Cannabis tourism in California- a women’s wellness retreat with puffed 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 reach off a balloon purse 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 route my fellow ganja goddesses were getting high. Plates piled with spliffs, giant blunts, laced caramel-pecan candies and fruity mocktails enhanced 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 nation 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 cook 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) difference. The retreat itself is in the woods near the coast at Pescadero, about an hour’s drive south of San Francisco. At the end of a long clay track, in a grassland surrounded by redwoods, I find about 135 “goddesses” engaged in a ritual of” puffed and pass “. Twentysomething daughters 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 oil 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 chairperson 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 only 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 stimulates 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 said, was a healer. Everyone was paying attention until a butterfly flapped into the gazebo, drawing an en masse, confused “woooah”.

It’s true the women I met here weren’t only in it for the giggles. They all talked about how cannabis had helped them with ailments and conditions, such as depression, nervousnes 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 fear 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 limitless 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. Girls like being vulnerable and connecting. We give them a safe space where they can do that .”

“Safe”, however, is a relative word given the United States’ tangled cannabis statutes. In January, 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 statute. The shock memo defied Obama-era policy to leave states that had legalised the medication alone. President Trump, however, recently promised to respect states’ rights on legal pot. More countries are discussing” going 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 procuring 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, quoting 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 options, 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 battle 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 making 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 making cannabis tinctures could land me in jail for five years under our current drug laws. 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 1970s millions of people with medical problems have been getting 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 is estimated that the illegal global drug market is worth about $400bn a year. The figure represents the total failure of the policy and excludes the billions wasted fighting it.

Several UK police forces, including Durham, effectively decriminalised the personal use of cannabis to prioritise resources. And public opinion supports 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 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 produce Sativex. The medicine, for people with MS, is derived 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 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 supply can cost upwards of £5,000). You either have to live in parts of Wales or be able to afford a private prescription to benefit.

The formula in each 10ml Sativex bottle includes the chief components in cannabis – THC and CBD (2.5mg of each). It costs £125 a bottle and lasts on average 10 days. In comparison an ounce of medical cannabis will cost me £250 and hold upwards of 900mg of each component. Once extracted into cannabis oil and dosed accordingly, it can produce about 350 bottles of a product that does the same job, at a fraction of the cost.

Obviously by making the spray I am breaking 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 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 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 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 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

Hippy dream now a billion-dollar industry with California set to legalise cannabis

The state that is the worlds sixth biggest economy will legalise cannabis on New Years Day and expects a boom hour for jobs and investment

While Arctic conditions gripped America’s north-east, balmy sunshine bathed Los Angeles last week- but that was not the only reason denizens of the Venice boardwalk were feeling mellow. An astringent, earthy fragrance infused the Pacific zephyrs wafting through the buskers, joggers, skateboarders, tourists and panhandlers.

” Weed is part of the culture here ,” said Oni Farley, 30, perched on a sandy knoll, watching life go by.” It’s part of the LA/ California scene, the laid-back vibe .” He ignored a police patrol car that inched through the throng.” I’ve blazed in front of cops and they don’t said so. To be honest, the majority of members of the time I’m so high I don’t notice them .”

Pot wasn’t hiding. In multiple different ways it was on display.

” Addicted to weed, anything green helps ,” told a scrawled sign tilted against the knapsack of Alexander Harth, 36, a dusty is part of the boardwalk’s homeless population.

On the pavement, Marc Patsiner hawked wooden decorations etched with Californian symbols: sunglasses, palm trees and marijuana leaves.” It’s pretty bohemian out here. People associate us with the foliage .”

A vape shop offered glass tubes and other pot paraphernalia. T-shirt stores peddled images of Barack Obama smoking a joint alongside other herb-themed garments telling ” best buds” and” just hit it “.

On Monday, California, the US’s most populous state, and the world’s sixth biggest economy, was formally” reach it” by legalising cannabis.

Think Amsterdam, but sunnier and vaster- a watershed event for the legalisation movement. Overnight a darknes industry worth billions of dollars annually will emerge into the light, taking its place alongside agriculture, pharmaceuticals, aerospace and other sectors that are regulated and taxed.

It will answer to the newly created Bureau of Cannabis Control- bureaucratic confirmation that a day many activists did not dare dream of has indeed come to pass.

A product pilloried in the 1936 film Reefer Madness will become culturally normalised and economically integrated, said Philip Wolf, an entrepreneur who runs a cannabis marriage company and a firm that pairs pot with gourmet food.” It’s going to help destigmatise the plant. There’s going to be a lot of people making money and people will want to tax those dollars. This is going to spread. California is a trend-setting country .”

California legalised pot for medicinal purposes in 1996, ushering in a web of dispensaries, spin-off businesses and sneaking mainstream acceptance. That culminated in voters last year approving proposition 64 ,~ ATAGEND a ballot initiative which legalised pot sales for recreation. History will mark the date it came into effect: 1 January 2018.

It is expected to unleash profound changes across the nation. The Salinas Valley, an agricultural zone south of San Francisco nicknamed America’s salad bowl, has already earned a new moniker: America’s cannabis bucket. Silicon Valley investors and other moneyed folk are hoping to mint fortunes by developing technology to cultivate, transport, store and sell weed. Entrepreneurs are devising pot-related products and services. Financiers are exploring ways to fold the revenue- estimated at$ 7bn per annum by 2020- into corporate banking.

Customers
Customers at MedMen, a medical marijuana dispensary in Los Angeles. Use of the drug to ease ache and cancer has already been decriminalised in California. Photograph: Richard Vogel/ AP

California is not the trailblazer. Colorado grabbed that mantle in January 2014 when it became the first jurisdiction in the world- beating Washington state and Uruguay by months- to legalise recreational cannabis marketings. California is one of 29 US countries where pot is legal for medical or recreational use. With medical certificates you can criss-cross the country getting legally stoned.

But cultural, political and economic heft constructs California a landmark in the global legalisation campaign. This is the state that incubated the political careers of Richard Nixon, who launched the war against narcotics in 1971, and Ronald Reagan, who continued hardline prohibition policies under his wife Nancy’s slogan ” just say no “.

California’s path to yes meander through Venice, a gritty beachside haven for beat poets, artists and musicians long before hippies wore blooms on their way to San Francisco. The Doors, among others, kept the counterculture torch light in Venice: here they wrote Light My Fire, Moonlight Drive and Break on Through. A giant mural of a shirtless Jim Morrison still peers down from a wall. It was in Venice that generations of Angelenos and tourists toked illicit spliffs. They still do, though it is now a gentrifying tech enclave.

When California legalised pot for medicinal intents many cities and neighborhoods refused to issue licenses for pot dispensaries. In Venice they popped up like toast, as did “clinics” where for a fee ranging from around $20 to $40 physicians issued pot recommendation letters to ostensible patients. Some were genuine, with ailments and pain alleviated by the herb. Many just wanted to get high.” Feigning you have an adversity merely to smoke, that’s ridiculous ,” told Farley, the boardwalk commentator. Having had participated in the navy, he claimed to have post-traumatic stress disorder.” I don’t, but that’s what I said .”

The California Alternative Caregivers‘ dispensary put in store in 2005 on Lincoln Boulevard, on the second floor of a maze of little shops and offices.” It was by design, upstairs, all the way to the back. We didn’t advertise ,” said the manager, Jim Harrison, 46. Pot, medicinal or not, still needed to be discreet. If requested information about his profession Harrison would say he was a healthcare professional.

The sky failed to fall in on Venice, or other areas with dispensaries, and little by little pot became more mainstream, even respectable. Harrison, who wears a white coat and calls his patrons patients, is proud that his dispensary’s protocols, such as sealing and labelling containers and containers, have been replicated in the new country regulations for recreational pot.

Full legalisation feelings historic, he said.” It’s pretty amazing. The cat’s out of the pouch .” His dispensary will create a new space for recreation customers and keep a separate room for patients. Tax on medicinal pot is lower so dispensaries expect that marketplace segment to dwindle but not disappear.

The new epoch may begin with a whimper. State authorities have given counties and cities authority and responsibility to govern the new industry. The result is a patchwork. Some places, such as Kern county, are still banning all commercial pot activity. LA and San Francisco only recently approved local regulations so it could be weeks or month ago freshly licensed pot shops start budding. Oakland, Santa Cruz and San Diego have licensed operators ready to open on Monday.

Golden
Golden state Greens’ budtender’ Olivia Vugrin( right ), serves a client in San Diego, California. Dozens of stores in the country is likely to be selling marijuana for recreational use from tomorrow. Photo: Elliot Spagat/ AP

Donald Trump’s administration casts a shadow because pot remains illegal under federal law. The us attorney general, Jeff Sessions, has compared the herb to heroin and threatened a crackdown. Fearful of federal prosecution, banks are shunning pot industries, leaving the industry stuck with mounds of money which must be transported under armed guard.

Venice’s bohemians helped pave the way to California’s big experiment but it is another California, that of boardrooms and city hall, which stands to gain.

Based on Colorado’s experience legislators across the Golden state are expecting tax windfalls. Labour unions are hoping to recruit thousands and thousands of workers to cultivate and sell pot.

Wealthy investors are snapping up land in Salinas and other cultivation areas with a view to mass production. Others are forming pot-focused business accelerators and management firms. Start-ups are devising new apps, products and services.

Corporate expansion felt a world away from the patch of sand that Harth, the Venice panhandler, called home. Despite the sunshine describing big crowds to the boardwalk he stuffed his sign-” Addicted to weed, anything green helps”- into his backpack. The dollars weren’t coming.

Read more: www.theguardian.com

Hippy dreaming now a billion-dollar industry with California set to legalise cannabis

The state that is the worlds sixth biggest economy will legalise cannabis on New Years Day and expects a boom hour for jobs and investment

While Arctic conditions gripped America’s north-east, balmy sunshine bathed Los Angeles last week- but that was not the only reason denizens of the Venice boardwalk were feeling mellow. An astringent, earthy fragrance infused the Pacific zephyrs wafting through the buskers, joggers, skateboarders, tourists and panhandlers.

” Weed is part of the culture here ,” said Oni Farley, 30, perched on a sandy mound, watching life go by.” It’s part of the LA/ California scene, the laid-back vibe .” He dismissed a police patrol car that inched through the multitude.” I’ve blazed in front of policemen and they don’t say anything. To be honest, the majority of members of the time I’m so high I don’t notice them .”

Pot wasn’t hiding. In multiple different ways it was on display.

” Addicted to weed, anything green helps ,” told a scrawled sign tilted against the knapsack of Alexander Harth, 36, a dusty is part of the boardwalk’s homeless population.

On the pavement, Marc Patsiner hawked wooden ornaments etched with Californian symbols: sunglasses, palm trees and marijuana leaves.” It’s pretty bohemian out here. People associate us with the foliage .”

A vape shop offered glass tubes and other pot paraphernalia. T-shirt stores peddled images of Barack Obama smoking a joint alongside other herb-themed garments telling ” best buds” and” merely hit it “.

On Monday, California, the US’s most populous state, and the world’s sixth biggest economy, was formally” hit it” by legalising cannabis.

Think Amsterdam, but sunnier and vaster- a watershed event for the legalisation motion. Overnight a darknes industry worth billions of dollars annually will emerge into the sunlight, taking its place alongside agriculture, pharmaceuticals, aerospace and other sectors that are regulated and taxed.

It will answer to the newly created Bureau of Cannabis Control- bureaucratic confirmation that a day many activists did not dare dream of has indeed come to pass.

A product pilloried in the 1936 cinema Reefer Madness will become culturally normalised and economically integrated, told Philip Wolf, an entrepreneur who runs a cannabis wedding company and a firm that pairs pot with gourmet food.” It’s going to help destigmatise the plant. There’s going to be a lot of people making money and people will want to taxation those dollars. This is going to spread. California is a trend-setting country .”

California legalised pot for medicinal purposes in 1996, ushering in a web of dispensaries, spin-off businesses and creeping mainstream adoption. That culminated in voters last year approving proposition 64 ,~ ATAGEND a ballot initiative which legalised pot sales for recreation. History will mark the date it came into effect: 1 January 2018.

It is expected to unleash profound changes across the country. The Salinas Valley, an agricultural zone south of San Francisco nicknamed America’s salad bowl, has already earned a new moniker: America’s cannabis bucket. Silicon Valley investors and other moneyed folk are hoping to mint lucks by developing technology to cultivate, transport, store and sell weed. Entrepreneurs are devising pot-related products and services. Financiers are exploring ways to fold non-respendable revenues- estimated at$ 7bn per annum by 2020- into corporate banking.

Customers
Customers at MedMen, a medical marijuana dispensary in Los Angeles. Use of the medication to ease pain and cancer “ve already” decriminalised in California. Photograph: Richard Vogel/ AP

California is not the trailblazer. Colorado grabbed that mantle in January 2014 when it became the first jurisdiction in the world- beating Washington state and Uruguay by months- to legalise recreational cannabis sales. California is one of 29 US countries where pot is legal for medical or recreational use. With medical certifications you can criss-cross the country getting legally stoned.

But cultural, political and economic heft makes California a landmark in the global legalisation campaign. This is the state that incubated the political careers of Richard Nixon, who launched the war on drugs in 1971, and Ronald Reagan, who continued hardline proscription policies under his wife Nancy’s slogan ” just say no “.

California’s path to yes meander through Venice, a gritty beachside haven for beat poets, artists and musicians long before hippies wore flowers on their way to San Francisco. The Door, among others, kept the counterculture torch illuminated in Venice: here they wrote Light My Fire, Moonlight Drive and Break on Through. A giant mural of a shirtless Jim Morrison still peers down from a wall. It was in Venice that generations of Angelenos and tourists toked illicit spliffs. They still do, though it is now a gentrifying tech enclave.

When California legalised pot for medicinal purposes many cities and neighbourhoods refused to issue licenses for pot dispensaries. In Venice they popped up like toast, as did “clinics” where for a fee ranging from around $20 to $40 physicians issued pot recommendation letters to ostensible patients. Some were genuine, with ailments and pain alleviated by the herb. Many just wanted to get high.” Feigning you have an adversity merely to smoke, that’s ridiculous ,” said Farley, the boardwalk commentator. Having served in the navy, he claimed to have post-traumatic stress ailment.” I don’t, but that’s what I said .”

The California Alternative Caregivers‘ dispensary set up shop in 2005 on Lincoln Boulevard, on the second floor of a maze of little stores and offices.” It was by design, upstairs, all the way to the back. We didn’t advertise ,” said the manager, Jim Harrison, 46. Pot, medicinal or not, still needed to be discreet. If asked about his profession Harrison would say he was a healthcare professional.

The sky failed to fall in on Venice, or other areas with dispensaries, and little by little pot became more mainstream, even respectable. Harrison, who wears a white coat and calls his patrons patients, is proud that his dispensary’s protocols, such as sealing and labelling purses and receptacles, have been replicated in the new state regulations for recreational pot.

Full legalisation feels historic, he told.” It’s pretty amazing. The cat’s out of the container .” His dispensary will create a new space for recreation customers and maintain a separate room for patients. Tax on medicinal pot is lower so dispensaries expect that marketplace segment to dwindle but not disappear.

The new era may begin with a whimper. State authorities have given districts and cities authority and responsibility to govern the new industry. The result is a patchwork. Some places, such as Kern county, are still banning all commercial pot activity. LA and San Francisco only recently approved local regulations so it could be weeks or months before freshly licensed pot shops start budding. Oakland, Santa Cruz and San Diego have licensed operators ready to open on Monday.

Golden
Golden State Greens’ budtender’ Olivia Vugrin( right ), serves a customer in San Diego, California. Dozens of shops in the nation will be selling marijuana for recreational use from tomorrow. Photo: Elliot Spagat/ AP

Donald Trump’s administration casts a darknes because pot remains illegal under federal statute. The us attorney general, Jeff Sessions, has compared the herb to heroin and threatened a crackdown. Fearful of federal prosecution, banks are shunning pot industries, leaving the industry stuck with mounds of cash which must be transported under armed guard.

Venice’s bohemians helped pave the way to California’s big experiment but it is another California, that of boardrooms and city hall, which stands to gain.

Based on Colorado’s experience legislators across the Golden State are expecting tax windfalls. Labour unions are hoping to recruit thousands and thousands of employees to cultivate and sell pot.

Wealthy investors are snapping up land in Salinas and other farming areas with a view to mass production. Others are forming pot-focused business accelerators and management firms. Start-ups are devising new apps, products and services.

Corporate expansion felt a world away from the patch of sand that Harth, the Venice panhandler, called home. Despite the sunshine depicting big crowds to the boardwalk he stuffed his sign-” Addicted to weed, anything green helps”- into his backpack. The dollars weren’t coming.

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 cramp 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 building 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 stimulating cannabis tinctures could land me in jail for five years under our current drug 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 getting 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 drug market 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 forces, including Durham, effectively decriminalised the personal employ of cannabis to prioritise resources. And public opinion supports 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 shifting in policy has given people the opportunity to choose their medical route, 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 make Sativex. The medicine, for people with MS, are from cannabis plants, mostly grown by British Sugar. It is a step, but ultimately it has ringfenced the developing 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 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 costs 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 oil and dosed accordingly, it can produce about 350 bottles of a product that does the same task, 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 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 utilize. If it eventually passed into law, 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 narcotics 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 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 novelist. He blogs at thedisabledchef.com

Read more: www.theguardian.com

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