Author: Ed Murrieta (page 1 of 2)

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

Spoiler alert for those attending the Winter Fancy Food Show today through Tuesday in San Francisco:

There are no cannabis edibles on the trade-show floor.

Cannabis cuisine is not the subject of any plenary panel.

However, for the first time since legalization sprouted in Colorado in 2014, cannabis has buzzed Big Foodie, the specialty food makers and marketers convening to entice high-end retailers and well-heeled bellies across the Internet and America.

In November, the Fancy Food Show’s parent, the Specialty Food Association, ranked cannabis among the top-10 food trends to watch in 2018.

“As more states legalize recreational marijuana, the varieties of pot-enhanced food and beverage will increase,” the SPA’s Trendspotter Panel wrote. “Look out for continued interest and acceptance in a host of snacks, treats, and beverages with a little something extra.”

Shortly after, another pillar of America’s mainstream commercial food industry, Nation’s Restaurant News, predicted this will be the year CBD, the botanical herb’s non-psychoactive cannabinoid, spices up restaurant food in cannabis-legal states.

“We’re continuing to see the surge,” said Kara Nielsen, the Bay Area food-trends expert and Trendspotter panelist responsible for cannabis’ inclusion on SPA’s foodie forecast.

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Go Ashore and Legally Score in West Coast Pot Ports

From Juneau to San Diego, 2018 is the year
for cruise-ship travelers seeking cannabis
.

cruising-for-cannabis

BY ED MURRIETA

This year, cruise ship passengers on the entire West Coast of the United States and Canada will disembark to legal cannabis.

Cruise ships docking  in Alaska, Vancouver, Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego ports are just gangways away from legal ganja.

But don’t carry or use cannabis on board cruise ships, whether in port or out to sea.  Here’s the bottom line from one major cruise line servicing the Wet Coast, echoing others:

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 …

Here’s my cruise ship travelers’ guide to buying, consuming and experiencing cannabis in the West Coast’s legal pot ports, ranked by easy access to the best cannabis stores, the best cannabis lounges and the best cannabis culture and entertainment activities.

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San Francisco Scores First Public Cannabis Lounge in U.S.

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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Tokechella Is California’s Smoking-Hot Desert Cannabis Tourist Destination

Massive Cultivation, Most Dispensaries Per Capita
and Cannabis-Friendly Resorts and Rentals
Make Palm Springs, Cathedral City and
Desert Hot Springs a Pot, Pot, Pot, Pot World

BY ED MURRIETA

It’s high season in the Coachella Valley — for tourism and for pot.

Now’s the time to combine them both.

If you want to visit California next week for a taste of historic cannabis legalization in the Golden State, the Coachella Valley — in particular the resort-town cluster of Palm Springs, Cathedral City and Desert Hot Springs —  is one of the best places to plan a cannabis getaway for Opening Day of legal pot sales, better than other California cannabis travel destinations like San Francisco, Los Angeles and Lake Tahoe, all lagging behind the Jan. 1 start date.

A longtime playground for movie stars, mobsters, sunseekers and alternative lifestyles 100 miles southeast of Los Angeles, the Coachella Valley has the key elements intrepid cannabis travelers need to ring in California’s new legal era:

  • massive local cultivation;
  • most dispensaries per capita set to sell flowers, edibles and concentrates to adults age 21 and over;
  • cannabis-friendly lodgings, including two cannabis-friendly (and clothing-optional) hot springs resorts and a colorful mountain hotel with a vape-friendly cabin and smoke-friendly grounds;
  • and cannabis-fueled stargazing in Joshua Tree National Park.

Tokechella’s a pot, pot, pot, pot world for sure.

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Medicinal-to-Recreational Pot Transition Tangled Up in Bureaucracy and Crossed Fingers

BY ED MURRIETA

The transition from medicinal cannabis to adult-use recreational cannabis in California is rife with bureaucracy. I met today with a man who prepared the application packages for two Sacramento dispensaries that hope to begin recreational sales on Jan. 1.

Here are the steps in the transition as my dispensary source laid them out:

  • Submit application with City of Sacramento to sell adult-use cannabis.
  • Obtain a letter of authorization from the city affirming currently permitted medicinal cannabis dispensary has paid its taxes and passed  audits.
  • Submit a Neighborhood Responsibility Plan.
  • File application and receive approval for minor modification of conditional use permit (eg: transition from medicinal to recreational) with city Planning Department.
  • Apply for and receive business operating permit.
  • Apply for temporary operating license from the state.
  • Continue to apply for permanent annual state license.

My source said that as of noon today, one of his dispensaries has checked off all but the last two on the list and the other dispensary is trailing the first by a day in the process. He said the first business license will be in hand ASAP and applications for state permits will filed as the business licenses for each dispensary is obtained.

The state will review the applications and verify the dispensaries’ operating status with the city before approving licenses.

My source said he hopes his two dispensaries — two of the best-run shops in Sacramento, one accounting for 25 percent of total amount of money generated by the city’s 4 percent dispensary tax — will be open for recreational sales at 9 a.m. Jan. 1.

The City of Sacramento is closed for business Friday, Monday and next Friday. That leaves tomorrow, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday for dispensaries to complete all the necessary steps and get approved to legally sell recreational cannabis on the first day of the new year — the beginning of a new era in California cannabis.

The First Cannabis Lounge of the Legal Era in America Will Be in San Francisco

‘We have eight existing lounges in the City, and they will be able to continue operating in 2018,’ S.F. cannabis czar says.

san-francisco

BY ED MURRIETA

While Denver, Las Vegas and Massachusetts are racing to claim the honor of being the first place in America to host a legal, adult-use cannabis consumption lounge, eight San Francisco medicinal cannabis dispensary lounges are poised to give San Francisco claim to being the home of the first  legal, adult-use cannabis consumption lounge in America come 9 a.m. on Jan. 6, 2018 — the first day of the new legal era in which the city’s currently permitted medicinal social lounges can serve the recreational market.

Anyone wanting to be the first cannabis lounge in America has until 8:59 a.m. PST on the first Saturday  of January.  You’ll be competing with the Apple store of cannabis lounges, a Burning Man-inspired lounge that feels like a steampunk sex club and the newest most decadent lounge in town, which I just had the honor of helping to name the best cannabis lounge in the San Francisco Chronicle’s GreenState Awards.

“We have eight existing lounges in the City, and they will be able to continue operating in 2018,” San Francisco’s Office of Cannabis director Nicole Elliott told me in an email this afternoon.

California has not yet created a licensing scheme for cannabis lounges, nor does the state expressly prohibit cannabis lounges.  Absent state prohibition, local governments like San Francisco, Denver and Las Vegas can approve cannabis lounges.  San Francisco’s eight existing medicinal cannabis dispensary lounges — along with one that was shuttered by the federal government in 2011 and is preparing to re-open near Twitter headquarters — will be allowed to operate under city regulations they’ve operated under over the past decade.  Dispensaries that apply for new licenses in 2018 will be subject to stricter ventilation and  hermetically sealed smoking room requirements.

California pot czar Lori Ajax told regulators in Sacramento last week that when the state licenses cannabis lounges some time next year, lounge licenses will be tied to dispensary permits. There’ll be no stand-alone pot cafes in California.

San Francisco is the de facto model for pot lounges and social cannabis consumption in America.

Three of San Francisco’s leading dispensary lounges — Barbary Coast, Urban Pharm and Sparc — told they’re pursuing the state permit that’ll allow them to transition to the adult-use market. I’m checking with the other five dispensaries regarding their plans.

urban-pharm-san-francisco_320x240_826a-1

Urban Pharm

Sparc

Sparc

Barbary Coast

Barbary Coast

 

Here’s a tour of San Francisco cannabis lounges  I wrote last year.Here’s one San Francisco pot lounge story I wrote for the Denver Post’s The Cannabist in 2015. Here’s another.

Which San Francisco pot lounge do you want to visit when the first recreational pot lounge(s) opens in America on Jan. 6, 2018?

San Francisco vs. Los Angeles: How California’s Top Rival Cities Stack Up on Cannabis

First it was sports, food and culture. Now it’s pot.

BY ED MURRIETA

Charticle? Listicle? Intro graf about the San Francisco-Los Angeles rivalry TK. Blurb blurb blurbity blurb. #Skunkworks.

Toldja! Specialty Food Association and Fancy Food Show Embrace Cannabis Cuisine

Pot-infused foods are No. 8 on Big Foodie’s top 10 food-trend predictions for 2018. Whole Foods edibles ahoy?

BY ED MURRIETA

On Oct. 17, I asked the Specialty Food Association if cannabis edibles will be featured at the Winter Fancy Food Show in San Francisco Jan. 21-23.

I did not receive an answer.

Until today, when I located a press release the Specialty Food Association issued Nov. 15.

Cannabis cuisine is No. 8 on the association’s Trendspotter Panel’s top 10 food-trend predictions for 2018 and will be discussed at the Winter Fancy Food Show.

“Cannabis cuisine. As more states legalize recreational marijuana, the varieties of pot-enhanced food and beverage will increase. Look out for continued interest and acceptance in a host of snacks, treats, and beverages with a little something extra.*”

“*The Specialty Food Association recognizes that Federal law prohibits the possession, sale or distribution of marijuana, but its sale and use is declared legal under some state laws. In recognizing cannabis as a food trend, the SFA in no way endorses or encourages activities which are in violation of state or Federal law.”

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How to Make Any Cookbook a Cannabis Cookbook

Open mainstream cookbook. Pick a recipe. Add cannabis. 


BY ED MURRIETA

It happens most holiday gift-giving seasons: You give your mother your wish list. Instead of the Schwinn you want, she gives you a Huffy.

What do you do if you want a cannabis cookbook and someone gives you a regular cookbook?

Turn lemons into lemonade and turn almost any sober cookbook into a canna-cookbook.

Here are five new and popular mainstream cookbooks: “Cherry Bombe: The Cookbook, ” “Smitten Kitchen Every Day, “Modernist Bread,” “Dinner in an Instant” and “BraveTart.”

Despite many of their stoner-friendly recipes — Pink Spaghetti and brownies, for Shiva’s sake — none of the hot-selling titles have anything to do with pot.

Until now.
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The Regs: Edibles’ Size and Potency Shrink

What’s happening with high-potency edibles?
Are they shoving micro-dosing down our throats? 

638253596BY ED MURRIETA

Shrinkage of edibles’ potency and portion size top The Regs:.

What’s happening with high-potency edibles?

— Sammy Quintana, Capitola

Are they shoving micro-dosing down our throats? 

— Barb Tandy, Berkeley

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The Regs: How to Save Bongloads on Cannabis Taxes and Carry a Half Pound of Pot

Is there some kind of tax break
for medicinal cannabis consumers? 

638253596BY ED MURRIETA

Once again, taxes top The Regs, this time in the context of a Medical Marijuana Identification Card that can save registered medicinal cannabis consumers bongloads of money in new taxes and allow you to carry eight times the amount of adult-use pot.

I’m a medicinal cannabis user. I heard about an official pot card that lets me avoid paying taxes. Is there some kind of tax break for medicinal cannabis consumers? 

— Randy Hollis, El Cerrito

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The Regs: Wild Wacky Tobaccy Taxes Explained in New Ask-and-Answer Column

What’s the deal with sky-high taxes
were going to pay on Californy wacky tobaccy?

638253596BY ED MURRIETA

Taxes top The Regs’ inaugural you-ask-the-questions-we-dig-up-the-answers column about California’s new cannabis regulations.

“What’s the deal with sky-high taxes we’re going to pay on Californy wacky tobaccy?

— Bobbi Zimmerman, San Francisco

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Banned in California But Legal in Your Kitchen

Here’s how to DIY cannabis gummies, 1,000-mg brownies and other newly illicit edibles at home.

BY ED MURRIETA

Just gotta have pot gummy bears?

How about canna-butter?

Infused ice cream?

Boozy tincture?

Soda pop and energy shots containing caffeine?

Craving 1,000-mg brownies?

Forget about ‘em. Come Jan. 1, they’ll all be illegal in California medicinal dispensaries and adult-use pot shops under historic laws governing how the botanical herb is cultivated, manufactured, sold and consumed  in the Golden State.

This story will be about six banned edibles you can make legally at home.

Local Cannabis Sales Taxes Are All Over the Map in California

Get ready to pay wacky rates on wacky tobaccy
—  the largest levies in the legalized land.

 

BY ED MURRIETA

Starting Jan. 1 (or more likely Jan. 2 given dispensaries’ holiday closures, and even later for most recreational shops given local lawmakers’ plodding pace), levies on California cannabis will be the highest in the legalized world. They’ll include:

  • state excise tax (15 percent)
  • state cultivation tax ($9.25 per ounce of cannabis flowers, $2.75 per ounce of leaves)
  • state sales tax (7.25 percent)
  • local sales tax (ranging from 7.25 percent to 10.25 percent depending on city and county rates).

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Huge Tax Savings, Higher Weight Limit in Cards for Some California Medical Cannabis Consumers

Will exemption from the largest levies in the legalized world and a half-pound stash allowance popularize obscure government IDs?

BY ED MURRIETA

Want to avoid paying sky-high taxes on California cannabis?

Got a qualifying condition to use the botanical herb medicinally?

Need to carry a half pound of pot?

Get a California Medical Marijuana Identification Card.

California’s historic cannabis taxes, announced last week with other final regulations governing cannabis from cultivation to sales, increase the currency of an obscure, voluntary government program that could save you bongloads of money and provide you legal protection to possess eight times the recreational limit.  

Come January and the start of California’s merged medical and adult-use markets, medical cannabis consumers can still use printed-on-paper recommendations and made-in-office plastic authorization cards from doctors to shop at dispensaries. Like other adults, medical cannabis consumers can shop at recreational pot stores when they open.

But you’ll need a county-issued issued card linked to a state database if you want to partake of the perks available only to official card-carrying medical cannabis consumers:

Exemption from paying the largest state levies in the legalized world and the legal protection to possess up to 8 ounces of pot, 7 ounces more than recreational users are allowed to carry.

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Jeremiah Tower, Pot-Cuisine Pioneer (and America’s Original Celebrity Chef)

The progenitor of today’s love affair with food sassed his sultry soup with cannabis stems and seeds in the ‘60s, demonstrating an understanding of ingredients and effects.

BY ED MURRIETA

Jeremiah Tower, America’s first and long-lost celebrity chef, is a cannabis-cuisine pioneer.

But you won’t learn that from watching “Jeremiah Tower: The Last Magnificent,” the fawning documentary film about the life, times, milestones and mysteries of the patrician progenitor of California’s 1970s culinary awakening who reigned over the rebirth of American gastronomy at the peak of the greed-is-good 1980s and retreated from the spotlight before the new millennium.

Raised abroad by wealthy absentee parents and weaned in cruise ships, hotels and boarding schools, Tower enthralled the Bay Area’s foodie elite and social cream with his impeccable palate, worldly glamour and handsome appetites for sex, cocaine and champagne, first at Chez Panisse in Berkeley and then at Stars in San Francisco. Lacking formal culinary training but brimming with brio, Tower splashed fresh, local ingredients with classic elan and dramatic sass. He burst from the kitchen into the dining room, popularizing the American brasserie and charming Americans into a love affair with food.

While America’s foodie cognoscenti — Martha Stewart, Ruth Reichl, Mario Batali and Anthony Bourdain — gush about Tower’s theatric rise and fall, his enigmatic exile and his enduring importance in the culinary pantheon, “Jeremiah Tower: The Last Magnificent” contains nary a mention of the pre-fame cannabis cuisine Tower cooked to entertain friends and stick it to The Man at Harvard University in the 1960s, which Tower himself addressed in his 2004 memoir, “California Dish: What I Saw (and Cooked) at the American Culinary Revolution.”

Reviews upon the book’s publication focused largely on Tower’s influence on California Cuisine and American regional cooking; his tempestuous relationship with Alice Waters, Tower’s former boss, lover and rival; and the personal and professional burnout that sent Tower into self-imposed exile in Mexico two decades ago.

But those reviews overlooked Tower’s contribution to cannabis cuisine: an infused consomme whose preparation and serving demonstrated the chef’s respect of his ingredients, including both their preparation and effects, and care for the people who enjoy his food.

Not only did Tower lay out the technique of heat-activating non-psychoactive THCA into psychoactive THC prior to steeping cannabis in fatty chicken stock (a vital step neglected by many, even Batali, who botched pot brownies last year), Tower deliberately front-loaded his infamous 1969 cannabis menu with an infused course whose effects kicked in as dessert was served, enhancing the enjoyment of the meal without debilitating diners.

And Tower did it with stems and seeds in an era before fancy full-flower extracts, fulfilling a chef’s highest calling: turning lowly ingredients into haute creations.

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Whole-Plant Cannabis Oils and On-Demand Vape Pen Are a Perfect Pairing

Constance Therapeutics’ Patent-Pending Extracts
Meet Jupiter Research’s Elegant Fusion
of Science and Design

BY ED MURRIETA

Two companies whose highly regarded products previously have not been sold directly to consumers through medicinal cannabis dispensaries or delivery services are now partnered and bringing patent-pending, whole-plant cannabis oil extracts and cutting-edge vapor-on-demand pen and cartridge technologies to the consumer market throughout California.

Constance Therapeuticsfull-spectrum cannabis oil extracts previously have been available to qualified medicinal cannabis patients directly from the company and only to patients enrolled in Constance Therapeutics’ protocols and patient-support program.

Jupiter Research’s ceramic-core CCELL vaporizer pen, which features tamper-proof magnetic cartridges, breath-activated instant drawing, timed-signaled dosing, long-life battery and built-in mini-USB charger, previously have not been available in Northern California.

Now, in a partnership between two leaders in their respective sectors, Constance Therapeutics’ cannabis oil extracts are available in proprietary cartridges that magnetically attach to Jupiter Research’s vapor pens .5-gram and 1-gram units of five different blends, including sativa-dominant, indica-dominant and hybrid strains, plus strains rich in the non-psychoactive cannabinoid CBD.

Constance Therapeutics’ cannabis oil extracts (priced $70-$132) and a Constance Therapeutics-branded version of Jupiter’s vape pen ($40) are now available in San Francisco at Octavia Wellness, a delivery service specializing in cannabis care for seniors and the first of Constance Therapeutics’ new distribution partners.

I recently evaluated Constance Therapeutics’ patent-pending, full-spectrum cannabis oil extracts and Jupiter Research’s Liquid 9 cartridges and ceramic-core CCELL vaporizer pen. Here’s my review:
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Buzzy Headlines Say Las Vegas Is the New Amsterdam

Is it?

las-vegas-vs-amsterdam-8 Continue reading

29 Places to Stay in Las Vegas Other Than Casino Hotels That Hate Pot

BY ED MURRIETA

Nevada gaming officials unanimously agree that casino licensees should be discouraged from hosting cannabis-related trade shows or conferences in casino convention spaces and ballrooms. I recommend cannabis tourists traveling to Las Vegas for its legal recreational pot avoid casino hotels at all costs. Here are 29 hotels and resorts in Las Vegas that aren’t affiliated with casinos.  Continue reading

I’m Kind of Obsessed with Cannabis Travel and Leisure

BY ED MURRIETA

Pot Appetit’s archive of stories tagged travel is swelling with finished pieces and prototypes. I’ve been going on about cannabis travel and leisure since I first visited Amsterdam in 1995. In fact, pretty much every trip or vacation I’ve taken domestically and internationally has been about pot — where to get it or how to get it there, where to smoke it and where to find locals who share my interest in their local botanical drug.

Here’s a TV segment I appeared in seven years ago when hopes were high for recreational pot legalization in California:


 

About that time, I published my first cannabis travel and leisure story in Ngaio Bealum’s West Coast Cannabis Magazine.

West Coast Weed Map

Cannabis is legal, decriminalized and available the length of North America’s West Coast — from Barrow, Alaska, to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.

I propose an annotated map highlighting the regulations, reasons and ways to road-tripping West Coast weed.


10 Popular Las Vegas Activities Enhanced by Pot

How to incorporate legal recreational cannabis into the most popular Las Vegas activities — from hiking in Red Rock Canyon to rolling high above The Strip to shooting big guns and racing fast cars.

BY ED MURRIETA

The following activities are from Trip Advisor’s Top-10 Things to Do in Las Vegas. My intention is to annotate with Pro Tips on working weed into the fun.

 

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Sin City vs. the Marijuana Mirage

Las Vegas cannabis tourism is a roll of the dice
two months into recreational pot legalization

BY ED MURRIETA

In the struggle for cultural commercialization and mainstream acceptance of cannabis, Sin City straddles miracle and mirage.

In less than three years since Nevada voters authorized medical cannabis, this oasis of indulgence has blossomed into a vertically integrated capital of cultivation, processing, manufacturing and retailing packaged for the masses amid glitz, glam and government regulations as keenly choreographed as Cirque du Soleil.

Thanks to voter approval in November and fast-tracked retail sales that began July 1, weed’s now legal for adult recreational use in Nevada, joining gambling and prostitution on the list of activities adults can enjoy in the Silver State but go to jail for elsewhere.

But is the Nevada pot experience attainable in toto? Is Las Vegas ready for its pot prime time?

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Burner Box welcomes pot connoisseurs to the Playa

Cannabis essentials kit celebrating Burning Man experience on sale Friday in Nevada as Burners head to bacchanal of art and alternative cultures.

Photo by DopeFoto

Photo by DopeFoto

BY ED MURRIETA

Whether this is your first time or your 31st time attending Burning Man, you’ll be the envy of every pot-friendly theme camp when you open a Burner Box, a connoisseur-grade survival kit of cannabis products, tools and tips curated for the Playa-going experience.

Never mind that possession and use of cannabis and drug paraphernalia  are illegal on the federally managed Black Rock Desert.

Available starting Friday, limited-edition Burner Boxes are a collaboration between Blüm, a cannabis chain store with outlets in Las Vegas and Reno, and Vegas Weekend Box, a Sin City startup that curates and markets Nevada’s best-selling cannabis products packaged in consumer-friendly style for tourists.

Like the big-ticket curated theme-camp experiences that brought Silicon Valley bro-tech vibes to the annual bacchanal of art and alternative cultures in the past decade, Burner Boxes aren’t cheap — $299 — but they are loaded with cannabis oil, edibles, bud and joints from leading Nevada producers, along with a state-of-the-art portable vaporizer and a high-end mini-torch that’ll withstand desert windstorms.

Burner Boxes have no affiliation with the radically anti-commercial Burning Man gathering that runs Sunday through Sept. 4 125 miles north of Reno, save for some employees and investors of both Blüm and Vegas Weekend Box being Burners themselves.

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Hops + Pot and Terpenes + Beer

Great tastes that taste great together meet in collaborations between producers of artisan intoxicants.

BY ED MURRIETA

The message behind Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups’ classic Seventies slapstick TV commercials —“You got peanut butter on my chocolate. You got chocolate in my peanut butter. Two great tastes that taste great together.” — is being rebooted for the cannabis era in two collaborations between two California producers of artisan intoxicants: AbsoluteXtracts and Lagunitas Brewing Company.

One collaboration puts Lagunitas’ hops into AbsoluteXtracts’ vape pen cannabis oil cartridges. The other puts AbsoluteXtracts cannabis terpenes into Lagunitas ale.

Hops and cannabis are botanical cousins, containing similar aromas and flavors.

There’s no THC in the hopped-up beer collaboration — just the complementary flavors and aromas of Blue Dream and Girl Scout cookies cannabis strains captured in the terpenes. And there’s no alcohol in the vape oil — just piney, lemony, citrusy flavors of seven different hops strains.

Both collaborations are called “SuperCritical” after the CO2 extraction process AbsoluteXtracts uses to isolate and preserve cannabis and hops terpenes.

Lagunitas sent me a growler of beer. I’m awaiting the vape cartridge. I’ll sit down soon with a pot-loving craft brewer and report our findings.

Cultivate Your Ultimate Reno-Tahoe Cannabis Weekend

BY ED MURRIETA

RENO — The Biggest Little City in the World is dwarfed only by Las Vegas in Nevada’s newest bonanza — the greenrush of recreational cannabis and drug tourists’ dollars.

Thanks to Reno’s scale, getting a taste of Nevada’s newly legal recreational cannabis is a lot easier here than it is in sprawling Las Vegas, and Reno is a good place to begin exploring Nevada cannabis as growers, processors and edibles makers from Reno, Sparks, Carson City and Incline Village supply Las Vegas dispensaries. You can even buy a tourist-oriented welcome basket of Nevada cannabis products, marketed as the Vegas Weekend Box in both Las Vegas and Reno.

Whether you’re traveling to the Reno-Tahoe region to gamble, ski, see shows, engage prostitutes, make a pit stop en route to or from Burning Man, or solely to purchase pot legally, making cannabis part of your next visit here is easy — especially if you can swear off odiferous buds and commit to enjoying locally made edibles, tinctures and vape pens.

Arrive by automobile, bus or train and begin your Reno-Tahoe cannabis trip a short walk away from Reno’s “Biggest Little City” sign at Mynt, downtown Reno’s only cannabis store and creator/purveyor of Kynd, the locally produced, widely available line of flowers, edibles and concentrates.

Or reach Reno via Lake Tahoe, where recreational cannabis at Incline Village’s tony NuLeaf dispensary is the North Shore’s buzziest attraction since The Ponderosa Ranch “Bonanza” TV Western theme park invigorated the historic logging hamlet in the Sixties.

Along the way, behold breath-taking lake and mountain scenery, drink craft beer brewed from Lake Tahoe’s famous blue water and eat a cut above buffets.   

Bring your medical cannabis authorization from any legal medical cannabis state and avoid paying Nevada’s 10 percent excise tax.

California residents with medical cannabis recommendations will hit the pot-tourist jackpot a mile from the California-Nevada state line in South Lake Tahoe, where dispensary and grower Tahoe Wellness Cooperative operates a rare tourist necessity: a cannabis consumption lounge, in this case endorsed and sanctioned by city leaders expressly to keep people from smoking pot on South Lake Tahoe’s shore and streets.

South Lake Tahoe is also home to what the Reno-Tahoe region (and Las Vegas) needs to cultivate in higher volume — a bud, bed and breakfast run by an innkeeper who provides locally grown cannabis and the greenlight to smoke it legally, no matter where you come from.

Can’t bear the thought of foregoing joints, dabs and bong hits while you’re visiting Reno or the Nevada side of Lake Tahoe? Forget about staying at hotels. Instead, reserve a 420-friendly gypsy camping wagon, custom-made by a Burning Man artisan and easily towed or delivered to campgrounds or private properties in the Reno-Tahoe area.

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Uncork your inner pothead in Northern California wine country

Turn your next vineyard vacation into your Ultimate Sonoma Cannabis Weekend. 

BY ED MURRIETA

Sonoma County has everything you need for a fun and educational cannabis weekend. You’ve toured wine tasting rooms and vineyards. Now tour pot farms, extraction facilities and dispensaries in a region that’s become a hub of legal cannabis business activity in Northern California. Enjoy breathtaking natural beauty and agriculture from valley to coast. Stay in private vacation homes that welcome cannabis smokers — and in some cases even provide a gift of free cannabis to all adult guests from any state or nation. Savor world-class food, wine and craft beer. Discover heightened experiences of taste, smell and wonder inspired by cannabis, the region’s other intoxicating crop. Thanks to some cannabis-friendly lodgings and California’s generous recreational cannabis gifting law, you don’t need to be a California resident or medical cannabis patient to get a taste of Weed Country in Wine Country today.

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Check into the gift of pot on your pillow

California tourist rentals give guests recreational cannabis — no doctor’s note or state residency required.

Photo courtesy The Om House

BY ED MURRIETA

Full-on legalization that will allow tourists from other states and other countries to purchase California cannabis from regulated retail stores is at least four months away.

But a provision in the Golden State’s recreational cannabis law provides a legal path to pot right now.

It’s called gifting, and since Prop. 64 took effect upon voter approval in November 2016 it’s been a way that cannabis-friendly tourist rentals — from an upscale cannabis resort on a historic ranch in the fabled Emerald Triangle to a modest apartment in a workaday Southern California neighborhood to a vegan bud, bed and breakfast in Lake Tahoe — can legally provide all of their adult guests tastes of local cannabis, similar to the way bottles of wine and wedges of cheese welcome guests in boutique hotels and inns across America.

“We don’t sell cannabis,” said Lisa Donnelly, proprietor of The Red Barn House guesthouse in remote Shasta County, 220 miles north of San Francisco. “But I can give guests a couple of grams from my own personal what-I’ve-got.”

Whether you’re a California resident who lacks a doctor’s recommendation to use state-legal medical cannabis, whether you live in any of America’s 49 other states or whether you’re visiting from any country in the world, it’s legal in California for one adult to gift another adult up to 1 ounce of cannabis.

But don’t expect that kind of weight awaiting you at California’s cannabis-gifting vacation rentals.

In most cases, expect gifts closer to one Michael Mischer filled chocolate, not a boxed assortment of Poco Dolce confections.

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Cannabis Firm Plots Epcot of Pot

Arizona’s American Green purchases Southern California ghost town for $5 million, intends to develop a cannabis tourism destination in the Mojave Desert.

BY ED MURRIETA

A publicly traded cannabis company has purchased an Old West ghost town in Southern California for $5 million and plans to turn the historic Mojave Desert hamlet into a cannabis tourism destination and cannabis production hub that taps the 80-acre town’s ancient underground lake and modern solar power.

Nipton, located 10 miles off the main highway between Los Angeles and Las Vegas, is a 112-year-old former mining town of approximately 20 residents in unincorporated San Bernardino County, about 3 hours east of Los Angeles and 1 hour south Las Vegas, a mile and a half from the California-Nevada border.

The buyer, American Green Inc. of Phoenix, hopes to develop what it’s likening to Disney on cannabis — the Epcot Center of Pot — offering cannabis-friendly tourist attractions, manufacturing and retail outposts, culinary events, bed-and-breakfast lodging, RV camping, artist-in-residence programs and mineral baths spiked with therapeutic cannabis.

Stephen Shearin, general manager of American Green’s Nipton project, expects to host Nipton’s first cannabis tourists in November.

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Payton Curry Launching S.F. Pop-Up Restaurant as Chefs Shuffle Cannabis Projects

payton-curry

Payton Curry

BY ED MURRIETA

The culinary industry is a small world. It gets even smaller when you bore into the cannabis cuisine industry.

Shortly after my profiles of cannabis cuisine superstars published on the San Francisco Chronicle’s GreenState.com. I learned that one of the profiled chefs who was scheduled to cook last week at the NorCal Cannacuisine Gala had pulled out and was replaced by another chef I’d profiled.

Today I learned that another one of the chefs I profiled has replaced another one of the chefs I profiled, taking over a commercial kitchen and events space in San Francisco that was mentioned in my June 13 story.

The plot thickens like a good roux as Payton Curry’s plans for that kitchen and dining room on Folsom Street in the city’s pot-dense South of Market district include private cannabis-infused brunch and dinner events that give off a distinct waft of a pop-up test run for a full-fledged cannabis restaurant and impart notes of a community center for cannabis food businesses.

Curry’s concept is vegetable-forward, focused on low-dose THC infusions, plus use wellness-inducing but non-psychoactive cannabinoids like CBD and THCA.

Curry, who cheffed in Michelin-starred restaurants in San Francisco and St. Helena, called me today from Las Vegas, where he’s preparing to roll out Flourish, the edibles brand he launched last year in Arizona and this spring in California.

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Smoking Or No-Smoking? What’s the Proper Pot-and-Food Pairing?

BY ED MURRIETA

What’s the proper way to pair cannabis and food?

In the food, infusing recipes with butter or oil prepared with cannabis for diners to experience and absorb as they eat?

Or perhaps with the food, introducing cannabis to diners’ senses of taste and smell in smoked form — a joint, a pipe, a bong delivering flavors, aromas and intoxicating elements that heighten the pleasure of food?

In reporting and compiling the profiles of 11 well-respected chefs working in the cannabis-food scene for this culinary opus on the San Francisco Chronicle’s new Green State website, I discovered there’s a disagreement among high-profile chefs pushing cannabis cuisine to haute heights.

One side says, “No Smoking.”

One side says, “Smoke — Taste the Plant with Your Food.”

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George Harrison, Hippies, the Haight and the Horrible Memories of a Dead Beatle

Beatle George Harrison playing guitar for hippies on Hippie Hill, Aug. 8, 1967.

George Harrison, grooviest of the Beatles, playing guitar for hippies in San Francisco, Aug. 8, 1967.

BY ED MURRIETA

The band member known as The Quiet Beatle had his loud-and-clear say about hippies and the Haight-Ashbury in the Summer of Love.

As rock ‘n’ roll chronicler Ben Fong-Torres detailed the story 34 years later, George Harrison arrived in San Francisco on Aug. 8, 1967, telling reporters he was curious about the hippie phenomenon.

Based on Harrison’s assessment of the scene, the Beatle wasn’t amused.

Harrison is quoted in the 1989 biography “Dark Horse” saying he thought the Haight “would be something like King’s Road (in London), only more. Somehow I expected them to all own their own little shops. I expected them all to be nice and clean and friendly and happy.”

Instead, after touring the hippie ‘hood and encountering  a “wild band of jeering hippies” during an impromptu song sesh on nearby Hippie Hill in Golden Gate Park, Harrison declared hippies to be “hideous, spotty little teenagers.”

In “The Beatles Anthology,” a mini-series produced in 2000, Harrison said, “I went there expecting it to be a brilliant place, with groovy gypsy people making works of art and paintings and carvings in little workshops. But it was full of horrible spotty drop-out kids on drugs, and it turned me right off the whole scene.”

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My High Times Scoop — My Journalism Career First

BY ED MURRIETA

I’ve been doing journalism, and smoking pot, since 1985. Today, I had my first scoop — exclusively reporting the acquisition of High Times magazine, the bible of stoner culture.

Here’s my story, as reported in The San Francisco Chronicle.

Wake and Bake: Americans Love Marijuana in the Morning


BY ED MURRIETA

According to a recent study on drug use worldwide, Americans are the leading wake-and-bakers, with 21.9 percent of U.S. cannabis consumers smoking pot during the first hour of their day after waking up.

Here’s a song I wrote honoring the wake-and-bake tradition:

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CBD cold-brew cannabis coffee stirs market with hemp, tech and international online sales

Nano technology turns therapeutic cannabinoid  into water-soluble crystals. Non-psychoactive beverage is packaged in sexy, single-serving containers. You can legally buy and drink Mary Jane Java worldwide. 

BY ED MURRIETA 

A new kind of cold-brewed cannabis-infused coffee is riding a wave that’s cresting beyond medical and recreational marijuana markets using hemp-derived CBD and cutting-edge technologies.

Mary Jane Java won’t get you any higher than a cup of Folgers.

But it might mellow out your caffeine jitters and an array of other ailments — legally around the world as it contains no THC and only CBD, the non-psychoactive botanical component in cannabis and hemp plants that induces mind-and-body relaxation, not trippy head highs.

You don’t need a doctor’s recommendation to drink Mary Jane Java, nor do you need to live in a recreational cannabis state to buy Mary Jane Java.

Mary Jane Java joins a host of easy-to-obtain CBD-infused food products, or edibles, sold online whose appearance and flavor resemble higher-octane THC-infused counterpart products sold in medical marijuana dispensaries and retail cannabis shops  — brownies, gummy candies, chocolates, popcorn and other snacks without intoxicating ingredients any stronger than sugar and caffeine.

Other CBD products, including sprays, lotion and hemp vapor oil, are sold online by major retailers like Walmart and Overstock.com.

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‘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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Editor’s Note: I interviewed Eddy Lepp in late May 2017, before his wife’s current legal trouble. Today (Nov. 15, 2017) I’m posting the full audio from the second of two interviews, which I conducted in order to give our first rambling conversation a little more focus. That’s Lepp’s wife, Heidi Grossman, interrupting us early in the conversation. Want a transcription or edited clips? My rates are reasonable. — Ed Murrieta

 

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

caramels

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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