Man pointing bong shaped like a rifle causes major scare in San Diego

Last night in downtown San Diego, a gentleman was waving and pointing what appeared to be an assault rifle out of a window at the Palms Hotel. Witnesses called the police who, naturally, stopped all vehicle traffic around the hotel, locked down the surrounding neighborhood, and even deployed a chopper to the scene. When officers made it to the hotel room, they identified the "weapon" as a bong in the shape of a rifle. (Possibly like the one pictured above?) In video of officers escorting the fellow out, you can hear him say "I'm sorry." From the San Diego Union-Tribune:

Both the man and woman were taken into custody, though the woman was released without being arrested.

The man, who is in his early 20s, will be booked on suspicion of exhibiting a replica firearm in a threatening manner, police Capt. Mike Holden said.

The alleged crime is a misdemeanor, according to (police Sgt. Joe) Ruvido.

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Oreo maker Mondelez considers CBD-infused cookies and cannabis snacks

CBD-infused snacks could soon join the product line that includes Chips Ahoy cookies, Cadbury chocolate, and Nutter Butter cookies. Read the rest

Marijuana makes people morally unfit for U.S. citizenship, pot users lack 'good moral character' — Trump administration

Pot makes immigrants ineligible for citizenship even if pot is legal in the state where they reside.

Carl's Jr. to test a CBD-infused burger

On April 20 (4/20, duh), Carl's Jr. will sell a cannabidiol (CBD)-infused burger at one of their Denver, Colorado locations. It's called the Rocky Mountain High: CheeseBurger Delight. Of course, CBD actually doesn't get you high but can provide other benefits as an analgesic, to reduce inflammation, alleviate anxiety, etc. Anyway, the fast food chain insists this isn't a publicity stunt but the beginning of an actual market test. From CNN:

"It is something that feels right for the brand," (Carl's Jr. senior vice president of brand marketing Patty Trevino) told CNN Business. "We are all about innovation..."

The chain first decided to explore CBD in January, after introducing a product based on another trend. Earlier this year, the chain announced a plant-based alternative to its signature burger in partnership with Beyond Meat.

"I was sitting down with our head chef Owen Klein, and we were talking about trends," Trevino said. After the Beyond Meat launch, they came up with a wish list that included a CBD product. "We looked at ourselves and said, you know what, let's try."

Starting small, in a market where cannabis regulation is "really strong," will allow Carl's Jr. to figure out how to move forward. Testing CBD could give the company an edge over competitors, because most of its locations are in Western states, where recreational cannabis is legal.

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Higher education: cannabis as a college course

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:

"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...

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Watch Spike Jonze's short film about cannabis

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:

"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."

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San Francisco marijuana crimes to be expunged by the thousands, with Code For America's help

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

Willie Nelson's new hemp coffee

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:

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.”

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Trailer for "Beach Bum," Harmony Korine's new weirdo stoner comedy

Writer/director Harmony Korine (Kids, Gummo, Spring Breakers) is back at the shore for Beach Bum, a stoner burnout comedy starring Matthew McConaughey with Snoop Dogg, Isla Fisher, Zac Efron, Jimmy Buffett, Martin Lawrence and Jonah Hill. The trailer reminds me a bit of Pee-wee's Big Adventure if the weirdo protagonist was on Sour Diesel instead of Purple Microdot.

Beach Bum will premiere at SXSW and hit theaters March 22.

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This TARDIS Grows Weed with Artificial Intelligence, PART 2

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

This TARDIS Grows Weed With Artificial Intelligence

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 moves to legalize medical marijuana in 2019

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

Stench from marijuana farms outrages some California residents

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 Read the rest

"Complete Idiot" resigns from Toronto Police Service

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

Massachusetts mayor first in line to legally buy recreational weed

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:

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.

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This mossy plant may be 'more medically effective than cannabis'

Something interesting from the world of science: Liverwort contains a psychoactive substance ("perrottetinene" or "PET") that has similar molecular structures to THC. Researchers think might be superior to THC for dampening pain signals and reducing inflammation. It just doesn't produce the same kind of high.

ScienceDaily:

Until now, it was thought that cannabis was the only plant that produces THC. However, as early as 1994, Japanese phytochemist Yoshinori Asakawa had discovered a substance in the liverwort plant Radula perrottetii which was related to THC and had named this natural substance "perrottetinene." In this natural product, the individual atoms are linked together in a manner similar to that of THC, however they differ in their three-dimensional structure and further exhibit an additional benzyl group.

A few year ago, Jürg Gertsch from the Institute of Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine at the University of Bern discovered that liverworts were being advertised as so-called "legal highs" on the internet. At the time, nothing was known about the pharmacological effects of this substance. Together with chemists from Erick Carreira's team from the Department of Chemistry at the ETH Zürich, Gertsch's research team in Bern biochemically and pharmacologically compared THC and perrottetinene.

Using animal models, they were able to demonstrate that perrottetinene reaches the brain very easily and that, once there, it specifically activates cannabinoid receptors. It even demonstrates a stronger anti-inflammatory effect in the brain than THC, something which makes perrottetinene particularly interesting when you consider its potential medical application "It's astonishing that only two species of plants, separated by 300 million years of evolution, produce psychoactive cannabinoids," says Gertsch.

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Liverworts contain psychoactive cannabinoid

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

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