Built to Last: Royal Trux Discuss Cannabis and Latest Album, White Stuff

Written by John Payne

Their first long-player in 18 years thrusts infamous alterna-rock outlaws Royal Trux back into the public eye, and hey, it’s not exactly like they never left. No, their new White Stuff album (Fat Possum) is chockfulla the kind of ear-druggy surprises we’ve missed from these badass brutes in the intervening years, and the good news is they haven’t stopped evolving (didn’t say “maturing,” let’s not get carried away). Fronted by Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor—a.k.a. singer-Moog/ guitar/melodica tooter Jennifer Herrema and guitarist-vocalist Neil Hagerty—the iconic band now bring an updated, heavily head-banging and wickedly weird Trux to the table, and we’ve just got to deal with it on their terms.

For Trux, it couldn’t have been easy picking up where they left off and having a go again in 2018. Or was it?

“Well, yes and no,” says Herrema. “When Neil and I started playing together [live] again two and half years ago, it was as if time had stopped, like, ‘Oh, here we are,’ and everything was great. But when it came to recording new material in the studio, it was more complicated, because in the past Neil and I had always lived and worked together, so we could just banter back and forth.”

The exigencies of modern so-called life determined that White Stuff would have to be created largely via long-distance communication, along with studio time spent together in beautiful downtown Burbank, CA.

“Now it was more like emailing stuff to each other, because Neil lives in Denver [Herrema is based in SoCal], and we had people guest-playing on the album who flew in for the sessions,” Herrema says. “And instead of Neil and I recording and producing it like we always do, we turned over those duties to a neutral party. In the end, it all worked out. But it was a crazy, crazy process.”

The sinister, lurid, hilarious and heartfelt White Stuff is a real return to the glories of the haywiredly eclectic sound that stamped Royal Trux so definitively on the ’90s alterna-rock map. Trux bring both their much-lauded primitive-intuitive raw power and fascinating Bitches Brew-type mashups culled from the pair’s contrasting interests in all things punk rock, hip-hop, jazz, metal, obscure noise and even world music, in songs like the thumping mid-tempo rockers “White Stuff” and “Every Day Swan.” “Suburban Junkie Lady” is a slowish, opiated thing with ace multitracked vocals and frigging congas at the song’s coda, and ambiguous-pop choon “Sic Em Slow” is an EZ-flowing rock/funk jam that manages to incorporate the sounds of a gamelan in its intro. Hagerty’s authentically rock-great flashy axe work on “Year of the Dog” is a joy, and along with the moody snake-guitar instrumentals “Purple Audacity #1” and “#2,” you get rapper Kool Keith throwing down with a stream-of-consciousnessing Herrema on “Get Used to This.”

In taking a hiatus on their Black Bananas and solo-album projects, respectively, Herrema and Hagerty have reforged a relationship that seemingly will never stop vibrating with creative resonance.

“The songs kind of push and pull at each other. It’s like they’re always in a fight, but they’re always finding a middle ground.”

“This album was completely built around weed,” Herrema adds. “That’s kind of why we were slower in the studio on this record, because we would ta ke these long extended weed breaks [laughs]. But that was all part of getting to the end result, which is this record. So it’s all good.”

The two Truxers prefer sativas, though Herrema says they end up doing hybrids a lot “because some of the sativas can get you a little stuck in your head round and round.” Favorite strains include Blue Dream and the mighty Tangie, though neither can boast what Herrema’s latest discovery, flash-frozen live-resin THCA, brings to the game. “It gets you pretty stoned,” she says, “but I swear whenever I smoke that stuff I can see everything so clearly. It actually improves your vision.” Herrema’s down with cannabis for live performances, too, unlike a lot of musicians who feel smoking prior to playing messes too much with their onstage focus. No problem, she says. “I never know what’s going to go on when we play live anyway!”

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

The post Built to Last: Royal Trux Discuss Cannabis and Latest Album, White Stuff appeared first on High Times.


Tips to Shrink your Shrinkage

I had dinner last night with a friend who is a senior executive at one of the largest automobile companies in the world. When I explained the industry-accepted rate of 25-30% shrinkage in horticulture he said, “Are you kidding me? Can you imagine the story in the Wall Street Journal if I gave a press conference and said that we were quite content to throw away three out of every ten cars we manufactured?”

Yet, for all growers, operators and investors who complain about shrinkage, it’s an accepted part of the business. What if it wasn’t; what if you could shrink your shrinkage by 60% and get it down to 10% or less? How much more profitable would your business be and how much easier would your life be?

Let’s take the floriculture industry as our first example. You propagate chrysanthemums in February, they get repotted at the end of April and by the end of June, you might start to see some buds. In a very short time span your job changes from being a grower who manages 10,000 square feet of chrysanthemums to being an order taker. Over a period of eight weeks, you have to unload as many of those mums as possible. The sales team at Macy’s has more time to move their holiday merchandise than you do.

If you’re like most operations, your inventory tracking system consists of Excel spreadsheets and notebooks that tell you what happened in previous years so you can accurately predict what will happen this year. The notebooks give you a pretty accurate idea of where in the greenhouses your six cultivars are, how many you planted and which of the five stages they are in. You already have 30 different sets of data to manage before you add on how many you sell of each cultivar and what stage they were in.

The future of the industry is making data-driven decisions that free up a grower to focus on solving problems, not looking for problems.Then your first order comes in and out the window goes any firm control of where the mums are, what stage they’re in and how many of each cultivar you have left. A couple of hours after your first order, a second comes in and by the time you get back in touch, check your inventory, call back the buyer and she’s able to connect with you, those 2837 stage 3 orange mums are moving into stage 4. Only she doesn’t want stage 4 mums she only wants stage 3 so now you frantically call around to see who wants stage 4 orange mums very soon to be stage 5 mums.

And, the answer is often no one. What if you didn’t have your inventory count exact and now you have 242 yellow mums that you just found in a different location in your greenhouse and had you known they were there, you could have sold them along with 2463 other mums that you just located in various parts of your greenhouse.

It doesn’t have to be like that. We had a client in a similar situation, and they are on track to reduce their shrinkage to just a shade over 10%. The future of the industry is making data-driven decisions that free up a grower to focus on solving problems, not looking for problems.

And don’t think that shrinkage is an issue only in the purview of floriculture. It’s an even bigger problem for cannabis because of the high value of each crop. The numbers don’t sound as bad because unlike floriculture, you don’t have to throw out cannabis that’s not Grade A. You can always sell it for extract. But extract prices are significantly less per pound than flower in the bag.

Here’s how one grower explained it. “Because of the high value of the crop, and the only other crop I’ve worked with that high is truffles, you’re playing a much higher stakes game with shrinkage. Even if you try and salvage a bad crop by using all of the parts of the cannabis plant. Listen, the difference between Grade A and Grade C could be $1,000 for A while a pound of B/C is less than $400. If you produce a standard 180 to 200 pounds in your grow rooms, you’ve really screwed up. No operator is going to keep you if you just cost them $120,000.”

The post Tips to Shrink your Shrinkage appeared first on Cannabis Industry Journal.


Does Germany Have a Gray Market Problem?

Tilray just did something very interesting. In addition to announcing that it was shipping product to German distributor Cannamedical via its Portuguese facility, it also announced that it had begun outdoor cultivation.

Groovy.tilray-logo

Even more intriguing: the company is claiming that somehow, via its proprietary technology (apparently), this kind of crop will be legit for distribution within the EU medical system.

There is only one problem with this. Outdoor growing does not sound remotely GMP-certified.

Here is the next bit of exciting news. Tilray, apparently, is not the only large Canadian cannabis company now operating in Europe that appears to be trying to get around GMP certifications for medical market penetration. Or appear oblivious to the distinctions in the international (and certainly European market).

german flag
Photo: Ian McWilliams, Flickr

And things are a bit smelly on that front, not only in Denmark post CannTrust, but in truth even in Germany, the supposed “Fort Knox” of regulatory consumer and pharmaceutical standards.

In fact, at least according to insiders, there is apparently quite a bit of gray market product sloshing around in the Teutonic medical market. Even though so far, at least not publicly punished for the same, nobody has been caught. Or at least publically reprimanded.

And who is on the hot seat at least according to most of the licensed if not just pre-licensed indie producers and distributors who were contacted for this story? Sure, there are dark horse “start-up” indie violators, but they are not the only problem. Many who talked to CIJ named big public Canadian companies too. And potentially Bedrocan beyond that.

Who Is Who And What Is What?

Part of the problem, beyond any kind of deliberate flouting of regulations on the part of many companies who are at least trying to understand them, is that global standards are different. “GMP certifications” of every country, even within a region like Europe, are in fact, not uniform. That is why, for example, the new EU-US MRA agreement had to be signed first regionally and then on a state-by-state level across the EU.

Beyond Germany of course, there are other problems that are coming to the fore.In the medical cannabis space, in particular, right now, that is causing problems simply because many with pharma experience are not hip to the many risks in the cannabis industry itself. On the Canadian, Australian and American side, there is also a lot of bad advice, in particular, coming from consultants who should know better.

To be properly EU and German GMP-certified, one of the required steps is to have German inspectors walk your production floor. It is also not good enough to have “pesticide-free” or national organic certification at the crop cultivation site, and add GMP cert at time of “processing.” That piece of misadvise has been showing up not only in Canada, but Australia too. And creates a nasty reality if not expensive retooling upon entering the legitimate market in Europe, for starters.

These Issues Affect Everyone In The Industry

In an environment where ex-im is the name of the game, and even the big guys are short of product, compliance is getting granular as smaller players step up to the plate – and many if not most hopeful Canadian producers (in particular) now looking to Europe for sales are not (yet) up to speed.

A big piece of the blame also lies in the lack of proper administration at the federal and state level too – even auf Deutschland. To get a distribution license, a company must actually get three licenses, although there are plenty in the market right now who begin to describe themselves as “distributors” with less than the required certs.

German Parliament Building

The lack of coordination and communication, including which certs to accept as equivalent and from where is creating a market where those who know how to game the system are.

For example, several people who contacted CIJ, claimed that uncertified product was making its way into Germany via Central and Latin America, through Canada, picking up “GMP cert” along the way. In other words, not actually GMP-certified but labelled fraudulently to make it appear that way.

The same claims were also made by those with on-the-ground industry knowledge in South Africa (Lesotho).

Beyond Germany of course, there are other problems that are coming to the fore. As CIJ recently learned, a firm authorized by the Dutch government to provide cannabis packaging, including for exports, was not GMP certified until July 2019 – meaning that all product they shipped internationally even within Europe before that date potentially has labelling issues. Cue domestic importers. If not regulators.

Grey Market Product Is Making Its Way In Through Official Channels

For those who are taking the time to actually get through the legal registration and licensing process, it is infuriating to see others who are apparently fairly flagrantly buying market position but are in no position to fulfil such obligations. It is even more infuriating for those who intend to meet the requirements of the regulations to realize that the vast amounts spent in consulting fees was actually money paid for inaccurate information.

And the only way ultimately the industry can combat that, is by standing up, as an industry, to face and address the problem.German distributors are so aware of the problem that they are starting to offer gap analysis and specific consulting services to help their import partners actually get compliant.

Government agencies also might be aware of the problems, but they have been reluctant to talk about the same. CIJ contacted both BfArM and the local Länderauthorities to ask about the outdoor grow in Portugal and the lack of GMP cert for a Dutch packager. After multiple run-arounds, including sending this reporter on a wild rabbit chase of federal and state agencies (who all directed us back to BfArm) and an implication by the press officer at BfArM that the foreign press was not used to talking to multiple sources, CIJ was redirected back to state authorities with a few more instructions on which bureau to contact. The state bureau (in Berlin) did not return comments to questions asked by email.

Here is the bottom line that CannTrust has helped expose this summer: the entire global cannabis industry is trying hard to legitimize. Not every company is shady, and there are many who are entering it now who are playing by the rules. But those who are hoping to exploit loopholes (including “name” if not “public” companies) are also clearly in the room.

And the only way ultimately the industry can combat that, is by standing up, as an industry, to face and address the problem.

The post Does Germany Have a Gray Market Problem? appeared first on Cannabis Industry Journal.


Facebook and Other Marketing Platforms Continue to Stifle Cannabis Ads

Cannabis can’t seem to catch a break online. 

Enthusiasts, brands, influencers, and plenty of others seem to run into myriad headaches when dealing with Facebook and other popular online marketing platforms. Whether marketing their product or just talking about the plant, many have seen their content conflict with some of the most popular platforms of today.   

The stance taken by Facebook and others in the space has often been one of little acceptance. Companies often cite company policy that tends to coincide with federal regulations for such bans. 

Scores of accounts have been shuttered as a result, extending from Facebook to YouTube to Google AdWords. The issue has gotten so rampant, that Instagram users often tout the number of followers they had at the time of their last deletion. It is not uncommon to see numbers that reach into the six-figure region.  

Cannabis companies run into similar issues when trying to promote their brand online. Google AdWords and Facebook boosted posts are both popular marketing options that cannabis is almost entirely barred from using. 

In October of 2018, Facebook placed a pause on cannabis searches. The site justified the ban saying users were selling marijuana products through the social network. Soon, the ban would be lifted, but it would not be the last bit of friction between the two sides. 

This past July saw seven Oklahoma medical dispensaries sue Facebook to have its pages reinstated. The dispensaries claim they had their accounts disabled after posting about their operations. 

Some cannabis owners have conceded their fight with social media. Susan Agostinelli is the president and CEO of the CBD Wellness and Beauty line Pure Hermosa. She used to be an active user of Facebook advertising tools when working with non-cannabis clients. When she began working in cannabis, she was told to avoid doing so with Pure Hermosa’s CBD line. 

She followed the tip for some time. That is, until she kept receiving prompts on Facebook to boost her posts. Agostinelli said she thought the social media platform had changed its policies. The business owner had also heard how others in the CBD space were getting around detection by omitting certain keywords and phrases. 

Agostinelli eventually gave it a shot. The results were disastrous. 

“I tried a small test. and within a week got notice that not only did they shut down my Pure Hermosa ad account, they shut down my main Facebook ad account.” She said the ban wiped out the five years of data and analytics she had paid tens of thousands of dollars for. 

Major brands have felt some backlash as well. Albeit, not as severe as companies like Pure Hermosa. Organic soap and care products manufacturer Dr. Bronner’s experienced similar issues with its boosted posts back in June 2017. 

The company received this response from Facebook:

“This ad isn’t running because it doesn’t follow our Advertising Policies. We don’t allow ads that promote prescription or recreational drugs. Ads like these are sensitive in nature and are usually contrary to local laws, rules or regulations. Please keep in mind that advocacy or awareness ads are allowed…”

CEO David Bronner said that the company doesn’t boost many of its posts, but did run an unnamed number of ads to increase brand exposure. The company was warned by Facebook. However, it did not lose its page where it posts about hemp, cannabis, MDMA, and other topics. 

Brooner said the company continues to post but does not boost its content anymore. 

The CEO said that while he somewhat understands Facebook’s policy on marijuana, its stance on hemp is not. He said, “We’ve got the Farm Bill, it’s fully legal, perfectly legal in the United States of America. I don’t understand what their problem is.”

Bronner mentioned not having issues on other social platforms, including the Facebook-owned Instagram. Agostinelli chose not to deal with any other social media platforms. 

YouTube is another social media option that has purged cannabis content and accounts on several occasions. The bans have impacted top content creators, publications and brands. 

The constant back and forth between content creators and the Alphabet-owned video platform led one person to make a video service specifically for the cannabis industry. One content creator launched their own platform after YouTube began purging accounts in February of 2018. Today, it offers cannabis-friendly place for content creators, and claims to pay better than YouTube does, though that was not verified. The start-up unsurprisingly does far less traffic than YouTube at the moment. That said, the company has produced modest numbers for an upstart, which include 2.5 million web views in its first year. 

Entrepreneurs have also created alternative options to help brands get the word out without Google AdWords. Some solutions include ad tech for advertisers and content publishers. Other brands have gone with more classic digital marketing techniques to fill the ad void. Pure Hermosa still relies on unpaid social media posts. It also employs direct-to-consumer efforts to expand its reach. Efforts include email marketing, planned testimonial campaigns and giveaways with partners. 

“We are making our mark and gaining our following through organic, real and approachable strategies now to have a place in this booming marketplace,” Agostinelli explained. 

The company’s current following and engagement on social media indicates how difficult brand building can be without Facebook and other valuable avenues non-cannabis companies can use. Brands like Dr. Bronner’s can transcend the bans and burdensome algorithms used by social media platforms. That isn’t the case for much of the industry. 

Companies trying to gain traction in the space find themselves more at the whim of these powerful platforms. Until federal regulations change in the U.S., THC and CBD cannabis brands seem destined to remain barred from using traditional marketing methods.Despite the frustrations, Agostinelli believes that the current complications will make cannabis companies better at building its foundation slowly. 

Concerning her brand, she said, “I think we are building a more “real” brand because of it… [a brand] that is here to stay.”

The post Facebook and Other Marketing Platforms Continue to Stifle Cannabis Ads appeared first on High Times.


There Are 420 Days Left Until The 2020 Presidential Election

If you’re counting down the 2020 presidential election, today marks an important milestone on the campaign trail, with 420 days left until it’s time to cast your ballot. And if, like many Americans, you’re making marijuana policy reform a priority next year, as in finally making marijuana legal across the United States, you probably want to know where each presidential candidate stands on the issue of cannabis.

Under pressure from voters and progressive rivals with strong records of supporting marijuana legalization, many Democratic presidential candidates are revising their past views on cannabis. Some are evolving so quickly it can be tough to keep up. So with 420 days left until the 2020 presidential election, here’s a snapshot of where all the top contenders currently stand.

Cannabis is a Defining Issue for Democratic Presidential Candidates

On the issue of cannabis reform, the Democratic party has moved decisively to the left, with most top candidates calling for full nationwide legalization. But there are some holdouts who favor decriminalization over legalization, and a few who have been relatively quiet on the cannabis question.

Bernie Sanders: Bernie is 420’s Best Friend

Bernie Sanders, the Independent senator from Vermont, has the most progressive and pro-cannabis presidential platform of any of the 2020 candidates. Sanders, a self-proclaimed Democratic Socialist, wants to legalize marijuana nationwide. He wants to erase marijuana convictions. And he wants cannabis businesses to be able to finally work with federally-insured banks.

Sen. Sanders, indisputably one of the top three contenders for the Democratic nomination for president, even has an A+ rating from NORML, going back to 2015. For years, Sanders has sponsored a number of cannabis reform bills, including the Marijuana Justice Act, during his tenure in the Senate.

Sanders’ 420-friendly campaign platform isn’t just about weed. His strong stance on cannabis legalization is part of a broader criminal justice reform plan to end the war on drugs, invest in drug treatment centers and support medical cannabis research. And yes, Sanders has inhaled.

Elizabeth Warren: Evolving on Marijuana

In the press, on social media and in her public appearances, Massachusetts Senator and 2020 Democratic frontrunner Elizabeth Warren has stated she supports cannabis legalization. Some of her strongest comments in favor of legalizing cannabis nationwide came in April during a CNN town hall.

But on Warren’s campaign website, the word “marijuana” appears only once, in a paragraph on criminal justice reform. Criminal justice reform “means comprehensive sentencing reform and rewriting our laws to decriminalize marijuana,” Warren’s website reads. Legalization and decriminalization are two completely different policies, and it’s so far unclear which approach a President Warren would adopt.

Under pressure from progressive rivals and a voter base largely in favor of legal cannabis, Warren has tried to make her past record on marijuana reform look stronger than it is. Prior to 2016, Warren opposed general legalization and hesitantly expressed openness to legal medical cannabis. Recently, however, her views on cannabis seem to have shifted. But Warren doesn’t have the record or the consistency that Sanders has on the marijuana issue, despite her public statements.

Joe Biden: Drug War Architect

Joe Biden, whom many polls indicate is leading the pack of 2020 Democratic presidential candidates, has carved out a unique position on cannabis. According to Biden’s official campaign website, his platform would decriminalize the use of cannabis and automatically expunge all prior cannabis use convictions. Biden’s platform also calls for legalizing cannabis for medical purposes and giving states leeway to set their own laws regarding recreational use. Biden would also reclassify cannabis as a Schedule II controlled substance, which would make it much easier for researchers to study.

Despite these views, however, marijuana policy reform advocates aren’t lining up behind Biden. And they’re pointing to his record as the reason why not. For decades, Biden has stood sharply opposed to marijuana legalization. He once tried to pass a bill criminalizing raves. Marijuana policy experts also broadly recognize Biden as the architect of the modern war on drugs. Some even consider Biden more out of step on cannabis than President Trump.

Kamala Harris: From Cop to Marijuana Justice Co-Sponsor

In recent years, Kamala Harris’ stance on marijuana has evolved significantly. In fact, it was as recently as 2018 that the U.S. Senator from California came out in favor of federal cannabis legalization and comprehensive expungement. Most recently, Harris signed on to the MORE Act, a huge bill that would legalize marijuana and allocate federal funds to support entrepreneurs of color in the cannabis industry.

But like other 2020 presidential hopefuls, Harris has been pushed left from rivals with more progressive platforms. And her record on cannabis is anything but 420-friendly. In fact, that record came under attack in a viral moment from the first debate when Tulsi Gabbard zoomed in on the thousands of people Harris locked up for minor cannabis offenses when she was California attorney general. In the past, Harris has adopted much of the lock-em-up mentality of the war on drugs. Now, as a candidate for president, her views have completely reversed.

Pete Buttigieg: Banned Synthetic Cannabinoids

Pete Buttigieg is mayor of South Bend, Indiana and polling just behind Harris at about 5 percent among 2020 Democratic presidential candidates. But unlike many of his rivals in the field, Buttigieg has yet to outline a clear stance on cannabis. Mayor Pete likes to tell a story about a close call with police when he was smoking a joint during his Harvard days, and he connects that tale to statements about privilege and racial disparities in drug enforcement.

Indeed, Buttigieg views reforming failed drug policies as a social justice issue. His public statements and social media posts all appear to support marijuana reform, including legalization. But in terms of direct policy proposals, Buttigieg comes up empty, both as a mayor and a presidential candidate. Buttigieg’s campaign website doesn’t mention marijuana. And as South Bend mayor, he signed no legislation dealing with cannabis (but he did sign a bill banning the sale of synthetic cannabinoids).

Andrew Yang: “I Don’t Love Marijuana”

Andrew Yang has distinguished his campaign platform with a call for universal basic income. But his views on cannabis line up with other candidates who want to end the war on drugs and legalize cannabis. Yang’s official campaign website proposes a three-point marijuana reform policy package.

First, Yang says he will support the full legalization of marijuana at the federal level and remove it from the controlled substances list. Second, Yang’s platform calls for expunging federal marijuana use or possession offenses. And third, Yang wants to identify non-violent drug offenders for probation and even early release.

Adopting a more personal note, Yang says he doesn’t love marijuana and prefers people don’t use it heavily. But he still thinks the current criminalization of cannabis is “stupid and racist” and believes the only path is to proceed with full legalization.

Cory Booker: All About Restorative Justice

Since 2017, New Jersey Senator Cory Booker has been the chief proponent of the Marijuana Justice Act, a comprehensive reform bill that would legalize cannabis nationwide, expunge criminal records and invest in communities impacted most by the war on drugs. In his public appearances, Booker emphasizes the need not just to legalize cannabis but to also repair and rebuild the damage caused by criminalizing it.

But on Cory Booker’s official 2020 campaign website, you won’t find any mention of legalizing marijuana. Instead, Booker’s criminal justice platform calls for decriminalizing marijuana, expunging records and restoring justice to individuals and communities that have been devastated by the drug war. Booker hasn’t clearly addressed the discrepancy between his public support for legalization and his website’s call for decriminalization. In the past, when Booker hasn’t supported marijuana bills, it has been because they haven’t been strong enough on restorative justice.

Beto O’Rourke: Long-Time Legalization Supporter

2020 Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke‘s official campaign platform calls for the federal government to end its prohibition on cannabis. But it doesn’t clarify whether that prohibition should end with decriminalization or full legalization. In an email sent to supporters of his 2020 presidential bid, however, O’Rourke called for federal cannabis legalization as part of a package of sweeping criminal justice reforms.

Like other justice Democrats, O’Rourke is framing marijuana legalization as a way to reduce mass incarceration. It’s a way of presenting the issue that connected strongly with Texas voters, winning O’Rourke election to El Paso City Council and bringing him close to flipping Ted Cruz’ senate seat blue. O’Rourke has a record of consistently supporting progressive drug policy and cannabis legalization.

Julián Castro: Legalize Then Expunge

On the campaign trail, Julián Castro has consistently expressed support for progressive marijuana through the lens of criminal justice reform. Instead of drawing attention to legalization alone, Castro has stressed the need for criminal record expungement and responsible regulation. On other occasions, Castro has been more direct, tweeting after one town hall “Legalize it. Then expunge the records of folks who are in prison for marijuana use.” Typically, expungements apply to people who have already served their sentences, and Castro hasn’t clarified whether he supports amnesty for marijuana offenses or simply misspoke.

Despite public statements and social media posts calling for legalization, Castro’s official campaign website doesn’t outline a definite stance on cannabis policy. So it’s unclear exactly what Castro would pursue at the federal level as president.

Castro has just one federal drug policy action on his record. In 2014, as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development for President Barack Obama, Castro released a memo reminding owners of federal housing facilities that they are required to deny entry to anyone using marijuana, even if they do so legally under state law, such as for medical reasons.

420 Days Until the Most Important Vote of 2020

United States voters’ growing consensus on the issue of marijuana legalization means cannabis could be a make or break issue for the 2020 primaries. Marijuana policy is front and center in the national conversation, and shifts in federal drug laws will shape and define the legal cannabis industry and our criminal justice system for years to come.

The post There Are 420 Days Left Until The 2020 Presidential Election appeared first on High Times.


The Best of Instagram

A version of this post originally appeared in the April, 2019 print issue of High Times. Subscribe here!

Here are 19 excellent weed Instagram accounts we recommend you follow. You’ll find something for everyone on this list, from gorgeous marijuana photography and epic extract videos to hilarious pot memes and trippy art. Follow these accounts before they get deleted!

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How long have you been a Follower of my page? How did you Find out about Me? Where are you From? What’s your DOB and Social?😜Tropicana Cookies Trichomes from @highlifefarmsmi

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@chewberto420
There’s nothing quite like some good old-fashioned pot porn. When we feel the need to appreciate our favorite plant’s beauty, we turn to @chewberto420. The photography featured here is the gold standard for pot pics. Chewberto’s impeccable skill shines through as he captures the beauty of cannabis in expertly shot still lifes. You’ll want to leave yourself plenty of time for a deep dive on this account.

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@wasslaw @wasslaw Little Brother of Pot Brothers at Law wishing you a Safe Saturday Sesh. 👍👍👍👍👍 Photographer: Joe Bryant – @joebryantnyla Creative Director: Karly Hawkins @karlyhawkinsphotographer Makeup/ Hair/ Wardrobe: @katlieberkind💪🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏#STFUnation™ #stayeducatedandmedicated #shutthefuckup💪💪💪💪💪😎😎😎😎😎😎😎 ALWAYS BE RESPECTFUL TO LAW ENFORCEMENT 855 WASSLAW 855 WASSLAW CATCH US ON @CANNABISTALK101 kociradio.com every Wed and Sun at 6pm PST 😁😁😁😁😁😁😁😁 @wasslaw @wasslawdog @joegrande52 @1christopherwright @cannabistalk101 (855) WASSLAW (855) WASSLAW  FOR CONSULTATIONS 😁😁😁😁😁😁 REMEMBER THE SCRIPT™ (25 WORDS) ~ The Script ~ “WHY DID YOU PULL ME OVER?” “I’M NOT DISCUSSING MY DAY” “AM I BEING DETAINED OR AM I FREE TO GO®?” If detained you say, “I INVOKE THE 5TH!” Then you SHUT THE FUCK UP™© 2015 Craig & Marc Wasserman all rights reserved #INVOKETHE5TH then #STFU™ FOLLOW OUR PERSONAL IG PAGES @wasslaw @wasslawdog @dabbinglawyer @potbrothersatlaw (backup page) @thefoul_owl WE ARE NOW ON SNAPCHAT little brother is POTBROTHERATLAW Big brother is WASSLAWDOG #STFUNATION #influencer #tipoftheday  #legalizeit #potbrothersatlaw  #highercontent  #neverconsent #cannabiscommunity #MarijuanaGuestExpert #ExpertGuest #TalkShowExpert #marijuana #MarijuanaTalkShowExpert #medicalmarijuanaattorneys #shutthefuckup #cannabislegalexpert #amibeingdetainedoramifreetogo #imnotdiscussingmyday #whydidyoupullmeover #cannabistalk101 DISCLAIMER – THIS PAGE OFFERS EDUCATIONAL TIPS & INFORMATION PERTAINING TO CALIFORNIA LAWS AND CONSTITUTIONAL & CIVIL RIGHTS WHEN DEALING WITH LAW ENFORCEMENT!

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@pot_brothers_at_law
Cannabis-industry stalwarts @pot_brothers_at_law are well-known to pot enthusiasts, particularly on the West Coast. Their account offers legal information pertaining to pot and allows you to keep up with the bros as they travel the country fighting for cannabis freedom. If you have cannabis legal questions or are looking for licensing info, @pot_brothers_at_law is a highly recommended follow.

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Can’t go wrong when the terps this strong 💦 #TKOreserve ( 📸 @emilyeizen )

A post shared by TKO RESERVE PHOTO GALLERY (@tko.reserve) on

@tko.reserve
A purveyor of quality medical cannabis in the Pacific Northwest, TKO Reserve is a positive and passionate force for the patients of Oregon and Washington State. Featuring photos by company co-founder Allie Beckett (@canna.obscura), @tko.reserve offers a glimpse of the inner workings of an ultra-organic, eco-friendly farm located in one of the country’s most beautiful locales. And for those all about that #farmlife, be sure to check out @tko.oregon.

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Lemon meringue Hce 🍋 from @mpx_us This strain offers uplifting mental effects and sativa-driven energy that encourages physical activity. This strains subtle motivational quality’s and euphoria are great for fatigue and depression 📸: @lukewaynemedia #terpfeed #cannabiscommunity #dabbersdaily #weshouldsmoke #fueledbythc

A post shared by Terps Sauce Diamonds 🍯💎💦 (@terpfeed) on

@terpfeed & @minkloafs
Concentrate lovers, prepare to lose your minds as you embark on a journey to oil overload! The good people of @minkloafs and @terpfeed capture the ever-evolving extract market as you’ve never seen it before. These are seriously epic shots featuring the industry’s best concentrate producers. You will marvel at the scale and quality of the extracts featured on these accounts.

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Midnighters #Kronic #PurpleTarantulas @indulgethc @green_buddha420 @rawlife247

A post shared by K. Kronic (@karl_kronic) on

@karl_kronic
Detroit, MI’s @karl_kronic captures incredible pot shots that will keep you scrolling for more. His photos of twax joints, pot and hash are truly one of a kind. The colors of the product and design of the shot stand out in every pic. Be sure to follow @karl_kronic for some ornate bud shots that will have your mouth watering.

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⁉Joined our Animal Contest with @dutchpassion.official yet? ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ 🌱Strain: White Widow x The Ultimate 🧬Breeder: @dutchpassion.official 👨🏽‍🌾GD Grower: Frbelzebut ✔Source: GrowDiaries.com ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ➖➖➖➖➖➖➖➖➖➖➖⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ 🌤Outdoor🗻Soil🗓Week 3 📏50cm 📊6pH🔆18HRS 💦50%🌡☀82F ➖➖➖➖➖➖➖➖➖➖ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ #growdiaries #growdiary #growjournal #growreport #homegrow #cannabis #growerslove #growerslife #growyourown #growsharelearn #growersunite #weedsnob #weedgram #cannabisculture #cannabiscommunity #cannabissociety #cannabislover #weeddaily #weedsociety #weedgrower #weed420feed #weednation #weedplant #weed #trackyourgrow #mj

A post shared by Grow Diaries (@grow.diaries) on

@grow.diaries
Whether you want to learn more about cultivation or live vicariously through other people’s grows, @grow.diaries is an essential follow. Cultivators around the world post pics of their plants along with all the information about their grow, like strain, source, growing medium, lighting, temperature, humidity level and more. There’s tons of valuable information to be found at @grow.diaries. Follow along with these grows at home and compare the posts to your own garden.

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Angel’s Donna with red bracts. #melfrank #cannabisphotography #cannabis #bracts #marijuana #marijuanaphotography #donna #buds

A post shared by Mel Frank (@melfrank420) on

@melfrank420
Legendary grower, breeder, author and photographer Mel Frank is still producing incredible cannabis after all these years. And lucky for us, he’s still sharing shots of his plants. Follow @melfrank420 for beautiful bud photos and grow tips. Plus, check out his throwback shots of the plants Mel grew in the ’70s and ’80s. His account is a rare and valuable retrospective of modern cannabis cultivation.

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vegan

A post shared by Hazesociety® (@haze_society) on

@haze_society
Keep up with the glorious homemade pot, hash and oil your fellow cannabis enthusiasts are consuming with @haze_society, @hash_society and @rosinsociety. These accounts check all the boxes, whether your interests lie in old-school Moroccan hash, frosty flowers or freshly squished rosin. Give these accounts a follow but prepare to spend a couple hours down the rabbit hole as the variety on display will keep you scrolling.

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🍯⛽🔥

A post shared by dave (@greendotlabs_dave) on

@greendotlabs_dave
Colorado’s Green Dot Labs is unique in that it focuses on cannabis genetics and cultivation exclusively for extraction purposes. Translation? Green Dot knows concentrates. And Green Dot Labs co-founder Dave Malone is the authority on all things extract. His account, @greendotlabs_dave, is a wealth of knowledge featuring incredible photos of cannabis and concentrates. Follow Dave for all the extract info worth knowing.

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Which is the most surprising insect/animal you have seen hang around your plants? 👹💭🌱 #strainhunters #greenhouseseeds #greenhousefeeding #macro #420 #weedporn #trichomes #cannabiscommunity #wakeandbake #macro_love #fullgas

A post shared by Strain Hunters (@strainhunters) on

@strainhunters
The cannabis world lost a legend when strain hunter and breeder Franco Loja tragically passed away in January of 2017. But his spirit lives on in the work done by Strain Hunters. Arjan Roskam of Green House Coffeeshops & Seed Company continues to travel the world seeking out cannabis genetics and documenting his excursions, which have advanced medical-cannabis research and led to any number of incredible new strains and mind-bending hash. Follow @strainhunters for an inside look at these epic expeditions.

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Product testing at RAW be like👨‍🚀🚀 • #OneGiantConeForMankind #RAWlife #RAWlife247 Video coming soon 😂💨💨💨💨

A post shared by RAW Founder Josh Kesselman (@rawkandroll) on

@rawkandroll
Raw Rolling Papers founder Josh Kesselman lives large and you can share in the fun through his official Instagram account. Stay up on all the latest Raw is doing around the world and marvel at the joy Josh squeezes out of life at all times. You can follow Raw’s official account (@rawlife247) and you can also read more about Josh in the April issue of High Times.

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This was one of the best interviews I have done so far. It was a refreshing change from what I usually hear. Several of her inquiries came from the unique perspective of a Black woman in the industry. And since we did it via video, I was able to see all the melanin magic radiating off her skin. #representationmatters . Thanks babe! Reposted from @cannalady1986 – Get your booty over to #ClearAsSmoke blog to meet this amazing #Queen, @thedankduchess ! She’s a hash maker and cannabis information extraordinaire! https://clearassmokeblog.wordpress.com/2019/05/29/wcw-the-dank-duchess/?preview=true (Link in bio) #stonershawty #BlackBlogger #WomenInCannabisWednesday #cannabis #cannabisheals #health #medicine #420 #THC #CBD #physician #Georgia #M4MM #advocate #plant #lunchbreak ___ . . . . ♕🌱🌱🌱🌱🌱🌱🌱🌱♕ #MyNicheisHashish. #Cannabis flower fuels my power.  Rolling logs and blowing fog #AllWeedEverything Today is a great day to be awesome. ♕🌱🌱🌱🌱🌱🌱🌱🌱♕ . . . . ___ #theduchtouch #consultant #ganjagyal #art #artisanal #beauty #TheDankDuchess

A post shared by The Dank Duchess® (@thedankduchess) on

@thedankduchess
This hashmaker/cultivator’s account exemplifies the high life. You’ll find plenty of fascinating photos of incredible-looking hash and buds as @thedankduchess offers you a peek at her glam cannabis lifestyle. Plenty of video is mixed in with interesting photos representing all aspects of the industry. There’s something for everyone here.

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Aqua© by @sanogardens • A highly purified live resin. Cleaner taste, smoother finish. • @terpfactory @murphymurri • #Sanogardens #liveresin #CRCTek #aqua #liveresin #claritycounts #cannabisphotography #davesnothereman

A post shared by Its me Dave…I got the stuff (@daves_not_h3r3_man) on

@daves_not_h3r3_man
If high-end art photos of pot and hash is your thing, look no further than @daves_not_h3r3_man. This account features mind-warping close-ups of trichomes, sauce, diamonds and much more. Well-lit and impeccably framed, you’ll want to order prints of these photographs. @daves_not_h3r3_man has plenty of video too, so get good and stoned, give him a follow and make an evening of it.

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@saltglass x @melitzartglass photo by @salteyelens #bestofglass

A post shared by Best of Glass (@bestofglass) on

@bestofglass
When done properly by trained and knowledgeable craftsmen and women, glass can be a mind-blowing medium. The unbelievably intricate designs and intense attention to detail found in the handblown glass pieces featured by @bestofglass are jaw-dropping. And when you remind yourself these pieces are also functional, it’s all the more impressive. The art of glass blowing is alive and well, and @bestofglass is proof!

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Light up for the last night of #Hanukkah! Menorah by #cannabisfeminist @jackiesponseller

A post shared by Cannabis Feminist (@cannabisfeminist) on

@cannabisfeminist
Women are a major force in all aspects of the cannabis industry. For a female-centric view of the marijuana world, we highly recommend @cannabisfeminist. This account features the female growers, business owners and leaders shaping the industry. Keep up on all the latest events and products through a feminist lens with @cannabisfeminist.

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Movement is a fundamental part of life. Whether you enjoy boxing, #dancing, or a nice #hike, #recovery should be a part of your routine. . For me, after putting in 12 to 15 hard rounds of high-intensity #boxing, I’ve exhausted my body and need the proper #relief and recovery. . This is one of the many reasons why I created Pain Tamer — one of my seven outcome-based pre-rolls. . Look, I only release products that are of the highest quality and if it’s going in my body, you bet your ass I’ve done extensive research. I’ve tested the product at the highest levels and in turn, formulated the most sophisticated and science-backed pre-roll on the planet. . How is @bigmikesblends different? . – 15 years of #cannabinoid research conducted by a team of 25+ world-class Ph.D scientist – As many as six top-shelf #strains in each #preroll – Laboratory tested in pre- and post-production to ensure #purity, #potency and standardization – 36+ years of cultivation mastery – And, a continued mission of Making #Cannabis an Acceptable and Everyday part of Healing Humanity . I’m excited for you to experience my labor of love, @bigmikesblends. Go to the link in my bio now to find out where they are available.

A post shared by BigMike (@bigmike) on

@bigmike
Advanced Nutrients has become synonymous with cultivation success, as has the nutrient company’s founder, Big Mike. Travel the world with @bigmike as he extols the virtues of his nutes, teaches people to grow and lives big. You never know where Big Mike will end up next, and you won’t want to miss it. Follow @bigmike and keep up with his adventures. And check out @advancednutrientsofficial for more great cannabis content.

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INFUSED ICE CREAM for #nationalicecreamday! Who else is infusing??!? 😛Homemade Cherry Vanilla Mint Chip #icecream #infused with peppermint @bhangnm shavings. Confetti Sugar Cookies courtesy of @themilkshop_la 7.5mg THC! #milk #summertreats #cannabis #jeffthe420chef #cannabisporn #weedporn #cannabisculture #cannabiscuisine #cannabiscommunity #cannachef #edibles

A post shared by JeffThe420Chef🏳️‍🌈 (@jeffthe420chef) on

@jeffthe420chef
Chef and author @jeffthe420chef makes for an excellent guide to the rapidly expanding marijuana-edibles market. His account features delectable cannabis-infused dishes for every palate, from sweet (Cannabutter Toffee Chocolate Chip Cookie Balls with 1:1 THC/CBD ratio) to savory (a wake-and-bake breakfast of pastrami-wrapped salmon and poached eggs with 10 milligrams THC per serving). Follow @jeffthe420chef and keep up with the latest in the world of edibles.

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Blazin sum amazin with the boyz @thesmokersclub #WorthlessGenetics #terps #playingwithfire #topshelflife #onlysmokethefinest #cannabis #cannabiscommunity #hightimes #marijuana #maryjane #ganja #ganjagirls #weed #wfayo #420 #710 #chronic #joints #blunts #dabs #doinks #Iwillmarrymary #medicalmarijuana #pipes #smokeweedeveryday #stonersociety #cali #michigan #oregon #wedontsmokethesame

A post shared by Worthless Genetics (@worthlessgenetics) on

@worthlessgenetics
Tired of all the fancy cannabis genetics and smoking accessories presented by professional, high-end companies? Well then, @worthlessgenetics might be perfect for you. The self-professed “creators of TreeStump OG, Lawn Clippings Kush, Sunset Pervert & master growers of Kansas City Ditch Weed” cater to the, shall we say, less-sophisticated cannabis enthusiast. And it’s hilarious.

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@slimesunday via @popmyeyes

A post shared by IFYOUHIGH (@ifyouhigh) on

@ifyouhigh
This one is pretty self-explanatory. @ifyouhigh is the place to go… if you’re high. This account features plenty of engrossing images and videos that become even more so… if you’re high. From trippy to funny to strange, @ifyouhigh has enough content to entertain for days. Just try to stop scrolling! You can’t! Assuming, of course, that you’re high…

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