  INFO:  Visit oldschoolnight. com for more information. 


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NEWS

LEGAL CORNER

“For now, energy efficiency in the cannabis industry will likely be driven less by energy efficiency incentive programs and more by standard riskreward investment decisions.”

ENERGY AWARENESS What to expect from high energy costs in the cannabis industry by Hilary Bricken

With more and more states legalizing adult use and medical cannabis, industry energy efficiency issues are on the rise. In Colorado in 2014, cannabis cultivation facilities accounted for 200,000 MWH of energy usage—about 0.4 percent of all electricity used in the state. Forecasters in Colorado and Washington expect this energy usage to continue increasing, both in sheer volume and as a percentage of statewide consumption. Energy consumption is driven by several factors, but the vast majority of energy is used by grow lights, HVAC systems and venting/ dehumidification systems. These systems are vital to indoor cultivation facilities, while fully or semi-outdoor facilities have significantly lower energy burdens.

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Legally, there are a few different factors to look at when considering the causes and effects of high energy use by cannabis businesses. As always, federal illegality is the primary ingredient to cannabis’ unique position. Because of federal illegality, cannabis cannot cross state lines. States that want to legalize all need to license their own cultivators. This means that states like California and Oregon, which have climates that work for outdoor cannabis cultivation, are not able to supply Nevada, Colorado, Massachusetts or other states that may not be natural fits for outdoor cannabis growing. In those states less hospitable to outdoor growing, virtually all legal cannabis cultivation must be indoors. Compare to the tobacco industry,

where 80 percent of the tobacco in the United States is grown in North Carolina, Kentucky and Georgia. The markets that can produce cannabis more efficiently are not able to supply markets that are less efficient. Even if cannabis is all grown indoors, a more concentrated industry would be more likely to invest in energy efficiency improvements. Someone growing on 2,000 square feet will have a harder time justifying the expense of energy improvements than a company using 10 times that amount. But even for large companies, a mixture of federal illegality, state restrictions, and general industry uncertainty makes it challenging to raise capital for energy efficiency projects. Federal illegality also makes it challenging for cannabis businesses to benefit from state and federal energy efficiency programs. Private energy companies like Puget Sound Energy have offered large efficiency rebates in the cannabis space, but public utilities, fearful of jeopardizing their relationship with federal energy providers like the Bonneville Power Authority, still tend to shy away from providing incentives to cannabis growers. For now, energy efficiency in the cannabis industry will likely be driven less by energy efficiency incentive programs and more by standard risk-reward investment decisions. Some communities are looking at negative incentives to the cannabis industry, including excise taxes on excess energy use, but these are not yet widespread. Cannabis companies will need to stay aware of development in energy markets, as utilities continue to increase prices for energy use during peak hours. c


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REVIEWs

store highlight

Bud Commander

tax return from the federal government for selling pot and the look in Mrs. Bud Commander’s eyes.

Interviewed: David Moore, Co-Founder/Co-Owner 849 Trosper Rd. SW Ste. 207, Tumwater, 98512 budcommander.com How and when did the store start up? If we are talking about the beginning, it began with MoreHemp Co, June 1996 on Olympia’s west side in the middle of the hemp movement. After two-to-three years we closed the doors, then Bud Commander opened January 12, 2015 with the passage of I-502. What’s the story behind the name of the store? Well after the first interview with WSLCB, we needed to change our name. Bud Commander became the obvious choice for a few reasons, for one it is kind of catchy with a nice ring to it, besides being a fan of the Robertson’s and their story. 18

Somewhere someone came up with this “War on Drugs;” just thought it was time we all had an ally. What does the store offer customers they can’t find anywhere else? We knew buying marijuana should be an experience, and we wanted an interactive store where the customers would feel comfortable and informed by the staff to make it a fun experience, that way they would want to return and be in the presence of Hoobe Doobe again. How has the industry changed since you began? Medical became legal in 1998 and with the passing of I-502 marijuana has become acceptable, with

DECEMBER 2016 iReadCULTURE.com

all the marketing it seems they realize it is okay to be baked from morning to night as functioning individuals. I would like to see it be returned back to the culture and away from the businesses that are in it just to make money. Let’s face it, the only reason it is accepted is because there is a dollar attached. If there wasn’t our dollar we would still be looked at as losers even though we’re not the minority anymore. What are the biggest challenges as a cannabis store? Biggest joys? Biggest challenge is being taken seriously. Biggest joys are all the little things as well as customer gratitude and appreciation. We have a great relationship with our bank (Timberland Bank). Paying our taxes, having staff get an income

What is the one thing you want customers to know about your store? That we are able to give back to the community because of their commitment to us. Such as our holiday charities, Okanagan Co. fire victims, to our recent honor for being involved with the Adopt a Highway Program. What is the most important thing you hope to accomplish while in the cannabis community? I have a little trouble with this question since the cannabis community has been a way of life for most of ours, I don’t see us leaving soon. With regard to accomplishments, hopefully we can make a little difference in our own way. For those confused, stop by and read our mission statement. c


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REVIEWs

company highlight use market is made up of new cannabis users who are not familiar with cannabis culture. The importance of educating our consumers on what kinds of cannabis work best with their endocannabinoid system has never been more important than right now. Consumers need help educating themselves about titration control and what their unique needs are. Everyone involved with this industry has the opportunity to spotlight the benefits that cannabis can bring to peoples’ lives. What words of advice would you offer anyone seeking to enter the world of cannabis business?

Bhang Washington www.gotbhang.com How would you describe your company? What is your specialty? Bhang Cannabis Products is a company that has an eightyear history in the medical market helping patients and leading the industry in safety and education, providing our patients and customers the most consistent products, and offering them a product that is second-to-none in terms of taste and quality since day one. What do you offer consumers/clients that others don’t? Bhang is one of the first companies to implement testing procedures so we could inform our patients

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about the amount of THC that is in our products. This is something that just eight years ago was ground breaking that present day consumers have come to expect. It is a testament to the amount of care and intention we approached this industry with. With the changing landscape of MMJ and recreational cannabis, what do you see as the biggest challenges to your progress as a company? Any advantages? The changes that have occurred within the cannabis industry since adult use regulation have been monumental. One of the exciting challenges that we have experienced is the brandnew adult use market. The adult

DECEMBER 2016 iReadCULTURE.com

This industry moves fast and is not for the squeamish or for people that like a precise road map for business creation. I believe to be successful in this industry you need a strong constitution and the ability to accept change sometimes on a daily basis and weather the storm that often ensues. What might be true today may be no longer relevant tomorrow. Surround yourself with people you trust that can provide you with the skills and information necessary to creating a cannabis business. Most importantly be ready to learn. There is so much information being discovered that sometimes it can be hard to filter what is pertinent to your mission statement. Finally, have fun. This industry is filled with amazing people that you would not have the opportunity to meet in another field. What are the goals and vision moving forward, for your company? Where do you see your company in five years? We want to continue to innovate, stay ahead of

the trends and work with multiple cannabinoids to find combinations that work synergistically with one another. We have partnered with Evergreen Extracts who has a well established reputation within the Washington medical market and has moved into the adult use market with the same attention to detail and drive. We are excited to be able to work with a group that is dedicated to product development. Having the right team to work with is key to being able to bring our customers innovative new products. Long-term goals are to maintain strong relationships and communication with our customers. They should help guide us, and this will in turn effect the direction that we move in. What do you hope to accomplish in the MMJ industry? Bhang has always been an active participant in our local communities. We created the Ice Bar to bring awareness and give a portion of the proceeds to breast cancer charities. Soon after, our Fire Bar was created to help fund AIDS-related charities and then bars, to help fund awareness of both autism and men’s health. We support and attend the Susan G. Coleman Breast Cancer Walk and the Autism Speaks Walk annually. We have grown from being the only cannabis company at these events, to creating a coalition of multiple cannabis companies that come together to support these charities. We look forward to bringing this same tradition of social awareness to our Washington community, c


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REVIEWs

strain & concentrate

The Claw by SKöRD SKöRD consistently delivers exquisitely processed and packaged products. The flower tested at 14.1 percent THC, and the strain, The Claw, is an indica. This flower is also a sight to behold, closely trimmed to expose the ample crystals coating the leaves. The grey-green flower features tints of pinkish purple at the base of the leaves. But of course, the real fun to be had with flower happens after the jar gets unscrewed. The fragrance wafting out was subtle with hints of musk, earth and forest. After consuming this product, the effects took place immediately. True to the strain’s name, The Claw got its grips on us, digging in and providing that prototypical indica effect that many users desire. Whether relaxing before a social occasion, or treating that painful neck cramp, The Claw will help you meet your cannabis needs.

Available at: Green Collar Cannabis in Tacoma.

Blueberry Silvertip by Pioneer Nuggets Available at: Natures Recreational Center in Tacoma.

The novelty of recreational cannabis has worn off with so many products on the market; a flower has to be pretty special to standout from the crowd. This Blueberry Silvertip by Pioneer Nuggets does just that. Silver packaging coordinates with the strain’s name, and this Blueberry Silvertip is a hybrid, testing at 26.8 percent THC. But it’s not the package that makes this flower so wonderful! Blueberry Silvertip flower is dense, dark green and completely coated in crystals and dark orange hairs. The fragrance is delicate and delightful. Hints of sweet blueberry, pine, citrus, and earth make for an intoxicating aroma. Once smoked in a water pipe, the flavor hit all of those same notes. The effect was powerful, uplifting and incredibly happy. Blueberry Silvertip is the perfect flower to help lighten up a party, to consume before a nice nature walk or kayak adventure, or to just chill at home and get some chores done around the house.

The Kush by BudCo The Kush is such an iconic strain—it’s definitely nostalgic to see and smell this beautiful flower. BudCo’s The Kush lives up to the legend! At 20 percent THC this indica flower is mild enough for the new or occasional user, but strong enough for those who require a little more potent medicine. Skunky, earthy and piney, this flower is pungent and calls out to you with its smell. The flower is light green, with hints of light purple scattered throughout the leaves. Fuzzy white crystals cling to the leaves, covering the flower in its entirety, giving the appearance of a light frost. The flavor was in line with the fragrance, though a sweet after taste was noted, however subtle. Cerebral, intense, happy and with a good body effect, this flower delivered all of the expected aspects of a good Kush. Though a gorgeous, wonderful-smelling and tasty flower, the low THC percentage of this Kush allows for consumption without being laid out. Despite the fact that it’s an indica, this flower is subtle enough for daily use and pain management.

Available at: 25Trees in Tacoma.

Super Sour Tangle Distillate by Oleum

Available wherever: Oleum products are carried.

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It’s hard to imagine a better concentrate manufacturer than Oleum. Oleum products are incomparable in quality and price. This Super Sour Tangle Distillate is particularly special. Part of a select series, this concentrate has been distilled four times, contains no additives (PG/VG/Cutting Agents), and is fully de-waxed/lipid free, making the texture clean and one of a kind. All terpene content present in the concentrate is naturally derived from cannabis. Staff used a vaporizer apparatus on a water pipe to consume this concentrate. The terpenes and lack of additives make the flavor of this concentrate unbelievably delicious. All the complex flavors of flower, without the bitter ashy taste of burning plant matter. The only issue we could find with this concentrate is that it’s deceptively good tasting, and possibly too powerful for certain applications.


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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 TokerPoker.com (offer expires 12/31/16).  Price: $7.95 Website: www.tokerpoker.com

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: openvape.com

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: www.biohazardinc.com

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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: qloudup.com


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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: etsy.com/shop/ SmokiesTokeCouture

GUI DE ! 2016 .cont

Dr. Bronner’s Arnica-Menthol Organic Magic Balm

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

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: kandypens.com 26

DECEMBER 2016 iReadCULTURE.com

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: chewygrinder.com


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REVIEWs

entertainment

BOOK

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

MUSIC

Forever and Ever

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) 28

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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)

Private Room MOVIE

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)

Iron Lung Records In the wake of this recent election, some out there may need something a little aggressive to channel their frustrations and anger. If any readers are in this position, look no further than Private Room and its debut LP, Forever And Ever. Private Room is comprised of three longtime veterans of the Northwest hardcore punk scene whose other bands have included Walls, Iron Lung, White Wards and Dead Language, and is just as fiery and unrelenting as one might expect. Delivering eight songs in right around 15 minutes, the band wastes no time, pulls no punches and lands haymaker after haymaker. (Simon Weedn)


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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

T

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. >> iReadCULTURE.com DECEMBER 2016

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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.

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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

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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. >>


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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. >>

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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

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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 www.advancednutrients.com


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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. >>

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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.

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Europe

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 42

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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.


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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.

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Ashley Preece-Sackett, Cascadia Labs

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


Anthony Silvaggio, Humboldt Institute for Interdisciplinary Marijuana Research

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

Tony Verzura, United Cannabis

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

Thomas Lavigne, Cannabis Counsel P.L.C.

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

Bianca Green, Spark the Conversation

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

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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.

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Devon Richardson, Nerve Cannabis Consulting / Cannabrand

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 initially landed a job with Cannabrand, a local marketing agency, and eventually left the company to pioneer her own unique 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


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Photo by Coco Aramaki

How did Gazebos get started?

Gazebos are at Home in Seattle Local band Gazebos are the alt-rock obsession you’ve been waiting for by Emily Manke Every once in awhile, a band comes along who perfectly encapsulate a time and place. Gazebos is that band for 2016 Seattle. Polished yet lo-fi instrumentals, help create the perfect backdrop for Shannon Perry’s impossible-to-not-like vocals. And it’s not just the cool girl timbre that makes her voice so addictive, it’s the original prose-inspired lyrics that are coming out of her mouth. What girl can’t relate to lyrics like “I don’t like the boys who like me/And the boys I like don’t like me back.” Gazebos’ sound and genre may be described as “alternative” but despite that, the band manages to make music that is downright relatable. The four-piece consists of lead vocalist Shannon Perry, lead guitarist and backup vocalist TV Coahran, and the rhythm section, Kimberly Morrison and Tyler Swan. Gazebos released its latest album Die Alone in February of 2016. One of the hottest tracks on that album “Just Get High” is a nihilist stoner track that every Seattle cannabis-enthusiast should have in their music library. If you want to check them out, you can! Gazebos will be playing Freakout Festival December 8, in Seattle at Chop Suey. CULTURE had the chance to chat with Shannon Perry about Seattle, bands, and of course cannabis. 48

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Shannon Perry: We’re all longtime Seattle residents. Or at least we’ve all been in bands around here forever. And everybody in Gazebos has been in a bunch of different bands. So, I think it was only natural that at some point we’d all be in a band together. I’ve been on tour with TV, the lead guitarist and [backup] singer’s old band, with my old band. So it was just maybe inevitable. Then TV had formed Gazebos, the instrumental part of it, he had a drummer a bassist and himself, he was just looking for a singer. And when he initially asked me to sing in the band, I was in the process of opening a tattoo shop. So I told him I couldn’t do it at the moment. But as soon as everything was set up and I was ready, I gave him a call, and thankfully he was still ready. Where are you all from? I’m from Seattle, more like suburban Seattle, I moved to Seattle proper when I was 16. TV’s from the tricities, and we just recently replaced our rhythm section and have two new members. Kimberly has lived in Seattle for a super long time and has been in a bunch of bands, not exactly sure where she’s from originally. Tyler grew up around where I did, over on the Eastside. What are Gazebos’ musical influences? That’s complicated. I think we all four probably come from different places. But I know TV is really influenced by Sparks and Devo and that sort of thing. I’m kind

of all over the place. I love Whitney Houston, and Michael Jackson was my favorite growing up. I was also a goth kid, so I am really all over the place. Pertaining to the band specifically, I actually got into the Talking Heads after being in Gazebos, but I noticed some stuff about how David Byrne sings that’s similar to me. His lyrics talking about regular stuff a lot, or an existential crisis, or just society. That’s a really hard question. Because there are just too many bands I like. Has the cannabis-laden culture of the PNW impacted your sound or creative process? I mean, I smoke weed every day. But it’s the PNW, so I was doing that before it was legal. And I was creative before I was stoned, so I wouldn’t necessarily put the two hand-in-hand. But I do like to get stoned before composing melody parts just to get my mind out of thinking regular—to get a little bit of a different perspective. I enjoy the marijuana aspect to things, but it’s not necessarily an operative factor. What music do you like listening to when you’re under the influence of cannabis? I feel like when I get stoned I am more likely to listen to things that are like guilty pleasures from my childhood. But I will say that in the last year or so, when I’m really stoned, and it’s really late at night, I’m watching a lot of YouTube videos of Whitney Houston when she was young. And also I’ve been listening to a lot of Enya. c

hardlyart.com/artists/gazebos


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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

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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.

DECEMBER 2016 iReadCULTURE.com

TIP OF THE MONTH

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.


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culture

if you go:

RECIPES

growing

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

Whistler Wows as a Winter Wonderland

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by Sheryll Alexander

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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

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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.


culture RECIPES

growing

Jefferson VanBilliard 

Age: 31

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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 courage@ireadculture.com.

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culture growing

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

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RECIPES

Medicated Bread Pudding with Bourbon Sauce

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

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

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

1/2 tablespoon crushed green cardamom pods

6 grams ground, decarbed cannabis

1 teaspoon allspice

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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. 

DECEMBER 2016 iReadCULTURE.com


Local eateries with similar dishes: CafĂŠ Pettirosso

1101 E Pike St., Seattle (206) 324-2233 pettirossoseattle.com

Prohibition Gastropub

1414 Hewitt Ave., Everett (425) 258-6100 prohibitiongastropub.com

El Gaucho

2119 Pacific Ave., Tacoma (253) 272-1510 elgaucho.com

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culture

Medicated Bread Pudding with Bourbon Sauce Serves 6

growing

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

RECIPES

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. 

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1/2 cup brown sugar

Medicated Mulled Apple Cider

Serves 1

Ingredients: 1 1/2 cup apple cider

1 teaspoon brown sugar

1.4 teaspoon whole cloves

1/2 orange, cut into rings 

2 whole allspice

2 drops medicated orange bitters

1 inch cinnamon stick

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

DECEMBER 2016 iReadCULTURE.com


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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

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El Nino, which has disrupted food supplies and driven birds into different locations. FINE POINTS OF THE LAW u Compelling Explanation: Senate bill 1342, passed in the Idaho legislature earlier in 2016, authorizes schools to use the Bible as a reference in classrooms (despite the U.S. Supreme Court’s having specifically condemned a previous version of the bill ever since 1964). The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Sage Dixon, said he thought his law was nonetheless constitutional because, “The little Supreme Court in my head says this is OK.” (Even so, Gov. C.L. Otter vetoed the bill.) u Nebraska voters in November will be asked whether to keep the state’s longstanding death penalty for murder—even though retaining it will require them to vote “repeal.” The legislature replaced death row last year with mandatory

DECEMBER 2016 iReadCULTURE.com

life sentences, and the referendum is to “repeal” or “retain” that legislation. Hence, to abolish the death penalty, voters must select “retain.” The state attorney general, and election officials, declined to challenge the confusing arrangement, instead suggesting that Nebraskans are smart enough to figure the whole thing out. u The Arizona legislature passed a child-molestation law recently that made any adult contact with children’s genitals a criminal act, but unlike in other states’ similar laws, neglected to include a requirement that the outlawed contact be for “sexual” purposes. Consequently, in principle, parents may be criminally liable, for example, for bathing a baby or changing its diaper. The Arizona Supreme Court ruled in September that it is up to the legislature to change the law, but some lawmakers professed indifference, confident that

district attorneys will use good judgment about whom to prosecute. 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 safety-control engineers work on actually slowing down cars and buses when a risk is detected on the road ahead, one of Volvo’s recent innovations appears aimed merely at bullying pedestrians to get out

of the way. According to a September report on Treehugger.com, 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. LATEST RELIGIOUS MESSAGES u In 2014, British entrepreneur Azad Chaiwala, 33, created

the matchmaking service Second Wife—because, just as men have trouble finding that special person, some Mormons, Muslims and others have at least as much trouble finding that special additional person. (Most clients, he said, are in the United States and the United Kingdom, though bigamy is illegal in both places.) The service was so successful that Chaiwala this year inaugurated Polygamy. com, which he adamantly defended as a moral alternative to adultery and one-night-stand services such as Tinder. POLICE REPORT u (1) The long-rap-sheeted Darren Clinton, 48, was in the process, according to Minneapolis police, of burglarizing a hotel room in September when an occupant returned and surprised him. Clinton, wielding a knife, escaped momentarily, but the occupant summoned his nearby roommates—the

visiting University of Arizona men’s cross-country team— and after a chase, which included jumping several barriers, the runners steered a severely winded Clinton into the arms of a state trooper. (2) Kerry Johnson, 52, was arrested in August in Charleston, West Virginia, and charged with robbing a City National Bank branch. Police said Johnson had been gambling at the Mardi Gras Casino in nearby Nitro when he ran out of money at the blackjack table. (He left a $25 chip to preserve his spot, excused himself, went to the bank, and came back with more money.) 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

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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.

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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. COMPELLING EXPLANATIONS u In September, Charles Lawrence III, 60, was sentenced to eight years in prison for attempted sexual

DECEMBER 2016 iReadCULTURE.com

assault despite his claim that it was just bad eyesight that caused the problem. He had arrived at a house in Fairfield, Connecticut, to have sex with a male he had met online, but the event turned out to be a “To Catch a Predator” sting. Lawrence, an accountant, claimed that, in text messages with the “boy,” he had seen “18” as his age, when, according to police evidence, the text read “13.” (Bonus: Lawrence knew “Predator” newsman Chris Hansen socially and commuted daily on the train with him, according to Lawrence’s lawyer.) u A 23-year-old woman on a bus in Istanbul, Turkey, was attacked by Abdullah Cakiroglu, 35, in September because, as he told police, he had become “aroused” by her wearing shorts. (Initially, he was not arrested, but after a protest on social media, police came to get him—though for “inciting,” not assault.) He told police, “I lost myself” because

the woman had “disregarded the values of our country,” and “my spiritual side took over, and I kicked her in the face.” GOVERNMENT IN ACTION u Kevin and Tammy Jones opened their guns-andcoffee store in an old bank building in Hamilton, Virginia, in August, but despite the controversies about the ease of gun acquisition in America, their Bullets and Beans shop has had a harder time pleasing government regulators over the coffee than over the firearms. Kevin told Washingtonian magazine that there were no problems in getting gun-shop and firearms-instruction permits from state and federal agencies, but several localgovernment roadblocks delayed the coffee-sales permit: the property being zoned for “retail” but not food or drinks; permission to open certain businesses near residences; and a coffee shop’s need to have “parking.”


LATEST RELIGIOUS MESSAGES u Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin declared Oct. 13 Oilfield Prayer Day to cap a statewide initiative of mass wishing for improved performance of the state’s energy industry, which has been in the doldrums recently with the worldwide drop in oil prices. Though the initiative’s founders, and the associated Oil Patch Chaplains, were largely Baptist church leaders, the governor emphasized that all religions should be praying for a more prosperous industry. CULTURAL DIVERSITY u In September, a court in Paris upheld France’s government ban on people smiling for their passport and identity photos. One official had challenged the required straightforward pose (“neutral,” “mouth closed”), lamenting that the French should be encouraged to smile to overcome the perpetual “national depression” that

supposedly permeates the country’s psyche. u The baseball-like “pesapallo” might be Finland’s national game, reported The New York Times in September, despite its differences from the American pastime. The ball is pitched to the batter—but vertically, by a pitcher standing next to the batter—and the batter runs the bases after hitting it, though not counterclockwise but zigzag style, to a base on the left, then one on the right, then back to the left. The game was invented in Finland in 1920 and has achieved minor notoriety, with teams from Germany, Switzerland, Sweden and Australia vying for a “world cup” that so far none has been able to wrest from Finland. (Reassuringly, however, “three strikes” is an out in Finland, too.) NEW WORLD ORDER u Too Much Time on Their Hands: In an October profile of tech developer and startup

savant Sam Altman, The New Yorker disclosed that “many people in Silicon Valley have become obsessed with the simulation hypothesis”—that “what we experience as reality” is just some dark force’s computer simulation (as in the movie “The Matrix”). “Two tech billionaires,” the magazine reported, are “secretly engag(ing) scientists” to break us out of this alternative universe we might be trapped in. (One prominent member of the tech elite remarked at a Vox Media conference in June on how the “simulation hypothesis” seems to dominate all conversation whenever the elites gather.) u Scientists from England’s Bath University, publishing in a September issue of Nature Communications, report success in creating enduring live mice without use of a fertilized egg. The researchers showed it possible that a sperm cell can “trick” an egg into becoming a full-

featured embryo without a “fertilization” process (in which distinct genomes from sperm and egg were thought to be required, at least in mammals). The scientists were thus able to “challenge nearly two centuries of conventional wisdom.” POLICE REPORT u Couldn’t Stop Myself: (1) Joshua Hunt, 31, was arrested in October inside St. Francis Hospital in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where he had gone to check on his 9-month-old son, who was being treated for an injury. Police said that while in the ward, he snatched another visitor’s purse and took a cellphone and credit cards. (2) Brittany Carulli, 25, was arrested in Harrison Township, New Jersey, in October, charged with stealing a medic’s wallet from inside an ambulance. The medic had allowed Carulli in the ambulance to grieve over her boyfriend’s body after he was struck and killed by a car.

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Culture Magazine Washington December 2016