Chalice Has No Shot at Victorville Event OK

Cannabis festival organizers can make their case to city council but there’s no way Chalice will get local jurisdiction approval.

By ED MURRIETA

Regarding Chalice Festival’s attempt to stage a recreational cannabis event at the San Bernardino County Fairgrounds in Victorville, Calif., next month and its chance to make its case to the City Council next week, here’s a note from the city public information officer, who makes it sound like Chalice is being placated prior to the ultimate truth sinking in.

TONIGHT

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Cruising for Cannabis: Go Ashore and Legally Score — Juneau to San Diego (Updated Story Pitch)

World-class legal cannabis
and some decadent places to smoke it
await West Coast cruise-ship travelers
in 10 North American pot ports 

cruising-for-cannabis

THC beer
CBD minibars
CBD massage
local tours

BY ED MURRIETA

This year, North American cruise-ship travelers can disembark to legal cannabis on the West Coast of the United States and Canada.

Cruise ships docking along the West Coast today through the end of the year — in Juneau, Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Long Beach and San Diego are just gangways away from legal ganja. In September, Vancouver, BC, will become the West Coast’s 10th significant legal pot port. 

Pull into a North American West Coast port on almost any major cruise line and immerse yourself in the best cannabis stores and activities. In premier markets like San Francisco and Los Angeles you’ll find the best cannabis lounges and the best cannabis-food activities. Book tours or DIY day, overnight and multi-day excursions depending on how long your ship berths in a pot port. In San Diego, California’s defacto craft beer capital, visit the brewery that crafted CannaCraft, the nation’s first non-alcoholic beer infused with THC. 

But just don’t carry or use cannabis on board cruise ships, whether in port or sailing the Pacific. Here’s the bottom line from one major cruise line servicing the West Coast:

No illegal drugs or other illegal substances are allowed onboard or may be utilized during a Royal Caribbean International cruise vacation, including during transfers to and from ships, inside terminals, while onboard, at our ports of call, during shore excursions or at our private destinations. Illegal drugs or substances will be confiscated and appropriate action taken, which may include removal from the ship …

Royal Caribbean says its interpretation of illegal is based on international law, not Alaska’s, not Washington’s, not California’s and not Canada’s. Expect similar rules from Princess, Norwegian, Holland America and other major cruise lines sailing the Pacific from Juneau to San Diego.

Of course, what paying adult passengers do in port is totally up to paying adult passengers. Go ashore. Local cannabis and cannabis culture are expecting you.

Here’s a cruise-ship travelers’ guide to buying, consuming and experiencing cannabis in 10 West Coast port cities.
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San Diego Brewery Set to Release First Cannabis Beers in Nevada

UPDATED JUNE 19: Press release below.
UPDATED JUNE 18: I interviewed the brewery today. Stand by for story.


two-roots-lifestyle

Press release is embargoed but Two Roots Brewing Company is already promoting non-alcoholic craft beers infused with THC.

BY ED MURRIETA

One of my sources in my recent Leafly hemp/cannabis beer report tipped me to this last month but I could not get the brewery to confirm it. Now the San Diego brewery is releasing the nation’s first non-alcoholic THC beer. It will be sold in California cannabis stores starting in July.

Two Roots is brewing a deal with Cresco Labs to brew dealcoholized THC-infused cannabis beers in the six medicinal states it operates in.

San Diego’s Two Roots Brewing Company now promotes its “CannaCrafted” cannabis beer on its website:

Two Roots, the worlds first “CannaCrafted” beer

Good-for-You

High-Quality

Cannabis Infused

Non-Alcoholic

Craft Beer

Southern California Born


Cannabiniers Expands Portfolio with THC & CBD infused Craft Beers, Cold Brew Iced Teas, and Cold Brew Iced Coffees

Leading US Company Enhances Product Offerings, Further Normalizing the Consumption of Cannabis

SAN DIEGO, Calif. (June 19, 2018) – Cannabiniers, a foodservice, technology & brand management company, that is revolutionizing the cannabis industry with patented, safe and natural flower-based extraction technology, has announced the expansion of its alternative beverage portfolio. Two Roots Brewing Co, the world’s first line of CannaCrafted non-alcoholic THC and CBD infused craft beer, and Just Society, a line of THC and CBD infused cold brewed iced coffees and teas, both join the company’s cannabis infused beverage collection.

“The popularity of craft beer and coffee has grown across all demographics, tea is the second most consumed beverage in the world, 2nd only to water. We’re excited by the potential for Two Roots Brewing to be the first to market, offering products infused with THC & CBD, with the ultimate goal of normalizing the consumption of cannabis-infused products, especially given the recent announcements of potential development from the former Blue Moon founders and Constellation Brands, as well as its investment in Canopy Growth.” said Timothy Walters, president of Cannabiniers. “Beer, coffee and tea hold such a widely accepted and even celebrated place in society, so we are thrilled to offer a line of beverages to fit anyone’s preferred beverage choice within the rapidly expanding cannabis market that have been responsibly formulated to emulate the effects of alcohol, micro-infused, onset within 5 – 10 minutes and dissipation in less than two hours.” “What Does It Take To Be A Pioneer”

Crafted by expert brewers and artisans, Cannabiniers has sourced the first of its manufacture and design technology to enter the United States, to create Two Roots Brewing Co the only line of craft beer in the United States using state of the art technology for de-alcoholizing beer. Brewed in California and infused with THC and CBD in Nevada and California, Two Roots initial product offering consists of five flavors including Lager, Stout, New West IPA, Blonde Ale, and Wheat; with a “Tribute” style beer that tastes like cannabis to immediately follow.

“After two years of research and development, we are thrilled to see our creations on product shelves in July. Our portfolio is continuing to expand and we are proud to be providing the highest quality products made in the USA and changing the perception of consuming cannabis and the entire industry,” said Director of Product Development, Kevin Love of Cannabiniers. “We are committed to offering products that consumers are demanding and we are proud of both lines being released.”

Just last year, Cannabiniers launched the world’s first line of cannabis infused coffee, tea and cocoa delivered through a patented, 100 percent compostable flower-based single-brew pod, BrewBudz. Based on consumer trends and feedback from customers, Just Society is the next evolution with flavors of iced teas including: Lemon, Mango, Mint, Raspberry, and Honey; and iced coffees including: Original, Café Mocha, Salted Caramel, and French Vanilla.

This announcement coincides with Cannabiniers Series B capital raise of their multistate rollout of both Just Society and Two Roots covering a twelve state product release.

For more information about Two Roots, Just Society and other products developed by Cannabiniers, please visit: www.cannabiniers.com.

RELATED
In re: cannabis and beer, cannabis marketers may learn something from women craft brewers’ tales of sexist beer marketing in my previously unpublished report from the 2007 Craft Brewers Conference in Austin, Texas.

Eve of Cannabis Destruction: Here’s How Pot Will Be Destroyed in July

BY ED MURRIETA

Any cannabis flowers and manufactured products  — edibles, concentrates, tinctures, beverages, transdermal patches and suppositories — that have not been lab-tested cannot be sold in California cannabis stores as of July 1 under state law that mandates such products must be destroyed.

Don’t expect to attend any pot bonfires.

Here’s how destruction must happen, per the state Bureau of Cannabis Control’s Cannabis Waste Management regs:

A licensee may not sell cannabis waste. (b) Licensees shall comply with all applicable waste management laws including, but not limited to, Division 30 of the Public Resources Code. (c) A licensee shall dispose of cannabis waste in a secured waste receptacle or in a secured area on the licensed premises.

For the purposes of this section, “secure waste receptacle” or “secured area” means that physical access to the receptacle or area is restricted to the licensee and its employees and the local agency, or waste hauler franchised or contracted by a local agency.

Public access to the designated receptacle or area is prohibited. (d) If a licensee is composting cannabis waste on the licensed premises, a licensee shall do so in compliance with title 14, California Code of Regulations, chapter 3.1 (commencing with Section 17850).

(e) If a local agency, or waste hauler permitted by a local agency, is being used to collect and process cannabis waste, a licensee shall do all the following:

(1) Provide the Bureau with the following information for the local agency, or waste hauler franchised or contracted by a local agency, who will collect and process the licensee’s cannabis waste; (A) Name of local agency providing waste hauling services, if applicable; (B) Company name of the local agency franchised or contracted or permitted waste hauler, if applicable; (C) Company business address; and (D) Name of the primary contact person at the company and contact person’s phone number.

(2) Obtain documentation from the entity hauling the waste that indicates the date and time of each collection of cannabis waste at the licensed premises; and (3) Obtain a copy of the certified weight ticket or other documentation prepared by the entity hauling the waste confirming receipt of the cannabis waste at one, or more, of the following solid waste facilities: (A) A manned, fully permitted solid waste landfill or transformation facility; (B) A manned, fully permitted composting facility or manned composting operation; (C) A manned, fully permitted in-vessel digestion facility or manned in-vessel digestion operation; (D) A manned, fully permitted transfer/processing facility or manned transfer/processing operation; or (E) A manned, fully permitted chip and grind operation.

(f) If a licensee is self-hauling cannabis waste to one, or more, of the solid waste facilities in subsection (e)(3) of this section, a licensee shall obtain for each delivery of cannabis waste by the licensee a copy of a certified weight ticket or receipt documenting delivery from the solid waste facility. Only the licensee or its employees may transport self-hauled cannabis waste.

California Split-Up Would Shake State Cannabis Industry

BY ED MURRIETA

Californians will vote in November vote on whether to break the Golden State into three states. If the “Cal 3” initiative passes, there would be major ramifications for cannabis regulations, growing, transportation and retailing.

If the split is passed, growing regions would be separated from retailing areas. eg: Harborside has stores in Oakland and San Jose and has major growing operations in Salinas. If California is divided, Oakland and San Jose would be in Northern California and Salinas would be in California. Fresno to San Diego would be Southern California. Along the coast, Carmel to Los Angeles would be California.

Product could not be transported from California to Northern California or Northern California to Southern California.

And what of legalization? Would the three states have to address legalization anew and separately? If voters in the new Southern California get their way, the conservative San Joaquin Valley / Bakersfield area would vote against legalization, imperiling Southern California.

How do cannabis growers, businesses and state regulator feel?

Elite Regulators and Entrepreneurs Will Meet in Mendocino Retreat

California cannabis regulators, entrepreneurs and activists will gather for Meadowlands2018 in the redwoods next week. 

BY ED MURRIETA

California’s top cannabis regulators will join some of Northern California’s top cannabis entrepreneurs and activists in the cannabis-friendly Mendocino County redwoods June 15-17 to network and discuss the state of the industry.

Sponsored by San Francisco cannabis technology company Meadow, the exclusive, all-inclusive Meadowlands 2018 gathering will feature gourmet catered  cuisine and open cannabis consumption. It will be held at Camp Navarro, a rustic retreat offering cabin, tepee and tent camping, plus yoga, meditation and climbing near both the Navarro River and the Pacific Ocean.

Regulators scheduled to appear include include California cannabis czar Lori Ajax, San Francisco cannabis czar Nicole Elliott , Sacramento cannabis czar Joe Devlin and Los Angeles cannabis czar Cat Packer. Other speakers include leading Northern California entrepreneurs and activists and legendary hashmaker Frenchy Cannoli.

The weekend includes Friday night’s non-infused dinner prepared by cannabis chef Coreen Carrollof The Cannaisseur Series. Saturday’s agenda includes speaker sessions, lunch and lawn games, fireside chats, BBQ dinner and entertainment.  Wake and Bake Brunch wraps up the weekend on Sunday.

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Scent of Craft Brewers: Beer Marketing Lessons to Cannabis Marketers

What do women craft brewers want? Flavor, variety, class and less skin.

Ed’s Note: Written in May 2007. Not published anywhere but my dormant food portfolio and now here.

BY ED MURRIETA

AUSTIN, Texas — Never mind Miller, Bud and Coors’ foam-soaked fantasies. Jenny Talley is a craft brewer who doesn’t squirm when sex sells suds.

“We have a sexy girl on the bottle,” said Talley, a 38-year-old blonde from Utah, who bears an outdoorsy dream-girl resemblence to the midriff-revealing Provo Girl on the label of her award-winning pilsner.

Though decidedly G-rated like the Provo Girl, (Talley brews 4 percent ABV in Utah, after all), Talley is pictured on Squatter’s Pub’s Web site with two gold medals she won at Great American Beer Festivals; the awards plunge down the T-shirt that clings to her taught torso.

“The Great American Beer Festival was founded on scantily dressed women trying to get you to vote for someone’s beer,” Talley said. “If a woman wants to use her body to sell beer, she has every right. If it works and it sells beer, I’m OK with it.”

Natalie Cilurzo, general manager of Russian River Brewing Company in Santa Rosa, isn’t OK with it. Aside from free-flowing beverages and the occasional kilt, the Craft Brewers Conference was a buttoned-up affair. (“We like it classier,” Cilurzo said.) One vendor’s scantily clad model stood out at the trade show.

“I was very uncomfortable for her because that’s not what we’re about,” Cilurzo said. “She’s not going to help that guy sell more tanks. I don’t want to do business with him because I don’t like his marketing. Can you believe this guy?”

The comley model stirred Cilurzo’s incredulity kettle. She recalled a radio advertisement for a Sonoma County beer festival that she and her brewmaster husband, Vinnie, sponsored in March.

“I told Vinnie: I’m offended by this commercial,” she said. “The whole commercial was just about people being totally disgusting and drunk. And then the guys says, ‘Hey, babe, you bring the beer, I’ll bring the condoms.’ Vinnie said, ‘We’re pulling out.’”

As interviews with a dozen women brewers and brewery executives at the Craft Brewers Conference here in April revealed, figuring out what women want — both in beers and their marketing — is obvious and impossible.

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Marketing Content Creation

Ed Murrieta provides native content and content marketing solutions for cannabis companies and brands.

joaquin-murrieta-gold-rush-blends

BY ED MURRIETA

This an example of the marketing content creation I can do for cannabis businesses and brands. The Joaquin Murrieta brand above is my concept brand. The content below — a travelogue story and map stalking early California’s most notorious legend — fits the brand. Imagine smoking Joaquin Murrieta joints at the historical sites and beautiful open spaces related to Joaquin Murrieta’s legend. There’s already wine, beer, tequila and a cocktail in Joaquin Murrieta’s honor.

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To Make Dank Beer, Brewers Forced to Get Creative

My latest for Leafly.

Read all of my cannabis news, culture and lifestyles journalism reports for Leafly.com, the San Francisco Chronicle, GreenState.com and other leading cannabis publications.

Handicapping Sacramento Cannabis Lounges

pay-ed-2

Top five contenders for opening capital city’s first cannabis lounge for social consumption.

BY ED MURRIETA

Sacramento’s City Council recently voted overwhelmingly in favor of the nations’s first event featuring open consumption of cannabis in public.

The next milestone facing Sacramento is whether the city should permit cannabis lounges — licensed and regulated places where adults age 21 and over can congregate to consume cannabis in social settings, like the lounge scene in San Francisco.

The city is expected to consider allowing cannabis lounges this fall. If allowed, applicants will be limited to currently operating businesses holding retail sales licenses from the state, and locations will be tied to stores’ physical addresses.

Until then, here are my top five contenders for opening Sacramento’s first cannabis lounge:

  • Northstar
  • Hugs
  • A Therapeutic Alternative
  • 515 Broadway
  • Abatin Wellness

My observations and comments, based on the nature of the current operation, management’s credibility, and future lounges’ locations and proximity to public transit, are contained within the embedded map below.

Here’s my vision and pitch deck for a cannabis lounge.

Read all of my previous cannabis lounge coverage.

Weed Weekend: San Francisco

Legal cannabis is best enjoyed in social lounges, with gourmet food and in the hands of five-star hotel spa masseuses.

BY ED MURRIETA

SAN FRANCISCO — Like Amsterdam, this lusty city-state boasts picaresque history, edgy authenticity, mind-blowing art and Instagrammable sights,  and among inclined travelers is a cannabis bucket-list destination. From Barbary Coast Bohemians to Beat generation poets and the Sixties’ Summer of Love to today’s legalized renaissance, cannabis has enshrouded San Francisco in intoxicating fog, a heady come-hither whether you wear flowers in your hair or Kate Spades on your feet. Once, tourists scored baggies of pot from hygiene-challenged ragamuffins on hippie-haven Haight Street; modern visitors marvel at the commercialization and wide-spread availability of California’s top agricultural product now that it’s taxed and regulated by the state and innovated by artisans and entrepreneurs. So dive into world-class cannabis retailing; decadent social-consumption lounges; gourmet meals and five-star hotel spa massages incorporating the plant; and local craft beer and cocktails spiked with cannabis extracts, toasting San Francisco’s gay and high history.

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California State Capitol Smoking Spots Mapped — Even Under Moon Tree

Thanks to cigarettes, medicinal cannabis users can smoke cannabis at the California Capitol, atop a subterranean building resembling an abandoned Star Trek set, against a tree-shrouded stone waterwall and beneath the Moon Tree.

BY ED MURRIETA

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Twenty years before recreational cannabis was legalized in California and public consumption was explicitly prohibited, the state’s medicinal cannabis users were already allowed to smoke cannabis wherever it’s legal to smoke cigarettes. In the state capital, thanks to the tobacco lobby, cigarette smoking is allowed on state property and near some state buildings in downtown Sacramento.

That means qualified medicinal cannabis users can smoke on steps of the state Capitol, on park benches surrounding the Capitol’s grounds, atop a subterranean building, in a cool, shady bamboo thicket set against a waterwall near the state’s really cool, harlequin-esque power tower, and beneath the Moon Tree, a Sequoia Redwood grown from seed that went to space aboard NASA’s Apollo 14 in 1971.

Here are some of the best and most convenient locations for medicinal cannabis users walking, biking or commuting downtown Sacramento’s famous tree-lined streets.

Take a break.

Medicate.

It’s legal.  Nonetheless, carry valid ID and your current medicinal cannabis authorization.

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Pairing San Francisco’s Culinary and Cannabis Treats

Enhance the city’s 2018 James Beard winners with the city’s best dispensaries and smoking-vaping lounges.

Dominique Crenn, left, and Barbary Coast.

Dominique Crenn, left, and Barbary Coast.

BY ED MURRIETA

Four San Francisco culinary stars were recognized by the 2018 James Beard Foundation Awards this week. By way of toasting their accomplishments and complementing their allure, here are my suggestions for pairing San Francisco’s Beard award-winners and the city’s best legal commercial cannabis experiences.

Dominique Crenn + Barbary Coast

Poetic, adventuresome, traditional and modernist all describe San Francisco’s two Michelin star chef and the city’s sexiest cannabis destination.  Dominique Crenn, chef and owner of Atelier Crenn, Bar Crenn and Petit Crenn, won the Beard award for best chef in the Western United States. If there was an analogous award for best all-in-one store-dab bar-smoke lounge in the West, it would be Barbary Coast. Aesthetically an homage to old-school San Francisco’s Gilded Era vice district. Barbary Coast is straight-up state-of-the-art — from high-end concentrates to high-tech vaporizers and HVAC systems that silently suck smoke from the room so it doesn’t stink up your clothes.  

B. Patisserie + SPARC

The work-and-life partners behind B. Patisserie, a small Pacific Heights bake shop with a cult-like following, are San Francisco baking royalty. Belinda Leong was pastry chef at San Francisco fine-dining notables Gary Danko and Manresa. Michael Suas founded the San Francisco Baking Institute. Get their killer kouign amann to go and enjoy the buttery Britney-style croissant buns South of Market at SPARC, along with Volcano-vaped, farm-grown, lab-tested cannabis and free hot tea from the self-serve bar. (SPARC told me $2 cups of organic family-farmed coffee are on the way.)

In Situ + Urban Pharm

The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art’s restaurant serves “borrowed” dishes “on loan” from world-renowned chefs. Feed your head on a la carte dabs at Urban Pharm (or smoke joints if that’s your jam) then feast your eyes on intentionally spare alternate dimensions at In Situ, which won the Beard award for Outstanding Restaurant Design (76 seats and over). Like In Situ, Urban Pharm elides polished and raw, a steampunked Burning Man blend of cut metal and re-purposed wood.   

Zuni Cafe + The Apothecarium

The iconic restaurant’s roast chicken and hamburger are both longtime legends. Now. Zuni’ Cafe‘s front of the house gets its due — Beard’s Outstanding Service award. Hop on a classic street car for a half-mile ride to The Apothecarium, the flagship of three local cannabis stores where chandeliers, marble counters and soft music ooze elegance of high-end jewelry boutiques. To match Zuni’s service, let The Apothecarium’s professional consultants guide you through a delicious selection of California’s best edibles, concentrates and cannabis strains.

California Pot Tax Revenue Still in Dumps But Not as Bad as Teased

Tax revenue for the first quarter of 2018 totaled $60.9 million, less than half of the state’s projection of $175 million for the fiscal year ending in June.

BY ED MURRIETA

SACRAMENTO — California tax revenue for the first three months of cannabis legalization is way below state projections but not as bad as partial figures teased this week in a state economist’s blog post.

The state on Friday released full financial figures from California cannabis revenue for the first quarter of taxed and regulated sales — including excise, cultivation and sales taxes.

An initial figure of $34 million in combined excise and cultivation emerged Wednesday in a blog post by an economist at the Legislative Analyst’s Office.

Friday’s figures the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration was slightly lower — $32 million from the state’s 15 percent excise tax and $1.6 million from the $9.25-per-ounce cultivation tax. The CTDFA released sales tax figures showing $27.3 million in revenue, not counting city and county taxes.

Tax revenue for the first quarter of 2018 totaled $60.9 million, less than half of the state’s projection of $175 million for the fiscal year ending in June.

 

California Cannabis Tax Revenue Short of State’s Projection

The state’s $141 million shy of the $175 million it predicted cultivation and excise taxes would generate by the end of the fiscal year.

Ed’s Note: Ed Murrrieta is an experienced, versatile journalist who needs full-time work.  Read him. Hire him. 

BY ED MURRIETA

SACRAMENTO, CA — California adults are not purchasing enough taxed-and-regulated cannabis to meet the state’s revenue projections for the first six months of legal, levied sales.

A report due Friday from the Department of Tax and Fee Administration will show the state collected $34 million in cannabis sales for the first quarter of 2018 — leaving the state $141 million shy of the $175 million it predicted cannabis cultivation and excise taxes will generate by the end of the 2017-2018 fiscal year, June 30.

The figures were published online Tuesday in a blog post by an economist at the state Legislative Analyst’s Office and are the latest indication that California cannabis consumers may be turning to the black market to avoid paying up to 45 percent taxes when local sales taxes are factored.

The Department of Tax and Fee Administration figures do not address local taxes, which range from 7.25 percent to 9.25 percent, and are tallied at the local level.  

In addition to black-market sales affecting state projections, lower-than-forecast tax revenues may be due to the number of California cities and counties banning cannabis businesses, and the late start of adult-use retail sales in Los Angeles, the state’s largest market.

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National Music Promoters Want a Slice of the Cannabis Pie

By me on Leafly.com

Read all of my cannabis news, culture and lifestyles journalism reports for Leafly.com, the San Francisco Chronicle, GreenState.com and other leading cannabis publications.

Dollar Dabs & Penny Pre-Rolls Fire Up the Sacramento Cannabis Cup

By me on Leafly.com

Read all of my cannabis news, culture and lifestyles journalism reports for Leafly.com, the San Francisco Chronicle, GreenState.com and other leading cannabis publications.

Onsite Sales Bring Cannabis — and Scrutiny — Back to Cannabis Cup

By me on Leafly.com

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Protected: 36 Hours in San Francisco (Cannabis Edition)

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Old-School Pot Practices Dying

Things cannabis consumers don’t do today but were done back in the day.

BY ED MURRIETA

Blame culture change, technology, availability of good cannabis and the rise of responsible use. Here are some old-school pot practices not in practice any more.

  • Dip Joints in Embalming Fluid or PCP
  • Chase the Dragon with a Straw Off a Pin or Off a Hot Knife
  • Smoke Stems and Seeds
  • Smoke Roaches and Pipe Scrapings
  • Pair Pot with Pills and Wine

Dosing Do-Si-Do: Indexing Intoxicants

Brands of ultra-premium joints and non-alcoholic beer spiked with THC seek to reach mainstream consumers by comparing potency of cannabis against society’s common understanding of alcohol.

Ed’s Note: Ed Murrrieta is an experienced, versatile journalist who needs full-time work.  Read him. Hire him. 

BY ED MURRIETA

On sale in Colorado and California, the nation’s two leading adult-use recreational cannabis markets, Toast’s ultra-premium, low-potency joints are dosed to mirror the equivalent potencies of bar-measured cocktails.  One joint, containing a proprietary blend of strains measuring 10 percent THC and 2:1 CBD:THC, is billed as being as intoxicating as one alcoholic drink.  

Meanwhile, the Colorado brewer who created micro-to-macro Blue Moon ale announced a line of non-alcoholic craft beer containing THC and dosed at easy-to-understand alcohol-to-cannabis intoxicant-equivalence measures — lower-potency light beer labeled with one marijuana leaf, medium-potency amber beer labeled with two marijuana leafs and higher-potency dark beer labeled with three marijuana leafs.

Both Toast and Ceria are positioning their products to be consumed responsibly and enjoyed comfortably in social settings — marketing to mainstream, upscale consumers who understand alcohol but are clueless, and possibly even concerned, about pot.

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Where California Candidates Stand on Pot

Influential electees’ views on cannabis are as diverse as the Golden State.

ED MURRIETA

As the adage goes, “So goes California, so goes America.” The Golden State’s primary election is June 5. The general election is Nov. 6.  Here’s a look at major California candidates in state and national races and where they stand on cannabis.

Cannabis Intoxicates Brewers

Craft beers infused with CBD and THC and natural aromas and flavors engineered to mimic cannabis terpenes buzz adult beverages makers.

BY ED MURRIETA

The Hemperor, New Belgium Brewing Company’s new IPA, is not the first beer brewed with hemp seeds.

Nor is it the first beer to celebrate the botanical, olfactory and gustatory similarities between hops and cannabis.

It is, however, the first hemp-infused India pale ale — an HIPA — to be distributed across the United States.

And The Hemperor, released in early April by the Colorado brewery best known for the Fat Tire brand, is certainly the first adult beverage in the legal cannabis era that’s been engineered in a laboratory to mimic the aromas and flavors of cannabis while containing no trace of the plant’s psychoactive cannabinoids.

Prohibited by the federal government from brewing with hemp flowers that would impart aromas and flavors mirrored in hops along with non-psychoactive cannabinoids like therapeutic CBD, New Belgium brews The Hemperor with hemp hearts, the meat of shelled hemp seeds, which imbue a mild, hazy nuttiness but no intoxicating effects of cannabis, hemp’s botanical sister and hops’ botanical cousin.

To mimic cannabis terpenes, New Belgium draws on other natural ingredients. In The Hemperor’s herbaceous case, natural cannabis aroma and flavor means those attributes were engineered in a laboratory to parrot pot’s polymorphic punches to noses and mouths using extracts from natural aromatics like citrus peel, grapefruit and pine sap.

The Hemperor is on tap in 49 states (Kansas bans hemp products) and will be released in six-pack bottles in late May.

I paid $4 for a 5-ounce pour of The Hemperor at Capitol Hop Shop in Sacramento on Friday, 4/20.  

The Hemperor announced itself as the bartender set the rosette glass in front of me — a waft of familiar cannabis that caught my nose and whipped my neck side to side to pick up the aroma’s source. Continue reading

Permit Denial Leaves 420 Cannabis Cup Dry, Not High

My latest on Leafly.com.

Read all of my cannabis news, culture and lifestyles journalism reports for Leafly.com, the San Francisco Chronicle, GreenState.com and other leading cannabis publications.

Cultivate Your Ultimate Las Vegas Cannabis Weekend

By me on the San Francisco Chronicle’s GreenState.com.

Read all of my cannabis news, culture and lifestyles journalism reports for Leafly.com, the San Francisco Chronicle, GreenState.com and other leading cannabis publications.

An Oral History of Cheech and Chong’s Up In Smoke

By me on Leafly.com.

Gringo: No Stoner Adventure. Just Potsploitation. Am I Right?

BY ED MURRIETA

“Gringo” — the movie purportedly about a pot pill, not the movie about spyware-killer John McAfee — opens Friday. If I retained enough community college film-appreciation learning, I’m figuring by the trailer and the commercial that’s been running on CNN for the past two weeks that the movie’s about:

  • Middle-class people audiences can’t believe are in the pot business.
  • Racist assumptions that although pot pills could be illegal to manufacture in America, it’s OK to  make them in Mexico because Mexico.
  • The black guy is always expendable in movies.
  • Can you believe Charlize Theron uses pot?

I’m hoping to catch a Saturday matinee.

Feel free to spoil.

Is Cannabis Legalization Pinching Your Travel Budget?

rotating_globeBY ED MURRIETA

Bucket lists are brimming with cannabis destinations as cultural and legal walls restricting growing, selling, buying and consuming the botanical herb fall across the Americas and tolerance reigns in some European cities.

Uruguay. Barcelona. Thailand. Toronto. Jamaica. Colorado. Las Vegas. Vancouver. San Francisco. Amsterdam.

Where will you spend your cannabis travel dollars in 2018?

What do you want for what you’ll spend?

Ed Murrieta’s Cannabis Edibles Safety App Pitch Deck

BY ED MURRIETA

Up In Smoke 1978 Movie Review: L.A. Times Wasn’t Amused

BY ED MURRIETA

Up In Smoke, Cheech and Chong’s cinematic 1978 stoner classic, marks its 40th anniversary this year. Here’s how the Los Angeles Times reviewed the movie upon its release.

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Ed Murrieta’s Cannabis Lounge Pitch Deck

Wherever cannabis is legal, the public needs safe and comfortable places to smoke pot and socialize. Here’s a vision for such a place, even a chain of smoking lounges. 

BY ED MURRIETA

S.F. 4/20 Permit Application Filed


BY ED MURRIETA

The San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department told me today it has received a permit application for this year’s 4/20 smokeout event in Golden Gate Park.  If granted, it’ll be the second year the long-running event has been permitted. Of course, there’ll be no cannabis sales like last year. Details are still being finalized but expect barriers, gates, toilets and maybe even food trucks. Who said cannabis legalization killed pot events? You’ve got two months to plan your 4/20. Use this map to figure out where you can legally purchase cannabis to take with you, plus where to eat and shop in the Haight-Ashbury.

Holy Cacao! Chocolate Experts Will Taste Test Cannabis Chocolate

Three noted Bay Area chocolatiers agree to assess looks, flavors and textures of leading brands.

BY ED MURRIETA

“Everyone loves chocolate and it makes people smile,” said the CEO of the 150-year-old chocolate company that bears his family’s name. “What could be better than that?”

Cannabis connoisseurs might respond, “Cannabis,” while missing the rhetorical futility of answering the chocolate CEO’s question.

From Montezuma to your grandma, chocolate tops many peoples’ list of life’s pleasures.  What could be better than chocolate? Better chocolate.

With that in mind, I asked three big names in California chocolate to eyeball and taste-test the chocolate contained in leading brands on sale in California cannabis stores. They all agreed. Taste-test pending an editor’s purchase of the story.

Never mind effects.  Experts will focus solely on brands’ chocolate quality, assessing cannabis bars on appearance, flavors and mouthfeel, caring more about cacao content than THC strength while minding the marriage of beans and terpenes in upmarket products that retail for double-digit prices.

Experts will sample only dark chocolate bars without any fruit, nut, candy or spice additives. Milk chocolate and white chocolate products were not considered.

Experts will focus on visual clues that reveal how products are manufactured, handled and stored; flavors that highlight cacao origins, roasting methods and cannabis infusion; and mouthfeel from first bite to final finish.

 

 

Follow Northstar to Top-Shelf Flowers and Budget Deals in Sacramento

BY ED MURRIETA

Prohibition-era zoning pushed many cannabis stores to cities’ industrial fringes. Northstar Holistic Collective, while technically in the heart of downtown Sacramento, is located in a neighborhood that was, just a generation ago, an industrial edge of the capital city, where Victorian homes, leafy trees and tired warehouses comfortably coexist today.

It’s here on a quiet corner near a light-rail station, a historic highway and a Quonset hut that one of Sacramento’s oldest shops consistently proves why it’s one of the city’s best: fine flowers, concentrates galore, across-the-board prices, smart budtenders, easy parking and no pretense.

Check-in is no-fuss and high-tech. Get buzzed in, hand your ID to the receptionist and look into a camera connected to software that’ll digitally compare your facial features to the photo on your ID, one of the ways cannabis stores are trying to prevent ID fraud and over-visiting.

Easy-to-read flat-panel menus on the waiting room wall are helpful and convenient — not just because you’ll be sitting in a comfortable chair in a spacious room for 10 to 15 minutes at peak times but because Northstar’s old-school glass retail cabinets aren’t much to look at and pretty much serve as storage and counter space.

Northstar is my go-to store for bargain bud. While you’ll find many great top-shelf strains (Animal Cookies and Titan OG tempt me at $50 an eighth, pre-tax), you’ll also find incredible strains (recently: Mr. Nice Guy, Kalifa Kush) for $50 per half ounce (that’s four eighths), pre-tax.

House joints ($7 mid-grade, $10 top-shelf) are pleasurable and priced right. While I don’t buy concentrates, I recognized many of the resins and shatters I’ve sampled in the lounge at Urban Pharm, Northstar’s San Francisco cousin. Northstar has a good selection of edibles and topicals, too.

Northstar recently added a great new perk for its medicinal cannabis customers. Your printed-on-paper Prop. 215 recommendation — no need for the $100 county-issued card — will save you nearly half off the 23.75 percent combined state and local taxes Northstar charges adult-use customers.

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Will Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Talk About His Love of Cannabis in Stage Show?

NBA legend will tour America, talking about his life, his influences and ‘some of the more important pop-culture issues.’

BY ED MURRIETA

Aside from being one of the world’s best high school, college and professional basketball players ever, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is a civil-rights activist, best-selling author, historian, jazz aficionado and cannabis connoisseur.

This fall, Abdul-Jabbar will mount a cross-country stage show tour, “Becoming Kareem,” in which he’ll discuss his life, answer audience questions and talk about mentors he says helped him achieve his goals — seminal figures from Malcolm X and Martin Luther King to legendary coach John Wooden and fellow superstar athletes Muhammad Ali and Wilt Chamberlain.

In a video interview with the Associated Press, Abdul-Jabbar hints at talking about “some of the more important pop-culture issues.”

Here’s hoping those important pop-culture issues include cannabis because Kareem Abdul-Jabbar likes cannabis.

The 70-year-old NBA legend  has been awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom and is among the top-10 highest-achieving cannabis users inducted into the California Hall of Fame.  Abdul-Jabbar first smoked pot at age 17, an event he called “one of my first major individual decisions.”

“I’ve certainly smoked more than my quota of weed,” he wrote in his 1983 autobiography, “Giant Steps.” “For a while there at UCLA I didn’t want to hang out with anyone who didn’t smoke reefer.”

Abdul-Jabbar smoked cannabis throughout his 20-year basketball career and afterward, using it, he says, to alleviate migraines and control nausea induced by the headaches.

He was arrested in Toronto’s Pearson International Airport in 1998 while carrying six grams of cannabis. In 2000, he was arrested in the San Fernando Valley on suspicion of driving under the influence of pot.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar supports legalization.

Reds, Whites and Green: Here’s the Buzz About Making Cannabis Wine at Home

Artisanally extract and infuse the botanical herb’s aromas, flavors and effects into wine. Plus a recipe for my mold-breaking red wine cannabis gelee.

BY ED MURRIETA

Cannabis wine is civilization’s original intoxicating collision: two great buzzes that buzz great together.

Evidence of cannabis wine — aka green wine — has been found in ancient writings and historic digs. A timeless tincture, cannabis wine’s uses have ranged from spiritual to medicinal to bacchanalian.

In modern culture — eg: California, circa 2018 — cannabis wine is a holy grail that got away.

Legalization outlawed commercially combining cannabis and alcohol, just as some boutique West Coast vintners were producing $400 bud-bouquetted bottles slowly fermented from grape juice and cannabis, artisanally extracting and infusing the botanical herb’s aromas, flavors and effects into fine wine.

Feel free to toast underground winemakers in Sonoma, Mendocino and Mesopotamia — or anywhere grapes and cannabis grow — and  invest in a home wine-making rig so you can ferment your own potent potables.

Or you can kitchen-hack cannabis wine at home using a simple, if less elegant, infusion of weed, wine and time.

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San Francisco Cannabis Lounges Reviewed and Mapped

4/17 update: SPARC now now recreational.

Barbary Coast, Urban Pharm, Lounge 847 and ReLeaf Herbal serve recreational cannabis consumers in the heart of hotels, museums, entertainment and shopping.

BY ED MURRIETA

America’s first legal cannabis lounge will not open in Denver. America’s first legal cannabis lounge will not open in Las Vegas. Forget about Alaska, Maine and Massachusetts, too. America’s first legal cannabis lounges are already open in San Francisco.

Permitted for more than a decade and tolerated since the earliest days of the city’s medicinal cannabis community in the 1990s, San Francisco cannabis lounges are models of public use in social settings. They’re now serving the city’s legal adult-use recreational cannabis market, including locals and tourists.

Here they are, reviewed and mapped.


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Toasting the Time Sky-High Pot Taxes Drove Me to Drink

A hedonist child of the Seventies, I could only content myself with cannabis and coffee buzzes for so long.

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BY ED MURRIETA

I stopped drinking alcohol to save money.

I started drinking alcohol again to save money.

I jumped on the non-drinking wagon after being forced to live on a food-stamps budget.

I jumped off the wagon because the price of pot skyrocketed.

What I sought and rediscovered: pleasurable pairings of pot and booze — both the flavors and the effects.

A hedonist child of the Seventies, I could only content myself with cannabis and coffee buzzes for so long. Historic regulations that began Jan. 1 imposed sky-high taxes on legal California cannabis, increasing the out-the-door price of the $50 budget half-ounces I buy to $61.50, virtually pinching my weekly stash by two joints,

Right now, I’m dipping my toes back into drinking slowly and cheaply.  No more bottles of Robert Biale Black Chicken Zinfandel or six packs of Anchor Brewing’s Breckle’s Brown Ale — now mere memories from my expense-account food journalism days. Jugs of Carlo Rossi Burgundy and cans of Mickey’s Malt Liquor have, so far, paired nicely with my favorite strain of the moment, Mr. Nice Guy, which is stretching further now thanks to evening drinks.

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Slip These ‘Edibles’ Under Your Tongue for Fast-Acting, Great-Tasting Highs

Kin Slips are discreet, effective and flavorful cannabis-infused sublinguals

BY ED MURRIETA

There are many ways to get cannabis into your body — smoking, vaping, eating, drinking, even inserting anally — but only one method and one product have made me stick out my tongue and say, “Oh, that’s tasty-good.”

Like a Willy Wonka wallpaper fantasy, the 1-inch square of Kin Slips’ paper-thin pectin-derived material tasted like watermelon gazpacho — a sweet, cool start, followed by a lingering, licoricey finish.

Kin Slips are discrete, effective and flavorful, smartly dosed, attractively packaged and reasonably priced. The company was founded in 2016 and is based in Oakland.

Although lumped in with edibles, Kin Slips and other sublinguals are not to be eaten. Rather than chewing and digesting Kin Slips, you place them under your tongue and hold them in your mouth, letting them dissolve into your bloodstream in a fraction of time it takes your body to process cannabis-infused chocolate bars and gummy candies through your liver and stomach.

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Cannabis Tourism Is a Thing in California

San Francisco Chronicle Travel section dives into Golden State’s legal new attraction.

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BY ED MURRIETA

I’ve got two stories in the San Francisco Chronicle’s California cannabis travel package today.

Here’s my story on the Top 5 California cannabis tourist destinations.

Here’s my story on the best cannabis-friendly lodgings.

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Pot Appetit’s Wayback Pages: ‘Features Section of Pot’ 2010 Prototype

Screenshot of 2010 Pot Appetit Prototype via Wayback Machine.

Screenshot of 2010 Pot Appetit Prototype via Wayback Machine.

BY ED MURRIETA

When I left food journalism to cover cannabis, my original vision was to create the features section of cannabis, covering the topic the way I’d covered food, beer, wine, technology, travel and other consumer, culture and lifestyles topics for mainstream newspapers, magazines and online publications.

Here, via the Wayback Machine, is the original prototype for Pot Appetit, built in 2010 on the content management system of South Sound Eats, the food community I launched and edited after leaving my daily newspaper food writing gig at McClatchy’s Tacoma News Tribune.

Cannabis Buzzes Big Foodie

Bay Area food marketer has touted cannabis edibles and cannabis cuisine since 2014. This year, the Specialty Food Association listened. 

ccdi-cannabis-cuisine-on-horizon

Detail of CCD Innovation’s poster forecasting food trends for 2018.

BY ED MURRIETA

Read about it on GreenState. 

Go Ashore and Legally Score in 10 North American Pot Ports

World-class legal cannabis
and some decadent places to smoke it
await West Coast cruise-ship travelers 

cruising-for-cannabis

THC beer
CBD minibars
CBD massage
local tours

BY ED MURRIETA

This year, North American cruise-ship travelers can disembark to legal cannabis on the West Coast of the United States and Canada.

Cruise ships docking today through the end of the year in Juneau, AK, to San Diego, CA, including, Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Long Beach,  are just gangways away from legal ganja. In September, Vancouver, BC, will become the West Coast’s 10th significant legal pot port. 

Pull into a North American West Coast port on almost any major cruise line and immerse yourself in the best cannabis stores and activities. In premier markets like San Francisco and Los Angeles you’ll find the best cannabis lounges and the best cannabis-food activities. Book tours or DIY day, overnight and multi-day excursions depending on how long your ship berths in a pot port. In San Diego, California’s defacto craft beer capital, visit the brewery that crafted CannaCraft, the nation’s first non-alcoholic beer infused with THC. 

But just don’t carry or use cannabis on board cruise ships, whether in port or sailing the Pacific. Here’s the bottom line from one major cruise line servicing the West Coast:

No illegal drugs or other illegal substances are allowed onboard or may be utilized during a Royal Caribbean International cruise vacation, including during transfers to and from ships, inside terminals, while onboard, at our ports of call, during shore excursions or at our private destinations. Illegal drugs or substances will be confiscated and appropriate action taken, which may include removal from the ship …

Royal Caribbean says its interpretation of illegal is based on international law, not Alaska’s, not Washington’s, not California’s and not Canada’s. Expect similar rules from Princess, Norwegian, Holland America and other major cruise lines sailing the Pacific from Juneau to San Diego.

Of course, what paying adult passengers do in port is totally up to paying adult passengers. Go ashore. Local cannabis and cannabis culture are expecting you.

Here’s a cruise-ship travelers’ guide to buying, consuming and experiencing cannabis in 10 West Coast port cities.
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San Francisco Scores First Public Cannabis Lounge in U.S.

Update 2/11: ReLeaf Herbal’s bare-bones lounge is now serving recreational adult-use customers.
Update 2/8: Green Door’s Lounge847 is now open for recreational consumers.
Update 1/18: Urban Pharm opened for recreational sales and lounge use today, Thursday Jan. 18.

Decadent, safe, comfortable and regulated, Barbary Coast is now serving recreational cannabis consumers.

Barbary Coast

A view of the dab bar at Barbary Coast’s lounge. 

BY ED MURRIETA

America’s first legal cannabis lounge will not open in Denver.

America’s first legal cannabis lounge will not open in Las Vegas.

Forget about Alaska, Maine and Massachusetts, too.

America’s first legal cannabis lounge opened Thursday in San Francisco.

Actually, Barbary Coast Collective opened its luxe lounge next to its South of Market medicinal cannabis dispensary in March. Barbary Coast started serving adult-use recreational customers Thursday, making it the first legal, regulated cannabis lounge in America — the holy grail of the modern cannabis era.

“It’s something we’re proud of and excited about,” Barbary Coast director Jesse Henry told me. “I think we are going to get a lot of people who’ll think it’s like going to Amsterdam, and we’ll provide a safe, clean, comfortable place for folks to smoke.”

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California Traffic Safety Agency Pulls Ad Depicting Responsible Cannabis Users

California TV ad steered sober on stoned driving. Now it’s been yanked off the air and removed from YouTube.

BY ED MURRIETA

SACRAMENTO — A federally funded California agency that produced a public-service advertisement depicting cannabis users as responsible people who chose not to drive under the influence of the Golden State’s newest legal intoxicant has pulled the daring commercial from television and YouTube.

California’s Office of Traffic Safety, which solicits and distributes funds from the federal National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, released the anti-pot-driving PSA in the last week of December. The 30-second spot ran for about a week on local and cable TV stations and was posted with other anti-drugged driving PSAs on the OTS’s YouTube channel.

On Friday, the PSA stopped airing on television; OTS removed the video from YouTube. Both occurred one day after United States Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinded guidelines recommending the Department of Justice not interfere with states’ cannabis laws.

Sacramento TV station Fox40 has the video here.

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Cannabis and Cars in 2018: No Smoking, No Eating, No Vaping, and Stuff Your Stash in Your Trunk

New California law outlaws consuming any form of cannabis in moving vehicles.

BY ED MURRIETA

California’s car culture and cannabis culture have been portrayed as two great things that go great together.

Fuggedaboutit, man.

Starting Monday,  drivers and passengers will be forbidden from smoking, vaping, eating, drinking or otherwise ingesting cannabis and cannabis products in moving vehicles. Gov. Jerry Brown approved the new law in September.

It is already illegal to drive while intoxicated on cannabis — even though the state has set no legal standard for impairment and no technology to measure impairment is in standard use by law enforcement.  It’s also illegal to have an open bag of cannabis in a motor vehicle.

Penalties for smoking and consuming cannabis in vehicles begin at $70 but could be as much as $10,000 if injuries or deaths are involved and insurance rates skyrocket, similar to the cost of a drunk driving ticket.

It’s already illegal to smoke cannabis in public (punishable by a $100 fine) so the famous “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” hot-box scene can’t legally be recreated today.

 

Big questions remain: How can law enforcement tell the difference between a regular cookie and a cannabis cookie? People eat and drive all the time. And how does a cop spot an e-cig vs. a vape pen?

To review:

San Francisco Cannabis Firsts

BY ED MURRIETA

Despite its history as California’s capital of drug culture and commerce, San Francisco was not the first city in the state to legally sell medicinal cannabis and will not be the first city in the state to legally sell recreational cannabis. (Berkeley nabbed the medicinal honor and Oakland will get the recreational glory.)

Historically, San Francisco’s other cannabis firsts include:

  • The Psychedelic Shop, the  first and most influential head shop in America, opening in January 1966, becoming the epicenter of hippie culture and commerce, including extra-legal drug sales and on-premises pot smoking.
  • Activist Dennis Peron, in 1974, opening The Island, a cannabis-friendly restaurant where pot was in the air and for sale upstairs.
  • The Board of Supervisors approving the first medical cannabis initiative in 1991, five years before California voters authorized medicinal cannabis.
  • Dennis Peron, in 1992, opening America’s first medicinal cannabis dispensary, San Francisco Cannabis Buyers Club, where people obtained and consumed cannabis.

Dennis Peron

Meantime, I’m on record predicting San Francisco will host the first legal cannabis lounge in America.

Dispel Your Pipe Dreams of Pot Parties a la Post-Prohibition Beer Busts


 

BY ED MURRIETA

Despite modern cannabis advertising in the back pages of alt-weekly newspapers, cannabis legalization will not be celebrated like the end of alcohol Prohibition was toasted.

Newspaper advertisements and photographs  culled from the morgues of the Sacramento Union and the Sacramento Bee show Sacramento celebrated the repeal of alcohol Prohibition in April 1933 — with ample amounts of beer and food in bars, restaurants, hotels and drug stores steps away from the state Capitol.

All the normals in Sacramento — the Midwest capital of the West Coast — would sprint to the nearest dog-friendly craft beer garage with their hair on fire if anything like this happened with pot.

This Is Your Reasonable PSA Video About Drugs

STORY UPDATE HERE

California TV ad steers sober on stoned driving.

BY ED MURRIETA

This public-service advertisement from California’s Office of Traffic Safety has been in heavy rotation on my cable TV channels this week. I’m trying to track down production and agency information for a story about public-service advertising in the age of legal cannabis.  Are we done with fried eggs and brain-damage claims? Ready for reasonable and responsible messages on TV?

The Ballad of Donald P. Scott, Man of Legends and Drug War Victim

Reclusive millionaire killed, no drugs found in 1992 botched raid and land theft.

BY ED MURRIETA

California is about legalize pot. If you’re not old enough to remember what it was like before medicinal cannabis became the state’s quasi-legal drug of choice in 1996, you should know there were dark days in the Golden State.

Take the 1992 story of Donald P. Scott,  a reclusive millionaire and man of legends killed  by Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputies in a botched drug raid that covered up a blatant government land-seizure scheme and turned up no pot.
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