Media startup Prhbtd raises$ 8M to assist bring cannabis to the mainstream

Prohbtd, a startup that CEO Drake Sutton-Shearer said is designed to “build a bridge” between the cannabis industry and mainstream culture, is announcing that it has raised$ 8 million in Series A funding.

It’s not the only cannabis-focused digital media company out there; I wrote about the initial funding for Herb last year. But Sutton-Shearer was contended that Prohbtd is creating premium content with a unique voice.

For one thing, he told Prohbtd’s isn’t focused exclusively on cannabis. Instead, the goal is to create a diverse slate of lifestyle- and culture-related content, with cannabis as the hook.

Take, for example, Edibles, a video series hosted by Birdie Harrelson( niece of Woody Harrelson) — the series includes recipes for creating cannabis-infused baked goods, but as Sutton-Shearer set it, when each episode opens,” She’s not talking about weed, she’s going to bakeries .”

The company says that its video content( which is available on both the Prohbtd website and on devices like Apple TV and Roku) find 21 million views in May, with an average opinion period of 3 minutes and 45 seconds.

Sutton-Shearer said one of his priorities is forging” mainstream partnerships” like Prohbtd’s deal with Advertising Week. The company also works with more than 60 cannabis brands — not just on branded videos and sponsorships, but more broadly on product developing, design and marketing.

Asked whether this creates a potential conflict with the editorial side of the business, Sutton-Shearer pointed out that plenty of other digital media companies( like BuzzFeed and Vice) operate their own branded content studios.

” Today’s younger consumer, I don’t think they really care that much whether something’s branded or not ,” he said.” They do want to know if it’s entertaining and thoughtful .”

Prohbtd had previously created$ 4 million in seed fund from investors including actor/ musician Donald Glover. The new round was led by Serruya Private Equity, The Delavaco Group and Cresco Capital.

” We’ve seen every media possibility in the cannabis industry but none of them compare to what the team at PROHBTD has built ,” told Serruya Private Equity’s Aaron Serruya in the funding proclamation.” We expect great things from the company and we’re aroused to support the team’s global vision .”

Speaking of that vision, Sutton-Shearer said Prohbtd is exploring international opportunities, including in Canada, Australia and Latin America, with plans for a Canadian public offering.

” We’re very strategically looking at the rest of the world, but there’s still a lot to be done in the U.S .,” Sutton-Shearer said.

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Cannabis tourism in California- a women’s wellness retreat with puff love

At the Ganja Goddess Getaway, yes, there are yoga class and spiritual talks but the mother lode comes from the spliffs, edibles and pot-infused mocktails that aid the healing

Wearing a T-shirt with the slogan” Mary Jane Smokewear”, a woman with long, grey pigtails crawled towards me, offering a hit off a balloon pouch inflated with marijuana vapors. I was sitting cross-legged under a Ganja Goddess Getaway-branded gazebo on a perfect California afternoon and it was the umpteenth hour that day that a stranger had come over, unprompted, to share their weed.

The bag was just one way my fellow ganja goddesses were getting high. Plates piled with spliffs, giant blunts, laced caramel-pecan candies and fruity mocktails improved with pot-infused tinctures also made the rounds. At one point, I was handed a wizard tube packed with a “tiramisu”. Where a domestic goddess might use cream and ladyfingers, a ganja goddess gets “baking” with alternating layers of green and hash.

This is a canna-holiday, California-style. After new laws permitting recreational marijuana use came into effect in the state on 1 January, canna-visionaries wasted little time integrating their product into the region’s aspirational aesthetic. You can tour the “sun-grown”, ” craft” cannabis fields of the north’s Humboldt County while in Los Angeles marijuana chef Chris Sayegh plans to open the city’s first” high cuisine” cannabis restaurant( working name: Herb ).

‘Mama’
‘ Mama’ Sailene Ossman, one of the getaway’s co-founders serves a weed-laced sweet treat.

The women-only Ganja Goddess Getaway bills itself as a wellness retreat with a( herbal) change. The retreat itself is in the timbers near the coast at Pescadero, about an hour’s drive south of San Francisco. At the end of a long dirt track, in a meadow surrounded by redwoods, I detected about 135 “goddesses” engaged in a ritual of” whiff and pass “. Twentysomething girls sporting cannabis-leaf-motif leggings shared bongs with middle-aged females dressed in loungewear. Others passed spliffs around the hot tub, lined up for henna tattoos, or got cannabis petroleum massages. Two friends who had “followed” the pungent aromas all the way from Chile snored peacefully through a Laughter Yoga class.

The getaway’s five co-founders are a diverse mixture: CEO Deidra Bagdasarian is also the entrepreneur behind award-winning cannabis confection company Bliss Edibles, while event co-ordinator Trish Demesmin was an administrator at Oakland’s cannabis business college, Oaksterdam, and is now chairman of a medical cannabis delivery company. “Mama” Sailene Ossman is the company’s head of public relations and attributes her nickname to” being famous for bringing the food and the weed”, while married couple Kelli Valentine and Ciera Lagges complete the quintet, the former as in-house filmmaker, the latter as chief creative officer. Together, they all preach cannabis as a” meditative and spiritual” plant.

Bagdasarian’s vision for the getaway has changed since it launched in 2016( when merely women with a medical marijuana card could attend ).

” In the beginning, I just wanted it to be a good vacation, like a stoner-girl slumber party ,” she told me. Soon, however, she noticed the women were undergoing “transformational” experiences,” So I wanted to foster a space where women can use cannabis as a tool for self-improvement .”

Deidra
Deidra Bagdasarian, co-founder and CEO of Ganja Goddess Getaway

This constructs the retreat less a group slump in front of Netflix and more a series of wellness seminars wherein the crowd pass weed around while listening to talks with topics such as Give Plants A Chance. During this, Bagdasarian recounted the inability of Prozac to assuage her depression. She railed against accepted norms of big pharma, sugar and a culture of chemicals. But cannabis, Bagdasarian told, was a healer. Everyone was paying attention until a butterfly flapped into the gazebo, drawing an en masse, distracted “woooah”.

It’s true the women I met here weren’t merely in it for the laughters. They all talked about how cannabis had helped them with ailments and conditions, such as depression, anxiety and insomnia. Many had travelled solo, from “non-legal” states including Nebraska, New Jersey, Georgia and Florida and they formed fast bonds, sharing in-jokes over breakfast and doing morning meditation together.

” No one’s judging ,” said a 35 -year-old from Sacramento, when I asked what the appeal was.” This is two days where I get to simply be myself and focus on me .” Like the majority of women I spoke to, she asked to remain anonymous, for anxiety of what her workplace, family and friends would think.

Ganja
‘ Organisers must also be dextrous around legalities: they can’t sell cannabis but they can give it away. Hence the getaway’s “all-inclusive” ticket, encompassing unlimited food and weed .’

A lot of Americans are in the “cannabis closet”, Bagdasarian said. But here, they can meet” their tribe “. And cannabis, she added, is a useful facilitator.” It lets you take your mask off. Females like being vulnerable and connecting. We give them a safe space where they can do that .”

“Safe”, however, is a relative term given the United States’ tangled cannabis laws. In January, us attorney general Jeff Sessions announced he was giving federal prosecutors carte blanche to go after cannabis growers, vendors and users who are violating the nation’s rule of law. The shock memoranda defied Obama-era policy to leave states that had legalised the medication alone. President Trump, however, lately promised to respect states’ rights on legal pot. More states are discussing” running recreational” this year, including Michigan, Rhode Island and Connecticut.

Such ambiguity has stalled many California cities from writing rules that would grant cannabis tourism a “green” lighting. It’s frustrating for Bagdasarian, who cites observing venues as her biggest challenge. Few places permit open intake and cannabis businesses are blocked from promoting themselves on social media. Ticket seller Eventbrite recently cut ties with the getaway, citing federal law.

For this reason, the getaway is limited to private retreat centres, where camping is the most practical accommodation. In Pescadero, attendees shared 12 -person bell tents or brought their own; there were also more comfy, though higher-priced alternatives, of a shared yurt with wood-burner and cots and dorm-style rooms in the main lodge. Organisers must also be dextrous around legalities: they can’t sell cannabis but they can give it away. Hence the getaway’s “all-inclusive” ticket, encompassing unlimited food and weed.

Read more: www.theguardian.com

I shouldn’t be criminalised for using cannabis to ease my constant pain | James Coke

A new bill could give hope to millions of people suffering in the UK, argues the writer James Coke

For much of my adult life I’ve had to rise each morning and combat multiple sclerosis. Sometimes it’s a thankless task- my legs scissored together, locked in spasm as I fight to break free of its stranglehold.

I’m convinced cannabis has allowed me to live more of a normal life than would have been possible with the constant pain. I’ve always smoked it. But in recent years I’ve been building cannabis petroleum and turning it into tinctures. A few drops of my special brew numbs any niggling aches, clear my intellect and help me get a good night’s sleep, spasm-free.

But smoking a joint or stimulating cannabis tinctures could land me in jail for five years under our present medication statutes. For someone living with MS or any other affliction that can be soothed by cannabis- including “Parkinsons disease”, post-traumatic stress ailment or cancer- the stigma of a criminal record is not ethical or fair.

Since the” war on medications” was launched in the early 1970 s millions of people with medical problems have been get a bum deal. Cannabis, for centuries lauded for its therapeutic benefits, was unjustly demonised, flung in with the likes of heroin and cocaine, to be expunged from the reach of society. However, the war was lost long ago. It was found that the illegal global medication market is worth about $400 bn a year. The figure represents the total failure of the policy and omits the billions wasted opposing it.

Several UK police forces, including Durham, effectively decriminalised the personal utilize of cannabis to prioritise resources. And public opinion supportings a change in the law, especially when it is necessary to medical cannabis. That is only likely to increase after the fight by the mother of a six-year-old boy with a rare form of epilepsy who has been refused a licence to be treated with cannabis petroleum.

Changes in the law in parts of the US, Canada and Germany mean that the use of medical cannabis is now legal there. The shifting in policy has given people the opportunity to choose their medical path, allowing many to escape addiction to prescription opioids.

The UK government seems reluctant to follow suit. Yet since 1998 it has licensed GW Pharmaceuticals to create Sativex. The medication, for people with MS, are from cannabis plants, mostly grown by British Sugar. It is a step, but ultimately it has ringfenced the development and sale of medical cannabis at a massively inflated cost. Only a handful of those with MS receive it: the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence( Nice ), which authorises the use of drugs by the NHS deems it too expensive( a year’s furnish can expense upwards of PS5, 000 ). You either have to live in parts of Wales or be able to afford a private prescription to benefit.

The formula in each 10 ml Sativex bottle includes the chief components in cannabis- THC and CBD( 2.5 mg of each ). It expenses PS125 a bottle and lasts on average 10 days. In comparison an ounce of medical cannabis will cost me PS250 and hold upwards of 900 mg of each component. Once extracted into cannabis oil and dosed accordingly, it can produce about 350 bottles of a product that does the same chore, at a fraction of the cost.

Obviously by making the spray I am transgressing the law- but it helps indicate the hypocrisy of the government’s stance and its inertia in facilitating real reform. The production process is certainly not rocket science, and cannabis is a common herb in many countries, and should not cost an arm and a leg. People are just being held to ransom by an outdated law.

Much remainders on the second reading of Paul Flynn’s private member’s bill on Friday advocating cannabis be made legal for medical use. If it eventually passed into statute, it would be a landmark day for people living with a chronic illness or in constant pain.

Big pharma and major firms involved in the industry such as British Sugar may balk at a regulated free market in medical cannabis, seeking to protect their interests. The medications minister, Victoria Atkins, has shown antipathy for any kind of reform to the laws on medical cannabis.( Incidentally her husband Paul Kenward, is the managing director at British Sugar .)

Flynn has got a lot of backers in his corner, though. Legalising medical cannabis might be personal to me, but it should be personal to us all. There are more than 11 million people living with a disability in the UK, and an ageing population means few is likely to be immune from the pain that lies ahead. The benefits seen from the US and across the world offer us a template to build upon.

* James Coke is a novelist. He blogs at thedisabledchef.com

Read more: www.theguardian.com

I shouldn’t be criminalised for using cannabis to ease my constant pain | James Coke

A new bill could give hope to millions of people suffering in the UK, argues the writer James Coke

For much of my adult life I’ve had to rise each morning and combat multiple sclerosis. Sometimes it’s a thankless task- my legs scissored together, locked in spasm as I fight to break free of its stranglehold.

I’m convinced cannabis has allowed me to live more of a normal life than would have been possible with the constant ache. I’ve always smoked it. But in recent years I’ve been stimulating cannabis oil and turning it into tinctures. A few drops of my special brew numbs any niggling aches, clear my intellect and help me get a good night’s sleep, spasm-free.

But smoking a joint or building cannabis tinctures could land me in jail for five years under our current drug statutes. For someone living with MS or any other affliction that can be soothed by cannabis- including Parkinson’s disease, post-traumatic stress ailment or cancer- the stigma of a criminal record is not ethical or fair.

Since the” war on medications” was launched in the early 1970 s millions of people with medical problems have been get a bum deal. Cannabis, for centuries lauded for its therapeutic benefits, was unjustly demonised, tossed in with the likes of heroin and cocaine, to be expunged from the reach of society. However, the war was lost long ago. It was found that the illegal global drug marketplace is worth about $400 bn a year. The figure represents the total failure of the policy and excludes the billions wasted fighting it.

Several UK police force, including Durham, effectively decriminalised the personal utilize of cannabis to prioritise resources. And public opinion supportings a change in the law, especially when it comes to medical cannabis. That is only likely to increase after the fight by the mother of a six-year-old boy with a rare form of epilepsy who has been refused a licence to be treated with cannabis oil.

Changes in the law in parts of the US, Canada and Germany mean that the use of medical cannabis is now legal there. The switching in policy has given people the opportunity to choose their medical track, letting many to escape addiction to prescription opioids.

The UK government appears reluctant to follow suit. Yet since 1998 it has licensed GW Pharmaceuticals to create Sativex. The medication, for people with MS, are from cannabis plants, mostly grown by British Sugar. It is a step forward, but ultimately it has ringfenced the development and sale of medical cannabis at a massively inflated cost. Merely a handful of those with MS receive it: the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence( Nice ), which authorises the use of drugs by the NHS deems it too expensive( a year’s supply can cost upwards of PS5, 000 ). You either have to live in parts of Wales or be able to afford a private prescription to benefit.

The formula in each 10 ml Sativex bottle includes the chief components in cannabis- THC and CBD( 2.5 mg of each ). It expenses PS125 a bottle and lasts on average 10 days. In comparing an ounce of medical cannabis will cost me PS250 and hold upwards of 900 mg of each component. Once extracted into cannabis petroleum and dosed accordingly, it can make about 350 bottles of a product that does the same task, at a fraction of the cost.

Obviously by making the spraying I am breaking the law- but it helps indicate the hypocrisy of the government’s posture and its inertia in facilitating real reform. The production process is surely not rocket science, and cannabis is a common herb in many countries, and should not cost an arm and a leg. People are just being held to ransom by an outdated law.

Much rests on the second reading of Paul Flynn’s private member’s bill on Friday advocating cannabis be made legal for medical employ. If it eventually passed into law, it would be a landmark day for people living with a chronic disease or in constant pain.

Big pharma and major corporations involved in the industry such as British Sugar may balk at a regulated free market in medical cannabis, seeking to protect their interests. The drugs pastor, Victoria Atkins, has shown antipathy for any kind of reform to the laws on medical cannabis.( Incidentally her husband Paul Kenward, is the managing director at British Sugar .)

Flynn has got a lot of backers in his corner, though. Legalising medical cannabis might be personal to me, but it should be personal to us all. There are more than 11 million people living with a disability in the UK, and an ageing population means few is likely to be immune from the pain that lies ahead. The benefits seen from the US and across the world offer us a template to build upon.

* James Coke is a novelist. He blogs at thedisabledchef.com

Read more: www.theguardian.com

I shouldn’t be criminalised for using cannabis to ease my constant ache | James Coke

A new bill could give hope to millions of people suffering in the UK, argues the writer James Coke

For much of my adult life I’ve had to rise each morning and combat multiple sclerosis. Sometimes it’s a thankless task- my legs scissored together, locked in spasm as I opposed to break free of its stranglehold.

I’m convinced cannabis has allowed me to live more of a normal life than would have been possible with the constant pain. I’ve always smoked it. But in recent years I’ve been building cannabis petroleum and turning it into tinctures. A few drops of my special brew numbs any niggling aches, clear my mind and help me get a good night’s sleep, spasm-free.

But smoking a joint or attaining cannabis tinctures could land me in jail for five years under our current medication laws. For someone living with MS or any other affliction that can be soothed by cannabis- including “Parkinsons disease”, post-traumatic stress ailment or cancer- the stigma of a criminal record is not ethical or fair.

Since the” war on medications” was launched in the early 1970 s millions of people with medical problems have been get a bum deal. Cannabis, for centuries lauded for its therapeutic benefits, was unjustly demonised, flung in with the likes of heroin and cocaine, to be expunged from the reach of society. However, the war was lost long ago. It is estimated that the illegal global medication marketplace is worth about $400 bn a year. The figure represents the total failure of the policy and excludes the billions wasted opposing it.

Several UK police forces, including Durham, effectively decriminalised the personal utilize of cannabis to prioritise resources. And public opinion subsistences a change in the law, especially when it is necessary to medical cannabis. That is only likely to increase after the fight by the mother of a six-year-old boy with a rare form of epilepsy who has been refused a licence to be treated with cannabis oil.

Changes in the law in parts of the US, Canada and Germany mean that the use of medical cannabis is now legal there. The switching in policy has given people the opportunity to choose their medical path, letting many to escape addiction to prescription opioids.

The UK government appears reluctant to follow suit. Yet since 1998 it has licensed GW Pharmaceuticals to produce Sativex. The medication, for people with MS, are from cannabis plants, mostly grown by British Sugar. It is a step, but ultimately it has ringfenced the growth and sale of medical cannabis at a massively inflated price. Merely a handful of those with MS receive it: the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence( Nice ), which authorises the use of drugs by the NHS deems it too expensive( a year’s supply can cost upwards of PS5, 000 ). You either have to live in parts of Wales or be able to afford a private prescription to benefit.

The formula in each 10 ml Sativex bottle includes the chief components in cannabis- THC and CBD( 2.5 mg of each ). It expenses PS125 a bottle and lasts on average 10 days. In comparing an ounce of medical cannabis will cost me PS250 and hold upwards of 900 mg of each component. Once extracted into cannabis petroleum and dosed accordingly, it can render about 350 bottles of a product that does the same job, at a fraction of the cost.

Obviously by making the spraying I am breaking the law- but it helps indicate the hypocrisy of the government’s posture and its inertia in facilitating real reform. The production process is certainly not rocket science, and cannabis is a common herb in many countries, and should not expense an arm and a leg. People are just being held to ransom by an outdated law.

Much remainders on the second reading of Paul Flynn’s private member’s bill on Friday advocating cannabis be made legal for medical use. If it eventually passed into statute, it would be a landmark day for people living with a chronic illness or in constant pain.

Big pharma and major corporations involved in the industry such as British Sugar may balk at a regulated free market in medical cannabis, seeking to protect their interests. The medications pastor, Victoria Atkins, has shown antipathy for any kind of reform to the laws on medical cannabis.( Incidentally her husband Paul Kenward, is the managing director at British Sugar .)

Flynn has got a lot of backers in his corner, though. Legalising medical cannabis might be personal to me, but it should be personal to us all. There are more than 11 million people living with a disability in the UK, and an ageing population entails few will be immune from the pain that lies ahead. The benefits seen from the US and across the world offer us a template to build upon.

* James Coke is a writer. He blogs at thedisabledchef.com

Read more: www.theguardian.com

I shouldn’t be criminalised for using cannabis to ease my constant ache | James Coke

A new bill could give hope to millions of people suffering in the UK, argues the writer James Coke

For much of my adult life I’ve had to rise each morning and battle multiple sclerosis. Sometimes it’s a thankless task- my legs scissored together, locked in cramp as I opposed to break free of its stranglehold.

I’m convinced cannabis has allowed me to live more of a normal life than would have been possible with the constant pain. I’ve always smoked it. But in recent years I’ve been attaining cannabis oil and turning it into tinctures. A few drops of my special brew numbs any niggling aches, clear my mind and help me get a good night’s sleep, spasm-free.

But smoking a joint or inducing cannabis tinctures could land me in jail for five years under our current drug statutes. For someone living with MS or any other affliction that can be soothed by cannabis- including Parkinson’s disease, post-traumatic stress disorder or cancer- the stigma of a criminal record is not ethical or fair.

Since the” war on drugs” was launched in the early 1970 s millions of people with medical problems have been get a bum deal. Cannabis, for centuries lauded for its therapeutic benefits, was unjustly demonised, tossed in with the likes of heroin and cocaine, to be expunged from the reach of society. However, the war was lost long ago. It was found that the illegal global drug marketplace is worth about $400 bn a year. The figure represents the total failure of the policy and omits the billions wasted opposing it.

Several UK police force, including Durham, effectively decriminalised the personal employ of cannabis to prioritise resources. And public opinion supportings a change in the law, especially when it comes to medical cannabis. That is only likely to increase after the fight by the mother of a six-year-old boy with a rare form of epilepsy who has been refused a licence to be treated with cannabis petroleum.

Changes in the law in parts of the US, Canada and Germany mean that the use of medical cannabis is now legal there. The shift in policy has given people the opportunity to choose their medical path, allowing many to escape addiction to prescription opioids.

The UK government appears reluctant to follow suit. Yet since 1998 it has licensed GW Pharmaceuticals to render Sativex. The medicine, for people with MS, are from cannabis plants, mostly grown by British Sugar. It is a step forward, but ultimately it has ringfenced the developing and sale of medical cannabis at a massively inflated price. Only a handful of those with MS receive it: the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence( Nice ), which authorises the use of drugs by the NHS deems it too expensive( a year’s furnish can cost upwards of PS5, 000 ). You either have to live in parts of Wales or be able to afford a private prescription to benefit.

The formula in each 10 ml Sativex bottle includes the chief components in cannabis- THC and CBD( 2.5 mg of each ). It costs PS125 a bottle and lasts on average 10 days. In comparison an ounce of medical cannabis will cost me PS250 and hold upwards of 900 mg of each component. Once extracted into cannabis oil and dosed accordingly, it can produce about 350 bottles of a product that does the same undertaking, at a fraction of the cost.

Obviously by making the spraying I am transgressing the law- but it helps indicate the hypocrisy of the government’s posture and its inertia in facilitating real reform. The production process is surely not rocket science, and cannabis is a common herb in many countries, and should not cost an arm and a leg. People are just being held to ransom by an outdated law.

Much rests on the second reading of Paul Flynn’s private member’s bill on Friday advocating cannabis be made legal for medical use. If it eventually passed into statute, it would be a landmark day for people living with a chronic illness or in constant pain.

Big pharma and major corporations involved in the industry such as British Sugar may balk at a regulated free market in medical cannabis, seeking to protect their interests. The drugs pastor, Victoria Atkins, has shown antipathy for any kind of reform to the laws on medical cannabis.( Incidentally her husband Paul Kenward, is the managing director at British Sugar .)

Flynn has got a lot of backers in his corner, though. Legalising medical cannabis might be personal to me, but it should be personal to us all. There are more than 11 million people living with a disability in the UK, and an ageing population entails few will be immune from the pain that lies ahead. The benefits seen from the US and across the world offer us a template to build upon.

* James Coke is a writer. He blogs at thedisabledchef.com

Read more: www.theguardian.com

Marijuana: is it time to stop using a word with racist roots?

As marijuana apprehends disproportionately affect minorities, disagreement grows over a word prohibitionists hoped would appeal to xenophobia

I toke thee to be my wife: inside a cannabis wedding in California

From a pot sommelier to cannabis buds in the corsages, Zak Walton and Dani Geens ceremony was not Carmels typical nuptials

It was a scene postcard California beach wedding. The bride wore white. The Pacific Ocean lapped at the altar. The violinist played Elvis Presley’s Can’t Help Falling in Love.

Then, upon being proclaimed husband and wife, Zak Walton and Dani Geen inclined their heads, puckered their lips, closed their eyes and took long, deep whiffs of potent cannabis.

A table by the altar had all the accoutrements: pots of cannabis concentrate, a torch lighter to heat it up, and glass boats known as rigs, through which they inhaled the vapour.

The family and friends sat before them minded not a little bit. This, after all, was a weed bridal and most of them had also ingested.

Melissa Cunningham, the bridal planner, said:” The clairvoyant effect you get from it is very calming. Dani and Zak want to be on the same spectrum going into their wedlock .”

Dani
Dani Geen and Zak Walton create their glasses to years of weeded bliss and check out their rings. Photograph: Robert Gumpert for the Guardian

Everybody seemed to be on the same spectrum during the ceremony on Thursday at Stewart’s Cove, a bucolic beach near Carmel, south of San Francisco.

Walton, 30, savouring his first minutes of married life with a joint alongside bridesmaids and groomsmen, all smoking, said:” I’m feeling good. Nice and relaxed, medicated .”

What had he ate so far?” I had some dabs at the hotel, a joint, some edibles. Not too much , not too little ,” he said.

It was all legal: the cannabis bud in the posy and floral arrangements, the goody pouches with joints and cannabis vapes, the cannabis-infused munchies (” handcrafted to melt in your mind “) and the dab bar at the reception in nearby Monterey, where a pot sommelier in a three-piece suit offered guests different ways to get gently, blissfully stoned.

California voters approved recreational marijuana last November, a landmark victory in the fight for legalisation that has paved the way for the largest commercial pot market in the US.

A
The smartly dressed weed sommelier presides over the dab bar at the reception venue in Monterey. Photo: Robert Gumpert for the Guardian

Activists and entrepreneurs have found ways to “weedify” multiple products and services, including weddings.

It was news to the catering guys setting up chairs on the beach before the ceremony.” A cannabis bridal, truly ?” said one, astonished.” Is it, like, a thing ?” asked another.

To evangelists, it’s the future.

Philip Wolf, the co-founder of the Cannabis Wedding Expo, which showcases industry products and services, said:” Down the road, people won’t call it a cannabis wedding, because bud bars will be normalised. Smoking makes a bonding facet. People did it in ancient times. It enhances dialogues .”

Luna Stower, 33, a friend of the bride, said cannabis soothed nerves and made couples more romantic. Stower, the wedding officiant and sales director for a cannabis distribution company, had benefited from munching toffee hours earlier made by a company called Mind Tricks.” It’s very relaxing. An aphrodisiac and a euphoric sedative that lasts a very long time. It has organic sugar so it’s a quality high ,” she said.

Marijuana-based
Cannabis-based snacks, just some of the baked goods on offer, laid out for the soon to be hungry guests. Photograph: Robert Gumpert for the Guardian

The high did not addle Stower’s brain. She resulted the ceremony fluidly, without notes, and made a quip about the the couple caring and honouring one another ” till dab do you part “. Dabbing is the term for heating a dosage of concentrate on a hot surface and inhaling it through glass.

Cannabis brought the Oakland-based couple together because they started out as smoking buddies, said Walton, who works on automobiles.” One thing led to another and here we are 12 years later ,” he added.

He uses the herb to ease backache and Geen, 31, employs it for fibromyalgia, cancers and other conditions.” Cannabis has been my medicine and my saviour ,” she said. Not to mention her employer: she works for Harborside Health Center, a medical cannabis dispensary.

She wanted her bridal to show that cannabis could be classy- integrated into decoration and menus, with the reception hosted at Monterey’s Victorian-era Perry House- and safe, with controls to keep it away from children.

Geen giggled off the stereotype of zonked stoners, saying certain stress of pot sharpened concentration.” I’m going to remember my night better than someone who has had a lot of alcohol ,” she said.

Steve DeAngelo, her boss and guest, concurred, quoting Carl Sagan, Steve Jobs, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama as evidence that weed did not spawn low functionality.

A
A bridesmaid holds a bouquet containing cannabis bud. Some guests said the weed helped de-stress them. Photo: Robert Gumpert for the Guardian

The drug also did wonders for intimacy, he said.” It opens you to more sensual experiences. It allows men, especially young men, to match their sex rhythm to a woman’s rhythm ,” DeAngelo added.

Geen was indicated that about 60 of the 70 guests were utilizing cannabis.

Some were exultant, like David Nevitt, 34, who dabbed, munched, vaped and toked.” We’re at a weeding! Usually at bridals you have to be discreet, do it in the car park. Doing it here right in front of everybody, it feels revolutionary ,” he said.

Others were grateful. Holly Alberti, 34, said:” I’ve taken several concentrated dabs and I could use some more. The ride over was quite stressful, we got lost .”

And some, including a pair of college profs, were coy, saying they might partake. They declined to give their names lest Google for ever link them to pot.

The groom’s mother, Aurea Walton, 55, was one of the few to opt out.” I’m Catholic ,” she said.” So no, I won’t partake .” Then she smiled.” Unless it’s by mistake .”

Read more: www.theguardian.com

America Is Finally Ready to Change the Way It Talks About Drugs

America needs to find a new way to talk about drugs. Clearly , not all illegal drugs are bad–more than half of US states have bucked federal regulations banning marijuana. And the prescription opioid epidemic demonstrates that the regulated pharmaceutical system is wide open for abuse. 2016 told a tale of these two medications, and how people have them circumvented the route America thinks about get high.

It took longer than a year to get to this point, of course. President Nixon and his staff crafted the 1970 Drug Abuse and Control Act to rein in the excesses of the previous decade’s counterculture. It established five classes of drugs, called Schedules, ranked according to potential for abuse and medical value. Marijuana and heroin were especially targeted, and listed as Schedule I, the most restrictive category. That means they both had high potential for abuse, and no redeeming medical value. Perps busted buying, selling, employing, or transporting these substances could get multi-year incarcerate sentences.

The 1970 law also made the modern pharmaceutical system. Compounds with less addictive potential and greater medical value were placed in lower schedule categories, where physicians could prescribe them. Prescription opioids, like oxycontin, satisfied this more regulated capacity.

Clearly, the system isn’t working great. Marijuana is the most widely used narcotic in the country, and its annual demises are currently under low zeroes( although people have died because of stupid decisions they’ve stimulated while high ). Meanwhile, prescription opioids like oxycontin kill about 20, 000 people each year.

In a legal sense, the backlash against federal weed proscription began in 1996, when California decriminalize medical marijuana. This year, the state also voted to allow recreational cannabis use. Four days before that election, on November 4, President Obama told Bill Maher that California’s full spectrum weed legalization could attain federal enforcement against weed untenable. And indeed, as of such elections, 28 nations( plus Washington, DC) now have laws decriminalize weed medically, recreationally, or both. Those states contain almost two thirds of the US population.

Donald Trump’s election changes things a little bit. His picking for us attorney general, Jeff Sessions, is a fervent anti-drug hawk. Under his regulation, the DEA, FBI, and other federal agencies could prosecute cannabusinesses and citizen tokers in post-prohibition countries. The medical marijuana motion weathered these kinds of assaults for decades, and as a result has accumulated a lot of legal precedent in nation and federal tribunals. However, recreational use–first decriminalize by Colorado and Washington in 2012 — hasn’t really been tested like that. And if Sessions, or other anti-drug advocates do go on the attack, they’ll be doing so with the possibility that their cases could reach the Supreme court, where Trump has vowed to fill Antonin Scalia’s vacant seat with person equally conservative.

The prescription opioid problem is a bit more complicated. It has hit especially hard in economically-stressed rural areas, places where Republican lawmakers can’t easily demonize inner city foibles. It began as a result of pharmaceutical companies gaming the FDA’s rules for prescription drugs. Purdue Pharmaceuticals, manufacturer of Oxycontin, is the epidemic’s easiest scoundrel. In the 1990 s, the company started a marketing campaign targeting a so-called epidemic of chronic pain. As a outcome, doctors started prescribing Oxycontin, and other opioids like it, in droves.

Purdue constructed billions on this strategy. And in the process, get millions of people hooked on medications, which led to hundreds of thousands of deaths.( As proof that federal drug policy isn’t complete FUBAR, Purdue paid $600 million to the federal government for misinforming the public about its drug .)

The bright side to the opioid outbreak, if there is such a thing, is that it has changed the style people think about drug addiction.” This current form of opioid addiciton is more relatable than the past stereotype of heroin junkies lying in the street ,” says Katherine Neill, a drug policy expert at Rice University.” Not that that stereotype was ever accurate, but now that it’s suburban and rural kids get hooked, they aren’t getting demonized in the same way .”

That’s led to a changing attitude in how to deal with the craving.” Big trends to watch is how nations are treating drug use as a medical, or public health problem, rather than something criminal ,” says Neill. Such an attitude is still catching on, but moves like Ithaca, NY’s proposed safe space for heroin users shows that parts of the country are moving towards a health-focused, rather than crook, mentality.

It’s also led to strange situations, like the kratom uprising earlier this year. In late August, the DEA announced it was putting this herb–related to coffee, but triggers a mild opiate-like response–on the Emergency Schedule 1 listing. The kratom community, purportedly in the millions, responded in droves. A plenty of former opioid addicts use kratom–which is really difficult to overdose on–to treat their ache and the effects of coming down off harder drugs. They even got congressional allies involved. The DEA backed off, momentarily, and opened up a public comment period( which aimed December 1 ). The federal enforcement agency’s ultimate decision is still pending.

If the DEA’s reaction tells you anything, it’s that the public’s attitudes towards use and addiction are changing. Simple messages don’t work anymore–but states and their constituents are ready to see the subtlety in their neighbors’ tales of drug use and craving. Whether the country’s new political regime adopts that changing mentality is a blind guess.

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Cooking with cannabis:’ I have a fish guy, a meat guy and a weed guy’

In the two years since Colorado legalised cannabis, cooks in the nation have been procuring new ways to make a dinner of it

This is delicious, Roz Bielski says, dabbing her mouth with a napkin. Like eating a cloud. This is the kind of food Id picture feeing in heaven.

It is just after 10 am on a sunny Sunday morning in Denvers Highlands. Clusters of smart churchgoers saunter past the windows of the restaurant; an impossibly healthy-looking young couple follow, pedalling up the hill with yoga mats slung over their shoulders. Then the peace is cracked by a cackle. Roz, a wealthy 62 -year-old from New York who looks at least 10 years younger, breaks down into girlish laughters as she passes a large slice of sponge tart to her twentysomething daughter, Rachel. Look, darling, Im a great big flan, she guffaws, bent doubling with laughter as crumbs fly from her mouth. YOUR BIGGEST FLAN!

It has been merely over two years since the country of Colorado legalised cannabis use, and the two-and-a-half-hour cannabis cookery class Im attending at an upscale eatery in Denver is booked out for weeks. Students such as Roz and Rachel fly in from all over the US to learn how to embrace the ultimate herb and how to cook with it.

Colorado has issued more than 350 edible marijuana licences, but those holding them for both recreational and medicinal purposes are light years ahead of the stereotyped stoners baking hash cakes. High-profile cooks have been drawn to the challenge, including Chris Lanter, proprietor and head chef of Cache Cache, the top eatery in Americas glitziest ski resort, Aspen, and Hosea Rosenberg, who won Top Chef, a hit cook show. The Ganja Kitchen Revolution, a gourmet cookbook by Coloradan chef Jessica Catalano, became an Amazon bestseller when the country first legalised marijuana, and is now the go-to volume for aspiring cannabis chefs.

Cannabis
Cannabis growing under illuminations at High Country Healing which supplies a number of Colorado cooks

From a chefs point of view, cannabis should be placed in the same bracket as basil, sage or rosemary, Catalano says as she prepares for a cannabis-infused dinner party at her home, a converted firehouse in the mountain township of Silverthorne. Its a fascinating herb with multiple flavour profiles.

Catalano, like other professionally developed cooks employing cannabis as food ingredients, selects her strains extremely carefully. Within the two major marijuana groups uplifting sativas and the more calming indicas there are a wealth of different tastes to harness. Today, shes cooking with one of her favourite stress, super lemon haze, a sativa with sweet floral notes.

It tastes a little like candied lemon when its activated, Catalano says. This stres runs particularly well with scallops, but also tomatoes, basil and balsamic vinegar, which Im use today.

Chef
Chef Jessica Catalano has cooked for Snoop Dogg and written a bestselling marijuana cookbook

As a pregnant Catalano places the crushed marijuana on a baking tray and slides it into the oven( hot sparks its active ingredient, THC, through a process called decarboxylation ), her husband Erik offers his theory as to why gourmet ganja has proved such a moneyspinner in these parts. You eat it because its delicious, then you get the munchies and you want to eat more. Its a never-ending cycle: you can get seriously fat on this diet.

When Erik and I sit down to dinner( Catalano isnt eating any cannabis while pregnant ), I begin to see his point. The seared scallops are served in a super lemon haze, honey and apple cider vinaigrette. Its tangy and moreish. After a short while, I begin to feel a little heady, similar to the feeling after a glass of wine with a light meal. There is a noticeable rise in the mood around the table.

In this sense, cannabis is potentially the perfect ingredient for the restaurant business, but its hampered by one final obstacle: for the moment, Colorado state law does not allow its consumption on public property. Residents are sidestepping this by hosting private events in homes or closed restaurants( such as our cookery school in Denver ); but Catalano, who has cooked for celebrities including Snoop Dogg, predicts well find the first bona fide cannabis restaurant opening within the next two to three years.

Its hard to argue with that when you consider the fiscal benefit to the nation. In the last tax year, Colorado collected $88.2 m( 61 m) revenue from cannabis marketings, according to the Marijuana Enforcement Divisions annual report. Those figures included virtually 5m marijuana-infused edibles sold , not to mention some 70,000 kg of plants. The Washington Post predicts that more than$ 1bn is likely to be spent on cannabis in Colorado this year, making nearly $100 m in taxes. In a nation constructed famous for its frenetic gold rush in the mid-1 9th century, the green rush is on.

Thirty-five-year-old chef Melissa Parks originally moved to Colorado so she could enjoy mountain climbing, but soon got involved with the gourmet cannabis scene, attaining beautiful cakes and desserts infused with weed. Marijuana is a wonderfully versatile ingredient to cook with, she says, while preparing a large batch of goody, cannabis-infused vanilla tea cakes in her expansive kitchen. You can put it into everything from icings to dressings. Every recipe that has a fat component to it, you can add cannabis-infused petroleum, butter or cream.

Philip
Philip Wolf operates curated cannabis dining experiences for US clients

For me, this whole thing is about exploration and food developing. Thats how you improve as a cook: cooking with cannabis challenges me in ways Id never expected.

At the heart of that challenge, Parks explains, is the variety of cannabis stress available, which continue to evolve as expert growers improvise, cross-pollinate and perfect in order to service the culinary boom. Different strains can have truly contradictory savors: genuinely bold and arousing flavours, she says. They can be salty, nutty, zesty or sweet, and everything in between.

So how does Parks go about choosing her strains and matching them to dishes? As a chef, I take cannabis as seriously as any other ingredient. That means you have to know and work with your supplier. I have a fish guy, a meat guy and a weed guy.

One of the most popular weed guys in these proportions is Nick Brown, whose company High Country Healing furnishes a number of Colorado chefs with cannabis. Based in the heart of Silverthorne, Brown runs what might be described as a psychodelicatessen, with thousands of plants growing in carefully controlled rooms. Weve gone through 350 stress since we started, and now weve perfected it down to 50, says the 32 -year-old Princeton graduate, who has more than 30 staff on his payroll. Every stres is grown differently, from the pH levels of their water to the type of fertiliser we use, the temperature, lighting, fans, even the music we play to them.

Nick
Nick Brown gave up a successful career in property to supply Colorados chefs with marijuana

Brown takes me into the flowering room, a lush, luminescent jungle where huge Mesozoic-style marijuana plants sway gently to the beats of Warren G and Nate Dogg. The foodies tend to gravitate towards fruitier strains like Tangerine Flo and Grape Ape, he says, guiding me, Dr Livingstone-style, through his forest.

Brown left a successful career in property for this, and it seems he made a shrewd investment. Despite footing electricity bills of more than $20,000 a month for the hydroponic illuminations and industrial fans, business is buzzing. Were assuring 200 to 300 clients a day and it really is every walk of life. People merely pour out of the cannabis closet when they come to Colorado.

Several of his clients are entrepreneurs, such as Philip Wolf, who set up Cultivating Spirits, offering private food and wine cannabis pairing evenings. Wolf, a very chilled 30 -year-old Texan with a long, blond ponytail, describes his upscale soirees, which include a chauffeur-driven limo to and from his private eatery for five-course meals, as curated cannabis experiences.

Colorado
Jessica Catalano prepares a three-course cannabis-infused dinner at her home

Cannabis should be treated like fine wine, Wolf says. It harmonises so well with certain foods. Our pairing evenings is also intended to set cannabis consumption on a platform that middle America can understand. “Its about” education as much as enjoyment.

Plenty of Browns other customers simply smoke his product, especially the popular demise star( thus monikered because it stimulates you feel like you might implode ), but many are alsoes attempting the advanced recipes from books such as Catalanos, which includes recipes for Sicilian somatic veal marsala and Indian kalichakra sweet carrot pudding. The cannabis cookery website herb.co, formerly The Stoners Cookbook, has five million page views a month. After three other countries Washington, Oregon and Alaska followed Colorados lead in legalising the medication, the sites chief executive, Matt Gray, predicted the edible marijuana industry will be worth as much as $40 bn in the US within five years.

The
The Bielskis get a fit of the laughters during class

Could the UK is beneficial for decriminalising cannabis? The Liberal Democrat are currently calling for the legalised sale of marijuana through licensed outlets, backing a David Nutt study published in March. Experts say it could cut our national deficit by 600 m, and after a public petition signed by more than 220,000 depicted a three-hour parliamentary debate in October, theres a building pressure for a change in policy.

But will it appeal to cooks in the UK? Mark Sargeant, a former British cook of the year , is unconvinced. Maybe Id consider infusing a little into some milk to make a chocolate ganache for some truffles, or a salted caramel and skunk truffle. But personally I dont especially like the effect of cannabis, so it wont be on any of my menus any time soon, he says. Lets be honest, who wants to feel stoned after a big dinner?

Meat and barbecue guru Neil Rankin is a little more enthusiastic. Ive never cooked with weed myself, he says, but marijuanas pretty pungent stuff, so it could easily be used like a traditional herby ingredient perhaps in a salad, much as you would rocket. You could also have it dried and ground, and the powder used as a seasoning for meat or fish, or in a curry. From a professional point of view, Id likely only ever set it in a starter then diners might order 10 courses each.

Read more: www.theguardian.com