‘Pot POW’ Eddy Lepp in His Own Words

The prisoner of America’s War on Drugs discusses his incarceration for cultivation, legalization, William Randolph Hearst’s conspiracy against hemp, California’s “unconstitutional” cannabis regulations, god, and the High Times lifetime achievement award he’ll receive next month, the day after his house arrest ends.

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BY ED MURRIETA

SACRAMENTO — For eight and a half years, Eddy Lepp was America’s most celebrated cannabis convict, serving federal time, including a stint in the U.S. government’s most notorious penitentiary, for growing more than 40,000 plants on a 20-acre operation that observers said resembled a Christmas tree farm.

Lepp was released from prison in Florence, Colo., on Dec. 9 and returned that day to Northern California, one month after cannabis was legalized in the Golden State.

Today, Lepp, at age 65, is an outspoken survivor of America’s ongoing War on Drugs, which began while Lepp was serving as a soldier in an Army intelligence unit during the Vietnam War and which snared him at his Lake County farm in 1995, 2004, 2005 and 2007.

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Third University of California Campus Wants In on Cannabis Research

ED MURRIETA

As California wrangles long-overdue regulations onto the state’s 20-year-old medical cannabis market on the eve of legalization of recreational cannabis sales, a campus of the world’s premier public research university wants to study the botanical drug’s impact on everything from medicine and the environment to business and culture.  

In an event Friday attended by California cannabis czar Lori Ajax and pro-cannabis Republican congressman Dana Rohrabacher, faculty at the University of California, Irvine, announced plans to create an interdisciplinary cannabis research institute.

If the institute is launched, UC Irvine would join UC San Diego and UC Davis in studying cannabis. 

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Post Your Comments on California’s Proposed Medical Cannabis Regulations Here

Do you have something to say about California’s proposed medical cannabis regulations? The state’s seeking your comments over the next 45 days. If you’re writing to a state agency or elected official, please cut-and-paste your comments and letters into the comments section of this post.

Thank you.

Ed Murrieta
Pot Appetit

Washington Cracks Down on Cutesy Billboard Cannabis Advertising

BY ED MURRIETA

Who doesn’t love a cute cat meme?

Lawmakers in Olympia, Wash., to name a few.

Spurred by a billboard using a picture of a happy cat and a headline purring, “Im so high right meow” to advertise a Tacoma pot shop, the Washington state Legislature passed a bill on Thursday that restricts the images and messages cannabis companies can use on billboards.

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411 on San Francisco Cops’ ‘420 Hot-Line’ for non-911 4/20 Nuisance Complaints



BY ED MURRIETA

As I reported in the San Francisco Chronicle’s Green State and earlier on Pot Appetit, the San Francisco Police Department’s Park Station will staff a special hotline for quality-of-life nuisance complaints in the neighborhoods bordering the section of Golden Gate Park where an annual free-flowing pot party pop-ups on Thursday.

In San Francisco, If You Can’t Beat 4/20, Regulate 4/20

Famously Underground Pot Party Goes Legit,
Gets Permits,  Regulations, Food Trucks

BY ED MURRIETA

There’s no denying people like pot. There’s no doubt pot attracts tourists and taxes. There’s no way politicians ignore money.

That calculus is benefiting San Francisco’s popular and roguish  4/20 pot celebration, highlighted by the city’s Recreation and Park Department issuing permits for much-needed amenities like more porta-potties, EMTs and ambulances and trash clean-up.

While permits are for services and not approval for the actual event itself, the permits issued March 28 will save 4/20’s bacon — conferring legitimacy, imposing regulations and attracting sponsors to underwrite the amorphous April 20 gathering that’s expected to draw 15,000 or more cannabis enthusiasts for a giant smoke sesh in Golden Gate Park on Thursday.

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Want Instant Pot Coffee? Drop These Dandy Caramel Candies Into Your Brew

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BY ED MURRIETA

The combination of cannabis and coffee is at once one of the oldest pleasures and one of the hottest new trends.

The old pleasure is a joint and a cup of coffee — the classic hippie highball. The new trend includes ready-to-drink cold brew coffees and single-brew K-cup pods infused with cannabis.

Looking for another dandy way to enjoy cannabis and coffee without paying $12 at a dispensary? Try candy.

Cannabis-infused caramel candy contains two great coffee enhancements — cream and sugar — plus a psychoactive jolt of THC. The best part is you can turn any coffee, from cheap old-school Folgers to expensive single-origin third-wave finca beans, into cannabis coffee with one drop — that drop being a piece of homemade cannabis-infused caramel candy.

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Pot Massages in Nevada’s Future? Cannabis Legislation in the Works

BY ED MURRIETA

A generation ago, Nevada’s harsh laws jailed people for pot, sometimes for life.

These days, progressive pot laws working through the Nevada state Legislature would, among other things, guarantee adults the right to smoke pot inside massage parlors while receiving pot massages from licensed workers who’d be protected by law for performing such services.

You’d have to bring your own pot-laced lotions and oils but the legislation allowing massage therapists to use cannabis and hemp products on clients for topical purposes was heard last week by lawmakers in Carson City.

In addition to legitimizing the cannabis spa treatment, Senate Bill 396 would prohibit the state’s professional licensing board from taking disciplinary action against health care providers and massage therapists who administer or recommend pot products to patients and clients.

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News from the Drug War, a Cannabis Poem for National Poetry Month

BY ED MURRIETA

April is officially National Poetry Month. Every day is unofficially national cannabis day. In that spirit, here’s one of my favorite cannabis poems, written by Sacramento poet and cannabis enthusiast Gene Black, who died in 1993.
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Who the Fuck Is Roger Stone?

The dastardly dandy political hitman
is pro-pot and possibly treasonous

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BY ED MURRIETA

Roger Stone is Washington’s most stylish swamp creature, a political dandy with nefarious tendencies who’s slithered and mucked among notorious despots, soulless fixers and every American president from Richard Nixon to Donald Trump.

Stone is currently making headlines and stirring soundbites for two reasons:

  • He’s the highest-profile and mouthiest Trump associate under investigation by both the FBI and Congress for possible ties to Russian operatives who tried to influence the 2016 presidential election.
  • A crypto-conservative libertarian, Stone is merrily mau-mauing prohibitionist Attorney General Jeff Sessions regarding cannabis legalization and urging President Trump to keep his word on states rights to legalize cannabis.

A simple Google search of the name “Roger Stone” reveals a dossier of dirty tricks, conspiracy theories and media madness, each link just one click away from dark realities and sinister insinuations.

Such canards would seem unbelievable if it didn’t seem Roger Stone himself hadn’t sprung from a failed Seth MacFarlane pilot — a fashion-forward, silver-haired sitcom villain broadly drawn as the spooky spawn of Mayberry’s Gomer Pyle and Harry Potter’s Draco Malfoy. It’s easy, yet disturbing, to imagine Roger Stone in a “Family Guy” cutaway, orgasmic at a keyboard, dripping the racist and sexist tweets that got him banned by CNN and MSNBC as a guest on news programs.

Here are six important things to know about the daffy and dastardly Roger Stone, including the skinny about the tattoo of Richard Nixon’s smiling face inked on Roger Stone’s back:

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Nevada Sen. Tick Segerblom’s Heart Beats for an American Amsterdam in Las Vegas

Nevada state Sen. Tick Segerblom with his eponymous pot strain, Segerblom Haze.

Nevada state Sen. Tick Segerblom with his eponymous pot strain, Segerblom Haze.

BY ED MURRIETA

If Nevada state Sen. Tick Segerblom’s legislation prevails, what’s happened in Amsterdam for the past 50 years will become the future of cannabis tourism in Las Vegas and across the Silver State into the 21st century.

Once famously harsh on those who possess or sell marijuana — threatening 20 years in prison for the former and life sentences for the latter — Nevada has become America’s most progressive pro-pot state in the past three years.

Nevada voters approved medical cannabis in 2014 and adult-use recreational cannabis in 2016. This year, the Legislature is set to green-light recreational pot sales six months ahead of schedule and likely will give local governments the authority to allow public consumption of cannabis virtually everywhere except federally regulated casinos — in hotels, bars, restaurants, brothels and even on The Strip of Sin City itself.

Segerblom, a Las Vegas Democrat, spoke with us in a telephone call this week from his office in Carson City, where the bi-annual Legislature is in session until June. Here’s an edited transcript.
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Who Said It? Jeff Sessions or Harry J. Anslinger?

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Jeff Sessions

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Harry J. Anslinger

 

BY ED MURRIETA

As President Trump echoes Adolf Hitler and Richard Nixon with his attacks on the media as the enemy of the people, his attorney general’s views on pot and the people who smoke, vape and eat it are reminiscent of the man who inspired “Reefer Madness” in America.

Harry J. Anslinger, the first commissioner of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics beginning in the 1930s, was America’s original racist drug warrior. Jeff Sessions, the newly appointed U.S. Attorney General, is the most recent.

Here are some cannabis quotes from both men. Can you tell who said what? Continue reading

Smoke Your Hearts in San Francisco on Valentine’s Day

BY ED MURRIETA

SAN FRANCISCO — Got a bud-loving bae who insists on pot as a prelude?

She’s right.

“When you have a smoke sesh with someone, it’s a great bonding experience,” says passionately pro-pot dating expert Molly Peckler.

Whether you’re looking for your cannabis love connection or just a hopped-up hookup in San Francisco’s sexiest dispensary lounges this Valentine’s Day,  you’ll surely take precautions, and especially in public smoke-sesh situations. Foremost because the valid California medical cannabis recommendation you need to carry to keep things legal here protects you like a prophylactic pot passport.

But more importantly because cannabis compatibility is a prerequisite for successful relationships under the influence. Your taste for old-school joints and his thing for high-tech vape pens could snuff out what might otherwise be true love.

You’ll know other deal breakers — like when he over-compensates with elaborate bongs, or when she dumps the contents of the Volcano chamber when the weed contains more good hits.

Of course, you’ll recognize your stoner soul mates should you meet cute over cannabis. If so, may the cherries on your doobies burn hot and long.

Here, then, are seven places where you can blaze, dab or vape your Valentine’s Day hearts content in  the pot-lovingest smoke-sesh city by the bay.

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7 from ’67: 50 Years Ago in Pot

BY ED MURRIETA

Two weeks after President Lyndon Johnson told Life Magazine that marijuana use was a problem in the U.S. Coast Guard, Newsweek followed with its July 24, 1967 report on America’s pot problem. By summer 1967, pot was blossoming in its pubescent prime, reflected increasingly, if not downright presciently, in magazines, music, literature and television. Here are seven media and pop culture cannabis moments from 1967:

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Mainstream Coffee Brand Jolts Cannabis Marketing

Oakland edibles startup and San Francisco micro-roaster brew cannabis industry’s first Intel Inside moment.

BY ED MURRIETA

To aficionados who enjoy a caffeine buzz with their marijuana buzz, coffee and cannabis go together like cream and sugar and Cheech and Chong rolled into one energy-inducing, mind-altering jolt.

After decades of counterculture popularity, the classic java-and-a-joint combo, aka the Hippie Highball, has been re-booted in the modern age of legal weed.

Cannabis-infused single-brew coffee pods entered California’s medical cannabis edibles marketplace in 2015 but require K-Cup-style brewing machines and remain a novelty.

The more accessible 2017 pairing combines three red-hot trends — cold-brewed coffee, artisan cannabis concentrate and low-dose edibles — into a singularly robust concept that boasts the added kick of being the first example of a mainstream company lending its brand to a cannabis product.

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Pet Sounds Pot-Pairing Playlist

BY ED MURRIETA

A calliope of insecurity,  introspection, hope, despair and delusion — the best and worst of a pot trip in 12 symphonic pop songs — “Pet Sounds” is Brian Wilson’s marijuana masterpiece.

Recorded in 1965 at a cost of $70,000, the album was fueled by $2,000 worth of pot the Beach Boys’ bandleader purchased for production.

“Pet Sounds” was released in 1966 and inspired the Beach Boys’ leading pothead rivals, The Beatles, to record their trippiest disc, “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,” the following year.

For “Pet Sounds” 50th anniversary last year, Wilson toured and performed the original album live. The 2016 Pet Sounds shows were so popular that the 74-year-old Rock and Roll Hall of Famer announced a second round of 50th anniversary tour dates for 2017, starting March 27 in Orlando, Fla., continuing across North America and concluding June 15 in Honolulu.

Here’s a track-by-track pot-pairing playlist for enhanced enjoyment of pop music’s ultimate pot album.

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Send It Back: When — and How — to Return Pot to Cannabis Dispensaries

BY ED MURRIETA

The Bay Area’s sophisticated restaurant patrons have little compunction about sending meals back to kitchens for any reason — under-cooked, over-salted or simply unappealing upon arrival.

How about cannabis? What do consumers do when the flowers, oils or edibles purchased at dispensaries or from delivery services don’t meet their desires?

And how do they do it? What are the protocols for returns and refunds at Bay Area dispensaries?

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Reciprocity: Your Passport to Nevada Pot

One-of-a-kind program lets out-of-state visitors buy medical cannabis — but there’s a catch for Californians

BY ED MURRIETA

RENO — Here’s a new word for your cannabis lexicon, one that will serve you well if you’re a gambler, skier or business traveler seeking medical cannabis in Nevada:

Reciprocity.

In woo-woo terms, reciprocity is an exchange of mutual benefit. In potspeak, reciprocity means people from California and 26 other states and the District of Columbia can legally obtain and use medical cannabis in Nevada.

While dispensaries and the state attorney general haggle over the exact documentation California residents must provide, Nevada offers reciprocity to qualified medical cannabis patients from any state where medical cannabis is legal.

Medical cannabis users no longer need to transport their stash across state lines. They can buy it Nevada.

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Canna-Sports Entrepreneur Jim McAlpine Courts Tahoe Ski Resorts in an Uphill Quest to Address Pot on the Slopes

BY ED MURRIETA

This season’s SnowBomb events, held in San Francisco, San Jose and Sacramento as California voters confronted cannabis legalization, were sponsored by cannabis companies — a first in the snow sports trade shows’ 10-year history despite cannabis’ decades-long presence in the state’s boarding and skiing culture.

Still, SnowBomb founder Jim McAlpine is surprised he received the cold shoulder when he offered to advise Tahoe Basin ski resorts on snow sports and cannabis, two cultures McAlpine says go together like peanut butter and jelly.

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Urban Pharm Review: Dispensary/Lounge Meets Steampunk Sex Club

BY ED MURRIETA

Since the 19th century, when robber barons’ wives insisted they spend their railroad riches in San Francisco, Sacramento Valley elites have aspired to the greater heights of the city.

Two San Francisco medical cannabis dispensaries match that migration. Cookies SF emerged from Sacramento’s Collective Efforts, which breeds and markets the hell out of Cookies strains. Urban Pharm has roots in Sacramento’s Northstar Holistic Collective, since 2010 my go-to dispensary in the state capital.

Opened in December 2015, Urban Pharm is among San Francisco’s new design-intensive gilded-age cannabis dispensaries.

Quality, selection and value of Urban Pharm’s flowers, extracts and edibles meet or beat other top pot shops in the city.

Urban Pharm outdoes them all, however, with an on-premises, open-flame consumption lounge where anything goes — smoking, dabbing, vaping, ediblizing, even stoner comic heckling and karaoke singing.

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Sip Captain Trips, Finn Town Tavern’s Jerry Garcia Hemp Seed Oil Cocktail

Editor’s Note: This cocktail is not infused with cannabis but easily could be and should be. Try a drop or two of CBD tincture to start.

BY ED MURRIETA

San Francisco’s cocktail culture meets San Francisco’s cannabis culture in a drink that honors city son/dead hippie icon Jerry Garcia.

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Marijuana Mega-Fair Emerald Cup Expected to Draw 30,000 to Wine Country

BY ED MURRIETA
Originally published in the San Francisco Chronicle

Longtime marijuana event producer Tim Blake has sober advice for first-timers partaking of newly legal pot at the Emerald Cup, a cannabis county fair in Santa Rosa expected to draw 30,000 people this weekend.

“Don’t eat too many edibles,” said the event’s founder.
While a little pot can fight nausea and anxiety, eating too much can make folks queasy and uneasy. The world’s largest cannabis competition and expo will be chock full of such cannabis-infused sweets, savories and beverages Saturday-Sunday, Dec. 10-11 — so much so that the event’s host, the Sonoma County Fairgrounds, has required new rules to cut down on overindulgence.

“The fairgrounds makes us give out only low-dose edibles, so nobody gets too high,” Blake said. “We can’t serve over a 10-milligram dose.”

Now in its 13th year and breaking records for entries and attendance, the state’s biggest pot celebration since the general election is enticing a bumper crop of new guests.

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Know Your Brownies Before You Add the Pot

EDITOR’S NOTE:  National Brownie Day is Dec. 8. This article originally published in 2004. 

Simplicity isn’t always simple. Take brownies: A few pantry ingredients. A bowl or two. Some mixing. And into the oven. In less than an hour, you’re staring at a pan of deliciously humble baked chocolate.

But before you bite, wait.

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Your Smoking, Dabbing, Vaping Escapes from San Francisco Holiday Shopping Madness

BY ED MURRIETA

SAN FRANCISCO — Those who make a day of holiday shopping around Union Square and the Westfield San Francisco Centre — and, especially, those who accompany shoppers against their better judgment — often need a break. Medical cannabis dispensaries and lounges are plentiful in downtown San Francisco, and much of what you’ll find reflects the best of what the city has to offer.

Even though cannabis was recently legalized for use in California by adults age 21 and over, your valid doctor’s recommendation to use medical cannabis is your required  passport to holiday shopping escape at these dispensary lounges.  

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Colorado Regulators Prohibit Cannabis in Venues with Liquor Licenses

BY ED MURRIETA

Colorado regulators delivered a sobering blow to anyone hoping to enjoy a cannabis-infused dinner paired with beer or wine in Denver.

Initiative 300 was approved by 53.5 percent of Denver’s registered voters Nov. 8. It authorized a pilot program that would allow businesses –cafes,  bars, restaurants, yoga studios, laundromats, whatever — to provide customers areas in which to consume cannabis, be it eating, vaping and, in some cases, smoking.

Today,  the Liquor Enforcement Division of the Colorado Department of Revenue announced a new rule: Any business with a liquor license will be prohibited from seeking a cannabis permit.

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5 Top Pot Moments in San Francisco History

BY ED MURRIETA

SAN FRANCISCO — Originally named Yerba Buena (translation: good herb in the language of  the Spanish settlers), San Francisco enjoys a relationship with cannabis that is as old as California history itself. Here are five moments in time when pot and San Francisco memorably collided.
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San Francisco Pot Task Force Urges Swift Actions on Licensing and Tourism

BY ED MURRIETA

SAN FRANCISCO — San Francisco’s Cannabis State Legalization Task Force was formed in January to prepare the city for cannabis legalization. Today, one day after California voted to legalize cannabis use by adults, the task force delivered preliminary recommendations urging the city to swiftly license cannabis businesses beginning in 2018.

“Prop. 64 creates a very specific state licensing scheme from seed to sale,” said Terrance Alan, chairman of the 22-member task force. “The response needs to be local and focus on how well local jurisdictions implement those license types.”

Alan said the task force is focused on land use, public safety and tourism. Business types include cannabis farms, processing and manufacturing facilities, testing labs, kitchens and cafes.

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Read Rolling Stone, Pass the Roach Clip

BY ED MURRIETA

Rolling Stone published its first issue 49 years ago today in San Francisco.  With a pot dealer serving as the magazine’s chief copy editor it was only fitting that the magazine came with a free roach clip for early subscribers. Hand-crafted by the man who would later become Rolling Stone’s art director,  the pot paraphernalia was peddled as a must-have for Rolling Stone readers. A full-page ad claimed the gift had “one thousand and one uses around the home, in rehearsal, or for better music appreciation.” Rolling Stone Vol. 1, No. 1, by the way, featured a photo of John Lennon in costume as Private Gripweed on the set of “How I Won the War.”

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Northern California Cannabis Travel Planner

BY ED MURRIETA

Like cannabis itself is to different people who prefer distinctive highs from smoking, vaping or eating, cannabis tourism is a different experience for different people seeking different things.

Cannabis tourism used to be as simple as being a tourist looking for pot.

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Dear Denver: Vote Yes on Social Cannabis Consumption

BY ED MURRIETA

SAN FRANCISCO — It was 8 p.m. and pitch dark when it dawned on me: I should not be smoking hashish in the rain behind the Greyhound station before my red-eye ride to Humboldt County.

Igzactly 420 was approximately three blocks away and wouldn’t close for two hours — precisely 10 minutes before my bus departed.

A seven-minute walk later, the medical cannabis dispensary and vaporizing lounge became my port in a storm, one of San Francisco’s models of public social cannabis consumption — a flaming-hot issue in states that have legalized recreational cannabis use by adults.

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New West Summit Cannabis Lounge (and Dining) Guide

Touting the city before it hosted the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition, President William Howard Taft declared San Francisco to be “the city that knows how.” One hundred and one years later, on the ongoing eve of cannabis legalization in California, these medical cannabis dispensary lounges show off San Francisco’s know-how when it comes to the social use of cannabis — a hot-button issue even in states where recreational cannabis is legal. San Francisco’s smoking/vaping lounges range from cannabis chic to hippie humble. Six are located downtown and there’s one more due to open this fall — all in easy proximity to hotels, restaurants, shopping and museums. You must be a California resident with ID and the requisite medical cannabis paperwork to enjoy these lounges.

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Emerald Pot Pairing Tasting Notes

The Emerald Pot Pairing, held Saturday at a Humboldt County farm, showcased food, wine, beer, cider and cannabis from Humboldt, Mendocino and Trinity counties in a convivial, country-chic atmosphere accented by dabs, tincture-spiked cocktails and a bluegrass band. In short, a perfect day for about 100 locals and visitors to mix, mingle and compare notes about the food, drinks and weed that The Emerald Magazine matched up for its second annual event.

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Fall-Harvest Pear-fection

Layers of cannabis in this seasonally on-fleek pear tart let bakers adjust potency without upsetting the recipe’s ratios.

Pear tart is a fall classic. Made with cannabis butter in both the chocolate crust and in the almond filling, my favorite fruit tart is the height of early autumn enhanced with a hidden layer of hashish caramel.

Here in California, Bartletts are the predominant pear. Millions are being picked in the Sacramento Delta right now, bound for grocery stores nationwide. Soft-fleshed Barts stoke the seasonal economy along with sun-grown bud in Lake County, in the hilly orchards north of Napa.

Many versions of pear tarts, from rustic to rarefied, can be found in all the glossy food-porn magazines, cable TV food circuses and Pinterest. Made with peak-season local pears and freshly harvested sun-grown cannabis, my autumn pear tart impresses and intoxicates.

You can adapt my approach to the recipe of your choice. My layering approach allows the flavors of the tart’s components — the chocolatey crust, the almondy filling, the herby caramel and, especially, the freshly harvested pears — to strut without  grassy cannabis interference.

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Cannabis Travel Destination: Humboldt County

Whether you’re visiting Humboldt County for business or pleasure, here’s what to buy and try, what to eat and drink, and where to stay and play. We hope you like oysters, craft beverages and home-grown events celebrating Humboldt’s world-famous crop, cannabis. For maximum enjoyment, you’ll need a car and a valid doctor’s recommendation to use medical cannabis in California.


Click here for full-screen Google Maps version.
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Denver Pot Travel Planner 2014

BY ED MURRIETA

DENVER — “Did you notice the fragrance?”

We were packed into a clean-emissions shuttle bus traveling along touristy 16th Street Mall.

A young man wearing blond dreadlocks and reeking of his pot-smoking tribe squeezed past two office ladies.

“You smell it everywhere,” one lady said to the other. “It’s the stoner bro smell.”

Welcome to The Mile High City, capital of legal pot in America, where the most radical cultural shift since Prohibition is transpiring, quite literally, under the noses of Colorado citizens, 55 percent of whom voted last year to legalize retail sales and recreational consumption of pot by adults age 21 and up.

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