Author: Ed Murrieta (page 1 of 2)

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).

Your mileage may vary driving to dispensaries and pot shops and so will the prices you pay from store to store even within the same county when cities impose their own, higher tax rates.

County and City Tax Rate Samples


 

Want save some money and not pay state excise, cultivation and sales taxes? Click here to find out how.

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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Who the Fuck Is Roger Stone?

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

rogerstone

BY ED MURRIETA

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

BY ED MURRIETA

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

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

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

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

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Jeff Sessions

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Harry J. Anslinger

 

BY ED MURRIETA

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

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

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

Smoke Your Hearts in San Francisco on Valentine’s Day

BY ED MURRIETA

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

She’s right.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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7 from ’67: 50 Years Ago in Pot

BY ED MURRIETA

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

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Mainstream Coffee Brand Jolts Cannabis Marketing

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

BY ED MURRIETA

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

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

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

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

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Pet Sounds Pot-Pairing Playlist

BY ED MURRIETA

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

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

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

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

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

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

BY ED MURRIETA

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

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

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

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Reciprocity: Your Passport to Nevada Pot

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

BY ED MURRIETA

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

Reciprocity.

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

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

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

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

BY ED MURRIETA

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

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

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Urban Pharm Review: Dispensary/Lounge Meets Steampunk Sex Club

BY ED MURRIETA

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

BY ED MURRIETA

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

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

BY ED MURRIETA
Originally published in the San Francisco Chronicle

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

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

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

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

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Know Your Brownies Before You Add the Pot

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

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

But before you bite, wait.

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

BY ED MURRIETA

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

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

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Colorado Regulators Prohibit Cannabis in Venues with Liquor Licenses

BY ED MURRIETA

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

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

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

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5 Top Pot Moments in San Francisco History

BY ED MURRIETA

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