What’s in Your Stash? Christina Forbrich, Founder & CEO of Canncierge Consulting

Christina Forbrich found her niche in the cannabis space after helping herself with the plant as a teenager. She dove deep into the science of the plant in college and came full-circle back to cannabis as remedy as an adult for myriad symptom relief.

Her consulting company, The Canncierge, is a play on words from a hotel’s concierge—someone who assists with whatever a guest needs. Not a far stretch from Forbrich’s business of customizing, what she calls, a “canna-plan” for each client.

“My work is personalized cannabis education, enabling folks to make informed consumption decisions,” she shared from her home in San Diego. “Each consultation begins with an interview,” she continued. “Then I synthesize their information to create a plan for integrating cannabis into their lifestyle.”

Clients are educated on plant compounds and applications, while providing references to legitimate research and resources aligned with their needs, with a focus on women and seniors.

“I have some male clients and have worked with entire families,” she added. “I don’t make too much of a differentiation between the medicinal aspects of the plant and recreational use. The main goal is to not have them overmedicate, get discouraged, and give-up for lack of information.”

Self-Medicating at 15

The forty year-old mother, wife, and entrepreneur grew up in Southern California. Her first time self-medicating with cannabis was at age 15, which is a surprisingly common admission for most adult patients who struggle with symptoms from the Autism Spectrum. This includes anxiety, depression, ADD or ADHD, and PTSD from any number of traumas.

“My first experience was out of curiosity,” she explained. “Very quickly – within a few months – I found cannabis to be an effective remedy for crippling social anxiety, stemming from a chaotic home life. As a bonus, it also treated excruciating menstrual cramps that left me physically and emotionally ill.”

Diagnosed as a young adult with Anxiety Disorder, with episodes of depression, Forbrich found that cannabis was a practical remedy for relief; including treating hip and back pain from years of injuries from playing soccer as goalkeeper, then irritated from childbirth.

In 1996 Forbrich turned 18 and was able to vote for California’s Proposition 215, making the state the first in the country to legalize cannabis as remedy.  At the same time, she was introduced to Dennis Peron, founder of the Cannabis Buyers Club in San Francisco – one of the first cooperative care programs in the country.

“When all my friends were drinking copiously, I was more interested in the herb,” she said. “I substituted the herb for Advil and it worked. I saved stems and made tinctures before it was a thing. In college I studied Sociology and Economics and became, what I call, a ‘citizen scientist” of the plant – informally studying, not only the botanic and biologic characteristics of cannabis, but experimenting for my own benefits and knowledge.”

In college, Forbrich said she would study high, take tests high, and then compare the results when not medicated. She said she always killed it on the exams when using cannabis, as it gave her focus.

Forbrich laughs at the memory of excursions to the library, with most of the literature she found on cannabis on microfiche only, pre-internet. 

Since California legalized for recreation in 2017, Forbrich said establishing her company in the same year was a given.

“Since college I’ve been the resident weed coach for my family and friends, which is the reason I began my consulting company – it was inevitable,” she surmised. “I literally professionalized my passion, and I’m beyond grateful to be in the space in this way.”

What’s in Your Stash? Christina Forbrich, Founder & CEO of Canncierge Consulting
Courtesy of Christina Forbrich

A Canncierge’s Purposeful Stash

Forbrich’s stash is kept in a handmade bag by Lisamarie Gonzales of CannaCoutured Stashbag, hand stamped with a cannabis leaf. The container holding flower is made by Canlock, and she says the jar is designed to express air out, keeping the bud fresh. 

Spirit of The Herbs CBD Salve, made by Holly Hoops of Denver, is a go-to for skin issues, including her child’s eczema. She also uses it for aches and pains, plantar fasciitis, back pain, and more. 

Her vape cartridge is made by Select Oil, and is filled with White Rhino, which she says is a consistent formulation, but she also gravitates towards small batch mixes from Out Co.

Sublingual Strips are made by Craft 1861, and are infused with CBD. 

“I love the strips for freshening both my breath and my mood!” she laughed. “They come in a couple different dosages, so it makes it easy to personalize. They taste nice, work well and are discreet. My friend Eric Lujan is the maker – he’s a dogged advocate for cannabis reform, as well.”

Her go-to for menstrual cramps are cannabis vaginal suppositories in combination with a heating pad.

“I get extremely weepy and sensitive before my period, with Humane Society ads reducing me to bawling pretty quickly,” she shared. “Physically, on the day of my period, I feel nauseated, so this is when I’ll go for everything in my stash, and practice, what I’ve termed as, ‘Layer my Lifting,” combining products in a strategic way.”

She’ll use a 1:1 THC/CBD tincture, and dab a high THC concentrate to medicate for a longer duration of time. If it’s a workday, she’ll only do the 1:1. Using cannabis is proactive, and knowing what works via trials with successes and fails is the way most patients find their dose for what ails them.

“These are conditions I used to pop a pill to relieve without blinking,” she added. “I find that the combination of different modalities is essential to my cannabis consumption, and that thoughtful application of cannabis addresses my symptoms in a much more natural – and enjoyable – fashion.”

That said, after trial and error, Forbrich admits to keeping one pharmaceutical in her protocol.

“Cannabis replaced pain killers and has allowed me to reduce my dose of Zoloft substantially,” she shared. “I’ve been on more of it, on less of it, and completely off of it; and my doctor and I have found that my anxiety is very balanced on a dose of 100 milligrams – it works with my brain chemistry – along with the cannabis protocols.”

Forbrich said that the introduction to Cannabidiol into her regimen allowed her to skip every other day of taking the Zoloft, in effect, reducing her dose by 50 percent.

“I also use the plant to enhance my workouts, to focus, for socializing, and for creative work,” she added.

The tincture in the green bottle is homemade with MCT oil, made in a Magical Butter Machine with high quality trim and bud from Forbrich’s all-time favorite cultivar, Lemon Larry OG.

Another favorite found in many of the best stashes, is a pack of Raw papers and crutches, by Josh Kesselman, who is also one of the industry’s favorite characters. Raw papers are Vegan, made from minimally processed organic hemp fibers, with no dyes, chemicals or whiteners. 

As quoted in Inc. magazine, Kesselman says, “Everyone wants to smoke the best… It’s like how people don’t want to eat Wonder Bread anymore – they want to eat all-natural, ancient grains.”

Lastly, the little pink pin is a nod to her sisters in green, representing the Pink Haze Society; a cannabis club for intergenerational women in San Diego. 

“I still see cannabis legalization slowly moving toward every state,” she surmised. “The people want it. There are more and more people eschewing alcohol and drugs every day. I see the industry-side becoming less equitable with a serious diversity problem, not relating to the people. There’s been a lot of pain and set-backs, but I also see women, people of color, seniors and Veterans at the forefront of leadership – and this gives me hope for the future.”

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Maine Now Taking Applications For Cannabis Dispensaries And Cultivators

Maine’s recreational cannabis industry shifted into a new gear on Thursday. The state’s Office of Marijuana Policy (OMP) opened up its application process for adult use cannabis sales licenses, and also started accepting applications for the cultivation and manufacture of marijuana.

Applicants have started tearing through the paperwork in the hopes of being among the first applicants. Some of these would-be entrepreneurs have been waiting for years for the chance to start in on bureaucratic process. Further encouraging applicants’ quickness is the fact that business licenses will be awarded on a limited basis in some cities.

Maine’s voters opted for cannabis legalization back in 2016, but former Governor Paul LePage blocked the bill that would officially regulate marijuana, citing Maine’s high number of deaths from opiate addiction. It wasn’t until June 2019 that current Governor Janet Mills finally signed cannabis regulations into effect.

In April of 2019, the state made public its cannabis business guidelines. The OMP, which is part of Maine’s Department of Administrative and Financial Services, had already started accepting marijuana testing facility applications November 18.

Other Post-Legalization Issues Examined

Maine’s laws provide no framework for expungement of past cannabis-related crimes, necessitating that lawmakers propose stand-alone bills to ensure that past offenses that are no longer crimes are cleared from individuals’ records.

State law lets cities determine whether they will permit cannabis sales. For the first two years of regulation, the state will only accept applications from businesses that are primarily held by people who have lived in Maine for four years or more. That’s actually a relaxation of stricter residency requirements, likely due to the uproar raised by multi-state medical marijuana companies that are already operating within state lines.

Individuals with drug-related felonies — well, besides cannabis crimes — are prohibited from applying for a marijuana business license in Maine.

Many prospective small business owners have bemoaned these and other regulations, like the state’s exigent security requirements, which include 24-hour surveillance and comprehensive security camera coverage.

The initial applications the Office of Marijuana Policy is now accepting will be only the first step for prospective cannabis companies. Maine regulations have established a three-step licensing process; conditional licensure, local authorization, and active licensure. The Office of Marijuana Policy has estimated that the total process will take between 90 and 180 days.

That timeline suggests that recreational sales will not be taking place in Maine until March at the earliest.

Local cannabis industry advocates advised applicants not to panic if the bureaucracy — often hundreds of pages of documents — involved seemed daunting.

“Cover your basics for how you’re going to operate your business, and if your financials and everything are sort of in order, it’s not such a panic moment,” Mark Barnett of the Maine Craft Cannabis Association told a local news outlet. “You know, everyone’s kind of freaking out, and I think it’s just take a deep breath and realize it’s another step in the path.”

After nearly a three-year wait, surely some of Maine’s prospective cannabis business owners have no choice but to agree.

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Madres, presidentes y cartas abiertas: el tango para la legalización cannábica y el autocultivo en Latinoamérica

By Natan Ponieman and Javier Hasse

“Este articulo fue originalmente publicado en Benzinga y traducido al español”

El mercado cannábico en Latinoamérica está lista para convertirse en una pieza central para el desarrollo de una industria global de cannabis legal. Con climas y tierra perfectos para la cultivación de cannabis, mano de obra relativamente barata, y una ubicación estratégica para exportaciones a Norteamérica, la región está camino a convertirse en un importante centro de cannabis.

Algunos mercados como Colombia están dando la bienvenida a inversiones de los grupos más poderosos en la industria cannábica como Canopy Growth, Aurora Cannabis, Cronos Group Aphria. De todos modos, otros países en la región están muy atrasados con sus políticas cannábicas. Estás naciones, además de imposibilitar el posible desarrollo económico relacionado con la producción, este rechazo a moverse hacia delante está teniendo consecuencias mucho más graves para aquellos ciudadanos que dependen de la planta como medicina para llevar una vida saludable.

Perú: “Presidente Vizcarra, ¿en qué lado de la historia quiere estar?”

A principios de mes, una carta abierta para el presidente peruano Martín Vizcarra se viralizó. En su manifiesto, la autora Francesca Brivio, comunicadora social y madre de tres, nacida en Lima, instó al presidente a avanzar con la regulación del acceso seguro a la cannabis medicinal.

Brivio explicó que sufre de una enfermedad rara a la sangre que ha limitado su vida a circunstancias extremas, causándole cerca de 60 síntomas diferentes. Ha estado en una silla de ruedas, le quitaron el útero, sufre de náusea constante y múltiples reacciones alérgicas que casi le causan la muerte debido a problemas en el tracto respiratorio.

Luego de tomar cerca de 32 medicamentos distintos al día sin resultados positivos, halló que la cannabis la ayudaba a mitigar sus síntomas y vivir una vida “normal”. Sin embargo, el estado peruano no puede garantizarle el acceso a la medicina.

“Hace dos años, en noviembre del 2017, se aprobó la ley 20,681, la cual regula la cannabis y sus derivados para uso médico. Esta ley está incompleta porque deja fuera a los autocultivadores, permitiendo sólo a laboratorios privados el cultivar y vender. Aun así, hoy por hoy no tenemos ningún solo producto cannábico en las farmacias,” dice Brivio, atribuyendo esa falta de acceso a una carencia de voluntad política entre los actores relevantes, que no consideran que la planta sea medicinal.

“La cannabis no es la panacea, pero es una herramienta valiosa y debe ser considerada,” dijo la activista, quien le demanda al presidente que actúe en el nombre de la salud.

Conversando con Benzinga, contó que esta es la segunda carta que la envía al presidente Vizcarra. “Dos años después de la aprobación de nuestra ley cannábica, aún no tenemos nada de cannabis legal en Perú: ni en farmacias, ni en casa,” cuenta.

Brivio espera ver un sistema que permita tanto productos comerciales como autocultivo de cannabis en el futuro cercano.

Argentina: “esta es una emergencia, nuestro dolor no espera”

También recientemente, la ONG cannábica Mamá Cultiva publicó su propia carta abierta para el recién electo presidente de Argentina Alberto Fernández y la expresidenta Cristina Kirchner, quien asumirá el cargo de vicepresidenta de Fernández en diciembre.

Similar a lo que se ve en Perú, grupos activistas cannábicos de Argentina lograron la aprobación de la ley en el 2017. Sin embargo, esta ley no considera el autocultivo tampoco. Más aun, este país también ha fallado hasta ahora en desarrollar infraestructura para el acceso comercial a la cannabis medicinal.

“Desde nuestra organización trabajamos diariamente para suplir un rol que el estado no cumple: cuidar, asistir, aconsejar y acompañar a miles de personas que han hallado bienestar en la cannabis. Un bienestar que el sistema de salud no ha sido capaz de brindarles,” dice la carta.

¿Qué es lo que la ley hace realmente?

Aunque la ley 27.350 garantiza el acceso seguro a cannabis medicinal, los cambios en las políticas nunca sucedieron, y quienes necesitan la medicina están atascados en la burocracia.

En una entrevista reciente, el presidente electo Fernández salió a favor de la descriminalización de la planta. Sin embargo, ya ha establecido la agenda de urgencias para sus primeros meses a cargo, de la cual excluyó el asunto de la reforma cannábica.

“Cuando se establezcan las prioridades, aquellos que entren a la oficina deben saber que hay una emergencia de salud que nadie está viendo,” dijo Valeria Salech, presidenta de la ONG. “Esta es una emrgencia, esta gente no puede esperar, están viviendo pobremente y necesitan una respuesta real del estado.”

Conversando con Benzinga, Salech explicó que Mamá Cultiva Argentina piensa que “es el momento de brindarle atención al asunto del autocultivo de cannabis por salud.” Ella ve el cambio de mando del país como una oportunidad para terminar el ciclo de criminalización de autocultivadores y reformulación del sistema legal que finalmente beneficia corporaciones extranjeras en lugar de a los pacientes.

“Queremos que esta nueva era nos incluya y al eco de nuestras voces,” contó a Benzinga. “Queremos políticas públicas que nos consideren, políticas públicas que nos permitan participar, políticas públicas que reflejen el potencial derivado de los recursos humanos, riquezas de nuestro suelo, la tradición sanitaria del Dr. Ramón Carrillo, y la existente capacidad de nuestros laboratorios y centros de investigación gubernamentales.”

El por qué cartas abiertas: “mientras ellos continúan sembrando miedo, sembramos esperanza”

Finalmente, les preguntamos a estas madres por qué creen que las cartas abiertas son una manera efectiva de ejercer un cambio.

Para Salech, la Argentina tiene una larga tradición de hablarle a políticos y a la población mediante cartas abiertas. Esto, añade, se amplifica por las redes sociales hoy en día. “Sentimos que es la forma más rápida y eficaz de hacer conocido este problema y que se incluya en la agenda política,” dice.

La posición de Brivio es similar: “las cartas abiertas son muy eficacez cuando se trata de informar a la sociedad sobre qué está pasando realmente. Las redes sociales pueden ser una herramienta útil para hacer algunos de estos asuntos conocidos e incitar a la gente a apoyar, consolidando la causa… La exposición suficiente siempre hará llegar una carta abierta a su destinatario.

“Mientras ellos continúan sembrando miedo, sembramos esperanza.”

Texto original: Benzinga

Para unirte (o aprender más sobre) la lucha de Mamá Cultiva, ve a http://www.mamacultivaargentina.org/

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High Times Greats: Channeling John Lennon

John Lennon died December 8, 1980. In his honor, we’re republishing a lost interview by Paul Krassner, which originally appeared in the December, 1998 issue of High Times.

December is the anniversary of John Lennon’s death, and that always makes me feel like reminiscing about him. I remember a moment of epiphany at Shea Stadium in 1964 while the Beatles were singing, even though I couldn’t hear them above the screaming of the crowd. I realized that the four mop-tops were not only filling a certain void left by the assassination of John F. Kennedy, but also that the audience could identify with a Beatle in a far more personal way than they had identified with the President. It was summed up by a young girl holding aloft a hand-lettered poster that said, “It’s All Right, John—I Wear Glasses Too!”

During the next five years, the Beatles took us along on their musical journey from youthful innocence to psychedelic awareness, from “I wanna hold your hand” to “I’d love to turn you on.” In 1967, the Summer of Love, a friend gave me a hit of LSD and a stereo headset with Sgt. Pepper playing and I experienced some kind of spiritual orgasm—reassured, after all, that I was not the only Martian on my block.

I recall walking along the sidewalk one afternoon in 1968, passing house after house, listening to radio after radio, all playing “Hey Jude,” so that I didn’t miss a note. And then, that night, hearing it again at the Electric Circus on New York’s Lower East Side, accompanied by what can only be described as free-form tribal dancing. “Take a sad song and make it better” became the unofficial credo of a burgeoning counterculture.

One night on my radio show in San Francisco I asked listeners to call in and share their moments of awakening—when they were struck, as if by lightning, with a realization that life would never be the same. There were several callers whose moment of awakening had occurred while tripping on acid and listening to the Beatles.

I first met John Lennon with Yoko Ono in July 1972. The Nixon administration was trying to deport him, ostensibly for a marijuana bust, but actually because they were afraid he was planning to perform for protesters at the Republican Convention in Miami that summer. In April, J. Edgar Hoover had directed the New York office of the FBI to “locate subject [Lennon] and remain aware of his activities and movements…. Careful attention should be given reports that subject is a heavy narcotics user.”

When I asked Lennon over lunch a naive question—was “Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds” about LSD?—he denied it with the wink of a dedicated prankster, just as Peter Yarrow had denied that Peter, Paul and Mary’s “Puff the Magic Dragon”—with that lyric about “Little Jackie Papers”—was about pot-smoking. My friend, comedy writer Dawna Kaufmann, was “keeper of the marijuana” for George Harrison, and he tried to teach her how to roll a joint with one paper. She preferred the two-paper method, “which George found amusingly amateurish,” she told me, “so I would hand the stash to him and he’d roll these single Zig-Zag bombers. Such a talented man.”

John and Yoko spent a weekend at my home in Watsonville, CA. They loved being so close to the ocean. In the afternoon, I asked them to please smoke their cigarettes outside, but in the evening we smoked a combination of marijuana and opium, sitting on pillows in front of the fireplace, sipping tea and munching cookies. We talked about conspiracy researcher Mae Brussell’s theory that the deaths of leading-edge musicians like Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and Jim Morrison were actually political assassinations because they served as role models, surfing on the crest of the youth rebellion.

“No, no.” Lennon argued, “they were already headed in a self-destructive direction.” A few months later he would remind me of that conversation, adding, “Listen, if anything happens to Yoko and me, it was not an accident.” That was the level of his understandable paranoia.

At my home, we also discussed the Charles Manson case, which I had been investigating. Lennon was bemused by the way Manson had associated himself with Beatles music. “Look,” he said, “would you kindly inform Manson that it was Paul McCartney who wrote ‘Helter Skelter’—not me!”

“No, please don’t tell him,” Yoko interrupted. “We don’t want to have any communication with Manson.”

“It’s all right,” Lennon said. “He doesn’t have to know the message came from us.”

“It’s getting chilly in here,” Yoko said to me. “Would you put another cookie in the fireplace?”

Lennon was absentmindedly holding on to the joint. I asked him, “Do the British use that expression—to Bogart a joint—or is that only an American term? You know, derived from the image of a cigarette dangling from Humphrey Bogart’s lower lip?”

“In England,” Lennon replied, with that inimitable sly expression on his face, “if you remind somebody else to pass a joint, you lose your own turn.”

Later that year, at Ringo Starr’s birthday party, everybody sang verses from “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands.” The feminist movement was growing, and when my turn came, I sang “She’s got the whole world in her hands.” During the ensuing conversation with John and Yoko, the seeds of “Woman Is the Nigger of the World” were planted.

Even though John Lennon is dead, I still have an occasional dialogue with him. Recently we talked about the time a stoned Elvis Presley—who originally had such a profound influence on the Beatles—visited the White House, received a federal narcotics officer’s badge from Richard Nixon and then warned the President about the danger posed by the Beatles. Lennon relished and savored that moment of irony.

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Flashback Friday: Master Addicts

Opium has fueled people’s dreams since the dawn of creation. Some of history’s greatest writers have been partisans of the poppy. Michael Aldrich, drug scholar, explores the laudanum literature in the November, 1982 edition of High Times.

Opium, raw opium—the best painkiller known since the dawn of creation: yet historians, delicately embarrassed, seem reluctant to admit its profound influence on world leaders and events. The history of the human race might be interestingly revised if all the great opium eaters would rise up and dance where they died. Who are these famous monsters, these immortal addict shades?

They pass before us in a dream, revealing all states and conditions of humanity: Marcus Aurelius, Plotinus, Avicenna, Paracelsus, Ronsard, Savonarola. Baber, first Mogul emperor of India, and his heirs, poisoning each other with slow-acting poppy juice in a blood feud for control of the subcontinent.

Cardinal Richelieu appears, dueling through eternity with the Three Musketeers. Robert Clive, first British governor of Bengal. Ben Franklin, who died addicted to opium taken for gout, and thereby lived to set a new form of government in motion. William Wilberforce, who got slavery abolished throughout the British Empire. Friedrich von Schiller, giant of German literature.

A thousand Romantic poets fall out of the sky, clutching their laudanum flasks—Elizabeth Barrett Browning keeping hers discreetly tucked away beneath her crinolines. “How do I love thee? Let me count the ways,” she moans, measuring out her drops.

Among millions of recent addicts, seven of planetary influence pass by in a shower of beetles and stones: Billie Holiday, Edith Piaf, Janis Joplin; in contrast, Hermann Göring, Joseph McCarthy, Howard Hughes; between them stands William S. Burroughs, miraculously alive, gauntly pointing to the future.

It is the Dark Ages of drug addiction, anno Domini 1524. Paracelsus, physician and sorcerer, returns to Switzerland from the Orient. In the pommel of a huge sword given him by the magi of Constantinople, he carries a secret remedy, the “Stone of Immortality.” He never parts with it, not even when he sleeps.

“He had pills he called laudanum which had the form of mouse turds,” a disciple writes, “but he used them only in extreme emergencies. He boasted that with these pills he could wake up the dead, and indeed he proved that patients who seemed to be dead suddenly arose.”

Paracelsus astounds his fellow alchemists, saying, “Don’t make gold, make medicines,” and the science of chemotherapy is born. He discovers that just as vitriol has a spirit that can transform iron into copper, so drugs have arcana or “immaterial talents” (our phrase would be “active principles”) that transform disease into health. Humans are part of a chemical universe: “All a man eats out of the great world becomes a part of him.” With this knowledge he writes the first textbook of medical chemistry in Europe.

Offered a chance to teach at Basel, he blows it by inviting nonstudents—barbers and alchemists—to his classes held off campus. He chucks Avicenna’s famed Canon of Medicine into the fire, urging “experiment and reasoning” instead. Experimentum et ratiocinium: The walls of Scholasticism crumble as he speaks. Learned doctors think him a charlatan; peasants fear his magic.

His apprentice records the Master’s strange drunkenness: “Often he would come home staggering, after midnight, throw himself on his bed in his clothes wearing his sword which he said he’d obtained from a hangman. He had hardly time to fall asleep when he rose, drew his sword like a madman, threw it on the ground or against the wall, so that sometimes I was afraid he would kill me.”

It is not the first or last time an addict will awake to slash at phantoms in the night. Like Avicenna, Paracelsus dies of an overdose. The legend of Dr. Faustus, symbol of our yearning for access to the infinite, grows up in the decades after his death.

About 1670 the English physician Thomas Sydenham perfected a ruby red tincture of opium in alcohol, naming it laudanum (“most highly praised”) in honor of Paracelsus. Henceforth, opium eaters were usually laudanum drinkers. Available without prescription and cheaper than beer, it gradually pervaded all levels of society. Sydenham wrote, “Among the remedies which it has pleased Almighty God to give to man to relieve his sufferings, none is so universal and so efficacious as opium.”

Once a reliable liquid opiate hit the grocery stores, a learning process began which has not yet run its course. Nineteenth-century Romanticism was the perfect cradle for addiction, and vice versa. The poets found it opened up new vistas of consciousness to explore. Many, like Keats and Shelley, took it during illness and wove opium imagery into their finest poems. Others became lifelong addicts, like George Crabbe, who took moderate doses for 42 years without apparent ill effect, though he did have recurrent nightmares of pursuit by nameless phantoms.

Samuel Taylor Coleridge, fragile addict genius trapped in a dolphin’s body created the Romantic image of the indolent poet whose masterpieces rose effortlessly in opium dreams. Childhood rheumatic fever brought about a chronic heart disease from which he suffered great pain the rest of his life. He was a miserable, guilt-ridden addict who drank enormous quantities of laudanum—friends saw him drain a pint once in a single gulp—out of strict medical necessity. Pain was endless; euphoria was only occasional.

STC, as he preferred to be called, was quite addicted by the 1790s when he wrote “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” and other opium-inspired masterworks. Desperately needing money in 1816, he published three of these visions (“Christabel,” “Kubla Khan” and “The Pains of Sleep”) together as a pamphlet. In a preface he said “Kubla Khan” had come to him as he was nodding out over an old travel book.

In Xanadu did Kubla Khan
A stately pleasure-dome decree,
Where Alph, the sacred river, ran
Through caverns measureless to man
Down to a sunless sea.

Moreover he asserted that it appeared fully composed: “All the images rose up before him as things, with a parallel production of the correspondent expressions, without any sensation or consciousness of effort. On awaking he appeared to himself to have a distinct recollection of the whole, and taking his pen, ink, and paper, instantly and eagerly wrote down the lines that are here preserved.”

Scholars have relentlessly disputed this account, some even calling it a fraud. I take STC at his word. He was trying to explain something never explained before: how drug visions actually arise, words and images flashing through consciousness, ready to vanish as quickly as they come. If the author has practiced verse making for years, as STC had, he may be able to get these glimpses down “instantly and eagerly,” the way a Japanese brush painter must capture a whole image in a few strokes before his mind wanders. In so doing, STC gave the world one of the most perfect poems in English, and an unforgettable image of the addict:

And all should cry, Beware! Beware!
His flashing eyes, his floating hair!
Weave a circle round him thrice,
And close your eyes in holy dread,
For he on honey-dew hath fed,
And drunk the milk of Paradise.

If one theme unites all literary addicts, it is the search for a cure. STC hired thugs to keep him away from the apothecary shop, but that didn’t work—they were too easy to outwit. In despair he committed himself to the household of a sympathetic doctor, James Gillman, with instructions to give him minimal doses of laudanum and no more. (Typically, he came for a week and stayed 18 years.) In this self-imposed prison his genius flowered once more in philosophic reveries. He thus invented the only mode of treatment yet devised that leaves the addict any self-respect: the voluntary private maintenance clinic.

Coleridge was a pioneer in the kingdom of opium; Thomas De Quincey was an adept. He surveyed its uncharted regions, mapped its dimensions and created a whole new genre of literature with the Confessions of an English Opium-Eater, published anonymously in London Magazine in 1821 and in book form a year later. Imagine De Quincey’s loneliness, calling his book “the doctrine of the true church on the subject of opium; of which church I acknowledge myself to be the only member—the alpha and the omega.”

This slim volume is the foundation on which all modern drug literature rests—the first deep probe of drug-altered consciousness. Agatha Christie had it recommended to her as a vocabulary builder. Written hastily (De Quincey needed cash) during a month of high-dose laudanum swigging, it is lively, musical, digressive, impassioned and brilliant—a book of dreams composed in waves and rhythms, slow swells and funny tangents, spontaneous psychoanalysis long before Freud.

De Quincey, a child prodigy, could sight-translate newspapers into Greek at age 15. He ran away from home and starved for months in London, where he met a pitiful child-whore named Ann, who saved his life, vanished and haunted his dreams forever after. Admitted to Oxford, he astonished his tutors with his proficiency in literature, but did not graduate—he took his Greek finals stoned on laudanum and walked out in disgust when told he could answer questions in English rather than Greek.

He first turned on in 1804 as a result of a raging toothache, purchasing laudanum from a chemist who, he said, “has ever since existed in my mind as the beatific vision of an immortal druggist, sent down to earth on a special mission to myself.” For the next eight years he carefully spaced his trips once every three weeks so he wouldn’t get hooked. Stoned on 25 drops of laudanum, the usual medical dose, he would go to the opera or mingle with the Saturday-night-live crowds of the marketplace. These excursions are described in “The Pleasures of Opium” section of the Confessions, which ends with the famous line, “Thou only givest these gifts to man; and thou hast the keys to Paradise, oh, just, subtle, and mighty opium!”

Then everything changed. De Quincey moved to the Lake Country near Coleridge and Wordsworth, a lovely spot but often cold and damp. There, in 1813, stomach convulsions from his runaway days kicked up again, and only extravagant amounts of laudanum could ease the pain. His dosage leaped to 8,000 drops a day—enough to kill an ordinary mortal, particularly one as frail and tiny as De Quincey. He struggled with this vast tolerance the rest of his life, designing a system of dose reduction that got him down to 1,000 drops a day during calm periods, but this escalated instantly in any physical or mental crisis.

De Quincey is often charged with seducing people into drug use with his book, but anyone who makes this claim (Coleridge was among the first) hasn’t really read it. “The Pains of Opium” he describes are terrifying. He is utterly prostrated, unable to concentrate or complete any task; work revolts him; once-lovely reveries become nightmares so frantic that he dares not close his eyes. He needs those blood red drops every hour of every day. The keys of Paradise become the locks of Hell.

Nevertheless, De Quincey managed to produce a shelf full of fascinating books, and lived out his days as the wizened wizard of laudanum. “He was not a reassuring man,” his daughter wrote, “for nervous people to live with, as those nights were exceptions in which he didn’t set something on fire, the commonest incident being for someone to look up from work or book, to say casually, ‘Papa, your hair is on fire,’ of which a calm ‘Is it, my love?’ and a hand rubbing out the blaze, was all the notice taken.”

The Confessions sparked a horde of imitations, mostly execrable, self-pitying, guilt-ridden and forgettable—precisely the opposite of those qualities that make the original great. Alfred de Musset rendered it into slapdash French, but not until Charles Baudelaire did De Quincey find a worthy translator.

Baudelaire adapted the Confessions as the last half of his masterpiece, Artificial Paradises (1860), which is primarily about hashish. Great mystery surrounds this book. Why, after a most intelligent and perceptive essay on hashish, does Baudelaire dismiss the drug with the preposterous assertion that it destroys the will?

The answer is twofold. First, Baudelaire had just been convicted of obscenity for some poems in The Flowers of Evil, he was trying to appease the censors. Second, he was an addict, taking laudanum most of his life for syphilis, and had himself experienced the dreadful loss of willpower so eloquently described by De Quincey. He transferred the addictiveness of opium to hashish, and inveighed against both. Had he not made this crucial blunder, Artificial Paradises would stand as the greatest book about hashish ever written.

At least Baudelaire made one thing clear: Addiction is not voluntary.

The history of mystery is intimately a history of growing consciousness. Having broken through Victorian reserve by publishing the Confessions, De Quincey then set the tone of the modern whodunit with his lighthearted essay on murder as a fine art. Edgar Allan Poe, occasional opium eater, invented the mystery story in which the key element is the detective’s uncanny, almost extrasensory, perception: Poe called it “ratiocination.”

Back across the Atlantic, the laudanum addict Wilkie Collins added a new twist in The Moonstone (1868), which T.S. Eliot called “the first, longest and best of English detective novels.” Here the plot (chasing nameless phantoms in the dark) turns entirely on the detective’s mental condition: for he is also the person charged with the crime (stealing a cursed diamond) and is not aware of the act—he did it in an opium dream. Unraveling and finally recreating opium consciousness establishes his innocence.

Charles Dickens was an addict at the end of his life, taking opium for gout as his friend Collins did. Dickens’s The Mystery of Edwin Drood (1870) opens in a seamy dock-side opium den, and again the plot turns on the hero’s mental state, making it the most “psychological” of Dickens’s novels. It is also the first mystery to feature opium smoking. Dickens was unable to complete it before he died; several spiritualists claiming to be in touch with his ghost have tried to finish it. More recently, English novelist Leon Garfield has published an intricate, brilliant and thoroughly Dickensian solution to the hundred-year-old puzzle.

Sherlock Holmes was a sometime morphinist as well as a cocainist. Among more modern drug-related thrillers might be mentioned Sax Rohmer’s Fu Manchu series, Thomas Burke’s Limehouse Nights, Eric Ambler’s A Coffin for Dimitrios, Agatha Christie’s The Labours of Hercules, and especially Dashiell Hammett’s The Dain Curse (1929), a Chinese box of hard-boiled consciousness in which every time the detective thinks he’s solved the crime, another clue appears to lead him deeper into mystery.

Claude Farrère’s Black Opium (1904) is the first book after De Quincey that I would recommend to anyone interested in opium. Ostensibly a series of unrelated short stories, it is nothing less than psychic autobiography, a long and fateful evanescence of the human soul—from the first pipe of opium ever smoked on earth, to the last musings of stoned consciousness, where the narrator cries, “I am no longer a man, no longer a man at all.” Beyond that lies only nightmare: the disembodied spirit unable to find and return to itself.

Farrère treats the stages of addiction as periods in a mythical history of opium: legends, annals and ecstasies, followed by doubts, phantoms and the nightmare. Here appear some regal ghosts—Emperor Huang Ti, the Comte de Saint-Germain and the famous Dr. Faustus, who beats the Devil by fleeing to the fairy kingdom of opium. These great shades mingle with some splendid low life: a pirate who becomes immortal by drawing blood-opium from the arm of a demon princess; a cowardly chevalier made heroic by nine magic pills; a secret opium priest who carries his stash in his sword and cooks it up at midnight on the altar of a church; a scuzzy Parisian whore suddenly possessed by the medieval spirit of Heloise, Abelard’s doomed nun-lover; an old cemetery guard who can hear his corpses turning under their tombstones as he lights his ancient pipe.

These tales are all the more amazing because Farrère, unique among the masters of addiction literature, was not an addict. He smoked opium in Indochina where he began writing the book, and occasionally after that for inspiration, but never got hooked. His later works are just now being recognized as pioneering examples of science fiction and fantasy—another realm of literature that owes much to drugs.

Picasso to Cocteau: “The smell of opium is the least stupid smell in the world.”

One of Farrère’s stories describes a brilliant artist and bon vivant who turns into a stolid bourgeois dolt when he stops smoking opium. This attitude was shared by a remarkable group of O-heads gathered around the musicologist Louis Laloy in Paris during World War I. Laloy published a classic monograph on the subject, The Book of Smoke (1913), for which Farrère wrote an introduction. In it they defend the honorable rite of opium smoking against not only the French national addiction, wine, but also against morphine or heroin injection.

In 1924 Laloy recommended to young Jean Cocteau that he smoke opium to overcome his suicidal depressions at the death of his friend Raymond Radiguet. Always original, Cocteau became an addict by choice, almost experimentally, and signed into clinics repeatedly to reduce his tolerance. During this time he produced some of his most luminous works: the play Orpheus (whose death-angel Heurtebise appeared to stoned Cocteau one day while riding an elevator to Picasso’s flat), the poems of Opéra and the novel Les Enfants Terribles.

In Opium: Diary of a Cure (1930), written in a clinic at St. Cloud, Cocteau contributes some marvelous aphorisms to the addiction literature:

“Opium, which changes our speeds, procures for us a very clear awareness of worlds which are superimposed on each other, which interpenetrate each other, but do not even suspect each other’s existence.”

“Opium desocializes us and removes us from the community. Further, the community takes its revenge. The persecution of opium addicts is an instinctive defense by society against an antisocial gesture.”

“To moralize to an opium addict is like saying to Tristan: ‘Kill Yseult. You will feel much better afterwards.’”

“It is a pity that instead of perfecting curative techniques, medicine does not try to render opium harmless.”

“Tell this obvious truth to a doctor and he will shrug his shoulders. He talks of literature, Utopia, and the obsessions of the drug addict.”

“Nevertheless, I contend that one day we shall use those soothing substances without danger, that we shall avoid habitmaking, that we shall laugh at the bugaboo of the drug and that opium, once tamed, will assuage the evil of towns where trees die on their feet.”

A century-long learning process: Coleridge felt enthralled by opium and shut himself up in a prison of guilt. De Quincey shrugged off guilt and learned to live with his habit. Baudelaire thought drugs destroy the will and condemned them. Farrère smoked opium judiciously without getting hooked. Cocteau clearly saw the possibility of beneficial opium use if it could be changed chemically.

This was a gradual opening of consciousness from fear to hope, from impossibility to the possibility of intelligent drug use.

By focusing on life-process changes instead of drugs, the wily addicted magician Aleister Crowley made a real breakthrough in The Diary of a Drug Fiend (1922). The novel is modeled after the Divine Comedy, only it starts in Paradise—the cocaine honeymoon of Peter Pendragon and his wife, Lou, who soon descend into the Inferno of heroin addiction. To get them out, a master named King Lamus spirits them off to a secluded abbey and teaches them the meaning of the motto “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law.” Once they discover their true goals in life, they no longer need heroin.

Crowley’s program, a prototype of the modern therapeutic community concept, consisted of five steps: (1) voluntary isolation to force the addict into self-examination; (2) free availability of drugs, a real-world test to emphasize personal choice; (3) a “Magical Record” system, now common in smoker’s clinics, of listing a reason each time a drug is used—which makes the addict conscious of self-deceptions, excuses and meaningless habit; (4) the revelation that one no longer really wants drugs; and (5) the recovery of one’s “true will” or purpose in life, which enables the individual to start fresh.

Once the craving for drugs is overcome, free choice is restored. The addict can choose to remain addicted, as Crowley did, or can end it by withdrawal—painful, perhaps, but finally with some promise of success. Knowing this, the individual is free to use drugs or not, leaving both fear and fascination behind.

In King Lamus and Pendragon we see the “Master” and the “Slave” within Crowley struggling with the problem of will set up by De Quincey and Baudelaire, and for the first time the Master wins: Crowley has the sense that he can successfully use these drugs without danger—if he so chooses.

James Lee, in Underworld of the East (1935), goes a step beyond Crowley. Lee, a British engineer, regularly injected huge doses of morphine and cocaine, smoked opium and hashish, and experimented with other drugs during 30 years of travel in Asia. Not only did he control his drug use with scientific precision at extraordinary tolerance levels, he was also able to stop using drugs any time he wished “without any trouble or suffering.”

“The life of a drug taker can be a happy one,” he wrote, “or it can be one of suffering and misery: it depends on the user’s knowledge.” Lee learned drug yoga from an Ayurvedic doctor in India who first gave him morphine for malaria. “Morphia should not be used by anyone for longer than a few months,” the Babu said, “because the action of the drug is continually in one direction.”

“He told me that he used many kinds of drugs, each in turn; changing over from one to another, using them sometimes singly, and at other times in combinations, so that no one drug ever got too great a hold on him.” The Babu also taught Lee to sterilize needles, eat well and pay close attention to his bodily health, balancing the effect of one drug with another as necessary.

Thus Lee could let his morphine tolerance climb to 10 grains a day by building up his cocaine tolerance to 80 grains a day, starting with tiny doses to avoid “an undue shock on the heart.” When he wanted to cut down or stop entirely, he’d alternate injections at ever-decreasing doses. The key to his unique reduction technique was that instead of injecting more morphine when he felt the need, he’d reduce the amount of cocaine he took, to create a lower dosage equilibrium.

When an addict withdraws by the usual reduction method, he noted, the craving becomes so intense that few have the willpower to continue. Lee instead countered the effects of morphine with cocaine, thereby readjusting his body to weaker doses of both. The process was completely painless and took about a month.

Then, in Sumatra, Lee made an even more startling discovery—the “perfect antidote” for addiction. The Malays brought him many jungle plants to experiment with. Lee boiled down one of these, which he called “Number 2,” and evaporated the decoction to a powder. A solution of this injected gave him a “feeling of great vitality, the absolute perfection of mental and bodily health.”

When he tried it in conjunction with cocaine, he found that “the drug had entirely nullified the effect of the cocaine.” It did the same with morphine, opium, hashish, liquor and absinthe: “No matter what drug I was using, with the aid of Number 2 I could give it up quite easily.” This took a fortnight.

He started calling it “The Elixir of Life.”

Not a botanist, Lee never identified the plant itself. It was probably Combretum sundaicum, a forest creeper which Chinese opium smokers in Malaya in 1907 discovered would completely remove their craving for drugs. Though tested and found effective by British pharmacologist C.A. McBride, and even marketed briefly in the United States as an addiction cure, it was generally ignored by the medical community. Obviously it should be reinvestigated; for if it is half as effective as Lee says, it may indeed contain a chemical miracle.

It is the Dark Ages of drug addiction, anno Domini 1953. A man can get picked up by police just for talking about dope in the subway. Senator McCarthy glowers from the tube, but in the public’s mind a drug user is a wretched drooling creature out of Nelson’s The Man with the Golden Arm (1949). The only famous dopers are musicians like Billie Holiday and Charlie Parker, though Hollywood insiders know Bela Lugosi is an addict and that the whole vampire “I vont, to sock, yore blod” syndrome is secret junk metaphor.

Into this waiting room of consciousness steps young Allen Ginsberg, carrying a stick of dynamite—a manuscript called Junkie by an unknown “William Lee.” Ginsberg talks Ace Books into printing it back to back with a narc novel. Junkie is subtitled Confessions of an Unredeemed Drug Addict, and the operative word is “unredeemed.” The editors stick in parenthetical disclaimers.

“An addict never stops growing. Most users periodically kick the habit, which involves shrinking of the organism and replacement of the junk-dependent cells. (Ed. note: the foregoing is not the view of recognized medical authority.)…”

Of course not—doctors abandoned the scientific study of drug use long ago. “Why do you need narcotics, Mr. Lee?” stupid psychiatrists ask. “I need junk to get out of bed in the morning, to shave and eat breakfast. I need it to stay alive,” he replies.

He lays out the junk equation with clinical precision. “Junk is not, like alcohol or weed, a means to increased enjoyment of life. Junk is not a kick. It is a way of life.”

In 1956 the author signs his real name, William Burroughs, to a “Letter from Master Addict” in the British Journal of Addiction. It is the only intelligent document about drugs published in decades. “Non habit forming morphine appears to be a latter day Philosopher’s Stone,” he writes, remembering Cocteau. “On the other hand variations of apomorphine may prove extremely effective in controlling the withdrawal syndrome.”

Unheard of!

“The ill effects of marijuana have been grossly exaggerated in the U.S.”


“Yage.. .is a hallucinating narcotic that produces a profound derangement of the senses… perhaps even more spectacular results could be obtained with synthetic variations. Certainly the matter warrants further research.”


Most authorities haven’t the faintest glimmer of what he’s talking about. Burroughs is as alone in the 1950s as De Quincey was in the 1820s. As Paracelsus was in the 1520s.

In 1959 he sounds the death knell of romanticism about drugs in the first sentence of Naked Lunch: “I can feel the heat closing in, feel them out there making their moves, setting up their devil doll stool pigeons, crooning over my spoon and dropper…” Reveries of Kubla Khan vanish like phantoms in the night.

Naked Lunch is a blueprint, a How-To book,” he writes. “Black insect lusts open into vast, other planet landscapes… Abstract concepts, bare as algebra, narrow down to a black turd or a pair of aging cojones… How-To extends levels of experience by opening the door at the end of a long hall…”

Over the next 20 years Burroughs cuts this blueprint up into shards of hallucination and reality, mating the hard-boiled detective story with sci-fi to create an epic of addiction. He learns prose control of interpenetrating consciousness, dissecting his many selves as coolly as a vivisectionist. He probes deeper than the intellectual-moral levels of De Quincey or Baudelaire, exposing the viscera, capturing raw nerves in print. Junk-sick becomes metaphor for a dying planet. There’s only one way to go from here.

The past behind us, the present before; and the future points straight up.

The post Flashback Friday: Master Addicts appeared first on High Times.

Dear Danko: Expert Grow Advice On Trellising, Making Hash, And More

High Times’ cultivation specialist Danny Danko answers all your burning questions about being the best grower you can be. But first, some quick tips from the expert himself:

  • Transplant clones into larger containers as soon as you see roots coming out from the bottom of your chosen rooting medium.
  • Oxygenated compost tea can be used as a foliar feed or a soil drench for a mild dose of nutrients.
  • Always quarantine any new clones coming into your grow space in a separate area to prevent the spread of pests and pathogens.

Subject: Screen of Green
From: Kind Ray

I keep hearing about the “screen of green” technique, but I can’t really figure out what it means. There’s lots of conflicting info online. What exactly is it, and how can I use it to increase my yields?

Dear Ray,

The “screen of green” technique (also known as ScrOG for short) is a trellis-based plant-training method that maximizes harvests by utilizing all available canopy space. A screen made from string, nylon netting or metal chicken wire is secured horizontally above plant level.

As your plants grow to reach the height of your chosen trellising material, you physically guide and tuck the individual shoots and branches into the empty spaces in the screen. As you approach the flowering stage, most if not all of the holes become filled with shoots that will each become a flower.

Keep in mind that in order to use ScrOG properly, you will need to increase your vegetative time to fill out the screen. The extra few weeks of vegging will result in larger harvests, but you must factor in the added time to your growing schedule.

Many ScrOG growers remove the lower branches below the canopy in order to stimulate more growth up top. Because the buds fill out so closely together, air circulation is very important at canopy level to avoid mold and growth stagnation. ScrOG-style growing is also a great way to tame stretchy, longer-flowering sativa-dominant strains as well.

Subject: Hash Leaves
From: C.D.

I’ve seen a few videos on making hash from trimmings, and it looks like it takes quite a bit to make it worth the time and effort. I’m a beginner grower (about to start my first grow within the next two weeks), but I will only be raising 1-2 plants per grow due to space issues. Can I keep and store my trimmings until I have enough to make hash, and, if so, how would I keep them so they don’t lose all that goodness? Thanks!

Dear C.D.,

The amount of trimmings you’ll collect from just a couple of plants in a small space will not produce very much hash at all. If you’d like to store the trimmings from multiple grows, freeze them in a light-tight bag and keep them in the freezer until you plan to make the hash.

You can also consider cooking with the trim to make a cannabis-infused edible product, and you may get more bang for your buck that way. If you’re patient, however, you will eventually accumulate enough trimmings with which to make hashish, so you’ll want to decide if you want to use the dry-sifting method or ice-water extraction. Either way, nothing beats a packed bowl of your own handmade glandular trichome essential-oil concoction!

Subject: Vapor-Pressure Deficit
From: Jimmy Conway

My guy at my hydro shop keeps talking about VPD. I know that means “vapor pressure deficit,” but I’m too embarrassed to admit I don’t know what that indicates exactly and why it’s so important. Can you help?

Dear Jimmy,

To understand vapor-pressure deficit, or VPD, you must first understand relative humidity (RH). If your air is too dry, your plants will transpire more, releasing moisture through their stomata. If your air is more humid, the vapor pressure rises and the leaves transpire less. VPD is the difference measured between AVP (actual vapor pressure) and SVP (saturation vapor pressure).

Basically, it’s an advanced-level metric that takes into account air temperature, leaf temperature and relative humidity to dial in your environment for optimal growth rates. If the VPD is too high, your young plants will take in more nutrients than they need and can become toxic. As your plants mature, the VPD should rise a bit to accommodate for more transpiration. Use humidifiers or dehumidifiers to raise and lower VPD rates.

Subject: Transplant Shock
From: Patrick O.

Should I transplant from a 5-gallon pot into a 15-gallon pot? These are outside plants. Would it stress out the plant too much?

Dear Patrick,

The degree to which transplanting can hurt a plant depends on when it’s done and how gently it’s accomplished. Any transplantation should be done during the vegetative stage of the plant’s growth and not during the flowering stage, or ideally even during the two to three weeks leading up to the flowering stage.

No matter how gently a plant is transplanted, it will take from a few days to a week to recover from the shock, and you can’t afford to lose this time during flowering while the plant is supposed to be using its energy to pack on buds. The only exception would be a heavily root-bound plant that needs to be transplanted during flowering, but this is a complication that should have been avoided with an earlier transplant.

First, water the plant in its original pot thoroughly to ensure that the soil and root-ball stay together without crumbling apart. Prepare the new, larger pot with some of your planting mix and then gently remove the plant from the original pot. I like to hold it by the trunk at the base and turn the entire pot upside down. Place the plant into the new pot and backfill the remaining mix around the outside. Water it and fill in any remaining gaps, keeping in mind that the plant may droop for a few hours before bouncing back strong.

Subject: How Long to Vegetate?
From: Fish Apple

How long should I keep my plants in their vegetative stage indoors before flowering? How many weeks do I let them grow bigger, and how tall will they get before that time?

Dear Fish,

One of the advantages to growing indoors is that you get to pick and choose when to begin flowering your plants (as long as they’re not of the auto-flowering variety). This means if you want smaller plants, you begin the flowering period after a week or two of vegetating, and if you want larger plants you can wait over a month to let them develop.

Seedlings or clones require at least 18 hours of light to thrive and stay in the vegetative period. During this time, your plant will grow many fan leaves, and new shoots will form into tops and branches as your root system expands into its medium. You trigger the start of the flowering period by changing your light timer to a 12 /12-hour day/night light cycle. This mimicking of summer-to-fall lighting will cause the plant to begin forming flowers instead of expanding ever larger. Keep in mind that there’s a stretching period of several weeks as the plants transition, and they will continue to grow during this time. Soon you will see the white-haired puffballs at the ends of your branches that will eventually become thick colas of cannabis flowers.

One rule of thumb that I recommend in order to avoid having your plants become too root-bound is to vegetate one week for every gallon of container—meaning plants in 1-gallon pots vegetate for a week, while those in 4-gallon buckets vegetate for one month. The longer the vegging period, the bigger the yield, but this requires larger containers to support bigger root systems.

Subject: Flower Time
From: Harry M.

How long does it usually take to see colas form after the 12/12-hour day/night light cycle has begun?

Dear Harry,

You should begin seeing tiny flowers begin to form within one to two weeks of switching your vegetative cycle into flowering. Some longer flowering sativas can take up to three weeks or even a month to start forming flowers, but most of the hybrids available today will show buds earlier. Baby female flowers look like little puffballs with white hairs pointing upward. Males will look like tiny clumps of bananas and point downward.

Subject: Heat and Lighting
From: Overwhelmed Husband

I’m a nonsmoker with a cannabis-patient wife in the southern Great Lakes area. I’ve decided to stop relying on others for my wife’s medicine and made the decision to grow some different strains for her. I’m a total rookie when it comes to growing weed, though, and I’m piecing together a setup. I currently have a 3′ x 3′ tent that I’m able to fit into a walk-in closet. I’m getting a 4-inch vent/carbon-filter setup that will vent room-temperature air (68° F) into the tent and out into an attic, with the tent being negatively pressurized. I have many questions, but I’ll keep it only to two.

First, should I heat the incoming air?

Second, what light should I get for a 3′ x 3′ tent that can veg and flower? I’m going to start off with two plants and hopefully get to six rather quickly.

I’ve weighed my options and I think I’ve narrowed it down to LED or CMH. But maybe I’m way off and I should be looking at MH and switching to HPS to flower?

Dear OH,

First, you do not need to heat the air coming into your growing space. Sixty-eight degrees is fairly ideal, and, depending on the light you choose, the temperature may be somewhat higher in your space, so act accordingly. Be sure to bring the cool air in from the lower part of the tent.

LED (or light-emitting diode) lighting will create less heat, but you may not be pleased with the size and density of your buds. CMH (or ceramic metal halide) lighting generates more heat, but will also result in a heavier harvest of full buds. My suggestion is to go with the CMH lighting but invest in an exhaust fan to remove hot air from the upper level of your tent.

Send your cannabis-cultivation questions to deardanko@hightimes.com.

Originally published in the September, 2019 issue of High Times magazine. Subscribe right here.

The post Dear Danko: Expert Grow Advice On Trellising, Making Hash, And More appeared first on High Times.

Small Town Politics Punt on Pot: No Pro-Cannabis Members on Grand Haven’s City Council

Cannabis advocate-turned small town politician Jamie Cooper fought a hard race for a seat on her hometown of Grand Haven’s City Council. Her progressive platform included education on cannabis in Michigan’s emerging market, and her perspective as a woman, wife, mother, and businesswoman, for positive change in her community. And, though she lost out to male counterparts with a 22.8 percent margin, she shook the tree by stepping up and advocating for cannabis.

Cooper, who holds a BS in Mass Communication from West Texas A&M University, initially worked as a television news producer. She also worked in travel and tourism, hoping to add to the county’s tourism dollars. With experience in marketing, sales, and business coaching, she founded and is CEO of Cannabiz Connection, a networking organization in the cannabis space that holds Chamber of Commerce-type mixers for the industry throughout the state. She’s also the Publisher of Detroit’s Sensi Magazine, a national cannabis publication.

Knocking on doors with her young son, Cooper challenged Michigan’s most conservative region, challenging Ottawa County voters face-to-face, discussing community concerns, with a bonus of being fully educated on the fastest growing, multi-billion dollar industry in the country—cannabis.

After the race ended, a spot was left open on the five member council, with Cooper’s supporters vocal that she be appointed both locally and on social media within the national cannabis community.

Fellow running mate, Collin Beighley, who garnered just 9.1 percent in the general election, then declined to interview for the appointed seat, stating he’d try again in the next election, and could do more for the community sitting on one of its many boards until then.

Beighley spoke out for Cooper, stating, “I would also like to put my support behind Jamie Cooper, she has shown an aptitude for this work— and she was [third] in votes during the actual election.”

Another strong supporter was Ann Haruki, Communications Director for Grand Haven Area Public Schools, sharing, “I encourage my City Council to appoint Jamie Cooper. She put time and effort into her campaign. Clearly there is support for Jamie to have a seat at the table.”

Popular Grand Haven Holistic Healthcare Practitioner and licensed massage therapist, Rebecca Neil, spoke out in favor of Cooper via a Letter to the Editor of the Grand Haven Tribune, “I would like to see a woman appointed to the open seat… Jamie has a huge vision—one that instills diversity, inclusion, and the expansion of our community from lifelong experiences, passion, and more. I believe change is something we are in need of.”

President and 20-year member of the Board of Education for the Grand Haven Area Public Schools, John Siemion, wrote a letter to council members urging them to give Cooper the seat, writing, in part, “Fortunately, this is not a popularity contest and you get the chance to appoint someone best suited to fill that empty seat. I feel that Jamie Cooper has those qualities. As it is right now there are no women on the city council and I personally feel that there should be at least one on… I urge you to appoint Jamie to the open seat.”

Mike Fritz has occupied his seat on the council for 16 years, winning another term that will eventually make him a 20-year veteran of local politics. An unnamed source close to the race informed that Fritz was so confident of his seat he didn’t campaign and failed to attend all three hosted forums with the other candidates.

Small Town Politics Punt on Pot: No Pro-Cannabis Members on Grand Haven's City Council
Courtesy of Jamie Cooper

The Cannabis Challenge in Conservative Communities

Change is a slow progression in a conservative state. And though the country’s more conservative areas have surprised everyone with seats going to progressive politicians, it seems Grand Haven’s popularity contest is alive and well.

Shunning respected members of the community urging that the Grand Haven City Council appoint a woman to the seat, the council remains all-male, with the pick for the appointed seat given to Mike Dora, who nearly ran for the set, but then declined due to personal reasons.

He’s sat on the City Planning Commission since 2015, but several searches came up dry for any information on his work history, with no social media accounts or newsworthy mentions of him in the community to be found, though he’s a lifelong resident.

Interesting to note, the source went on to say, Cooper worked as a member of the Musical Fountain Committee nearly as long as Dora’s stint on the planning commission. While Dora was openly praised prior to the appointment for his service as a deciding factor; there was no mention of Cooper’s community service, or her extensive work in the community regarding cannabis, or her work advancing education statewide.

So, why would the council appoint a man who never ran for anything, as opposed to a woman who showed up and did the work with recognized intent? Word on the street is the good old boy faction is alive and well in Grand Haven, with supporters posting their disbelief on social media, regarding Dora’s appointment.

“In a city that wasn’t run by white haired, white men, you would have easily won,” Rob Corbett, CEO of Bodhi Media, said of her pass in a county where women make up more than 50 percent of the population (July 2018 Census).

We’ll never know if Cooper’s platform for cannabis education was an issue. We in the cannabis community only know the truth of her message. One thing is certain, she started the conversation in a very big way, opening up doors and minds for others to follow.

“I’m a little disappointed there won’t be a female perspective, or someone with a young family on the council, but the deed is done and it is what it is,” she wrote in concession via social media. “I’m unsure what my next steps will be, as far as community involvement and politics, but my goal is the same – to help make Grand Haven a better place to live – a more progressive place to live.”

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High Times Greats: Noam Chomsky On The Drug-War Industrial Complex

Noam Chomsky turns 91 on December 7. To celebrate, we’re bringing you John Veit’s interview with “the father of modern linguistics,” originally published in the April, 1998 issue of High Times.

A hundred years from now, Avram Noam Chomsky is going to figure in the history books as the prime voice of conscience, dissent and reason in the wars and social catastrophes of the late 20th century. At the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the 1950s, he began an intellectual revolution in the understanding of linguistics which very efficiently challenged and subverted the old knee-jerk behavioristic worldview that nourished the Cold War. His seamless critical essays on American foreign and domestic policies since then have unerringly diagnosed their fallacies, relentlessly dissecting the propaganda of the power establishment. We thought it was time he addressed the Drug War.

High Times: You’ve defined the War on Drugs as an instrument of population control. How does it accomplish that?

Noam Chomsky: Population control is actually a term I borrowed from the counterinsurgency literature of the Kennedy years. The main targets at the time were Southeast Asia and Latin America, where there was an awful lot of popular ferment. They recognized that the population was supporting popular forces that were calling for all kinds of social change that the United States simply could not tolerate. And you could control people in a number of ways. One way was just by terror and violence, napalm bombing and so on, but they also worked on developing other kinds of population-control measures to keep people subjugated, ranging from propaganda to concentration camps. Propaganda is much more effective when it is combined with terror.

You have the same problem domestically, where the public is constantly getting out of control. You have to carry out measures to insure that they remain passive and apathetic and obedient, and don’t interfere with privilege and power. It’s a major theme of modern democracy. As the mechanisms of democracy expand, like enfranchisement and growth, the need to control people by other means increases.

So the growth of corporate propaganda in the United States more or less parallels the growth of democracy, for quite straightforward reasons. It’s not any kind of a secret. It is discussed very frankly and openly in business literature and academic social-science journals. You have to “fight the everlasting battle for the minds of men,’’ in their standard phraseology, to indoctrinate and regiment them in the way that armies regiment their bodies. Those are population-control measures. This engineering or manufacture of consent is the essence of democracy, because you have to insure that ignorant and meddlesome outsiders—meaning we, the people—don’t interfere with the work of the serious people who run public affairs in the interests of the privileged.

How does the War on Drugs fit into this?

Well, one of the traditional and obvious ways of controlling people in every society, whether it’s a military dictatorship or a democracy, is to frighten them. If people are frightened, they’ll be willing to cede authority to their superiors who will protect them: “OK, I’ll let you run my life in order to protect me,” that sort of reasoning.

So the fear of drugs and fear of crime is very much stimulated by state and business propaganda. The National Justice Commission repeatedly points out that crime in the United States, while sort of high, is not off the spectrum for industrial societies. On the other hand, fear of crime is far beyond other societies, and mostly stimulated by various forms of propaganda. The Drug War is an effort to stimulate fear of dangerous people from whom we have to protect ourselves. It is also, a direct form of control of what are called the “dangerous classes,” those superfluous people who don’t really have a function contributing to profit-making and wealth. They have to be somehow taken care of.

In some other countries you just hang the rabble.

Yes, but in the US you don’t kill them, you put them in jail. The economic policies of the 1980s sharply increased inequality, concentrating such economic growth as there was, which was not enormous, in very few hands. The top few percent of the population got extremely wealthy as profits went through the roof, and meanwhile median-income wages were stagnating or declining. People have to work harder, and public support systems for poor and hungry people have been declining sharply ever since the ’70s. You’re getting a large mass of people who are insecure, suffering from difficulty to misery, or something in between. A lot of them basically are going to be arrested, because you have to control them.

The Drug War is used for that purpose. It very explicitly targets young black males. When the War on Drugs was redeclared in the late ’80s, Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan [D-NY] pointed out that if you just look at social statistics, you can see that we are calling for a war against poor minorities, black males basically.

It’s obviously true, but how do you prove it?

Just by looking at the trend lines for marijuana. Marijuana use was peaking in the late ’70s, but there was not much criminalization. You didn’t go to jail for life for having marijuana then because the people using it were nice folks like us, the children of the rich. You don’t throw them into jail any more than you throw corporate executives in jail—even though corporate crime is far more costly and dangerous than street crime. But then in the ’80s the use of various “unhealthy” substances started to decline among more educated sectors: marijuana and tobacco smoking, alcohol, red meat, coffee, this whole category of stuff. On the other hand, usage remained steady among poorer sectors of the population. In the United States, poor and black correlate—they’re not identical, but there’s a correlation—and in poor, black and Hispanic sectors of the population the use of such substances remained pretty steady.

So take a look at those trend lines. When you call for a War on Drugs, you know exactly who you are going to pick up: poor black people. You’re not going to pick up rich white people; you don’t go after them anyway. In the upper-middle-class suburb where I live, if somebody goes home and sniffs some cocaine the police don’t break into their house.

So there are many factors making the Drug War a war against the poor, largely poor people of color. And those are the people they have to get rid of. During the period these economic policies were being instituted, the incarceration rate was shooting up, but crime wasn’t, it was steady or declining. But imprisonment went way up. By the late ’80s, in terms of imprisoning our population, we were way ahead of the rest of the world, way ahead of any other industrial society.

Who benefits from incarcerating young black males?

A lot of people. Poor people are basically superfluous for wealth production, and therefore the wealthy want to get rid of them. The rich also frighten everyone else, because if you’re afraid of these people, then you submit to state authority. But beyond that, it’s a state industry. Since the 1930s, every businessman has understood that a private capitalist economy must have massive state subsidies; the only question is what form that state subsidy will take. In the United States the main form has been through the military system. The most dynamic aspects of the economy—computers, the Internet, the aeronautical industry, pharmaceuticals—have fed off the military system. But the crime-control industry, as it’s called by criminologists, is becoming the fastest-growing industry in America.

And it’s a state industry, publicly funded. It’s the construction industry, the real-estate industry, and also high-tech firms. It’s gotten to a scale sufficient that high-technology and military contractors are looking to it as a market for techniques of high-tech control and surveillance, so you can monitor what people do in their private activities with complicated electronic devices and supercomputers: monitoring their telephone calls and urinalyses and so forth. In fact, the time will probably come when this superfluous population can be locked up in private apartments, not jails, and just monitored to track when they do the wrong thing, say the wrong thing, go the wrong direction.

House arrest for the masses.

It’s enough of an industry so that the major defense-industry firms are interested; you can read about it in The Wall Street Journal. The big law firms and investment houses are interested: Merrill Lynch is floating big loans for prison construction. If you take the whole system, it’s probably approaching the scale of the Pentagon.

Also, this is a terrific workforce. We hear a fuss about prison labor in China, but prison labor is standard here. It’s very cheap, it doesn’t organize, the workers don’t ask for rights, you don’t have to worry about health benefits because the public is paying for everything. It’s what’s called a “flexible” workforce, the kind of thing economists like; you have the workers when you want them, and you throw them out when you don’t want them.

And what’s more, it’s an old American tradition. There was a big industrial revolution in parts of the South in the early part of this century, in northern Georgia and Kentucky and Alabama, and it was based mostly around prison labor. The slaves had been technically freed, but after a few years they were basically slaves again. One way of controlling them was to throw them in jail, where they became a controlled labor force. That’s the core of the modem industrial revolution in the South, which continued in Georgia to the 1920s and to the Second World War in places like Mississippi.

Now it’s being revived. In Oregon and California there’s a fairly substantial textile industry in the prisons, with exports to Asia. At the very time people were complaining about prison labor in China, California and Oregon are exporting prison-made textiles to China. They even have a line called “Prison Blues.”

And it goes all the way up to advanced technology like data processing. In the state of Washington, Boeing workers are protesting the export of jobs to China, but they’re probably unaware that their jobs are being exported to nearby prisons, where machinists are doing work for Boeing under circumstances that the management is delighted over, for obvious reasons.

And most of these prisoners are now nonviolent drug offenders.

The enormous rate of growth of the prison population has been mostly drug-related. The last figures I saw showed that over half the federal prison population, and maybe a quarter in state prisons, are drug offenders. In New York State, for example, a twenty-dollar street sale or possession of an ounce of cocaine will get you the same sentence as arson with intent to murder. The three-strikes legislation is going to blow it right through the sky. The third arrest can be for some minor drug offense, and you’ll go to jail forever.

The Drug Czar’s office estimates that Americans spend $57 billion annually on illegal drugs. What effect does this have on the global economy?

Well, the United Nations tries to monitor the international drug trade, and their estimates are on the order of $400 to $500 billion—half a trillion dollars a year—in trade alone, which makes it higher than oil, something like 10 percent of world trade. Where this money goes to is mostly unknown, but general estimates are that maybe 60 percent of it passes through US banks. After that, a lot goes to offshore tax havens. It’s so obscure that nobody monitors it, and nobody wants to. But the Commerce Department every year publishes figures on foreign direct investment, where US investment is going, and through the ’90s the big excitement has been the “new emerging markets” like Latin America. And it turns out that a quarter of US foreign direct investment is going to Bermuda, another 15 percent to the Bahamas and Cayman Islands, another 10 percent to Panama, and so on. Now, they’re not building steel factories. The most benign interpretation is that it’s just tax havens. And the less benign interpretation is that it’s one way of passing illegal money into places where it will not be monitored. We really don’t know, because it is not investigated. This is not the task of the Justice Department, which is to go after a black kid in the ghetto who has a joint in his pocket.

What do you think of the US policy of offering trade and aid favors to countries who promulgate so-called antidrug initiatives?

Actually, US programs radically increase the use of drugs. Look at the big growth in cocaine production that has exploded in the Andes over the last few years, in Colombia and Peru and Bolivia. Why are Bolivian peasants, for instance, producing coca? The neoliberal structural-adjustment policies of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, which are run by the US, try to drive peasants into agro-export, producing not for local consumption but for sale abroad. They want to reduce social programs, like spending for health and education, cutting government deficits by increasing exports. And they cut back tariffs so that we can then pour our own highly subsidized food exports into their countries, which of course undercuts peasant production. Put all that together and what do you get? You get a huge increase in Bolivian coca production, as their only comparative advantage.

The same is true in Colombia, where US “food for peace” aid, as it was called, was used to undercut or destroy wheat production by essentially giving food—at what amounts to US taxpayer expense—through US agro-exporters to undercut wheat production there, which later cut coffee production and their ability to set prices in any reasonable fashion. And the end result is they turn to something else, and one of the things they turn to is coca production. In fact, if you look at the total effect of US policies, it has been to increase drugs.

Well, anybody who looks into the history of American drug policies in this century…

I’m putting aside another factor altogether, namely clandestine warfare. If you look into the history of what is called the CIA, which means the US White House, its secret wars, clandestine warfare, the trail of drug production just follows. It started in France after the Second World War when the United States was essentially trying to reinstitute the traditional social order, to rehabilitate Fascist collaborators, wipe out the Resistance and destroy the unions and so on. The first thing they did was reconstitute the Mafia, as strikebreakers or for other such useful services. And the Mafia doesn’t do it for fun, so there was a tradeoff: Essentially, they allowed them to reinstitute the heroin-production system, which had been destroyed by the Fascists. The Fascists tended to run a pretty tight ship; they didn’t want any competition, so they wiped out the Mafia. But the US reconstituted it, first in southern Italy, and then in southern France with the Corsican Mafia. That’s where the famous French Connection comes from.

That was the main heroin center for many years. Then US terrorist activities shifted over to Southeast Asia. If you want to carry out terrorist activities, you need local people to do it for you, and you also need secret money to pay for it, clandestine hidden money. Well, if you need to hire thugs and murderers with secret money, there aren’t many options. One of them is the drug connection. The so-called Golden Triangle around Burma, Laos and Thailand became a big drug-producing area with the help of the United States, as part of the secret wars against those populations.

In Central America, it was partly exposed in the Contra hearings, though it was mostly suppressed. But there’s no question that the Reagan administration’s terrorist operations in Central America were closely connected with drug trafficking.

Afghanistan became one of the biggest centers of drug trafficking in the world in the 1980s, because that was the payoff for the forces to which the US was contributing millions of dollars: the same extreme Islamic fundamentalists who are now tearing the country to shreds.

It’s been true throughout the world. It’s not that the US is trying to increase the use of drugs, it’s just the natural thing to do. If you were in a position where you had to hire thugs and gangsters to kill peasants and break strikes, and you had to do it with untraceable money, what would come to your mind?

Where do you stand on drug legalization?

Nobody knows what the effect would be. Anyone who tells you they know is just stupid or is lying, because nobody knows. These are things that have to be tried, you have to experiment to see what the effects are.

Most soft drugs are already legal, mainly alcohol and tobacco. Tobacco is by far the biggest killer among all the psychoactives. Alcohol deaths are a little hard to estimate, because an awful lot of violent deaths are associated with alcohol. Way down below come “hard” drugs, a tiny fraction of the deaths from alcohol or tobacco, maybe ten or twenty thousand deaths per year. The fastest-growing hard drugs are the APS, amphetamine-type substances, produced mostly in the US.

As far as the rest of the drugs are concerned, marijuana is not known to be very harmful. I mean, it’s generally assumed it’s not good for you, but coffee isn’t good for you, tea isn’t good for you, chocolate cake isn’t good for you either. It would be crazy to criminalize coffee, even though it’s harmful.

The United States is one of very few countries where this is considered a moral issue. In most countries it’s considered a medical issue. In most countries you don’t have politicians getting up screaming about how tough they’re going to be on drugs. So the first thing we’ve got to do is move it out of the phase of population control, and into the sphere of social issues. The Rand Corporation estimates that if you compare the effect of criminal programs versus educational programs at reducing drug use, educational programs are way ahead, by about a factor of seven.

But alarmist drug-propaganda programs like DARE and the Partnership for a Drug-Free America’s TV ads have been found to increase experimentation among teenagers.

The question is, what kind of education are you doing? Educational programs aren’t the only category. Education also has to do with the social circumstances in which drugs are used. The answer to that is not throwing people in jail. The answer is to try and figure what’s going on in their lives, their family, do they need medical care and so on? This very striking decline in substance abuse among educated sectors, as I said, goes across the spectrum—red meat, coffee, tobacco, everything. That’s education. It wasn’t that there was an educational program that said to stop drinking coffee, it’s just that attitudes toward oneself and towards health, how we live and so on, changed among the more educated sectors of the population, and these things went down. And none of it had to do with criminalization. It just had to do with a rise in the cultural and educational level, which led to more care for oneself.

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Major League Baseball Calls For Rehab, Not Suspension For Players On Opioids

MIAMI (AP) — Players who test positive for opioids would enter treatment and not be suspended under the change to Major League Baseball’s drug agreement being negotiated by management and the players’ association, according to union head Tony Clark.

Talks to
add testing for opioids began following the death this year of Los
Angeles Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs. Players have been tested for
performance-enhancing substances since 2004 and for banned stimulants
since 2006.

“We believe wholeheartedly, as we always have, that
the treatment option and not discipline is the best route to go,” Clark
said Wednesday as the union’s executive board finished its annual

The union and MLB are in agreement that treatment would
be warranted for opioids and not discipline, Clark said. He added the
addition to the drug agreement likely be made this offseason.

“I’m pretty confident that’s where we’re going,” Clark said.

was found dead in his hotel room in the Dallas area July 1 before the
start of a series against the Texas Rangers. A medical examiner’s office
said the 27-year-old died after choking on his vomit with a toxic mix
of alcohol and the painkillers fentanyl and oxycodone in his body.

Major League Baseball Calls For Rehab, No Suspension For Players On Opioids
Tony Clark, executive director of the baseball players’ union (AP Photo/ Carlos Osorio)

spoke after the three days of union meetings, with all 30 player
representatives in attendance. Elvis Andrus of the Texas Rangers became
the first Venezuelan to be elected to the executive subcommittee.

focus was on preparations for collective bargaining, which has begun
well in advance of the current deal’s expiration in December 2021.

spent a lot of time talking about industry economics and player
markets,” Clark said. “We’re nowhere near a point of proposals and
formal engagement.”

The union discussed pace of play and isn’t
enthusiastic about MLB’s proposal to require a three-batter minimum for
pitchers next season. MLB has the right to change the rule for 2020 even
without the union’s agreement.

The union has been resistant to such changes to speed up play.

seen a game that has changed dramatically over the last four or five
years, and I don’t know that there’s a clear answer yet on what type of
game we want to have,” Clark said. “Guys are very concerned about the
constant discussions about rule changes. If we want to make
extraordinary changes, call it something else. Don’t call it baseball.”

said the union is receptive to reducing the length of breaks between
innings to 1 minute, 55 seconds during the regular season, another
change management has the right to make for 2020.

By Steven Wine

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