Oklahoma reporta más de 140,000 pacientes aprobados para marihuana medicinal

La Autoridad de Marihuana Médica de Oklahoma también informó un alto número de cuidadores y cultivadores aprobados.

Los residentes de Oklahoma aprobaron una medida el verano pasado para legalizar la marihuana medicinal. Ahora el tratamiento está en una demanda abrumadora.

La Autoridad de Marihuana Médica de Oklahoma (OMMA) dijo esta semana que, a partir del lunes, ha aprobado 146,381 licencias para que los pacientes reciban cannabis medicinal, junto con 958 licencias otorgadas a los cuidadores. Además, la agencia ha aprobado 3,397 licencias para cultivadores, 1,605 licencias para dispensarios y 905 licencias para procesadores.

Para poner esos números en una perspectiva ligeramente diferente: OMMA ha inscrito a más del 3.5% de la población del estado como pacientes. Según Tulsa World, la tasa de participación del estado lo ubica entre los 33 estados del país que han legalizado el cannabis medicinal.

También es significativamente más alto de lo que los funcionarios estatales anticiparon para el primer año del programa. Después de que se aprobó la medida en la boleta electoral en junio pasado, según informó World, los funcionarios esperaban que aproximadamente 80,000 pacientes se registraran en el primer año.

Karen O’Keefe, directora de políticas estatales para el Proyecto de Políticas de Marihuana, dijo al periódico que cree que Oklahoma “tiene uno de los mejores programas de marihuana medicinal en el país en términos de pacientes que se alivian rápidamente sin un montón de obstáculos para ellos y sus médicos”.

“Creo que ayudó que hubo un proceso de solicitud no competitivo”, dijo O’Keefe. “No tiene el gobierno decidiendo cuántas farmacias pueden operar. En su mayor parte, dejamos que el libre mercado decida ”.

Los votantes de Oklahoma dieron luz verde al programa hace un año cuando aprobaron la Pregunta 788 del Estado por un margen de 57% a 43%. Pero hubo importantes desacuerdos en la legislatura y amenazaron la amplitud del programa de cannabis medicinal del estado. Semanas después de la votación, la Junta de Salud de Oklahoma aprobó reglas que habrían prohibido la venta de productos de marihuana fumables en los dispensarios, y también habría requerido que un farmacéutico con licencia estuviera presente en los dispensarios.

Los defensores de la pregunta 788 del Estado protestaron, argumentando que los votantes apoyaron la medida con el entendimiento de que la marihuana fumable estaría disponible para la prescripción. Jason Lowe, un demócrata en la casa del estado de Oklahoma, dijo que el Departamento de Salud “promulgó una ley que socava a una de las personas con mayor participación en las elecciones en la historia del estado y silencia la voz de los habitantes de Oklahoma en todo este estado”.

La crítica y el espectro de las demandas pueden haber sido lo que motivó a Mary Fallin, entonces gobernadora republicana del estado, a firmar un conjunto revisado de reglas que no prohibían los productos fumables o que requerían un farmacéutico en el lugar.

La ley permite a los habitantes de Oklahoma mayores de 18 años solicitar una licencia con la Autoridad de Marihuana Médica de Oklahoma luego de recibir una nota de su médico; Tras la aprobación, los pacientes deben pagar alrededor de $ 100 por la licencia.

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How to Trip Well With LSD

The first time that I took LSD, I accepted three and a half tabs on my tongue from a man dressed up in a monkey suit. Despite the hot summer weather, I raided the winter wardrobe of the house I was partying at because I was surely meant to go outside and explore Narnia. It was a profoundly healing and life-changing experience—even though my travel plans were put in jeopardy when I was still tripping two days later.

I did a lot of things right that night—I took the LSD with friends in a space I was comfortable with. I also did a lot of things wrong—I didn’t prepare or consider the consequences of consuming such a large dose. 

Shelby Hartman, Editor-in-Chief of the psychedelic magazine DoubleBlind says we’re currently in a psychedelic renaissance. Denver recently decriminalized psilocybin and Oakland followed by decriminalizing psilocybin and other plant-based psychedelics.

“It strikes me as natural, in a time when the tangible resources of both the planet and the economy feel stretched so thin, that people would be reaching again for a door that might open onto more profound explorations of internal resources like consciousness and meaning,” says writer, performer, and “psychedelic punk” Jason Stoneking.

Times of unrest, coupled with the knowledge gained from legalizing cannabis, seems to cause many to reconsider Reagan-era “Just say no” thinking.

“People are starting to challenge this idea that drugs that were illegal were “bad” or unhealthy. People are getting more critical about why certain drugs are illegal,” says Sheila Vakharia PhD., a researcher at Drug Policy Alliance.

She has a point. Perhaps despite the fellow Federal I scheduling of cannabis, you’ve found that adding the plant to your regimen has drastically improved your life… and now you’re curious about what other psychedelic drugs can do.

Should you choose to use LSD, here is harm reduction-based information on the drug so you can have the most enjoyable time possible. 

What is the legal status of LSD?

Swiss scientist Albert Hofmann first created LSD in 1938 from lysergic acid, a chemical from the fungus ergot. Hofmann later discovered the drug’s hallucinogenic properties in 1943. Since 1971 the government lists LSD as a Schedule I drug, just like cannabis. This scheduling means that the DEA says LSD has a high potential for abuse with no known medical benefits. 

Such legal restrictions and therefore lack of research, have lead to mass misinformation about LSD. According to Mitchell Gomez, the executive director of DanceSafe, an organization predominantly known for their on-set testing sites at electronic music events, in their work to keep LSD and other psychedelic use as safe as possible, deprogramming inaccurate and outdated knowledge can be trickier than fighting harm caused by the substance itself. 

“We teach people how to be safer about their substance use, and maximize the benefits they get from their substance use, and educating the public about how many harms they associate with drug use is actually due to drug prohibition,” Gomez says. “Most of what we do is actually prohibition harm reduction, not drug harm reduction. These are harms that with legal, regulated markets would not be a concern.”

Is LSD dangerous? 

Experts agree that LSD is an extremely safe chemical. 

“In terms of physiological safety, there are very few things out there in the world that are as physiologically non-problematic as LSD. We don’t have a single documented physiological death from LSD ever,” Gomez says. “That includes people accidentally took upwards of 1000 doses.”

Apparently the urban legend of someone consuming an entire bottle of liquid LSD is real.

Vakharia confirms that based on the research available, a very small portion of hallucinogenic drug users develop a substance use disorder. Of course, due to federal funding restrictions, we need more research. Most negative LSD experiences or injury come from what experts refer to as behavioral risks, as psychedelics can trigger pre-existing mental illness, in particular, according to Gomez, people with a family history of schizophrenia or bipolar disorder.

Even if you don’t have any mental health concerns, our state of mind while taking LSD can color your experience. “Going through a bad time? Break-up? Maybe you don’t want to use LSD, it tends to bring out the demons,” says LSD user and photographer Pedro. 

How much LSD should I take?

While I actually loved being on three and a half tabs of acid for the first time, people usually recommend starting with half a tab.

“Start with half a tab and keep the other tab somewhere you’re not going to lose it. LSD can be disorienting. Wait for two to three hours and if you feel like you need to take more, you always can,” Hartman advises. 

Since acid is not regulated, blotter papers may not be equally dispersed on tabs. Even if you can handle a high dose, it’s a good idea to have an idea what you’re in for as LSD lasts longer than other psychedelics such as mushrooms. 

“You can expect to be tripping for at least eight hours if you take half a tab or more. Make sure as soon as the substance hits your tongue that you look at a clock, because you’re going to lose perception of time, and I’m telling you, six hours [can] feel like an eternity [that’s] never going to end, so you want to see how many hours you have left,” Hartman says.

Remember that you can always take more, so see how a half tab feels, and consume more as desired. 

Where should I take LSD?

The best thing you can do to prevent a bad trip is to cultivate a space in which you feel happy and safe. As psychedelics both magnify the senses and foster community, LSD has found a natural home at music festivals and similar events. However, some users recommend starting smaller for your first time. 

“Doing it at an event where you’ve spent a lot of money to be at, like a music festival abroad, is a risk as the first time,” says Marvin, a regular LSD user. “Gardens and parks with your friends are good; I’d recommend at home with lots of good music to listen through to,” he suggests.

In addition to starting slow, share the moment with people you trust. Friend groups often trip together and designate one person as the sober trip-sitter. “Make sure you take it with someone you trust. If it’s your first time, consider taking it with a sitter. Set an intention; treat your body well,” Hartman says. 

How do I know what I’m taking is LSD? 

A common fear regarding drugs such as LSD, which do not always have the same identifiability as say psilocybin mushroom, is that they are not the drug they claim to be. It’s always a good idea to get your LSD from someone you know and trust. The fear-mongering around LSD may misrepresent the likelihood of what you have is fake, but it’s still worthwhile to do your due diligence. DanceSafe offers drug testing, including LSD, at events across the U.S. and Canada. They do not test for purity, but for identification, or to see if your drug is what it claims to be. 

Gomez says some of what people fear their LSD might be hiding is usually not misrepresented, as LSD, only similar in appearance, such as Carfentanilm, an opioid. 

“Carfentanil has shown up on blotters but it’s more expensive than acid,” Gomez says. There are also drugs such as 25I-NBOMe which are sold as LSD and, as of 2013 data, caused at least 19 deaths. They also cause a long-lasting trip, but a jittery one, rather than the psychedelic effect of real LSD, which is a tryptamine derivative just like psilocybin (in magic mushrooms) or DMT (in ayahuasca). 

You can order a DanceSafe at home testing kit in addition to obtaining your LSD through a tried and tested source. 

Does LSD interact with prescription medications?

If you’re one of the one in six Americans who takes prescription drugs, you may have read online forums with conflicting information on how SSRIs and other medications may or may not affect an LSD trip. Unfortunately, in addition to limited federal funding in general, when research is done on drugs like LSD, those with mental health issues are left out of the study. Still, the internet is dotted with users saying that an antidepressant affected their trip. 

“We do know that LSD works on serotonin neurotransmitters, so certain kinds of medications that people take are serotonin specific,” Vakharia says. “Given that LSD works on the same neurotransmitters, I would say that there will probably be potential for some interaction there. This is also me purely speculating.” Vakharia says. 

There is also the consideration that those experiencing an out of the ordinary trip while on mental health medication may actually be experiencing enhanced underlying conditions the pills treat.

“The claims of SSRIs causing an issue with LSD are not super well documented. I tend to think that a lot of those cases is just exacerbating existing mental illness. I’m personally very skeptical,” Gomez says. As we have so much anecdotal evidence of LSD improving mental well-being, it would be rad if the government allocated funds to get to the bottom of this.

“I think the scheduling of LSD and other drugs have been really unfortunate for people who want to do research and learn more about these substances,” Vakharia says. “It creates these undue barriers for researchers who want to learn more and do this work.” 

So in addition to tripping well by reviewing your medical history, mood, setting and snagging a testing kit, stay abreast of your local laws to help more US citie broaden their laws surrounding psychedelics. A reluctance to change with the times not only hinders individuals, but the Universe at large.

“There is great research coming out of Switzerland and different parts of the world so it also puts the US behind. If we make it hard for researchers to do this work, we’re also not at the cutting edge, and I think that’s a shame for everyone,” Vakharia says.

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Dig Ganja and Reggae? Here’s How to Support Jamaican Cannabis

The colors red, gold, and green cover the white stoner’s clothes and decorate the dispensaries he frequents. Folks familiar with reggae or Caribbean culture may have heard the three colors also referred to as “Ites, Green, and Gold” as Jamaican artist Johnny Clarke sang. While these colors are commonly mistaken for the Jamaican flag, they are actually the flag of Ethiopia, claimed by Rastafari for its connection to Haile Selassie, Emperor of Ethiopia between 1930 and 1974, whom Rastafarians revere as a prophet and incarnation of Jah, or god, on Earth. Even if the name Selassie is foreign to you, you likely already know a speech he gave, as sung by Bob Marley in the 1976 song “War.” The American and Canadian cannabis industries are soaked in Jamaican ganja culture, but so far, we have yet to pay them for it. 

“Jamaica is being taken advantage of,” says Dr. Lakisha Jenkins, founder of Jenasis, a partnership enterprise producing all agricultural commodities including cannabis. “All these companies are coming here, from mostly Canada, creating companies, exporting back to Canada, and going public on the Canadian stock market. It’s not helping Jamaica at all, not even a little bit,” Dr. Jenkins says. 

Rastafarians have always used cannabis sacramentally, but until the government decriminalized the plant in 2015, faced mass persecution and jail time. Jamaica’s ganja history is marked by what Rastafari refer to as “Bad Friday,” an incident in 1963 in which Rastafarians protested police harassment near a police station in Montego Bay. The situation turned violent, and the police killed eight Rastafarians. “Because Rastafari are a anti-colonial movement, Rastafarians are targeted by the state,” says Rastafarian activist Ras Iyah V. 

Now, under the Alternative Development Programme, or ADP, previously illicit farms can transition to the legal market and supply Jamaican and Canadian companies with medical marijuana. Possession under two ounces is a ticketed offense, and Rastas are free to grow ganja and use it for religious purposes. There are hopes that Jamaica could bring in as much as $50 billion within the next decade by entering the global market. However, the nation faces many roadblocks. Ironically, one hindrance into entering the global economy is the exact reason we’re having this conversation — Jamaican’s legendary ganja culture. 

“The Jamaican cannabis industry is slowly moving forward. They have been taking their time in terms of how they regulate the industry. There was a lot of effort put into attracting foreign investment,” says Dr. Andre Haughton, a Senator in the Upper House of Parliament and senior lecturer at the University of the West Indies. “The locals who gave Jamaica that brand name, have been predominantly left out. It is a competition between the emerging medical cannabis industry and the traditional ganja industry,” Dr. Haughton says. “We have to stop vilifying ganja and realize it is a necessary complement to the reggae music and our culture, and this is what the world appreciates us for.” 

Dr. Haughton is one of many Jamaicans working hard to ensure that the local policies reflect and protect Jamaican culture. There are enough vultures off the island to deal with.

Like most predominantly Black places, white folks often mistake Jamaican’s economic struggles as local ignorance. Issues such as the high cost of electricity, which makes hydroponic growing methods difficult, or the limited number of manufacturing facilities exist because of colonialism — and not because Jamaicans need to be taught how to grow and sell cannabis. This becomes even more problematic when white folks come to Jamaica to “fix” the cannabis market without ensuring that the money made filters back into the Jamaican economy, and thus not only reinforces a colonialist cycle, but often fail. 

“I have seen Canadian growers come to Jamaica and bring greenhouses, their plants, their pots, and their soil. The plants don’t tend to perform that well,” says Dr. Machel Emanuel, a researcher in the Department of Life Sciences at the University of the West Indies. Noting the specific attributes of cultivating cannabis within a tropical climate, Dr. Emanuel says this is why the Jamaican cannabis industry needs experienced indigenous farmers rather than a foreigner. 

“[The legal cannabis industry] can be a continuation of slavery and colonization if not handled in the proper way with Jamaican people becoming the labor force, rather than the wealth going in the pocket of foreigners and even in [that of] Jamaican rich people,” Iyah V says. 

There are Americans and Canadians who live in Jamaica and are working to make the path to entering the international market easier by reducing red tape rather than reducing Jamaica’s economy. 

“I don’t have anything against investors coming in,” Iyah V says. “The problem that I have is why are they coming in? What is it that they want to achieve? How do they want to relate to the Jamaican traditional ganja farmers? It’s a matter if they want to exploit or people or partner with our people.” 

Jamaica welcomes outside help; they simply wish to retain ownership over their culture and to avoid additional exploitation. 

“My life and work in Jamaica regarding cannabis would be to help to organize the supply chain and to create a system where we contribute positively to the GDP of Jamaica and actively change the economic position of citizens,” Dr. Jenkins says. This plan of action involves working with JAMPRO, an Agency of the Government of Jamaica’s Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries (MICAF) that facilitates investment and exports, MICAF directly, and the Jamaica Agricultural Society to ensure farmers have access to land and an easy registration process. 

“They don’t need to reinvent the wheel they’ve been doing this. Let us help you do what you do and be the best at it because your success is our success, at the end of the day it’s a symbiotic relationship,” Dr. Jenkins says. “I don’t tell a professional how to do their job.” 

Jamaica is not a retail-centric market. Dispensaries exist, but as so many citizens grow their own, or get ganja from farmer friends, locals are likely to leave dispensaries to the tourists and enjoy Jamaica’s signature sun grown Sativa in a more affordable and accessible manner. Jamaica is not the perfect place to grow cannabis. There is clay in the soil. Hurricanes strike. Access to water supply is more difficult and expensive than in the U.S. and Canada. But you can grow cannabis year-round in Jamaica as it’s close to a 12/12 light cycle. Micro-climates in the hidden mountains and valleys of the tropical island create strains with signature cannabinoid profiles. Jamaica’s goal is to become a bulk ingredient manufacturer in the export market with this plethora of cannabis. 

“While everyone is focusing on isolating constituents CBD and THC, we need to be focusing on full spectrum whole plant medicine. There’s no place to get that better than from Jamaica,” Dr. Jenkins says. 

Cole Phillips, Director of Agronomy and Cultivation with Jenasis, predicts Jamaica exporting outdoor flower as oil. Phillips moved to Jamaica from Canada five years ago. 

“Jamaica is synonymous with cannabis just as it is with reggae. Jamaica already has the biggest brand. There are other countries in an equatorial area that have similar climates that may have rich soils and can do it for a similar cost, but they don’t have a culture that has such a rich history in cannabis. That is something Jamaica has that sets us apart from everybody,” he says.

“It’s the reason why I want to be here. I’m trying to be at the forefront of helping Jamaican farmers get their product to a level where they can make a profit off of it and enter an international market.”

The thought of a Jamaican spliff (in Jamaica, this term is synonymous for joint and need not contain tobacco) evokes the image of a sungrown Sativa. It’s not as intense in THC levels as bud from a California indoor farm, but that’s not always what you’re after. 

“If you’re going to compete in a global marketplace, then you must compete with your niche. Jamaica’s niche is that nice smooth mellow outdoor Sativa that so many millions of people travel to Jamaica for,” Dr. Haughton says. 

There is work left, certainly, but within the next five to ten years if all goes as planned, you can expect to see Jamaican cannabis on the international market. Rather than bud grown in the Emerald Triangle but wrapped in a Rastafarian flag go for the actual ganja. While bigger and bolder has become en vogue with cannabis, there are times which one should relax on island time with equatorial island bud. 

“Jamaica already has ganja culture. When the export market opens, then you’ll see Jamaican-grown that any avid cannabis connoisseur would be eager to try. Once we reach that level of quality assurance, safety. and ethical and moral values, Jamaica could be a forceful player internationally,” Dr. Emanuel says.

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Founder of Indianapolis’ First Church of Cannabis Running for Governor of Indiana

Bill Levin, the founder of the Indianapolis First Church of Cannabis, announced on Monday that he is running for governor of Indiana. Levin will seek the nomination of the state’s Libertarian Party in his bid for the statehouse, according to a report in local media.

The legalization of cannabis will be a central theme of Levin’s campaign for governor. Currently, all cannabis products with the exception of CBD, which was legalized last year, are illegal under Indiana State law.

Levin said in a phone interview with High Times that he is running for governor because he believes that he can win.

“It’s real simple,” he said. “It’s love and human compassion versus greed and selfishness. It’s an easy win. Our state needs love, compassion, and good health right now.”

Politics As Usual Thwarts Legalization

According to Levin, the people of Indiana support cannabis legalization. Prohibition would have ended long ago if the question had been put to the voters, he believes. If elected, he plans to seek a path to cannabis legalization, either through the legislature or by giving the people the power to make the decision through a statewide election.

“If we were a ballot initiative state we would’ve had cannabis legal 10 years ago,” he said. “But unfortunately, the GOP controls the state and nobody is talking about ballot initiatives. When I’m elected governor, ballot initiative is one of the things I am going to put on point. We will have it so the people of this state can decide what their future is, rather than the corporations who buy our politicians.”

Levin said he will also make industrial pollution and Indiana’s environment an issue in the race for governor.

“We’re the bottom of the barrel when it comes to polluted states,” said Levin. “We’re number 48. We’re poisoning our people. Our rivers, our air quality are poisoning people here and our state is letting these companies run.”

Church Challenged Prohibition with Lawsuit

Levin founded the First Church of Cannabis in Indianapolis in 2015 in response to the state’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act, a bill widely seen as an attack on LGBTQ rights that was signed into law by Vice President Mike Pence, who was governor of Indiana at the time.

After registering with the I.R.S. as a nonprofit organization, the First Church of Cannabis sued for the legalization of cannabis under the RFRA, claiming that the prohibition of marijuana violated the religious freedom of the church’s members to use cannabis sacramentally. The suit was unsuccessful, however, and a final appeal in the case was denied in January.

The Libertarian Party of Indiana will hold its statewide convention next spring. In 2016, Libertarian candidate Rex Bell ran for governor of Indiana, pulling in 1.34 percent of the votes cast in the contest.

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Cannabis Oil With Low THC Now Legal to Possess in Kansas

It’s no plan for legalization, but it’s something; as of July 1, qualified patients will be able to use low THC cannabis oil in Kansas. Claire and Lola’s Law a.k.a. House Bill 2244 does not allow for legal sale or production of the oil, but individuals and families who meet requirements will be able to leave the state to purchase it, then come back home to administer the medicine. 

Prior to the law’s passage, Kansas was one of only four states without a comprehensive recreational or medical marijuana program — despite the fact that 18 pieces of medical marijuana legislation have been introduced since 2006. 

The bill technically gives patients an affirmative defense, to be utilized should they be charged with a drug-related crime for taking the CBD oil. Additionally, HB 2244 bars the state’s Department of Children and Families from removing a kid from a family that uses CBD oil. 

Claire and Lola’s Law was named for two sisters with microcephaly, cerebral palsy, and dwarfism. Older sister Claire Hartley died in December, and her parents were convinced that low THC cannabis oil was a must-try to save little sis Lola from a similar fate. “I know it would have helped her with some of the struggles in her life,” the Hartley father Scott testified to a House committee in March.

The Hartley family will now be able to make the seven-hour trip to Colorado in order to obtain the medicine for Lola. 

The law was passed by the House of Representatives in March by a vote of 89-35, and got the go-ahead from the state’s Senate on Monday. It stipulates that patients need a doctor’s letter from the last 15 months that states that they have a debilitating medical condition. Testing of the product — limited to cannabis oil with a THC content of 5 percent or lower — will be required. 

HB 2244 met resistance from the Kansas Bureau of Investigations, as well as some lawmakers who voted against it because the law simply did not go far enough. “Why wouldn’t we have done something that’s actually a solution to the problem instead of something that’s just a band-aid or something?” asked House Majority Leader Dan Hawkins. 

Indeed, the state has been actually regressing on some marijuana issues, raising the chances of arrest and conviction for drug offenses. In 2018, the Kansas Supreme Court ruled that it was unnecessary for police to seek a warrant to enter a house if they could smell marijuana from outside the domicile. Previously, the state had allowed officers to search automobiles if the scent of cannabis was apparent. 

Former marijuana executive and attorney Barry Grissom recently declared his intention to run for US Senate. But perhaps the youth will be the ones to change things. In 2017, a 16 year old named Jack Bergeson launched a campaign to run for governor in the state. His platform included higher wages for teachers, a freeze on tax increases for low income salaries — and marijuana legalization. 

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Cory Booker ‘Disappointed’ Cannabis Legalization Not a Topic of Democratic Debates

Presidential candidate Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey said last Wednesday night that he was ‘disappointed’ that the subject of marijuana legalization did not come up during the Democratic Party debates held this week. The party conducted two separate rounds of debates on Wednesday and Thursday to accommodate the broad field of Democratic candidates. Twenty candidates sparred over the two evenings, 10 each night, while several other Democratic hopefuls failed to qualify to participate in the contests under party rules.

“I am absolutely disappointed that wasn’t an issue when you see voters turning out this issue all over the country,” Booker said after the first round of the debates on Wednesday.

Booker has been an outspoken advocate for reform of the nation’s marijuana laws, believing that cannabis legalization is an essential part of broader criminal justice reform he is seeking. The junior senator from New Jersey is also calling for the reversal of past convictions for marijuana offenses.

“I would like to see the federal government end it’s making marijuana illegal and pull back and let the states do what they want,” said Booker. “But I am also one of those people that thinks you cannot talk about marijuana legalization if in the same sentence you’re not talking about expunging the records of those Americans who have criminal convictions for doing things that two of the last three presidents admitted to doing.”

Booker Touts His ‘Marijuana Justice Act’

Booker said he was frustrated that the subject of cannabis legalization was not discussed at the debates, characterizing himself “as a guy who has one of the boldest bills” on the issue.

In February, Booker reintroduced the Marijuana Justice Act in the U.S. Senate, a bill that would legalize cannabis at the federal level. He originally introduced the bill in the Senate in 2017, but the measure was never taken up for a vote. Booker said in a statement announcing the re-introduction of the bill that cannabis prohibition has had a devastating effect on minority communities.

“The War on Drugs has not been a war on drugs, it’s been a war on people, and disproportionately people of color and low-income individuals,” Booker said. “The Marijuana Justice Act seeks to reverse decades of this unfair, unjust, and failed policy by removing marijuana from the list of controlled substances and making it legal at the federal level.”

The Marijuana Justice Act has received strong support in the Senate, including from his colleagues and fellow Democratic Party presidential candidates Sens. Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren, Kirsten Gillibrand, Michael Bennet, and Bernie Sanders, all of whom also participated in this week’s debates.

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Gene Simmons Opens Marijuana Dispensary Called “Kisspensary”

KISS founder and bassist Gene Simmons has come a long way from comparing cannabis to heroin. In 2018, Simmons joined the board of Canadian cannabis retailer and producer Invictus MD as “Chief Evangelist Officer.” And now, he’s gearing up to open a KISS-branded dispensary that will feature an exclusive KISS cannabis strain, “KISS Kush.” And while Simmons says his KISSPENSARY is a natural outgrowth of his change of heart regarding the health and wellness benefits of cannabis, he also admits it’s all about the Benjamins. “I see how much money there is to be made,” Simmons said. “It’s going to be very exciting.”

KISSPENSARY To Open July 4 in Los Angeles

Rock legend Gene Simmons has long-been outspoken against the use of alcohol and drugs. Always a controversial character, especially when it came to cannabis, it was ultimately science that transformed Simmons’ views on marijuana. “I was one of those people who said cannabis is the same thing as heroin,” Simmons told High Times in 2018. “But it’s not! We’re told by researchers every single day that there is not only medical value in cannabis, but even miraculous results from cannabis-based products.”

Simmons admits, however, that his entrepreneurial venture into the cannabis industry began as a financial play. Now, however, the KISS bassist is an outspoken advocate for legalization and education around medical and recreational marijuana. Today, his association with marijuana is something he’s proud of—and something he plans to capitalize on.

Simmons’ KISSPENSARY, set to open July 4 in Los Angeles, adds to his already diverse portfolio of business ventures, some successful, and some definitely not. “With every purchase [at KISSPENSARY], people will receive a copy of Carnival of Souls and a Peter Criss head coffee mug which we have tons of from our failed KISS Coffeehouse in Myrtle Beach,” Simmons said.

And in addition to peddling merchandise from other ventures, KISSPENSARY shoppers will have no shortage of options when it comes to KISS-themed cannabis products. From KISS bongs shaped like band members’ heads to KISS rolling papers, KISS grinders and KISS vape pens, KISSPENSARY will have it all. But the highlight, for Simmons, is the dispensary-exclusive strain, KISS Kush.

Gene Simmons: From Anti-Pot Zealot to Industry Advocate

These days, you won’t hear Gene Simmons say a bad word about cannabis. But it wasn’t always that way. The internet is awash with incredible quotes from Simmons about his views on cannabis. He once told his kids he would cut them out of his will if he ever caught them smoking weed. He called people who consumed cannabis “stoners” and “losers.” Simmons, on the other hand, “never rolled anything, smoked, ever been drunk, nothing in my mouth save Aspirin maybe,” Simmons said in 2018. “I’m straight, and always have been.”

Now, however, Simmons recognizes that he was “arrogant and uninformed” about the safety and effectiveness of cannabis, especially for medical uses. He’s even changed his tune about recreational consumption. The KISS bassist still hasn’t admitted to smoking any cannabis himself, let alone his exclusive brand of weed, KISS Kush. In California’s competitive cannabis market, will Simmons’ previous views on weed and naked financial opportunism turn off cannabis consumers looking for an authentic experience? When asked how his KISSPENSARY will set itself apart from other cannabis retailers, Simmons had a simple reply: “Because, as you all know, KISS is awesome.”

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Spectrum King LED: The Ins and Outs of Point Source Lighting

With so many lighting options available for indoor gardening, it can get confusing at times. Today, let’s talk about point source lighting. Considering most indoor gardeners come from a high pressure sodium (HPS) lights background, and therefore have used bulbs to light their plants, they’ve been using point source lighting all along.

When LED grow lights first appeared in the marketplace, many growers felt let down by them when they replaced their HPS grow lights because those are a very intense point source lights, while the early LED fixtures were only array-source light fixtures.

So, what is a point source light and why is it important to indoor growers? A point source is a point of intense light emanating out of a central spot. You can use bulb fixtures or LEDs that are built to replace bulbs. HPS are point source lights.

Just like anything else in growing plants indoors, it all depends on what you wish to achieve, the size and quantity of plants, and the dimensions of your grow space. All of that, and your environmental conditions, must be considered. If you have a single-level grow and aren’t looking to save space in your grow room, then point source lights are great. But if you grow vertically in order to save space and maximize square footage, then array source grow lights would be a better choice. Consider the LowPro Series by Spectrum King LED as a solid option. Like their name suggests, these low-profile fixtures can be used in vertical farming spaces in closer proximity to your plants for each level of racking.

Spectrum King LED makes point source LEDs with the promise to replace point source HPS and DE bulbs that use much more power than these LED fixtures. These LEDs also create significantly less heat and can be swapped out most of the time at a 1:1 ratio with bulb fixtures. For example, the CC140 can replace a 315CMH, an SK402 can replace a 600w to 1,000w single-ended HPS with ease, and an SK602 goes toe to toe with any 1000w DE fixture on the market.

If you’ve been using point source lights, then you now have fixtures available to you for a direct swap-out that will save you tons of power and create much less heat. Depending upon the size and location of your grow, electric usage can drop as much as 70% per month when lighting, HVAC, and all other necessary appliances are taken into account. Not a small amount of savings to be had and much less maintenance needed. You don’t need to buy a new bulb often either. Just keep on growing for years without worries.

Choosing to use point source lighting or array source lighting, is a function of the way your indoor garden is set. If your grow is vertical farming on racks, then you’d want array style lighting like the LowPro Veg or LowPro Flower grow lights by Spectrum King LED. If you grow bigger plants “old school”, then you should use a point source light.

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Upright Citizens Brigade Co-Founder Matt Walsh is Tapped In

Matt Walsh is pumped up. For the first time in 20 years of operating, the Del Close Marathon will be held in Los Angeles. When we connect by phone, Matt is busy preparing for the 55-hour non-stop weekend of long-form improv comedy shows that run June 28th through June 30th at both UCB locations.

Back in Chicago, what first drew you to comedy?

I did performing in high school, a variety show, and I loved the skill of writing, creating and then performing your own material. It was a real drug for me. After college, I fell into improv, which was even more thrilling, and started to take classes. I guess I just liked the ability to create something and make people laugh. It’s endlessly entertaining and there’s so many different ways to do it. It’s always exciting when you discover a new bit or a new line. I’ve always been in the world of sketch and improv, which is more scenic and collaborative stuff. I did stand-up but wasn’t great at it and have always enjoyed the ensemble.

Sort of the energy of feeding off another person and building something.

And their interpretation of a line if it’s a sketch, or you know it could be anything obviously. But in the world of comedy, it’s always their take on it and they’re making it funnier than it probably was on the page or they’re improvising something that catches you by surprise. It’s very exhilarating. And obviously with improv, the audience is sort of on that ride with you and that’s what live theater has that nothing else does: everybody kind of feels that tension and the release of tension.

You studied under Del Close. What impact did he have on both your improv and you as a person?

He treated comedy like a profession. He gave you a reading list and he said “professional satirists should have life experiences.” He gave you a curriculum to pursue comedy and improv and nobody I’d met up to that point had done that. He kind of gave it value. And then he was also an innovator. I’d be in classes with him and he was always trying to find new things that were interesting and relevant to—what I felt like was our generation—because he was from the sixties and was part of the beat movement in the fifties and was sort handing off this art form where the challenge was to make it vital and interesting. Comedy and performance that spoke to the time and to the people who came through the door.

A lot of my early experiments discovering my voice were emulation. I think standups unconsciously emulate the people they see until they find their voice, and I think in improv you’re emulating sort of other moves and choices. So you’re in that development, and then a guy like Del comes by and forces you to make the choice that’s basically your second or third choice. He really hit that hard. “Don’t have it be your first choice, don’t have it be your second choice, have it be your third choice. So really think in surprising ways.” 

In improv, you’re taught to listen and make your partner look better than yourself. Del was pushing you to go beyond just your first thought or second thought, because your third thought might be more interesting. Often times you can get a cheap laugh that sells out the scene or betrays your partner, and it’s a laugh the audience has seen before. It’s sort of a formulaic laugh. Del had great disdain for those choices. He always liked the interesting and the specific and the odd. Hopefully some of that stuff stayed with me so everything I do isn’t run-of-the-mill.

Where did the idea for the Del Close Marathon come from?

I think it started within a year of his passing. He was the voice for our tv show, and before he passed away he had a living funeral where people came before they pulled the plug or whatever. We sent a camera to his living funeral and he recorded a video where he gave us “marching orders.” His basic thing was “keep spreading the love of improv, keep spreading the love.” [Matt] Besser would know the quote, but that’s what I remember. We had done 24 hour theater festivals in Chicago, so it was in our DNA, and the next year, we decided let’s do a 24-hour improv festival. And it was born.

It became a wonderful festival where people from all over the country came and got slots or applied to be in it, and it was a real coming together of this outsider artform. Improv was sort of beginning to grow right when we got to New York, or we helped it grow, too. It was neat to see the growth of all these college teams coming out or post-college teams, or people from Japan, or Finland. That kind of growth was crazy.

How did  you parlay Upright Citizens Brigade into a successful theater operation in both LA and NY?

The New York one started as a clubhouse. We had all these people we were teaching, we had our own show that we were doing and we wanted a place to keep our props. So we found an old strip club and turned it into a theater. By the time we all lived in Los Angeles, we opened a little theater there, which made sense because we were all living there and wanted to have our Sunday night Asssscat show. And then the other two venues that came after, I think, were just due to the demand. Classes were growing, people wanted grad shows, so we had to open another stage. Success was driven by student interest.

What was your first experience with cannabis?

I guess I was probably in high school. I feel like it was at a gymnastics camp. We were downstate Illinois and somebody had it. And then I really didn’t smoke until after college. I think I tried it then but I wasn’t really somebody who regularly used until post-college. Chicago’s kind of a drinking town, so that was sort of the social thing. In New York I became more of a regular or occasional pot smoker.

Does smoking play a role in your creative process for writing, directing, performing, etc?

It doesn’t work for me for writing, but if you have a mundane thing to rewrite, you can do that a little buzzed on weed. Any sort of capacities where you can’t access your quick brain—whether it’s alcohol or cannabis – it doesn’t do you any service, so you have to keep it light. But I think you could rewrite a little high. A friend of mine told me he writes sober and then he rewrites high.

In terms of my process, I have to be of clear mind. I certainly can’t direct under the influence of anything, that’s just me. I don’t do it when I’m acting. Though I guess at a late night improv show you could be a little toasty.

Is being in an altered state perhaps more conducive to the improv stage because you’re using a different part of your brain?

I think the expectation is lower from the audience because it’s late night and it’s probably rowdy. I think the fact there’s six or seven of you on the stage means that you’re not carrying the burden of everything, you know what I mean? Like a pick-up basketball vibe.

The best thing for me in terms of like the benefit is I’ll get high and take a hike or I’ll get high and go workout. That is part of my process. That I like. If I can get to nature and be a little toasted, it’s nice.

You’re the first person in these interviews to mention the nature element.

Los Angeles is littered with wonderful hikes that are like a twenty minute drive. Burbank’s got a couple or you can get to Malibu. Or you can go out to Pasadena and see a waterfall. That’s one of the things I really love about LA. The hikes. We’ve got kids, so we force them to go up with us sometimes, too. It’s nice.

Do you feel when you’re reconnecting with nature and clearing your mind that you’re filling the well and generating new ideas?

You are replenishing. Definitely. Nature always wins. If you can get to nature, it’s the best. It biologically calms and centers people. Something as stunning as the ocean where you can look out or float in it. It’s pretty amazing.

I think solitude, silence, is very good for the brain. To sort of get away from the city noise and hear silence or birds I think is really good for you. I know a lot of people who get up and do mediation in the morning and that supposedly is amazing. I do it occasionally. Like I’ll do 15 minutes in the morning and find that to be a nice clearing. Just wake up and sit for 15 minutes, monitor your breath. Living in a city—whatever city—you need to find stillness or peace of mind because there’s such an onslaught of stimuli.

The challenge is finding that balance.

You have to build it in. Fortunately, I’ve been a working actor for a while so I can carve out my days for myself sometimes. I guess if you have a nine-to-five job you have to do it at seven in the morning or after work. I know people who sneak out and meditate for 15 minutes in the stairwell of their office building.

Somebody was telling me you have to do it twice, once in the morning and once midday. A sort of centering meditation.

Is the thought one session builds on the other or there’s a balance between the two sessions?

My guess would be, and I’m not a meditation scientist, you’re just taking another dosage of meditation. You take a dose in the morning and then you take a dose of meditation in the afternoon and it should last you the whole day.

You’ve spent the past seven years on “Veep.” Have you ever taken time on set to “duck into that stairwell” and meditate for a minute?

No, I’m not that good. I’m not that dedicated. I really just started mediation in the last year. I never have done it habitually.

But you’re on set for long hours during the day. Even nights sometimes. How do you keep your mind and body awake?

Our job was in Baltimore for four seasons so we had a lot of time at home. A lot of long hours. So we as a cast would play a lot of squash, we would go on field trips to change scenery and get out of the hotel. But the key to any good actor is knowing how to nap. That maintains your immune system. If you can just lay down and check out, that’s amazing. Most good actors know how to take a quick nap.

And you have to discipline yourself too. You either have to skip lunch or don’t hang out at lunch and just go to your trailer and have a bite and lay down. If it’s a regular nap, I don’t think it can be longer than 25 minutes. Because then you wake up all weird from almost touching REM sleep. But if you’re not needed on set for like six hours and they’re not sending you home, then take a four hour nap and you’ll come back feeling like a hundred bucks.

Follow @mrmattwalsh and check out https://delclosemarathon.com/ for Del Close Marathon tickets and showtimes

The post Upright Citizens Brigade Co-Founder Matt Walsh is Tapped In appeared first on High Times.

HTTV Launches New Cooking Channel: Farm to Table Cannabis by The Hydroponic Chef

High Times TV is proud to launch a new cannabis-infused cooking channel: Farm to Table Cannabis presented by The Hydroponic Chef. You may have caught The Hydroponic Chef on 420 Live a few weeks ago. Now, you can watch his cooking show anytime you want on High Times TV!

A bonus post and recipe from The Hydroponic Chef:

Table-side meal preparation seems to be a thing of the past. Other than your elaborate dining space in upscale neighborhoods serving hand prepared Caesar salad table-side or a rolling service cart accompanied by an under-enthusiastic staff member mixing raw beef, egg, and Worcestershire for steak tartare, these services are not something that you will find at your local eatery.

After witnessing the flaming cheese wheel on travel shows and catching glimpses of friends videos coming home from Europe, these experiences inspired me to do my own cannabis-infused cheese wheel pasta. Procuring a cheese wheel was more challenging than I anticipated. The experience of visiting a cheese store is an experience all in itself.

After getting turned down at my local cheese store and then again at Costco, I found an Italian specialty food store that deals with imported cheeses. This turned out to be the best location when looking for a cheese wheel. Now, don’t expect your local cheese store to have a cheese wheel in stock; you will likely have to order it ahead of time to be picked up.

Traditionally, cheese would not be cut down the middle to create a bowl shape, but with a little persuasion (maybe I kicked the cheesemongers some weed), he cut the wheel horizontally exposing the beautiful 18-month aged cheese that was perfect for melting and grating over pasta. He explained the imported cheese is a big ticket item, but if it was used often and stored properly you can get months’ worth of cheese out of one of the half-wheels.

After lacing the cheesemonger for hooking me up, it was time to seek out the rest of the ingredients. Carbonara is a classic Roman dish consisting of four primary ingredients: guanciale (or pancetta) egg, garlic, and pecorino Romano cheese.

For this recipe, I added a fifth ingredient from my hydroponic garden: gelato cannabis.

Hydro Chef Medicated Cheese Wheel Carbonara

Ingredients 
  • 1 pound Bucatini pasta
  • 1/4 cup medicated olive oil
  • 1/2 pound pancetta, chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup peas
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • Large Pecorino Cheese Wheel
  • 3 tablespoons Grappa
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Handful chopped flat-leaf parsley, for garnish
Directions
  • Boil pasta in salted water until al dente, about 8 minutes.
  • While pasta is boiling heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add medicated olive oil and pancetta. Crisp the pancetta about 2 minutes. 
  • Add red pepper flakes, peas and garlic and cook 2 to 3 minutes more. Add wine and stir adding all the flavors from pan together. 
  • In a separate bowl, beat yolks and mix with 1 oz of hot pasta water to temper egg
  • Drain pasta and add directly to the skillet with pancetta and medicated oil then remove from heat 
  • Pour the egg mixture over the pasta and toss well
  • Scrape cheese wheel to get some loosened bits of cheese for pasta. 
  • Pour grappa into a metal sauce pan and flambé with a torch. While alcohol is lit, pour over loosened cheese in cheese wheel. 
  • Let alcohol burn off while cheese melts, then transfer pasta into cheese wheel. Toss rapidly to coat the pasta. Pepper to taste then garnish with parsley and serve topped with more pecorino. #HydroChefApproved 

Hydro Chef Medicated Bellini

Ingredients 
  • 1 teaspoon Chronic Elixir THC or CBD syrup
  • 1 frozen peach slice
  • 4 fluid oz chilled sparkling wine
  • 1 drop of your favorite terpene (optional)
Directions
  • Pour Chronic Elixir into a champagne flute
  • Add frozen peach
  • Slowly pour sparkling wine over peach
  • Drop 1 drip or your favorite terpene over champagne mixture

Cheers!

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