What Now? The Humble Head Shop Turns 50

They go by many names: Roach-O-Rama, Midnight Oasis, Glassy Knoll, Hippie Gypsy, High on the Hill, Puff ‘n’ Stuff, and other sometimes tongue-in-cheek monikers that reflect the whimsical ideals of a generations-old underground culture enamored by the kind herb.

Their musky odors of stale incense and dusty carpeting compliment their outlaw selection of glass pipes, rolling papers, and out-of-date copies of High Times.

Head shops, one of the great American institutions, celebrated 50 years of serving the culture last year (2016.) They epitomize the state of cannabis consumers for the same period: Illegal at the federal level, yet mildly tolerated by state and municipal governments.

A Bastion of Independence

Head shops remain one of the few bastions of true open market independence in the retail business world, with everything from sub shops to drug stores to oil change garages having been gobbled up by international conglomerates and national brands offering nothing more than expensive franchise opportunities and obnoxious national ad campaigns.

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Those who travel in the United States can attest to the sorry state of retail homogeneity that exists throughout the nation. It’s tough to differentiate St. Louis from Phoenix from Denver from Cleveland when it comes to the stores and shops from which we purchase everything from light beer to allergy medicine to home theater gear.

Even a visit to the neighborhood pub or diner may involve a watered-down mega brand like Applebee’s or Denny’s, while Target, McDonald’s, Home Depot, Best Buy, Bank of America, Papa John’s, Starbucks, BP, and Walmart dominate the retail landscape.

Head shops are a welcome retreat from this cookie cutter retail environment in which new malls and gas stations in most cities all seem to look the same—something that has plagued even small town America as independent businesses like hardware stores and pharmacies all but disappear in the wake of made-in-China big box chains.

Genesis in San Francisco

Head shops originally appeared in the 1960s in cities like San Francisco, New York, and Los Angeles. Some believe the Psychedelic Shop in the Haight Ashbury district of San Francisco, opened in 1966, to be the first head shop.

Another notable location that opened in that same year of the trippy psychedelic era was the Birmingham Balloon Company in Denton, Texas, a northern suburb of Dallas and unlikely home to innovative cannabis culture.

In the United Kingdom, the first “counterculture store” appeared in West London in 1972, followed by intense popularity that prompted Vice to write in 2014, “…head shops have become nearly as ubiquitous as Pizza Express” in England.

By the mid to late 1970s, buoyed by the ever-growing popularity of cannabis and a pervasive black market that infiltrated every high school in the nation, head shops had proliferated to nearly all cities and towns, especially those with college campuses.

An outlet not only for major youth-oriented stoner magazines like Cannabis Culture and SKUNK, head shops also provided distribution and exposure for counterculture newspapers and comics, publications that typically lacked access to conventional newsstand distribution.

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In an age before the internet and social media, many writers, activists, musicians, and other bohemian artists spread their message via small independent head shops that smelled more like Bill Maher’s living room than the local Barnes &  Noble.

How Are They Legal?

Head shops, if one approaches the experience from the perspective of enabling or enhancing the consumption of cannabis—their sole function, really—are completely illegal. Because cannabis is prohibited at the federal level, no head shop in the United States can legally sell any item intended to be used with pot. Period.

Head shops exist in a legal grey zone, opposed by the feds, but allowed by most states and communities. According to Wikipedia:

“The sale of certain tobacco paraphernalia is considered legal in all states, but is illegal on a federal level.”

Head shops are permitted to exist simply because they play the game of pretending to cater to legal tobacco users.

As long as there are people walking around who are addicted to Marlboros and American Spirits, head shops will possess a viable legal loophole that permits them to cozy up beside low-rent hair salons and tattoo shops in liberal downtown neighborhoods and cheap suburban strip malls.

Fortunately, vaporization and vape pens—known in cigarette circles as e-cigs—are also popular among tobacco smokers. Thus, head shop owners, in a Pythonesque nudge-nudge, wink-wink to the federal government, can legally operate and, in reality, cater to the full needs of the cannabis community.

Simply because of the technical loophole and fact that both tobacco and cannabis are typically smoked or vaporized.

Lucky for you, eh? Or you’d be spending even more money on Amazon.com—but enjoying a decidedly inferior retail experience.

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While some counties and municipalities have banned head shops or refuse to grant them business licenses, most areas of the United States tolerate these funky cultural meccas, especially near university campuses and in more progressive communities.

Void Where Prohibited

Often, a state or municipality won’t outlaw head shops per se, but instead may prohibit much of what they typically sell. For example, in Florida, it is illegal to sell any item “designed for use in ingesting, inhaling, or otherwise introducing cannabis, cocaine, hashish, hashish oil, or nitrous oxide into the human body.”

However, even in this case, loopholes exist: Head shops in Florida may sell pipes made of materials like “briar, meerschaum, clay, or corn cob.” A far cry from some heady glass suitable for a serious stoner’s birthday gift, but it still gets the job done for desperate smokers in prohibitionist states.

From smoking staples like screens and rolling papers to music and movie posters, hemp products, and ornate pipes and bongs, head shops are a piece of Americana with an uncertain future.

Many observers believe that legalization in the majority of the country is inevitable. As more states come onboard and abandon cannabis prohibition, what is the fate of the beloved head shop, a cottage industry-cum-institution that is undergoing what would be a midlife crisis if it was a fifty-year-old toker from the suburbs struggling to maintain relevance?

Will They Survive Legalization?

Following legalization in any state is the inevitable onslaught of dispensaries and retail outlets. Many of these companies, in cities like Seattle and Denver, also sell a selection of vape pens, glass bongs, pipes, and even dab rigs intended to serve up the yummy flowers and concentrates (extracts) offered by these same dispensaries.

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Will dispensaries and retail outlets in newly legal states spell the doom of the head shops that shaped the cannabis experience and lifestyle of tens of millions of Americans for half a century?

Will the ironic reason head shops were able to exist—pretending to cater to the tobacco smoking community—actually be their undoing?

As smoking becomes less and less popular, new, highly competitive money is entering the cannabis industry as part of the green rush, infusing a culture of productivity and openness borrowed from silicon valley. How will this emerging subculture of “productive potheads” and renewed focus of entrepreneurialism and profit in the cannabis culture affect traditional head shops and their patrons?

The landscape for all businesses is in constant flux. Companies that once thrived selling TVs and home appliances are now either extinct (ala Sears) or have morphed into fundamentally different organizations serving other markets (like Apple, Hewlett-Packard, and Microsoft).

Similarly, some head shops will inevitably choose to adapt to the new markets for openly cannabis-related products in legal states, driven mostly by dispensary competition. Will millennials and retirees be more interested in a pocketable vape pen—and the stuff that goes in it—than a black light poster or Tibetan prayer flags?

Shall Dispensaries Take the Crown?

Given the sales numbers of many dispensaries in legal states, the relatively sluggish business of a conventional head shop would be relegated to a sideline if it adopted sales of medical or recreational cannabis, edibles, or concentrates.

Will most head shops choose to close shop and go out of business, or will they convert to a typical dispensary model that drops the aging hippie image for a clinical boutique environment that just happens to sell a few glass pieces—but focuses on USB vape pens and infused drinks?

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With many dispensaries selling both disposable and high-end pens capable of vaporizing concentrates or flower, will sales of bongs, pipes, and rolling papers intended for ground flowers falter? Will millennials and seniors, especially those seeking harm reduction because they frequently consume strong cannabis or concentrates, chose vaporization over smoking in large enough numbers to fundamentally shift the role of a community head shop within the next decade?

These are all questions to ponder as you light up that unknown strain of black market mystery herb in papers or a bong that you purchased at your local head shop. What will the typical American head shop look like in 2025, and who will it serve?

In conservative states where cannabis will inevitably remain illegal for years and possibly decades to come, these generations-old shops may survive and even thrive, fueled by an energized cannabis industry nationwide and legalization in other states.

In areas where prohibition has fallen, head shops will inevitably adapt and compete with dispensaries—or die.

In states that legalize and also allow patients or even lifestyle users to grow a few plants of their own, head shops are wise to stock a bit of cultivation equipment, such as hydro buckets, lights, and nutrients. In many respects, thousands of head shops throughout the U.S. must adapt to their rapidly changing legal environments to ensure that they are catering to the desires of their customers while remaining legal and not inviting scrutiny from local or federal law enforcement.

An Aging Relic of Prohibition

While it’s sad to think of a future void of these densely stocked and unique shops full of character, funky aromas, and sometimes sex toys, they are to a large extent a reflection of the rapidly deteriorating era of prohibition and how the federal government pushed a never-say-die cannabis culture underground.

While it’s refreshing to celebrate the resiliency and tenacity of our trampled culture and support one’s local head shop, it’s also nice to join the 21st century and adopt possibly more suitable retail models that involve a clinical and professional approach to helping customers, especially patients, consume cannabis and concentrates.

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As legalization sweeps the nation and cities like Portland, Oakland, and Colorado Springs maintain a culture of open dispensation of all things cannabis, head shops may no longer be necessary. These walk-in wonders may be a facet of prohibition that, after legal cannabis is the norm, no longer have a home within the cannabis culture—or, more important, the monthly budget of the average pot smoker.

Maybe head shops are like the military cold war: A relic of the 20th century struggling to find a niche with a sufficient number of modern tokers to maintain relevance.

And pay their rent.

If they go the way of the brontosaurus, cannabis consumers will miss these always charismatic and sometimes gritty bohemian mom-and-pop retail stores that dotted city and suburban landscapes for five decades.


This article is dedicated to the dozens of groovy head shops I’ve visited throughout Ontario, California, Ohio, British Columbia, Texas, Quebec, and Indiana over the past 20 years—each of which offered a distinct character and authentic experience that made being a cannabis consumer even more enriching.


All text and photos, unless otherwise noted, Copyright © 2003-2017 Gooey Rabinski. All Rights Reserved.

Gooey Rabinski is a technical writer, photographer, and compliance documentation specialist for cannabis businesses who has contributed feature articles to magazines and media outlets such as High Times, CannaBiz Journal, MERRY JANEEmerald Magazine, Grow Magazine, Herb.coThe KindSkunk, Cannabis Culture, WhaxyHeads, Weed World, Green Flower MediaCannabis HBK11RenderHealth Journal, Green Thumb, and Treating Yourself.

He is the author of Understanding Medical Marijuana, available on Amazon Kindle.

His cannabis-related freelance photos, spanning back more than a decade, are available on Instagram and Flickr. He tweets from @GooeyRabinski.

 

Our Choice of Cultural Language

There’s many pockets of dissenting opinions in the cannabis legalization movement. There are those of libertarian bent who, although they may not themselves be participants in the culture, believe in the right of every citizen to cultivate, possess, and medicate with a natural herb that can be grown in their backyard.

Others are more academic in their approach, citing issues like state’s rights and the hypocrisy and ignorance of the federal government’s prohibitionist stance. Increasingly, investors, market analysts, and entrepreneurs are touting legalization’s benefits for the economy, including employment, government tax revenues, and small business growth.

“Cannabis” or “Marijuana”?

Despite our progress, we still can’t decide how to label the miraculous kind herb. Pot? Marijuana? Cannabis? Weed? Mary Jane? Muggles? Ganja? Some of these labels are obviously the result of decades of prohibition and biased, negative stereotypes.

The term “marijuana” itself is especially loathed and often avoided by some journalists and authors simply because of its history. In the 1930s, Harry Anslinger and William Randolph Hearst were fully immersed in their racially motivated anti-cannabis political campaign to demonize the plant and eventually make it illegal at the federal level (which they succeeded in doing in August of 1937).

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Harry Anslinger, the face of early era cannabis prohibition (public domain)

Technically, the Marijuana Stamp Act that passed nearly 80 years ago is no longer in effect, having been replaced in 1970 by the Controlled Substances Act that birthed the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and spawned the Drug War hysteria proliferated by the Nixon Administration, boosted by Reagan, and sustained by every presidential administration since.

It is under this Act that cannabis is defined as a Schedule I drug, meaning that it is, like heroin and bath salts, officially a highly addictive, dangerous substance with zero medical benefit. Schedule II drugs, which are less restricted and considered safer than those on Schedule I, include cocaine and methamphetamines—both of which can legally be prescribed by a physician.

Yet human trials and real world research can’t even be conducted for cannabis in the United States.

University researchers, often beholden to federal grants and other funding that might be at risk if they dare venture into full-blown cannabis testing, are typically hesitant to pursue marijuana research. Conservative laws at the federal level, combined with funding complexities and an aggressive DEA, all serve to squelch concrete research into the efficacy of cannabis in the United States.

The term “marijuana” itself is an either purposeful or accidental bastardization of the Mexican Spanish term marihuana. Because Anslinger and Hearst were attempting to discredit and slander Mexicans and Mexican-Americans (among other things), they purposefully chose a term that gave average, conservative, very Anglo Americans the impression that this herb was somehow uniquely Mexican in nature or origin. If illegal at the federal level, Mexicans could be jailed, fined, or even deported for minor possession of cannabis.

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William Randolph Hearst, an obviously friendly robber baron bigot (public domain)

Thus, it’s no wonder that many activists and advocates shy away from the term “marijuana” in their writing or marketing materials. It also has a decidedly 1970s feel to it. Cannabis is the term of choice in Europe, the U.K, and Australia—and, to a more limited extent, Canada. The term “pot” also works in most parts of North America.

Progressive individuals everywhere, however, recognize the term “cannabis.”

A Tough Issue

Use of “marijuana” by those in the media is a tough issue. We want to use it for recognition factor. A 68-year-old domestic partner and registered Republican in a small town in Wisconsin won’t necessarily understand “cannabis,” but is sure to respond to “pot” or “marijuana.”

Of course, it can easily be argued that this is exactly why the potentially unknown term “cannabis” should be used more frequently; readers need to be exposed and educated.

“Cannabis” has a decidedly 21st century ring to it. Possibly it’s the European flavor (my favorite cars come from there, after all). It’s objective. It’s technical. It’s Latin, for god sake. It’s about as unbiased and neutral a term as can be used to label the kind herb.

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An independent cannabis garden in Humboldt County, California

I typically stick to “cannabis” in most of my writing, but must admit to often embracing “marijuana” for major projects, even my book Understanding Medical Marijuana. Because the target audience of the book was middle class, middle aged, largely undecided voters, I purposefully used this old school term for our favorite plant to best attract this demographic.

No Longer an Alien Topic

The topic of cannabis, however, is gaining enough national attention from major news outlets like CNN, MSNBC, and FOX that it no longer is such an alien topic to tens of millions of conservative Americans. While the average FOX viewer might not be a big fan of the culture or a daily toker, they increasingly recognize previously strange terms like “cannabis” and even “cannabinoids” and “CBD.”

“My personal preference is for the scientifically accurate term cannabis, because it removes emotion and stigma from the debate.”  — Steve DeAngelo, The Cannabis Manifesto

My direction? I’m pretty much going to abandon use of “marijuana” in all of my writing. I’ll toss it in there sometimes just to shake things up and avoid the monotony of using “cannabis” for the 29th time in a single 1,400 word article, but otherwise I don’t respect it.

It was the enemies of the cannabis culture and the architects of prohibition that negatively branded and twisted an honest Mexican Spanish term, using it to spearhead a campaign of lies, greed, racial bigotry, crony capitalism, and overall anti-progressivism.

Snuff Out “Marijuana”

As a culture and a nation, patients and cannabis consumers in America have suffered from the efforts of a handful of privileged and well-networked corporate barons and bureaucrats for the better part of a century. Then, when everything looked like it might get better in the 1960s, President Kennedy was assassinated and the door was opened to primitive Luddites and prohibitionists like Richard Nixon—anti-progressive dorks who spoiled everyone’s fun and set back the country by 50 years.

Two for the road, Northern Cali style

California’s Eddy Lepp rolls fatties for a 2006 road trip

I’ll admit, however, I will probably begin using the term “pot” even more. I feel as if my generation, which grew up in the 1970s to 1990s, owns it. Not Nixon. Not Anslinger or Hearst. Not John Walters or some other “drug czar.” None of those bastards.

While “pot” is certainly dripping in slang and not exactly the term-of-choice for an academic research study, I’ll take it over “marijuana” every day.

But enough of the history lesson. The next time you’re engaging in social media, writing a blog post, or simply talking with a  friend, think about the language that you employ to get your idea across.

Are you simply helping perpetuate terms that originated in hate and an absolute defiance of science, sustained by ignorance and corporate special interests?


All text and photos, unless otherwise noted, are Copyright © 2003-2016 Gooey Rabinski. All Rights Reserved.

Gooey Rabinski is a technical writer and instructional designer who has contributed feature articles to magazines such as High Times, SKUNK, Cannabis CultureHeads, Weed World, Cannabis HBK11RenderHealth Journal, Green Thumb, and Treating Yourself. He is the author of Understanding Medical Marijuana, available on Amazon Kindle, and a contributing writer at Green Flower Media.

His marijuana-related freelance photos, spanning back more than a decade, are available on Instagram and Flickr. He tweets from @GooeyRabinski.

 

What is Cannabis Rosin?

In the increasingly crowded market for cannabis concentrates, a new category has emerged: Solventless extractions.

Some patients and recreational consumers concerned with health issues are beginning to show a preference for concentrates made without potentially harmful solvents like butane and CO2. Such extractions utilize processes involving heat and pressure and can be performed with a wide range of equipment, from bathroom hair straighteners and flat irons to industrial-grade laboratory gear.

One increasingly popular example of a solventless concentrate is rosin, sometimes called “rosin tech.” Rosin is rapidly gaining popularity for several reasons, the biggest arguably being that it can be produced safety at home using common cannabis flowers. While flowers from cannabis strains range in THC potency from about nine percent up to 25% or even 30%, concentrates like rosin may be up to 80% THC. Some concentrate enthusiasts have claimed that rosin will be “the death of BHO [butane hash oil].”

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According to Mat Lee, a concentrate connoisseur in Washington State who often writes and podcasts on the topic of concentrates:

“The one thing people keep saying is that the taste [of rosin] is phenomenal, and the amount of work you put in for the quality you get out is also pretty nice.”

Homebrew Hash Oil

Put simply, rosin is a cannabis resin extraction method that utilizes heat and pressure to produce a hash oil concentrate that is completely free of harmful solvents. The good news for curious cannabis consumers is that this heat and pressure doesn’t have to be derived from expensive, industrial-grade laboratory equipment. Instead, one needs nothing more than some parchment (wax) paper and a common hair straightener (any flat heat press mechanism will work). Some users report a 25% yield using a $20 hair straightener (a yield is quantified as a percentage of the weight of the original herb or kief used as the extraction source).

Technically, the extraction of rosin combines heat and pressure to melt the bulbous, resinous heads of trichomes found mostly on the buds and sugar leaves of the cannabis plant. Rosin can be extracted from cannabis flowers (buds), kief, or hash. According to Errlax, a hash and concentrate expert in Colorado, rosin is “a solvent-free hash oil product that rivals hydrocarbon extractions in aroma, aesthetic, and—most importantly—medicinal efficacy.” The process of extracting rosin using a common hair straightener can be performed in as little as three minutes. Errlax adds:

“In the end, this technique is a game changer.”

Within the past few years, the media and conservatives have repeatedly had the opportunity to lay valid criticism at the cannabis community and black markets for backyard BHO operations run by two or three sloppy schleps that resulted in a life-threatening explosion or fire. One infamous case in Bellevue, Washington, where three young men were producing BHO in their apartment, produced a building fire that resulted in multiple deaths, including that of Bellevue’s 87-year-old former mayor, who jumped from a multi-story window to escape the flames. This travesty also produced many injuries and millions of dollars in property damage.

Wrote Lee:

“The last thing we need is a rash of articles in the mainstream media demonizing dabs because people can’t seem to not blow themselves up trying to make them.”

Concentrates like BHO and CO2 oil are much healthier for patients and also perfectly safe to produce when processed by trained technicians using industrial laboratory equipment.

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However, homebrew concentrate operations, in which a few people use common kitchen or garage items and a highly explosive solvent like butane, are a totally different ballgame. The issue isn’t as simple as BHO being healthy or not. Production techniques and equipment are critical to the purity of the final product and its resulting health implications.

Health Concerns / Black Market Bingo

All cannabis consumers, particularly patients, should be concerned with the health issues regarding their herbal medicine and concentrates, especially if those extractions are created using potentially harmful—and highly explosive—solvents like butane. By utilizing a solvent-free process, the question of residual chemicals and their potential damage to one’s health becomes moot; one needn’t be concerned with a residual substance that was never there in the first place.

One tremendous advantage of rosin, despite its unpredictable quality and potency, is the fact that it can inexpensively be made at home. This helps guarantee that patients and lifestyle users alike are getting safe, clean concentrate, not some black market gak produced by unscrupulous cartels or sloppy amateurs that may contain high levels of residual solvents, fillers, or other contaminants. Those in prohibitionist states have no choice but to dip into the black market for products like BHO.

According to Oregon’s The Weed Blog:

“…if someone doesn’t evaporate (or purge) their butane hash oil properly, there can be quite a bit of undesirable stuff that people are now smoking.”

Although these same patients and users must also shop the black market for flowers and kief, the quality and predictability of cannabis buds is typically much greater than for exotic concentrates like BHO (also known as honey oil in parts of Canada and the U.S.). Those who produce their own rosin from reasonably potent flowers using a process like the application of heat and pressure avoid the fear, uncertainty, and doubt of the black market.

Versus Live Resin

Rosin and live resin are two of the most promising new developments in the world of cannabis concentrates. While live resin offers the advantage of almost perfectly preserving the terpene profile of whole plant cannabis and delivers great aroma and flavor, it also requires industrial equipment to cryogenically freeze plants directly after harvest and expensive closed-loop butane and CO2 extraction machines. While this laboratory equipment typically is capable of removing the vast majority of solvent from the final product, the fact that something like butane is used at all concerns some users—especially those who indulge on a daily basis.

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Rosin is like live resin’s provincial cousin, a solventless rural roughian that produces highly variable results and will completely destroy most terpenes (those that feature a boiling point below 310 degrees F [154 C] are destroyed by most hair straighteners). Live resin, on the contrary, offers the advantage of terpene profile preservation, but also involves solvents (albeit using professional equipment). In this respect, the two concentrates are very different. Both processes produce a high quality “full melt” hash oil.

Yields and Quality

Because inexpensive, common equipment such as a hair straightener can be employed to extract rosin from cannabis flowers, the results can be less than optimal. For example, for what length of time should one apply pressure to a sample of flowers? What is the perfect temperature for a device like a hair straightener or iron? Should one make multiple passes over a single sample of flowers? Unfortunately, the only way to accurately gauge the temperature of the pressing element is to use a temperature gun.

One user reported producing 0.45 grams of rosin from two grams of cannabis flowers. This was done employing pressure and a flat surface at 300 degrees F (149 C), with two passes of 10 seconds each. Theoretically, there is an ideal length of time and amount of pressure necessary to produce the maximum yield of rosin from a given quantity of flower or kief (which will themselves vary in quality and consistency). Because it is typically laypeople indulging in the creation of rosin, they often lack the knowledge or experience to perform the exercise and achieve the best results.

One instructional video provides a hands-on demonstration of creating rosin that employs a hair straightener set to 400 degrees F (204 C) and brief applications of pressure for only two or three seconds each. This video also provides a good example of vaporizing a concentrate like rosin using a dab rig (this particular rig employs a titanium nail). This tutorial shows just how quickly one can create full melt, potent rosin suitable for smoking or vaporizing.

Due to the magic of modern social media and video repositories like YouTube, curious consumers can quickly learn the ins and outs of the process to produce relatively satisfying results without wasting their precious herb on a botched extraction job.

Before running out and purchasing a hair straightener at the local beauty supply store, one should consider the pros and cons of rosin and if it’s worth producing on a regular basis. Herb isn’t free or easy to grow, after all. The rosin process, which does not scale up to industrial levels very well, may be worth the time and effort for individuals, small groups of friends, or patient collectives that really enjoy or depend on concentrates—but live in prohibitionist states lacking dispensaries and don’t want to play black market bingo or risk their health on a residue-laced cannabis oil of questionable quality. This is especially true for very sick patients.

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Errlax stresses that household rosin collection techniques will never produce top-shelf product due to how such efforts destroy most terpenes and can even damage cannabinoids and flavonoids (the botanical molecules responsible for flavor).

“This technique, like CO2 extraction methods, doesn’t do well in preserving complete profiles. You will lose part of the desired entourage effect that the full profile of the flower creates.”

Lure to Experiment / Tips

Many will inevitably give in to the temptation to use something as common and affordable as a hair straightener to quickly and easily produce a potent cannabis oil featuring great aroma and taste. Those who value terpenes and wish to preserve them should seek out live resin or leading-edge solventless extraction concentrates that employ low heat or other techniques.

Some tips for producing rosin:

  • Unlike smoked or vaped cannabis, freshly harvested buds work best. The higher the moisture content, the better the results.
  • Fold the parchment paper over itself to create an open envelope for the buds or hash and press down, with both arms and one’s full weight, on the hair straightener or iron.
  • Although rosin is a very new type of concentrate and much remains unknown, it is reported that certain strains are much better suited for its creation. Those who can’t afford to experiment may want to do some online research.
  • The consistency of the final rosin will vary, especially given the highly variable nature of the buds and equipment used to create it. However, it should generally resemble a stiff shatter, a flexible gooey wax, or an oily residue. Colors cover a wide range based on flowers or hash used.

Given the very real danger imposed by amateur and criminal operations that produce concentrates like BHO in black markets, rosin offers a safe and solvent-free option for marijuana consumers who may want to introduce some variety to their diet of cannabinoids. It’s difficult to botch and affordable, especially for those in legal states where cannabis prices are lower. Those who decide they don’t like the results are, at worse, out an inexpensive hair straightener or flat iron and a bit of herb or kief.

The cannabis community has always embraced a libertarian, pioneering spirit of independence and self-reliance. Those who enjoy concentrates and find rosin attractive should purchase a half ounce of heady herb or wait for their next harvest and experiment with yet another avenue for the consumption of cannabinoids.

Photo credit: Stuffstonerslike.com, Errlax.com.


All content Copyright (c) 2003-2017 Gooey Rabinski. All Rights Reserved.

Gooey Rabinski is a technical writer and instructional designer who has contributed feature articles to magazines such as High Times, MERRY JANE, Herb.co, CannaBiz Journal, Twelve High Chicks, Grow, Emerald MagazineCannabis CultureSKUNK, WhaxyHeads, Weed World, Cannabis HBK11RenderHealth Journal, Green Thumb, and Treating Yourself. He is the author of Understanding Medical Marijuana, available on Amazon Kindle, and a contributing writer at .

His marijuana-related freelance photos, spanning back more than a decade, are available on Instagram and Flickr. He tweets from @GooeyRabinski.

 

America Votes on Cannabis

As America goes to vote today, several states, counties, and municipalities are considering cannabis-related issues. Below is a short list rundown of some of the major efforts in three states: Oregon, Ohio, and Colorado.

Oregon Counties: Banning Sales?

In Oregon, many counties and cities are voting on whether to ban recreational sales of the plant. In counties that received at least 55% of the vote for legalization a couple of years back, a ballot issue must be presented to voters in the county to again decide if they want to ban sales within their own borders (counties can’t negate the legality of cannabis possession and consumption—that would defy state law).

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Those counties in Oregon that received under 55% of the vote during the state election can simply decide that they want to ban sales by a legal mechanism like a city council resolution involving no popular vote. Thus, a county in which 54% of the voters said yes to legal recreational cannabis for the state of Oregon may find itself facing a ban on rec sales after a conservative city council goes against the obvious will of the voters.

This sad and divisive state of affairs exemplifies the fact that the anti-cannabis culture war is alive and well. The Drug War may be gearing down, but cultural resistance to cannabis and those who use or even celebrate it is alive and well.

Evangelicals, conservatives, and those who pine for the nonexistent “good ol’ days” are organizing on social media and combining their forces to prevent national, federal legalization of medical or lifestyle cannabis. People of this mindset consider medical to simply be a ruse intended to allow full legalization to take over the nation (and for some activists, it probably is). Forget helping patients, fear mongering is the rule of the day among conservatives hellbent on preventing a dispensary, retail outlet, or cannabis social lounge from appearing in their community.

Ohio: Fully Legalizing?

In Ohio, of course, there’s the controversial and very schizophrenic ResponsibleOhio-backed Issue 3 to fully legalize cannabis possession and consumption. More on this after the election. Personally, I’m hoping it passes and that Issue 2, the Legislature-sponsored anti-monopoly bill, fails. Why? Because a failure of Issue 3 would be bad for the national momentum of the cannabis legalization movement.

Yes, I hate oligopolies and the often-greedy two percenters. But the big picture goal is full national legalization and the right for all tax-paying citizens to cultivate. Until that goal is achieved, intelligent strategy must prevail and some setbacks will inevitably be endured. It’s called politics because getting some of what we want doesn’t always involve getting everything we want, regardless of whether we’re “right.”

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Issue 3 is bad in many respects. Many pundits are ardently opposed to many parts of it. However, the majority of those same experts are advocating for passage of Issue 3. If it fails—and Issue 2 succeeds—it will spell a long and difficult road for the Buckeye State to join the ranks of those states that have chosen the very progressive route of fully regulated and taxed legalization for adults 21 and over.

Even worse, it will be cited by conservative voices as an example of how moderate and conservative voters in America’s heartland don’t want legal pot, be it medical or recreational. If passed, even if it was negated by passage of Issue 2, Issue 3 will send a signal that more traditional states from untraditional parts of the country are also onboard with the full legalization of cannabis, including its many economic bennies.

Colorado: Show Me The Money?

And in Colorado, citizens will vote to determine if the state must return about $66 million in tax revenues collected from recreational pot sales. Personally, while I’m not currently residing in Colorado, I say let the state keep it. It makes even more impressive the state’s metrics when it comes to tax revenues and assistance to a struggling educational infrastructure and deteriorating roads. And these numbers are simply getting bigger and bigger each month.


Those of you in legal states, enjoy your newfound freedom. Those still struggling to gain safe, regulated access to reasonably priced, high-quality open-market cannabis and cannabis products in most parts of the country must continue to be patient—or move to a legal state.

With four states and D.C. now on our side, there are at least options. Seattle, Denver, and Portland are all excellent cities with vibrant economies, even moreso now that they have legalized and are collecting taxes.


Gooey Rabinski is a technical writer and instructional designer who has contributed feature articles to magazines such as High Times, Skunk, Heads, Weed World, Cannabis HBK11RenderHealth Journal, Green Thumb, and Treating Yourself. He is the author of Understanding Medical Marijuana (2015 Edition), available on Amazon Kindle, and a contributing writer at Whaxy.com.

His marijuana-related freelance photos, spanning back more than a decade, are available on Instagram and Flickr. He tweets from @GooeyRabinski.