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 Colorado, 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.

— 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.


 

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The Greenrush Bonanza: Part 5

To visit previous articles in this series:

Also check out my book Understanding Medical Marijuana, available as an ebook on Amazon Kindle.

Gooey Rabinski


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.

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 truly 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 soon become established in the industry.

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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 an opportunity to help 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 respect 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 always lead to 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).

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.

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.

Cannabis for Spirituality

[Updated September 23, 2017.]

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

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

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

Gooey Rabinski on a photo shoot in Toronto.

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

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

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

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

Then there’s cannabis prohibition…. If you’re like me, you’ve decided to medicate daily and with intent. Intent for what? To improve overall health and wellness.

This lifestyle, in the majority of the United States, can be challenging and frustrating. Obtaining safe, quality cannabis medicine that’s most appropriate for one’s condition(s) and lifestyle is sometimes impossible and almost always difficult. Not to mention exceedingly expensive and never covered by health care.

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

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

If one has clean, quality medicine: I believe so. But I’ll admit that your experience may differ.

Recently, my use of cannabis with intent for thoughtful introspection and strategizing my career resulted in a relocation to Los Angeles.

I’ll need cannabis more than ever to put things in perspective and help prevent me from drinking anyone’s Kool-Aid along the way. I’ll need it to gain the confidence to proverbially walk into entrenched, cloistered subcultures to gain their trust, learn their stories, and help their businesses get into the cannabis business.

If you look closely, you’ll find that you’re surrounded by stories of how cannabis helps people with mind, body, and spirit. These improvements are woven into the fabric of their personal, financial, and social lives.

Consuming cannabis isn’t simply getting high. 

Unless you relegate yourself to a state of mere euphoria because of your limited intent, that is.

In other words, assume you’re capable of manifesting your vision. If your vision is ambiguous, pessimistic, or ignorant of the potential of the situation, your manifestation—the cumulative fruit of your lifelong efforts—will suffer. It may even suck (we all know plenty of sad people who perceive their lives to be a wreck).


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

A lofty goal, no doubt.

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

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

While many of us, especially journalists, focus on the states and cities that have progressively legalized cannabis—such as Portland, Seattle, and Denver—we must also remember that most of the nation doesn’t enjoy such luxury and safety.

We must redirect our anger, align our thoughts, and push forward into the 21st century with optimism and a knowledge that cannabis will be legalized nationally within most of our lifetimes.

In states that have legalized, the fight continues to assure rational regulations and the formation of an industry that is inclusive of all elements of society, lacking the misogyny and “old boy” rules of the 20th century.

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

— 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.

America Votes on Cannabis

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

Oregon Counties: Banning Sales?

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

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

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

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

Ohio: Fully Legalizing?

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

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

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

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

Colorado: Show Me The Money?

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


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

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


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

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

 

Twenty-First Century Toking

Not long ago, the consumption avenues available to the average cannabis consumer were pretty limited: Bongs, bowls, and joints. Then blunts came along to shake things up a bit and further diversify the cannabis culture.

Enter Vaping

A relatively radical shift in pot consumption occurred between 10 and 15 years ago: Cannabis consumers began vaporizing their herb. This has come to be known as vaping and, until recently, was accomplished using desktop devices like the infamous (and expensive, at $500-600) German Storz & Bickel Volcano and domestic efforts like the Vapolution Vaporizer (a family of $100-250 glass-on-glass devices from Chico, California).

Vapolution 3.0 glass-on-glass vaporizer

Then vape pens came along. Available in a wide range of price points and in many different quality levels, these portable and pocketable vaporization devices allow one to discretely—and typically without the tell-tale odor—consume their cannabis flowers or concentrate when on the go.

Or on the sofa. The flexibility of these devices is quite amazing and truly a game changer. Mark my word, vape pens and mobile vape devices are no fad. Just look around a recreationally legal state and anecdotally note the adoption rate. It’s through the roof. And it’s more than bohemian hipsters wanting to surf the latest trend.

In fact, the vape pen will play a significant role in competing with the slim aluminum gen three Apple TV remote and pocket coins for most likely to get lost in the cushions of the living room sofa. (“Dude, don’t harsh my mellow. Seriously, where the hell is my vape pen?!”)

Sure, a joint is one of the ultimate forms of portability and convenience for pot consumers. But the smell and the smoke reveal one’s activity—or simply piss off those around one, like a vape pen never will. Let’s face it: While adoption might be highest in legal states, vape pens arguably offer the greatest utility to those in prohibitionist areas who must hide their medicine or lifestyle.

When combined with state-of-the-art concentrates, such as those that can be produced only by industrial laboratories run by real and regulated companies, vape pens can deliver amazing, relatively predictable efficacy for patients and uber-efficient euphoria and psychoactive effects for recreational users. Many vape pen manufacturers employ a cartridge design that allows their customers to purchase a base pen and then feed it what are basically THC cartridges, made with either BHO, CO2 oil, or another extraction concentrate.

vape pen

Bloom Farms in San Francisco is a great example of a company that produces affordable vape pens that charge via USB (one of the slickest new features being offered by companies like Bloom Farms and O.penVAPE) and can be refilled via 400 mg cartridges available in either indica or sativa.

Vape Pen Advantages

Vape pens offer several advantages over their old school joint and bowl cousins. First, there’s the health benefits of vaporizing cannabis herb or oil instead of combusting it. Second, most areas of the country have robust anti-smoking laws designed to curb and discourage the smoking of tobacco cigarettes. By vaping—regardless of what is being vaped—tokers take advantage of a technical loophole that allows them freedom of consumption where traditional smokers of cannabis or tobacco are left empty handed (and possibly facing hefty fines if they turn rogue and get tagged).

Vape pens also offer tremendous advantages for severely ill patients. Those suffering from intense pain or nausea (like people undergoing chemotherapy) can very quickly give themselves a supersized toke of relief that begins to hit them in only minutes. High-quality concentrates and reputable vape pen devices can deliver, in one vape hit, roughly the same amount of THC and other cannabinoids that would be obtained from an entire joint of mid-grade cannabis flower. All without the harmful tars and carcinogens.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t also mention portable vape devices, commonly known as mobile vapes or pocket units. While not as small or discreet as a vape pen, mobile vapes typically offer better performance, accuracy, and reliability. They are simply more like a mini version of  a desktop vaporizer. In fact, it might be easiest to consider a mobile vaporizer to be the love child of a desktop unit and a vape pen. Imagine that a Neos USB pen slept with a Volcano and had a Vapir Prima as a child.

Of course, mobile vaporizers are also considerably more expensive, ranging from about $200 to $400 for reputable models actually worth having. The Vapir Prima, pictured below, is a standout based on its high quality, ease-of-use, and five-year warranty.

vapir prima v2

In legal states, CBD-based concentrates are becoming available, many of which contain very little psychoactive THC. For child patients and those who don’t desire to get high (or who simply can’t because of their job, especially if it involves unannounced and regular drug tests), CBD concentrates and vape pens are a small medical miracle.


One example of a company catering to this concentrate-via-vape-pen market is Denver-based Neos. The company pre-decarboxylates its proprietary “EVO” oil cartridges to allow for vaporization at lower temperatures, delivering what it claims is a better terpene profile from these molecules that are notoriously volatile and prone to breaking down under heat.

Neos may be the only vape pen company to explicitly embrace the entourage effect in its marketing materials and how it preserves the cannabinoid profile. While many concentrate companies promote the pure potency of their products, Neos seems concerned with quality and user safety—achieved via the use of “state-of-the-art technology previously unavailable to the industry.”

Neos is one of the more progressive, enlightened vape pen companies on the market. Some companies take a more medical approach to their product development and advertising, while others full-on target the recreational market and boast of nothing but THC and potency. But beware: There are some totally shit products available at nearly all price ranges.  Before making a purchase decision, read product reviews from trusted sources and speak with experienced colleagues and budtenders.


Vaping of any variety, be it the desktop type or via a miraculous pocketable model, is inherently cleaner and less offensive than smoking, regardless of whether one is a recreational or medical user. While tokers will always enjoy smoking, does modern technology afford the average cannabis consumer a better avenue? I know many hardcore cannabis users who are mostly vaping concentrates with vape pens.

Is this not only the new wave, but also a healthy, superior route of consumption that offers tons of convenience and doesn’t threaten to burn a hole in one’s jeans or catch the bedroom drapes on fire?

Technology is great for presenting consumers with options, and options are good. While automotive consumers once could choose from only internal combustion engine vehicles, they now also can opt for a battery electric car. Many of those who were relegated to getting their power from a local coal-burning power plant can now lease or purchase solar panels to gain energy independence.

Herer demonstrating his pipe at a trade show in San Francisco

Likewise, new technology is changing the way cannabis is cultivated, regulated, distributed, packaged, and consumed. While most of us will never fully give up on smoking marijuana and few would shy away when offered a joint of top-shelf Jack Herer or Durban Poison, the best route for one’s daily driver may not involve a Bic lighter and rolling papers or spoon-shaped glass.

The Reality

Those who live in states where cannabis is legal at the recreational level obviously can much more easily be purveyors of pot, especially if they want to indulge in concentrates. By simply driving to their nearest dispensary or retail outlet—there are more in Denver than there are Starbucks and McDonald’s combined—lucky fans of the culture in these states can easily obtain the advice, equipment, and flower or concentrate with which to fill a sexy, efficient, and affordable vape pen. Intelligent, well-trained budtenders rock; those lucky enough to have access to them should leverage the opportunity to increase their knowledge while purchasing the most appropriate cannabis products.

Those residing in prohibitionist states are increasingly choosing to travel to a legal rec destination like Seattle, Portland, or Denver to get the advice and hardware necessary to discretely vape, in private or public, back in their home state.

Of course, those who must deal with black market bingo may remain somewhat frustrated because they experience shady dealers, high prices, and uncertain strains and quality. Not to mention that high-quality examples of concentrates are often simply not widely available in black markets and are often priced outside what the average patient or rec consumer can afford.

DSC_7632

Those who have the option of traveling to a more progressive area of the country when it comes to cannabis—or who already live there—should seriously consider the best that technology has to offer and how it can both protect consumers in states where pot remains illegal and also deliver quick, potent relief to patients in need (many of whom, like us, also have jobs and families and daily commutes).

So get yourself a vape pen and pump it full of some flower, CO2 oil, or live resin. Your lungs—and your arrest record—may thank you.


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.

Preaching to the Converted

I recall an episode from about 10 years ago, when I was in Toronto covering a legalization rally at the beginning of my cannabis-themed freelance writing and photography career. Canada had, only a few years prior (in 2001), implemented a federal-level medical cannabis program designed to help its sick citizens gain safe access to marijuana medicine.

It was an energizing event. Total strangers shared their herb, often samples that fans of the culture had grown themselves. I recall young, smart gardeners from throughout Ontario approaching me with beautiful cannabis buds that they had grown from top-shelf strains like White Widow and Northern Lights #5, seeking my opinion after they learned that I was a writer for magazines like Cannabis Health Journal and High Times.

Among this excitement and energy, with the euphoria of the kind herb permeating the consciousness of all participants and the sweet, dank smell of high-grade cannabis filling the air, a moment of sober reality hit. I was speaking with Alan Young, a prominent law professor at the Osgoode Hall Law School who was somewhat of an elder statesman within the Canadian cannabis movement.

Marijuana reo3 05/23 /02 Law professor Alan Young shown addressing a press conference on the medical use of Marijuana. (Photo by Rick Eglinton/Toronto Star via Getty Images)

I had always liked and respected the charismatic, hyper-intelligent, and always insightful Young, and was happy for the opportunity to spend some time speaking with him about the rally and the entire Canadian cannabis movement. Being from the States, the Canadians enjoyed getting my spin on things. They were very proud that they had, in some respects, eclipsed the United States in beginning to destigmatize cannabis and making it legally available to their sick citizens.

I commented on what a great rally it was. Buoyed by superlative herb and the company of thousands of likeminded cannabis gardeners, consumers, and patients, there was a certain level of elation that permeated the crowd.

Then Young dropped the bomb. He responded that the rally was great, but there was one major problem: Everyone was preaching to the converted. Suddenly time froze.

Shit. He was right.

I looked around the crowd. My professorial conversation partner was dead on. I couldn’t identify anyone at the event who wasn’t a part of the culture or who might have been “undecided” prior to attending this rally. These folks were serious participants in the trampled, typically underground culture of cannabis.

Preaching to the converted is a problem for all social movements, including LGBTQ+ rights, atheists, alternative energy advocates, and the cannabis crowd.

Preaching to the converted is a problem for all social movements, including LGBTQ+ activists, atheists, alternative energy advocates, and the cannabis crowd. The challenge, obviously, becomes one of convincing those middle class, middle-of-the-road citizens that they should vote yes on a cannabis-related ballot issue or support a friend or relative in their quest to medicate with cannabis.

cannabis rally in canada

If you’re reading this, chances are you, too, are a fan of the cannabis culture. We all must ask ourselves: How effectively are we educating and influencing those around us who don’t embrace the kind herb? Campaigns like #ComingOutGreen and countless others strive to lead by example, defying stereotypes and decades of stigma created by the 1930s Reefer Madness and drug war hysteria that has pervaded our nature-loving culture for nearly a century.

How do we reconcile Young’s observation of preaching to the converted and get our message of education, understanding, and compassion to those who don’t consume cannabis on a daily basis or maybe never have?

Let’s face it: Despite the progress that has been achieved in only a few short years in terms of legalization at the state level, nearly half the country still believes the propaganda and misinformation that has been—and continues to be—broadcast and published by conservative, ignorant, and nefarious forces.

The next time you see someone practicing a bit of civil disobedience and toking in public or wearing a pro-pot T-shirt, think about all of those who aren’t hip to the reality of the medical efficacy and superiority—even recreationally—of cannabis to drugs like alcohol, tobacco, and opiates.

As I wrote in “The Dark Side of Cannabis Legalization” for Whaxy in April 2015, there is a backlash from those forces in the United States that, for whatever reason, oppose the culture of cannabis and even the medical treatment of severely ill patients with the herb. Possibly they are evangelicals. Possibly the Republican party told them to oppose legal weed. Maybe they are simply paramountly ignorant of the benefits and real science of pot.

chris_christie

Sorry to harsh your mellow with the image of New Jersey governor Chris Christie above. But I’ll be honest, I want it to sear itself on your retinas. Don’t forget the very real, extremely well-funded, and vehemently angry opposition that exists to the kind herb and those who cultivate, sell, partake of, or medicate with it.

These forces are real. The more success that is gained by the cannabis movement, the more this ignorant and anti-progressive cultural mindset will bring out its big guns in an effort to stop our culture from achieving its goals. Make no assumptions about the future of this movement. This is a culture war; the enemy is amply financed, intelligent, and—to say the least—extremely spiteful.

So what are we going to do? What are you going to do? Coming out green is part of the equation. But how do we, as a movement, educate nearly half the country that believes herb is not a medicine, is bad for society, and is just a bunch of lazy, dirty hippies wanting to share weed and defy “the man”?

The next time you smile at some pro-pot news in the media, think about the challenges we face. Think about the states that have passed CBD-only laws in a political effort to appease the movement and appear as if they’re helping the sick. Think about cannabis being taxed at rates higher than alcohol in legal states.

Think about the kids and adults rotting in jail who were arrested for minor possession of something they may have been using to deal with anxiety, depression, alcoholism and other hard drugs, or PTSD.

Then ask yourself: Do you ever talk to those outside your circle of cannabis-consuming friends about the efficacy of marijuana and hemp?

Photo credit: Toronto Star, Toronto Sun


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

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

 

Top Cannabis Video Series

There’s no shortage of corny or even marginally engaging YouTube videos regarding the topic of your choice. Dog grooming? There’s gotta be 40,000 videos about it. Cannabis and its culture are no exception. But with so many strain reviews and “let’s toke up, bra!” videos by hoodied teens and hardcore collegiate stoners, where can one turn for a refreshingly intelligent change of pace?

There are some great video series that, together, can go a long way to keeping you current with the political, legal, medicinal, and recreational news about the kind herb—as well as its amazing history of providing medicine, food, and euphoria for humans.

MJ Straight Talk for blog and twitter

While you might consider yourself a fan of cannabis and immune to the Reefer Madness and D.A.R.E. misinformation that has pervaded American culture for more than 80 years, chances are there’s some firmly held belief or perception of cannabis—or the people who smoke it or the black market that makes it available—that you hold that’s not quite accurate. And possibly even dead wrong.

Lest I pontificate further at the expense of your viewing pleasure, I encourage you to check out the series below. You’ll gain not only hours of stimulating entertainment, but also can break through the stigma, stereotypes, and urban legends of cannabis to become a more informed voter and savvy consumer.


Marijuana Straight Talk

Marijuana Straight Talk is a rare and wonderfully educational effort from NPR veteran and rational stoner Becca Williams. Williams, sometimes accompanied by her dog and MacBook, always exudes a positive sense of humor and easy going, intelligent mellowness best characterized by the herb itself.

Williams is executive producer of Marijuana Straight Talk, a series of relatively short videos (three to five minutes each) aimed at entertaining while also defying decades-old social stereotypes and stigma regarding cannabis and those who use it.

becca williams 2 for blog and twitter

Marijuana Straight Talk recently scored a big success in terms of viewer reach: It is now available in a 30-minute format on Free Speech Television Network, which is distributed via DISH Network, DirecTV, and Roku and available to more than 37 million Americans. The show is one of the most highly rated among Free Speech’s stable of progressive shows, which includes Democracy Now! with Amy Goodman.

In a recent Culture magazine interview, Williams explained how her shows are designed to serve as whimsical infotainment while delivering a serious message of cultural tolerance and education.

“We are a very wounded culture around this plant. It’s been misrepresented to us; there’s been a misinformation campaign. So, we need to educate ourselves around it. Our intent with Marijuana Straight Talk is to move the conversation into a place where we are imagining the best scenarios for how cultural acceptance for cannabis looks in this country.”   — Becca Williams, executive producer


The Pot Scientist Reports

The freshman effort of a Denver talking (pot)head who has dubbed himself the Pot Scientist is one of the better ways I’ve spent two or three minutes of my life. Like Marijuana Straight Talk, TPS Reports (also known as Ask the Pot Scientist) respects the time of viewers, never taking more than a meager slice of one’s spare time to keep up with the series.

The Pot Scientist has tackled topics ranging from the recent decision by the Colorado Board of Health to continue to exclude PTSD from its list of qualifying conditions to cannabis testing to the role of women in the cannabis cultivation industry.

pot scientist for blog and twitter

In early August 2015, the Pot Scientist declared his 20-episode “proof of concept” a success while jokingly thanking his 16 YouTube subscribers.

“I’ve proven to myself that I can write, record, edit, and release weekly video content about the marijuana industry. With this proof in hand, I plan to transform TPS…into a profitable media enterprise.”   — The Pot Scientist

Whether we’ll ever see the young and energetic Pot Scientist again lurking among the petabytes of spirited activist videos on YouTube is anyone’s guess. But hopefully he’ll be back. He’s a smart and engaging host who offers a critical and well-spoken view of current events, especially those in the Boulder or Denver area and within recreationally legalized states. Until his return, there’s 20 short, informative videos available for those who want to educate themselves.

[October 31, 2015 update]

Our wishes have come true, the Pot Scientist is back. He’s cranking out informative cannabis videos on YouTube, active on Twitter, and broadcasting on Periscope on a regular basis.


The Cannabist Show

The Cannabist Show is produced by the Denver Post’s The Cannabist, an online magazine comprised of a video series and daily news articles, including strain reviews and humorous commentary. The show is headquartered at ground zero for the marijuana movement, Denver. Chief editor Ricardo Baca welcomes weekly guests from the cannabis industry, as well as intelligent advocates, activists, and cannabusiness leaders.

The Cannabist Show for blog and twitter

Often, The Cannabist Show will cover issues based in Denver or Colorado, or investigate topics central to states that have legalized recreational cannabis. Shows include interviews with leaders within the Denver and national cannabis legalization scene.


Gooey Rabinski is a technical writer and instructional designer who has contributed feature articles to magazines such as High Times, SKUNK, Heads, Weed World, Cannabis HBK11RenderHealth Journal, Green Thumb, and Treating Yourself. He is the author of Understanding Medical Marijuana, available on Amazon Kindle, and a freelance writer for various cannabis media outlets.

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

Fear of Smoking and THC

In late 2015, Louisiana legalized all “non-smokable forms of the [cannabis] plant” as part of narrow and controversial medical cannabis legislation that was signed by Governor Bobby Jindal.

HBK11RenderMy beef: Why the fear of smoking? With such little research having been conducted, especially in the form of human trials, why are lawmakers so quick to approve either single-cannabinoid extracts (like Charlotte’s Web from CW Botanicals) or any non-smokeable form of the plant?

Those of libertarian bent who preach a populist “power to the people” will obviously side with cannabis activists who believe that pot laws should embrace self-sufficiency and a free market. This mindset encompasses patients growing their own medicine and having the ability to form collectives for the efficient cultivation and dispensation of marijuana. (This is one reason that so many activists, newspapers, and organizations opposed the 2015 ResponsibleOhio legalization effort in the Buckeye State.)

Medpot That Comes Up Short

Louisiana joins New York, Texas, and Georgia in passing legislation that comes up short of allowing full-plant therapy. Even New Jersey, home of cannabis-hating presidential candidate Chris Christie, allows patients to consume whole-plant forms of the medicine—although the state does prohibit them from growing their own and has dragged its feet when it comes to making cannabis available via dispensaries (in addition to charging sometimes $550 per ounce for top-shelf strains).

So why the fear of smoking?

Just as the euphoria that accompanies the high of cannabis is a top fear—and objection—of conservative prohibitionists, so too is the act of smoking a plant that can be grown in a patient’s backyard.

By outlawing whole-plant therapy, states are establishing monopolies and depriving patients the right to grow a mere herb. For those suffering from severe epilepsy or multiple sclerosis who are desperate for relief, the fact that cannabis is typically smoked and almost always conveys a psychoactive component is of little consequence to its medical efficacy.

Is The High Dangerous?

It’s time for politicians and the media to recognize that a plant with such great medical applications doesn’t carry “danger” or “harm” and isn’t necessarily a detriment to teenagers simply because it provides them with some euphoria (maybe if the Columbine shooters had been smoking herb after school they would have left the guns at home).

This same ignorant and borderline paranoid mentality is resulting in the passage of laws encompassing only single-cannabinoid extracts in many states. This popular form of politician-sponsored “compassion” legislation allows only CBD oil—and often for only the treatment of a very limited set of ailments.

[To learn more about CBD oil and the patients it helps, check out the Flipboard magazine CBD Oil. To learn about the problems inherent in CBD-only state medical cannabis laws, click here.]

DSC_7759

Are those who suffer from diseases not included on these short lists not worthy of the relief that might be afforded them by a cannabinoid extract? Are the vast majority of patients, who respond best to whole-plant or multi-cannabinoid extract therapies, not deserving the basic right to grow a plant in their basement or backyard that they then dry, cure, and smoke or vaporize?

Should they not have the right, as tens of millions of patients already do, to select an edible, tincture, or topical as their preferred form of consumption?

Fear of smoking and fear of the high provided by THC is serving only to deprive worthy patients of the whole-plant medicine they desire and deserve. For many raised in the United States in the 1960s and ’70s, patriotism was real. “Land of the free” was what America was supposed to represent. But it is illegal to grow a plant simply because it makes one feel a little different, somewhat like a pill one might get at a pharmacy?

States like California, Colorado, Oregon, Washington, and Alaska get it—or, at least, their voters do. There’s no boogey man in the woods. This politically motivated and culturally naive fear of cannabis must be overcome in order for meaningful legislation to reach the average American—not just those living in progressive states like Colorado, California, and Oregon.

Patients in Kentucky, Alabama, Florida, and Kansas also deserve relief.

Educate Thyself

Readers who fear things they don’t understand should educate themselves. The internet makes available the summation of the world’s knowledge at one’s fingertips. Learn why families are willing to move across the country to live in a state like Colorado or California where they can legally and without fear gain safe access to the medicine that helps their family—but is illegal in their home state.

Eddy Lepp displays the fattie winner at the rolling contest

Learn why Shona Banda has the threat of up to 30 years of incarceration hanging over her head for doing what millions do on nearly a daily basis: Medicating with cannabis. Why? Simply because she lives in Garden City, Kansas.

If Banda lived only 70 miles to the west—about a one-hour drive—in eastern Colorado, her use of cannabis would have been perfectly legal (under state law, at least) and she would currently be suffering no legal headaches whatsoever. She would also have her son, who was taken by Child Protective Services in March 2015; one of her charges is child endangerment.

The next time you see a headline that reads: “State X legalizes medical marijuana,” get the details. Don’t be duped by a mass media that barely understands THC and cannabis as medicine and lacks an agenda that includes educating its consumers.

Like Facebook and LinkedIn, CNN and NBC News serve their advertisers, not their viewers.

Many States Have Crap Med Pot Programs

Many states are so severely handicapping their medical cannabis programs that the majority of patients will opt to simply stick with the black market. Louisiana, Georgia, Texas, New York, and several CBD-only states are missing the mark. States like California, Oregon, and Colorado have proven that legalization of whole plant therapy, including home cultivation and the right to create derivatives like edibles and tinctures, doesn’t increase crime rates or lead to more high school drop outs.

Until society loses nearly a century of stigma associated with cannabis in the United States, there will be those who assign a negative undertone to the euphoria associated with cannabis and, more specifically, THC.

Is removing THC from therapy and forcing patients into highly-processed, expensive treatments the solution? Is depriving sick children of the THC cannabinoid that, when combined with CBD, can provide such amazing efficacy really an optimal approach?


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

Gooey Rabinski is a technical writer, photographer, and compliance docu

mentation 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 MediaCannabisHealth Journal, Green Thumb, and Treating Yourself.

HBK11Render

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.