Could Weed Legalization Encourage More Women To Go Into STEM Fields?

For decades, researchers have charted the dismal percentage of women who go into STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) fields. Generally, careers in these fields require a college degree and correlate to a higher income. According to the Department of Education, STEM majors earn $65,000 annually on average, which is $15,500 more than non-STEM degree holders. They also have higher employment rates.

Though the majority of people who graduate from university are women, only 30 percent of STEM degree holders are female per the Department of Commerce. This trend continues after college. Women held 40 percent of all U.S. jobs but only 24 percent of STEM jobs in 2017.

This translates to a lower income and lower rate of employment for women. Surprisingly, this inequality hasn’t really improved since the 1970s.

Today, we have the opportunity to change the tide with a new industry: cannabis. Women are increasingly involved in the scientific and business sides of weed, but will this transfer over to other industries? Could cannabis legalization be the way to encourage more women to go into STEM fields? Here’s what we know about women and STEM careers, and how the cannabis industry could make a difference.

Women Are Less Likely To Work In STEM Fields

A lot of ink has been spilled on the continued absence of women in science, tech, engineering, and math careers. This has a lot to do with societal perceptions of these career fields.

In ‘Choice of Majors: Are Women Really Different from Men?’, Georgetown University researchers found that women were more likely to be responsive to bad grades in STEM courses than men or women in other fields. From childhood, women are conditioned, both consciously and unconsciously, to think they will be bad at math and science, so they’re hard on themselves when they perceive the stereotype to be true.

STEM fields’ male dominance is a vicious cycle: we perceive these careers as masculine because we keep describing them as such. Professor Adriana D. Kugler, from Georgetown’s McCourt School of Public Policy explains to Inside Higher Ed, “Society keeps telling us that STEM fields are masculine fields, that we need to increase the participation of women in STEM fields, but that kind of sends a signal that it’s not a field for women, and it kind of works against keeping women in these fields.”

In this way, education initiatives designed to promote female involvement in STEM fields could have the opposite effect. By telling women they need help pursuing these subjects, society suggests that women are worse at them than men.

Is The Marijuana Industry Any Different?

The stereotypical stoner is usually male. But does the perception of weed culture dissuade women working in the cannabis industry?

It would seem that it does not. 36 percent of marijuana industry executives are female, and it’s only going up. The national average for female executives across all industries is 22 percent. Though 36 is far from half, there’s still time for this new industry to become a leader in gender equality.

Women are also heavily involved in cannabis science. A survey of 632 cannabis professionals found that women account for 63 percent of leadership positions in cannabis potency and safety testing labs. Furthermore, this survey discovered that almost half of leaders in edibles were women.

Compared to the 24 percent of women who hold STEM field jobs nationally, marijuana testing is breaking the mold when it comes to women in science.

Why More Women Are Working In Cannabis

Women are turning to cannabis because it’s a new industry, and one of the fastest growing in the nation. Becca Foster, who works for marijuana product retailer Healthy Headie, told High Times, “It’s a new chance for many women who have been in the corporate world who couldn’t get to the next level.”

Other women in the cannabis industry echoed Ms. Foster’s comments. In an interview with the Christian Science Monitor, deputy director of the National Cannabis Industry Association Taylor West explained this phenomenon. “In long-established industries,” she said, “you have generations of business that has been dominated by men, and that creates structures of advancement that are dominated by men.”

The Marijuana Industry Could Be the Catalyst for More Gender Equality

Programs aimed to promote women in STEM fields fuel the perception that women need help succeeding in science and math. In turn, exposure to female leaders in cannabis could encourage more women to study science more generally.

And why wouldn’t women break into STEM careers through cannabis? More women are smoking weed than ever. In some states, women even talk about weed more than men. Plus, weed has specific benefits for women including its use for menopause, endometriosis, and PMS.

Support for medical marijuana for children is also growing. In turn, mothers working towards are marijuana policy reform. For example, the Louisiana Mothers Advocating Medical Marijuana for Autism rallied at their state capital for more medical marijuana access.

Today, universities are offering marijuana healthcare and cultivation classes. Maybe increased access to cannabis education could lead to larger STEM field careers. All in all, the marijuana industry has the unique opportunity to give women a voice in a major industry.

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Ask Dr. Mitch: Coping With Cannabis

This feature has been published in High Times magazine. Subscribe right here.

Dr. Mitch Earleywine, the author of Understanding Marijuana and The Parents’ Guide to Marijuana, dishes on whether marijuana can help your sex drive, weed in the workplace, and prejudice against pot smokers.

I know there was research years ago, but I wonder if there are any new data on marijuana and sexual functioning in women.

Curious Georgina

Hi Curious,

Intrepid researchers at St. Louis University confirmed that the majority of women who choose to use the plant before sex report increased sex drive, more pleasurable orgasm and a better sexual experience without much effect on lubrication. These effects might only apply to a subset of women, but nothing turns absolutely everybody on. Those who like it really like it.

There’s no way I could work the swing shift as well as I do if it weren’t for my vaporizer. Am I alone?

John Henry Marley

Hey Mr. Marley,

New data suggest that cannabis can make adjusting to the night shift easier. Smoking a joint of weak NIDA schwag helped people working an eight-hour shift full of cognitive tests and boring questionnaires feel less miserable without making them do a terrible job. I’m sure it depends on the kind of work you do and how much skill you have, but I doubt you’re the only one adjusting to shift work successfully this way.

I feel like there’s still a lot of prejudice against marijuana users. If I wear the wrong T-shirt or happen to let people see my keychain shaped like a leaf, everybody acts like I’m dumb. When is this nonsense going to end?

Enoch Parks

Hello EP,

One of my students published data showing that when people think you’re a fan of the plant, they also think you’ll have a poor memory. Perhaps all we can do is come out to the world and then do a good job at everything we do. As accomplished, productive folks emphasize that they also use marijuana, the world will learn that the stereotypes are not true. So go out and do some good!

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ICE Can and Will Use Cannabis Against You

Unfortunately, noncitizens should probably stay away from cannabis altogether.

by Josh Jardine

Para ver una versión en español de este artículo, haga clic aquí.


Being an immigrant in America right now is hard enough. But being an undocumented immigrant is filled with a whole different level of uncertainty and difficulty. Simply coming from a different country and living in the United States creates challenges those of us born here never have to consider.

But as a nation with a large segment of the population whose ancestors were once very undocumented and (understatement-of-the-year alert) didn’t treat the Native people here all that well, the manner in which we welcome anyone who’s chosen to make a life here should be held to a very high standard.

Speaking of high, it’s (perhaps) common knowledge that if you’re undocumented, using cannabis is a bad idea, as it can be grounds for deportation. And as our vile, racist president Donald Trump—who lost the popular vote by 2,864,974 votes—has demonstrated time and again, removing undocumented immigrants from this country makes him very happy.

But those lucky enough to have the resources to apply for and obtain a green card, or are working toward citizenship should be okay, right? Lawful permanent residents are generally subject to the same criminal laws as citizens, so it would stand to reason that includes partaking of cannabis, or working in the rapidly expanding cannabis industry, right?

Much like the haircut I sported through high school, wrong. Very wrong. The basis for this fuckery resides in state versus federal cannabis laws. Although 29 states and the District of Columbia have medical cannabis programs—and nine of those states (and DC!) have recreational cannabis programs—cannabis remains illegal at the federal level. As such, the feds view cannabis use as unacceptable for any reason. Since immigration law is federal law, any noncitizens need to avoid using, possessing, or growing cannabis.

That’s especially important, because even though the Obama administration took steps to prevent the feds from going after citizens using or growing cannabis or working in cannabis industries, Attorney General Jeff Sessions has made it a priority to go after all noncitizens violating any state or federal crimes.

How common is it for the feds to deport someone for simple cannabis possession? The most recent reliable numbers I found show that in 2013, US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) deported 6,770 individuals for simple possession of cannabis, making it the fourth most common criminal reason for deportation.

But it’s more than just simple possession. Growing, sharing, or working in the industry is considered drug trafficking and can result in being deported or permanently barred from reentering the US. And that doesn’t just mean growing, trimming, or selling cannabis. A noncitizen working as an accountant with a cannabis industry client also risks permanent banishment. Even the spouse of said accountant could face deportation, as they could be considered benefiting financially from cannabis money.

The Immigrant Legal Resource Center (ILRC) issued an advisory paper which instructs noncitizens to avoid anything to do with cannabis, including:

• Don’t use cannabis until you are a US citizen. Don’t work in the cannabis industry. (Don’t benefit in any form from any noncitizen working in the industry.)

• If you have a real medical need and there is no good substitute for medical cannabis, get legal counsel first.

• Never leave the house carrying cannabis, a medical marijuana card, paraphernalia (like a pipe), or accessories like cannabis-themed T-shirts or stickers. Don’t have photos or texts about you and cannabis on your phone, Facebook, or anywhere else. (ICE checks your social media for proof you use cannabis.)

• Never discuss cannabis use or possession with any immigration or border official, unless you have expert legal advice that this is okay. Some immigration officers are asking noncitizens if they have ever used cannabis—especially in states that have legalized programs. (This is especially important at the Washington/Canada border.) You have the right to remain silent.

Even old offenses can cause problems, since there is no statute of limitations on deportation. And an expungement still won’t fix the problem in most cases. Any noncitizen with a criminal history or with pending charges needs to be careful about their immigration status.

Oregon and Washington have organizations that help criminal defense counsel figure out these problems. The Washington Defender’s Association Immigration Project is at defensenet.org/case-support/immigration-project, and the Oregon Justice Resource Center Immigrant Rights Project is at
ojrc.info/immigrantrightsproject. Be advised that neither WDAIP nor OJRC IRP work directly with clients. Rather, both groups work with defense counsel representing noncitizen defendants at the pre-plea stage to explain how the charges will affect their client’s immigration status, and how to minimize the consequences. recommended


Cannabis y ciudadanía
por Josh Jardine

Ser un inmigrante en Los Estados Unidos hoy en dia es bastante difícil. Pero ser un inmigrante indocumentado está lleno de un nivel completamente diferente de incertidumbre y dificultad.

El simple hecho de venir de un país diferente y vivir en los Estados Unidos crea desafíos que los que nacemos aquí nunca tenemos que considerar. Pero como una nación con un gran segmento de la población cuyos antepasados alguna vez estuvieron muy indocumentados y (alerta de eufemismo) no trató a los nativos aquí muy bien, la manera en que damos la bienvenida a cualquiera que haya sido elegido para hacer una vida aquí debería mantenerse a un nivel muy alto.

Hablando en alto, es (quizás) de conocimiento común que si no estás documentado, usar cannabis es una mala idea, ya que puede ser motivo de deportación. Y a medida que nuestro vil y racista presidente Donald Trump, que perdió el voto popular por 2,864,974 votos, ha demostrado una y otra vez, retirar a los inmigrantes indocumentados de este país lo hace muy feliz.

Pero aquellos que tienen la suerte de tener los recursos para solicitar y obtener una tarjeta verde o están trabajando para la ciudadanía deberían estar bien, ¿verdad? Los residentes permanentes legales generalmente están sujetos a las mismas leyes penales que los ciudadanos, por lo que sería lógico que incluya participar del cannabis o trabajar en la industria del cannabis en rápida expansión, ¿verdad?

Al igual que el corte de pelo que tuve en la secundaria, me equivoqué. Muy mal. La base de este cabrón reside en las leyes estatales contra el cannabis federal. Aunque 29 estados y el Distrito de Columbia tienen programas de cannabis medicinal, y nueve de esos estados (y ¡DC!) Tienen programas de cannabis recreativo, el cannabis sigue siendo ilegal a nivel federal. Como tal, los federales ven el consumo de cannabis como inaceptable por cualquier motivo. Dado que la ley de inmigración es una ley federal, cualquier persona que no sea ciudadana necesita evitar el uso, posesión o cultivo de cannabis.

Eso es especialmente importante, porque aunque el gobierno de Obama tomó medidas para evitar que los federales vayan en busca de ciudadanos que usen o cultiven cannabis o trabajen en industrias de cannabis, el Fiscal General Jeff Sessions ha hecho que sea una prioridad ir tras todos los no ciudadanos que violen cualquier estado o crímenes federales.

¿Qué tan común es que los federales deporten a alguien por posesión simple de cannabis? Los números confiables más recientes que encontré muestran que en 2013, US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) deportó a 6,770 personas por posesión simple de cannabis, convirtiéndola en la cuarta razón criminal más común para la deportación.

Pero es más que solo posesión simple. Crecer, compartir o trabajar en la industria se considera tráfico de drogas y puede resultar en su deportación o prohibición permanente de reingresar a los EE. UU. Y eso no solo significa cultivar, recortar o vender cannabis. Un no ciudadano que trabaja como contable con un cliente de la industria del cannabis también corre el riesgo de ser expulsado. Incluso el cónyuge de dicho contador podría enfrentarse a la deportación, ya que podría considerarse que se beneficia financieramente del dinero del cannabis.

El Centro de Recursos Legales de Inmigración (ILRC, por sus siglas en inglés) emitió un documento de asesoramiento que instruye a los no ciudadanos a evitar todo lo que tenga que ver con el cannabis, incluyendo:

• No use marihuana hasta que sea ciudadano estadounidense. No trabajes en la industria de la marihuana. (No se beneficie de ninguna forma con ningún ciudadano no ciudadano que trabaje en la industria).

• Si tiene una necesidad médica real y no hay un buen sustituto para la marihuana medicinal, obtenga primero un abogado.

• Nunca salga de la casa llevando marihuana, una tarjeta de marihuana medicinal, parafernalia (como una pipa) o accesorios como camisetas o pegatinas de marihuana. No tenga fotos o textos sobre usted y marihuana en su teléfono, Facebook o en cualquier otro lugar. (ICE está revisando sus redes sociales para comprobar que usa marihuana).

• Nunca discutas sobre el uso o la posesión de marihuana con ningún funcionario de inmigración o fronterizo, a menos que tengas el consejo legal de un experto de que esto está bien. Algunos oficiales de inmigración preguntan a no ciudadanos si alguna vez han usado marihuana, especialmente en algunos estados que han legalizado la marihuana. (Esto es especialmente importante en la frontera de Washington / Canadá).

Incluso las ofensas antiguas pueden causar problemas, ya que no existe un estatuto de limitaciones sobre la deportación. Y una expungement aún no solucionará el problema en la mayoría de los casos. Cualquier persona no ciudadana con antecedentes penales o con cargos pendientes debe tener cuidado con su estado migratorio.

Oregon y Washington tienen organizaciones que ayudan a los abogados de defensa criminal a resolver estos problemas. El Proyecto de Inmigración de la Asociación de Defensores de Washington se encuentra en defensenet.org/case-support/immigration-project,
y el Proyecto de Derechos de Inmigrantes del Centro de Recursos de Justicia de Oregón está en ojrc.info/immigrantrightsproject. Tenga en cuenta que ni WDIP ni IRP OJRC trabajan directamente con los clientes. Por el contrario, ambos grupos trabajan con el abogado defensor que representa a los acusados no ciudadanos en la etapa previa a la declaración de culpabilidad para explicar cómo los cargos afectarán el estado de inmigración de su cliente y cómo minimizar las consecuencias. recommended

Traducción por Fernando Viciconte.

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Why Is YouTube Cracking Down on Cannabis Videos?

YouTube ad dollars and weed videos don’t work so well together.

by Josh Jardine

Everything under the sun can be found on YouTube—even cannabis. But recently, people who watch and post weed-related videos to the site began to see a purge. YouTube’s cannabis channels have lost chunks of their content, big sections of their audiences, and—in some cases—a revenue stream. The reasons why are open to speculation, as YouTube has made no statement on the matter. But, hey, you know who’s awesome at stoned speculation? (Points to self, forgets is holding bong, drenches lap. Again.)

Some fun facts about YouTube: It was started waaaaay back in 2005, and by 2014 there were more than 300 hours of video uploaded to the site every minute of every day. It has more than one billion users, nearly a third of all people on the internet. It’s the third-most visited website in the world, is the second largest search engine (Google is number one, and just happens to own YouTube), and receives 15 billion visits per month.

Create your own channel, and by becoming a Google AdSense partner you can earn some money, with YouTube keeping 55 percent of revenue from ads placed at the start of your videos. The program does not allow ad placement onto cannabis channels, which is categorized as “age restricted content.” Instead, channel owners can sell sponsorships and merchandise, and enter into branded content deals.

Cannabis channels are fantastic educational tools for growers and consumers to share strain and grow information, and they’ve also been great for activists, medical caregivers, patients, and, well, stoners. (I learned how to build my first vaporizer out of a fishbowl and a wood burner by watching YouTube.) Channels that have been eliminated by YouTube include the US-based channels Greenbox Grown (13,000 subscribers), That High Couple, (28,000 subscribers), GreenGenes Garden (43,000 subscribers), and Canada’s largest cannabis channel, UrbanRemo (190,000 subscribers). UrbanRemo was one of more than 20 US, EU, and Canadian sites that signed a statement in response to YouTube taking down well-known cannabis channels.

YouTube does provide content guidelines, with violators receiving up to three “strikes,” after which the channel and all its content get permanently erased. Those guidelines include videos which “encourage dangerous or illegal activities” such as “bomb making, choking games, hard drug use, or other acts where serious injury may result.”

But YouTube had allowed various cannabis channels to grow to hundreds of thousands of subscribers before unceremoniously dumping them. So what’s up?

You may recall there was a bit of a kerfuffle a year ago, regarding YouTube not exactly monitoring their content or their ad placements all that well. Ads were showing up that Variety summed up as coming from “American white nationalists, anti-gay preachers, and radical Islamic groups.” (Worst answer ever to the question “Which three people would you invite to a dinner party?”)

YouTube told PepsiCo, Proctor and Gamble, AT&T, and other multinational advertising clients with billions in ad money that they were on it. A few months later, there was another outcry when ads were placed on videos that were attracting the attention and comments of pedophiles. YouTube hired some more content screeners and instituted new algorithms to search out “offensive content.” On April 20, a CNN investigation revealed 300 advertisers, including Amazon, had been placed on channels for “white nationalists, Nazis, pedophilia, conspiracy theories, and North Korean propaganda.”

So YouTube has been struggling with bigger problems, and cannabis may have gotten caught in the crosshairs. The couple behind the deleted channel That High Couple told Leafly, “YouTube can’t make ad revenue from cannabis content… They updated their algorithm to prevent ‘unsuitable’ content from getting ads delivered against their content, and the whole system has been crumbling ever since.”

Kord Tagley of GenesGreen Garden also told Leafly, “It appears that bots are reviewing the appeals, because they’re getting bounced back in a matter of minutes.”

A new start-up, weedtube.com, has offered itself as a cannabis-friendly video sharing platform, while others are using Pornhub to host their work. (Still not cool to open up Pornhub on your laptop, guy on plane next to me. Still not cool.)

But in the meantime, this should be a wake-up call to those generating cannabis video content to protect your work: Upload everything first to your own website, share mad links to it, and protect ya neck instead of counting on big corporations like Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram to do it. These entities welcome our presence and money when it’s convenient, but have no affection for cannabis—until it’s descheduled, in which case, they’ll probably pretend to be your new best friend. Until then, don’t get owned by Google any more than you already are. recommended

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Talking Weed Laws with Crispin Blunt

A member of England’s government gives our cannabis columnist a joint.

by Lester Black

It’s generally against the rules for journalists to accept gifts from sources—we can’t have bribes clouding our judgment—but there is one notable exception to this rule. It’s colloquially referred to as the “Holy Shit! A Member of British Parliament Just Handed Me a Joint” Exception.

Recently, Crispin Blunt, who happens to be a member of British Parliament, reached into his pocket as we were sitting at the Kimpton Palladian Hotel on Second Avenue and pulled out a pre-rolled joint covered in keef and oil.

“I won’t be needing this, so here’s a little care package,” Blunt said, with a bit of a smile in the corner of his lips.

What brought this member of Parliament into my life, and why was he in possession of a joint in the first place? Blunt is part of a group of politicians in the United Kingdom’s version of Congress who are advocating for cannabis reform. He was here to learn a thing or two from how Washington State legalized pot.

“In the United Kingdom, we are in the privileged position of watching this bloody great experiment happening over here,” Blunt said. “So we may as well let you get on with it and see what happens.”

Blunt isn’t the first foreign official to check out our legal weed system. It’s easy to forget, but what Washington voters did in 2012 was unprecedented, and our bureaucratic officials and elected representatives had the task of turning that unprecedented initiative into a working regulatory framework. Going from prohibition to legalization is a heavy lift, and that’s what Blunt is looking at doing at home.

Both recreational and medical pot are completely illegal in the UK, but that wall of prohibition is starting to crumble, starting with medical cannabis. Pot reform has followed a similar arc in the United States—the obvious cruelty of denying sick people medicine makes medical pot a successful wedge against prohibition.

The tearjerker in the United Kingdom is a little kid named Alfie (of course his name is Alfie), who has a rare form of epilepsy that cannabis appears to be good at treating. The only problem is the UK government won’t let Alfie’s family import the cannabis oil he needs.

“The treatment available to him in the UK is a steroid… and he would ironically be given psychosis and a premature death,” Blunt said. “How on earth are they going to defend a position that would send a 6-year-old boy to his death?”

Blunt said the government is close to finding a solution to Alfie’s particular situation and expects Parliament will be able to pass full medical marijuana regulations by the end of 2022.

“There is now a political will to get medical cannabis,” Blunt said. “There’s no reason it couldn’t be done by the end of this year.”

I pushed Blunt to predict when recreational weed will be legalized, but he dithered and wouldn’t give a specific timeline. Recreational legalization isn’t quite as popular in the United Kingdom as it is in the United States. A 2016 poll found 47 percent of British people supported recreational legalization (compared to around 60 percent in the United States).

But this wouldn’t be the first time Blunt took a less than popular approach to a drug issue. When the UK government tried to ban the sale of poppers, a drug popular with gay men, Blunt, who is himself gay, stood on the floor of the House of Commons and admitted that he actively used the drug.

Blunt is not, however, a regular pot user. His first cannabis experience happened a week before we met, when he ate 10 milligrams of THC pills and walked through San Francisco’s Asian Art Museum with his partner. He didn’t enjoy it.

“I didn’t like it very much because everything slowed down. For a politician to feel a loss of control is rather alarming,” Blunt said. “So I don’t quite get what all the fuss is about.”

I’m of the opposite opinion, so I had no problem taking that infused joint off his hands.

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Is Washington, DC, Finally Coming Around on Weed?

Here’s what’s been going down in our nation’s capital regarding cannabis legislation.

by Josh Jardine

I’ve been having a lot of conversations recently about whether all of the national political activity around cannabis means the prohibitionist dam is finally about to burst, with the deschedulization of “marijuana” just around the corner.

There are certainly a number of factors that could lead someone to that conclusion. While you’ve been getting high (on regulated and taxed cannabis products from an independently owned recreational store, of course), here’s what’s been going down:

John Boehner has climbed onto the cannabis bandwagon as an adviser to Acreage Holdings, which grows and sells weed in 11 states. Boehner also joined the company’s board of directors, and he claims his change of heart came about due to his concern for veterans and the opioid crisis. Bless his heart if that’s the truth, but I think he was more concerned about his net worth. Still, Boehner is the highest-level prohibitionist to switch sides, so welcome, John—you (in all probability) two-faced lying crapweasel.

Southern Mayonnaise Turtle (and Senate Majority Leader) Mitch McConnell introduced the Hemp Farming Act of 2018, legislation to make hemp a regulated agricultural product. In this case, jobs—and the money that comes with them—were McConnell’s stated reason for support. He quickly gained support across the aisle, and his bill presently has seven cosponsors.

Senator Chuck Schumer of New York announced plans to introduce a bill to decriminalize cannabis at the federal level. It wouldn’t legalize weed outright, but instead allow states to decide whether to make the drug available commercially. The legislation would also maintain federal authority to regulate cannabis advertising in the same way it does advertising for alcohol and tobacco. The aim, Schumer said, is to ensure that cannabis businesses aren’t allowed to target children in their advertisements.

The racist, homophobic, and misogynist orange tumor who lost the popular vote by 2,864,974 votes recently made a deal with Colorado Republican senator Cory Gardner, who says he “received a commitment from the president that the Department of Justice’s rescission of the Cole memo will not impact Colorado’s legal marijuana industry. Furthermore, President Trump has assured me that he will support a federalism-based legislative solution to fix this states’ rights issue once and for all.”

Oregon representative Earl Blumenauer delivered his “Cannabis State of the Union” in advance of April 20, in which he optimistically said, “There’s no reason we cannot see spectacular results if we all do our job in the next 18 months.” Blumenauer founded the bipartisan Congressional Cannabis Caucus in 2017, so if anyone has a finger on the pulse of congressional action on cannabis, it’s him.

All of these are positive developments—but I’m not breaking out the cannabis-infused champagne. One, because that’s not an actual thing (yet?), and two, because we should consider the sources, beginning with Trump.

This deal he supposedly agreed to with Gardner—to basically restore some variation of the Cole Memorandum that Attorney General Jeff Sessions gutted back in January—is being made because Gardner promised the president that he would, in turn, lift his holds on Trump’s Department of Justice nominees. So this isn’t a case of progressive thinking or any kind of presidential benevolence—and don’t be surprised if many of these DOJ nominees end up taking contrary positions on states’ rights to legalize cannabis. Even Blumenauer weighed in on the deal, saying, “We should hope for the best, but not take anything for granted… Trump changes his mind constantly, and Republican leadership is still in our way.”

I also have my doubts that a Republican-controlled House and Senate would even approve a halfway-sensible cannabis legalization program. Ideally, it would address issues like the support of craft cannabis, expanding medical access, and addressing the war on drugs–era crimes perpetrated against communities of color. This is not a checklist I see the GOP rushing to tick off. Rather, any forward movement would probably be all about the money, honey, and as with everything Republican-driven, they’re bound to make sure that all-important rich white men maintain or increase their financial status quo.

We all want change, and these signs are encouraging. But in these early stages, it’s important to stay vigilant about the forms that change could come in—or decriminalization could end up looking different than what we’d like. recommended

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Can Cannabis Make You Sick?

A syndrome called CHS is making some users not feel well.

by Josh Jardine

I’ve worked for 20 years with people who use cannabis to address medical conditions, illness, and injuries, and among the top three things that people hope to treat with cannabis is nausea. People undergoing chemo and radiation treatments use it to treat the vomiting and severe nausea that can be a common side effect. Much as there are no atheists in foxholes, there are no prohibitionists in vomiting, and many have been moved to change their minds about cannabis after experiencing its anti-nausea properties on themselves or a loved one.

Its application for the relief of menstrual cramps is also well documented, and that’s been many women’s first exposure to medicinal cannabis use. But pain relief is the most common goal of medicinal users, with 89 percent of medical-marijuana-card-holding patients in 2016 listing “severe pain” as their qualifying condition.

Which is why it’s rather surprising that there’s a condition that’s being identified with increased frequency in some cannabis users that results in severe nausea, cramps, and vomiting. And the way doctors suggest those suffering cure it? By ceasing their use of cannabis.

It’s called cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome (CHS), and was first described in 2004 in Australia, when 19 regular cannabis users experienced cramps, nausea, and repetitive vomiting for no discernable reason—except they used cannabis, and that part is a bit fuzzy.

The papers I’ve read about CHS don’t note the specifics of the subjects’ cannabis use—how often, how much, which strains, was it lab-tested for cleanliness, and what delivery system was being used (joint, bong, vaporizer). One study said the patient consumed “at least one cannabis bud daily for the past three years.” But the initial Australian study simply uses the language “chronic cannabis abuse” (no, not “chronic” in the Dr. Dre sense, smart guy), and what the Aussies deemed “abuse” others would think of as “moderate use.” Without specific amounts, it’s difficult to say.

The best description that I found of what amounts we’re actually talking about came from Dr. Kennon Heard, a professor of emergency medicine and medical toxicology and pharmacology at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. Heard told NPR, “Essentially, patients who use marijuana very frequently for long periods of time—usually at least six months, probably most of them have been using for several years—develop sort of intractable abdominal pain and vomiting that sort of comes and goes over the course of days to weeks.” He says this phenomenon is on the rise, with his office seeing one or two patients a day, as well as potentially many more with similar symptoms that he believes don’t seek medical attention.

Heard later told Denver’s ABC news affiliate, “The most likely cause is [that] people using marijuana frequently and in high doses have changes in the receptors in their body, and those receptors become dysregulated in some way, and it starts causing pain.”

Those suffering from CHS have found some success alleviating the symptoms by taking hot showers and baths. The hot water is believed to activate a receptor in the abdomen that helps reduce symptoms.

Doctors now think they’ve found a quick fix for when that treatment isn’t available: capsaicin cream. The easy-to-find, over-the-counter topical analgesic cream is applied to the abdomen and has a similar effect on the receptors in question as hot water does.

What doctors most commonly recommend is that those with CHS simply stop smoking cannabis. This recommendation isn’t always received with much enthusiasm, especially by those who find it counterintuitive that something which has relieved symptoms in the past is now causing those same symptoms. Plus, cannabis is still great for other things such as stress relief, and that’s a difficult thing to give up, or trade in for something like alcohol. Those afflicted with CHS need to weigh the benefits and risks of cannabis use for themselves. recommended

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I'd Like My Coffee with a Side of Pot, Please

Caffeine and THC are two great drugs that taste great together.

by Lester Black

Drugs are fun, but combining drugs is even more fun. And the single best combination of drugs on the planet is that of caffeine and cannabis.

There’s something downright divine about this mix, and I am certainly not the first person to notice. There’s even a group that built it right into their religion. The Love Israel Family—Washington State’s largest hippie commune during the 1970s, that at one point included more than 350 people living communally in a dozen Queen Anne homes—considered coffee and marijuana to be spiritual sacraments and consumed them together at their daily predawn ceremonies.

So the question of whether or not coffee and pot are a good combination was answered long before Washington legalized weed in 2012. But legal weed has brought us a new question: Should we consume pot not only with coffee but inside of it?

Seattleites can buy coffee dosed with THC, lattes served with CBD, and, most technologically advanced, THC-
infused single-use Keurig coffee pods. With the push of a button, you can now consume both coffee and pot not only in the same sitting but literally in the same sip.

Is this a good thing? Is it better than just smoking some weed while sipping a cup of joe?

I had to find out, so I borrowed a friend’s Keurig machine—my own collection of coffee hardware is dictated by flavor, not convenience—and acquired a few samples of Canna-Coffee made by Kirkland weed brand Olala. The following morning, instead of making my usual pour over, I loaded an Olala K-cup dosed with 10 milligrams of THC into the machine, pressed a button, and out came a jet-black brew that any diner in rural Western Washington would be proud to serve.

Which is to say, it was an all right cup of coffee, but it lacked any nuance and was a little too acidic for my taste. There was a faint herbal spiciness to it that might have been a lingering weed flavor, but overall it was neither an offensive nor a very interesting cup of coffee.

I drank it slowly, and after about an hour, I could feel the energetic and introspective weed-coffee mood coming on, but it remained weak, never growing into that stoned urge to reexamine my life. Likely this was because the state-mandated limit of 10 milligrams of THC wasn’t enough to get me very high. I prefer my coffee and weed buzz to have a heady intensity to it.

When done right, combining coffee and weed feels like adding fuel to the same fire, which might not be too far from the truth. Researchers recently found surprising evidence that coffee can interact with the same part of our nervous system that pot uses to get us high. And there’s also scientific evidence that when consumed together, caffeine accentuates the effects of pot. In a 2011 study, monkeys with an unlimited access to THC used less of pot’s most famous intoxicant when they were on a caffeine-like drug. The study also gave some indication that monkeys that had been habituated to use caffeine and cannabis together found it more difficult to quit, which makes sense because the combination is fucking fantastic.

If you’re a lazy person, you might want to check out Olala’s K-Cups. Or if you’re like me, you’ll just continue making your own coffee, and as it brews, roll up a joint (and maybe mix in some tobacco if you dare), and bask in the religious glory of weed and coffee.

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The Leafly Guide to Cannabis Is Dope

A pot primer worth recommending.

by Josh Jardine

Leafly is an app and website that, along with Weedmaps, should be fairly well-known to cannabis consumers, whether they be medical or recreational. Based in Seattle, Leafly is great for finding nearby dispensaries, and can show you the menus, prices, and customer reviews of individual businesses and their products. And Leafly is super popular, receiving 13 million monthly visitors and 40 million page views on both its app and website platforms combined. Yet for many, myself included, the real value lies in Leafly’s “News,” “Strains,” and “Products” sections.

The content in the “News” section is well researched and written—a great way to keep up with all that’s happening around the globe with cannabis. But the “Strains” and “Products” sections are gold mines of information. With “Strains,” you can sort through hundreds, if not thousands, of types of herb, and filter your search by strain name, medical conditions, “moods & activities,” and nearly a hundred other filters. With user reviews and rundowns of benefits and effects, it’s a comprehensive repository of information that you would otherwise need a number of different sites to compile. The “Products” section is similarly useful.

Now Leafly has assembled a “book,” which, for the post-millenials, is like a super analog Kindle, from which you can consume content, but it uses dead tree pulp to make “pages” that you “turn” using your “fingers.” It’s kind of like swiping. Ask your parents.

Full disclosure: The box that came from Leafly with review copies of this book also included stickers, pins, and socks. As I’m not a 6-year-old (at least not on the outside), I gifted the stickers and pins and kept the socks, the only item I might perceive as bribe-worthy. More importantly, I’ve written for Leafly myself in the past. However, I solemnly swear no predisposed favoritism toward this book, even though the company that produced it gave me a couple of pairs of socks. If you have an item you would like to be considered for review, please do not include socks with the expectation that it will garner you a review.

So, that said: I’m in love with this book. It’s rare that you find a cannabis guide that would be of interest and have value to both the neophyte and seasoned veteran. Often, cannabis books are too focused on just one area, or are nothing more than pot-porn tomes with lots of pictures of very pretty buds and plants. I like pretty, too, but substance always trumps it. And this is a substantive book.

I’ve been loaning out copies to my OMMP patients, as the book could conceivably answer any questions they might have, not to mention provide better information. The chapters include:

• “Understanding the Basics”—Covering cannabinoids, terpenes, genotypes and phenotypes, and tips for beginners.

• “Smoking”—How a grinder works, how to pack a bowl, what is shake, and the difference between joints, blunts, and spliffs.

• “Edibles, Topicals, Oils and Concentrates, Buying and Consumption”—Helpful tips, with even a troubleshooting section on what to do if you get too high.

The Leafly Guide to Cannabis is a hefty 230 pages, but well sized and beautifully produced. Tons of color photos make the science easier to understand—and it is science heavy, albeit extremely accessible. The authors help the reader appreciate and understand cannabis in ways they have never known or may have forgotten.

Example: “If you find yourself combating paranoia and anxiety… and too much cannabis has you on the verge of freaking out, just sniff or chew on a few black peppercorns for almost instantaneous relief.” I did not know this, but I’m now including a small container of peppercorns in the cannabis I provide to patients who are prone to those types of unpleasant side effects of consumption. For those using cannabis to treat PTSD or geriatric patients with limited experience, this can be an easily accessible safety valve.

As with anything that has been demonized and prohibited, education and experience is how cannabis is gaining wider understanding and acceptance. This book is a great tool to that end. recommended

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A Cannabis Cinema Crash Course

Forget the dopey comedies—feed your stoned brain with these nutzoid films.

by Robert Ham

Kiss Me Deadly

Few movies have achieved the sheer white-knuckle sensation of weed-induced paranoia as Robert Aldrich’s 1955 noir/sci-fi masterpiece. A murder mystery set in motion by a mysterious hitchhiker, it’s got a glowing suitcase at the center of its story that’s been referenced in several subsequent films, including Pulp Fiction, Repo Man, and Guardians of the Galaxy. The slightly-more-violent-than-you’d-expect private-eye story becomes stranger and scarier as it goes on, with an ending that’ll blow your pot-addled mind. NED LANNAMANN


Head

Who knew that the most psychedelic of all the post-Hard Day’s Night films trying to cash in on the success of a popular rock group would come from the Monkees? Directed by Bob Rafelson from a script co-written by actor Jack Nicholson, this chewy piece of stream-of-consciousness bubblegum from 1968 offers no point whatsoever, other than to poke hearty fun at the band’s prefabricated image and to throw in a cameo featuring a cow-toting Frank Zappa. ROBERT HAM


The Adventures of Prince Achmed

German animator Lotte Reiniger’s 1926 film is the oldest surviving animated feature, and it uses a breathtaking cut-out silhouette technique that’s unlike anything you’ve ever seen. A magic adventure featuring witches, snakes, and sorcerers, it’s the perfect world to get sucked into with the help of a little something-something. Best of all, it’s silent, so you can choose your own soundtrack—but our recommendation is the one that Swedish band Dungen composed specifically for the film (and performed live at 2017’s Pickathon), which can be found on their most recent album, Haxan. NL


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Altered States

This one is maybe a little on the nose, since this 1980 film concerns a psychologist (William Hurt) ingesting unhealthy amounts of psychotropic drugs and hopping into an isolation tank. But once madman British director Ken Russell’s freaked-out visuals get cooking, you’ll be agog with wonder. We can’t necessarily endorse popping a quick microdose to round out your buzz, but hey, we’re not your dad. RH


The Neon Demon

Our cultural obsession with beauty and stardom is given a surreal spin by director Nicolas Winding Refn in this 2016 horror flick. The dream-like path of aspiring model Jesse (Elle Fanning) as she maneuvers through the uglier, bloodier side of Hollywood is perfect for the peak of your high. Just make sure you have the volume cranked to immerse yourself in Cliff Martinez’s cloudy electronic score. RH


Death Rides a Horse

Guilio Petroni’s 1967 spaghetti western is basically a ripoff of For a Few Dollars More, with ultimate badass Lee Van Cleef even playing the same exact role (thankfully, the ridiculous demon weed the villain smokes in Sergio Leone’s movie is nowhere to be found here). Ennio Morricone’s gorgeous score and the film’s surreal imagery, including outlaws buried up to their necks in sand, make this a good one for twisting up something special—especially since it’ll dull the rough edges of John Phillip Law’s wooden acting. NL


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Enter the Void

To be clear, Gaspar Noé’s 2009 movie ain’t that great. Unless you enjoy two-and-a-half-hour films featuring a disembodied spirit that, at one point, floats into a cock that is penetrating his sister. However, the drifting quality of the action is a great accompaniment to a night zonked out on the couch. Take a couple of deep bong rips before pressing play and you’re good to go. RH


Classe Tous Risques

The lean, economic plot-engine of Claude Sautet’s 1960 gangster-on-the-run thriller just makes more sense when you’re stoned. This French/Italian film is as hard-boiled as it gets, as Lino Ventura attempts to outrun the authorities, but can’t escape the noose tightening around him and his family. The black-and-white photography provides a crisp, alert counterpoint to your buzz, and the nonchalance of the final scene is as heavy as it gets, man. NL


Excalibur

King Arthur’s been done dirty in the movies—Guy Ritchie pretty much just made sure we won’t see another serious adaptation for at least another decade—but John Boorman’s weird, woolly, overpacked 1981 film gets closest to the very strange heart of England’s most famous fictional king. At turns theatrical, eerie, broadly comic, and stunningly gorgeous,
Excalibur successfully evokes a slightly unreal mythic world that makes perfect sense when you’re under the influence of some of god’s greenest. NL


Häxan

This little surrealist wonder dates back to 1922, when Swedish filmmaker Benjamin Christensen brought the world a pseudo-documentary glimpse into tales of witchcraft in medieval culture. Come for the dazzling, ahead-of-its-time imagery depicting Hades and witches soaring through the air; stay for the nudity and Christensen’s hilariously outdated psychological conclusions. RH


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Viy

Another tale of witches, this time from Russia, this 1967 oddity is given visual splendor by directors Konstantin Yershov and Georgi Kropachyov. To get into the labyrinthine plot adapted from a Nikolai Gogol book is pointless; just jump in with both feet and enjoy the horror-like atmosphere and impressive visual effects. RH


A Field in England

With Shakespearean dialect, black-and-white cinematography, and a very strange, minimal story about alchemy, war, warlocks, and magic mushrooms, 2013’s A Field in England is among the weirdest entries in maverick British director Ben Wheatley’s off-the-wall filmography. But when the hallucination sequence kicks in at the end, you’ll be glad you stuck it out. NL


Battlefield Earth

There are few things better than enjoying a laughably bad film while stoned to the gills. And you can’t get more hilariously misguided than this 2000 adaptation of L. Ron Hubbard’s sci-fi shitshow starring John Travolta at his hammiest. Make sure you find the theatrical version, which keeps in the most over-the-top moments that they excised for the home video release. You’ll thank me later. RH


Conan the Destroyer

This kid-friendly sequel to the much darker Conan the Barbarian once again stars Arnold Schwarzenegger as Robert E. Howard’s pulp-fantasy hero. Much maligned in light of its predessor, 1984’s Conan the Destroyer remains a light-hearted, goofy romp on its own terms. Trust us, it’s inanely delightful, with charming elements such as Grace Jones, an irritating teenage princess, bizarre castles, a magic gem, and André the Giant as… well, a giant. If you’re looking for something to plant a large, stupid grin onto your face, look no further. NL

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