In a New York Times review of celebrity chef Thomas Keller's Manhattan eatery Per Se, critic Pete Wells described the mushroom soup "as murky and appealing as bong water." So now for special guests, Keller's legendary French Laundry restaurant in the Napa Valley serves their porcini mushroom broth out of a blue and green swirl glass bong. From a column by San Francisco Chronicle food critic Soleil Ho:
After dinner, I emailed the French Laundry’s public relations people about the bong. In an email, they responded that it’s something Thomas Keller pulls out for restaurant industry folks because he knows we’d get a kick out of it. (This is true. And Keller knows me from a previous encounter during my past life as a New Orleanian line cook.)
“It is clearly a tongue-in-cheek reference to past writing and is not on the menu,” they wrote, “but regularly prepared for guests as a fun item.” When I pressed them on where the bong was actually from — obviously not Riedel or Zalto — all they would say was that it was “hand blown by an artisan.”
"The French Laundry’s bong course is a brilliant act of artistry" (SF Chronicle) Read the rest
For years, college students have unofficially majored in weed. Now universities are beginning to offer cannabis studies programs because, y'know, marijuana is where the money is these days. From the Associated Press:
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"We're providing a fast track to get into the industry," said Brandon Canfield, a chemistry professor at Northern Michigan University in Marquette. Two years ago, he proposed a new major in medicinal plant chemistry after attending a conference where cannabis industry representatives spoke of an urgent need for analytical chemists for product quality assessment and assurance.
The four-year degree, which is the closest thing to a marijuana major at an accredited U.S. university, has drawn nearly 300 students from 48 states, Canfield said. Students won't be growing marijuana, which was recently legalized by Michigan voters for recreational use. But Canfield said students will learn to measure and extract medicinal compounds from plants such as St. John's Wort and ginseng and transfer that knowledge to marijuana.
Agricultural schools are also getting in on the action. A similar program is being launched at Minot State University in North Dakota this spring. The college said students will learn lab skills applicable to medical marijuana, hops, botanical supplements and food science industries.
"All of our graduates are going to be qualified to be analysts in a lab setting," Canfield said, noting that experience could lead to a position paying $70,000 right out of school. Those wishing to start their own businesses can choose an entrepreneurial track that adds courses in accounting, legal issues and marketing...
Science will open the floodgates on cheap, reliable high-volume production of THC and CBD. Yeast's rapid growth and ease of culturing will likely enable new stronger-better-faster variants of both.
UC Berkeley College of Chemistry:
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UC Berkeley synthetic biologists have engineered brewer’s yeast to produce marijuana’s main ingredients—mind-altering THC and non-psychoactive CBD—as well as novel cannabinoids not found in the plant itself.
Feeding only on sugar, the yeast are an easy and cheap way to produce pure cannabinoids that today are costly to extract from the buds of the marijuana plant, Cannabis sativa.
“For the consumer, the benefits are high-quality, low-cost CBD and THC: you get exactly what you want from yeast,” said Jay Keasling, a UC Berkeley professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering and of bioengineering and a faculty scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. “It is a safer, more environmentally friendly way to produce cannabinoids.”
Trailblazing filmmaker Spike Jonze made this short film, titled "The New Normal," about how America's relationship to cannabis has changed from the days when George Washington grew hemp. Co-written and starring Jesse Williams, it's a commercial for MedMen Cannabis Dispensaries. From AdWeek:
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"We had a desire to create a commercial with a profound message,” said (MedMen CMO David) Dancer. “Our core value is around ensuring that people can lead safe, happy, healthy lives with cannabis being a part of it. … Here we wanted to not only destigmatize and normalize but really, as you’ll see in the spot, highlight what has been unjust about the treatment of cannabis whether it is stop-and-frisk and unjust criminalization, whether it is this propaganda in Referer Madness, quite frankly leading to the Schedule One classification of cannabis as a federally illegal substance sitting next to heroin."
Dancer said (the film has) been in the works for roughly four months, adding that the company worked to make sure everyone involved with the spot had a tie to cannabis.
"The highly selective criminalization of one plant, with flagrantly harsher punishments for one community, must be acknowledged and left behind for something more reasonable, realistic and fair,” said Williams in a statement. “It’s pretty clear that Americans are ready to exist beyond a few inherited hypocrisies. We deserve the opportunity to make this right. We can do, and feel, better."
A project to expunge marijuana-related convictions in San Francisco that took an entire year to pull together is nearly complete, San Francisco prosecutors said today, as they announced that 9,300 pot crimes will soon be removed from people’s criminal records.
That's a big deal. As the SF DA said at today's press conference, a felony conviction for cannabis could mean “barriers to education, housing, employment and even being barred from a child’s school field trip because of a conviction.”
San Francisco is able to do this in part because of the efforts of people at Code For America. Read the rest
Following on Willie Nelson's "Willie's Reserve" cannabis brand, the music icon and weed enthusiast has launched the new Willie’s Remedy line of CBD-infused health and wellness products, starting with coffee. From Rolling Stone:
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According to a release, Nelson’s coffee is a medium-dark whole-bean blend with “flavor notes of cherry and cocoa.” Each 8 oz. cup contains 7 mg. of hemp-derived CDB.
Nelson’s wife Annie is overseeing the Willie’s Remedy brand and has plans to release other products in the coming year, including topicals and confections. “The Willie’s Remedy line is a purposeful departure from Willie’s Reserve,” said Annie Nelson. “It’s not about getting high, but it’s still all about Willie and the benefits we believe cannabis has to offer.”
Editor's Note: Richard Metzger is a connoisseur of cannabis, and recently started growing his own. He's test-driving high-end rig good for small-scale grows from Cloudponics. This is not a sponsored post, Boing Boing is not getting anything from Cloudponics. Metzger's just really *that* enthusiastic about weed, and so far he likes the Cloudponics setup. Here's part two in Richard's ongoing series. — Xeni
In the first installment of This TARDIS Grows Weed with Artificial Intelligence, I explained how incredibly overwhelming it was for me to contemplate setting up a decent small grow situation as a rank novice. There were not only wildly varying philosophical approaches one might employ growing the dankest of nugs, but also a dizzying number of products, potions, pitfalls and problems. The proper cohort of gear needs to be amassed and assembled and it looked like there would inevitably be mistakes made along the way, some of them expensive, or at least time consuming. Growing pot seems easy if everything goes smoothly, but if one tiny thing goes wrong, then all can be lost. What are you going to do about spider mites? Mold? Nutrient burn? What is nutrient burn anyway? Read the rest
Editor's Note: Richard Metzger is a connoisseur of cannabis, and recently started growing his own. He's test-driving high-end rig good for small-scale grows from Cloudponics. This is not a sponsored post, Boing Boing is not getting anything from Cloudponics. Metzger's just really *that* enthusiastic about weed, and spoiler alert, so far he likes the Cloudponics setup. Here's an early photo from the grow, and the first installment of Richard's ongoing lab notes. — Xeni
I am a 53-year-old wake-n-bake stoner and I've been high since 1979.
Leaving much of that, er, loaded statement aside (and yes, as a definitive study of one, I do plan to leave my body to science) think of all the money I've spent staying massively stoned since I was fourteen. At approximately $20 a day over 365 days per annum ($7300) for 39 years that comes to $284,700 but do consider that I had to make nearly twice that and pay tax on that income before I could spend it on herb. Money doesn't grow on trees, of course, but there was a time not all that long ago when an ounce of pot and an ounce of gold were the exact same price, for a little perspective. Read the rest
Thailand's got a reputation with being less than cool with illegal drugs being brought into their country or used within their national borders. Which drugs are legal and which are disallowed changes up from time to time, however. Until the 1930s, medicinal cannabis use was hunky dory with the Thai government. Then it wasn't. Fast forward to 2019 and the wheel of acceptability will have spun around once more: on Christmas Day, the nation decided that, provided it was used for medicinal purposes, dope was dope once again. Given the stringent drug laws typically enforced in Thailand's Southeast Asian neighborhood (sentences of death over a trafficking charge aren't uncommon,) it's a surprising shift in policy.
From The New York Times:
By a vote of 166 to 0, the military-appointed National Legislative Assembly approved legislation this week that would allow the use of cannabis under medical supervision. Thirteen members abstained.
The measure is expected to take effect next year.
“This is a New Year’s gift from the National Legislative Assembly to the government and the Thai people,” the lawmaker who headed the drafting committee, Somchai Sawangkarn, said during a televised session on Tuesday.
Before anyone goes making travel plans, you should know that saying that it's cleared only for prescribed medicinal use isn't just a suggestion. The penalty for recreational use of cannabis in Thailand is still very serious business: those found in possession of 10 kilograms of herb or less can expect to do up to five years in prison. Read the rest
Some communities across California are suing to ban cannabis operations in their vicinity because they claim the smell from the crops is nauseating. I mean, they don't call it skunk for nothing. From the New York Times
As a result of the stench, residents in Sonoma County, north of San Francisco, are suing to ban cannabis operations from their neighborhoods. Mendocino County, farther north, recently created zones banning cannabis cultivation — the sheriff’s deputy there says the stink is the No. 1 complaint...
“It’s as if a skunk, or multiple skunks in a family, were living under our house,” said Grace Guthrie, whose home sits on the site of a former apple orchard outside the town of Sebastopol. Her neighbors grow pot commercially. “It doesn’t dissipate,” Ms. Guthrie said. “It’s beyond anything you would imagine.”
When cannabis odors are at their peak, she and her husband, Robert, sometimes wear respirators, the kind one might put on to handle dangerous chemicals. During Labor Day weekend, relatives came to stay at the house, but cut short their visit because they couldn’t stand the smell...
“Just because you like bacon doesn’t mean you want to live next to a pig farm,” said Lynda Hopkins, a member of the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors, whose office has been inundated with complaints about the smell...
image: Wikipedia/Cannabis Training University
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Yesterday, recreational marijuana became legal in Michigan. To celebrate, Lansing's weekly paper, City Pulse, handed out free joints in front of the capital. Spreading joy with such a simple gesture is a fun thing to watch. Read the rest
Hey, remember those cops who ate a cannabis-infused chocolate bar that was supposed have been taken as evidence during a raid? Do you recall that they snarfed down their stolen snack while on duty and then proceeded to trip balls? Maybe the fact that they freaked out and called for police assistance--the sort of thing that the police normally do when they're in a life threatening situation--might ring a bell? OK, how about this: when their fellow officers responded, one slipped on the ice and was pretty badly injured as he tried to get to his distressed comrades. No? This link will jog your memory. Good to go? OK, buckle in: there's an update on their story.
This past November, Constable Vittorio Dominelli pleaded guilty to attempting to obstruct justice and wants everyone to know that he's very, very sorry.
From The CBC:
Justice Mary Misener says Dominelli is a "complete idiot" for tampering with evidence.
Crown attorney Philip Perlmutter, who read out an agreed statement of facts in court, says Dominelli took three hazelnut chocolate bars infused with cannabis oil from the raid.
Perlmutter says Dominelli and another officer later ate one chocolate bar and became intoxicated in about 20 minutes, and eventually radioed for help.
Const. Jamie Young and Dominelli allegedly assisted in the execution of a search warrant at Community Cannabis Clinic, a marijuana dispensary in the city's west end, in the early evening of Jan. 27.
As a result of their poor judgement and inopportune snacking, Dominelli and Young both wound up facing multiple misconduct charges under the Police Services Act. Read the rest
A Hannukah miracle I can get behind.
The world has burnt enough oil.
You can buy it here for $399. Read the rest
Today, Massachusetts' retail marijuana shops opened for business, and Northampton, Mass mayor David Narkewicz was first in line. Massachusetts is the first state east of the Mississippi to approve recreational marijuana. From CBS News:
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When asked whether the purchase is simply ceremonial or it will be consumed, Narkewicz said, "I am actually going to probably preserve it and display it…because it is historically significant."
"There has been marijuana use going on in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts for a long, long time. What's changing is it's now being regulated. It's now being tested. It's now being strictly monitored. That's really the major change that's happening," Narkewizc said.
A new molecular study shows that a compound called perrotetinene in certain species of liverworts is actually a psychoactive cannabanoid. From Science News
A group of Japanese scientists in 1994 discovered perrotetinene in liverworts, but the new study is the strongest evidence yet that the compound is a psychoactive cannabinoid. Previously, cannabis was the only plant known to produce such cannabinoids....
After mapping perrotetinene’s molecular structure, the researchers created a synthetic version and tested it on mice. The team tracked the animals’ pain response, body temperature and movement — measures of the compound’s psychoactivity. The results suggested that perrotetinene may be slightly less psychoactive than THC, says study coauthor Jürg Gertsch, a biochemist at the University of Bern in Switzerland. The liverwort compound may also have fewer negative side effects such as memory loss and loss of coordination, he says.
"Uncovering the psychoactivity of a cannabinoid from liverworts associated with a legal high" (Science Advances)
illustration: "Hepaticae" from Ernst Haeckel's Kunstformen der Natur, 1904 Read the rest
A High School student purportedly offered pot brownies to football players in trade for homecoming queen votes. The student both failed in her bid for office and faces criminal charges.
I'd have eaten the brownies and stayed home.
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Police told TV station WWMT that the 17-year-old at Hartford High School wanted the crown so badly that she showed up to school with a clever, but illegal, bit of homemade homecoming swag: a dozen pot brownies.
In the weeks prior, the girl had been nominated as a finalist for homecoming queen. Police say she hoped the brownies would sway her classmates to cast the votes she would need to win the title.
The cheerleader gave goody bags to football players, a standard practice before games, according to Hartford police, but hers also allegedly came with the brownies and their dose of THC.
The ambitious teen’s maneuvering was uncovered around Sept. 26, when police say someone used an app to anonymously notify state authorities, who then relayed the tip to Hartford police.
School officials were able to retrieve two brownies in their entirety and the partial remains of a third brownie, Hartford Superintendent Andrew Hubbard told The Washington Post.
Hubbard said at least eight students face possible expulsion for their roles or reactions to the scheme.
“I’ve read about things across this country. It has not happened with anything that I know of in this area,” Hartford police officer Michael Prince told Fox 17. “I’ve been an officer a long time, and whenever you think you’ve heard it all, something just about daily comes up, like, ‘Wow,’ ” Prince said.
The Mormon Church (AKA The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints or LDS) is joining lawmakers and the governor of the state of Utah to support a deal to legalize medical marijuana, even if a legalization initiative that's on this November's ballot ends up failing.
This is the first time to my knowledge the Mormon Church has made a statement supporting medical marijuana if prescribed by a doctor and dispensed by a pharmacy.
I'm a Utah resident and a cancer survivor, and I'm writing this from my home in Utah.
I found real medical benefit from cannabis during my treatment for breast cancer. The deal described in today's news (I haven't seen the text yet) is great progress for all Utahns, especially for those with cancer and other serious illnesses. The LDS previously shunned any and all cannabis use. This deal isn't enough, IMO, because marijuana smoking would still be illegal. Whole flower combustion has its benefits, and it is a valid method of ingesting cannabis for medical purposes. Read the rest