Today is 4/20, the unofficial day to celebrate cannabis culture. In honor, please enjoy the classic 1936 exploitation film Reefer Madness. From a brief history of the film by Kevin Murphy and Dan Studney:
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Reefer Madness began its cinematic life as a 1936 cautionary film entitled Tell Your Children. It was financed by a small church group, and was intended to scare the living bejeezus out of every parent who viewed it. Soon after the film was shot, however, it was purchased by the notorious exploitation film maestro Dwain Esper (Narcotic, Marihuana, Maniac), who took the liberty of cutting in salacious insert shots and slapping on the sexier title of Reefer Madness, before distributing it on the exploitation circuit. Esper was an absolutely notorious figure who would do things like stealing unattended prints of studio films out of projection booths and film exchanges, and then physically drive them from small town exhibitor to small town exhibitor until the authorities caught up with him. A delightful, poignant and detailed portrayal of this lunatic opportunist is featured in exploiteer Dave Friedman's autobiography, A Youth in Babylon, which is a book every cult movie or pop culture enthusiast ought to read.
After a brief run, the film lay forgotten for several decades. There was no concept of after market in those days, especially for films that existed outside the confines of the studio system, and were therefore considered "forbidden fruit." For this reason, neither Esper nor the original filmmakers bothered to copyright the movie, and it eventually fell into the public domain.
I’ll admit to having been a CBD denier. I dismissed it as a bullshit trend; the second-most overrated after kombucha. The variety of products I’d tried always left me feeling somewhere between slightly nauseous and groggy. And mentally dull. It didn’t seem to matter what form the product took, or which sort of extra bells and whistles had been added to “enhance” the oil.
Add to that the dizzying variety of distinctions: hemp extract vs. hemp seed oil, full-spectrum vs. broad-spectrum, oils vs. tinctures, the addition of terpenes, the claims of “sustainably grown,” “lab tested,” and “pure,” and, most maddening, the all-over-the-map price points that make no clear sense. Reading ingredient labels left me further confused, but more determined to sort it all out.
I wanted something simple, but my standards were high. A Google search for “organic CBD drops” was a rabbit hole of false leads and dead ends. So I created my own filters, and after researching about a trillion oils, winnowed down the options from there.
Filter #1: Organic
If I opt for organic vegetables, why shouldn’t my CBD oil rise to the same standards? This one simple step eliminated all but a handful of products.
Filter #2: Purity
I wanted plain CBD oil drops, not a Wiccan brew of essential oils, spices, and exotic immunity boosters preserved in alcohol. Furthermore, I’m a grown-up, I don’t need my CBD oil to taste like a candy cane or an orange popsicle, and I couldn’t find any good reason why it should contain another ingredient besides its carrier oil. Read the rest
Yesterday, in Wilson County, Tennessee, Spencer Alan Boston, 20, was in court on a marijuana possession charge. Facing the judge, Boston made a comment supporting marijuana legalization, pulled a joint from his pocket, lit it, and took a puff. From News Channel 5:
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“One of the craziest things I’ve seen,” says (Wilson County sheriff Robert) Bryan.
The sheriff said Boston was led out of the courtroom through a small cloud of smoke. He was booked on a second charge of simple possession and received ten days for contempt of court.
While recreational marijuana was legalized in Illinois on January 1, it is still illegal under federal law. So just a few weeks back, authorities installed "Cannabis Amnesty Boxes" at Chicago airports for travelers to drop their grass before flying. But last week, someone arriving at Chicago's Midway helped themselves to the stash. From the New York Post:
Police reportedly noticed the marijuana missing from an amnesty box during a check on Wednesday evening at around 8 p.m., according to a source for NBC5. Upon reviewing the surveillance footage, police saw a man — believed to be an incoming passenger — reaching inside and absconding with the marijuana hours earlier.
The marijuana itself was left behind by a separate passenger, who placed it in the amnesty box after being found with it during a security check...
“Cannabis Amnesty Boxes have been placed at Chicago’s airports so travelers have the opportunity to ensure compliance with federal law, as well as the local laws at their destination. Tampering with them, or attempting to remove anything placed inside, is a crime, and detectives are investigating this matter,” said Anthony Guglielmi, the chief communications officer with the Chicago Police. “In the meantime, new, permanent theft prevention boxes are expected to replace the temporary ones in the coming weeks, making them more secure and preventing anyone from further accessing materials dropped inside.”
There are also marijuana amnesty boxes at Las Vegas's McCarran International Airport and the Colorado Springs Airport.
image: Chicago Police Department
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Los Angeles's Cannabis Cafe is the first restaurant in the United States that encourages its patrons to smoke weed inside. They sell cannabis products (including pre-packaged edibles) but none of the items on the menu are prepared with it. Based on Dave Holmes's review in Esquire, quoted below, the Cannabis Cafe is certainly a high point in weed history. The bong vases are a very nice touch. From Esquire:
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Once you’re inside, it is impossible to detect the scent of skunk. The place is outfitted with a casino-grade air filtration system that whisks the smoke up, through a charcoal filter, and out into the West Hollywood skies. It works so well, in fact, that the Cannabis Cafe is the only place in Los Angeles that doesn’t smell like weed. It’s a comfy space, walls lined with living plants, a bit like the common area on Love Island. It’s welcoming. Mellow. Of course....
All of the Cafe’s waiters are equipped to handle your bummers. As a bartender must train to learn the ABV of her beers and spot the signs of intoxication, the staff here learns the potency of all the Cafe’s products and how to deal with someone who’s spiraling. (The secret, I am told, is a cold towel and a glass of orange juice)...
You get two different menus, one for food and one for weed. We dive into the latter first at our table: my boyfriend and me, plus another couple we’d been long overdue for a dinner with.
“Volume decline accelerated in 2019, down 3% through November.”
The new availability of a wide array of legal marijuana products has is beginning to take a bite out of beer consumption in Canada, reports Bloomberg News. Read the rest
New Year's Day will be a good day to be in Illinois if you like marijuana and you are an adult 21 and over with valid photo identification. Read the rest
New Jersey's Democrat governor today signed legislation to clear the state criminal records of low-level marijuana offenders, and he approved restoring the voting rights of more than 80,000 convicts. Read the rest
Physicians removed a balloon packed with marijuana from a fellow's nasal cavity 18 years after he smuggled it into prison. The 48-year-old man is now just fine. Physicians from Westmead Hospital in New South Wales, Australia, reported on the unusual case in the British Medical Journal. Apparently the man's girlfriend handed him the package that he shoved up his nose for safekeeping. The package made its way into his nasal cavity where he lost track of it. From CNN:
"A 48-year-old man was referred to the Westmead ENT Department after a CT of the brain, originally performed for headaches, demonstrated an incidental 19x11mm calcified lesion in the right nasal cavity," the report states.
"On questioning, the patient confirmed a long history of unilateral right nasal obstruction and recurrent sinonasal infections."
The rhinolith was removed from the man's nose under general anesthetic, and a subsequent study revealed that it contained a "rubber capsule containing degenerate vegetable/plant matter."
"On follow-up and specific questioning, the patient was able to recall an incident that occurred 18 years prior, while he was incarcerated," the report states. "He remained unaware of the package's presence until presented with the unusual histopathology report."
"A nose out of joint: first reported case of prison-acquired marijuana-based rhinolith
" (British Medical Journal)
image: Patrick J. Lynch, medical illustrator (CC BY 2.5)
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Well, whatcha gonna do?
According to Classical Gas Emissions, "The band is called Mental Note, and they appeared on a show called "Johnny Sizzle's Entertainment Watch" which aired on the Winnipeg Public Access channel in 1992."
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"See you in space," indeed. Far fucking out!
Long-since closed, the Buffalo, New York building that held Starseed Enterprises was recently home to a musical instrument store but is apparently now a church. Read the rest
When two plain-clothes police officers approached a woman smoking a joint at the Gothenburg Cultural Festival in Sweden, they noticed a fellow sitting nearby toss what they say was a bag of weed. As they were moving in for the bust, a seagull snatched the bag and flew away. While the police were distracted by the bird, the man reportedly took off.
“What the policemen did not expect was that a third party would interfere,” explained police spokesperson Stefan Gustafsson.
My hope is that the man and the seagull were in cahoots.
(The Leaf Desk)
image: Ring-billed Gull photographed by Jiyang Chen (CC BY-SA 3.0)
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From the far-out folks at Flavor Paper comes Cannabliss, a subtly psychedelic scratch-and-sniff wallpaper that smells like weed. They write:
We have nailed a very pleasant yet dank scent that is made from true flowering hemp terpenes to ensure we’re keeping it real. CBD for your eyes and ol factory. Dope.
As Alex writes at Weird Universe, "Most of the people who will buy this already have rooms that smell like marijuana."
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California's 3rd District Court of Appeal ruled that inmates can have a small supply of marijuana behind bars but "smoking or ingesting cannabis in prison remains a felony.” The ruling overturned convictions of five inmates busted for possessing marijuana in prison. From KTLA:
“The voters (who in 2016 passed Proposition 64 legalizing marijuana) made quite clear their intention to avoid spending state and county funds prosecuting possession of less than an ounce of marijuana, and quite clear that they did not want to see adults suffer criminal convictions for possessing less than an ounce of marijuana,” Sacramento County Assistant Public Defender Leonard Tauman said in an email. The appeals court “quite properly honored what the electorate passed..."
While prison officials can still punish inmates for violating the rules, “this ruling will prevent inmates from having years added to their sentences for simple possession, reducing overcrowding and saving $50,000-75,000 a year in unnecessary costs,” said Assistant Public Defender David Lynch.
image: Ahston / CC BY 2.0
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More than 2,500 years ago in western China, people in mourning gathered at a cemetery for a ritual that involved getting high from cannabis plants burning in wooden pots. It's likely that they were trying to communicate with spirits. From Science News:
Evidence of this practice comes from Jirzankal Cemetery in Central Asia’s Pamir Mountains, says a team led by archaeologist Yimin Yang of the University of Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing. Chemical residues on wooden burners unearthed in tombs there provide some of the oldest evidence to date of smoking or inhaling cannabis fumes, the researchers report online June 12 in Science Advances....
East Asians grew cannabis starting at least 6,000 years ago, but only to consume the plants’ oily seeds and make clothing and rope out of cannabis fibers. Early cultivated cannabis varieties in East Asia and elsewhere, like most wild forms of the plant, contained low levels of THC and other mind-altering compounds.
Yang’s team identified a chemical signature of cannabis on charred plant material from 10 wooden burners, or braziers, found in eight Jirzankal tombs. Chemical signs of an unusually high level of THC were found inside nine braziers and on two stones that had been heated and used to burn plants in the braziers.
image: Xinhua Wu
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