Craft Cannabis Series: Colorado’s DuraBowl

In my cannabis travels, one of the most prominent themes I encounter is that of small craft businesses that fear the onslaught of large corporations during the current emergence of the American cannabis industry that is popularly labeled the “green rush.”

Often motivated almost entirely by profit—and with little true understanding of the cannabis plant or our culture—some fear that the megacorps will drive out the small players. The “mom and pop” shops, so to speak. 

Welcome to the first in a series of articles regarding the craft cannabis business in America in 2016. For this debut piece, an obvious candidate rose to the top of my list: Lauren Ely, the founder of DuraBowl

Craft Business Focus

Craft business lies at the heart of Americana. Millions of immigrants have come to this country to enjoy a way of life predicated on hard work, a competitive spirit, and the provision of quality and value to customers. It’s simply good karma. 

Wall St. profit mongering and mega-corporations may seem as “American” as Twitter, M&Ms, and the latest iPhone to the youth of today, but these social elements decidedly were not the goal of the founders of this nation. Ben Franklin is rolling in his grave—and that is not an intentional double entendre. 


The DuraBowl: All the hip kids know. (Credit: DuraBowl)

DuraBowl is one such small company. Based in Colorado and founded by Lauren Ely, a passionate advocate of freedom and human rights, this startup provides convenience, value, and practicality to its customers. 

I love being outside. Seems I’m either madly pumping my carbon fiber ballerina (bicycle) down a Texas highway to stay healthy or I’m stomping through shrubs and climbing sharp rocks to get that perfect sunset photo.

Regardless, I’m in love with the DuraBowl. Why? It simply works.

[The unit accommodates up to six grams of finely ground flowers, but concentrates can be added for a more medicated weekend. The solid ceramic construction means the DuraBowl is always cool to the touch. Allow the chamber to cool post-toke and replace the child-proof cap and you’re once again safely and securely on-the-go.]

Outside Medicine

When exploring the great outdoors, safely and conveniently storing and smoking cannabis is essential. Rainstorms happen (and are wonderful). However, smart stoners don’t take their heady glass when visiting the nation’s mountains, rivers, and beaches for good reason.


Inclusive philosophies—and the execution thereof. (Credit: DuraBowl)

What about those in newly legal states like Colorado, Oregon, and Washington? Or the stalwart genesis state of all things quality cannabis: California?

Coincidentally, these areas offer a wealth of outdoor activities and support what are arguably the most vibrant tourism markets in the nation. However, dropping an $80 glass pipe onto a rock face in Boulder or off a cliffside in Santa Cruz isn’t the type of pyrex problem that puts a smile on the face of most pot smokers….

DuraBowl = Tough Kit

Enter DuraBowl. This unique product, produced in Colorado by a small startup company, is what my British toker mates would call “tough kit.” I personally cherish my DuraBowl because it embodies a creative solution to smoking on-the-go. It is this innovative spirit that is at the heart of great products that serve customers of today—not yesterday.    

Affordable, practical cannabis smoking products—made in America—aren’t necessarily easy to find. With so much low-quality stuff mindlessly and unethically stamped out in China, products aimed squarely at fans of the cannabis culture, that also put Americans to work at fair wages, are a very refreshing change.


In style at the cabin with the DuraBowl. (Credit: DuraBowl)

DuraBowl. It’s so simple. Maybe that’s the genius of it. But you don’t want to hear me wax lovingly about this affordable product. The words of Lauren Ely are much more impactful.

Lauren Ely, Founder/CEO DuraBowl

“I saw Ben Cohen, of Ben and Jerry’s fame, speak at the national convention in Vegas in 2014—I was so inspired. I hope to build a company known not only for its high-quality products, but also with a reputation for excellent ethics that gives back to the community.

“We have seen the result of profit at the expense of workers and the planet; it’s time to reverse that disastrous course.”

Q & A

The following Q&A was conducted with Lauren Ely, the founding CEO of DuraBowl, in May of 2016. I’ve met many greedy, shortsighted founders in the emerging cannabis industry; Ely isn’t one of them.

Toker tip: I have found a small 3/8″ screen to work perfectly in the DuraBowl.

Gooey Rabinski: “When did you decide to build a better pipe for cannabis consumers on-the-go?”

Lauren Ely: “This is something that most definitely evolved from my own experiences. I am a Gen Xer from the East Coast, so I grew up during the “Just Say No” years of prohibition. Not only was the brick weed terrible compared to Colorado kindbud, but the prevalence of paraphernalia was also limited.  


Leaves on the flowers of healing.

“There is a saying in the cannabis culture that if you give a stoner some weed, but no pipe, they will suddenly become MacGyver in terms of their ingenuity.

“In college, I remember smoking out of apples, tin foil, and aluminum cans. Not only does metal taste terrible, it is being linked to Alzheimer’s disease! I wanted a better solution. I have also shattered many a glass bowl while away from my carpeting. I was also tired of my pockets and purses lined in weed. So we solved these problems with DuraBowl.”

[Ed: As shown in the photos herein, the DuraBowl features a child-proof twist-lock lid that prevents herb from escaping during transport or storage.]

GR: “How did living in Colorado inspire the design of your durable pipe?”

LE: “Colorado is an incredibly outdoorsy state. The culture here revolves around being outside in many different ways. We’re known for our winter mountain sports, of course. In the summer, there is hiking, biking, kayaking, fishing, and tubing. Most Colorado people love being active!


DuraBowl: Part of one’s waterproof outdoor kit. (Credit: DuraBowl)

“For less physical culture, we have a great local music and comedy scene and our breweries are second to none. And, of course, even if you are just hanging out with buddies for a smoke sesh, the ease of transporting a loaded DuraBowl—or three—will make you a welcome and honored guest. Especially if it is filled with dank Colorado kindbud.

“I wanted something easily transportable to enjoy all the culture Colorado has to offer.”

GR: “Living in Austin, my house is 100 percent ceramic tile floors. I dropped the DuraBowl on the floor recently and was more concerned about the tile than your ceramic bowl. Fortunately, both survived my sloppiness….

“How important was achieving a reasonable price point so consumers can have two or three DuraBowls for a weekend of medicine and fun?”

LE: “Very important, not only for the purpose of having several you can load up and take out, but also because these pipes are brandable. I can brand with logos for companies (ask your local dispensary), but I can also do more fun branding.

“Holidays, festivals, jam bands…even personalized wedding pipes. We can do all of these things. So we wanted to achieve a price point that would allow our customers not only to have several for daily use, but as commemorative pieces as well.  

“The alcohol industry is doing this with wine labels now, so I wanted the cannabis aficionado to also have brandable, affordable item. It’s also a great price point for a small gift for the cannabis lover in your life. We are similarly priced to the larger, mass-produced bowls made in China. DuraBowl offers many more advantages, however.”


Respecting the plant and patients.

GR: “What does the future hold for DuraBowl?”

LE: “We are currently out-of-stock and about to produce our next run. We are a baby company, indeed. But we’re excited that we have gotten some really good reviews—as well as some helpful suggestions regarding how we can improve our product as we grow.

“I would definitely like to offer more design options for our consumers in terms of color, cap design, and different bore sizes—for both the novice and experienced smoker.

“We also are looking at adding some other products that fit with our mission, which is brandability and portability for the smoker on-the-go. Hopefully soon you will find the DuraBowl on the shelves of local dispensaries, head shops, and convenience stores that sell pipes.”

I got “lifted,” as my Austin-based CBD mentor Dr. Ed Martino would say, to write this article with some graciously accepted Northern California outdoor organic—stuffed in a DuraBowl while listening to vampire songs on Spotify.

It was pretty groovy. I encourage you to try it.

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

Gooey Rabinski is a photographer, writer, instructional designer, and cannabis satirist who has contributed feature articles to magazines and media outlets such as High Times, The 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.

Inspirational Photos for Patients

I’ve taken quite a few photos over the years. Hopefully those below deliver some inspiration for those in physical, mental, or emotional pain….


Bean Rabinski: Master of Teen Social Media



Young stoners on Mount Tabor in Portland, 4/20/16.



Clone room at a Eugene, Oregon cultivation facility.



The vampire bar in Austin, Texas.


Eddy Lepp displays the fattie winner at the rolling contest

Eddy Lepp rolls them fat—and fast.



One of my better photos. The American Midwest.



Cara Cordoni in Humboldt County, California.


Two for the road, Northern Cali style

Two rolled by Eddy Lepp in Lake Co., California (2006)



The Yeti at the NW Cannabis Club in Portland.



Grow room in Humboldt County, California.



Some of my fave pot mags, as seen in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada in 2007.



One of my better photos; Toronto Budbabes (2007).



Grinding in Portland, Oregon at the Northwest Cannabis Club. Thanks to owner Mike.



The gears that propel the carbon fiber ballerina.


gooey-rabinski-freelance-writing-and-photography-gooeyrabinski dot com

The flower in the hair is a theme I like.



San Francisco really IS beautiful.



More enlightened places….


Herer demonstrating his pipe at a trade show in San Francisco

The late Jack Herer in 2006 in San Francisco.



Humboldt County, California in 2006, outside Fortuna.



Bushy Old Grower: Great cannabis breeding.



Nice. More from Humboldt County, California.



Gorgeous bud from Humboldt County, California.

Being Legal

[Updated February 13, 2017]

Last year,  my friend and colleague, Paul Christopher in British Columbia, suggested that it might be time for me to move “up north” to take advantage of Canada’s liberal cannabis laws and a more enlightened culture.

After months of soul searchingly pondering my direction in early 2015—and seriously considering leaving the cannabis movement to return to corporate America—I made the decision to move the West Coast of the United States.

Location, location, location. The mantra of retail sales affects other areas of our lives, the most dominant being our residence. I’ve made no secret of my intention—and need—to relocate to a state in which cannabis is legal, culturally accepted, affordable, and readily available.

I recently joked in social media that an enticing role would be that of Editor-At-Large for a magazine, traveling the United States seeking out patient stories and gorgeous photos of everything cannabis.


The southern point of the Emerald Triangle.

In the end, we are all the Editor-At-Large of our own life. We have the option of pursuing adventures and taking risks, of venturing forth in the direction we are led by positive influences.

Risk. Vulnerability. It’s all frightening.

I’m scared. You’re scared. Unsanctioned authorities are always in our way, fighting compassion and the efforts to educate and re-legalize cannabis. It is a daunting struggle, our cannabis legalization gig.

Sometimes we have to sit down, introspect with humble intention, and make some decisions.

Mine has been to relocate to Northern California. I came this close to moving to Portland (and may ultimately end up there), but business opportunities in Humboldt County attracted me to this particular location.


Humboldt Bay in Eureka, California.

I don’t know enough about the cannabis plant. I don’t know enough about how it helps patients. And, when living in places like Austin or Cleveland, I can’t conduct face-to-face interviews with third generation family farmers or photograph their gardens.

In 2017, I’ve re-emerged in a more enlightened area of our great nation. I’m lucky; nothing was holding me back.

But I will dispense with some kind advice: Surround yourself with people of intelligence, enlightenment, compassion, and drive. Business colleagues and friends who lack these qualities will pull you down. Your goals are your own, but fellowship with likeminded others should be a very selective process (do not easily give your trust).

Postscript: I’ve been in Humboldt County now for six months. I haven’t posted much because I’ve been taking on new freelance clients and traveling (the Seattle Hempfest was educational). Watch for reports of my adventures from Twelve High Chicks,, CannaBiz Journal, and The Emerald Magazine.

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

Gooey Rabinski is a technical writer, photographer, and instructional designer who has contributed feature articles to magazines and media outlets such as High Times, The KindSKUNK,, Cannabis Culture, WhaxyHeads,  CannaBiz JournalWeed World, Green Flower MediaCannabis HBK11RenderHealth Journal, Green Thumb, and The Emerald Magazine.

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.

Cara’s Courage: A Story of Survival

Cara Cordoni is a dynamic and fiercely independent woman who has endured a long, arduous path to gain her current perspective regarding cannabis re-legalization and patient advocacy.

This Humboldt County-based medical marijuana advocate’s victories have been hard fought and won with dignity and enlightenment. She is an inspirational model of perseverance and personal reinvention. Millennials would say that Cordoni exudes positivity.

Learn how a small act of kindness on the part of a stranger resulted in Cordoni grasping optimism in her darkest hour. Optimism that, inevitably, will benefit thousands of other patients and cannabis users because of the passion and inspiration inherent in her story.


Cordoni in Egypt (April 2007), months before declaring freedom.

Cannabis activists and advocates often speak of “community.” Community means sharing, and sharing means gaining insight and knowledge from the experiences—and differing perspectives—of others.

Message to greedy old white dudes (including members of the U.S. Congress): Defy these women of power if you want. But you are in for a helluva fight. They have things like compassion and logic on their side. You have greed and corruption. Good luck.

Don’t just read Cordoni’s story; think about it. Imagine that her words of honest introspection are those of your sister, daughter, mother, partner, close friend, or lover.

— Gooey Rabinski

Fourteen hours south of Cairo, Aswan is a small and remote community in Egypt. It is the southernmost town in the mythologized nation and where the Nile boats turn around (the jumping off point to Abu Simbel). It is the last stop on the journey to Sudan.

I had never expected to live in Egypt. Still, here I found myself. I was 33, married to a Greek, and living along a beautiful stretch of the Nile. It was gorgeous; what some would label a paradise.

Yet, I was very depressed.

Originally from San Francisco, I was a graduate of the University of Virginia and a successful middle manager in a financial firm—until a couple of years earlier. In Aswan, I spent my days shopping for and preparing food, cleaning house, and watching films beamed in from Dubai (The Sound of Music, Ghandi…anything that provided an escape).


One of Cordoni’s sunsets in Aswan, Egypt.

I was supposed to be writing a book, a young adult novel set in Athens, Greece. But I was so unhappy, disconnected, and emotionally constipated that I could produce little compelling content.

My spark was dead; I felt no purpose.

He and I had departed San Francisco—leaving behind my family and job—to see if we could get him his Greek citizenship. We needed evidence of his grandmother’s birth in the late 1800s in a remote Greek village.

Ultimately a futile task, our 14 months in Athens eroded my sense of self and hastened my plunge into depression. Amazingly (especially from my current perspective), I was not allowed to have a cell phone or a land line. Also no internet access.

Constraints. Exclusion. Isolation. I hurt so much. Underneath, inside. I became numb to survive. I doubted I deserved better. I was trapped and frightened. However, I wouldn’t admit it and couldn’t confront my fears. I looked out of my eyes as if through distant windows, lost somewhere inside.

He had controlled many aspects of my life in San Francisco. This included my look (hair, clothing, and makeup) and how I spent my time—and with whom. Still, I had eight hours of working time and a sense of accomplishment. But this, too, evaporated while living in our tiny rooftop apartment in Athens.

My first suicidal thoughts manifested when looking over the balcony of our apartment, under the distance gaze of the Parthenon. Under the weight of that stone monument, numbly, I imagined flying over the side.


A view of the city—or independence?

I imagined the relief I would feel at escaping, because I couldn’t visualize myself walking out the door. To walk out was to fail, to be a bad person who was selfish and disloyal (logic he regularly used to reign me in).

My mind was a labyrinth I could not escape, as if my worth and staying had collapsed together. In my heart, I feared that to leave was to displease God. I could not see my own light at the end of the proverbial tunnel.

Unfortunately, my life didn’t get better after this first impulse of self-harm. Greece asked us to leave. After 14 months and a total inability to obtain any meaningful birth records—and without sufficient funds to prove we would not eventually need to take a job—we were no longer welcome in the country.

But where to go?

South America was my suggestion. Egypt, however, was his demand.

I was not living in a collaborative, loving marriage. My partner obviously didn’t respect me as an equal, although he would vehemently deny it. In his mind, everything was for me, for my good…my development…my education.

Like so many men before, my husband understood how to dominate women, perpetuating the patriarchy. He was obviously wounded by this very same patriarchy, no doubt by seeing his parents fight and separate. As a child, he had even defended his mother from his father’s attack.

Sadly, he repeated the cycle.

We had visited Egypt together. I doubted my ability to flourish there, but I was habituated to disagreeing and being shot down, acquiescing as I bit my tongue.


A plant of healing and wellness.

He and I had met in North Beach in San Francisco, nearly nine years earlier. I was turning 25 when I met him, a wild and free pot-smoking Pagan. He was twice my age, a handsome foreign artist and master storyteller.

Unfortunately, he was also an apocalyptic Christian and narcissist.

My world flipped from white to black in a matter of weeks after having met him. No more pot, no more of my friends. I was convinced, rather suddenly, that my spiritual path was Christianity and that I had been, and was, sinful. From light to dark.

Almost nine years and seven months into living in Egypt, I found myself peering out the picture windows of our flat at the shimmering Nile. I imagined the fall….

The people of Aswan were incredibly welcoming and kind, with few exceptions—more so than I had found the Greeks. We made friends in the tourist markets.

Among them was a young man, Hamada, who was known as the “King” of the souk. From his jewelry store, I had seen him handle many challengers, including the police. He was greeted with great honors by many people.

How did I get here?

On a trip to Luxor Temple, we met a Scotsman who gave me his copy of Michael Franti and Spearhead’s Yell Fire! album. That was very trippy, in and of itself. However, Michael is also from Oakland, just across the Bay.


Cordoni at a bakery in Aswan, Egypt.

The album moved me in so many ways: To dance and to tears. And when I heard the line, “Like Peter Tosh said, ‘Legalize it!,'” I became determined to lay my hands on some hash.

“Of course,” I thought, “Hamada is smoking hash in his hookah. He has been while I was in the shop.”

I had not really thought about cannabis for years. It was simply out of range and not an option. I only half-acknowledged that Mohammed and Hamada where smoking hash—something that, culturally and because of my husband, was off-limits.

After months of daily berating, including being called “stupid” and our first physical fight (mostly hair pulling)—among other offenses—I was ready to take a risk.


A garden of health.

I devised a plan to acquire some cannabis or hash. I timed my rendezvous for when I anticipated few people would be present. I discreetly asked and offered to pay. To my surprise and delight, my benefactor pinched off a lump of hash the size of the first digit on my pinky and refused payment.

Thanking him, my heart racing, I rushed back. I double-checked that I would be alone for a while and sat down. With great anticipation, I pinched a little ball off the end of my newfound stash and warmed it in my hands. It was dark and soft and, when smoked, created a thick white smoke.

Almost immediately, I felt a rush of warmth, well-being, and deep relaxation move through me. My shoulders dropped away from my ears and I breathed deeper. I felt momentarily good in my skin.

As I sat with my high, I gained perspective on my situation. I recognized that I was stuck believing myself the victim of my husband.

I had believed, and was acting, as if he had power…power, I recognized in my lifted state, that he didn’t have if I didn’t give it to him. I realized that I was trapped by my own thinking; my prison was my own mind.


A cannabis leaf up close.

I didn’t need to jump out a window or off a balcony. I could simply walk out the door.

And I did.

I left Egypt nine years ago. With a great therapist and a lot of cannabis, my life has been transformed. Thanks to a lump of hash I was gifted in the Aswan marketplace in Egypt, I gained the insight to set myself free.

— Cara Cordoni

Has cannabis helped you set yourself free? Maybe a loved one? If so, tell me your story….

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

Gooey Rabinski is a photographer, writer, instructional designer, and cannabis satirist who has contributed feature articles to magazines and media outlets such as High Times, The 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.

Vampire Bar Series: Werewolves of London

Welcome to the latest installment in the Vampire Bar series. You can check out previous articles here. 666 words for your convenience.

The song “Werewolves of London” began streaming through the British speakers from my Spotify playlist The Muse Loves Cannabis.

He was so mellow, I think he’s still not pissed that he’s dead.

I remember meeting Warren Zevon when an undergrad. I’d love to say I was intelligent enough to have interviewed him, but no. He was the most humble and chill famous dude I ever met. He was so mellow, I think he’s still not pissed that he’s dead.

But I digress. The Muse certainly wasn’t dead. She was very much alive.


A beautiful young toker at a celebration in Ohio.

She freaking saw me. Great. She’s one of those. Jaded pessimism—delicately delivered via a combination of hormones, endorphins, cannabinoids, and neurotransmitters in my body—crept over me.

Goddamnit. Now what?

After all, the only reason I came out of the vampire and cannabis closets was to give a little perspective to this whole herbal prohibition topic. Prohibition: What a friggin’ joke.

I’d spew a plethora of profanity (what one new powerful female friend says is a sign of intelligence), but I made a commitment to mostly PG-rated writing. I don’t want to repel the very people we are trying to educate: Average American voters who need to approve state-level ballot initiatives to legalize cannabis.

Most vampires live a very long time. And are exceptionally healthy. And require little food. And need relatively few hours of sleep. But we still must have some sleep or, like humans, we will lose our minds and experience significantly degraded performance.


Buds resting on a copy of SKUNK Magazine.

The lust for Scrabble and motorcycles: That’s pretty much just me. Although most vampires are pretty fast with a keyboard or touch screen under their fingers. We have good dexterity, which comes in handy….

Not all vampires drink tons of coffee, indulge in frequent dabbing, or have a thing for dangerous, beautiful woman with above-average vocabularies.

Vampire culture is one of the few areas of life that is more overwhelmed with false stigma and misinformation than the cannabis culture. Think about it.

Those who have spent any time with me in the past: I’m sorry if your skin is crawling and you’re freaking out a bit right now. Yes, that’s right, I was in your living room. I may have used your bathroom after a couple of local craft beers. Note that I didn’t bite you or suck your blood.

Well, there was that one brunette from California. And the Aussie writer chick in Portland with the amazing vernacular. But again, I digress….


Blues/folk virtuoso guitarist Joe Rollin Porter from Cleveland.

Back to The Muse (silly distracting Spotify): She literally looked in my mental and spiritual sock drawer—and I didn’t even know someone had entered the bloody house—let alone was in the room and standing at the foot of my bed.

I’m going to have to think about this one for a while. In the meantime, I’m partnering with some of the most innovative, creative, and powerful voices in the rapidly evolving cannabis industry to bring you their stories.

Maybe that will be the end of my vampire life. When words are no longer used and everyone just sucks down all their news, entertainment, and communications on YouTube or via some crazy Snapchat plug-in.

My daughter Bean (vampires can reproduce, both with themselves and humans), who has 12,000+ Instagram followers, says most of them “use emoji as a second language.”

bean-rabinski-meh-by-gooey-rabinski - v2

Bean Rabinski embarrasses her father on Instagram.

Yes, dear readers, this vampire will have no reason to live after words are no longer an accepted or mainstream channel of communications. The Ducati will hit a tree at 140 MPH amd that will be all she wrote.

Or all I wrote, rather.

But fear not. Like I said, vampires live a very long time….

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

Gooey Rabinski is a writer, instructional designer, and cannabis satirist who has contributed feature articles to magazines and media outlets such as High Times, The 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.

Vampire Bar Series: The Muse

Welcome to the second installment in the Vampire Bar series. In respect to your time, articles in this series will be exactly 666 words (just as those in the Gooey’s Cannabis Queries series come in at precisely 420 words each).

Check out “The Vampire Bar,” the first piece in this series. It resulted from a pleasant Sunday afternoon on 6th Street in Austin, Texas while drinking a Shiner beer—with no anticipation of discovering a real vampire bar.

Little did I know how that single yellow Shiner bottle would change my life. And, as a vampire, that’s a very long life. You don’t wanna know.

This story reminds me of the time I toured the Spoetzl Brewery where Shiner is lovingly crafted. You could smell the vampires—and not necessarily friendly ones—in that ancient little Texas town. But that is a story for another time….

The irony of this installment is that it didn’t occur at the vampire bar. In fact, certain humans literally conspired (with herself, but who’s counting?) to prevent said vampire cannabis writer from even reaching his favorite bar.

She was successful. I never saw 6th Street on Saturday evening (as I had planned for nearly a week). Tsk tsk. Hidden agendas are always tripping me up. I must be a young soul.

I could smell her—even though she was 1,768 miles from my comfortable seat in North Austin. Her scent, mixed with a bit of this superlative Jack Herer sativa cross from the Pacific Northwest, had me thinking about the music in the air.

The songs of Pete Townshend, delivered via magical Spotify data packets and shitty service from Time-Warner Cable, wafted through my home office. Only minutes earlier, images of her had appeared on multiple touch screens in my vicinity. Then she evaporated, as if she was only a daydream that rapidly diluted into reality.

“Good heavens, Miss Sakamoto, you’re beautiful!”

Now it was Thomas Dolby and the 1982 classic “She Blinded Me With Science” steaming from my playlist. “Good heavens, Miss Sakamoto, you’re beautiful!” sang Dolby (or whomever he hired for the bit) in that satirical faux mad scientist voice.

My delicate relationship with the very organic muse was like a geeked-out spring romance—only with more purpose and solid business undertones (vampires gotta pay the bills, after all). But the emotional and intellectual tension: One could slice it off and spread it on their toast like cannabutter. Yea, that powerful.

Truth be told, I can barely smell humans. These details will be revealed as time goes on, but don’t believe the Hollywood memes and that whole approach to vampires. It is almost—almost—total crap.

Hollywood’s treatment of vampires has been total crap.

You see, all humans aren’t the same. And that’s not to support some Nazi bullshit that claims we can discriminate based on skin color, socioeconomic background, age, or gender preference. Holy shit, what is this, 1820 and we’re Amish? Please.

However, not all humans are the same. But I believe all are worthy of a fair shake. If they waste it…well, I’m not nature. I’m not karma. I’m not the one who catches up with them and requires payment. Again, not a vampire thing. Most of us are not vigilantes or blatant justice seekers, like some twisted dark Marvel superhero.

This muse, she was different. Her image seared right through my cover story as Arctic Monkeys drove home those gritty, sensual, drum-inspired rock songs.

She knew. How could she know?

Bite into the next episode in the Vampire Bar Series….

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

Gooey Rabinski is a writer, instructional designer, and cannabis satirist who has contributed feature articles to magazines and media outlets such as High Times, The 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.

CBG-A: The Mother of Cannabinoids

Let’s talk about cannabis efficacy for patients. Not just those with terminal cancer or severe epilepsy, but also any human, with any ailment, that involves an imbalance in their endocannabinoid system.

I just got off the phone with a friend in Humboldt County, California. Some gardeners in this pinnacle cannabis cultivation region are focusing on veterans with PTSD who have suffered severe trauma.


Old-school herb grinding in Portland, Oregon.

My personal goal—as well as that of my trusted colleagues—is to educate. We want to change voter behavior. We don’t do this to get rich; there isn’t much money in it. We want simply to give patients and adult users a better understanding of the medicine they are putting in their bodies—or considering putting in their bodies.

This article is just such an attempt. It is the result of a desire to clarify misunderstanding and make the relatively complex and often confusing world of cannabis chemistry more palatable to the average reader.

Please help spread the knowledge. My colleagues and I can create the content, but we need readers like you to help spread it far and wide. Without both efforts, voters won’t learn—and laws won’t change.

So here’s a little something I whipped up to help resolve confusion….

Many cannabis consumers are familiar with the major cannabinoids THC and CBD, and even minor variants such as CBC. Some are also aware that these miraculous molecules are formed within the nearly microscopic shimmering resin glands of the cannabis plant called trichomes.


The clone room in a commercial garden in Eugene, Oregon.

These miniscule medicine factories appear mostly on the flowers and sugar leaves of the plant. However, they can also sometimes be found in different forms on the fan leaves and even stalk of the plant and produce all of the cannabinoids and terpenes within the kind herb.

111 cannabinoids have been discovered in this plant since 1940, when THC was first identified (although it was later independently discovered in 1964 at Hebrew University in Jerusalem by Dr. Raphael Mechoulam, the date that is typically cited).

For simplicity and clarity, this article will consider four primary, common cannabinoids within the plant: THC, CBD, CBC, and CBG — as well as their universal acidic precursor, CBG-A (more about precursors below).

One should informally consider the “g” in CBG-A to stand for “genesis.” This unique cannabinoid is the chemical source of many others, including all of those mentioned above. In fact, cannabis would offer zero euphoric value and be of very little medicinal significance if it weren’t for these particular cannabinoids.

CBG-A is a special acidic precursor that gives birth to cannabinoids that are therapeutic for a wide range of diseases and conditions, from arthritis to Crohn’s to cancer. In fact, a 2013 research study in Israel revealed that cannabis puts Crohn’s into full remission in about 50 percent of cases — yet many states in the U.S. continue to exclude this severe condition from their medical cannabis laws.

Intelligently Target a Disease

This article could easily transmogrify into a 5,000 word academic treatise. As an alternative, readers are encouraged to investigate the links embedded herein to understand the tremendous efficacy of cannabinoids like CBG (the source of which is CBG-A), including the major players CBD and THC. Armed with this and a basic knowledge of acidic precursors, the endocannabinoid system, endocannabinoid deficiency, and the entourage effect, readers can more intelligently target their disease therapy or lifestyle goals with the most optimal strains and forms of cannabis.

There are an estimated 1,000 or more strains of cannabis available throughout the United States (some sources, like Mara Gordon in California, cite as many as 6,000 strains). Selecting between the categories of sativa and indica and drilling down to a particular variant, such as Girl Scout Cookies or Durban Poison, is an exercise of no small consequence for patients and adult users.


A backyard bush in Toronto, Ontario.

Understanding the basic chemical components of cannabis involves the reward of targeted therapy, harm reduction, and enhanced anxiety relief—even for those relegated to playing black market bingo in prohibitionist states.

For regular middle class smokers and vapers, cannabis can be a considerable expense within one’s monthly budget. A core knowledge of the plant and its interplay with special receptors in the human body can help save money—or, at least, help one spend the same money on a considerably more satisfying blend of cannabinoids and terpenes that best fit their personal metabolism, preferences, and condition.

Acidic Precursors

In the world of botany and biology, chemicals beget chemicals beget chemicals. Molecules morph under certain conditions—such as heat, light, and oxidation, to become slightly modified cousins of themselves. While their new chemical structure might be only slightly different, it is often enough to cause a dramatic shift in medicinal efficacy for patients or a different psychoactive effect for adult users.

Acidic precursors are slightly different versions of cannabinoids that, under the right conditions, change to become the familiar molecules used to medicate or gain euphoria for millions of patients. Take THC, for example. It is the most common and abundant cannabinoid (by volume) in most strains of cannabis. It is created by its acidic precursor, THC-A (sometimes denoted as THCA).

When heat is applied to THC-A, as from the flame of a lighter during smoking or the hot air stream produced by a vaporizer, this precursor drops a carbon dioxide (COO) cluster to become everyone’s favorite molecule, THC (this process is called decarboxylation, because it decouples a carbon and two oxygens).

Similarly, CBD, CBC, and CBG are also created by acidic precursors: CBD-A, CBC-A, and CBG-A, respectively. All of these acidic precursors are themselves born from CBG-A. In this aspect, CBG-A is a mother of many critical and medicinal cannabinoids. In effect, CBG-A is indirectly responsible for a wide range of positive medical therapies, including the following:

  • Anti-cancer: THC-A, CBD-A, THC, CBD, CBC, and CBG.
  • Analgesic (pain killer): CBG-A, THC, CBD, CBC, CBG.
  • Anti-inflammatory: THC-A, CBD-A, CBC-A, THC, CBD, CBC, CBN-A, CBN
  • Anti-spasmodic: THC-A, THC, CBD
  • Appetite stimulant: THC
  • Appetite suppressant: THCV
  • Bone stimulant: THCV, CBD, CBDV, CBC, CBG,
  • Bronchodilator: THC
  • Sleeping aid (anti-insomnia): CBD, CBC, CBN

Therapeutic Conclusions

The chemistry of cannabis can become complex and confusing for laypeople. However, a small chunk of knowledge regarding the role of a few dominant cannabinoids can be helpful in delivering insight into the therapy of the plant and why it is considered by many to be such a potent medicine that is almost completely lacking in addiction or harmful side effects.


Macro shot of a hybrid strain cannabis leaf.

Cannabis has been shown to be an effective treatment for asthma sufferers. However, upon further investigation, it is learned that it is actually THC that is delivering relief in its role as a bronchodilator and anti-inflammatory, the two types of relief most critical to patients directly prior to or during an asthma attack.

Several other cannabinoids, such as CBD, CBC, and CBN, also deliver anti-inflammatory efficacy, but only THC provides a specific bronchodilator benefit. In addition, the significant ability of cannabis to fight anxiety, one of the primary triggers of asthma attacks, means that it is a superb preventative. The best asthma attacks, of course, are those that never occur.

In 1973, Dr. Donald Tashkin, a professor of medicine and lung expert at UCLA, discovered that cannabis (in the case of his study, smoked) acts as a bronchodilator. Of course, vaporized cannabis is equally, or more, effective while avoiding potentially harmful carcinogens and other impurities present in smoke, but not vapor.

Because Tashkin understood that it was the THC molecule that was delivering efficacy to patients, he attempted to develop a special inhaler. Unfortunately, he was unsuccessful due to the relatively large size of the THC molecule. Tashkin also cited too much coughing on the part of patients.

It should be understood that several studies have indicated that CBD offers excellent anti-inflammatory properties for sufferers of conditions like asthma, fibromyalgia, Crohn’s disease, and possibly even bursitis. One 2012 study conducted in Europe indicated that CBD is effective in reducing inflammation in acute lung injuries, while research from 2015 found that CBD not only reduces inflammation in asthma sufferers, but that it also results in a decrease of mucus hyper-secretion, a major symptom of this bronchial condition.


Pre-prohibition. Cannabis tinctures populated every shelf….

Perhaps it is fortunate that most commercial and black market strains of cannabis feature more THC than any other cannabinoid. Note that it is the only appetite stimulant listed among this set of cannabinoids, including their acidic precursors. When combined with its role as a bronchodilator — and considering that it is also an anti-spasmodic, fights cancer, is a powerful pain killer, and acts as an anti-inflammatory — it is no wonder so many cultures across the globe have celebrated cannabis for tens of thousands of years.

More About THC

It just so happens that THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, has a strong binding affinity with the CB1 receptor within the body’s endocannabinoid system, mimicking similar chemicals produced within the body called endocannabinoids (such as anandamide). Thus, in a literal lock-and-key metaphor, THC molecules precisely fit into the CB1 receptors found primarily within the brain and central nervous system. The result: Medicinal efficacy and psychoactivity, sometimes in the form of euphoria.

THC is the only major cannabinoid to provide a psychoactive effect and epitomizes the often stereotyped and stigmatized characterization of cannabis that portrays the herb as delivering nothing more than couchlock, intense appetite, and a lack of motivation. Strains high in THC, especially sativas, have been found to be especially effective in battling depression, PTSD, and anxiety while allowing patients to remain productive.

Understanding CBD

CBD, or cannabidiol, is the second most recognized cannabinoid found within the plant. It provides considerable medicinal relief, but delivers no psychoactive effect. It has its highest binding affinity with the body’s CB2 receptors found throughout the immune system and related organs. CBD is most effective in fighting cancer, pain, inflammation, and seizure activity. It is also one of only two bone stimulators in this group of cannabinoids and, along with CBC and CBN, is an excellent sleep aid for those with insomnia.

CBD oil is a popular therapy for childhood and adult epilepsy sufferers, many of whom find little or no relief in traditional pharmaceutical drugs. More than a dozen states have passed CBD-only laws allowing a very limited set of conditions — sometimes only epilepsy — to qualify for use of this non-euphoric oil. Some anecdotal cases have revealed that CBD-only oils may decrease seizures within some epileptic children from a hundred or more per day to only a couple per month. For both sufferers and their parents, the efficacy of this special cannabinoid is no small matter.


Macro shot of trichomes in Humboldt County, California.

However, it should also be noted that new research is indicating that only about 30 percent of childhood epilepsy patients experience a significant reduction in seizure activity on a CBD-only therapy. The vast majority of patients — about 70 percent — gain the greatest efficacy from a THC/CBD blend. Some children have even experienced an increase in seizures following a daily regime of CBD-only oil.

Said Jason David, the father of a seven-year-old boy with Dravet syndrome, a severe form of epilepsy:

“The worst seizures Jayden ever had on medical cannabis was while we were using [CBD-only oil].”

Brian Wilson, a former East Coast resident who moved to Colorado in 2014 to take advantage of its medical cannabis legislation, is another parent of a child suffering from Dravet syndrome epilepsy. During an interview with Ladybud in 2014, he said:

“CBD is a very important part of the mix, but only part. We saw minor seizure control and developmental progress with CBD alone, but we didn’t see real seizure control until we added measurable levels of THC to the mix.”

Understanding CBC

CBC, or cannabichromene, is a THC booster and pain killer. Along with THC, CBD, and CBG — as well as their acidic precursors — CBC has been found to fight cancer. It should also be noted that many major terpenes also feature anti-cancer and anti-tumor properties, including limonene, pinene, and myrcene. In fact, myrcene, like CBC, is a THC enhancer because it helps a variety of cannabinoids and terpenes pass through cell membranes. In this manner, it allows more THC to reach brain cells.

Consider two fictitious strains of cannabis, Bubba’s Boutique and Purple Revenge. Both have a THC potency of about 15 percent. But assume that Bubba’s Boutique has a small percentage of CBC and more myrcene than normal, while the Purple Revenge doesn’t. Bubba’s would deliver a more potent THC effect in the form of medicinal efficacy and psychoactivity due to the CBC and myrcene that went along for the ride, acting like traffic cops in paving the way for THC molecules to reach their CB1 receptor destinations in the brain and be most effective.

Two for the road, Northern Cali style

California’s Eddy Lepp rolls ’em big in 2006.

CBC’s analgesic ability is believed to be the result of an interplay with THC. It is theorized that CBC’s anti-pain powers are derived from its role in increasing THC’s pain relieving properties — not necessarily CBC’s ability to do so independently. This is an excellent example of the entourage effect and how cannabinoids, terpenes, and the body’s own endocannabinoids work together synergistically to produce psychological and physical relief.

Understanding CBG

CBG, or cannabigerol, is the “princess of pot” in terms of being the child of the queen of cannabinoids, CBG-A. It delivers a significant amount of medicinal benefit. This non-psychoactive cannabinoid has been found to be a pain killer, an anti-cancer agent, and — along with CBD and CBC, an anti-depressant.

It is, in addition to THCV, CBDV, and CBC, among the small subset of bone stimulants in this group. It is present in large quantities in many types of hemp, the variety of cannabis almost completely lacking THC. (Legally, in North America, a strain of cannabis can contain no more than 0.3 percent THC to be defined as hemp.)

Another potential advantage of CBG is that it seems to counter the paranoia that is delivered by some high-THC strains of cannabis. In this respect, it conveys the opposite effect of myrcene and CBC. Strains high in CBG have been found to be effective in treating glaucoma due to how this cannabinoid helps decrease pressure within the eye and expedites the drainage of fluids.

The value of CBG is being recognized by the cannabis breeding and cultivation communities, which are responding with new strains that are high in CBG, which is typically present in only small quantities within most varieties of cannabis. One example is TGA Genetics Subcool Seeds, which has created a strain called Mickey Kush that is rich in both THC and CBG.

Why Is So Little Understood?

These chemical processes become even more complex when one considers that THC sometimes degrades into CBN, which in many respects is simply stale THC. Likewise, CBC-A can result in CBLA, a cannabinoid about which very little is know other than that it is an anti-inflammatory.

Given the stunning medical value that has been uncovered to date by only limited research studies and anecdotal reports from patients and caregivers, the fact that research is being discouraged in the United States is a travesty to tens of millions of patients suffering with dozens of diseases related to or resulting in pain, nausea, inflammation, or depression.


A small backyard grow in the U.S. (ok, it was my house).

In the big picture, humans are relatively ignorant of the cannabinoids and terpenes in this herb, including their delicate interplay. Until cannabis is removed from Schedule I under the Controlled Substances Act, little research and no human trials will occur in the United States. This is despite the fact that international studies and volumes of patient testimonials indicate that cannabis is a powerful, holistic, and versatile medicine—for both physical and psychological diseases—that carris few or no negative side effects.

Under Schedule I, however, cannabis is considered to have zero medical value and to be dangerous and highly addictive, where it resides with drugs like bath salts and heroin. In fact, both methamphetamines and cocaine reside in less-restrictive Schedule II, meaning they can be prescribed by a physician and are supposedly less addictive than cannabis. Until Congress and more corporate and policy leaders act to change this situation (a logical solution would be moving cannabis to Schedule III), patients will continue to suffer under ambiguity and a lack of scientific facts.

Now that we’ve resolved that, go forth and sow the seeds of knowledge and enlightenment. Together, we can change the world.

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

Gooey Rabinski is a writer, instructional designer, and cannabis satirist who has contributed feature articles to magazines and media outlets such as High Times, The 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.

Understanding Medical Marijuana

I wrote Understanding Medical Marijuana to reach average, middle class Americans in an attempt to convince them that cannabis is real medicine for patients and no threat to “recreational” users.

You can download Understanding Medical Marijuana – Gooey Rabinski here.

understanding medical marijuana for twitter

Understanding Medical Marijuana: Help voters understand.

Please spread the knowledge. Enlighten others. Don’t bitch about pot prohibition, high prices, or pesticides and then  do nothing. All it takes is a bit of understanding for voters to change their habits and push national legalization in the United States over the edge.

Victory is in sight. But we must push harder than ever now….

—  Gooey Rabinski

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

Gooey Rabinski is a writer, instructional designer, and cannabis satirist who has contributed feature articles to magazines and media outlets such as High Times, MERRY JANEThe KindSKUNK, Grow MagazineCannabis Culture, WhaxyHeads, Weed World, CannaBiz Journal, Herb.coGreen Flower Media, Twelve High ChicksCannabis 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.

The Vampire Bar

I had time for only a quick Shiner Bock and then the slow, colorful walk up 6th Street to the truck. I didn’t want to leave.

The low light, cheap but delicious burgers (vampires know good meat), and exotically charismatic staff had me glued to my bar stool.


The unofficial beer of Texas: Shiner Bock

A cheerful, energetic patron who was in his early 40s—but gave the impression of a guy in his 30s—plopped down beside me and we began to talk.

At some point in the conversation, as I always do, I had to broach the topic of work. Everyone—including the waify woman at the UPS Store in my neighborhood—has reacted positively to the topic of herb in Austin.

“I can’t believe I make my living writing about weed,” I quipped baitingly.

“I can’t believe I make my living writing about weed,” I quipped baitingly.

As the conversation continued, the tall vampire redhead behind the bar with the alluring tatts politely interrupted.

“I couldn’t help but overhear your conversation and the fact that you write about pot for a living. I’d like to talk to you more about that….”

“I couldn’t help but overhear your conversation and the fact that you write about pot for a living. I’d like to talk to you more about that….”

“Please don’t tell my family. They don’t understand weed or vampires,” I retorted with a smirk as I slipped the concentrate vape pen from my pocket. A few clicks of the button and the battery was fired up as I handed it to one of the few real vampires I’ve met in a long time.


My favorite vampire bar in Austin. Ok, the *only* such bar….

As she walked to the back room to avoid violating the smoking and vaping laws she’s obligated to enforce upon her customers, the dude beside me and I continued our dialog.

“Pot?” asked my temporary hops compatriot.

“Yea. Some dirty Austin BHO supposedly from California. It’s called ‘honey oil’ in places like Canada and Oregon. But you can’t trust any of these black market labels. It’s mostly bullshit.” I said.

“This stuff is potent, however. And better than most,” I added. “The concentrate wizards of Portland laugh at it. But it’s the best I’ve found on the Austin market, considering that I haven’t been co-mingling with humans much….”

My impromptu drinking buddy queried, “Do you have a business card?” After toting those slick green laminated bastards with me for weeks in Portland, I suddenly found myself without them. Had frolicking among the humans caused me to forget work for a brief period?


Too bad my favorite vampire bar doesn’t sell cannabis.

“Um, this is kind of a no-work day. Although I can’t stop taking photos—but that’s par for the course. Sorry, Presbyterian joke.”

I leaned over and asked, “You have a smartphone, right?”

“Sure,” he replied as he whipped out his iPhone.

“Type ‘Gooey Rabinski’ into the search engine of your choice.” Voila, instant business card. I love the 21st century.

About then my tall vampire friend returned and ever-so-stealthily slid the vape pen across the bar and into my hand—complimented with a mischievous smile that I’ll forever cherish.

Returning the smile, I finished my Shiner and bid my new friends goodbye. But not before promising to return to the bar to discuss the kind herb with the tall redhead vampire sporting the dangerous smile….

Bite into more articles in the Vampire Bar Series:

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

Gooey Rabinski is a writer, instructional designer, and cannabis satirist who has contributed feature articles to magazines and media outlets such as MERRY JANE,, CannaBiz JournalHigh Times, The 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.


It’s 2017: Stop Your Whining

Remember the old days, when you would struggle with Windows 95 or Windows 2000 to get it to properly load, say, a printer driver? It’s probably not overly difficult to recall the love/hate relationship you had with Redmond’s Richest (Microsoft)….

This schizophrenic emotional state was elicited by the relative convenience afforded by use of the Windows graphical user interface—paired with the frustration of abundant software bugs and things like plug-n-play that certainly plugged, but often didn’t play.

Use of Microsoft’s products and services, specifically its operating system and the applications found in MS Office, were a double-edged sword. On one side was convenience, speed, and user-friendly operation. On the other was buggy software, cumbersome tech support, and almost daily frustration—typically resulting in language befitting a drunken sailor (at least from me).

Welcome to 2017. We’re now officially 17 percent of the way into the 21st century. No longer do we marvel over smartphones and digital cameras. No longer do we say “Wow, that 42-inch flat panel sure is amazing.” No longer do we dream of a future of electric cars, smartwatches, thin touchscreen tablets, and free global video conferencing.

We’re home, Toto. All that cool stuff is here. And much of it is either free or very cheap.

Who Could Have Imagined?

After all, who could have imagined free video conferencing (using services like FaceTime and Skype)? When I was a kid, I recall my CPA-wannabe Granma Rabinski always cutting short long-distance phone calls because of the expense and metered billing rate. We now conduct high-definition video conferences—of any length and with folks around the world—at no cost and on a regular basis.

But our technical schizophrenia remains. Spurred by relentless online ads and spotty wi-fi, our frustration seemingly won’t abate. We love the Google search engine and the magic of Twitter. But is my smartphone too hot? Why doesn’t my internet router work? It did yesterday. And why can’t I remember the password for my secret email account?

When thinking recently about our fickle use of technology, I realized something: Google has replaced Microsoft as our evil bipolar technological stepmother.


The Silicon Valley giant, whose name has become synonymous with looking up stuff on the internet, is something that we think we can’t live without—but that we also curse on a regular basis. I’d hate for someone to steal or damage my Chromecast media streaming dongles. Yet, I want to throw them across the room when they drop the Pandora stream for the fifth time in two hours.

Jack of All Trades

Alyce Lomax at The Motley Fool, way back in 2006, described Google as a “Jack of all trades, master of none.” One blogger wrote Apple vs. Google: Where Focus Meets Buckshot in September 2014, pointing out how Google loves to experiment with a variety of products and services.

From “smart” contact lenses to self-driving cars to huge balloons intended to bring internet access to undeveloped nations (and, with it, ads from the company’s search engine and other services), Google has its hand in a very wide range of products.It’s almost as if the iconic company doesn’t trust its ability to succeed in any one area. Maybe it’s so keenly aware of the fierce competition and incredible challenges of the technology that the titan gets involved in dozens of product areas, with the hope that a few will actually pan out.

But everything is relative. Our love/hate relationship with Microsoft from yesteryear was based on the pervasive nature of the company’s operating system and software. Windows was everywhere. Very few people used Macs back then (hell, there wasn’t even a version of Microsoft Office for the Mac, so you can barely blame them). It was all MS Word and Excel and Windows XP. All of which sported some pretty serious bugs. We felt trapped.

Today is Different

Today it’s a bit different. I was recently frustrated when using Google’s URL shortening service for links within tweets. I found that, somehow, I had violated Google’s terms of service and it invalidated one of my URLs, giving my tweet, going out to hundreds of thousands of users, a dead link.

Fine, I thought, and switched back to Bitly. Frustrated by the amount of paid links at the top of the results page for Google’s search engine, I switched to Duck Duck Go. Not happy with my sluggish, stuttering Nexus 7 tablet running Google’s Android mobile OS, I switched back to an iPad from Apple.


The difference today is that there’s options. Back in the day, those frustrated by Microsoft Word or PowerPoint had few alternatives, none of which were ubiquitous enough to make the switch feel practical or intelligent. But if you’re fed up with your Nexus tablet or your Android-powered smartphone gets wonky, there’s ready alternatives from companies like Apple, Microsoft, and Blackberry.

Unlike Microsoft’s stranglehold on us back in the 1990s, Google can no longer hold us captive.

So welcome to 2017 and the age of tech options. Don’t like the ad-laced Google search engine? Switch to Bing or Duck Duck Go. Don’t like the URL shortener? Use Bitly or TinyURL. Getting frustrated by your Android smartphone or tablet? Give Apple or Nokia a try. Don’t like Google Maps? Try AOL’s MapQuest or Apple Maps. Don’t like Gmail? Try Outlook or Yahoo (or the messaging built into Facebook or LinkedIn). Not digging Google+? Try Facebook (ok, every human already did that…sorry).

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

Gooey Rabinski is a writer, instructional designer, and cannabis satirist who has contributed feature articles to magazines and media outlets such as High Times, The 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.

Finally, a Diversity Summit

Thanks to loyal readers for tolerating my walkabout time in Portland, Oregon over the past few weeks. I’m back in Austin and enduring cannabis prohibition with the Rolling Stones and Arctic Monkeys playing in the background….

What is on my mind, however, isn’t rock music. Or even cannabis prohibition. It’s inclusion. My time in ultra-progressive Portland impressed me with the inclusiveness of its culture. Which is great for Portland and the state of Oregon….


The clone room of a 40,000 sq. foot commercial garden in Eugene, Oregon.

What about the rest of the country? The fledgling cannabis industry is struggling to promote the voices of many minority players, plain and simple. This is only exacerbated by the introduction of big money to the game. Old, established powers are simply rebranding themselves—often under a nefarious cloak—and entering the green rush in an effort to boost their existing profit margins.

Unfortunately, the values of the establishment often clash with those of various segments of the patient and adult user cultures—as well as the various leaders, businesses, and organizations that populate this highly fragmented movement.

The rapid growth of the cannabis industry, commonly known as the “green rush,” has left many segments of the movement-cum-mainstream-business adrift in uncertainty.

Will the future of legal cannabis be diverse and inclusive across socioeconomic, gender, gender preference, and racial lines?

What will be the influence of—and opportunity for—minorities as legal cannabis products and services begin to produce trillions of dollars in revenues and billions in taxes?

Many fear that those who have been marginalized in mainstream society will also suffer within the newly emerging cannabis industry. To ensure a healthy economic ecosystem, the green rush must produce companies and leaders who are capable of breaking from the old rules to embrace a more collaborative framework that truly serves the needs of patients and adults users in the 21st century.

charlo greene1

Cannabis Diversity Summit organizer Charlo Greene (photo credit Go GREENE).

Inclusion, diversity, and a passion for patients will be an inherent part of our culture and industry if Anchorage-based cannabis legalization activist and entrepreneurial dynamo Charlo Greene has anything to say about it.

Cannabis Diversity Summit

Her advocacy group, Go GREENE, has organized the first Cannabis Diversity Summit, a unique event intending to—as its name implies—offer education, inspiration, insight, and networking for minority participants wishing to succeed in the cannabis industry.

“Cultivating diversity and inclusion is our proud duty,” Greene told me during an exclusive interview. Unlike much of the old money entering the cannabis industry, Greene’s passion isn’t rooted in profits.

“Cultivating diversity and inclusion is our proud duty.”  — Charlo Greene

To maximize benefit to participants, the Cannabis Diversity Summit is a free event and will also be livestreamed online at It will be held Sunday, May 15 at the smoke-friendly Nativ Hotel in scenic Denver. The Summit will be an opportunity for all participants to network and exchange ideas. Mentoring relationships will be encouraged to help new members of the cannabis industry gain knowledge from seasoned experts.


Neill Franklin, Executive Director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP).

The Cannabis Diversity Summit will include a Saturday, May 14 VIP networking mixer and dinner—featuring a special speaker—on the evening prior to the event .


Charlo Greene Q&A

Gooey Rabinski: “What motivated you to organize the Cannabis Diversity Summit, something that has not yet been done in this industry?”

Charlo Greene: “It’s clear that ensuring an inclusive industry for black and brown people is the last priority of cannabis event organizers. Do you know anyone living in a community devastated by prohibition that can afford a $1,000 event pass to gain access to the opportunities the cannabis industry offers?

I don’t.

So I’m taking it upon myself to bring the information and opportunities to the people that really need it—at a price I know they can afford: Free.

Why? Because if not me, who? I cannot, in good conscience, sit idly by and watch the opportunity to re-empower the communities that have been abused by our broken justice system pass. We only have now.”

GR: “Charlo, what do you hope the effect of your Cannabis Diversity Summit is a month into the future? What about six months or a year from now?”

CG: “A month into the future, I expect to see more black and brown faces publicly advocating for cannabis reform and starting cannabis businesses than ever before.

Six months from now, I expect to see black and brown community leaders rallying against voter initiatives that claim sick kids matter, but black lives and the lives of everyone else needlessly locked up over cannabis don’t. And I expect current members of the cannabis industry to no longer sit in silence when watching their colleagues advocate for higher barriers of entry into the industry.

A year from now, I expect the advocates with Marijuana Policy Project, NORML, and the Drug Policy Alliance that are helping write voter initiatives and policies to realize that people of color are now watching. They can no longer make concessions that will allow police to continue using cannabis to criminalize members of our communities.”

GR: “Is this the beginning of more efforts to cultivate diversity in our new industry?”

CG: “Absolutely. The Cannabis Diversity Summit happening in Denver is the first of many long-overdue community discussions that we know will inspire immense change. How? By providing education and opportunity to the people the really need it. All free-of-charge.”

GR: “See you in Denver on the 14th….”

CG: “I’m looking forward to it!”


The cannabis-friendly Nativ hotel in Denver, site of the Cannabis Diversity Summit.

All participants in the cannabis industry can do more to embrace and create an inclusive, representative culture that fosters collaboration and strong creative forces and fairness within the industry. In fact, without this cooperative spirit, the industry will miss an opportunity to do things right.

Let’s begin with a common base of knowledge and a perspective worthy of this amazing plant and its ability to help humanity. The Cannabis Diversity Summit is a great start. Let’s hope we see more of this type of organized activism in the future. 

Cannabis Diversity Summit Agenda

  • Cannabis industry pioneers sharing how to get into the new legal industry.
  • Game-changing activists offering invaluable insight on winning the fight for reform.
  • As a show of unity, representatives from all active cannabis advocacy and industry organizations with a focus on diversity will have the opportunity to present.

Perspectives from thought leaders of color on the following topics:

  • Legislation
  • Regulation
  • Law enforcement
  • Advocacy
  • Marijuana as medicine
  • Mass incarceration
  • And more….

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

Gooey Rabinski is a writer, instructional designer, and cannabis satirist who has contributed feature articles to magazines and media outlets such as High Times, The 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.

Cannabis for Spirituality

I recently explored the topic of coming out of the cannabis closet, comparing this life event with the traditional LGBTQ+ definition of the term.

In the past, I’ve explored the topic of holistic wellness, use of cannabis with intent, and the conceptual framework of mind, body, and spirit. Today, let’s focus on spirit.

This is undoubtedly the most diverse and ambiguous of the three major areas in which cannabis can help humans. For some, spirituality is a devoutly religious area of their lives. For others—many of whom are agnostic or atheist—spirituality is different. It may encompass anger management, improvement of interpersonal skills, athletic prowess, sexual performance, or even the quest for purpose in life.


Grinding cannabis flowers old-school at the NW Cannabis Club in Portland.

One’s spirituality is also strongly influenced by their particular place in life. Have they recently received a big promotion? Maybe they’ve suffered the untimely death of a loved one. The discovery of new romance is always a spiritual energizer. Divorce can be both defeating and liberating at the same time. Other positive milestones include a diverse set of life events experienced by close friends and loved ones (think graduation, one’s first home, a new motorcycle, or a highly anticipated pregnancy or birth).

For me, spirituality is seeking truth. This obviously occurs on two levels: The objective, physical reality around us (tech, social media, and communications advancements are all based on this increasing scientific knowledge) and our subjective, personal perspective.

It is this personal perspective for which I gain such tremendous benefits from cannabis. Like many of you, I’m not very happy with the state of things in the world at the moment. Yet, the reality is that things are better than ever.

Wealth distribution still sucks and minorities—including Hispanics, African-Americans, and members of the LGBTQ+ community—are still marginalized and persecuted on a daily basis. But things are still better than at any point in history (aren’t you glad you weren’t born 300 years ago?).

And then there’s cannabis prohibition. If you’re like me and you’ve decided to medicate daily and with intent to improve wellness, life in the majority of the United States can be challenging and frustrating. Obtaining safe, quality cannabis medicine that’s most appropriate for one’s condition(s) and lifestyle is between impossible and very difficult (not to mention exceedingly expensive and never covered by health care).


The clone room in a 40,000 sq foot commercial facility (Eugene, Oregon).

Thus, I use cannabis to tone my frustration, so to speak. To help put things in perspective and give me that elusive state of mind we call patience.  The ability to employ a careful, slow strategy in one’s career, activism, or personal relationships is often paramount to success. Does cannabis help with this?

If one has clean, quality medicine: Yes.

At least it does for me. Recently, my use of cannabis with intent for thoughtful introspection and strategizing my career and personal life has resulted in a desire to explore the specific subcultures touched by cannabis.

I’ll need cannabis more than ever to put things in perspective and help prevent me from drinking anyone’s Kool-Aid along the way. I’ll need it to gain the confidence to proverbially walk into entrenched, cloistered subcultures to gain their trust and learn their stories. Specifically, stories of how cannabis helps them with mind, body, and spirit and is woven into the fabric of their personal, financial, and social lives.

The next time you’re feeling down or are on the verge of losing hope, think of the long game. Imagine national legalization of pot. Visualize every city in the United States sporting dozens or even hundreds of legal dispensaries (just like beautiful Portland, Oregon), most of which offer safe access to laboratory-tested, premium-quality cannabis medicine.

A lofty goal, no doubt.

Seeing beyond the ignorance, bigotry, and stereotypical thinking of prohibitionists and conservatives is no easy task. Bearing the brunt of daily criticism or even rejection from neighbors, friends, or co-workers because of a simple cannabis lifestyle is just part of the reality of being a modern user of the herb.


A cannabis legalization activist in Hamilton, Ontario (Canada).

While many of us, especially journalists, focus on the states and cities that have progressively legalized cannabis, like Portland, Seattle, and Denver, we must also remember that most of the nation doesn’t enjoy such luxury and safety. We must redirect our anger, align our thoughts, and push forward into the 21st century with optimism and a knowledge that cannabis will be legalized nationally within most of our lifetimes.

Because we didn’t come this far just to let the bad guys win, did we?


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

Gooey Rabinski is a writer, instructional designer, and cannabis satirist who has contributed feature articles to magazines and media outlets such as High Times, The 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.

The Floral Splendor of Portland

Welcome to the latest installment in the Project Portland series. To get caught up, check out:

I recently returned to Austin from nearly two weeks in Portland. My impressions of this pot paradise, now that I have returned to the Lone Star State?

Portland offers extremely friendly people and plentiful floral splendor. And yes, I’m describing both the cannabis and the roses in the front lawns.

What if you’re a serious patient? Could knowing you’re getting a sativa or indica in a place like Portland help? Would you like the ability to walk into a dispensary and request a particular strain, like the ever-popular Cinex or Cherry Slyder (my personal favorites) or any of the hundreds of other hybrid crosses of top-shelf, well-grown genetics?


A 20-something toker at the 2016 4/20 celebration on Mt. Tabor in Portland.

Patients who use cannabis for ailments ranging from cancer to Crohn’s to arthritis to dystonia would do well to at least consider relocating to Portland, Denver, Seattle, or various parts of California (or even Alaska).

Portland, in particular, may strike you as special. But you need to visit first. Check out the scene. Visit the NW Cannabis Club. Hit a half dozen dispensaries in a single afternoon in a particular part of town (like where you might be considering moving, natch), and challenge the budtenders to provide you with a high-quality strain for your particular ailments or lifestyle.

With 334 dispensaries in Oregon—most of which are in Portland—there’s no shortage of options for both patients and adult (“recreational”) users of cannabis. Into flower? Concentrates? Edibles (referred to as “medibles” in Portland)? Maybe tinctures or topicals? Infused drinks? Candy and chocolate?


The Yeti from the NW Cannabis Club in Portland. The mask was surreal.

It’s all here.

I even tracked down old-school full-melt bubble hash from Chickweed Farms (one of the finest, purest samples I have encountered). It is probably the best aroma and taste associated with pot consumption in my small world. It harkens back to my walkabouts in cities like Vancouver and Toronto, Canada and Northern California, like Humboldt and Lake counties.

But be warned: The people of Portland are both intense, independent, extremely artsy, engaging, and vigorously protective of personal liberties. They are innovators and trouble makers who don’t accept the status quo. If you don’t embrace medical cannabis, the LGBTQ+ community, or simply don’t operate with an open-minded perspective, Portland, Oregon probably isn’t the place for you.

I’ll spare you the puns and jokes regarding flannel, coffee shops, Subarus, and luggage racks adorned in hipster stickers.

For people like me (I make my living writing about and taking photos of patients and cannabis), Portland offers a rare slice of a libertarian fantasyland. The city and many of its leaders give a damn. Not so much in other areas of North America that I have visited or in which I have lived during my small slice of reality we call life.

The people of Portland are what make it, despite the grand elegance of the landscape. Many of them are passionately concerned about their fellow humans (spend just a few hours in an authentic Portland coffee shop and you’ll quickly pick up on this vibe). This value set is so impressive–and so rare–that I get verklempt nearly every time I think about it.


A professional garden in Eugene, Oregon (Wild West Growers)

To answer that one consistent question: Will I, personally, be moving to Portland?

I’ve decided to spend part of my year in this great city, working with clients, dispensaries, and media outlets to help educate patients and consumers about the real science of this plant. I literally can’t stay away, and have fallen in love with the friendly, mellow atmosphere, gorgeous front lawns, and ample cannabis culture.

During the cold months, you’ll find me in Humboldt County, where I can experiment with cannabis performance enhancement and cycling in a challenging mountain atmosphere. And obtain pure, outdoor organic medicine. 

Pure outdoor organic. Ask for it by name….

The blessing of modern communications and mobile devices will allow me to work from anywhere, including on-the-road when I am between cities or visiting other cannabis hotspots (like Oakland and Eugene, Oregon). 

If you are a patient or adult user who loves cannabis and considers it an important part of your life, test your key in the door of Portland. Your mileage will vary, but I, personally, am glad I didn’t give up the search.

P.S.: Many media projects have been inspired by my first Portland trip. One series I’m considering is the craft cannabis industry. We tend to think of innovation being limited to the tech sector.

However, my Portland adventure has proven to me that innovation is alive and well within our burgeoning cannabis industry. And Portland is one of the few hotbeds of this progressive, organic approach to developing and making available to patients the highest quality cannabis medicine possible. 

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

Gooey Rabinski is a writer, instructional designer, and cannabis satirist who has contributed feature articles to magazines and media outlets such as High Times, The 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.