notsofasteddie

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  1. Survey: How American Cannabis Users Compare to the Rest of the World By Dr. Adam R. Winstock May 24, 2017 This piece is brought to you by the founder of the Global Drug Survey, consultant psychiatrist and addiction medicine specialist, Dr. Adam R. Winstock. These findings are from the world’s biggest drug survey GDS2017 (including 69,000 cannabis users). The Good Congratulations, America. Don’t worry about your leader, fake news or the endless incredulous headlines that will no doubt follow in the coming months: it’s time to celebrate your position as the world’s most enlightened and healthy users of cannabis. While 65 percent of the world’s cannabis users mix tobacco when they smoke cannabis—in the U.S. that figure is just eight percent. (Mexico is right behind you at nine percent, and Canada is not that far behind at 17 percent. See figure 1.) Part of the reason might be your preference for using pipes, preferred by 34 percent of U.S. cannabis users and bongs (26 percent), compared to joints which was the most common way of using for only 15 percent of U.S. respondents—compared to over 70 percent for the rest of the world. (See figure 2.) Your preferred routes of smoking cannabis might also be linked to your preference for higher potency cannabis products. Sixty percent of American users cited a preference for high potency herbal cannabis, compared to a global average of 45 percent, and the U.S. reported the highest preference rate for concentrates (15 percent) compared to two percent elsewhere (largely because it’s not that widely available in other countries… yet). And you are up there with the leading cannabis vaping countries (see figure 3) with 13 percent reporting vaping as their preferred method (second only to Finland—where the survey only reported 350 users, but they got gold with 19 percent, and a global average of six percent). That vaping is still a minority sport, even in the U.S. and Canada, says the world has a long way to go before vaping consigns smoking cannabis to the ashtray of history. The Less Good? So far so good. On other metrics, you came first but perhaps for not the right reasons. Over one third of U.S. respondents to GDS2017 reported cannabis use on 300 or more days in the last year, with only 25 percent reporting use on 10 or less days in the last year—compared to the rest of the world, where the figures were 19 percent and 42 percent respectively. On average, U.S. respondents were stoned on more days in the last 365 than any other country (207 days compared to a global mean of 130). The U.S. also had the highest percentage of respondents reporting being stoned for 12 or more hours a day (13 percent, see figure 4), compared to the Dutch (two percent). The highest percentage reported having their first joint within an hour of waking (22 percent), compared to the global average of 10 percent. Thirty-one percent reported having their last joint just before bed, coming a third of the Irish and British. The Question In summary, American cannabis users choose the safest way of using tobacco among any country in the world. They avoid tobacco and rates of vaping are very high compared to the rest of the world. But respondents from the U.S. were more stoned, more often than any other country. Now that is not necessarily problem. But it might be since, as a rule, the more of a drug you use and the more often you use it, the more likely you are to run into health-related harms. At least in terms of acute risk of harm, this statement is not borne out by GDS2017 data on people seeking emergency medical treatment following the use of cannabis. Across the world 0.6 percent of last year user of cannabis sought EMT (down from one percent last year). In the U.S., that figure was 0.4 percent. This low rate might be explained by U.S. health care costs, insurance premiums and issues of confidentially that make it less likely for people to seek treatment in the U.S. if they run into health problems related to drugs. It might be a sampling issue, where U.S. respondents to the GDS2017 were very experienced users and knew how to avoid harm. I don’t know. But what strikes me as weird, and I would love some feedback (nice or not!), is why relatively so few U.S. cannabis users indicated they wanted to use less cannabis in the coming year. You would expect that given the very high rates of heavy use in our study, that as a population, U.S. cannabis users might be more likely to want to cut down. Not a bit of it. While across the world, an average of 36 percent of all cannabis users said that they wanted to use less (with nine percent wanting help to do so), in the U.S. that figure was 22 percent, with 12 percent wanting help to do so. That’s less than the Dutch, pretty much the least stoned nation we looked at and the least of all the English-speaking countries that we looked at including Canada. (See figure 5.) The question is whether this is an issue or not. Are U.S. cannabis users just happy being stoned and don’t see a problem because there are none? Are any concerns of health risk mitigated by relative safe methods of using and good levels of functioning and joy at the drug law reforms wafting across the U.S.? Is it because the idea of waking up and seeing Donald in the White House means not being stoned is just too scary? [Editor’s Note: While, the Trump point is quite accurate (I can’t watch the news without a bowl), a majority of marijuana users in the U.S. are legitimate patients, who use cannabis as daily medicine to make it through the day while suffering from chronic pain, IBS and any other number of ailments. This could potentially be a partial answer to this question of high usage.] I don’t know, but it struck me as something worth asking and mirrors the very high levels of problematic drinking among the Dutch respondents to GDS2017 but very low levels of interest in using less. Ambivalence about our behaviors can be a troublesome thing. Sometimes, not thinking about change and defending the place we are is the safest and most comfortable place to be. If are you one of the 25 percent of U.S. cannabis users who would like to use less check out a new video we’ll launch in early June on how to cut down, use more safely or stop available HERE. Or if you just want some quick feedback on your level of use, heck out the worlds first safer use guidelines at www.saferuselimits.co. I wish the rest of world would learn how to use cannabis like Americans. But maybe just a little less. If you want to test your knowledge about drug use around the world—spend four minutes and take the GDS2017 Quiz (some of the answers are in this piece, so don’t feel so clever!) HERE! www.globaldrugsurvey.com/QUIZ2017 Until GDS2018 launching in October 2017—good luck! [url=http://hightimes.com/news/survey-how-american-cannabis-users-compare-to-the-rest-of-the-world]hightimes[/url]
  2. Where to Get Food Late at Night in Portland Where to get munchie meals. (Original Hot Cake House, Emily Joan Greene) By WW Staff | April 17 Devil's Dill 1711 SE Hawthorne Blvd., 503-236-8067, devilsdill.com. Pickup till 3 am. Mouth dry? Stomach empty? You desperately need a giant, delicious sandwich at like 2:30 am on a Sunday? Arguably, this hoagie spot is the best meal available in this city at that hour. It'll take delivery orders until 2:30 am for a hefty five-spice pulled pork No. 1 ($9.50) or let you slide in at the bar next door and wash it down with booze. Hammy's Pizza 2114 SE Clinton St., 503-235-1035, hammyspizza.com. Delivers till 4 am daily. Hammy's is the cure for every munchie—a 4 am delivery pizza that will put your obsessive rumination to use on slow-proofed, thick and tangy crust, fresh meat and daily-made sauce. Javier's Taco Shop 121 N Lombard St., 503-286-3186. Open 24 hours. Do not go to Javier's sober for burritos. Do not go un-high for a chimichanga. You won't appreciate it. Ride here stoned in a Lyft at 4:30 am, and feel weird in front of police officers and EMTs who are always here with you, eating meat with…many textures. (The Roxy, Christopher Onstott) The Roxy 1121 SW Stark St., 503-223-9160, theroxydiner.com. Open 24 hours, but it don't like Mondays. The Roxy is the only thing in Portland seemingly immune to the ravages of time, with DayGlo-yellow gravy, omelets thick as thighs and tables full of teens conceived on Molly who also take Molly. Long may it ruin the digestion of the drunk and high. (Original Hot Cake House, Emily Joan Greene) Original Hotcake House 1002 SE Powell Blvd., 503-236-7402, hotcakehouse.com. Open 24 hours. The pancakes and seasoned-griddle omelettes at the all-night Hotcake House don't scratch an itch—they smother it in carbs and fat and turn you into the world's happiest paperweight. (Sizzle Pie, Joe Riedl) Sizzle Pie 624 E Burnside St. and elsewhere, 503-234-7437, sizzlepie.com. Till 3 am school nights, 4 am Friday-Saturday. Vegan? High? Well, welcome to heaven. Sizzle Pie will bring you vegan things that taste and look like pizza, until 4 am on weekends, right to your door. (Lonesome’s Pizza, Vivian Johnson) Lonesome's Pizza 1 SW 3rd Ave, 503-234-0114, lonesomespizza.com. Till 3 am daily. The menu looks psychedelic and so do the owners and so do the insides of the pizza boxes, larded with art. Order the No. 26—the vingt-seize, in French—with soppressata and banana peppers. There is no other pie, and it'll come to your house til 3 am. wweek
  3. Inside the Marijuana Showdown at the Canadian Border If a foreigner tells border agents that he or she has consumed or plans to consume marijuana, even in jurisdictions where it’s legal, the result could be banishment from the country for life. Getty Images by Joel Warner The border guard’s question surprised Jessica Goldstein: “Have you ever used drugs?” It was 2013, and Goldstein, a 30-year-old Canadian from the Vancouver area, was on her way to a Dave Matthews concert in Washington State, passing through the Peace Arch border crossing between the United States and Canada. She’d done this countless times before and had never been asked about her narcotics history. The inquiry seemed especially odd considering the setting: With its picnic tables and grassy fields, the Peace Arch port of entry looks more like a park than a high-security border crossing. So she told the truth: She used marijuana about once a month. She was, after all, traveling into Washington, whose voters had legalized marijuana the year before. Her boyfriend at the time had recently been asked the same question at the border, and when he’d admitted to smoking pot, agents had thanked him for being honest and let him through. But the guards had a different reaction to Goldstein’s response. They detained and interrogated her for six hours, then told her she’d been deemed inadmissible to the United States, a status that would likely stay with her for the rest of her life. “I was being treated like a criminal when I didn’t do anything wrong and was just being honest,” she says. It wasn’t a mistake. According to a statement from Customs and Border Protection spokesman Jaime Ruiz, “A violation, conspiracy to violate, or simply an attempt to violate any U.S. state, federal, or any foreign government controlled substance law renders a foreign national inadmissible to the United States.” That means, as per immigration law, if a foreigner tells border agents that he or she has consumed or plans to consume marijuana, even in jurisdictions where it’s legal, the result could be banishment from the country for life. While the law has been on the books for years, the little-known rule has become a growing problem as states like Washington, Oregon, and Colorado have launched recreational marijuana markets and folks become less reluctant to admit to using cannabis. Matters will surely become even thornier over the next year, as two more border states, California and Maine, launch recreational cannabis programs and, more pressingly, Canada moves toward legalizing marijuana nationwide. That means there could soon be a lot more Canadians and other foreigners who find themselves barred from the United States for admitting to something they figure is perfectly legit. And once that happens, the only way for them back in is by applying for an inadmissibility waiver from the U.S. government. To do that, Goldstein and many of her countrymen are turning to one individual in particular: Len Saunders, a small-town immigration lawyer in Blaine, Washington, who’s become the go-to guy for Canadians who unexpectedly find themselves turned into international pot pariahs. After his clients receive their first waiver following the four- to six-month application processing time, they need to immediately start the process over again — and then again and again for the rest of their lives. “For me, it’s definitely a booming business,” says Saunders. The Canadian-born attorney, who attended Pepperdine School of Law in California and has dual citizenship, had no intention of becoming an expert in marijuana and immigration law. He simply saw an opportunity to set up a law firm specializing in immigration issues in Blaine, the nearest border town to the Peace Arch port of entry, the third busiest crossing between Canada and the United States, and the busiest on the West Coast. But business started to change after Washington began opening recreational marijuana shops in 2014. Blaine has always catered to Canadian consumers, since gas and groceries are cheaper in the States. Now it began drawing cannabis shoppers from north of the border, too. “I wouldn’t be able to survive here if I didn’t have international travelers,” says Jacob Lamont, owner of Evergreen Cannabis, a marijuana shop in Blaine. During the spring, summer, and fall, Lamont figures 70 percent of his business comes from folks coming through the Peace Arch crossing, which he can see from his parking lot. But with those marijuana shoppers came border problems. Saunders began receiving more and more phone calls from Canadians who’d told border guards they’d tried marijuana or were planning to in Washington and had been deemed inadmissible. “It used to be one or two cases like that a year,” he says. “Now I am seeing one or two cases a week.” Those cases involve Saunders’ clients completing an extensive waiver application, undergoing a criminal-background check, presenting proof of employment, providing two character reference letters, and penning a letter of remorse. Then there’s the $585 filing charge, plus Saunders’ legal fees. The resulting waivers are only good for one to five years; Saunders says first-time applicants deemed inadmissible for marijuana-related activities always begin with a one-year waiver. That means after his clients receive their first waiver following the four- to six-month application processing time, they need to immediately start the process over again — and then again and again for the rest of their lives. “I tell my clients, this is a lifetime relationship with me,” says Saunders. Not everyone can handle that process. Saunders has seen careers implode and relationships collapse over someone being deemed inadmissible to the country for marijuana and not being able to jump through all the endless hoops to get back in. Such cases aren’t the only way clashes between marijuana reforms and immigration law are wreaking havoc on people’s lives, say immigration lawyers. Cannabis businesses can’t attract foreign financiers who’d need immigrant investor visas or sponsor employment-based visas for qualified candidates from other countries because they deal in a federally unlawful substance. U.S. citizens in the marijuana industry can’t sponsor visas for foreign-born spouses, since their partners would be considered complicit in illicit drug activity. And immigrants working in dispensaries are being denied green cards because of their jobs. Cannabis-based immigration crackdowns are nothing new. According to a 2015 Human Rights Watch report, between 2007 and 2012, more than 50,000 non-citizens were deported after being convicted of selling or possessing marijuana. But experts say the situation could be exacerbated by the Trump administration’s hard-line stance on cannabis, including Homeland Security chief John Kelly’s recent statements that marijuana is a “potentially dangerous gateway drug” that will be used as a basis for “targeted operations against illegal aliens.” “Statements by the administration make us concerned that there will be really severe immigration consequences for people who use marijuana, even in jurisdictions where it’s legal,” says Human Rights Watch senior researcher Grace Meng. “We are all trying to track the impact of what these new policies are, but we might not know for a year or more.” “Soon you will be able to stand on one side of the border and have it legal and stand on the other side of the border and have it legal, but on this thin line in the middle it’s not. It doesn’t make any sense.” The administration’s position on marijuana might already be having an impact on immigrants. A woman in Colorado says she and her family moved to the state about a year ago so she could use medical marijuana for a serious heart condition. Recently, her husband, a foreign national who’s had his green card for 15 years, was planning on applying for citizenship. But then a friend working for the federal government warned him that the naturalization process had just been changed to scrutinize applicants’ experience with cannabis. “He said if my husband’s records showed any mention of relocating for [marijuana] access for me, that would be enough for him to be deported, as it shows him being supportive of usage,” says the woman, who asked to remain anonymous to protect her family. In Blaine, Saunders says he’s starting to see indications of toughening policies, too. Last month, on 4/20 of all days, he received his first ever denial of a waiver for a marijuana-related inadmissibility decision. And while immigration officials can send waiver applicants to an authorized physician to determine if they’re a health risk, they had only decided to do so once over the past year for all of his marijuana-related clients. That changed last month: Three of his clients were told they’d need a medical exam to determine whether their cannabis use was a health threat. No one knows how the situation will change if Canada ends marijuana prohibition in 2018. “If they legalize, I don’t think they can find someone inadmissible who’s using marijuana under a federal government where it’s legal,” says Scott Railton, a Bellingham, Washington-based immigration lawyer who’s an expert in marijuana-related immigration issues. “But my guess is immigration agencies will be slow to give clear guidelines on that, and I still think there will be some arbitrary exercise of authority.” The new law also wouldn’t help Canadians who let slip to border guards they’re heading to Washington to do their cannabis shopping, says Saunders. “I am sure marijuana is going to cost less here,” he says. “Because of taxes in Canada, everything is more expensive.” Nor is nationwide legalization — in Canada or eventually in the United States — likely to help foreigners who’ve already been deemed inadmissible for past cannabis incidents. “Officials I’ve talked to say these people would still be inadmissible because at the time they admitted to smoking marijuana, it was still a controlled substance,” says Saunders. The best option for foreigners, says Saunders, is to avoid admitting to marijuana use at the border in the first place. “I can’t tell people to lie to a border agent,” says Saunders. “But I can tell people they are under no obligation to answer that question.” If someone refuses to answer questions about marijuana, the only thing agents can do is deny entry to the country on that given day. But even with warnings like this, Saunders figures more and more Canadians are going to assume it’s okay to be open about marijuana at the border, which means he’s going to be getting more and more calls about it. “I want a booming green card business, I want a booming business of individuals who want to become nationalized citizens and vote in federal elections,” he says. “I want my workers permits to boom, so more foreigners can come here and work, like I did.” But marijuana-related work? That’s the last part of his business he wants to see boom. “Soon you will be able to stand on one side of the border and have it legal and stand on the other side of the border and have it legal, but on this thin line in the middle it’s not,” he says. “It doesn’t make any sense.” mensjournal
  4. Re: ACD's 4/20 Gathering 2017 Post by Lemming Things are getting very hazy by this time. At some point I manage to tune into reality long enough to hear that the walking party are getting itchy feet. I offer to show them the way back into town but ask whether they mind if I take a route via various coffeeshops that I'd like to photograph. And so it comes time to leave The Stud at the end of a fantastic afternoon. I thank all of the Stud crew. I don't know whether it was because I was unable to communicate in my blitzed state or just general untogetherness but I never did figure out who was in charge or get anyone to answer to the name 'Silvio'. I've since learned that DeLekkersteNUGS16 was mistaken for me so maybe that's why. No matter, we were all treated like royalty and I think everyone had a great time. I'd promised The Stud a small group of hardcore stoners. In the event we actually got a large group and all suitably hardcore so I need to congratulate everyone who made the journey. Well done crew! You certainly didn't let me down. Outside, we turn right along Molukkenstraat. When we reach Javaplein, I attempt to explain that we will be turning left here in a minute but that I want to grab a picture of Best Friends first. I tell them that they can wait here for a moment if they want. They all decide to come and have a look with me. Best Friends Back to Javaplein Javaplein and onto Javastraat, which brings us to: Warda 2 From there we turn onto Sumatrastraat then Borneostraat and onto Zeeburgerdijk, where we see this: and Trefpunt Then around the corner to Eastwood The block that Eastwood is in has been demolished and rebuilt. It used to look like this: (Google) Eastwood and Trefpunt used to have a lot of fans around these parts once but seem to have gone out of fashion in recent years. We don't go into either of them. Instead we gather outside Happy People and discuss what to do next. I tentatively mention that there is one more shop, Nogal Wiedes, that I'd like to photograph. The only trouble is that it's in the wrong direction. "NO!", they all shout in unison. A quick march across town takes us to Utopia. In Utopia we finally catch up with Birthday Boy Macky, complete with wife and brother in law. Ingi is in the house and we have a big hug. After a day of incredible hospitality, it's nice to be back in our 'home' coffeeshop where Ingi always looks after us so well. Much as it's lovely to be in Utopia and to see Ingi, I'm feeling the need to shoot off for some fresh clothes after a day of walking. I tell Ingi that I'm around for the week and that we'll definitely be back to spend some more time here before stocking up for later and leaving. A quick refuel at the apartment and then I start heading towards Batavia. Along the way I stop at Greenhouse Centrum for more stocking up, including the hash I was trying to find for Macky yesterday. In Batavia lots of people have turned up for Macky's Birthday Bash. Some new people have joined us including Mowie and Elasticband. I give Macky a t-shirt and the hash. Although I was successful in Greenhouse, this plan had already gone a bit wrong. A shop near my home sells ornate little boxes and I'd intended to bring one with me but I hadn't considered that it was a bank holiday. The shop was closed so I had to substitute another box. At least the t-shirt worked out OK. This is the image used: The vast quantities we've consumed already today don't seem to have slowed anyone down and there's another massive session in progress. This brilliant party brings to an end an extraordinary day. I'm slightly worried that we might have peaked too early. On the other hand, the fact that we got so many people so far out east, bodes well for the boat trip on Thursday. There should be more of us in town by then and the boat departs from the city centre so maybe we really will get 20 people together for that. Can we go on to greater heights yet? Stay tuned ... DAY THREE to Follow....
  5. Border Officials Are Banning Canadians Who Admit They've Smoked Marijuana Immigration law lumps foreign pot smokers with human traffickers and foreign government officials who suppressed religious freedoms. May 18, 2017 Border Officials Are Banning Canadians Who Admit They've Smoked Marijuana Image credit: AHPhotoswpg | Getty Images You can legally use marijuana in the state of Washington, and soon you likely will be able to use marijuana across the entire country of Canada. And yet, if you are traveling from Canada into Washington and you admit to a border officer that you have smoked marijuana in the past, you can get blocked from coming into the U.S. And not just for now, but forever. Welcome to the latest contradiction between local, state and federal policy when it comes to marijuana. It’s such a mess that only one area of the economy seems certain to benefit. “I’m expecting my business to boom,” immigration attorney Len Saunders told The Sacramento Bee. Moral Turpitude The Bee reported that a music journalist in British Columbia recently was denied access into the United States at the Washington border because he admitted to having smoked marijuana in the past. The man, 36-year-old Alan Ranta, said officials handcuffed and questioned him. He added that officials told him he had committed a crime of “moral turpitude.” Ranta was not carrying marijuana at the time. Neither was Matthew Harvey, a medical marijuana user who admitted to U.S. officials he had used marijuana recreationally in the past. He was barred for life from entering the U.S. in 2014. If this strict application of law continues, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will have a difficult time coming to his next meeting in the U.S. He admitted long ago to partaking of cannabis. Unless he plans on trying to lie about that now, that’s going to be an issue if a border official decides to ask. What the law says. Finding the exact language is relatively easy – it’s online. Here you can read the entirety of INA Act 212, which is the law border agents are using to keep past marijuana users out. The law outlines the various reasons a person can be denied entry into the United States. Section 2 addresses “criminal and related backgrounds.” This section bars drug dealers, prostitutes, human traffickers and foreign government officials who have violated religious freedoms in their country. Grouped in with that crowd are people who admit to having smoked marijuana where it was illegal at any time in the past. The pertinent section reads that a person can be barred for violating “any law or regulation of a State, the United States, or a foreign country relating to a controlled substance.” This applies to those “convicted of” such an act or anyone “who admits having committed” such an act. That means a Canadian who admits to a border official that they used marijuana when the laws in their area deemed it illegal can be barred from the United States for life. If such an admission is made, the only way into the U.S. is through a special waiver that takes time to get and costs almost $600. What to do. It’s up to the discretion of border officials whether to even ask about past drug use. Of course, people can simply lie. In the case of Harvey, he never really thought about it. Harvey told the CBC he was detained six hours and questioned because he had a marijuana magazine in his car. As a medical marijuana card holder in Canada who was driving into Washington -- where marijuana is legal -- he told the truth about his cannabis use, even when questioned about past use. The issue will not go away if Canada legalizes recreational marijuana as expected in 2018. U.S. border officials can still ask about past use of marijuana before it was made legal. Some attorneys advise their clients to simply not answer the question, rather than lying. Canadian officials have voiced hope that a compromise can be found with U.S. officials. Canadian Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale called the current situation both “ridiculous” and “ludicrous.” entrepreneur
  6. How Many Prescriptions Are Replaced by Cannabis? Canada Study Explores an Answer Bailey Rahn May 19, 2017 In the US, we’ve seen a marked drop in opioid overdoses in legal states, prodding the question of whether patients are replacing their prescription medicines with cannabis. Recent survey data collected from patients enrolled in Canada’s MMPR program indicates this may be more than just a correlation. RELATED STORY: How Cannabis Could Turn the Opioid Epidemic Around Led by researchers Philippe Lucas and Zach Walsh, this investigation surveyed 271 patients purchasing medical cannabis from Canadian LP Tilray (which, like Leafly, is owned by Privateer Holdings). Seeking to understand who is using medical marijuana and why, they discovered some staggering statistics pertaining to substitution–63% of respondents reported using cannabis in place of prescription medications. Breaking down the results by drug classes, Lucas and Walsh found that: •30% of respondents replaced opioids with cannabis •16% replaced benzodiazepines •12% replaced antidepressants RELATED STORY: How Does Cannabis Interact With Other Drugs? The reason? “Less adverse side effects,” said 39% of patients. Others responded that cannabis was safer (27%) and more effective in treating symptoms (16%). “In light of the growing rate of morbidity and mortality associated with these prescription medications, cannabis could play a significant role in reducing the health burden of problematic prescription drug use,” the authors wrote. Putting to rest concerns of cannabis dependence, the survey also established a strong tendency for recreational use to precede medicinal use, not the other way around as we see with many pharmaceutical medications. A transition from medical to recreational use was only reported by less than 3% of respondents, indicating a low risk potential. RELATED STORY: Is Cannabis Addictive? The substitution effect reaches beyond just the medicine cabinet; cannabis also helped patients curb other types of substance use: •25% of respondents replaced alcohol with cannabis •12% of respondents replaced cigarettes/tobacco with cannabis •3% of respondents replaced illicit drugs with cannabis Though widely supported by anecdotal evidence, this study is one of hopefully many to substantiate what patients have been experiencing for themselves when it comes to replacing other drugs and habits with cannabis. How might these statistics look in the US, where prescription medication use and abuse runs rampant? That’s a question for future research. leafly
  7. Medical Marijuana Update by psmith, May 17, 2017 Iowa sees an expansion of its CBD cannabis oil law, a Delaware medical marijuana expansion bill stalls, Florida remains without medical marijuana regulations after the legislature couldn't get its act together, and more. Delaware On Tuesday, the medical marijuana expansion bill stalled for lack of support. A bill that would have expanded the list of qualifying conditions for medical marijuana stalled in the Senate Tuesday as lawmakers complained that a promised amendment to address concerns of the medical profession was never added. But sponsor Sen. Margaret Rose Henry (D-Wilmington) said Senate Bill 24 would be reintroduced at a later date. The bill would have added debilitating anxiety to the list of qualifying conditions and removed a requirement that a psychiatrist sign recommendations for people seeking medical marijuana for PTSD. Florida Last Thursday, calls grew for a special session to deal with medical marijuana. House Speaker Richard Corcoran has joined a growing number of people calling for a special legislative session to come up with rules for the state's voter-approved medical marijuana amendment. Senate President Joe Negron has also said the legislature should be responsible for crafting the rules. The session ended earlier last week without the legislature reaching agreement on how to regulate medical marijuana. If the legislature doesn't come back into session to deal with the issue, it will be left up to the state Health Department. Iowa Last Friday, the governor signed a CBD cannabis oil expansion bill. Gov. Terry Branstad (R) signed into law House File 524, which expands an existing law that allows people with certain conditions to use CBD cannabis oil, but did not allow for production or sale of the oil. The new law lets the state authorize up to two facilities to grow marijuana and produce cannabis oil to be sold in five state-approved dispensaries. It also expands the list of qualifying illnesses to include 15 chronic conditions. Michigan Last Thursday, a bill was filed to allow patients to transport their medicine. Rep. Peter Lucido (D-Macomb County) filed House Bill 4606, which would repeal a 2012 law making it illegal to transport marijuana unless it's in a container in the trunk of a vehicle. It's "ridiculous" that medical marijuana patients can't carry pot like any other prescription medication," Lucido said."It makes no sense to give out medical marijuana cards and force patients to put it in the trunk," he continued. "My God, it's not a gun -- being a lawyer, my law firm has taken on at least a dozen of these cases." New Jersey Last Friday, a review panel recommended adding chronic pain as a qualifying condition. The state Medical Marijuana Program Review Panel recommended that the Health Commissioner approve chronic pain related to a number of ailments as a qualifying condition for the use of medical marijuana. There will now be a 60-day comment period and a public hearing before the recommendations is finalized and sent to the commissioner. [For extensive information about the medical marijuana debate, presented in a neutral format, visit MedicalMarijuana.ProCon.org.] stopthedrugwar
  8. Portland backs cannabis lounge bill, envisions 'craft' tourism boost Pete Danko Staff Reporter May 17, 2017 The city of Portland has joined with cannabis businesses in lobbying for a bill that would allow consumption of cannabis at licensed lounges akin to tobacco smoking patios. Part of the city’s argument for Senate Bill 307: It could help boost craft cannabis tourism. “The same way as Oregon and our city celebrate our craft beer and wine industry, Portland welcomes and wants to provide opportunities for our emerging craft cannabis industry,” Mayor Ted Wheeler and Commissioner Chloe Eudaly, who oversees the Office of Neighborhood Involvement, the city’s cannabis regulatory body, said in testimony submitted to the Joint Committee on Marijuana Regulation this week. “SB 307 would provide the regulatory framework for tourists to enjoy the products from Oregon’s growing craft cannabis industry legally and safely, outside the home and outside of public view,” the Portland leaders went on. As originally introduced, SB 307 allowed for consumption at temporary events and at indoor lounges. But after the bill ran into opposition, a workgroup produced an amended version, discussed at a public hearing on Tuesday, that drops the events provision and shifts to the smoking patio concept, with at least one open wall. Licenses would only be allowed in cities or counties that pass ordinances allowing for them. The Portland officials, along with other supporters, also said the bill is needed for citizens who, for whatever reason, can’t smoke in their residence. “Absent a legal, regulated, and safe place outside of the home to consume cannabis … Oregonians may find themselves consuming cannabis in public view on sidewalks, on streets, in vehicles, and in parks,” they wrote. Various health workers and officials testified against the bill, arguing that it could expose workers to dangerous second-hand smoke and send the wrong message to children. “Our kids are watching,” Jennifer Vines, deputy health director for Multnomah County, testified. “Our concern is that the normalization of smoking when it is allowed in public erodes the decades of work that we’ve done in public health to roll back that social norms around tobacco and smoking products.” bizjournals
  9. Re: ACD's 4/20 Gathering 2017 A small group has gathered outside and is already getting impatient for me to show them the way. I quickly thank all of the staff for their fantastic hospitality and ask for a bottle of water for the walk. They only have a glass bottle, which they offer to pour into a glass for me. I explain that I'd just like the bottle, sans cap. More thank yous and we're off. Danny211204, Drugsbunny, KeyMonCha, Matty223 and Smirks are hiking with me. A short way in, Matty turns back. I tend to walk rather quickly so I try leading from the back, letting the others set the pace. We enter Oosterpark via its north side and then head for the bridge over the lake. KeyMonCha has some serious-looking camera gear but has a flat battery or something so I lend him my Instamatic. Oosterpark and me by KeyMonCha Going diagonally through the park brings us out by Smoke Palace. Another shop gets pictured. Tick. Smoke Palace From there it's underneath Muiderpoort station and follow the railway around until The Stud comes into view. The Stud Apparently, a little before we arrived the shop was full of people and they were getting worried that there may not be space for us. A 'Plan B' involving a room upstairs was being considered. Then, shortly before we arrived, a large group departed. We are ushered into a nice room at the back of the shop with comfy chairs, a couple of tables, an Internet terminal and a Volcano. Loads of us have made it out here, some by tram, some by bike and some on foot. More free drinks and an even bigger pile of bags appear on the table. We really are a lucky band of stoners. They're certainly making it worth our while trekking out here. It's a very nice shop and they're showing us amazing generosity and hospitality. Again I'll leave it to the experts to review all of those buds and hashes. Suffice to say they're getting me even more stoned. There are at least six different weed varieties and at least two hashes from the menu scattered around for everybody to consume by whatever means they see fit. The computer is looking at me. It has some kind of video on it at the moment. With a bit of assistance from someone more Apple-savvy and/or less wrecked than me, I get it onto the Internet and log into the Forum. Working around the room I note everyone present and type their names into the live thread. I think there are as many as 14 of us here. This is an incredible achievement considering how far from the centre we are but I'm sure everyone is glad they made the effort to be a part of this magnificent session. Suddenly a chant of Volcano! Volcano! rings out around the room. We'll need the big bag says someone and a member of the Stud crew smiles broadly and scurries off to fetch said item. In hindsight, I think this was the only Volcano I came across during the whole week. It did a round or two but we didn't really use it as much as we probably should have. DeLekkersteNUGS16's Sticky Brick Junior Things are getting very hazy by this time. At some point I manage to tune into reality long enough to hear that the walking party are getting itchy feet. I offer to show them the way back into town but ask whether they mind if I take a route via various coffeeshops that I'd like to photograph. And so it comes time to leave The Stud at the end of a fantastic afternoon. I thank all of the Stud crew. I don't know whether it was because I was unable to communicate in my blitzed state or just general untogetherness but I never did figure out who was in charge or get anyone to answer to the name 'Silvio'. I've since learned that DeLekkersteNUGS16 was mistaken for me so maybe that's why. No matter, we were all treated like royalty and I think everyone had a great time. I'd promised The Stud a small group of hardcore stoners. In the event we actually got a large group and all suitably hardcore so I need to congratulate everyone who made the journey. Well done crew! You certainly didn't let me down. Outside, we turn right along Molukkenstraat. When we reach Javaplein, I attempt to explain that we will be turning left here in a minute but that I want to grab a picture of Best Friends first. I tell them that they can wait here for a moment if they want. They all decide to come and have a look with me. Day 2 to be Continued....
  10. Medical Marijuana Update by psmith, May 10, 2017 Trump makes ominous noises about ignoring congressional mandates protecting medical marijuana states, Florida fails to complete medical marijuana implementation legislation, and more. National Last Friday, Trump threatened to ignore congressional protections for medical marijuana. Congress moved to protect medical marijuana by including in its stopgap federal spending bill a provision barring the Justice Department from using federal funds to go after the drug in states where medical marijuana is legal, but now, President Trump says that doesn't matter. Even though Trump signed the spending bill into law last Friday, he included a signing statement objecting to numerous provisions in the bill -- including the ban on funds to block the implementation of medical marijuana laws in those states. The president seemed to imply that he could ignore the provision and go after the 29 states, the District of Columbia, and the territories of Guam and Puerto Rico where medical marijuana use is allowed. "Division B, section 537 provides that the Department of Justice may not use any funds to prevent implementation of medical marijuana laws by various States and territories," Trump noted in the signing statement. "I will treat this provision consistently with my constitutional responsibility to take care that the laws be faithfully executed." Colorado Last Monday, the legislature approved adding PTSD as a qualifying condition. A bill to "Allow Medical Marijuana Use for Stress Disorders," Senate Bill 17, was sent to the governor's desk after the Senate last week approved a final concurrence vote to amendments accepted in the House. Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) is expected to sign it. Florida Last Thursday, the Senate approved an amended House medical marijuana bill. The Senate gave its okay to a heavily-amended House Bill 1397, sending the measure back to the House for final approval. Senate bill sponsor Sen. Rob Bradley (R-Fleming) offered and the Senate approved a "delete all" amendment basically replacing the House text. Among the changes: limiting growers to five retail facilities, allowing the Health Department to grant 10 new licenses this year, and a provision to add five more licenses for every 75,000 patients. The legislative session ends on Monday, so the House must act quickly. On Monday, the legislature adjourned with no medical marijuana bill approved. Legislators were unable to agree on how to regulate the state's nascent medical marijuana industry, with the Senate refusing to hear a new proposal from the House on the last day of the legislative sessions, effectively killing the bill. That means it will now be up to the state Department of Health to craft rules and regulations for the industry. It also means that any rules -- such as a proposed ban on smoking medical marijuana -- will be easier to challenge in court than if they had been passed by the legislature. Georgia On Tuesday, the governor signed a CBD cannabis oil expansion bill. Gov. Nathan Deal (R) signed into law Senate Bill 16, which expands the number of qualifying conditions for the use of low-THC cannabis oil and allows patients in hospice care to possess it. The new qualifying conditions are AIDS, Alzheimer's disease, autism, epidermolysis bullosa, peripheral neuropathy and Tourette's syndrome. New York Last Tuesday, the Assembly approved adding PTSD as a qualifying condition. The Assembly voted overwhelmingly to approve Assembly Bill 7006, sponsored by Health Committee Chairman Dick Gottfried (D-Manhattan), which would add PTSD to the state's list of qualifying conditions for medical marijuana. The bill now heads to the Senate. South Carolina On Monday, medical marijuana bills died. Bills allowing for medical marijuana are dead this session. Identical bills filed in the House and Senate went basically nowhere, with the House version stuck in the Medical Committee and the Senate version still stuck in a subcommittee. Texas Last Friday, a medical marijuana bill advanced. Last Friday, the House Committee on Public Health approved a medical marijuana bill, House Bill 2107. The bill expands a 2015 law by increasing the number of medical conditions that qualify for medical marijuana use. The bill now goes to the Calendars Committee, which will decide whether to take it to a House floor vote. Bills must pass the House by this Thursday or they're dead. On Tuesday, the marijuana bill died. Despite the strongest support yet in Austin, the fight to pass a medical marijuana bill is over. House Bill 2107 is dead, killed by the House Calendars Committee, which failed to take action on it before a Thursday deadline. [For extensive information about the medical marijuana debate, presented in a neutral format, visit MedicalMarijuana.ProCon.org.] stopthedrugwar
  11. Who Is Rick Simpson and What Is Rick Simpson Oil (RSO)? Lisa Rough May 12, 2017 If you’re interested in medical marijuana, you’ll inevitably hear about a form of cannabis known as Rick Simpson Oil, or RSO. RSO is a concentrated form of cannabis oil known to have medical benefits, particularly for cancer, but where did RSO come from? And who is Rick Simpson? RELATED STORY: Can Cannabis Cure Cancer? The Story of Rick Simpson Rick Simpson stumbled upon his cannabis fame purely by accident. Long before “Rick Simpson Oil” was coined as a term, and long before cannabis was considered remotely mainstream, Rick Simpson was an engineer working in a Canadian hospital in 1997. Simpson was working in the hospital boiler room covering the asbestos on the hospital’s pipes with potent aerosol glue. The boiler room was poorly ventilated and the toxic fumes caused a temporary nervous system shock, causing Simpson to collapse off his ladder and hit his head. He was knocked unconscious and when he awoke, he managed to contact his colleagues to take him to the emergency room. He continued to suffer from dizzy spells and a ringing in his ears for years after the accident, but his prescribed medication had little effect, even making his symptoms worse. RELATED STORY: What Are Live Resin Cannabis Concentrates? After seeing a documentary highlighting the positive benefits of using cannabis, Simpson inquired about medical marijuana but his doctor refused to consider it as a course of treatment. He ended up sourcing cannabis of his own accord and saw a significant improvement in his tinnitus and other symptoms. In 2003, three suspicious bumps appeared on Simpson’s arm. The doctor agreed that the bumps appeared to be cancerous and took a sample for a biopsy. Sure enough, the bumps turned out to be basal cell carcinoma, a form of skin cancer. Simpson had successfully treated his symptoms with cannabis in the past, and he had heard about a study from the Journal of the National Cancer Institute in which THC was found to kill cancer cells in mice. He made the decision to treat his skin cancer topically, applying concentrated cannabis oil to a bandage and leaving the cancerous spots covered for several days. RELATED STORY: Cannabis and Cancer After four days, he removed the bandages and the cancerous growths had disappeared. Although his physician refused to acknowledge cannabis as a treatment alternative, Simpson was now a true believer in the medicinal powers of cannabis. From then on out, he began cultivating his own cannabis and harvesting the plants to create his own specialized form of cannabis concentrate, now known as Rick Simpson Oil, or RSO. It became his mission and goal to distribute cannabis oil to those who needed it, free of charge. He helped treat more than 5,000 patients with RSO, but his journey was not without its setbacks and struggles. Simpson’s own doctor refused to acknowledge the benefits, and he faced arrest and persecution in his native Canada. His home was raided on multiple occasions and he had over 2,600 plants cut down and confiscated by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, but Simpson persevered and continued to distribute cannabis oil. To this day, he continues to spread the word of his findings. RELATED STORY: What Are the Best Cannabis Strains for Cancer-Related Symptoms? How to Make DIY Rick Simpson Oil at Home Making your own RSO at home is not difficult, and the process isn’t all that different from making cannabutter or other kinds of infused cannabis oil. Rick Simpson recommends using indica cannabis strains for best results, although patients may prefer to use the cannabis strains that work best for their medical condition. Note: This recipe will produce the full 60 grams of oil for a 90-day treatment regimen. If you’re looking for a smaller treatment course, you can easily divide the recipe into smaller amounts. For example, one ounce of cannabis will produce 3-4 grams of RSO. RELATED STORY: 5 Differences Between Cannabis Concentrates and Flower Ingredients: •1 pound of dried cannabis material (indica strain) •2 gallons of solvent – 99% isopropyl alcohol •5-gallon bucket •A deep bowl •Wooden spoon for stirring •Cheesecloth •Rice cooker •Plastic catheter tip syringe (60ml) 1.Place dry cannabis material into the 5-gallon bucket and pour in the solvent until the plant matter is covered. 2.Stir and crush the plant material with your wooden spoon while adding the solvent to your mixture. Continue stirring the mixture for about three minutes while the THC dissolves into the solvent. This will dissolve about 80% of the THC into the solvent. 3.Drain the solvent from the plant material into your bowl using the cheesecloth. Place the plant material back in the bucket and add more solvent. Continue stirring for another three minutes. 4.Drain the solvent from your plant material into your bowl using the cheesecloth and discard the remaining plant material. 5.Transfer your solvent to your rice cooker until it is about ¾ full and turn on your rice cooker. Note: While you don’t necessarily need a rice cooker, if you’ve never made RSO before, rice cookers are exceptionally useful in this instance for maintaining a slow, steady temperature. If your mixture heats above 300 degrees Fahrenheit (148 degrees Celsius), the cannabinoids will cook off and the RSO will be unusable. It is not recommended to use a Crockpot or slow cooker, as this may overheat your mixture. 6.The rice cooker should maintain a steady temperature between 210 and 230 degrees Fahrenheit (100 to 110 degrees Celsius), which is the correct heat setting for decarboxylation to occur. 7.As the rice cooker heats up, the solvent will slowly evaporate. Continue to add your mixture to the rice cooker gradually. Note: Make sure your rice cooker is in an open, well-ventilated area, and avoid all flames, stovetops, sparks, and cigarettes, as the solvent is highly combustible. 8.Once the solvent has evaporated, siphon the oil into your syringe for easy dosing. The RSO will be thick, so if you have trouble dispensing it, run the syringe under hot water and the RSO mixture should dispense with ease. RELATED STORY: Dab Dosage Guide: How to Dose Cannabis Oils and Concentrates How to Use RSO For medical patients, it is always recommended to consult your physician before starting any new treatment regimen. However, as there are many physicians who refuse to discuss cannabis as a course of treatment, proceed with the Rick Simpson method at your own discretion. For one patient, the goal is to gradually consume 60 grams of Rick Simpson Oil over the course of a 90-day period. Week 1: Start with three doses every day •Each dose should be about the size of half a grain of rice and should be administered once every eight hours (in the morning, noon, and night). The first dose will be about ¼ of a drop of RSO. Weeks 2 through 5: Double your dose every four days •The average person will take between three and five weeks to reach the full dosage of one gram of RSO per day. Weeks 5 through 12: Take one gram of RSO daily until you’ve consumed the full 60 grams. •Eventually, the patient will be taking about 8-9 rice-sized drops of RSO every eight hours. The taste of the RSO may be slightly bitter or unpleasant, so patients may prefer to ingest the oil by swallowing it directly or mixing it with other foods, such as bananas, to help mask the taste. Note: Do not try to dab RSO, as it is made with high-proof alcohol and is highly combustible. Side effects mostly include sleepiness, which is a natural part of the healing process. Increasing the dose gradually will help minimize the psychoactive effects and keep your tolerance to a functional level. Daytime sleepiness should fade within three to four weeks. After a 12-week regimen of RSO, the patient may want to continue the treatment but it should be at a significantly reduced rate. About one to two grams of RSO per month is enough for a regular maintenance dose. Rick Simpson Oil should not be considered a cure-all for medical conditions, but many patients have experienced significant relief from their medical symptoms and conditions with the use of RSO. leafly
  12. How to get a legal marijuana prescription This step-by-step guide will help you understand the basic process of prescription cannabis in Canada By Ivy Jackson May 12, 2017 Featured image by @eggrole, via Flickr. Getting a legal marijuana prescription can seem daunting if you don’t know where to start. It might feel like you have to prove something to your family doctor, despite having tried every other option to relieve your pain/anxiety/sleep disorder/PTSD/etc. But if you want to explore cannabis treatment, the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations (ACMPR) allows you to do so safely, legally and under a doctor’s care. “If you want to legally access medical cannabis right now, the only way to do that is to get a prescription from a medical doctor or nurse practitioner who is trained to understand your specific concerns,” says Gill Pollard, marketing director at Lift Centre, a resource centre that helps patients navigate the medical cannabis system. Here’s a beginner’s guide to getting a legal marijuana prescription in Canada, and what to expect once you have it. Book an appointment with your family doctor Is cannabis the right treatment for you? Your family physician should help you make an informed decision on whether or not the effects (and, yes, side effects) of medical marijuana will actually alleviate your symptoms. “[Step one is] seeing your physician to explore whether medical cannabis is an appropriate treatment option for you,” says Pollard. If your primary doctor rejects your initial request, there are other avenues Don’t feel discouraged. A second opinion, like everything related to your health, is always a good idea. “You can make an appointment at a clinic, like Lift Resource Centre, and speak to one of our specially trained nurse educators who will pre-qualify you,” says Pollard. From there, you’d go on to meet with a physician from the Lift Resource Centre. You can also check out Lift's list of medical marijuana doctors and clinics in Canada. If consulting a doctor sends you into a cold sweat, spend time before your appointment writing down your health issues and concerns. Nothing calms the nerves like a good list. Get the right documents signed, sealed and delivered Once you’ve been given the green light, by law your doctor must provide a document (like this one found on the Government of Canada’s website) with obvious things like your full name and birthdate, as well as more important details like the name and address of your doctor, their license number, as well as the number of grams of marijuana per day you’ve been prescribed. The number of days, weeks or months you can take it will also be included. “If [your] prescription was written by a licensed Canadian medical doctor, it is valid,” says Pollard. Find a licensed producer that suits your needs Currently, there are 43 licensed producers (LPs) in Canada where you can legally order your prescription. Once you’ve made your decision, you’ll need to register as a client with your LP of choice by sending them your documentation, including the original prescription. Know how much you can legally have on your person Time for a quick math lesson—a really, really important one. Individuals can carry 30 times their daily prescribed amount or less, up to a maximum of 150 grams. So, if you’ve been allotted two grams per day, you can possess your monthly dose of 60 grams. But if your doctor has prescribed you seven grams per day, you’re not allowed to possess the entire month’s supply. Research your insurance plan If you have an extended healthcare plan through your employer, it may cover part of your medical cannabis prescription the same way it does with other prescriptions. “You will need to check out your particular plan to make certain,” warns Pollard, so do your homework before submitting a claim. Always carry the product packaging with you “You should keep your medical cannabis in the original packaging it arrived in from your licensed producer,” notes Pollard. “The packaging is what is used to validate it. If you are planning to travel with your medication, then you should bring your medical document as well.” So don’t go getting all fancy with how you store and carry the stuff. It is, after all, medicine, and should be treated as such. (And NEVER plan to travel outside Canada with your prescription—this is illegal and could land you in a lot of trouble). Looking for more information on how to get and use a medical marijuana prescription? Download the Lift Patient Guide here. lift
  13. Re: ACD's 4/20 Gathering 2017 Post by Lemming » Tue May 09, 2017 4:17 pm Day 2 - Tue 18th April 2017 - The Exotic East I awake from a very deep sleep, still stoned. Remembering that we have a big day ahead of us today I scurry around looking for a timepiece and some glasses to enable me to read it. Before I continue, let me just recap a bit and fill in some background, just in case you weren't following the build up to 4/20. It all started way back at the beginning of February when we were discussing the possibility of a crawl out east. The thought was to start at Ballonnetje and then explore the cluster by the windmill (Happy People, Eastwood and Trefpunt). If we were feeling keen we might then continue all the way out to The Stud before, maybe, returning via some more Oost shops. Around the same time I happened to be corresponding with the owner of The Stud who had just sent me a picture for the site. He invited me to visit the shop so I asked whether he'd like to host a small group of hard smoking ACDers. He said that we'd be more than welcome and that he'd lay on a surprise for us. That prompted a slight change of plan. Rather than a vague aspiration to head eastwards, we decided to set a firm course for The Stud. Then, about a week before the planned crawl, Ballonnetje got in touch to say that they'd read that we were planning to visit and that if I confirmed numbers and time they'd arrange some broodjes and goodies for us and reserve some space. So, now we had two coffeeshops offering us a VIP reception in one day! That's why this is a big day. Not only that but it's also Macky's birthday. If all goes to plan, it promises to be very special indeed. Phew! I haven't overslept and missed it all. It's about eleven so I've got a couple of hours to shower, eat and walk to Ballonnetje. Sounds reasonably relaxed. Might even have time for a spliff. Ablutions performed, cereal eaten, tea drunk, quick message on the forum posted. I think that's everything covered. Must be time to set off. Walking down the east bank of the Amstel I encounter a couple of tourists with a map. "Do you live here?" one asks. "No, but I know a bit", I offer. "So, we're by the Skinny Bridge, here, and we're trying to find the Seven Bridges", he says, pointing at the Walter Süskindbrug across the Nieuwe Herengracht. "No, that's the Skinny Bridge", I say, pointing at the bridge over the Amstel. "You need to follow that canal over there", now pointing over the river at the Herengracht. I suggest they cross the Blauwbrug and walk along the Herengracht until the seven bridges of the Reguliersgracht come into view. From the Amstel I turn onto Nieuwe Prinsengracht and then Nieuwe Achtergracht, cross the busy Weesperplein and emerge on to Roetersstraat, right next to Het Ballonnetje. Het Ballonnetje Another flashback. This time nearly 30 years! Back in 1988 I made my first ever visit to Amsterdam. A girlfriend and I stayed in a little room above the laundromat on Warmoesstraat. We'd heard about these mythical coffeeshops and a friend of ours had given us directions to the Bulldog, which he'd checked out on a recent visit. Other than that, we knew nothing. There was no Internet as we know it back then, let alone an ACD. On the train from Schiphol to Centraal we got chatting with a local who told us about his favourite coffeeshop, Het Ballonnetje, and marked it on a map for us. During that trip I bought my first copy of Kip's Mellow Pages and learnt about loads of good shops but, as my first serious coffeeshop, Ballonnetje always has a special place in my heart. I've been back several times over the years. My favourite spot was the little table in front of the vivarium shown bottom right in this picture from 2006. June 2006 Inside, I find that Het Ballonnetje has changed a bit since I was last here. There's now a short corridor leading to a counter and a remotely locked door into the remaining space. Through the window I can see some of the crew inside. I then discover that the queue to the counter also includes KeyMonCha. Brief introductions all round and we're through the door to the big table where there's already a session in progress. The CopenhagenCouple, Danny211204, Drugsbunny, Madmaxxx, Matty223, OneHighMofo, Rickydude and Smirks are joined by KeyMonCha and me. We're soon also joined by DeLekkersteNUGS16 and then we're all pleased to see that Spidergawd and Miss Muffett have made it out here. The gang is completed when Lafe arrives. When I discussed this idea with Ballonnetje I predicted we might get 6 to 12 people but that I really had no idea. There are now 15 of us around the table. With a bit of shuffling and extra chairs, we're all in. Looking around, much has changed but it's still very smart. This is the wall behind where the dealer counter used to be: The mezzanine level is now sealed off as a tobacco smoking area: The entrance end of the room is partitioned off so that a corridor leads to the counter and a door restricts access to the seating area: Meanwhile, in the middle of the room is this big table reserved for the ACD Forum. In the middle of the table is a pile of broodjes, as promised. broodjes Not only that, there are also big bags labelled Tangie, G13 and SFV. I'll leave it to the experts to review these properly but they all seemed very nice to me. I gather from DeLekkersteNUGS16's account that these were actually SFV OG, Tangie and G13xMr.Nice. OneHighMofo also mentions these in his travelogue and both seemed very impressed. Hopefully we'll get more reviews of them as more travelogues emerge over time. At the bar I ask for a coffee. Not sure if it's my senility or just being overwhelmed by the situation but I forget to ask for my koffie verkeerd. A little pot of milk soon fixes that, and all free of charge for a Forum member. We're getting well spoiled here. All around the table and on every available horizontal surface, papers and all kinds of paraphernalia are being pressed into service. Industrial scale production and consumption is in progress. Smirks has found a working house bong so he's happy. I decide to nominate Smirks as our Official Bong Correspondent, tasked with rating shops on the quality of their house bongs. Mr CC says something about the times we're supposed to be at various places and sounds very organised. I declare him to be our Official Time Correspondent, tasked with being in charge of everything chronological. Mrs CC then contradicts all of that by suggesting we should do whatever we like whenever we like. An attitude I can relate to. I think she should be our Anarchy Correspondent. The CCs are such a close couple, maybe this yin/yang aspect is why. Miss Muffett announces that a snap election has been called back in the UK. I declare her to be our Reality Correspondent, tasked with reporting back from the real world to our little cloud. That's as far as I get with allocating roles to everyone because, just then, I get allocated a role myself. I'm called over to the bar where someone is holding a pile of shirts and hats. They tell me that all of the stuff is for us but there's not enough to go round. As 'leader' of this crew I'm expected to find an equitable means of distributing the merchandise. They suggest a competition or something. At this point I'm far too stoned to organise anything, not even a smoke-up in a coffeeshop (oh wait, what are we doing?) Anyway, this is a responsibility I can do without. We consider just dumping the pile in the middle of the table. That sounds an easy way out but might either cause a riot or just result in them being abandoned because everyone is too polite to take one. The food is still sitting there, after all. In the end I decide to just hand them around as randomly as possible. I'm feeling quite random so I should be quite qualified to do that. The first couple of people I offer one to decline so I find myself wandering around with this heap of clothing hoping someone will take something. The next few people are more enthusiastic and, by the time I get to the opposite corner of the room, they're all gone. It feels like I've spread them fairly evenly but Danny later complains that I missed him out. I haven't kept one for myself either. The back of that t-shirt is very cool and unsubtle. I may have to write to Ballonnetje and see if I can scrounge one. I'd enjoy wearing that in our local village pub. We've been here for nearly two hours. We could probably do two more but we have another appointment. Seems a little rude to say we've smoked all of your buds and now we're going to see what we can blag in another coffeeshop. On the other hand, they might be glad to get rid of us. Either way, it's time to think about moving. Through the window I can see that the sun is still shining. Looks like a nice day for walking to The Stud. Once I mention this to the others, things seem to start moving quite quickly. More, Much More to come...
  14. Over 4,000 now able to grow medical cannabis As of May 1 there were 4,480 Canadians with active registrations for personal or designated cannabis cultivation. 17 new employees hired to help process. By David Brown May 8, 2017 Enrolment in Health Canada’s personal cultivation program has nearly doubled in less than three months, according to new figures from the agency. To handle this, Health Canada’s Office of Medical cannabis recently hired 17 new employees to help with processing and responding to questions. As of May 1, there are now 4,480 Canadians with active registrations for personal or designated cultivation under the agency’s medical cannabis access program. The regulator says the average wait time is now ten weeks, although many patients still report waiting four months or more in some cases. Under the program, Health Canada authorizes registered patients to grow their own cannabis or choose a designated grower. Enrolment is up significantly from figures Health Canada provided to Lift earlier this year, showing 2,554 individuals allowed to grow their own cannabis or designate someone to do so, with average processing time being about seven weeks. In response to a request from Lift, Health Canada has provided an update on their personal and designated cultivation licensing program. Lift has been covering this issue since February, looking at wait times that have, according to several patients and physicians, been several months. Gary Scott Holub, Media Relations Officer for the Government of Canada, says the wait times are dependent on the amount of applications received, as well as if the applications are processed properly by the patient and physician. The agency says they have provided expanded instructions for patients on filling out the associated forms. Examples of commonly encountered issues include: medical documents that do not appear to be original; discrepancies between information in the medical document and the application form; documents that are not signed by the applicant, or are signed incorrectly; or the incorrect person is identified as the designated producer. Holub says Health Canada began accepting applications for personal or designated cultivation in August 2016 and had 15 full time employees working on processing applications for home growing and designated growers during the 2016-2017 fiscal year (ending March 31), out of 74 employees at the Office of Medical Cannabis. They have recently hired 11 new client service representatives to help process applications, and six new client service representatives to respond to questions from Canadians about how to apply, or the status of their application. Health Canada’s 2017–18 Departmental Plan says they intend to address gaps in regulatory programs like the medical cannabis program and “restore legislative and policy capacity.” Spending for Health Canada has been increasing. You can read the Q and A below. It has been edited for clarity. Q1: What are the most current figures for Licenses issued for personal cultivation and for designated production under the ACMPR? A1: As of May 1, 2017, there were 4,480 individuals with active Health Canada registrations under the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations. This includes 4,148 individuals authorized to produce limited amounts of cannabis for their own medical purposes and 332 individuals who have designated someone to produce it for them. Q2: How many staff are involved in the personal cultivation approval process? A2: The Office of Medical Cannabis (OMC) in Health Canada is responsible for developing and implementing legislation, regulations, policies and operational programs that support access to cannabis for medical purposes. As part of these responsibilities, OMC issues registration certificates to Canadians who are authorized by their health care practitioner to produce a limited amount of cannabis for their own medical purposes or on behalf of another individual. During fiscal year 2016-17, OMC employed 74 individuals, 15 of whom worked full-time on the review of applications and issuance of registration certificates since the new program’s inception on August 24, 2017. Health Canada has recently added 11 new client service representatives to the registration team to increase the team’s capacity to process new and renewal applications from Canadians in a timely manner. Q3: Lift has been consistently hearing reports of patients waiting several months to get their paperwork approved by Health Canada. Are there specific reasons why such approvals could take several months? What does the approval process entail once a patient’s paperwork makes its way to Health Canada? A3: On average, the processing time is 10 weeks, depending on the complexity of the application. In some cases, the application is processed more quickly or, as you have noted, it can take longer. The time to review an application and issue a registration certificate is highly dependent upon the number of applications received, and the quality or the completeness of the applications. It also depends on the response time of applicants or health care practitioners, who may be contacted by our client service representatives to verify information or to request additional clarification. To ensure the requirements specified in the regulations are met, Health Canada must validate the information on the application and the medical document. For example, our client service representatives verify that an original medical document has been provided, that it has been signed by a healthcare practitioner who is authorized by, and in good standing with, a provincial regulatory authority, and that the medical document has not been altered or falsified in any way. For the benefit of your readers, who may also be applicants, examples of commonly encountered issues include: •medical documents that do not appear to be original; •discrepancies between information in the medical document and the application form; •documents that are not signed by the applicant, or are signed incorrectly; or •the incorrect person is identified as the designated producer. To assist patients, the Department has posted a guidance document that provides instructions on how to correctly complete the registration form. In response to patient feedback, Health Canada has also recently updated the sample medical document that individuals can take to their health care practitioner to be completed as an original medical document. Both documents can be found here: www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/topics/production-cannabis-for-your-own-medical-purposes. As indicated above, Health Canada has recently added 11 new client service representatives to the registration team. An additional 6 client service representatives have also joined the call centre to help respond to questions from Canadians about how to apply or the status of their application. Health Canada will continue to work with patients and patient advocates to identify and act on opportunities to improve the processing of applications from individuals authorized to produce cannabis for their own medical purposes. We are committed to taking additional measures as necessary to ensure all applications are processed as expeditiously as possible. Q4: Once a patient has authorization to purchase starting materials from a licensed producer, how often may they purchase their limit in clones or seeds based on their grams-per-day authorization from their doctor? (assuming crop failure, etc.). A4: Only those individuals who have registered with Health Canada to produce a limited quantity of cannabis for their own medical purposes or to designate someone to produce it for them are permitted to purchase starting materials (plants and seeds) from licensed producers. A designated person is not permitted to register with a licensed producer to purchase starting materials. The registration certificate provided by Health Canada will indicate the number of cannabis plants that an individual or their designated person, if any, can produce, and this number will determine how much starting materials the registered individuals can purchase. For example, the total number of plants you order from a licensed producer cannot be more than the number authorized on your registration certificate. If you want to order seeds, you may order 3 marijuana seeds for each authorized plant. For example, if you are authorized to produce 5 plants, you may purchase a maximum of 15 seeds. Also, you can order plants and seeds more than once. If your crop is not successful, you can place another order with the same licensed producer for more plants or seeds, but you cannot have more plants at your site than the number identified on your registration certificate. In addition, the regulations enable individuals, once registered, to obtain an interim supply from a licensed producer while they wait for their plants to produce harvestable product. Individuals registered with Health Canada can become clients of a licensed producer by using a copy of their Health Canada registration certificate to register. Individuals may also continue to access cannabis from a licensed producer while producing their own plants as long as the possession limit of the lesser of 150 grams or 30 times the daily quantity of dried marijuana (or the equivalent in products) is not exceeded. Individuals can only use a Health Canada registration certificate to register with one licensed producer to access interim supply. lift
  15. Beyond Brownies: The Science of Cooking with Cannabis by Andy Wright Henry Drayton (Courtesy: The Herbal Chef) Full article reprinted with permission from America's Test Kitchen. The piece originally appeared online at the Cook's Science website. Author Andy Wright is a writer bsed out of San Francisco. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, Matter, Popular Mechanics, Atlas Obscura, Pacific Standard and other publications. She is the former deputy editor of Modern Farmer. Learn more at her website, Twitter and Instagram. THE HERBAL CHEF The first course was herbed white beans with grapefruit, blood orange and asparagus with heirloom carrot, sumac, pomegranate and 2 milligrams of THC. Then came hamachi and caviar alongside asparagus rolled in hemp seed; broccoli stalks with THC-infused habanero mousse and dandelion purée; and lamb Wellington anointed with a spice rub, mint pesto, and a THC-dosed lamb jus. Eight courses and 10 milligrams later, the guests had grown convivial, suit jackets slung over chairs, giggling as a live cellist played in the background. By the end, says chef Chris Sayegh, everyone was “euphoric.” That's a typical dinner event for Sayegh, known as the Herbal Chef. Sayegh, who artfully laces his dishes with THC like some might use hot peppers or fresh basil, routinely hosts such meals, with price tags in the hundreds, and he plans to open the nation’s first cannabis-themed restaurant by the end of 2017. Cooking with CannabisChef Chris Sayegh addresses the crowd at Green Table, a dinner attended by members of the cannabis industry and investors. Photo by Henry Drayton, courtesy of The Herbal Chef. But tonight is a departure from his usual fare. He’s spent about a week creating a sprawling THC-infused landscape of jolly cookie-adorned houses, a towering Christmas tree, a fondant-encased UFO (complete with disgorged, Santa-hat-wearing space aliens), and fluffy bushes made of confectioners’-sugar-dusted cannabis nugs. But no one will nibble on this intoxicating masterpiece. Sayegh is at the forefront of a growing movement to reimagine cannabis in the kitchen, and he’s become known for his many-coursed gourmet THC-infused dinners in a style he describes as “French with Italian and Middle Eastern influence.” But tonight his gingerbread construction—which he’s created for a party benefitting the victims of a warehouse fire in Northern California—is just for show. Sayegh hasn’t lab-tested the village, so he doesn’t know how potent it might be, and he won’t serve imprecisely dosed food. Once upon a time, the menu included cannabis-infused appetizers to appease guests salivating over the off-limits village, but it turns out cocktails are on offer at this party, and mixing cannabis edibles with liquor can make for a “dizzy” experience, he says; he doesn’t serve them together. Guests still partake of his hors d’oeuvres, but they’re made solely from non-mind-expanding ingredients. Navigating such things are all part of the job; complications traditional chefs have never pondered. Take all the problems an average chef has to deal with and throw in a psychoactive ingredient that requires some scientific chops, and you start to understand the quandary Sayegh and his ilk are facing: How do you create cannabis meals that are effective, responsible, and also delicious? Sayegh wears chef’s whites. He’s quick to smile, athletic, with his hair cropped short on the sides and a tight burst of sandy curls on top. His Maltese-poodle mix, MooMoo, is cavorting around his feet. Just a few years ago, you wouldn’t have found him in uniform, but pondering his fate at the University of California, Santa Cruz. He was a sophomore studying molecular biology, homesick for the mansaf and other dishes his Jordanian family raised him on—and a fledgling pot smoker. A budding scientist, he decided that if he was going to get high, he should probably find out what it was doing to his body. “Long story short, I started to research that and I had this epiphany,” says Sayegh. “I need to feed people proper nutrition from the earth and use plants as medicine.” He dropped out of college and started his training in restaurants, logging time in Michelin-starred kitchens in New York and California while experimenting at home with cannabis. Entrepreneurial from the start, he trademarked the name “Herbal Chef” and started an Instagram account. Cooking with Cannabis Lamb WellingtonLamb Wellington anointed with a spice rub, mint pesto, and a THC-dosed lamb jus. Photo by Henry Drayton, courtesy of The Herbal Chef. It was the Instagram account—where he posts things like artfully plated cannabis-infused foie gras custard with blackberry gelée, fish with radish marinated in a cannabis-vinegar blend, and peppercorn-crusted strip steak in a medicated Cabernet Sauvignon reduction—that led to his first private dinner. Things snowballed from there. Now, in addition to his restaurant ambitions and dinners, he’s gearing up for a TV show he describes as “Anthony Bourdain meets Bear Grylls”. The restaurant alone has presented a list of challenges not faced by traditional restaurateurs, from training cooks and waiters to work with cannabis to finding a landlord willing to rent to him. There isn’t a playbook for someone who wants to build an empire around cannabis cookery. In his early days, around 2010, Sayegh noticed vexing variations in his recipes, depending on the temperature, time, and variety of his base ingredient. “The taste was off; the potency was off,” he says. “And there was no research on, ‘Hey, if you heat cannabis up to this point, you’ll lose potency.’” You can’t take a Le Cordon Bleu class in THC or crib from Julia Child or Thomas Keller. Due to federal regulations, it’s tough for medical researchers to investigate cannabis, let alone food science or culinary programs. Chefs working with cannabis are literally writing their own cookbooks and becoming amateur scientists in search of the perfect high enrobed in the perfect meal. Cooking with Cannabis Chef Chris SayeghChris Sayegh, who defines himself as The Herbal Chef, creates multi-course, gourmet, cannabis-infused private dinners. Photo by Henry Drayton, courtesy of The Herbal Chef. POT ENTERS THE LAB “Herb” isn’t just cute shorthand for cannabis; cannabis is actually a flowering herb. The plant is indigenous to temperate and tropical parts of the globe, and archaeologists have uncovered proof that humans have been ingesting it in some form since prehistory. We like to smoke it and eat it, for ritual and medical reasons and just to have fun. Chefs work with cannabis for lots of reasons, including a passion for its therapeutic properties, a love for the plant’s psychoactive effects, and the challenge of working with an ingredient that is only beginning to find its way into a fine-dining setting. Because cooks use cannabis for its chemical effects, not just as a seasoning, a field of homespun, and increasingly more professional, technology has grown around it. Techniques for refining the plant matter into usable and potent ingredients range from stovetop simple to serious industrial processing—all in the quest to make bioavailable, accurately dosed dishes that also taste good. Alice B. Toklas, who presided over literary salons in early twentieth-century Paris with partner Gertrude Stein, firmly ensconced the practice of cooking and eating cannabis in the cultural imagination with The Alice B. Toklas Cook Book. First published in 1954, it offered up a recipe for Hashish Fudge, which “anyone could whip up on a rainy day.” In addition to pulverizing a “bunch of cannabis sativa,” the recipe calls for black peppercorns, dried figs, and peanuts. In an introduction to the 1984 reprint of the book, food writer M.F.K. Fisher wrote that she had never tried one of the fudge brownies, but “am told they taste slightly bitter.” These days, no cannabis chef worth their herb would recommend throwing raw product into baked goods, but brownies can be an ideal vehicle for THC. It just takes a few more steps than Toklas imagined. You could eat a pound of raw cannabis and not get high. That’s because the main functional ingredient in a cannabis bud is in the form of a compound called tetrahydrocannabinolic acid, or THCA. THCA has no psychoactive effect. But delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, does. Applying heat to THCA kicks off a process called decarboxylation, which transforms it into THC. When cannabis is smoked, THCA converts to THC along the way, and the process is largely taken for granted. Basically, every pot smoker, from a cancer patient to a teenage toker, embarks on an act of chemistry when they flick the lighter. But if you want to eat it instead of smoke it, things get more complicated. The most common way people decarboxylate, or “decarb,” cannabis for cooking is by toasting it on low heat (240 degrees Fahrenheit/116 degrees Celsius is a commonly recommended temperature) in an oven. THC: THC is a cannabinoid, a chemical compound found within cannabis, of which there are many. Not all cannabinoids are psychoactive. THC, as well as others, such as cannabidiol, or CBD, are believed to have therapeutic properties. Chefs often tailor creations to try to maximize the effects of cannabinoids beyond THC. Elise McDonough, edibles editor for High Times and author of The Official High Times Cannabis Cookbook has become a kind of cannabis test-kitchen guru over the years, running experiments and lab testing the results. The main concerns when decarbing, according to McDonough, are burning the cannabis or toasting it too long at too high a temperature. She recommends checking on it frequently and stirring it up if it gets too brown around the edges. The THC will evaporate at 392 degrees Fahrenheit/200 degrees Celsius, and at higher temps the THC starts converting to cannabinol, or CBN, a cannabinoid known for making people sleepy. The overeager may wonder if they can just munch on the toasted bud—the answer is yes, but it’s kind of a waste. “It’s been decarboxylated enough that you would feel it but not with the intensity and extent that you would if you mixed it into a fat and then ate it,” says McDonough. “Because the fat is really helping it be absorbed into your body.” Cooking with Cannabis Ganja GritsA bowl of Sativa Shrimp and Ganja Grits. Photo courtesy of Elise McDonough/HIGH TIMES. THC is fat-soluble, which is why once it’s decarbed, cooks often infuse it into a butter or an oil, simmering it for hours on a stove or in a slow cooker and then straining it to produce a rich brew that reliably delivers THC to the bloodstream and liver. (Hence all those decadent brownies.) reliably: McDonough even suggests using a method passed on to her by a food scientist that calls for spritzing decarbed bud with Everclear, an alcohol bottled at 190 proof, before infusing it into a fat, because the booze helps break down the plant cell walls, which “helps more THC escape into the solution and migrate out of the plant into the fat.” Decarboxylated cannabis can (and has been) infused into a spectrum of household ingredients, from avocado oil to bacon fat, although some may be better conduits than others. In a trial where she infused and tested a number of vehicles, McDonough found that clarified butter and coconut oil produced especially potent solutions. Her hypothesis as to why? Saturated fats like butter and coconut oil are better able to absorb THC than monounsaturated fats like olive oil. “We’ll need to do more study,” she writes, “but in the meantime, all of you cannabis cooks at home can rest assured that using clarified butter or coconut oil for your cannabis infusions will result in a potent and cost-effective infusion.” Old-fashioned “cannabutter” is a staple, but chefs have been experimenting with new methods over the years. Seattle chef Ricky Flickenger got his start at a popular cupcake shop and now teaches home cooking classes—which included one on the science of cooking with cannabis, until shifting laws made him retire that particular session. A self-taught chef, Flickenger is used to figuring things out on his own and, like many cooks in the cannabis field, keeps up to date on scientific research. He’s partial to making his butters and oils with a product called kief, a powdery substance made from the glittery, hairlike trichomes that protrude from the cannabis plant. Kief is one of the many cannabis extracts that have found their way into dispensaries alongside traditional buds. kief: Flickenger appreciates that kief is more potent than regular decarbed bud (making it a more economical ingredient), and also that it cuts down on prep time. “There’s no need to strain, like when you’re using fresh bud,” he says. “There’s no need for people to have it in a Crock-Pot for six hours or strain it through pantyhose to make sure every little bit gets out.” Extracts, or concentrates, are exactly what they sound like—products with high levels of THC that are made from cannabis by a number of methods, from sifting buds to isolate cannabinoid-rich trichomes,to supercritical CO2 extraction, which uses carbon dioxide at very high pressures to pull cannabinoids from the plant. (This professional technique is a popular way to decaffeinate coffee.) There is a dizzying array of extracts available, as well as ways to consume them, from vaporizing to smoking them atop traditional bud. And some have found their way into the kitchen. Chris Yang, a Los Angeles-based chef, brought his background in biochemistry to bear on his cannabis-infused dinners under the banner PopCultivate. Disillusioned with the business side of medicine, he dropped out of a graduate course in hospital management and found his way to cannabis chefery. Yang extracts his own concentrates and then puts those in a rotary evaporator, or “rotavap,” a tool found in chemistry labs as well as molecular gastronomy kitchens. The rotavap uses vacuum to remove solvents from the concentrate, leaving Yang with a powder or resin that can be added to oil, butter, or glycerin. “Which is amazing,” he says, “because then I can measure dosing by how many drops I’m putting in the food, not how many teaspoons of butter or tablespoons of butter. It’s very limiting if the proper dosing for food is you need two tablespoons of butter for one dose— it’s kind of hard to feed someone two tablespoons of butter.” Yang prefers making his own extracts so he can personally tailor his product, isolating individual cannabinoids using a method called silica column separation. Then he can adjust the ratios of cannabinoids for a desired high. A communal dessert table of assorted cookies along with homemade chocolate, strawberry, soy and almond milk, and ice creams, mousses and sauces for for dipping. The cookies and sauces are both infused with CBD, a cannabinoid that many believe reduces the effects of THC, which Sayegh say he uses to help “balance people out at the end of the night”. Photo by Henry Drayton courtesy of The Herbal Chef. FROM BUTTER TO TERPENES When Sayegh, aka The Herbal Chef, first started messing around with cannabis in the kitchen, he made butters like everyone else, and drew on his science education to track his results. “I started to take notes and write stuff down and pay attention to how much bud I was putting in the butter, how long I was steeping it for, what temperature it was at, and then I just started to build upon my own trials,” he says. But butter wasn’t where he wanted to stay. He wanted to make savory dishes, not batches of brownies. (“Brownie” has become a kind of catchall code word, spoken ruefully by chefs who want diners to think outside the limited vision of infused food.) Now, Sayegh works with lab-produced extracts. Though they’re mostly fat-soluble, he says the lab he works with also produces a water-soluble version using a proprietary method. He’s tight-lipped about exactly how the water-soluble extract works, but says it “helps keep the integrity” of the THC “without burning it off,” and means he can infuse frozen meals that can withstand the oven and microwave—something he does especially for critically ill patients, in collaboration with a nutritionist. Sayegh has experimented with infusing foods via tabletop vaporizers—machines that vaporize cannabis for inhalation. He traps the vapor in an oven bag with poultry or fish and then ties it off and pops it in the oven. “It doesn’t get you high, but it infuses the terpene and the aromatics into the skin,” he says. “Which gives it this whole new complexity.” He’s also used vaporizers to infuse beef tartare, similar to smoking it, and even conducts terpene wine pairings. Yang has tried drying and dehydrating cannabis leaves and using them like dried basil or oregano. It didn’t quite work out. Unlike traditional herbs, Yang says the dried cannabis didn’t retain enough aromatics to make it a prominent flavor in the dish. But all this invention is for naught if the food doesn’t taste right, and plenty of people are leery of the piney, grassy flavor associated with cannabis-enhanced food. Many chefs have come up with ways to curtail the vegetal tang that so many find overwhelming. Yang says hot foods hide the flavor better than cold, as do foods with high sugar content, like juices. One popular cannabis gourmand, who goes by the moniker JeffThe420Chef, advocates soaking and blanching cannabis to rid it of things like chlorophyll, the green pigment vital for photosynthesis that is also responsible for a lot of the plant’s grassy taste. Sayegh says he has become accustomed to masking the flavor, bringing it into a balance with everything else in the dish so that diners won’t taste it unless he wants them to. Meanwhile, some are embracing one particular set of compounds that give cannabis its multifaceted flavor: terpenes. Terpenes are aroma and flavor compounds found in all kinds of plant foods, such as cinnamon, oregano, and lemons. Cannabis shares certain terpenes with mangoes, black pepper, and rosemary, and different strains of cannabis have different terpenes. It’s not unusual for cannabis sold in dispensaries to come with tasting notes, like a glass of wine, and a company in Amsterdam even has a detailed “flavor wheel” of available strains with flavors as specific as “Tabasco” and “bread fruit.” Sayegh and others believe terpenes, like cannabinoids, shape the high and have therapeutic benefits—from calming to euphoric—and will pick and choose strains based on that. Some studies have supported this direct connection between flavor and effect, but, as with many aspects of cannabis, research has been limited by the plant’s legal status. A bubbling centerpiece diffuses pinene into the air, a terpene found in certain cannabis strains that has, as the name suggests, a piney aroma. Therapeutic qualities have been attributed to terpenes; pinene is used as an anti-inflammatory. Photo by Henry Drayton courtesy of The Herbal Chef. Melissa Parks, a classically trained chef who once worked in research and development for General Mills, is now the executive chef of Las Vegas-based edibles company Vert. She once orchestrated a dinner where she paired tokes of cannabis with dishes that complemented their terpenes. She married a particularly earthy strain called Bio-Diesel (“It had smells of when you drive into a forest over dirt with pine needles”) with a cocoa- and coffee-crusted pork tenderloin in sour cherry beurre blanc. “With the addition of these terpenes, whatever is lingering in that beautiful essence of plant matter that has hit your palate illuminates something in a dish you would have completely ignored or never seen,” she says. “It’s so fun!” Of course, flavor and presentation are wasted if the diner leaves their meal having embarked on a trip they didn’t plan on taking. “That is what is going to hold our entire industry back if we don’t do this right: the potency of edibles,” says Sayegh. “Everybody and their mother’s had a bad experience. Because it’s like, ‘Oh, this little cookie?’ And then they eat it, and they’re throwing their brains up.” A plated dish of coconut cake, sweet potato, mango, coriander, infused with 2 milligrams THC. Photo by Henry Drayton courtesy of The Herbal Chef. TOO HIGH The effects and duration of cannabis differ depending on how you take it. When you smoke pot, it passes very quickly from the lungs to the bloodstream. There is a rapid spike in THC in the blood minutes after inhalation, which declines after about an hour. But when you eat or drink it, it passes through your stomach and intestines to the bloodstream before entering the liver, where it’s metabolized and then spit back out into the bloodstream. This all takes time, which means that when you eat THC, it can sometimes take more than two hours to feel the effect—one that can last longer than from smoking, as the THC is gradually absorbed over hours by the gut, liver, and so on. So, while the experience is different from person to person, it’s safe to say that when you eat cannabis, it will take longer to feel the effect and that that effect can last longer than when smoking it. The lag time can also lead to overindulging. “When a person eats marijuana product they may not feel anything for a while,” says Dr. Igor Grant, director of the Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research at the University of California, San Diego. “And if they were doing it medicinally, they may say, ‘Well, maybe I didn’t have enough,’ and take some more, and then two hours later they’re very, very stoned.” “It’s the bus that won’t let you get off,” says a filmmaker in San Francisco who preferred not to be named. He overmedicated on a batch of homemade cannabutter cookies and ended up desperately thirsty, hallucinating, and just way too high for about eight hours. He recalled the ordeal of waiting at a pedestrian crosswalk. “It could have been 30 seconds, it could have been an eternity,” he says. Such are the added challenges of cooking with (and partaking of) a psychoactive ingredient. Chef Andrea Drummer, owner of Los Angeles-based cannabis catering company Elevation VIP, had her own version of that experience. The first drugged dish she ever ate was bruschetta prepared with infused olive oil, which she recalls with evident glee. “Oh, it was so good,” she says. “So good. I kept eating them.” Seven pieces was not a good idea, says the former nonprofit worker, laughing. She’s come a long way since then, and says the ability to calculate dosage through lab testing is one of the biggest changes in the industry. Prior to laboratory testing, attempting to determine the potency of an edible required guesswork, which could lead to unpredictable results. “Understanding the levels of THC in the product” is essential, says Drummer: “making sure that translates into a great dining experience, that the guest doesn’t feel uncomfortable, or overwhelmed, or that they’re going to die.” Drummer, like many cannabis chefs, works closely with a trusted supplier that tests its products for potency in labs. Once she creates a butter or an oil, she then has that product tested. Finally, diners are presented with menus that describe the dosage of each dish. She tries to keep four-course menus at “well under” 60 milligrams of THC, spread out over a leisurely meal so that diners can indulge. For comparison, “legal state” Colorado considers 10 milligrams to be a single dose. The effect of a single dose varies from person to person, and from smoking to eating. “I would equate 10 milligrams to maybe a cocktail or a glass of wine,” says McDonough of High Times. For those with zero cannabis experience, McDonough suggests starting out with just five. Blue cheese tarts, each with a custard base infused with 2 milligrams THC, ready to be served to guests at a networking dinner for cannabis professionals and investors with a menu by The Herbal Chef, Chris Sayegh. Photo by Henry Drayton, courtesy of The Herbal Chef. For home cooks, figuring out dosing can still be tricky. “It depends on if you’re in a state where you can legally access it, or if you’re in a prohibition state,” says McDonough. Most cookbooks and guides provide a way to evaluate the quality of your cannabis and give it a ballpark THC percentage, which will help the home cook calculate it. “It’s better than nothing, but it’s still not very precise,” she says. In a legal state, home cooks have access not only to lab-tested fresh product but sometimes also to lab-tested butters and oils. Some who prefer to infuse at home rely on online potency calculators, of which there are several. Sites like Wikileaf catalog the potency of different strains, and home potency-testing tools are starting to hit the market. Still, the fear of overmedicating makes many nervous. There are no recorded deaths from overdosing on cannabis, but the effects of taking too much can be very unpleasant. Michael, an event planner in San Francisco, used a potent homemade cannabis-infused coconut oil to fry egg sandwiches for himself and his wife. “Both of us ended up spending the entire day paranoid, in fetal positions on the couch, watching like eight episodes of Neil deGrasse Tyson’s Cosmos,” he says. It took about a day and a half for the effects to wear off. Corinne Tobias, a home cook who writes about cooking with cannabis on her blog Wake + Bake, described an experience in which she ate half of an infused grilled cheese sandwich and got “super crazy ridiculously messed up.” She wrote that she felt like she was “melting into the floor” and spent “half of her afternoon” asking for reassurance that she was not dying. “When I first started cooking with cannabis,” she writes, “I had no idea that it was going to be such a struggle to predict the perfect dosage. I’d make oil using the same method, but every time I harvested a different strain, my cannabis oil would be stronger or weaker and I had to spend a day or two as a human guinea pig, slowly testing my oil until I knew it was just right.” Now she is a fan of the tCheck, a $299 home potency tester. Home cooks fear cannabis the same way they fear making a soufflé, says Parks, who coauthored a cookbook, Herb, in part to help acclimate home cooks to the ingredient. She recommends doing your homework; Parks took college chemistry classes and drew on the expertise of her physician father to supplement her culinary training. For newbie home cooks, she advises going for quality over bargains. “If you’re going to cook with a wine, you want to be able to drink it by the glass,” she says. “It’s the same type of thing—if you’re going to be cooking with a strain of cannabis, you want to smoke it and enjoy that flavor and enjoy that high.” Parks also urges home cooks to rely on people in the know for information: “I guarantee someone in that dispensary has made an edible. Ask them what they’ve done. Don’t be afraid to ask more than one person; the more people the better.” Finally, she says, start slow. Try low doses, wait several hours—or even a day—to gauge the effect, and once you feel comfortable, slowly increase your dose by low levels. But, she says, don’t be scared. “Embrace it for what it is,” says Parks, who keeps cannabis in her kitchen. “It’s an herb.” Chris Sayegh created this menu for one of his private dinners. He was hired by a group of diners who were longtime friends to create the meal, which he hoped would bring back “some amazing memories throughout their lives using food as the catalyst.” Photo by Henry Drayton, courtesy of The Herbal Chef. THE NEXT BOOM For chefs dealing with ever-shifting regulations and public attitudes, playing it safe is good business. That’s why there’s no one going Godzilla tonight on Sayegh’s gingerbread masterpiece. In the kitchen, one medicated chocolate bar has been broken up into little pieces and placed in a bowl for people to dip into if they choose. It’s smooth and dark, with just a light grassy finish at the end—a far cry from Toklas’s herb-studded fig brownies. Sayegh knows that THC in the kitchen has an image problem outside of the cannabis world. People dismiss it as a gimmick, something just for mega-stoners, or an opportunity to rip people off. Even Sayegh’s family balked at his career path. They weren’t thrilled when he dropped out of college. They were double un-thrilled when he remade himself as an infused-food gourmand. His mom booted him from the house and told him to stay away from his little brother. But even they’ve come around. “My parents were a great introduction to the rest of the world, basically,” says Sayegh, who hopes that finely prepared food combined with the capacity to discuss the molecular structure of cannabis will help strip away the stigma of a plant still federally classified alongside heroin as a Schedule I drug. Far from a scourge, Sayegh and others see immense medical and economic potential in the herb. Tonight, no one needs convincing. The people at this party, for the most part, are members of a younger generation that has embraced cannabis socially, medically, and in the kitchen. When it comes time to unveil the gingerbread village, they crowd around, smiling and laughing, and whip out their cell phones to snap pictures—another delicious food photo for the Internet. “It’s going to be the next tech boom,” says Sayegh. “It’s the opportunity of our lifetime.” splendidtable