Consumer Tech is the New Religion

Asking Forgiveness

We ask for forgiveness for having neglected our children by spending too much time on Facebook or posting a nasty comment on Tumblr. We pray that we’ll be blessed with better lighting for our next Instagram photo of an especially good tuna sandwich, or maybe a stranger’s puppy.

Our churches are Apple’s iTunes, Google’s Play, and Amazon’s Prime media streaming and download services, including their holy app stores. To discourage dissenters from leaving the flock, our Bibles are often unreadable at a different church. Netflix and Pandora are two major exceptions, translating their scripture into every language under the sun.

Step Aside, Dawkins & Warren

There seem to be more religious wars within modern consumer tech than there are within religion itself. Richard Dawkins and Rick Warren have nothing on Larry Page and Tim Cook. What began as the “PC vs. Mac” platform war in the 1980s, punctuated by Betamax versus VHS, has evolved into Xbox versus Playstation, Android versus iOS, and Tesla Motors versus Toyota. Samsung, Sony, Google, Microsoft, and Apple take shots at each other on a regular basis. It’s Hatfield against McCoy—only this time they’re armed with touchscreen tablets and password-protected internet routers.

Sometimes these religious wars are monotheistic, like Apple’s closed ecosystem that offers both hardware and software from a single vendor. Other companies ask us to worship many gods, like the availability of Microsoft’s Windows and Google’s Android from a number of hardware manufacturers. Often, the battles are less proprietary and more philosophical, such as hydrogen-powered cars versus battery electric vehicles (kind of like Greek Mythology).

Some in the academic community agree. In 2010, ABC News reported that Heidi Campbell, a communications professor at Texas A&M University, co-wrote a paper “exploring the religious myths and metaphors surrounding Apple.” “[The company] could offer a religious-like experience. It could basically perform the same role in people’s lives that being part of a religious community could,” she wrote.

Shockingly Abusive

The vitriol and defensiveness in many factions of these religious schisms can become shockingly brazen and abusive, as if someone took the Lord’s name in vain—or peed in your Cheerios. The utterance of “Apple sucks” or “electric cars are stupid” is bad enough; the response is typically worse. Members of the choir routinely compete for “Most likely to have not graduated middle school.”

But we’ve considered only the religions themselves, not the priests at the pulpit. PC versus Mac, was, of course, Bill Gates versus Steve Jobs. Electric cars versus the established Luddites of Detroit is obviously Elon Musk versus…well, the established Luddites of Detroit (this one is a true David and Goliath metaphor). In terms of building their congregations, it could even be argued that Rupert Murdoch and Mark Zuckerberg are running competing megachurches.

The Gospel of Steve

“Steve Jobs, one of the most powerful people of our day, has offered a secular ‘gospel’ to our culture,” wrote evangelical Christian author Sean McDowell when Jobs stepped down as Apple’s CEO for health reasons in 2011. Even Christianity Today in January of 2011, in an article entitled “The Gospel of Steve Jobs,” wrote, “The Apple CEO was able to articulate a perfectly secular form of hope.”

The adoration bestowed upon the top executives of modern technology companies is like that of Southern Baptist parishioners during the rapture. We worship at the feet of charismatic pontiffs like Elon Musk, Sheryl Sandberg, and Richard Branson. They’re our silicon saviors, and the only thing that shakes our faith in them is a dead battery or too many casserole recipes in our newsfeed.

When it comes to mobile gadgets and streaming media, some of us even worship two gods—like a household with one Catholic and one Jewish parent that recognizes both Christmas and Hanukkah. These odd and overly open-minded people may sport both an iPhone from Apple and a Nexus 7 tablet from Google. Maybe they have a Galaxy S5 smartphone and an iPad. Hasn’t anyone told them that this is, basically, against the rules?

Digital Dogma

In the end, the best digital dogma is the one that suits your lifestyle, budget, and personal beliefs. Or the one with the coolest logo. But it’s your money going into the offering plate; worship with the company or platform of your choice.

And what about the sinners? You know, the gluttonous people at the airport who hog two outlets to recharge their devices, or the rude fanboys who leave flippantly disparaging comments on your carefully articulated posts? Well, there’s a special place in hell for them. A place where there’s a complete lack of extended warranties and app updates, where the only stores are Circuit City and RadioShack, and where they’re given only a PalmPilot PDA and a CalicoVision game console.

For eternity.

— Gooey Rabinski


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.

Gooey’s Coffee Shop Cannabis, Part 6

In this series, I’ll take exactly 420 words of your day to discuss social, political, and legal topics related to the business and science of the emerging cannabis industry. I promise to address any feedback in the comments.

To set the mood, just listen to Cab Calloway tell you how it is…in 1932 (five years before cannabis became illegal in the United States).

Previous installments in this series:


The Myth of the Dying Black Market

Last November, four states passed voter referendum measures that legalized adult possession and use of cannabis within their borders. Joining Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington was California, Maine, Massachusetts, and Nevada. I know, you’re saying, “Hey, Gooey, hasn’t California had legal weed for a long time? Like decades?”

Well, yes and no….

A few cannabis magazines.

Proposition 215, which was passed by the voters of California in 1996 and spearheaded by San Francisco’s aging LGBTQA+ pot superhero Dennis Peron, deals strictly with medical cannabis. It was the first such law in the United States, pre-dating even Canada’s historic and ultra-progressive federal-level medical cannabis legislation that went into effect in mid 2001.

There’s a lot of talk in recent years about how legal cannabis kicks the bad guys out of town. The theory goes that pot legalization not only generates valuable tax revenues, but also chases the undesirables out of a community. You know, the mobsters and cartels and shady dudes outside the 7-11 in the middle of the night.

All of the states that have recently legalized adult use cannabis touted how legalization removes organized crime from the picture.

Not so fast….

Here’s my take on things: Local legal markets will do little to nothing to push out the black market. Like nada.

Bean Rabinski, social media mad scientist.

Now that I’ve been in California for more than a year and have spent quite a bit of time in both Humboldt County and Los Angeles, I’ve seen the cannabis industry from two market perspectives: Production and consumption.

As long as there are 42 states in which the adult use of cannabis is prohibited by law—and results in felony charges and possible jail time—there will be a healthy black market. The ability to purchase in markets where prices are driven down by competition (Los Angeles, Denver, Portland, etc.) but to sell in inflated markets fueled by prohibition will attract millions of Americans to break the law.

More on the topic of legalization + black markets next week….

— Gooey Rabinski

My thanks to Cleveland’s virtuoso blues guitarist Joe Rollin Porter for allowing me to continually bastardize his visage (this particular photo is from a fun craft beer-infused evening of Joe playing a small gig outside of Akron, Ohio in 2015).


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.

Gooey’s Cannabis Queries, Part 4

Welcome to the fourth in a series of answers to queries directly from readers—all of which come in at exactly 420 words (out of respect to your time).

To set the mood, just listen to Cab Calloway tell you how it is…in 1932 (five years before cannabis became illegal in the United States).


Today’s cannabis query comes from Danielle Muggli, an actor and advocate for cannabis legalization in Montana. Danielle asks: “Do you know if there is a specific terpene that smells skunky or if it is a combination of terpenes?”

Great question.

For queries regarding the chemistry of cannabis, I turn to my friends who are extraction wizards. In this case, I inquired with Sean Gee, founder of Medusa Labs in Los Angeles. Medusa Labs is an innovative startup that produces top-shelf cannabis extracts, including distillates. The company synthesizes its own terpenes and injects them into the distillate, with a focus on quality and medical efficacy.

I guessed that more than a single terpene produces the “skunk” aroma of some strains of cannabis. With 110 cannabinoids and 200 terpenes possible in an individual strain of marijuana, one must remember that this chemistry gets relatively complex. (In addition, expert Mara Gordon estimates there are 6,000 strains of cannabis!)

Said Gee:

“You’re right on the money: It’s a mix of terpenes, led by myrcene, carophyllene (BCP), limonene, linalool, and pinene. These are all bonded together by the metabolic compound called Pre-ACOA (Acetyl Coenzyme A).

“That specific compound is hard to study because it is a byproduct. In order to find the skunk-specific compound within the larger terpene compound, one must isolate that specific byproduct in relation to the terpene compounds that exhibit flavor and smell.”

By the way, there are chemicals in cannabis other than cannabinoids and terpenes that influence how humans perceive the herb. Chiefly, there are flavonoids, which—as their name implies—convey flavor.

Also, one must always remember the issue of subjectivity whenever considering cannabis efficacy. For example, sativa strains typically are energizing and uplifting, while indica strains may cause lethargy or couchlock (although they’re typically better at things like killing pain). Some patients and consumers, however, react very differently.

Click here to learn more about the differences between indica and sativa strains.

There you are, Danielle: Many terpenes delicately co-mingle in a complex dance to create a unique aroma or flavor in a particular strain of cannabis.  Sometimes this mix results a “skunk” aroma.


Click here for a list of 18 articles I’ve written about terpenes for a variety of media outlets.


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.

Gooey’s Coffee Shop Cannabis, Part 5

In this series, I’ll take exactly 420 words of your day to discuss social, political, and legal topics related to the business and science of the emerging cannabis industry. I promise to address any feedback in the comments.

To set the mood, just listen to Cab Calloway tell you how it is…in 1932 (five years before cannabis became illegal in the United States).

Previous installments in this series:


Selecting an Industry Segment

Some of my clients are quite certain of the cannabis industry segment they wish to enter. Others are less sure. This is especially true with small, non-institutional investors with between, say, $100,000 and a million dollars to invest.

Such clients can’t engage with me to develop a permit application until they have decided upon an industry segment and jurisdiction. Given the population density of Southern California, this is no small task. Often, investors and entrepreneurs want to position their business close to home, typically to minimize their commute and support their local communities.

However, other investors and entrepreneurs are less tied to a particular jurisdiction. In these cases, difficult decisions must be made with respect to location. When there’s no outside influence pushing the selection of a particular jurisdiction for the location of a cannabis business, spreadsheets and application fees come into play.

Why Edibles Will Rule

While nobody has a crystal ball, several of my colleagues and I have come to a few basic conclusions regarding the emerging cannabis industry. Let’s consider the basic market dynamics of adult use legalization in a state like California.

There is a significant portion of society that simply will not indulge in an activity if it is illegal; let’s call them Legal Only Adopters (LOAs). There’s also a large portion of society that regards the act of smoking as vile and offensive—regardless of what is being smoked. The anti-tobacco backlash of the past few decades has created a generation with a serious disdain for smoking.

We’re predicting that LOAs who also dislike smoking will be the majority of the consumer market. This is really important if you’re considering entering the cannabis industry. While many consumers who were willing to break laws to indulge in cannabis consumption will forever combust the herb, smoking is simply not the future of cannabis consumption in the United States.

Edibles, topicals, and vaping (including the increasingly popular vape pens for mobile users) will rule the day. Some startups that intelligently position themselves as “craft” producers of specialty small-batch edibles, such as cookies, cakes, and artisanal chocolates, will become immensely successful.

More to come….


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.

Gooey’s Coffee Shop Cannabis, Part 4

In this series, I’ll take exactly 420 words of your day to discuss social, political, and legal topics related to the business and science of the emerging cannabis industry. I promise to address any feedback in the comments.

To set the mood, just listen to Cab Calloway tell you how it is…in 1932 (five years before cannabis became illegal in the United States).


Lessons Learned

I moved to Los Angeles to focus on municipal-level compliance documentation for legal cannabis businesses. Immediately prior to relocating, I developed more than 100 county-level applications for outdoor cultivation in Humboldt County, California. Before that, I was developing state-level cannabis business applications for clients in Denver, Illinois, Maryland, and Pennsylvania.

In this installment of Gooey’s Coffee Shop Cannabis, let’s discuss what I didn’t know before I came to Los Angeles to help legal cannabis businesses get permitted.


Most of us know that the “greenrush,” the label for the fledgling and disjointed cannabis industry in states like California and Colorado, is a hot market.

While the rumors and mainstream press give the impression that there’s more money in the industry than there actually is, there is certainly plenty of opportunity (and some folks are currently making bank). Especially for insightful, humble, hard working entrepreneurs.

Lesson #1: Clients Need Strategy

I have to, somewhat embarrassingly, admit that I anticipated moving to Los Angeles and jumping right into the hardcore development of permit applications for legal cannabis businesses.

I’m spending much of my time, however, consulting clients on strategy and direction. Big picture decisions, such as which market segment to enter.

Take an individual, non-institutional investor with between half a million and three million dollars. Do they launch a delivery business? Transportation? Maybe distribution? Will cultivation and dispensing be such crowded markets that margins will become too thin?

Ah, the questions. I am spending so much time in this strategy determination phase with clients because they know that, two to five years from now, they’ll either be multi-millionaires or one of the 70-90 percent that didn’t make it.

Lesson #2: Cultivation Will be Crowded

I moved to Los Angeles to surround myself with cannabis industry professionals. All of the smart kids I talk to are cautioning clients to think very carefully before getting into cultivation. Some industrial players in Colorado have, according to rumor, gotten production prices down to about $300 a pound.

Now that’s probably nothing to write home about in terms of top-shelf quality. But look at Budweiser’s market share in the beer industry.

Think transportation, security, distribution, and delivery. Think different.


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.


 

In Honor of #TerpeneTuesday

For a few months now, I’ve been promoting my hashtag #TerpeneTuesday on social media (particularly Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn).One of my followers commented that I had quite a few articles regarding terpenes, the aromatic molecules in cannabis that have been found to possess some relatively astonishing medical efficacies.

These articles, however, have been published by several different media outlets, making it confusing for my readers. So I assembled a list of most of them below.

Learn and teach others. To make intelligent decisions, voters require education. Be that catalyst.

— Gooey Rabinski

P.S.: Don’t forget to purchase my Understanding Medical Marijuana e-book. $5 on Amazon. Cheaper than a beer in Los Angeles and much more educational….


  1. Beta Caryophyllene (BCP): Cancer-Fighting Terpene
  2. Borneol: Another Powerful Cancer-killing Terpene
  3. Camphene: The Cannabis Terpene that Fights Cardiovascular Disease
  4. Cannabis Terpenes: More Than Strong Odors
  5. Cannabis Terpenes Offer Therapeutic Efficacy
  6. Cineole: The Memory-enhancing Terpene that Could Cure Alzheimer’s
  7. Delta 3 Carene: The Anti-inflammatory Bone Repairing Terpene
  8. Humulene: The Anti-inflammatory Cancer Killing Terpene that Smells Like Beer
  9. Limonene: The Terpene that Relieves Depression and Kills Cancer
  10. Limonene: Anti-cancer Terpene
  11. Linalool Cannabis Terpene
  12. Myrcene: Synergistic Cannabis Terpene
  13. Myrcene: The Powerful Terpene that Can Kill Cancer
  14. Pinene: Cancer-killing, Memory-enhancing Terpene
  15. Terpineol: The Tumor-killing Terpene that Fights Cancer
  16. Terpinolene: The Anti-cancer Terpene that Fights Insomnia
  17. Understanding the Cannabis Terpene Pinene
  18. What Do Beer and Cannabis Have in Common? Terpenes

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.

Gooey’s Coffee Shop Cannabis, Part 3

In this series, I’ll take exactly 420 words of your day to discuss social, political, and legal topics related to the business and science of the emerging cannabis industry. I promise to address any feedback in the comments.

To set the mood, just listen to Cab Calloway tell you how it is…in 1932 (five years before cannabis became illegal in the United States).


I’ve devoted decades to writing about enterprise technology, cloistered snugly in the cubicle-laden bosom of corporate America’s IT departments. But it’s all different now.

No longer are creative professionals like me relegated to the button-down propriety of Fortune 500 corporations and their political correctness. The mere fact that eight U.S. states have legalized adult use (“recreational”) cannabis possession and consumption has resulted in tens of thousands of new jobs.

Many of these new jobs are entrepreneurial in nature. Smart, innovative people are eschewing the golden handcuffs of corporate America to forge out on their own, riding the wave of the emerging legal cannabis industry.

This week I met with the founders of two such companies: Medusa Labs and Hello Fruit Farm, both based in Los Angeles.

Medusa Labs

Medusa Labs is a startup focused on top-shelf cannabis extracts in the processing segment. Medusa synthesizes terpenes, infusing them into its organic concentrates at various stages of the production cycle.

Sampling lemon + menthol terpene-infused distillate.

From a user experience perspective, I can say only “wow.” My pocket vape pen has never produced such potent, yet delicate, flavors. I’m currently sampling a lemon menthol. That’s right, menthol. And it’s wonderful. They’ve also perfected a Fuji apple.

More about Medusa Labs to come….

Hello Fruit Farm

I love high-quality organic edibles that don’t force me to consume tons of sugar just because I want to ingest some cannabinoids and terpenes. They’re inherently stealthy, allowing patients to medicate at work or in public.

Hello Fruit Farm’s THC-infused organic dried fruit.

I must admit, I’m not a big fan of dried fruit. It’s typically tough and chewy and what I’d consider more appropriate for the family dog. Then I tried some THC-infused dried apricot, mango, and pineapple from Hello Fruit Farm. In a single evening, my perception of dried fruit changed in a major way.

The company uses cannabis oil to coat the organic dried fruit that it directly sources from farms in California’s Central Valley. It’s packaging is the bomb, the product is fresh (10 mg of THC per piece; 100 mg per package), and it’s truly delicious. It’s a fine craft product that future large corporate players will be challenged to match in terms of freshness and quality.

— Gooey Rabinski

Also check out:


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.

Gooey’s Coffee Shop Cannabis, Part 2

In this series, I’ll take exactly 420 words of your day to discuss social, political, and legal topics related to the business and science of the emerging cannabis industry. I promise to address any feedback in the comments.


Rock and roll, boys and girls. I’m celebrating five weeks in Los Angeles and have noted a few things about working in this city.

I moved to L.A. for my career, plain and simple. While not my motive in relocating, I happily indulge in the plentiful pampered Porsches and nearly perfect weather offered by Southern California. For those of you who have never visited SoCal: The weather and the people are even more beautiful than you have been led to believe.

There are 14 million residents of the City of Angels. The energy is intense. For every client that doesn’t sign on, there’s several others who are in need of one’s services. It’s just a matter of swimming through the Ferraris, hipster cafes, and plastic surgery clinics to find them.

This week I focused on networking. The standout event was the Cannabis Business Mixer organized by Kalogia, an online community that connects cannabis professionals and advocates in the green economy. It organizes events to allow its members to meet, both online and offline.

The enterprising entrepreneurs behind Kalogia are Kristen Yoder and Simone Cimiluca Radzins in Los Angeles. Judging by the professionalism and authenticity of the members in attendance at this week’s event, they’re very good at what they do.  The rooftop event, with music, wine, and plenty of smiling faces, put attendees at ease.

Standing in a room with dozens of innovative founders of businesses in the cannabis industry is exciting. There’s a buzz in the room…and I’m not talking about that buzz.

In a stagnant economy that has been on the ropes for more than a decade in the United States, progressive-minded solopreneurs and entrepreneurs are finding hope in the emerging greenrush. Despite a lack of merchant banking, insurance headaches, punitive and illogical regulations, and sometimes vociferous opposition at the federal level, those who wish to make their living helping create a better world are getting very excited.

One standout attendee at the Cannabis Business Mixer was Medusa Labs from Los Angeles. Led by young, smart entrepreneurs, the company is focused on purity, medical efficacy, and sustainable practices. And it’s golden concentrate is the bomb (the terpene profile is amazing). More about these SoCal concentrate wizards in the future.

So what’s on your mind? Let me know in the comments.

— Gooey Rabinski

Also check out:


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.

Gooey’s Coffee Shop Cannabis, Part 1

In this series, I’ll take exactly 420 words of your day to discuss a social, political, or personal topic related to the business or science of the emerging cannabis industry. I promise to, in future articles, address any feedback left in the comments.


As I sit here on the outdoor patio of a trendy coffee shop in West Hollywood, I’m reminded of the wide variety of subcultures that exist within the cannabis industry.

West Hollywood is nothing if not inclusive; it embraces alternative lifestyles like Elton John embraced disco platform shoes in the 1970s. The emerging cannabis industry is no different. It must include many different subcultures and social influences in order to reach its potential.

But this is getting too serious. On a lighter note, I recently spent two weeks with Apple’s latest svelte MacBook Air. I loved it,  but ultimately exchanged it for the 13″ MacBook Pro, on which I’m currently writing this. I simply could not tolerate the non-HD (non-Retina) display on the MacBook Air.

I have been thinking about infused edibles lately. Most specifically, small batch craft coffee and beer. Like many patients, I gain the greatest medical efficacy from cannabis when I eat it (at least physically). But I consume very little sugar. I don’t want to have to consume a brownie, cookie, or gummy simply because I want to get some delta-11 THC coursing through my stomach and liver.

If the emerging cannabis industry truly meets the needs of adult use and medical consumers, it will make available infused versions of the most common beverages. This should include soda (some folks like sugar), beer, coffee, and even kombucha. If Miller Beer was able to build am empire out of “Lite” beer—which simply removed a few of the calories—just think of the riches that could be made on “infused” versions of popular drinks, including mass market beers, sodas, and ciders.

I love herb. I’ll admit, however, that I don’t like being relegated to smoking it. I also don’t like the cheap-ass vape pens that have invaded the market. When I’m out and about in Los Angeles, I’d like options other than rolled or cone joints. A nice THC/CBD-infused kombucha would be really sweet.

Guess what? All of those online services for getting one’s California Prop 215 medical card? Bunk. One of my new clients is a physician who owns a clinic that performs such evaluations and gives recommendations. He has informed me that any recommendations granted “remotely” are invalid and not legal. Caveat emptor, kids!

— Gooey Rabinski

Also check out:


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.

The Greenrush Bonanza: Part 5

To visit previous articles in this series:


A virtual parade of Porsches and Ferraris rained down upon Sunset Boulevard as I walked to my favorite coffee shop in West Hollywood for a meeting with an aspiring cannabis business. At times past in my career (such as during the dot com in the 1990s), I had to knock on plenty of doors to monetize my skills and experience.

Things are different now.

The greenrush, combined with a relatively small number of people who do what I do for a living, has resulted in plenty of knocks at my door. Each of these parties is interested in one thing: Launching a cannabis business in what promises to be a very rewarding industry segment. Especially for the organizations and cannapreneurs that have what it takes to survive in such a volatile—yet promising—market.

img_3762

The label “greenrush” aptly applies to the current nascent cannabis industry, centered mostly on the West Coast and in Denver (but let’s not discount East Coast newcomers Maine and Massachusetts). One of the most consistent themes I hear echoed by colleagues here in Los Angeles is that, while more cannabis businesses will fail during the next decade of legalization than will make it, those that forge sustainable, realistic business plans—and that have the human and financial resources necessary to consistently execute on them—stand to make a great deal of money.

We’re not in Kansas anymore, Toto. There is zero hyperbole in the perception that America currently resides on the precipice of what will relatively soon be a trillion dollar industry. Now that California and its 40 million inhabitants (who form the sixth largest economic GDP in the world) are down with legal adult use herb, the dominoes are finally beginning to fall.

This perfect storm has resulted in a logical feeling of panic among prospective investors who fear they will be left behind if they don’t become established in the industry soon.

img_4317-e1495488405313.jpg

One of the most pressing issues for a new cannabis business—be it a small-budget solopreneur project or a multi-million dollar corporate effort—is the deadlines set by jurisdictions for submission of permit and license applications. It is these deadlines that are putting prospective cannabis businesses in a panic.

As they should. The clock is ticking.

My clients often solicit my opinion of the emerging cannabis industry. While simple terms simply don’t suffice in describing what is a very fractioned, disruptive, and even frenetic emerging industry, I often throw out the term “confusing.”

Cannabis Business 101

Let’s take Los Angeles, for example. From the perspective of jurisdictional oversight, it’s both a city and a county (the only such occurrence in the United States, tell me the locals). This means two different jurisdictional bodies with which a cannabis business must contend.

There’s also the need to comply with regulations set forth by the State of California. Currently, however, regulations for adult use cannabis businesses in the Golden State are in only draft stage. And the guidance given by the state? Get permitted at the local and county levels to even think about obtaining a license at the State level later this year. However, merely meeting municipal or county regulatory requirements is no guarantee that the State will, in accordance, also grant a cannabis business permit.

With some jurisdictions in Southern California, such as Costa Mesa, charging about $50,000 to simply submit an application, the idea of investing a couple hundred thousand dollars to then be told by the State that one had to shut down their business understandably hampers the enthusiasm of many small businesses and solopreneurs.

Should your cannabis business invest hundreds of thousands of dollars into a venture that could, technically, be denied at the State level? This scenario would obviously crush the dreams of the creative humans behind such projects—and is more proof of the high-risk environment that is the emerging cannabis industry.

The rapidly emerging cannabis industry is not, quite honestly, for the faint of heart or risk averse. Only those who very carefully and strategically develop compelling business plans will survive.

This creates a stressful environment for entrepreneurs and the professional ancillary services upon which they depend, including attorneys, consultants, and compliance documentation professionals like me.

For those interested in navigating these shark-infested waters—rife with shady investors and fast-talking wannabes with little real experience—there’s a few basic considerations to be tackled prior to involving someone like myself.

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First, a cannabis business must have an address (as does any registered business; these aren’t new rules). Like other industry segments, the address must be in the right place. Many jurisdictions that allow cannabis businesses do so in a very restrictive manner. For example, if pot businesses are allowed only in Zone X, and Zone X is three percent of the land in a jurisdiction, options are obviously limited for entrepreneurs (although tapped-in real estate agents and investors sometimes make a mint).

Second, there’s the consideration of setbacks. Setbacks are minimum distances allowed between a cannabis business and places like schools, official school bus stops, churches, and even retirement homes. While there is often commonality among jurisdictions in their regulatory codes and guidance for cannabis businesses, in the end, each jurisdiction sets its own rules.

In Northern California’s Humboldt County, where I developed more than 100 permit applications for cannabis farmers last year, setbacks were typically 600 feet. Jurisdictions in Southern California, however, most commonly require 1000 or more feet between a cannabis business and something like a school.

Thus, the first consideration before engaging with professionals like me is knowing the exact location of the proposed businesses and learning the zoning and setbacks. For the most part, only if these requirements have been met can a business move forward with seeking a permit or license to legally operate in that particular jurisdiction.

However, it gets more confusing than this (one of the reasons I work with seasoned attorneys who help my clients navigate these regulatory challenges). Some jurisdictions allow exceptions or make available waivers for these requirements. Under the correct circumstances, some cannabis businesses that, on the surface, do not comply with jurisdictional oversight are afforded a hall pass, so to speak.

A Few Hints

My Greenrush Bonanza series will continue to evaluate and analyze the emerging cannabis industry and the topic of compliance documentation, with an obvious focus on legal states like California, Oregon, Washington, and Colorado. Let’s also not forget the new adult use states that came online last November: Nevada, Maine, and Massachusetts. Yes, now the East Coast is also getting in on the adult use cannabis economy.

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Many are unaware of California’s big business moratorium that is part of the Adult Use of Marijuana Act (AUMA; also known as Proposition 64, the official name of the ballot initiative) passed in the state last November. It prevents big corporations from entering the market for adult use cannabis for five years (until January 1, 2023). The idea is to give small and midsize businesses that wish to leave the black market and join the ranks of legal businesses a fair chance, before the behemoth companies step in.

The combination of pending deadlines for permit applications and only five years until there’s an open door for large corporate players (like big tobacco, pharmaceuticals, and petrochemical companies) has created an environment in which entrepreneurs and investment groups are in a literal rush to get established. They are, intelligently, feeling the pressure to become fully legal (at least at the local and state levels) and carve out a slice of the emerging market before it’s too late.

A Friendly Warning

I recently moved to Los Angeles to focus on helping prospective cannabis businesses become established in this exciting emerging industry. This is a time when it’s critical to get into the game to get a good seat. Experienced industry professionals and consultants have been blessed me with the opportunity to help cannabis businesses in Southern California form what is virtually guaranteed to be the most promising industry segment to emerge in the U.S. economy since Microsoft, IBM, and Apple duked it out in the dot com wars of the ’90s.

I have great reverence for the cannabis plant. It has blessed me and many of my friends and colleagues in countless ways. When used with good intent and in moderation, cannabis is virtually magical.

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However, a mere intense adoration for cannabis sativa in no way guarantees survival in this emerging industry. And, unfortunately, being “nice” simply does not guarantee success (as is seemingly the perception of many beautiful hippie souls in this industry who believe that good karma alone will carry them through).

Those who appreciate this magic herb and its medicinal molecules enough to dedicate their careers to it must also bring to the party a slew of business skills and critical thinking ability (or work with business partners/employees with possess these skills). Good intention and love of cannabis alone will, for good or bad, do little to help cannabis business survive in the modern world.

Do You Smell the Money?

People are currently smelling the money. In a tired economy that has been battered by the antiquated and bombastic boom and bust approach of Wall St., the United States (and, arguably, the world) needs legal cannabis and hemp to put hard working people back to work. The cannabis industry is an incredible opportunity to improve tax revenues in municipalities and counties throughout the nation, many of which are on the verge of bankruptcy or financially ill suited to best serve their residents (California City, a couple of hours east of Los Angeles, is one such example).

Sheer profit lust also won’t help a business succeed during this genesis of the legal adult use cannabis industry. It is a delicate and well balanced mix of business prowess, reverence for and understanding of the plant (learn the chemistry of cannabis here and all about terpenes here), and involvement of the right business partners and professional services that will separate successful from mediocre cannabis businesses.

Those who aren’t vigilant and don’t keep their eyes on the ball are, sadly, destined to fail.

Stay tuned for more observations on the exciting journey of entrepreneurs and small to mid-sized businesses that are entering the emerging legal adult use cannabis market.

— Gooey Rabinski


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.

The Greenrush Bonanza: Part 4

Verklempt has never been my strong suit. But as I peered down on the Northwestern Pacific Coast shoreline of Humboldt County from the window seat of my departing United Airlines flight, I had to think once again about the immense market opportunities inherent in the emerging cannabis industry (aka the “greenrush”).

The insight I’ve gained during my 10 months in Humboldt County extends beyond mere statistics or photo shoots of cultivation facilities. In most of the United States, where pot prohibition is the norm, the black market obviously rules the day. But in states that have legalized adult use cannabis, like California and Colorado, things are different.

Most Americans, when they learned that the United States had doubled the number of adult use legal pot states last November, were too distracted by the results of the presidential election to truly take notice and weigh the probable economic and cultural impacts of this dramatic shift in public policy.

In a single day, the United States went from four to eight states that allow adult use (“recreational”) cannabis possession and consumption. Joining Colorado, Oregon, Washington, and Alaska are California, Nevada, Maine, and Massachusetts. Sixteen percent of U.S. states now officially condone sparking a joint or hitting a dab rig (but typically limit such activities to one’s home).

At 40 million residents, California is the most populous state in the nation (followed by Texas at 25 million and New York and Florida at 20 million each). As such, its emergence as a legal marketplace for cannabis products is especially noteworthy. According to Wikipedia, California is the sixth largest GDP economy in the world.

As such, the Golden State will hold considerable sway over the emerging trillion-dollar national consumer market for cannabis products and services. In my opinion, this will be due to three things:

  • California’s decades-long and relatively permissive pot culture.
  • The state’s first player advantage (it was the genesis of “medical marijuana” 20 years ago in 1996 with Proposition 215).
  • The sheer girth of the Golden State’s economy.

Rough Regulatory Ride

Many laypeople, upon learning that a state has legalized adult use cannabis, believe the heavy lifting to be over. It’s a common perception to anticipate that dispensaries and cultivation facilities will begin popping up on every corner following the successful passage of a cannabis-friendly ballot initiative.

In reality, though, this is rarely the case. After a pot law is passed, then comes the arduous task of wrapping regulatory oversight around the legislation. This involves defining specific elements of the law and how they will be implemented, enforced, and potentially altered in the future.

This is the messy job of public policy in which all stakeholders have a vested interest. Unfortunately, many simply don’t know it.

Let’s dig a little deeper: Many state laws don’t prohibit individual jurisdictions within the state (such as counties and municipalities) from banning cannabis businesses. And this is no trivial issue.

Dozens of jurisdictions in Washington, Oregon, and California have banned—to one extent or another—cannabis businesses within their borders. Fortunately, personal possession and consumption can’t be banned due to the fact that it would go counter to state law (a higher legal authority).

This patchwork of counties and cities banning cannabis businesses is bad for several objective reasons. First, it’s about the economy, stupid.

Second, it’s a tad ironic when a town or county often featuring dozens of liquor stores and bars says no to cannabis and allowing safe access for patients and recreational consumers alike. I believe in giving consumers options. This is only ethical and good karma, because presupposing the preferences of consumers or tax paying citizens is not only rude, but it is batshit crazy.

Let me explain. Any community that embraces the legal and regulated sale of alcohol that simultaneously prohibits cannabis businesses is depriving itself of tax revenue while preventing its citizens from accessing fair and ethical medical and social options.

The emergence of legal markets for cannabis products touches many layers of society. Yes, there are literally trillions of annual dollars at stake in this game.

There’s a trend in the United States. After cannabis becomes legal, many people—especially more conservative citizens who would never dip into the black market and have been unwilling to break the law—develop a quiet interest in cannabis.

This trend is rife in legal states, especially among senior citizens seeking healthy alternatives to opioids and other expensive pharmaceutical treatments that carry addiction and a slew of negative side effects. How will this mechanism affect the cannabis industry? Will it be different on the East Coast than the West Coast? Hmmm….

What does the future hold for the cannabis industry? Nobody knows. That’s what makes it so exciting. Stay tuned….

— Gooey Rabinski


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.

The Greenrush Bonanza: Part 3

One could argue that this post doesn’t qualify as “from the road” due to the fact that I’m sitting in the middle of Humboldt County, my current place of residence, as I slap it out on my keyboard.

But that would be exactly the point; my time here in the heart of Northern California’s pot production province has been an educational weigh station on my quest to gather as much knowledge and insight into the emerging cannabis industry as possible.

Reflecting on Humboldt County

For more than five generations, disenfranchised Americans have been seeking refuge in the hills and mountains of Northern California. Concentrated in the counties loosely defined as the “Emerald Triangle,” they do more than grow a bunch of weed.

Most have eschewed the values and rules of mainstream society to live off the grid. Many generate their own electricity from local streams and rivers and grow their own food. According to some sources, this part of the nation is home to more hard core homesteaders than any other in North America.

Humboldt Bay, June 2016.

When I first moved to Humboldt County in the summer of 2016, I made no predictions regarding the term of my stay—either to myself or others. Given the surreal nature of the county and the horrid weather this year, it was a helpful psychological coping mechanism to consider myself “on assignment.”

My time in Humboldt has been characterized by months of bone-chilling rain that resulted in my bicycle going unused and becoming a perpetually anchored sculpture in my bedroom. But let’s focus on the positive: Peppered into this adventure were some really cool photo shoots on the beach for trendy Emerald Magazine. (My thanks to the magazine’s publisher, Christina DeGiovani, one of the classiest and most effective people in the cannabis industry.)

Grown by a master cultivator in Humboldt.

Of course, the adventure was intense. I encountered some intelligent and enlightened subject matter experts, a slower pace of life than I anticipated (or desired, quite honestly), regional organic craft beer (!), and a dreamy brunette. I apologize for complaining about the rain; my time in Humboldt hasn’t been all overcast skies.

Compliance Docs for Legal Cannabis

My reason for landing in Humboldt was to take advantage of compliance documentation opportunities with clients based in the Emerald Triangle. After helping a local client write the narratives for more than 100 of these permit applications to the County, I began branching out to assist legal cannabis businesses with strategizing and developing similar documentation in places like Pennsylvania and Ohio.

Los Angeles Will Be Pivotal

The passage of California’s Proposition 64 (the Adult Use of Marijuana Act) last November finally brought the most populous state in the nation into rank with existing bastions of adult use legalization—including Colorado, Oregon, and Washington. (At 40 million inhabitants, California exceeds Canada’s population by five million).

Checking out the cannabis business scene in Los Angeles.

As such, California’s largest population center, Los Angeles, will be the genesis of much industry activity and regulatory influence. This will inevitably include significant innovation in products, marketing, branding, and distribution.

There’s an unofficial and roughly two-year window of opportunity for businesses in California to become compliant with municipal (local), county, and state regulations—depending on their exact jurisdiction. The core components of this compliance are permitting (licensing) and the successful endurance of inspections (which are of a surprise nature in many jurisdictions).

As such, Los Angeles is my next stop. I’ll continue to help legal cannabis businesses throughout the United States with compliance documentation. I’ll simply be doing it from a warm, sunny patio and planning my next cycling adventure.

Canadian Shoutout

Special thanks to the guys at 420 Radio in Canada for having me as a guest on a recent podcast. I appreciate their kind support and twisted senses of humor. Just don’t ask the name of the dog….


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.

Gooey’s Cannabis Queries, Part 3

Welcome to the third in a series of answers to queries directly from readers—all of which come in at exactly 420 words (out of respect to your time).

To set the mood, just listen to Cab Calloway tell you how it is…in 1932 (five years before cannabis became illegal in the United States).


Today’s cannabis query comes from Michelle Benton, one of Alabama’s leading advocates for cannabis legalization and decriminalization. Michelle asks: “What is the difference between live resin and resin.” Great question.

Resin

Resin is the sticky substance produced by the trichomes of the plant’s flowers and sugar leaves. Trichomes are the nearly microscopic secretory glands of the mature female cannabis plant that are the source of all cannabinoids and terpenes and that consist of mostly resin. This gooey substance produced by the trichomes acts as protection for the cannabinoids and terpenes, shielding them from things like UV light or being gobbled by predators.

An example of master gardening in Humboldt County, California.

In fact, terpenes (which are responsible for the sometimes pungent aroma of cannabis) are an evolutionary defense mechanism employed by the plant to prevent predators, like insects and animals, from eating the flowers prior to their reproduction.

In some parts of the North America, resin is the name given to the black tar that builds up in one’s pipe if not cleaned on a regular basis. In actuality, resin is resin is resin, whether it has been combusted with a flame or not.

To learn more about resin, check out this article I wrote for WoahStork.

Live Resin

Live resin is a full-spectrum (also called “full-plant”) concentrated extract involving expensive laboratory equipment. It is a process by which a smokeable or vapable concentrate is produced from a freshly harvested cannabis plant.

But one doesn’t produce live resin using equipment found in their kitchen or garage. Why? Because this process involves cryogenic freezing (at temps below -292 degrees F) of the plant immediately following harvest. Also, live resin production typically involves the entire plant, not just the flowers.

Another example of master gardening in Humboldt County, California.

The appeal of live resin is the fact that it supposedly captures a more robust and complete cannabinoid and terpene profile than other, more traditional extraction processes (such as BHO [butane hash oil] and CO2 extraction). Fans of aromatic terpenes gravitate toward live resin.

During the drying process, some experts have estimated that up to 60 percent of a plant’s terpene content is lost! Because live resin involves post-harvest cryogenic freezing of a plant, this loss is prevented.

For more about live resin, check out the piece I wrote for MassRoots.


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.

The Greenrush Bonanza: Part 2

I recently traveled to Los Angeles to check out the compliance documentation scene for cannabis businesses. But let’s step back for a second. What is compliance documentation in the first place?

As challenging and expensive as it may be, the legalization of cannabis in a jurisdiction like a state is actually the easy part. It’s the formation of regulatory oversight that is the arduous task. Unfortunately, many cannabis consumers and business owners don’t participate in this phase of legalization.

That’s sad, because the devil is in the details. Fair and balanced regulations require all parties to have a voice in their development, implementation, and enforcement. Often, conservative forces that like to challenge such laws (and ban cannabis businesses) don’t emerge until after legalization has occurred. The mere fact that adult use cannabis becomes legal frightens them and often calls them to action.

Regulations are hard fought. Conservative forces want to restrict or ban cannabis businesses, while progressives fight for minimal or open regulations that allow all players, including small solopreneurs and family businesses, to participate.

Consider a state in which adult use cannabis production and consumption has been legalized, such as California, Colorado, Oregon, or Washington. While individual jurisdictions, like counties and cities, cannot form legislation that goes counter to state law (such as outlawing the possession or consumption of pot), they can ban cannabis businesses.

Well, they can unless state law explicitly says they cannot. Unfortunately, the legal language in states like California and Colorado allows cities and counties to form such bans. The logic behind such efforts is typically that of protecting a community’s way of life. Fear of diversion to minors and the black market is often cited, as well as an illogical prediction of increased crime rates (it is the preservation of the black market that supports criminal activities, not the other way around).

Thus, the regulatory landscape has quickly become almost overwhelmingly complex. In The Greenrush Bonanza: Part 1, I discussed how family farmers and small businesses in Northern California are typically ill-equipped to deal with such regulatory complexity. Too often, such small businesses are good at one thing (cultivating cannabis, for example), but relatively poor at balancing their spreadsheet or devising a comprehensive strategy of ensuring regulatory compliance.

Unfortunately, complying with regulatory code is not an easy or inexpensive task. Application fees alone can exceed $10,000. Startups wanting to operate multiple businesses (such as a cultivation facility and a distribution service) must obtain multiple permits or licenses, each of which can carry an overall cost of between $20,000 and $250,000 (depending on the jurisdiction and permit sought).

The next time one of your friends or colleagues quips “I’m thinking about starting a cannabis business,” ask them a few hard questions. Where? Is the property zoned properly? Are they aware of setbacks, which are “safe distances” from things like schools and churches?

In a conversation I overhead in Los Angeles last week, someone said that speculative parties are mapping the zones in the city where cannabis businesses are allowed to operate (where the regulatory language states they are zoned correctly and outside of any setbacks). Property values are skyrocketing in such areas based on the potential revenue they could produce if operated as a cannabis business.

The issue of capital is critical for aspiring cannabis business owners. I’ve witnessed dozens of startups flounder or die because of a lack of capital (not to mention a deficiency of strategy and business planning).

If a company seeking a transportation license in, say, Lynwood, California can’t afford the $7,200 application submission fee (which in no way guarantees that the application will result in a legal permit or license), they can’t play the game. Fair or not, this is how regulations are being formed at the local level in states like California.

If you want to learn about how to gain the right to run a cannabis business in a legal state, subscribe and follow this series. I’ll use it as a platform to teach readers about the confusing and volatile world of cannabis regulatory oversight.

I know that doesn’t sound very sexy, but anyone wanting to begin and operate a cannabis businesses has to go mad scientist on all of this. Or they simply will not be able to open their doors in the first place—let alone thrive and make plentiful profits (the fantasy of most startup founders).

— Gooey Rabinski


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.

The Greenrush Bonanza: Part 1

In the spring of 2016, I decided that I simply could no longer reside or work in a state that prohibits the cultivation, possession, or consumption of cannabis or products made from cannabis. I investigated moving to both Portland and Humboldt County, but ultimately opted for the latter option because of compliance documentation opportunities (my other job).

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A young woman in Ohio enjoys some cannabis.

Since my relocation to Humboldt County, I’ve immersed myself in the cultivation science and business politics of cannabis legalization. Behind the scenes, I’ve been helping clients develop permit and license applications—from small and midsize farmers in the Emerald Triangle to large corporate clients in states like Pennsylvania.

I haven’t taken nearly enough photos, but that is changing quickly. I have been talking to people, however. Family farmers, small-batch craft cannabis companies, well-funded processing companies, and patient advocates have been educating me about the reality of legal cannabis in the United States.

My initial conclusion? Even the most seasoned experts in the cannabis culture/business are confused right now with regard to what legalization will look like in places like California and Nevada after regulations are in place. The culture war that brings conservatives wishing to maintain the status quo (Luddites) up against progressives who support important issues like LGBTQ+ rights, medical cannabis, and hemp is raging across the nation.

No longer illegal in states like California, Nevada, and Maine.

But nowhere is this culture war burning hotter than on the West Coast of the United States, where a wall of legal adult use states, from Washington to California, has alarmed conservatives everywhere from the local town council all the way to Washington, D.C.

Washington State is now charging a 37% sales tax on retail cannabis sales. Oregon’s conservative, backpeddling regulations are forcing small businesses into bankruptcy with illogical and insensitive packaging requirements that have wiped products off shelves from Portland to Eugene.

Meanwhile, California, where I currently reside, is awash in “meh.” Why?

Because Prop 64, which passed with more than 57% of the vote on November 8 of last year, was highly contentious. Many of the voices I most respect in our culture were pro-64. I rode the fence at first, trying to remain objective as I developed articles about the topic for media outlet clients like MERRY JANE.

California stands divided over its new pot legality.

Then one client approached me about an article regarding why Prop 64 was a bad idea. Having already written a piece for youth-oriented Herb.co about why so many California cannabis cultivators were against the well-funded voter initiative, I declined the opportunity.

Intelligent, seasoned voices—like those of Los Angeles NORML director Bruce Margolin and veteran canna-comic Ngaio Bealum—were hard-core pro-64 and screaming it from their social media. I thought about it carefully, searched my soul, and drank their Kool-Aid. I had joined the pro-64 bandwagon.

I don’t regret supporting Prop 64 in California—and I’m happy it passed. However, I can still empathize with small family farmers in places like Oregon and the Emerald Triangle of California. These independent businesspeople, who are often very good at cultivating or processing the kind herb, are sometimes not so good at running a business. And the paperwork that comes with going legit in states like California is detailed, tricky, and expensive to develop. Props to those who get their shit together enough to pull it off. 

The complex regulations being introduced at the municipal, county, and state levels in states like California and Colorado are making even old school attorneys and the most experienced consultants confused.

A 40,000 sq. ft. commercial cultivation facility in Eugene, Oregon.

It will be interesting to see how things pan out in the “greenrush,” the emerging cannabis industry in the coming years. Yes, states like California, Oregon, and Colorado will lead the way in this cultural and economic revolution. But don’t forget about states like Nevada, Massachusetts, and Maine—all of which legalized adult use cannabis last year in the November elections.

— Gooey Rabinski


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.

Gooey’s Cannabis Queries: Part 2

Welcome to the second in a series of answers to queries directly from readers—all of which come in at under 420 words (out of respect to your time).

To set the mood, just listen to Cab Calloway tell you how it is…in 1932 (five years before cannabis became illegal in the United States).


Today’s question comes from Trish Gallo, one of Colorado’s leading cannabis activists and journalists. She asks: “I smoke every day. But I also have a day job and don’t want to look ‘stoned’ when in public….”

cannabis-for-performance-enhancement-gooey-rabinski-4

Red Eye Express: Some strains produce red eye, some don’t. Some produce it in particular patients or adult users, but not others. In other words, your mileage may vary. I’m not a product ambassador, but would rather consider myself a patient and consumer advocate.

As such, I simply share the products and services that I have found to personally or professionally enhance my game. For red eye, I always have a bottle of Rohto eye drops in my pocket. I’m particularly fond of the Cool line, which claims to “clear and brighten” and, in my experience, lives up to it.


Cleaning the Glass: Trish and I were recently discussing the topic of glass cleaning. There’s tons of specialized products on the market that are well suited for the task. But Trish and I live in progressive Colorado and California, respectively. What about the majority of the toking world, where groovy, progressive head shops—and the availability of such speciality products—are not part of the picture?

We came to the conclusion that isopropyl alcohol + salt is one solution that we can recommend to nearly anyone in the world.

how-will-cannabis-advocates-leverage-2016-5

First, get your hands on the highest alcohol content “rubbing” alcohol possible. The higher the alcohol content, the better. Alcohol levels available depend on state. If you can’t get the 90%+ stuff, just soak it longer.

Second, take a high-quality sandwich- or gallon-size freezer bag and drop in your glass. Add a bunch of salt (the larger the grain, the better), pour in the rubbing alcohol, and shake the crap out of it. Then let it sit overnight. In a perfect situation, one owns a few pieces of glass and can be cleaning one piece while using another. This allows one to soak a piece for a day or two to get it completely clean. Don’t forget to shake it a few times a day….

If you have a question, just leave it in the comments section.


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, Emerald 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.

Home Theater for Stoners

In order to expand the topics I cover a bit (life, is, after all, about more than cannabis), I’m going to begin featuring excerpts from the books and articles I’ve written under different pen names.

Most of us like music. Especially when consuming cannabis.


I’ve always enjoyed helping people understand and embrace modern technology. In the case of home theater, this tech can bring together families in front of a big display panel for a new movie release on a shiny little disc—or, increasingly, streamed from the internet.

Any Budget

You can enjoy family photos, MP3 songs, or home videos stored on a computer that resides nearly anywhere on your wi-fi network. All using nothing more than a decent Blu-ray player (playing discs covers only one-third the functionality of modern Blu-ray players).

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Virtuoso folk/blues guitarist Joe Rollin Porter.

If nothing else, please understand that you can enjoy full surround sound, high-definition video, and all the glory of modern home theater on any budget. The most common misperception of home theater is that it’s too expensive and you can’t afford it.

But you can. Trust me.

— Gooey Rabinski

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As consumers, we’re in the middle of multiple transition periods within the home electronics and entertainment industries. These changes are in the form of rapid advances in both hardware and services. It’s no longer uncommon for one to have a 60-inch display panel hanging in their living room, to be one of the 50 million people who watch movies and TV shows on Netflix, or to be among the 76 million consumers who listen to music on Pandora each month. These don’t constitute early adopter status in today’s world of home entertainment.

Since Apple introduced its iconic iPod line of portable music players in 2001, the human race has been slowly transitioning from entertaining itself by purchasing physical media, like optical discs, to instead downloading songs from iTunes or streaming movies or TV from services like Hulu or Vudu. Today the average consumer has more home entertainment options than ever—along with a more detailed and potentially confusing array of technologies and media sources.

What Defines Home Theater?

Let’s define a few things. First, a home theater isn’t mobile. It’s not a laptop with a set of headphones (even if the laptop features a Blu-ray player). Home theater is four basic components:

  • Display panel
  • Audio/video receiver
  • Blu-ray player
  • Five+ specialized speakers

These are the elements necessary for full-on home theater and how it’s defined in this book. Anything short of these elements doesn’t cut it in terms of home “theater.” While it could be argued that a set top box for bringing audio and video content into your home theater is a necessity, some cord cutters are perfectly happy with physical discs from Redbox or a local video store.

One of the most common configurations for consuming TV programming and movies is a display panel TV with two input devices: A Blu-ray player and a
cable/satellite set-top box (using only the speakers on the TV). Maybe there’s a game console or DVR thrown in the mix. But this also isn’t home theater (where’s the audio/video receiver and rear surround speakers?).

Connecting Components

In the past, the task of connecting home theater components was confusing. Different components connected with different standards and there were separate connections for audio and video. For the layperson, connecting components was a headache and typically resulted in either a frustratingly botched job, professional installation (planned or unplanned), or scouring web-based forums desperately seeking help from others. Today it’s different. Now it’s all a single standard that transports both audio and video, and does it in Blu-ray-quality high definition: HDMI. Say it with me: H-D-M-I. It’s all you need to know.

Surround Sound

In terms of audio, the difference between a “stereo system” and a “home theater” is surround sound, which has been relatively common for well over a decade. Without a collection of surround sound speakers, home theater can’t exist. Today, a significant portion of broadcast and cable TV programming—and nearly all movies produced in the past decade—are delivered with a six-channel or greater audio mix that requires a surround speaker configuration and compatible audio/video receiver to be fully appreciated.

Discrete Channels

Surround sound isn’t just about adding more speakers in your living room. It’s about discrete channels of audio information coming from specific locations within your listening environment. In other words, the producers of a TV show or movie can purposefully make, say, the voices of the characters come from the speaker directly below your TV, where they’ll be the most realistic.

Meanwhile, background noises—such as barking dogs, slamming doors, and guns firing—can be directed to the rear speakers. The ability of content producers to utilize between five and twelve speakers in your living room, in a predictable arrangement, is why affordable home theater systems now rival the experience of going to a movie theater (and why commercial theater chains have to install football field-size screens with vibrating chairs just to get our attention).

Content Services

Content services that deliver streaming audio, video, and even games to your living room home theater have proliferated like crazy during the past few years. What’s interesting is that most people have labeled this the evolution of the internet, not home theater.

It’s all convoluted today, part computer and part stereo system. We’re in the middle of the convergence of computing/internet technologies and the hardware, software, and standards on which video and audio are affordably reproduced in the home. Home theater simply does not live up to its potential without the internet and broadband connectivity. Netflix, YouTube, Pandora, Hulu Plus, Spotify, iTunes, and other internet-based services offer more content than you can ever consume. While your local liquor store might not sell you bourbon on Sunday, online streaming services are available on-demand, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.


All text and photos, unless otherwise noted, Copyright © 2003-2017 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, CannaBiz Journal, Emerald 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.

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. 

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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.

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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.

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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.  

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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!

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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.”

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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, spiritual, or emotional pain….


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Bean Rabinski: Brainiac Master of Teen Social Media.

 

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

 

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Clone room at a 40,000 sq. ft. Eugene, Oregon cultivation facility.

 

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The vampire bar in Austin, Texas.

 

Eddy Lepp displays the fattie winner at the rolling contest

Eddy Lepp rolls them fat—and fast.

 

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Cleveland, Ohio in the spring.  Some of my first published macro shots.

 

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Sungrown, organic cannabis from Humboldt County, California.

 

Two for the road, Northern Cali style

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

 

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The Yeti at the NW Cannabis Club in Portland, April 2016.

 

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Grow room in Humboldt County, California.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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The gears that propel the carbon fiber ballerina.

 

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Bean Rabinski: The Brainiac Master of Teen Social Media.

 

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More enlightened places. I moved to the West Coast for legal cannabis.

 

Herer demonstrating his pipe at a trade show in San Francisco

The late Jack Herer in San Francisco (2006). He had a strong handshake.

 

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Humboldt County, California, outside Fortuna (2006).

 

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Bushy Old Grower: Great California cannabis breeding.

 

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Nice. More from Humboldt County, California.

 

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Gorgeous indoor bud grown in living organic soil 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.

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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.

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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, Herb.co, 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, Herb.co, 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.