1969: A Look Back

They say if you can remember the sixties, you weren’t there. Still, it’s hard to imagine that anyone living in 1960s America could ever forget 1969, especially with all the reminders a half-century later. This year, the golden anniversary of the moon landing is commemorated with an Apollo 11-themed butter sculpture at the Ohio State Fair and a limited-edition Budweiser that’s brewed by a female U.S. Air Force Captain from a 1969 recipe.

The 50th anniversary of the Manson murders, meanwhile, is being revisited with an exhibit of Charles Manson’s artworks, and while there won’t be a 50th anniversary concert at Woodstock, the festival is officially the namesake of a fully-licensed brand of cannabis, thanks to the ruling of a judge. Those aren’t the only watershed moments of 1969, though. By all accounts, the year was full of them.

The world of politics and government affairs was full of groundbreaking events. Richard Nixon was inaugurated as president, former President Dwight D. Eisenhower died, and Golda Meir became the first female prime minister of Israel.

During the height of the Vietnam War, the public staged heated and frequent demonstrations, with Berkeley community members establishing the “People’s Park,” Native American activists occupying Alcatraz, and the riots at Stonewall serving as a catalyst for the gay rights movement in America.

Meanwhile, hundreds of Harvard students took over the university’s administration building, resulting in nearly 200 arrests; the Weatherman first organized as a branch of the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS); members of the Black Panther party became government targets; and hundreds of thousands of protestors marched against the Vietnam War in demonstrations across the country.

Wikimedia Commons

Major milestones mitigated serious disasters, however. It’s true that an inordinate amount of planes were either hijacked or crashed, a devastating oil spill happened in Santa Barbara, and the record-breaking Category 5 Hurricane Camille hit the Mississippi coast, killing over 200 people. At the same time, the first electronic message was transmitted over the progenitor of the internet, America’s earliest ATM machine was installed in New York, and the Boeing 747 jumbo jet made its inaugural passenger flight.

Music saw a number of significant events, too, including the first Led Zeppelin album and the Stooges’ debut studio album. Black Sabbath performed live for the first time, and on the roof of Apple Records in London, the Beatles had their last public performance, only to release their highly acclaimed Abbey Road as well.

Meanwhile, a Florida court issued arrest warrants for Jim Morrison for indecent exposure at a Doors concert, Brian Jones of the Rolling Stones drowned in his backyard swimming pool in Sussex, England, and John Lennon and Yoko Ono got married with a “Bed-In” for peace as part of their honeymoon in Amsterdam. Capping off the year was the proverbial “end of the sixties,” the Altamont Free Concert— when a would-be “Woodstock West” devolved into a maelstrom of violence that left four people dead.

In the book 1969: The Year Everything Changed, author Rob Kirkpatrick writes, “For those who first came into consciousness in the beginning of the 1970s, as I did, there was a sense of the country having just gone through an enormous upheaval—a paradigm shift that the generation before us had witnessed first hand, through which we had emerged as if through the other side of the looking glass.”

And here we are, 50 years later, still peering through that looking glass.

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Un estudio no encuentra ningún vínculo entre el uso de cannabis en adolescentes y la estructura cerebral adulta

El estudio es innovador y, con suerte, ayudará a romper el estigma del consumo de cannabis.

Las preocupaciones sobre el consumo de marihuana entre los adolescentes ha sido durante mucho tiempo un obstáculo para los defensores de la legalización, dado que el cerebro de los jóvenes se desarrolla a un ritmo acelerado. Pero un nuevo estudio sugiere que el cannabis puede no representar un riesgo a largo plazo para la función cerebral en absoluto.

El estudio, que se publicará en la edición del mes próximo de Drug and Alcohol Dependence y realizado por investigadores de la Universidad Estatal de Arizona, “probó las asociaciones entre las trayectorias evaluadas prospectivamente del consumo de cannabis en adolescentes y la estructura cerebral adulta en una muestra de jóvenes seguidos hasta la edad adulta”. En un esfuerzo por probar la hipótesis de que los usuarios adolescentes de marihuana demuestran alteraciones estructurales en sus cerebros en la edad adulta, los investigadores analizaron el consumo de cannabis autoinformado entre jóvenes de 13 a 19 años en Pittsburgh.

El grupo de alrededor de 1000 jóvenes fue examinado durante la década de 1980. Cuando los investigadores identificaron ciertas “trayectorias de cannabis adolescente”, los jóvenes fueron clasificados en base a cuatro divisiones diferentes: no usuarios / usuarios poco frecuentes, usuarios escalables y usuarios crónicos relativamente frecuentes. “Los jóvenes en diferentes subgrupos de trayectoria no difirieron en la estructura del cerebro adulto en ninguna región de interés subcortical o cortical”, escribieron los investigadores en su análisis de los resultados.

Además, hubo un subconjunto de 181 de los jóvenes que posteriormente se sometieron a neuroimagen estructural en la edad adulta cuando tenían entre 30 y 36 años. Ese subconjunto se probó para identificar cualquier diferencia en la estructura del cerebro adulto.

En conclusión, los investigadores dijeron que “el consumo de cannabis no está asociado con diferencias cerebrales estructurales en la edad adulta”. Agregaron: “Incluso los jóvenes con el nivel más alto de exposición al cannabis en la adolescencia mostraron volúmenes cerebrales subcorticales y grosores cerebrales corticales en la edad adulta que fueron similares a los jóvenes con casi ninguna exposición al cannabis durante la adolescencia “.

La investigación, dirigida por Madeline Meier, directora del Laboratorio de Uso de Sustancias, Salud y Comportamiento de la Universidad Estatal de Arizona, es solo la última de una serie de estudios recientes que analizan los efectos a largo plazo del consumo de cannabis. A medida que la legalización se extiende por todo Estados Unidos y en todo el mundo, se intensificaron los llamados a una investigación académica sólida sobre el uso de marihuana, que durante mucho tiempo ha faltado. En abril, el inversionista de cannabis Charles R. Broderick respondió a esa escasez de investigación con una donación de $ 9 millones a Harvard y el MIT para respaldar estudios sobre la ciencia de los cannabinoides. Fue la mayor donación hasta la fecha para promover investigaciones de ese tipo. Broderick dijo que el regalo fue impulsado por el deseo de “llenar el vacío de investigación que existe actualmente en la ciencia del cannabis”.

En ese mismo espíritu, un estudio realizado el mes pasado examinó por qué la marihuana pone ansiosos a algunos usuarios, mientras que otros experimentan alegría y euforia.

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Inside The Northern Nights Music Festival

This summer, the Northern Nights Music Festival became the first overnight festival in the country to offer recreational cannabis dispensing, attracting thousands of attendees to its Tree Lounge, a sort of cannabis garden for anyone 21+. Organizers called this history-making move a major success—but who’s surprised? Unofficially, marijuana and music festivals have been close collaborators since, well, the beginning of time.

Still this marks a new era in legal recreational cannabis. And if Northern Nights is any indication of what’s around the corner as local laws continue to change, the future of festivals and cannabis is positively utopian. Here’s what went down in a nature-filled weekend of music and wellness, paired with the great unifier: cannabis. 

Let’s start with the welcome committee that greeted us upon arrival Friday evening. Attendee-volunteers offered more dreamy smiles than directions. And to complicate things, the Internet was out way up there, on the border of Mendocino and Humboldt. 

Hundreds of mostly cashless millennials had to be shepherded to the one ATM at the festival’s makeshift general store so they could buy their parking pass or ticket for the weekend. It could have been a stressful cluster if it weren’t for the reassuring heady musk that lingered in the air and the fact that most volunteers looked fresh off a bong hit. Not that we’re judging. Just jealous.

It was Friday after a long drive and a longer week, so when my friend/coworker and I caught ourselves remarking on service design efficiencies and the curious lack of compost bins, we knew we still had our muggle tech employee masks on. 

Northern Nights is not glitzy Coachella or polished, efficient Outside Lands. That’s sort of the point.

Amanda Fetterly

“Just don’t let me buy any festival outfits I’m never gonna wear again,” Amanda said as we passed a line of retailers and make our way to our camp, sponsored by Cookies, a cannabis and lifestyle brand founded by rapper Gilbert Milam Jr, aka Berner.  Berner was performing in the festival’s “main bowl” with B. Real on Saturday, but in the meantime his nationally expanding brand is arguably the largest “corporate entity” of the festival’s 7th year. As a San Francisco native and cannabis industry veteran, Berner and his Cookies still fit in with the local vibe.

Many of the other 20+ cannabis partners, like Humboldt Farms and Emerald Exchange, are even more homegrown, with growsites just beyond the dense curtain of Redwoods that surround Cooks Valley Campground. This was all by design and a nod to the festival’s predecessor, Reggae on the River, which shared the same setting, and according to organizers drove much of the local underground economy. Many of Northern Nights’ camps, stages, and art builds offered subtle nods to the original crews who lent their unofficial “vending” services to the festival for 35 years.

Now those crews are stepping out from behind the Emerald Curtain, and into Northern Nights’ Tree Lounge, where, thanks to new local ordinances in Humboldt County, could legally dispense cannabis much like alcohol in a beer garden (only with a few extra compliance hoops to jump through). The vendors may have had snazzier branding and more official concessionaires now, but the ethos remains the same as ever: Sungrown, organic, local bud. “Humboldt’s best export,” as one farmer called it. Only that day, in light of cannabis’s rising stock, there seemed to be an urgency to this message.

Amanda Fetterly

Each vendor was eager to tell me about the unique properties of their flowers, to discuss their regenerative farming techniques, to warn me of the dangers of non-organic weed and the regulatory gray areas that leave the door open for corporate greed if consumers aren’t diligent about knowing where their bud comes from. The International Cannabis Farmers Association set up a booth with organic hashish purveyor Hella Dank, where they offered dabs and educational materials on what to look for on labels and what to ask budtenders to ensure your weed is sungrown and sustainable. Emerald Exchange touted the independent, female-owned farms they represent, and Humboldt Farms hosted a weekend of wellness programming from stoned yoga and meditation to cacao ceremony.

Amanda Fetterly

“We wanted to create an intimate place where people could decompress from a chaotic festival, take care of themselves and their bodies and learn about the plant,” Lisa C Parker said. She leads marketing for Humboldt Farms and called the activation a huge success. “We want people to know that they can use cannabis for wellness and even sometimes as an alternative to other types of medicine.”

Amanda Fetterly

The small tent in the Tree Lounge that housed the weekend’s wellness activities said “intimate gathering,” but when more than 100 people showed up for stoned yoga on the first morning, wellness curator for the festival Nate Mezmer knew they had underestimated the appetite for the restorative benefits of cannabis and mindful movement.

Lisa C. Parker

“Wellness and cannabis are super similar,” Mezmer San Francisco’s City Fit Fest co-founder, said. “They are both becoming mainstream really, really fast  and they’re both really, really good for you potentially… But they both can become corrupted by fake shit.”

An hour and a mini-joint of Flow Kana’s Champagne strain later, Amanda and I were outfitted head-to-toe by Jane Allen, the artist and collector behind festival couture shop I’m Crowning. To be fair, there was a sequins clause in our previous shopping pact, and the light, bubbly sativa was already smoothing out our edges. With the help of Mary Jane, our masks were off and we sartorially surrendered to our true selves. (Our true selves wear crowns, by the way.)

Amanda Fetterly

Pleasantly buoyant from the champagne of bud and blissed out from guided breathwork in the Tree Lounge, we made our way to the The Grove Stage, fashioned after a mythical medieval dinner party (castle and dragons and all) and set in Redwoods, up lit in purples and aquamarines. Twenty minutes into his set, Bay Area-based DJ Taeo Sense of Audiopharmacy led the crowd in a traditional Hawaiian dance in honor of Mauna Kea—and it’s catching. Hundreds of arms rising and falling turned the Redwood clearing into a Luau.

“Our brothers and sisters are fighting for their mountain. Let’s dance a prayer for Mauna Kea, our mountains here, mountains everywhere,” he said into a mic.

Amanda Fetterly

It’s impossible not to feel a reverence and awe for the land-turned-dance partner. The Eel River pulsed with the beats from the DJs on the River Stage. And in the festival’s main bowl, emerald trees seemed to dance along with Saturday’s headliner, Big Wild. Branches came into focus for brief moments and recoiled again as the lights changed, like they caught fire from the flick of a lighter. And the crowd did the same, rising and falling and bouncing in unison to EDM, this generation’s religion. 

And man, did it feel spiritual at times—7,000 of us lighting up a massive tree-lined bowl. We are the plants. The plants are us. I found myself thinking. Sure, that’s the weed talking, but why not listen? After all our bodies produce our own cannabinoids, chemicals otherwise unique to the plant. We are the plants.

Amanda Fetterly

If this sounds too “woo-woo,” you’re due for a trip through the Tree Lounge. And specifically Humboldt Farms co-founder Liz Lux’s plant medicine workshop. Titled “Cosmic Consciousness: Cannabis & Medicinal Plants for Life and Death,” she spoke about moon cycles and rituals, how plants have wisdom and which ones to enjoy in each season, but mostly how we must treat cannabis well so it treats us well. Listening to her felt like remembering a dream. These are things we all know intuitively, but tend to forget. 

What Liz, who has 30 years of growing experience under her belt, said in cosmic, spiritual terms, event organizers, farmers, brand ambassadors, and attendees echoed in their own ways when they spoke of permaculture, of how cannabis brought them back to health, of how when you buy weed from a trusted source, you’re supporting farmers and families. 

“When you’re educated about where your weed comes from and discerning about where you get it, it tends to come back to you in quality. And it’s just good karma,” Peter Huson said, NN’s co-founder and compliance manager who helped write the bill that enabled cannabis sales at the festival. “For so many years, these growers have not had a voice because cannabis was illegal. We hope with this event, we can help give a voice and bring funds back to this community.” For the festival’s part, Northern Nights makes a donation to Humboldt and Mendocino school districts each year and organizers say they build everything with local materials. 

Reports say more people are going to festivals than ever before. The multimillion-dollar industry is evidence that many are hungry for this sort of gathering. And it’s clear why.  It’s been two weeks since Northern Nights and I still feel restored—not only because dancing under Redwoods and floating in rivers can do that to a person, but because there was a downright blissful, yet mindful, vibe that originated in the Tree Lounge and floated like smoke throughout the festival. It’s not often that you can pre-game an EDM show with infused acro yoga, cacao, or a discussion of regenerative farming methods with a cannabis grower. Humboldt’s best exports may just be cannabis and hope—and we all could use extra helpings of both.

“CBD wellness activations like this are going to happen across the country and across the world in a split second,” Huson predicts. 

Sign us up. It can’t come soon enough.

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Utah Supreme Court Rules Lawmakers Can Replace Medical Cannabis Initiative

Another chapter in the ongoing struggle over medical marijuana in Utah has just been slammed shut. This week, the Utah Supreme Court threw out a lawsuit filed against the state by a medical marijuana advocacy group.

Specifically, the suit challenged the Utah legislature’s decision to replace a voter-approved medical marijuana referendum with its own medical marijuana laws. Despite this first lawsuit being dismissed, there is still another one pending.

Supreme Court Dismissed Lawsuit

In a decision filed yesterday, the Utah Supreme Court ruled in favor of the state legislature. As a result, the medical marijuana rules established last year in House Bill 3001 will remain in place.

And, even more concerning for many medical marijuana patients and advocates, one of the lawsuits challenging that bill is dead.

“While the Utah Constitution creates and protects the voters’ right to place legislation on the ballot for approval or rejection by the people, it also carves out an exception to that right,” Justice Paige Petersen wrote in the court’s opinion. “When both houses of the legislature pass legislation by a two-thirds supermajority, that law is not subject to a referendum.”

She continued: “Because this renders moot Petitioners’ argument about the constitutionality of the statutory referendum sponsor requirements, we do not address it.”

An advocacy group called The People’s Right filed the lawsuit. At issue was whether or not state lawmakers had the right to replace a voter-approved medical marijuana referendum with a separate bill—one that was not approved by voters.

“While the Utah Supreme Court was forced to acknowledge the legislature REPLACED Proposition 2 with its own statute and through its own analysis found the replacement bill significantly curtailed cultivation, dispensaries, and amended qualifying conditions for medical cannabis, they have once again failed the citizens of Utah,” The People’s Right organizer Steve Maxfield told local news source Fox 13 Salt Lake City.

Another Lawsuit Remains

Although this lawsuit is dead, the battle is not yet over. Specifically, another lawsuit filed by The Epilepsy Association of Utah and Together for Responsible Use and Cannabis Education (TRUCE) is still pending.

In many ways, this second suit is similar to the one filed by The People’s Right. Most notably, this suit is also going after the legislature.

Specifically, they are calling foul on the legislature’s decision to hold a “special session” in December 2018. It was during that session that lawmakers rammed through H.B. 3001.

For organizers involved in this second lawsuit, many aspects of H.B. 3001 dramatically undermine Proposition 2. Specifically, they argue that H.B. 3001 will end up significantly limiting the degree to which patients can realistically access medical marijuana.

And already, it appears that those fears are coming true. For example, in late July the Davis County Attorney Troy Rawlings formally recommended that the Davis County Health Department not participate in the state’s medical marijuana program.

His reasoning was that the state’s method for dispensing marijuana through a “central fill” system—a key feature of H.B. 3001—could make state workers vulnerable to state prosecution.

Advocates at The Epilepsy Association of Utah and TRUCE have argued that Proposition 2’s structure would have avoided these problems.

As of now, this second lawsuit is still pending. It is unclear if the Supreme Court’s decision this week indicates how it may rule on this second suit.

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Luxembourg Will Be the First Country in the EU to Legalize Cannabis Production

The tiny European country of Luxembourg is about the lead the European Union by becoming the first EU country to legalize the production and consumption of cannabis. Luxembourg has already legalized medical cannabis and decriminalized simple possession for the 614,000-plus people living there. The production, sale, and purchase of cannabis for recreational purposes is still illegal, but not for much longer.

On Wednesday, Luxembourg Health Minister Etienne Schneider confirmed reports that the EU nation is moving to legalize cannabis. Citing the failure of prohibitionist policies, Schneider also called on fellow EU member states to relax their own drug laws, especially as they pertain to cannabis. Luxembourg lawmakers are still crafting legislation to legalize the production and consumption of cannabis, but they plan to release a draft version later this year.

Luxembourg Confirms Plans to Legalize Cannabis

Details are only beginning to emerge about how Luxembourg plans to implement legal cannabis. Nothing regarding tax rates or regulations on the types and forms of cannabis that will be legal has been set in stone. However, early reports indicate that the EU nation is taking its cue from Canada and will cap legal possession at 30 grams. Luxembourg also plans to invest tax and licensing revenue into drug education and addiction treatment programs. Last year, Schneider and Luxembourg Justice Minister Félix Braz toured a cultivation facility run by Canopy Growth Corporation in Smith Falls, Canada.

Indeed, once Luxembourg legalizes cannabis, it will become the first EU nation and just the third country in the world to do so, next to Canada and Uruguay. Contrary to popular conception, the Netherlands, home to Amsterdam’s famed cannabis cafés, is not a legal-cannabis country. Rather, it operates under an official policy of tolerance toward recreational use within certain limits. It’s a stance that has made the Netherlands a top destination for cannabis tourism. But for now at least, Luxembourg isn’t keen on making its cities hot-spots for cannabis consumers from around the world.

Health Minister Urges More Open-Minded Attitude Toward Drugs

Health Minister Schneider says prohibiting cannabis has both failed to stop or reduce consumption and made marijuana more attractive to young people. “The drug policy we had over the last 50 years did not work,” Schneider told Politico. “Forbidding everything made it just more interesting to young people.”

And as Luxembourg gears up to end its prohibition on recreational cannabis, state officials are encouraging other EU nations to follow suit. “I’m hoping all of us will get a more open-minded attitude toward drugs,” Schneider added. That open-mindedness will be important, especially since legal cannabis will put Luxembourg on the wrong side of a UN convention limiting cannabis commerce to medical and scientific purposes only.

But the major question is precisely how open and accessible Luxembourg’s legal cannabis market will be. According to Schneider, Luxembourg will likely ban non-residents from legal access to cannabis, with the aim being to discourage cannabis tourism. The law could also prohibit home cultivation, leaving state-run agencies to exclusively regulate production and distribution. A draft version of the legislation is expected later this year, and early estimates forecast sales will come online within two years, although an earlier agreement between a coalition of Liberals, Social Democrats and Greens set up a five year timetable.

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