Monday, December 19, 2016

Cannabis Packaging Should Be More Earth-Friendly



Article by Draeko

Having danced and partied in the woods with hippies, having meditated with yogis or having engaged in deep conversations with those “average folk” who fall in between, it has been my takeaway that the cannabis movement has always, in essence, been about appreciation for life and living, for the planet. Yes. After partaking, people do find some increase in their communal spirits. It has been my experience that they also tend to become acutely sensitive to their local and global environment.

For approximately two years now, cannabis has been legal in Washington State and Colorado. Both industries are now thriving respectively with considerable profit margins. As I, among the millions of liberated partakers, walked into my first store, purchased my first pre-roll (they used to call them joints when I was growing up), I was in awe of the very creative names, and the amount of product. Everything was neatly in place, organized, and pharmaceutically clean, a virtual assembly line of energetic or relaxed connections. I didn’t notice it until I’d gotten home, opened the pre-roll, enjoyed my tote, and went to toss its container.

It didn’t go into the recycle bin. It didn’t go into the food waste bin. This meant that the container went into the garbage bin. This meant a land-fill somewhere. Right? On my next few trips back to the store, I noticed that every container I could make out was petroleum-based. Where was the earth-friendly packaging? Wasn’t one of the primary arguments for again legalizing industrial hemp and recreational marijuana (different cannabis strains) in the US its ecological benefits? Where was that “connection to Gaia”? As the dreadlocked budtender sold me my doobie, I couldn’t help but wonder: Now how did this happen?

Many months later at Vela (a blog which has often featured speakers and other events), I sat and listened as Liquor and Cannabis Board Director, Rick Garza explained Marijuana Legalization, Implementing I-502 in Washington State. As explained, it became apparent the many reasons why there were some controversial decisions to make legalization possible, an article within itself. My question to Mr. Garza, however, involved whether there was some measure to make the wrappings into more eco-friendly materials. Apparently, there was so much going into ensuring the Feds that wrappings weren’t enticing to minors that the environmental aspect was reluctantly kept from the process. Basically, it was really just a case of walking on eggshells (eagle eggs) to get that still-tentative Federal approval.So now I know the ‘Why’. What I’d like to know now is the ‘When’. When I asked Mr. Garza, he returned with, “What do you see?” In retrospect, I would have liked to have responded with a hemp solution as a biodegradable possibility, using the product to contain the product.

Perhaps, now that Washington and Colorado have proven the packaging secure, it is time to work on securing the future of the planet's ecology, and stop contributing to the Great Garbage Belt.

That would certainly improve the common high.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

420 (Cannabis) and Deep House


Article by Draeko

Billowing upwards, expanding outward from the cracks between the floorboards, wafting ghost-like from its restricted and confidential confines, the 420 culture is now being allowed its due from the sidelines of the illegal fringe. And that’s a good thing. For a good many of us old enough, the Deep House scene in general, that 420 ethos has always been there. In the heartbeat behind the rhythms to which we bobbed our heads, patted our feet, or shook our hips, 420 kept Deep House relevant. It was that unifying moment on every clock, when we knew, either firsthand or from a high probability rate that somewhere, someone was sparking it up. If it was 420 after hours, most likely it was us.

Through that blue haze hovering above at our private parties and discreetly-planned events, the aroma of the fog like some mind-calming mist on the moors, we danced happily and forbidden, baring our souls to its influence. Even so, it was a secret life a second identity. Now, however, the light has come. The dawn of a new day is shining through that morning dew on the grass. The Deep House scene now has some real relevance, both to the old and new school alike.

It has been astoundingly good. Never before have the beats at the Re-bar on a Sunday night, or the Contour during its afterhours, ever sounded so unabashedly, so unashamedly good. With recreational cannabis having become legal, Deep House DJs, the ones I’ve personally spoken with, now feel that their soulful output resonates stronger to an even more receptive audience. Without that paranoia factor of being busted for possession and/or usage, there is an even more renewed focus to simply groove and vibe. By default, the 420 culture and Deep House genre already constitutes a marriage made in heaven. Now, the vibe is government-sanctioned.

As a DJ myself, (Draeko Set) one always adamantly involved in his technique and the theatrical presentation of my sets, I can say (albeit anecdotally) that the mixing style, the chord matching, the beat-matching, all of them, became even sultrier, the phrasing richer in my productions. I not only began really experiencing what I was feeling behind those decks, but I began sensing, without even having to look at them, the vibe of the dancers. There are a few DJs I’ve spoken with, over the past two years, who have mentioned the same feelings.

I am in the process of relocating to California (another state that has just gone legal with recreational 420), I will seek out the Deep House scene there, examining it alongside the Seattle experience.
I suspect the DJs there will tell me the same thing the DJs here have told me. 420 has opened them up. They’re playing better, feeling the crowd more, and laying down some profoundly relevant tracks. It is my goal, once I’ve settled into my new digs, to bring their experience to you. 

Until then, partake, enjoy. And by all means… please inhale.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

How to become a Washington Medical Marijuana Patient

Article by Nichole Choice

The Evergreen state of Washington is home to approximately 138,056 medical marijuana patients, according to ProCon.org.  What were the steps these individuals took to obtain patient status, and what are the real benefits to getting authorized?

First, you must be a resident of the state of Washington with valid proof of residence.  You must be age 21 or older, and you must have been diagnosed with a qualifying medical condition.  An official list of the current qualifying conditions can be found on the Washington State Department of Health official website.

Next, obtain your medical records describing your condition from your primary care physician.  You will need to bring them to your evaluation with a certified medical marijuana physician.

Now here’s where things get interesting:  upon certification, you have the option to register with the state patient authorization database.  During the summer of 2016, the state of Washington merged the medicinal field with the recreational market.  So, upon authorization, should one choose to register with the state, the patient receives a tax break, and can possess three times the amount non-registered patients are allowed.  Registrants also receive legal insurance for protection against arrest, as well as a recognition identification card.  

In light of the new law, known as the Cannabis Patient Protection Act, the benefits for obtaining MMJ patient status, as well as registering in the database for the state of Washington, are abundant.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Post-Election Legalized States 2016

Article by Nichole Choice

2016 may have been a very difficult year for many, but it has been a very good year for cannabis on the ballots across the United States.  During this historic election year, three more states approved medical marijuana -- Arkansas, Florida, and North Dakota -- bringing the sum total of MMJ states to more than half of the terrain:  28 states plus Washington D.C.

With each state governing their own individual MMJ policies, what are some of the legal similarities and differences per state?  The answer is: plenty!  And it’s important to stay current, as initiatives can and are repealed, which is not always a bad thing.  

For example, with demand for medicinal marijuana on the rise, it is encouraging to hear about the state of Montana who voted, after a long fought battle, to repeal their previous MMJ initiative, one that limited physicians to a mere three patients.  Additionally, the Independent Record reports of the Montana Medical Marijuana Initiative of 2016 that it “adds post-traumatic stress disorder to the list of eligible conditions”.

Overall, legal variances from state to state can include the acceptance of patients from out of state, as well as the very allowance of the presence of dispensaries anywhere at all.

Though the state initiatives vary wildly, the main consistency amongst them is the requirement to participate in some form of a registry.


National Conference of State Legislatures provides an excellent state-by-state checklist [as does NORML].   

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

California Legalizes Recreational Cannabis

Article by Nichole Choice

On November 8, 2016, the date of a remarkably historic U.S. election, the People of the State of California voted Yes on Proposition 64 in favor of Marijuana Legalization.  This makes California the final Left Coast state to legalize it!

Previous California law restricted access to the plant to medicinal purposes only, but with the passage of Proposition 64, the law states that recreational cannabis consumption is legal for persons age 21 and over.  This Proposition has no impact upon Federal law.

Prior to the 2016 election, many in the cannabis community were divided on the topic of California Proposition 64, with a surprising number of opponents.  Why would some Californians, particularly those involved in the green industry, oppose this Proposition, and in contrast, what are the presumed benefits for the State of California, as well as, for that matter, the entire Left Coast?


The Downside

The anti-Proposition 64 individuals in the California cannabis community, including those in the medical field, have concern that such a law will create excessive rules and state regulations.  Farmers say they don’t want “the Man” meddling around in their business.  Many feel the system as a medicinal force was working just fine.  Dispensaries worry about loss of business if the liquor store next door, for example, starts selling recreationally.

A huge misconception with regard to the passage of Proposition 64 is that it would mean the cessation of the medicinal route, but nothing could be farther from the truth.  To the contrary, many medicinal dispensaries are remaining just that:  medicinal, with no recreational access.


The Upside

Let’s look on the bright side, since Proposition 64 is in fact a reality as determined by California voters 56.75% to 43.25%.  What might be the benefits the majority of California voters saw prior to casting their vote?  It all seems to come down to the mighty dollar bill.

Many Californians in favor of Proposition 64 frequently liken the Green Rush to the Gold Rush of years 1848 to 1855, believing this rapidly growing industry will create a massive boost to the state’s economy.  Are they right about that?  Well, just ask the state of Colorado...  

According to Entrepreneur Magazine: “More than 18,000 people in Colorado now have full-time jobs because of the legalized marijuana industry, which has generated a $2.39 billion impact on the Rocky Mountain State’s economy.”

It seems Proposition 64 proponents are right, because according to Business Insider, “California's looking at an additional $1.5 billion flooding into the marijuana market.”  Author Ben Gilbert emphasizes the weight of this surplus by pointing out that California is the sixth largest economy on the globe by saying, “only outpaced by the US (as a whole), China, Japan, Germany, and the UK. The Golden State's economic output for 2015 came in at $2.46 trillion.  Let's be clear: We're talking about a single US state economy compared with those of entire countries.”  

So looking at the big picture, what does all of this mean for California’s fellow Left Coast states of Washington, Alaska, and Oregon who have already legalized it?  Importantly, it means a strong alliance, influence, and statement to the rest of the country.  Every state in the U.S. watched closely to see what decision California would make with regard to Proposition 64.  California is perceived as a leader and trendsetter for the rest of the country.  With the entire Left Coast now aligned and legalized, this is sure to set an example for other states, and we’ll likely see a green carpet rolling out as more and more states legalize it.




Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Civil-Rights, Education and Cannabis Cultivation at Home

During Prohibition cannabis had to go underground.  For decades, it might have been found in the bedside table of every young college student, waiting to be visited at about 4:20 in celebration of a productive class-day.  Or it might have been found rolled and ready, and stashed alongside legal smokes in an infantryman’s cigarette pack while on patrol in some foreign land.  But it was most often actually found in the pockets of minorities during harassment searches.[1]

These harassment searches went on in front of everyone, but no one stepped forward to defend the victims’ privacy or protections against illegal search and seizure of property - until recent years and under states’ protections concerning Medical Marijuana (MMJ).  Pain, anxiety, spasms, cancer, and numerous other maladies have been discovered to warrant research and acceptance in the knowledge that every lie told in relegating cannabis to Schedule I has been debunked.  Young people who’d tried cannabis in their teens or college years knew they had experienced none of the adverse effects cited by authorities, and the positives were gaining in number.  They started talking to each other and realized there were plenty of perfectly fine stoners around.

It took someone noticing that most of the possession arrests involved minorities before we began to consider prohibition is mostly providing a way to incarcerate large numbers of minorities.  Initiatives from the people instructed lawmakers to make the appropriate changes – and change is happening.
Cannabis taxes fund education in Washington.  Our tax-starved public education system was rescued by the millions of dollars cannabis consumers contribute each month through purchases in state-licensed retail stores.  As our state’s constitution prohibits any tax on income, property taxes and other creative means have been implemented over the years, placing the heavy burden on the shoulders of property owners and creating an uncomfortable situation for all.  As everyone pays rent in some form or other, this system reaches into our pockets at every level of income, is not optional, and falls most heavily on the poor.

As the thirty-seven percent tax on cannabis is completely voluntary, it affects only those who choose to buy it – and Washingtonians are buying it.  In 2016 the state is on trend to collect over $972 million, twice the taxes cannabis generated in 2015 when largely unregulated MMJ collectives were still providing for patients.[2]

Should the new Trump administration prove its stripes and go after cannabis, I fear it will awaken a sleeping giant.  We’ll see a recreational industry, with strong associations now grown near in size and power to those in the pharmaceutical industry, motivated to lobby Congress, fund initiatives, and support battles in courtrooms.  And these are backed up by our state’s educators and a host of new businesses serving the cannabis industry.  Cannabis won’t be killed with legislation – at least, not at this point – and its momentum is building.  There’s just too much money to be made, and enough powerful players are in it now.

Some changes to think about in the nation’s future should include a ban on for-profit prisons and any form of prisoner labor programs, reschedule cannabis to Schedule 3 or remove it completely, regulate it like alcohol and tobacco, and allow home growing for everyone.  I realize industry stake-holders fear losses if anyone can grow.  But the truth is this plant is not as easy to grow as one may think.  It can’t just be another plant in one’s garden.  It needs a very controlled environment, nutrient and watering regimen – and most people don’t have the patience.

Should home growing get the go-ahead from Olympia, I would expect a boom in the area of home gardening for a while.  However, as most people lack a green thumb or are put off by high utility bills, I don’t expect the retail cannabis market to suffer.  Alcohol doesn’t suffer from home-brewers.  Cannabis won’t either.




[1] Harassment searches are those undeservedly resulting from a very minor infraction of law, real or suspected, by an individual or group in the presence of law enforcement officials.  Littering, loitering and other charges can easily be escalated into a more prestigious (for the officer) bust if a search can be justified.
[2] 502data.com

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Three-Way Sex and True Maturity Explored in Isaac Asimov’s The Gods Themselves



I actually completed a second reading of this work of genius several weeks ago, and have read other books since, but only now feel compelled to write my thoughts down.  The book is presented in three parts; however it is the second part which I found most interesting.  It is here I will issue a spoiler alert.  This discussion will disclose too much unless you, as a reader, have finished that section.  A digital copy of the book (for quick reading) may be obtained through Amazon.

The story is one in which a race of beings exists as a triad instead of dual sexes as we know.  The members of the triad are loosely given male and female pronouns, which serve very little purpose other than they are signals used in the English language.  The individual functions of the three are Rational, Parental, and Emotional – Odeen, Tritt, and Dua, respectively.  Daily life for the triad makes sense as Odeen is fulfilled by his work, Tritt by keeping a good home, and Dua by creativity, though she is supposed to be fulfilled by things as flippant as pampering oneself with tasty foods or luxurious treatments - pleasure.

Sexual release for them is rewarding to all three, but in different ways.  Odeen is able to think more efficiently, afterward gaining moments of inspiration not otherwise obtainable.  Tritt longs for babies to make their family complete and will lose interest in sex when this objective is reached.  And Dua, who is supposed to be practically void of mind (like most women, in Asimov’s opinion), but isn’t.  Instead she is gifted with curiosity, which drives her to learn, which enables her to think both critically and creatively.  She discovers an activity she believes anyone could participate in, but society has discouraged, almost prohibited, which she enjoys and decides to immerse herself into.
As a student of Asimov, I present here that I believe the activity Asimov was enjoying was smoking cannabis.  I believe Dua’s mind expansion was due to her practice of the prohibited activity, and that Asimov’s prohibited activity was smoking weed.

Because she was expanding her mind with the prohibited activity, sex became just as inspirational for Dua as it was for Odeen.  As Dua was pouring all of her energy into mind expansion, and because she wasn’t eating right, sex was non-reproductive, but very productive for her creativity.

I present here, that Asimov felt an immense gratitude for his discovery of cannabis.  He conceived an entire Universe with the mind-expanding freedom of creative thought he received by toking up.  America’s War on Drugs made it impossible to admit openly that he was a friend of Mary Jane.
Dua obsessed nearly to the point of death, but was rescued by the rational partner.  And in coming to the moment that she reached perfect understanding, she, along with the other two members of the triad, were irresistibly transformed (by their understanding – coupled with an irresistible urge to have sex) into the next stage of life for them, a singular being of all three in one; a more perfect being, a “hard one”.



As humans mature, we become “hard ones” as we tend to diminish our emotions more and more, to the point where we have the greatest respect for those who are the least emotional of all.  Individuals with the greatest decorum and patience are elected by the populace to represent them in matters of State and business because they aren’t ruled by their emotions.  Gene Roddenberry’s Mr. Spock might very well be Asimov’s ideal candidate for President of the United States as Spock’s emotions are entirely suppressed and his thoughts are purely rational.

Clubs and fraternal organizations manipulate individuals into becoming hard ones by pushing their limits and forcing them to suppress emotions in order to maintain decorum.  This forced decorum, to Asimov, is satisfactory and is the only route by which most non-creative thinkers can hope to reach true maturity.  He expresses his opinion, however, that the most desirable path to true maturity (and true enlightenment) is knowledge, obtained through studious, creative thought, enhanced by mind-expanding cannabis and healthy, loving, completely immersive sex.

Throughout the story however, is the recurring theme that the hard ones, in having reached maturity without achieving wisdom, have no emotion to allow them to empathize with those whom they exploit.  They are non-creative hard ones.  It is only when a creative hard one arrives, one with true maturity, true wisdom, that there is finally hope for the exploited beings at the other end of the pump.  A savior has arrived.