Friday, July 19, 2019 Headlines | Marijuana Today Daily News


A close-up photo of a mature marijuana bud shows small sparkly crystals of resin.

Marijuana Today Daily Headlines
Friday, July 19, 2019 | Curated by host Shea Gunther

// Washington state offers up cannabis traceability ‘workaround’ in wake of software release problems (Marijuana Business Daily)

// Oklahoma medical cannabis businesses prepare for ‘necessary’ rules that will up compliance costs (Marijuana Business Daily)

// Michigan cuts marijuana licensing fees in 19 cities impacted by drug war (Crain’s Detroit Business (AP))


Today’s headlines are brought to you by our friends over at Eaze.com, California’s top one stop website for legal marijuana delivery. If you live in the golden state, swing over to Eaze.com to see if they are active in your area. With deliveries taking place in less than an hour, it’s never been easier to get legal California marijuana delivery. And of course, if you don’t live where Eaze delivers, you can still benefit from all the useful bits of industry insight and analysis they’ve developed using their properly aggregate and anonymized sales data stream.


// More Than 100 Marijuana Businesses Urge Congress To Include Social Equity In Legalization (Marijuana Moment)

// Boston’s first recreational marijuana store receives preliminary license, could open within months (Boston Globe)

// Imports of medical marijuana into Germany surge in second quarter (Marijuana Business Daily)

// Texas leaders: Hemp law did not decriminalize marijuana (Texas Tribune)

// Fight Over HUD Housing Eviction Over Medical Pot Tossed (Courthouse News)

// Who’s really behind Toronto’s chain of illegal pot shops that won’t quit? (CBC News)

// Homeland Security Chief Won’t Say Whether Families Should Be Separated Over Marijuana (Marijuana Moment)


Check out our other projects:
Marijuana Today— Our flagship title, a weekly podcast examining the world of marijuana business and activism with some of the smartest people in the industry and movement.
Marijuana Media Connect— A service that connects industry insiders in the legal marijuana industry with journalists, bloggers, and writers in need of expert sources for their stories.

Love these headlines? Love our podcast? Support our work with a financial contribution and become a patron.

Photo: Brian Shamblen/Flickr



Source link

Cannabis Isn’t the Only Counter Culture en Vogue • High Times


One of the first things that drew me into ‘counter culture’ at a young age was the sense of rebellion it evoked. Part of the ‘cool factor’ of smoking weed was that I wasn’t allowed to do it, and that I’d get in trouble if I got caught… it made me feel like an outlaw. I didn’t realize until years later that part of the reason I was writing my name on everything was because it was evoking similar feelings. I wasn’t conscious of it at the time, but the same feeling of rebellion that lead me to graffiti years earlier was the catalyst for arguably the longest lasting relationship of my life— my relationship with Mary Jane. 

We often don’t think of these two cultures as being particularly intertwined past the questionable legality—likely because graffiti typically involves a lot of running, and weed makes you, well, slow down. But still, the similarities are plentiful. I won’t dig into the minutia, but here’s the 101: both practices began as less-than-legal forms of expression, developed cult-like followings, exploded into major industries, and eventually moved into the cultural zeitgeist. Now, at a time where CBD is available at gas stations around the country, Street Art is maturing at a similar pace—moving from slaps and tags into coveted (and impossible to obtain) art pieces commanding top dollar. 

Last summer I bought three tickets to a show in Los Angeles that I saw on one of my favorite designers Instagrams. It was called Beyond the Streets. None of my friends had heard of it, but it looked interesting, so I managed to entice two of them to go through promises of a hazy trip over, and by buying their tickets. What we experienced was unlike any of the countless other shows I’ve seen since I moved to California – it was raw, it was creative, and it was FUN. From the split cop car, to the original Keith Haring, to the six-foot LA Hands, this show had something for everyone. Needless to say, when I found out they were opening a new show in New York, I had to check it out.

The show, which runs until the end of August, takes place across two floors of a glass-encased building on the edge of Williamsburg. Nestled along the Hudson river in arguably the most gentrified part of Brooklyn, the show juxtaposes the outlaw mentality that fueled street artists for generations against the vogue-like regard their content is held in today. Not only does it beautifully marry two seemingly unrelated frames of being, but the show really embraces it’s New York setting, recruiting the likes of east coast legends like Taki 183, CORNBREAD and SAMO to not only feature work in the exhibit, but to include Easter egg tags around the venue as well. (Try to find all of SAMO’s—they’re worth it, I promise.)

It’s worth mentioning that the show is MASSIVE. Accounting for roughly one full city block, BTS: NYC is packed with loads of new additions for this exhibition, as well as several fan favorites from LA revamped for round two. New elements include a Beastie Boys retrospective, complete with their original beat machines, logo designs, lyric sheets, and even a hilarious note from one of the hotels they stayed in asking them to stop throwing things from their window, a 30-year anniversary gallery celebrating some of Shepard Fairey’s biggest accomplishments, a slew of the ever-popular totems from Faile, and a beautiful collaborative piece tag-teamed by Takashi Murakami, MADSAKI and TENGAone. My personal favorites include the expanded and redesigned Barminski room, the Parla slabs, Risk’s shark, and the rusty can cart, but there wasn’t a single piece in the show that didn’t deserve it’s own spotlight.

After getting to roam the show for a few hours I caught up with Roger Gastman, graffiti historian and lead curator for Beyond the Streets, to chat about how far the culture has come.

High Times: What made you create Beyond the Streets? The irony of taking what used to be illegal and displaying it in beautiful galleries is not lost on me.

Roger Gastman: This show is all about the evolution of the art form of graffiti and street art. We brought together artists who helped shape and expand the landscape: graffiti and street artists operating at the highest levels with dynamic studio practices, as well as major artists inspired by graffiti and street art. Our aim is to celebrate the heights to which the world’s most recognizable modern art movement has risen.

HT: We’ve noticed that cannabis is undergoing a sort of identity crisis as it shifts from the outlaw / rebel culture into something more commonly accepted. Do you see that happening in street art? 

RG: The mural culture has exploded. And while it is awesome to see the display of public art it is often branded as street art. Legal murals done by artists are not street art just because they are outside. There needs to be more education on the movement, its history and its terms. But overall there will always be the next wave of kids who want to go out and write on things and don’t care about the rules.

HT: Do you see these cultures as being intertwined?

RG: Both have an outlaw, just-do-it nature to them that I don’t think will ever go away, no matter how mainstream they become.

HT: How do you feel about the corporatization of street art? Do you think it’s important that this stuff remains underground?

RG: While it has risen to incredible heights, it amazes me how much more can be done to educate audiences on the people and moments that make up this culture. This show is an attempt to highlight this impact, of mark making and rule breaking, and its impact on and intersections with pop culture. Vandalism as contemporary art—in our own way, without the confines or politics of an institution.

We hope this show continues to legitimize this art form, and shines a light on the people who have dedicated and risked their lives for their passion.

HT: What’s the most exciting / innovative thing you’ve seen come from the culture lately? Anything you never would’ve thought possible years ago?

RG: The world of graffiti and street art is MASSIVE. They are entire cultures with many subcultures that have spun off of them. I can’t keep up with how much keeps coming up. I find the most joy in continuing to dig up the history, something that as these cultures continue to explode will become more important.

HT: Is that the same thing that excited you about street art in the beginning?

RG: I’ve spent my life surrounded by graffiti and street art. You could say that I’m obsessed with understanding the culture, its origins, its evolutions, and the way it’s infiltrated culture at large… It’s incredible to me how far this culture has come, how large its impact is, and how diverse the creativity is.





Source link

Pennsylvania Health Officials Expand Medical Cannabis Access Program – Weed News


pennsylvania marijuana cannabis

Health officials have expanded the pool of patients eligible to receive medical cannabis access.

The State Health Department Secretary publicly announced on Thursday that patients diagnosed with anxiety disorders and/or Tourette syndrome will be eligible to receive recommendations to legally access medical cannabis products. The new rules take effect on July 20.

Lieutenant Gov. John Fetterman called the changes “a truly powerful expansion” of the state’s program.

An estimated 110,000 patients and over 1,600 physicians currently participate in the state-sponsored access program.

Source: NORMLmake a donation





Source link

Illinois Poised to Legalize Marijuana


Illinois is poised to become the 11th state to legalize marijuana, as soon as Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) signs into law a legalization bill passed with bipartisan support in both the House and the Senate last week. Pritzker pushed for the bill’s passage.

When he signs, Illinois will become the first state to get a legalization bill all the way through the legislative process this year, and the first ever to create a system of taxed and regulated marijuana commerce through the legislative process rather than through a voter initiative. Vermont’s legislature legalized possession and cultivation but not sales in early 2018.

The Senate approved the bill last Wednesday and the House concurred on Friday, the last day of the legislative session.

“The state of Illinois just made history, legalizing adult-use cannabis with the most equity-centric approach in the nation,” Pritzker said in a statement upon passage of the bill. “This will have a transformational impact on our state, creating opportunity in the communities that need it most and giving so many a second chance.”

Once the law goes into effect on January 1, Illinois residents 21 and over will be able to legally possess 30 grams of marijuana, 5 grams of concentrate, or 500 milligrams of THC in a marijuana-infused product. Out-of-staters will only be able to possess up to 15 grams of marijuana.

The right to grow one’s own plants, however, was sacrificed in a bid to assuage critics and get the bill over the hump. The bill originally allowed for the home cultivation of up to five plants, but the loud opposition of law enforcement, who worried that it would make it more difficult to find illegal growers, along with Republican lawmakers and other interests, got that taken out.

Washington is the only other legal adult-use marijuana state that does not allow home cultivation.

It also took weakening of the expungement provision in the bill to bring some needed Republicans on board. When the bill was rolled out in the first week of May, it included language that would have created automatic expungement of criminal records for marijuana offenses that will no longer be a crime, but Republicans objected. Instead, bill sponsors agreed to language that removed automatic expungement and replaced it with language allowing the governor to pardon past offenses “with permission to expunge,” but that will then require the filing of a petition to get it done, making it likely that many people with past marijuana convictions will not get their records expunged.

Excluding home grows and scaling back expungement was enough to get Republicans such as Rep. David Welter (R-Morris) on board, and that handful of GOP votes ensured passage of the bill.

“I’m a father of three from a rural district, and I’m standing before you supporting this bill because I do not believe the current policy that we have out there right now is working,” Welter said during House debate. “Prohibition doesn’t work, and we see that. Putting safeguards in place, taxing, regulating it, I believe provides a better market and a safer market.”

The new law creates a system of licensed commercial cultivation operations and retail shops, while also setting up a social equity program to help minority businesses enter the emerging industry. That program will deploy grants and loans to such businesses, as well as establishing a grant fund to aid the communities most disproportionately affected by the war on drugs.

Legal marijuana is expected to generate some $87 million in tax revenues for the coming budget year, with $30 million going for a marijuana business development fund and $57 million headed for general revenues. That money will first pay for regulatory expenses and costs related to expungement. After that, the pot dollars will be divided among the general fund (35 percent), community grants (25 percent), mental health and substance abuse programs (20 percent, paying down the state’s budget deficit (10 percent), supporting law enforcement (8 percent), and public education (2 percent).

Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx cheered the passage of the bill even though the expungement provisions were weakened, and vowed to fight

“I applaud the Illinois General Assembly for passing legislation that legalizes recreational cannabis and provides conviction relief to hundreds of thousands of Illinoisans with low-level charges of cannabis possession,” she said in a statement. As prosecutors who implemented these convictions, we must own our role in the harm they have caused and we should play a role in reversing them. The failed war on drugs has disproportionately impacted communities of color, and my office will continue to explore ways to provide the broadest relief possible, beyond that provided by this legislation.”

This year has been something of a disappointment for marijuana reformers, with much-touted legalization efforts in states such as Connecticut, New Jersey, and New York stalling out. Illinois was considered something of a dark horse, but now it has beat everyone else across the finish line.

And the Drug Policy Alliance, which has been working hard to get that New York bill passed, has taken notice.

“Illinois state representatives had the courage to pass comprehensive marijuana justice — and made it their priority before the close of their legislative session,” said DPA New York deputy director Melissa Moore. “As we enter the final three weeks of New York’s session, our elected officials have a tremendous opportunity to show bold leadership and pass responsible regulation that will serve all New Yorkers and address the harms of marijuana prohibition. The time to act is now and the game plan is clear: Pass the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act immediately.”

Whether New York or any other state can still get it done this year or not, the fabric of marijuana prohibition grows increasingly frayed. Thoroughly shredded on the West Coast and tattered in the Northeast, it now has a big hole in the heart of the Midwest with Illinois joining Michigan as a legal weed state.

And there’s always next year, where voters in initiative states will have an opportunity to get it done themselves — without having to deal with cumbersome legislative processes where a single committee chairman can kill a bill, or with recalcitrant lawmakers still stuck in the last century.


This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license from StopTheDrugWar.org and was first published here.

Tags: , , , ,



Source link

What’s in Your Stash? Sharon Letts, Producer, and Writer • High Times


“I identified as a stoner from the 70s for decades, until I presented with cancer in my 50s; now I’m an Educated Stoner.” – Sharon Letts

The first time I smoked weed was in 1975. I was 16 years old and on my way to high school, stopping in at a gas station bathroom, when one of the girls lit a joint and passed it around.

I was considered a good girl and had been a Girl Scout since Brownies. With Florence Nightingale as my first Shero, I became a Candy Striper in high school. I volunteered at the local hospital and delivered flowers, candy, newspapers and books to patients after school, while earning badges for community service.

Sharon smoking a joint in 1975, next to plants she grew in her mom’s rose garden when she was 16 years old – the year she became a patient, but didn’t know it.

But I was never considered a good student. Failing high school, struggling with an undiagnosed processing problem, the general misconception was that I just wasn’t very bright. 

After a few hits off the joint that morning, that was the first time I was able to focus in school. An assignment of writing one Haiku poem turned into writing ten in rapid concession, and I was first published as a poet at 19. 

Even then, I didn’t understand why it felt right; I was only told it was wrong. For decades I thought I was just a stoner who had to hide my cannabis use; even though it helped me focus and feel better, emotionally and physically.

From Stash to Apothecary

After working as a producer in television in Los Angeles, I was brought up to Humboldt County to produce a news show. While working in media in the cannabis capital of the world, I presented with breast cancer (Lobular carcinoma), and was given cannabis oil by Pearl Moon of the Bud Sisters of Southern Humboldt. 

The first night I took the strong oil (alcohol reduction, aka: RSO, FECO) I didn’t need the sleeping pill I’d taken for years. The next day I didn’t need the painkiller needed for a partially disabled knee. In two and a half weeks upwards of ten prescription medications, and numerous supplements needed for treating combined hormonal symptoms from both thyroid disease and menopause, were no longer needed. In two and a half months the cancer was gone, without surgery or the traditional therapies of chemotherapy or radiation.

I’m now part of a 30-year study on prevention with the American Cancer Society. Its director sent me a personal email thanking me for my participation, promising more cannabis questions in future questionnaires. 

Since then (October, 2012) my stash has turned into my apothecary cupboard, and my work has focused on cannabis as remedy, helping people to get back into the kitchen and make their own remedies from the garden. My stories are mostly all patient profiles, written for many publications around the world; translated into several languages.

Courtesy of Sharon Letts

Cannabis: My Gateway Drug to Other Healing Plants

Cannabis has become my main remedy. It was my gateway drug to other beneficial superfoods, or what I like to call, super plants. Superfoods have a wide range of beneficial compounds, with help for a wide range of ailments and symptom relief. This is why most people feel that the many stories of healing are too good to be true. After all, when taking pharmaceuticals, you need one pill per symptom. 

I was diagnosed with thyroid disease at 40. It’s a disorder of the thyroid gland, located at the base of the neck, distributing hormones throughout the body; keeping all of our systems in check.

According to Thyroid.org, more than 12 percent of Americans will be diagnosed with a thyroid condition; with 20 million diagnosed with thyroid disease; and upwards of 60 percent of the population not realizing they have the condition at all. 

The main red flags of thyroid disease, and subsequent hormonal imbalances, are digestive issues, slow metabolism and weight gain; constipation and bloating. Hormone disruptions are also sleep disruptors, leading to chronic fatigue and depression; with body temperature issues, including night sweats and hot flashes.

Women going into menopause already presenting with thyroid disease are in for a double-whammy of hormonal symptoms, including mood swings and increased empathy that can bring tears at the slightest provocation. 

The good news is that cannabis may help. To keep myself from sliding back into a sea of sadness, pain and cancer, I need to keep the beneficial compounds of cannabis and other super plants in my system on a daily basis, and treat it as though I had a prescription – as if they were farmaceuticals.

Little Stashes Everywhere

My medicating begins in the evening, as I’ve replaced sleeping pills with a cannabis oil capsule I make myself (recipe on my website). This dose covers a lot of territory, as cannabis strengthens the immune system while fighting off infections. It also gives much needed REMs, warding off fatigue and subsequent depression. 

I also take a chamomile oil capsule nightly (same recipe), after finding a study on chamomile treating depression. Chamomile capsules also replaced Valium for me; and I’ll take one, as needed, during the daytime for anxiety and stress (info on chamomile on my website).

If I’m not feeling 100 percent in the morning, I’ll take a capsule with combinations of moringa and guanabana – both superfoods. The moringa is uplifting for daytime use, combatting fatigue. Moringa is getting to be more commonly known; while guanabana is a popular superfood from South America, commonly used in Baja California, Mexico, where I live.

Throughout the day I’ll take one or two hits of flower with one of my favorite bongs, a retro 70s piece from My Bud Vase; or my cobalt blue bong by Jane West, Inc.

Smoking lifts endorphins quickly, easing depression. Taking just a hit or two of cannabis also helps me focus on my work – dealing with my ADD, on the spectrum. I’ve been known to grind chamomile flower up with cannabis for a calming smoking mix. 

Because of my anxiety issues I tend to choose hybrid cultivars that lean Indica to calm, and don’t pay too much mind to the names of flower. I do pay attention to THC counts – preferring them lower, as I’m not in this for the high, I’m medicating for real ailments. I’m honestly just trying to feel alright each day, using plants instead of pharma for diagnosed disorders, illness and cancer prevention.

I’ll also use a homemade tincture, as needed, depending on the symptom. Chamomile to calm or for tummy upset; Stinging Nettles for allergies; and a THCA (non-psychoactive) tincture for infection or pain. My go-to is a cold-gin-infusion, as alcohol infuses in a cold process and doesn’t activate THC.

My body and face lotion is also infused with any number of the superfoods named, as I no longer use retail sunscreen; but do aftercare with plants that have antioxidant compounds, namely cannabis, chamomile, moringa, and guanabana, or combinations thereof; adding rosemary or citrus peel as natural bug repellents.

Courtesy of Sharon Letts

Growing up on the beach in Southern California, then spending many years as a professional gardener, I’ve had my share of skin cancers, with a few removed – but, they typically come back worse. Most skin cancers I’ve been able to treat topically with a stronger cannabis oil salve (whole plant extract).

I also add fresh herbs to my cooking throughout the day, keeping vases of herbs on the kitchen counter for easy access. Most produce loses efficacy if stored in the refrigerator where perfectly good food goes to die. Keeping produce in bowls and vases on the countertop encourages daily and immediate use. 

You might say my own personal stashes come from the garden into just about every room in the house. Whether it’s made in the kitchen, smoked from my tray, or found in my apothecary cupboard – it’s all remedy, all day long. 

Quoting Hippocrates, “Let food be thy medicine, and let medicine be thy food.” My medicine happens to be in my stash, and my stash happens to be my medicine.

For more information on Sharon Letts and recipes from her Apothecary page, visit www.sharonletts.com





Source link

Hi-Tunes Interactive (HTI) 1 Gram Dab Launch Party – Weed News


Hi-Tunes Interactive

In the name of science, I did a gram dab and then some. I coughed, choked, and gagged; what I didn’t do was die.

Hi-Tunes Interactive (HTI) held a launch party with a 1 gram dab challenge for the opening of their event studio space. A safe place to host cannabis events to increase branding or to hold a celebration. With a green room, programmers, editors lounge space, ample parking, and soon to be podcast room, HTI is open for business.

The 1 Gram Dab Challenge

For the premiere of HTI’s Studios, Scott McKinley invited cannabis influencers from across the State for a one gram challenge, something excessive but yet, won’t kill you. I went in the name of science, to prove once again, cannabis is less harmful than aspirin and can’t kill you.

In general, a gram of concentrate will last a sick person a day and for those who choose to consume recreationally, four days to 4 weeks. Consumption of one gram is both excessive wasteful, but it’s the point in our present-day idiocracy. People need to understand that consumption of excess cannabis in one sitting leads to Doritos and naps, not kidney failure or death, as noted by many FDA approved medications.

What I consumed in one video is someone’s medicine, someone’s safer choice for recreational consumption, a point that needs to be driven out there. I did not die after consuming almost 2 grams of concentrates plus my daily morning bowl of flower.

The rigs were provided by Washington State’s Dab Doctor, and the concentrates were provided by Mammoth Labs. The concentrate was a smooth hitting Wedding Cake with terpy flavors. Mammoth Labs process uses a proprietary filtration system that allows them to have higher test standards than those required by the State.

I say I almost did 2 grams because I took two video takes. I was the first up to bat and had to figure out the right combination of dropping a gram in the rig and right carb cap, there were several options that I didn’t know about since I’m mostly a flower child.

Once the combination and technique were figured out, it was time to pass the proverbial torch for time sake. In the end, I was able to take a second one, for better presentation, the one you saw. I was able to keep most of my composure until the end, where we gave our shoutouts. I devoted mine to Freedom Grow, Seattle Hempfest, and your beloved weednews.co.

VR to Augmented Reality

HTI continues to be ahead of the game when it comes to interaction with your tech-savvy cannabis consumer. Besides the green room, HTI offers VR and augmented reality capabilities with its team of programmers. Since Google announced the enabling of augmented realities in its search engine. HTI has launched at the right time. Recently they signed a deal with Redman to show the world what they can do. See the below video.

Download the Redman App, Available on Google Playstore and Apple.

If you’re looking to take your cannabis brand to 2020 then hit up the HTI team and be a part of the Dab Roast.



Source link

Illinois Poised to Legalize Marijuana as of January 1, 2020


SPRINGFIELD, IL — Illinois is poised to become the 11th state to legalize marijuana, as soon as Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) signs into law a legalization bill passed with bipartisan support in both the House and the Senate last week. Pritzker pushed for the bill’s passage.

When he signs, Illinois will become the first state to get a legalization bill all the way through the legislative process this year, and the first ever to create a system of taxed and regulated marijuana commerce through the legislative process rather than through a voter initiative. Vermont’s legislature legalized possession and cultivation but not sales in early 2018.

The Senate approved the bill last Wednesday and the House concurred on Friday, the last day of the legislative session.

“The state of Illinois just made history, legalizing adult-use cannabis with the most equity-centric approach in the nation,” Pritzker said in a statement upon passage of the bill. “This will have a transformational impact on our state, creating opportunity in the communities that need it most and giving so many a second chance.”

Once the law goes into effect on January 1, Illinois residents 21 and over will be able to legally possess 30 grams of marijuana, 5 grams of concentrate, or 500 milligrams of THC in a marijuana-infused product. Out-of-staters will only be able to possess up to 15 grams of marijuana.

The right to grow one’s own plants, however, was sacrificed in a bid to assuage critics and get the bill over the hump. The bill originally allowed for the home cultivation of up to five plants, but the loud opposition of law enforcement, who worried that it would make it more difficult to find illegal growers, along with Republican lawmakers and other interests, got that taken out.

Washington is the only other legal adult-use marijuana state that does not allow home cultivation.

It also took weakening of the expungement provision in the bill to bring some needed Republicans on board. When the bill was rolled out in the first week of May, it included language that would have created automatic expungement of criminal records for marijuana offenses that will no longer be a crime, but Republicans objected. Instead, bill sponsors agreed to language that removed automatic expungement and replaced it with language allowing the governor to pardon past offenses “with permission to expunge,” but that will then require the filing of a petition to get it done, making it likely that many people with past marijuana convictions will not get their records expunged.

Excluding home grows and scaling back expungement was enough to get Republicans such as Rep. David Welter (R-Morris) on board, and that handful of GOP votes ensured passage of the bill.

“I’m a father of three from a rural district, and I’m standing before you supporting this bill because I do not believe the current policy that we have out there right now is working,” Welter said during House debate. “Prohibition doesn’t work, and we see that. Putting safeguards in place, taxing, regulating it, I believe provides a better market and a safer market.”

The new law creates a system of licensed commercial cultivation operations and retail shops, while also setting up a social equity program to help minority businesses enter the emerging industry. That program will deploy grants and loans to such businesses, as well as establishing a grant fund to aid the communities most disproportionately affected by the war on drugs.

Legal marijuana is expected to generate some $87 million in tax revenues for the coming budget year, with $30 million going for a marijuana business development fund and $57 million headed for general revenues. That money will first pay for regulatory expenses and costs related to expungement. After that, the pot dollars will be divided among the general fund (35 percent), community grants (25 percent), mental health and substance abuse programs (20 percent, paying down the state’s budget deficit (10 percent), supporting law enforcement (8 percent), and public education (2 percent).

Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx cheered the passage of the bill even though the expungement provisions were weakened, and vowed to fight

“I applaud the Illinois General Assembly for passing legislation that legalizes recreational cannabis and provides conviction relief to hundreds of thousands of Illinoisans with low-level charges of cannabis possession,” she said in a statement. As prosecutors who implemented these convictions, we must own our role in the harm they have caused and we should play a role in reversing them. The failed war on drugs has disproportionately impacted communities of color, and my office will continue to explore ways to provide the broadest relief possible, beyond that provided by this legislation.”

This year has been something of a disappointment for marijuana reformers, with much-touted legalization efforts in states such as Connecticut, New Jersey, and New York stalling out. Illinois was considered something of a dark horse, but now it has beat everyone else across the finish line.

And the Drug Policy Alliance, which has been working hard to get that New York bill passed, has taken notice.

“Illinois state representatives had the courage to pass comprehensive marijuana justice — and made it their priority before the close of their legislative session,” said DPA New York deputy director Melissa Moore. “As we enter the final three weeks of New York’s session, our elected officials have a tremendous opportunity to show bold leadership and pass responsible regulation that will serve all New Yorkers and address the harms of marijuana prohibition. The time to act is now and the game plan is clear: Pass the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act immediately.”

Whether New York or any other state can still get it done this year or not, the fabric of marijuana prohibition grows increasingly frayed. Thoroughly shredded on the West Coast and tattered in the Northeast, it now has a big hole in the heart of the Midwest with Illinois joining Michigan as a legal weed state.

And there’s always next year, where voters in initiative states will have an opportunity to get it done themselves — without having to deal with cumbersome legislative processes where a single committee chairman can kill a bill, or with recalcitrant lawmakers still stuck in the last century.


This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license from StopTheDrugWar.organd was first published here.

Tags: , , , ,



Source link

Sometimes They’re More Than Just Jokes • High Times


Daniel Sloss is backstage at The Largo nursing a bruised foot. He feels like the foot’s broken but can’t remember how or why. Then he leans back in his chair and gleefully admits he’d had a few beverages the night before in Studio City. While the reason behind the pain doesn’t matter, he’d love to be free of podiatry issues, having just kicked off a massive world tour across the US, UK, Europe and Asia. And while it’s not required, telling jokes on two healthy feet is certainly easier.

Growing up in Scotland, what inspired you to get into comedy?

Fuck, I’m not smart enough to do anything else. I’d always enjoyed comedy and my mom and dad are huge stand-up fans. When they lived in London after university, they used to go to a comedy club nearby where all the great British stand-ups legends were starting out. They would watch comedy all the time in the house, so I would watch comedy all the time in the house. And I loved making my family laugh because they would make me laugh. I remember being young and being in my bed and listening to my parents laughing downstairs and just being like, “I have to fucking know what makes my parents laugh so that I can make them laugh.” And I’d go downstairs and my mom and dad were watching Bill Hicks. I wasn’t even listening to what he was saying, I just liked the fact he was swearing and shouting. 

It took me until I was 16 to realize [comedy is] an actual fucking job. I mean, it’s not a real job, but you know, it’s the way some people make a living.

Did that realization coincide with writing for Frankie Boyle?

When I started off, Frankie was kind enough to let me backstage at a few of his gigs and introduce me to people and eventually brought me into The Stand, which is my local sort of comedy club. I think at the start, I was just so happy to be doing it, and then eventually started making money. I still have the first tenner I ever made. Framed. It fucking blew my mind that I made money out of telling dick jokes.

Every time somebody laughs at one of your jokes you go, “Oh good, I’m not alone.” You suddenly go, “I’m not alone in this horrific thought or this insecurity.”

Well, yeah. You’ve sold out shows throughout the world. 

Fucking ridiculous, man. It blows my mind. Anywhere from 400 to 500 seaters to a thousand seaters. It’s the coolest thing in the world. I’m really excited about this current tour because I’m going to a bunch of places I’ve never fucking been to.

In a 2016 New York Times piece, you talked about transitioning your material and “abandoning” your earlier audience. Has that switch made your material more universal?

The set that I do in the UK is very similar to the set I do in America. The only thing that changes is I talk a bit slower because of my accent and I make sure references aren’t so localized that they don’t make sense.

My answer to the “is comedy universal” question is it depends what kind of comedy it is. Fortunately, my comedy is about how much of a cunt I am everywhere I go. So it doesn’t matter.

A cunt in Ethiopia is a cunt in America–

Is cunt is a cunt is a cunt. I never expected to have this fucking reach. I love the fact that I get to do the exact same show I do in Lithuania that I do in Australia, that I do in Sweden, that I do in the UK, that I do in fucking Indianapolis or Texas or Los Angeles or New York or fucking Russia at some point this year. I don’t know why [my material] translates, but it does. I’m glad it does.

But do you think any of the current universality has to do with you switching up your material?

Oh, yeah. Yes, absolutely. Instead of doing what I thought people found funny, instead of just guessing and being like “I think people will find this funny, I think people will find that funny” and then trying to convince them, I started going “no, I know what’s fucking funny, it’s my job to be funny, I’ll tell you what’s funny.” It was nice to be able to start talking about the things that made me laugh, the things I found funny.

I used to go out and be like “okay, what are people talking about now?” They’re talking about this tv show? I’m gonna make fun of this fucking tv show. I would talk about my opinions on it and try and force myself into other people’s worlds. Now, I much prefer to talk about my view on things. Either you agree with what I’m saying, or I hope on the other side of things, you’re sitting there laughing “this is such a stupid opinion to have, only an idiot would believe this.” I like to make sure whenever I sound intelligent on stage, to remind my audience I didn’t go to university and that all of this is rehearsed, I just sound smart.

So you initially were doing jokes for others, but then leaned into yourself and your truth?

Man, when you’re able to do that as a stand-up it really stops you caring when people hate [your material]. Because if people go, “I don’t like your stand-up,” I go, “Cool, that makes sense, I would hate if what I did was universally loved.” I don’t think that’s fucking art. If people are like, “I think your comedy’s shit,” I’m like, “Good, comedy is subjective. You’re absolutely entitled to that opinion.” Sometimes I think my comedy is shit, but these fucking morons still come along and laugh at my jokes. I like [the audience] and they make me laugh as well.

Love or hate, at least your evoking a genuine response.

Yeah, man. Sometimes I forget how powerful comedy can be. Because most of the time, at least what I do, it’s just stupid dick jokes. It’s a man on stage having a fucking laugh. And then sometimes – especially with the success of “Dark” and “Jigsaw” on Netflix – you see how much it has resonated with people, on a profound level sometimes. This [current] level of fame is weird for me, man. I’ve been less famous for most of my career, which has really fucking suit me well. It’s been nice and [people are like] “hey, I love what you do.” Whereas now, with “Jigsaw,” people like to break up with their partners.

I saw you reposting those stats on Instagram.

It’s at like 105 divorces now, 40,000 something break-ups. People meet me after shows and they thank me. To me, it was originally just a joke. It was my truth and it came from an honest place. But just to see it resonate with other people so much that they make positive changes to their lives, it makes me occasionally go “I don’t think you can call them just jokes anymore.”

Sometimes they’re just jokes and sometimes they’re not. You don’t really get to dictate how somebody takes a joke. You can disagree with how they take a joke. If they get offended by it, you can stand by it and say, “I don’t care that you’re offended.” But I think you should just have a little bit of empathy sometimes, and when somebody goes, “I am upset with that,” and work out “why.” See if you care. 

Sometimes I’ve said some things and a fan has said to me, “I didn’t appreciate how you said this.” I’ll think about it and I’ll be like, “You know, actually. I get that.” I don’t care if I intentionally offend people. If I accidentally offend someone, that’s a bit like “Ah, fuck. That wasn’t what I meant to do.” I was attacking this thing and you got caught in the crossfire. I’ll check myself to make sure that doesn’t happen again. But then again, I’ll also sometimes be like, “Yeah, you jumped in front of that fucking bullet. You went out of your way to get offended there. And at this point, I don’t give a shit.” As a comedian, I think you can say and joke about anything.

Do you think you have a “home field advantage” when it comes to the enormous success you’ve enjoyed at the Edinburgh Festival year after year?

Yeah, the Scots are disgustingly supportive of their own. Abso-fucking-lutely. It doesn’t matter what part of Scotland I’m from, I’m Scottish. If you’re a New York comic, you’re popular in New York. If you’re a Los Angeles comic, you’re a Los Angeles comic. There’s no “American” comic. It’s the same [in England] – you’re a London comic or a Liverpool comic. I’m just a Scottish comic. It’s the whole fucking country. Cause we’re small and that’s our identity. But truly, at the festival, it absolutely helps because there’s all these international artists coming from around the world and people want to come out and see one of their own boys.

How did talking about being a self-professed “cunt” blossom into a great body of work?

That’s a Scottish thing. Self-deprecation. We have that sense of humor in Scotland where you make fun of everything and everyone regardless. That’s what our version of equality is. Don’t go around thinking you’re the tits. There’s nothing Scottish people hate more. Like, “Reign it in, cunt. Lose the attitude.” If you get too big for your boots, the Scottish people will bring you back down to your level. While some say it can be toxic, I think a lot of time it’s a great equalizer. I like the fact in Scotland, they still take the fucking piss out of me after shows.

Over here [in the US], people scream and they’re so excited to see you and they’re like, “Oh my god, I love you.” You meet them and you hug them and they shake. Whereas, I walk off stage in Scotland, and they go, “What’s up, cunt.” That’s more real.

In terms of my material, rage fuels me. I know some people have a very bad relationship with anger, in that they’ll let it out in bad ways. I’m filled with rage and things but I just channel it into stand-up. Things that annoy me, things I get annoyed by. And I know me being angry tends to be funny to people. Whatever pisses me off, I can rant for hours. I learned when I was very young I’ve got very firm opinions on things and people don’t like listening to your opinions when you’re yelling. But they will listen to your opinions if you put jokes in them. It was such a great way for people to pay attention to me. If I make you laugh, you’ll listen. There are certain things I’m passionate about and I want to talk about on stage. But the only way to do that is to stick a bunch of jokes in there and make myself look like an idiot.

How is cannabis involved in your creative process?

Weed is illegal in Scotland. There’s not really “pot culture” in the UK. I think I was one of the first ever comedians – one of the first ever people – to openly talk on the BBC about using marijuana. They were like, “We don’t normally do this.” I’m like, “It’s fucking weed, man.” It’s way more common…but in the UK, people aren’t as open about smoking weed and stuff, so it’s not really had the chance to thrive like it has in America, where people have for years been talking about how much weed they smoke.

I’m still giddy when I come to places where it’s legal. I can’t not do it. Sometimes it’s good for writing. Like I’ll write something completely sober and then come back to it stoned and re-write and see what works in different places. But over here [in America], to be able to go into a store like an adult and legally buy marijuana over the counter and not be forced to smoke in a back alley…I’m like a kid in a Willy Wonka chocolate factory.

The way you get drugs in Scotland is you text a guy, “Can I get some weed?” And then an hour later he arrives outside your house and goes, “I’m outside.” You go outside, you get in the back of his fucking car and his six year old son’s there. And you’re like, “Well this is fucking weird.” You go, “Can I have some weed?” He goes, “Yeah, sure. 20 quid.” And you go, “What type of weed is it?” And he goes, “It’s weed, get out of the fucking car.” There’s none of this sativa, indica, hybrid shit. No one knows the names of stuff. But it’s getting better. I have a really good dealer in the UK who makes edibles and vape pens, which are great.

I probably need to smoke a bit less. One of the main reasons I do it is because I do think it’s cool. It’s this illegal thing that you’re not meant to do but everyone does it. There’s absolutely a part of me that’s like, “Cool people smoke weed.” Weed also made me a better person. It made me more introspective. I used to be an angry and shitty teenager and I think smoking weed gave me a healthy level of paranoia. Like, I thought I was the best thing in the world. And then I’d get high and my brain would be like, “Maybe you’re not the best thing in the world.” And I thought, “This is actually a really good paranoia.”

Smoking weed taught me empathy as well. Instead of having visceral, instant reactions to things, I slowed down and processed them. Weed made me genuinely less angry. It allowed me to put myself in other people’s shoes. Even if I disagreed with what they’re saying, it allowed me to understand how they arrived at their conclusions. Before, I would say “This person is stupid and fucking wrong.” But instead, I would ask, “Why are they stupid and why are they wrong?”

I know I’ve arrived at this conclusion because of the experiences I’ve got, so that’s why I think the way I do. Other people think differently because they’ve lived different lives than me, what are their experiences? When you think about other people’s experiences – even if you still disagree with their opinions – you understand how they arrived at them. It makes them less fucking stupid.

The second you understand why someone believes something, it makes it so much easier to have a dialogue with them. It allows you to be like, “Hey. I know why you think this way. I get it. But here are some facts that you might not know, or here’s my experience. I understand where you’re coming from, can you try and understand where I’m coming from?” We’ll not necessarily fucking meet halfway, but we’ll have some level of empathetic communication.

Follow @danielsloss and check out https://danielsloss.com/ for tickets and tour dates





Source link

Veteran Marijuana Reform Activist Doug Greene Dead at 52


Doug Greene poses with the Crain’s magazine cover on which he was featured. (Facebook)

NEW YORK, NY — Longtime New York-based drug reform activist Doug Greene died Tuesday evening in a subway accident on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. He was only 52.

According to police and media reports, Greene and fellow activist Todd Hinden had attended a George Clinton concert in Central Park, then parted ways as Hinden hopped on his bicycle and Greene headed down into the subway, where he fell onto the tracks.

Police reported that “a man was fatally struck by an A train after he fell onto the subway tracks on the Upper West Side Tuesday night,” adding that he was hit by “a southbound express train at the 72 St. station near Central Park West just before 10:45pm.” His identity was confirmed on Wednesday, and police confirmed “they did not suspect foul play.”

Greene spent more than half his life as a drug reformer, and has been a ubiquitous presence in the New York City and Albany reform community, as well as at NORML, Drug Policy Alliance, and other drug reform conferences around the country since the ’90s. His friendships readily spanned both the grassroots and professional drug reform classes. I can’t count the times I’ve run into him in the hallways or shared moments outside while we smoked.

He was a stalwart of Empire State NORML, and was serving as board member and legislative director. While he enjoyed a good marijuana protest as much as anybody, Greene focused his attention on Albany and the legislative process, mastering parliamentary arcana and lobbying lawmakers regularly — some of them might say relentlessly.

Greene was also an advocate of ibogaine for addiction treatment, and had trained to be an ibogaine therapist. He was active with the group Cures Not Wars. He wrote an article about ibogaine and the movement for this newsletter, here.

He also worked tirelessly on coalition building in drug reform movement, and at his death, was pushing hard to keep momentum alive for the state’s marijuana legalization bill, which has seen its chances fade in recent days. Some friends think exhaustion from the effort contributed to the accident.

Though his best known activism was in drug policy, Greene was an active member of the NYC vegetarian community, and supported animal rights. His conference agenda always included checking out local vegetarian restaurants with friends. At times he was active with the Libertarian Party as well.

Beyond his work in the movement, Doug Greene was just a nice guy. I didn’t consider him a close friend, more a conference buddy or reform movement colleague. But when wildfires ripped through my Northern California community in 2017, Doug called me up to check on me. That’s the kind of guy he was.

Doug, we’re sorry you’re gone so young and tragically and before you were able to see your life’s work come to fruition, but the rest of us are going to make it happen. And it would make a fitting tribute to all your efforts to put your name on it.


This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license from StopTheDrugWar.organd was first published here.

Tags: , , ,



Source link

Scotland has a drugs problem – and it’s called Westminster | Simon Jenkins | Opinion


Scotland’s drug mortality rate cannot be shelved as just another misery statistic. It has risen by 27% in a year and is three times England and Wales’s rate, 50 times Portugal’s and higher even than that of the United States. Westminster is clearly deaf to this tragedy. There is only one solution. Declare it Scotland’s problem. Let Scotland decide what to do.

Every country in the developed world is now inquiring, experimenting, searching for how to tame the menace that modern narcotics pose. Every country, that is, except Britain, where for half a century a futile “war on drugs” has been delegated to the police, the courts and the NHS. The sole beneficiaries have been drug dealers and their political sponsor, Her Majesty’s Home Office, relieved of lifting a finger in response.

There is now little point in preaching the gospel of legalisation. Countless seminars, conferences and inquiries have tried to work out how best to tackle Britain’s booming drugs industry, legitimate and illicit. They never address the root of the trouble, the minds closed to the subject in Westminster and Whitehall. We can scream “look to the Netherlands, Portugal, Canada, California”, and MPs and officials clamp their hands to their ears.

These people and not the addicts or dealers are Britain’s drugs problem. It is their policies, dating from the antiquated 1971 Misuse of Drugs Act, that underpin the street corner sales, powder factories, shooting galleries and lightly dusted lavatory seats of what the act has turned into a multibillion-pound underground industry. It is an industry Whitehall refuses to regulate, let alone tax. Public servants who, in their home life, may be open to reason, at work become architects of cruelty, well-illustrated in the cynical handling of last year’s medical cannabis scandal, which is still unresolved. As in so many of areas of its responsibility, the Home Office displays the open-mindedness of a Spanish Inquisition.

Reform must search for weaknesses in the wall of reaction. Chief weakness is the frontline, where criminalisation is collapsing through sheer unenforcibility. Led by Durham, one force after another is refusing to arrest its way out of the drugs problem. London’s commissioner, Cressida Dick, says she would need “an army of 100,000 officers” to seek out and charge all the capital’s drug users. Anarchy may yet prove the most effective agent of change. But even an attempted shift from imprisonment to care and rehabilitation suffers from the steady closure of treatment centres under local authorities’ austerity. Like ever rising drug abuse in prisons, it is as if British government was seeking to aid an industry with which it claims to be at war.

Liberal Britain relieves its anti-Brexit fury by labelling Donald Trump’s US antediluvian. Yet even Trump is not enforcing federal bans on states that experiment with cannabis law reform. Thirty-three states have legalised medicinal or recreational use, as has Canada. An industry worth many billions of dollars is going legitimate, as did alcohol with the end of prohibition.

Visitors arriving at Los Angeles airport are greeted with an advertisement for California’s chief marijuana retailer, MedMen. It reads: “Welcome to the new normal.” Half of Oakland’s cannabis licences now go to formerly imprisoned dealers. Colorado, a state the same size as Scotland, reports revenue from its cannabis tax passing $1bn in five years of operation. Could Scotland not use such money? The American experience is not all roses. It has a huge “hard” drug abuse problem, partly due to the introduction of new opioids and other substances.

But slowly drugs are coming to be seen as a social, not a law-and-order issue, with control and legal regulation the sensible response. At least marijuana is being removed from the drugs cocktail. Research shows no rise in cannabis usage with legalisation, while California shows an 8% fall among teenage users.

Britain is light years adrift of such reform. The one hope might be Scotland. It already enjoys a degree of devolved power over crime and punishment. This spring it publicised its remarkable success in combating knife killings. It had halved the rate in 10 years, largely thanks to violence reduction schemes copied from Los Angeles and Boston. Likewise, a campaign against alcohol-related deaths exploited delegated powers to levy local taxes. A rise in minimum retail prices has driven Scottish alcohol consumption to an all-time low. Both these initiatives were classic examples of local discretion leading to reform, where central government policy was stuck in a political rut. Yet, ever since devolution, the Home Office has refused to allow Scotland power to vary the 1971 drugs act. With its antique schedules and ineffective punishments, this act echoes the days of stocks, thumbscrews and treadmills. To the Home Office it is holy writ.

Scotland has a desperate problem. Scenes of addicts on its streets will hardly attract investors, employers or tourists. Yet it has a mature administration with a proven readiness to search the world for solutions to its woes. Its police chiefs, law officers, academics and newspapers are pleading to be allowed to tackle the drugs crisis for themselves. Cannabis legalisation may be part of a solution. Prescription heroin and cocaine may be another. That should be for Scotland to decide.

Parliament can keep to its medieval taboos. It can sail blithely on through its dark night of reaction. But it has failed utterly to win the war on drugs in Scotland. The least it can do is set Scotland free.

Simon Jenkins is a Guardian columnist



Source link