Did America’s Founding Fathers “Smoke Weed”?

This article has caused more uproar than anything I’ve written in recent memory. I’m happy that it’s evoking the passion of patriots, while also revealing the nuanced and sometimes desperate logic of fundamentalism of any flavor.

Zealotry is defined by Merriam-Webster as a “fanatical devotion.”

Those who are convinced of an outcome before they begin experimentation or research have obviously limited the scope of their potential discoveries. While I admire and respect the passion of the zealots, their preconceived notions often limit their ability to employ logic in the pursuit of truth. 

I invite you to leave constructive, professional comments below. 

Gooey Rabinski


Urban legends of all stripes have gained renewed vigor in recent years. Fueled by pervasive social media networks like Facebook and Twitter, we’re surrounded by a thick pseudoscientific moat of sometimes cray cray stories that are thinly disguised as facts.

The urban legend du jour for the cannabis industry is the belief that America’s founding fathers grew and consumed cannabis (more commonly known as marijuana or pot in many areas of North America). Most manifestations of this legend embrace the consumption avenue of smoking.

Here’s how this trendy urban legend recently manifested itself on LinkedIn:

“Did you know? George Washington grew pot. Washington wrote in letters on more than one occasion that he grew marijuana. Many today suspect he smoked weed.” — Ellis Smith

Vernacular is a Bitch

“Grew pot” is one of those tainted phrases that begs the reader to exit reality in their thinking process and associate definitions and frameworks borrowed from modern life that simply did not exist in the time of Washington or Thomas Jefferson.

This is one of those issues that is defined within shades of grey, not ignorant bantering or flag waving fantasy. A simple binary “yes” or “no” doesn’t suffice the depth of the science or the reality of the situation more than 250 years ago. That’s a quarter millennium back in time in the Wayback Machine, peeps.

Romantic Notions

I know, the notion that someone like Franklin or Jefferson smoked hand rolled joints or hit a primitive wooden pipe full of the kind herb is quaintly delicious. It’s also an innocent form of misguided countercultural patriotism. We all want to reboot the originals at some point to match the values of contemporary society or our own self image.

POTUS #1 (pre-dred wig period).

In the case of the cannabis culture, this impulse is manifested when we begin to add a Cheech & Chong 1970s veneer to the relatively prudish workaholism that infused the culture of the founders of the United States in the mid-18th century.

But could it actually be true? Could revolutionary OGs like Washington and Jefferson really have sparked up joints of cannabis after a hard day of managing their slaves and hanging out in libraries and pubs?

Washington experimented with growing hemp (not to be confused with cannabis) in the course of his farming business. He even considered replacing his profitable tobacco cultivation business with hemp and wanted to make Great Britain one of his best customers. Unfortunately, Washington was never successful. The British market rejected his hemp for a variety of reasons, one of which was purportedly low quality (this obviously could have been a political response).

Digging Deeper: Hemp vs. Cannabis

Let’s dig deeper into the difference between hemp and cannabis to get more insight into this charged and largely misunderstood topic. Allow this article to drop some science on you:

The international definition of hemp as opposed to marijuana was developed by a Canadian researcher in 1971. That was the year that Canadian scientist Ernest Small published a little-known but very influential book called The Species Problem in Cannabis.

Small acknowledged there was not any natural point at which the cannabinoid content could be used to distinguish strains of hemp and marijuana, but despite this he ‘drew an arbitrary line on the continuum of cannabis types, and decided that 0.3 percent THC in a sifted batch of cannabis flowers was the difference between hemp and marijuana.

Another technical point: Hemp is cultivated and embraced from an industrial perspective because of the strong fibers in the stalk of the plant. The appeal of cannabis, on the contrary, is the resin-bearing flowers that contain special molecules of use to humans as medicine and for the pursuit of recreational euphoria.

These molecules include THC and CBD and cool aroma-producing terpenes like myrcene and linalool (that also do things like kill cancer and reduce systemic inflammation).

More Bull

“Some of my finest hours have been spent sitting on my back veranda, smoking hemp and observing as far as my eye can see.” This quote has been attributed to Thomas Jefferson for years. The only problem? He never said it.

Besides, no sane human would ever want to smoke hemp, because it wouldn’t result in the psychoactive effect of modern marijuana. In fact, it would produce only a headache. These men would have much more likely smoked tobacco.

“It’s important to note that the distinction between hemp and marijuana is often overlooked. They are of the same plant family, but hemp does not contain THC (the chemical that gets people high) like marijuana does. Smoking wild hemp is more likely to bring on a headache than a high.” — Daily Beast

Let’s review the science: Hemp is defined as the mature male version of any strain of cannabis that contains less than 0.3 percent THC (the molecule that delivers psychoactive effects for humans and any mammal). This is an admittedly arbitrary dividing line that was established by a few rich white dudes during the previous century.

What Others Say

Before getting too cocky about the situation, let’s consider the opinions of a few others:

“I couldn’t find any contemporary accounts suggesting either Washington or Jefferson ever indulged in, advocated, or even mentioned smoking pot.

“The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, an organization dedicated to being a voice for ‘responsible marijuana smokers,’ simply notes that Washington and Jefferson grew hemp for economic reasons.” — Cecil Adams, The Straight Dope Podcast

But believers do have a reasonable snippet of fact to justify maintaining a glimmer of hope that one of the founders of their nation was ever-so-possibly an occasional consumer of female cannabis plants.

And maybe, just maybe, those female cannabis plants featured mature flowers containing enough THC to result in a psychoactive effect.

Maybe.

But we’re entirely outside of proof here, folks. It’s borderline fantasy land. That noted, let’s hear from another expert on the topic.

“Radical” Russ Belville (not my photo).

“Radical” Russ Belville is a charismatic cannabis legalization advocate and journalist from Portland, Oregon. In an article for High Times, Belville quotes Washington from one of the first president’s diaries:

“Began to separate the male from female plants at do –rather too late” [sic] and “Pulling up the (male) hemp. Was too late for the blossom hemp by three weeks or a month.” — George Washington, POTUS #1

Thus, at least for a brief period, Washington was separating male and female hemp plants. By modern standards, if any of the female flowers developed more than 0.3 percent THC, it would no longer be considered “hemp” and would jump the categorical fence to become cannabis.

The Truth About George Washington & Hemp

Check out this excerpt from the article “The Truth about George Washington and Hemp” by John L. Smith, Jr., for the Journal of the American Revolution.

Armed with the solid “proof” that Washington talked about “blossom hemp” and separating male from female plants, marijuana advocates have made sweeping generalities ever since. It’s no fun to let the agricultural facts get in the way; specifically that the male plants (with the pollen) are distanced from female plants at a proper time in the cultivation cycle for the controlled breeding of seeds needed for the next year’s crop. Another benefit stated of that time: “This may arise from their [the male] being coarser, and the stalks larger,” the fact that separated male plants yielded stronger fiber. But just two days following the tantalizing August 7, 1765 “separation” diary entry above, reads the anti-climactic entry of August 9: “9. Abt. 6 Oclock put some Hemp in the Rivr. to Rot.”


In the End

Once again I must stress, we have zero proof that any of the “founding fathers”—including George Washington—actually smoked THC-bearing cannabis flowers. All that is known is that Washington separated male and female hemp plants. We must be diligent and remember that one could smoke an acre of hemp and derive nothing but a headache, with zero euphoria or psychoactive effect.

Part of this “mystery” is simply knowing the difference between hemp and cannabis.

In the end, did “founding father” patriots like Washington and Jefferson “smoke weed”?

Probably not, peeps.

Sorry. 

Here’s my personal justification for my position: Authority figures like Jefferson and Washington were inherently didactic intellectuals who obsessively curated, documented, and archived the world around them. If either had experienced a psychoactive effect from “smoking hemp,” it almost certainly would have been interpreted as a form of spiritual or intellectual enlightenment delivered from the plant—or possibly more likely perceived as a message from god—and meticulously documented in diaries, journals, and at the local pub.

Jefferson especially, I believe, would have waxed at length about the psychoactive effects of cannabis if he had ever experienced the euphoria of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).  Such documentation for the masses was a bit part of what these dudes did for a living and at the core of their beings. It was their jam.

But that’s just my opinion. Form your own from the facts and share your thoughts in the comments below. And don’t forget to learn and teach others.

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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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:

Gooey Rabinski


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, Danielle.

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 is responsible the “skunk” aroma of some strains of cannabis. With 111 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’s 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.

One must always remember the issue of subjectivity whenever considering cannabis efficacy. 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.

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 in 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).

Also check out my latest interview with Annenberg Media at the University of Southern California regarding the new cannabis business regulations in Los Angeles.

Gooey Rabinski

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….

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 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.


 

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:

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.

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).

— Gooey Rabinski


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.

A live resin vape cartridge from Los Angeles-based Alpine.

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.

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.

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.

Vampire Bar Series: Werewolves of London

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


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

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

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

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

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A beautiful young toker at a celebration in Ohio.

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

Goddamnit. Now what?

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

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

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

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Buds resting on a copy of SKUNK Magazine.

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

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

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

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

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

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Blues/folk virtuoso guitarist Joe Rollin Porter from Cleveland.

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

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

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

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

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Bean Rabinski embarrasses her father on Instagram.

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

Or all I wrote, rather.

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


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

Gooey Rabinski is a writer, instructional designer, and cannabis satirist who has contributed feature articles to magazines and media outlets such as High Times, The KindSKUNK, Cannabis Culture, WhaxyHeads, Weed World, Green Flower MediaCannabis HBK11RenderHealth Journal, Green Thumb, and Treating Yourself.

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

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

Vampire Bar Series: The Muse

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

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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

Hollywood’s treatment of vampires has been total crap.

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

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

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

She knew. How could she know?


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


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

Gooey Rabinski is a writer, instructional designer, and cannabis satirist who has contributed feature articles to magazines and media outlets such as High Times, The KindSKUNK, Cannabis Culture, WhaxyHeads, Weed World, Green Flower MediaCannabis HBK11RenderHealth Journal, Green Thumb, and Treating Yourself.

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

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

CBG-A: The Mother of Cannabis Cannabinoids

If you don’t have time to read or are driving, check out this audio interview I did with Cannabis Health Radio in May 2017: Episode 132: Cannabis Chemistry 101 with Technical Writer Gooey Rabinski.

Gooey Rabinski


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

The CBG-A molecule.

My personal goal is to educate. I want to change voter behavior. I want to give patients and adult users a better understanding of the medicine they are putting in their bodies. Or considering putting in their bodies.

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Intelligently Target a Disease

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

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

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A backyard bush in Toronto, Ontario.

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

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

Acidic Precursors

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

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

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

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

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

Therapeutic Conclusions

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

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Macro shot of a hybrid strain cannabis leaf.

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

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

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

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

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

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Pre-prohibition. Cannabis tinctures populated every shelf….

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

More About THC

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

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

Understanding CBD

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

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

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Macro shot of trichomes in Humboldt County, California.

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

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

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

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

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

Understanding CBC

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

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

Two for the road, Northern Cali style

Lake County, California (2006).

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

Understanding CBG

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

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

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

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

Why Is So Little Understood?

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

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

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A small backyard grow in Cleveland, Ohio (2005).

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

Under Schedule I, however, cannabis is considered to have zero medical value and to be dangerous and highly addictive, where it resides with drugs like bath salts and heroin.

In fact, both methamphetamines and cocaine reside in less-restrictive Schedule II, meaning they can be prescribed by a physician and are supposedly less addictive than cannabis. Until Congress and more corporate and policy leaders act to change this situation (a logical solution would be moving cannabis to Schedule III), consumers and patients will continue to suffer under ambiguity and a lack of scientific fact.


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.

Understanding Medical Marijuana

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

You can download Understanding Medical Marijuana – Gooey Rabinski here.

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

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

—  Gooey Rabinski


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

Gooey Rabinski is a writer, instructional designer, and cannabis satirist who has contributed feature articles to magazines and media outlets such as High Times, MERRY JANEThe KindSKUNK, Grow MagazineCannabis Culture, WhaxyHeads, Weed World, CannaBiz Journal, Herb.coGreen Flower Media, Twelve High ChicksCannabis HBK11RenderHealth Journal, Green Thumb, and Treating Yourself.

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

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

The Vampire Bar

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

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

shiner-bock-ya'll-by-gooey-rabinski-#vampirelife

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Pot?” asked my temporary compatriot.

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

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

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

vampire-bar-austin-by-gooey-rabinski-2

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

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

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

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

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

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


Bite into more articles in the Vampire Bar Series:


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

 

Finally, a Diversity Summit

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cannabis Diversity Summit

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

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

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

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

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

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

_______________________________________

Charlo Greene Q&A

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

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

I don’t.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

GR: “See you in Denver on the 14th….”

CG: “I’m looking forward to it!”


nativ-hotel-denver-cannabis-diversity-summit-charlo-greene

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

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

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


Cannabis Diversity Summit Agenda

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

Perspectives from thought leaders of color on the following topics:

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

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

Gooey Rabinski is a writer, instructional designer, and cannabis satirist who has contributed feature articles to magazines and media outlets such as High Times, The KindSKUNK, Cannabis Culture, WhaxyHeads, Weed World, Green Flower MediaCannabis HBK11RenderHealth Journal, Green Thumb, and Treating Yourself.

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

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

Cannabis for Spirituality

[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.

The Floral Splendor of Portland

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It’s all here.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pure outdoor organic. Ask for it by name….

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

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


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

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


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

Gooey Rabinski is a writer, instructional designer, and cannabis satirist who has contributed feature articles to magazines and media outlets such as High Times, The KindSKUNK, Cannabis Culture, WhaxyHeads, Weed World, Green Flower MediaCannabis HBK11RenderHealth Journal, Green Thumb, and Treating Yourself.

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

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