Let's bend the arc towards Equal Justice

tldr; happy 4th of July - †oo many Americans aren't free. This weekend bud.com is matching donations to Equal Justice Initiative.

A few weeks ago we watched as Americans confronted each other in the streets. Some members of our team and their families marched in solidarity: we agree with the cries to value black lives and to hold our justice system accountable.

People handling cannabis have been at the receiving end of aggressive policing for decades. Certain communities, particularly black and latinx communities, were targeted by police representing the predominately white lawmakers who initially criminalized marijuana plant medicine. Now formal regulations allow companies like bud.com to sell cannabis proudly in public, online even. As our weed delivery business takes shape, we have a special obligation to pay back for the costs of the war on drugs. Decades of locking up people for what is now legal has limited the potential for generations of black and brown entrepreneurs.

We looked at charities that specifically focus on healing drug war and cannabis prohibition wounds. But there's a bigger problem out there: the creeping reach of the carceral state. For too many people beyond pot the tools of government are punitive and not enabling. The deep unrest roiling our country will only come to calm through challenging interventions to improve our collective conduct. Since our justice system is a reflection of our values made into rules, it is critical that we live up to our best values of equality. Beyond bud, everyone deserves quality justice.

Equal Justice Initiative is working to establish the basic rules of fairness and equality under law. Based in Montgomery Alabama, EJI has the nation's deep economic roots in slavery just underfoot as they work to help the wrongly convicted and the poor get access to effective legal representation.

This Independence Day weekend you can elect to add a donation to the Equal Justice Initiative to your purchase. bud.com will be matching those donations. We went looking for a charity making a direct impact on a serious sustained social ill. We believe Equal Justice Initiative is part of the solution to addressing America's racist past and building a better more equal future.

Update:

We ran this campaign to raise money for the Equal Justice Initiative over the Independence Day weekend. Across our locations, 31% of bud shoppers elected to make a donation to support EJI with us. This is much higher than we had expected; we were delighted and humbled by our customers' participation.


Black Lives Matter.

Bud believes, unequivocally, that Black Lives Matter. We are committed to doing our part in the fight against white supremacy, and against the ongoing institutional violence and disenfranchisement facing the black community. As a cannabis industry business, we recognize our deeper responsibility in responding to this crisis.

We know that we are late in making this statement. It was important to us that our response include the voices of our black colleagues, so we have spent the last few weeks in roundtable discussions, collaboratively defining our values and brainstorming ways we can make tangible impact both now and on a continuing basis.

Systemic racism and police brutality are not new issues facing black people, nor will they be resolved overnight. Cannabis industry businesses in particular have a responsibility to undo the gentrification of our industry and uplift communities that have been impacted by the war on drugs. We will be following up this statement with an action plan outlining specific steps we can take as a company and with our supply chain. These actions will be written in a scaleable way, ensuring that the impact we're able to make grows alongside us as we do. We look forward to sharing our commitments with you soon.

In love and solidarity,

Bud

Rest In Power:

Rayshard Brooks. Robert Fuller. Dominique Alexander. Riah Milton. Dominique “Rem’mie” Fells. Oluwatoyin Salau. Jamel Floyd. David McAtee. Malcom Harsch. Tony McDade. George Floyd. Dion Johnson. Breonna Taylor. Sean Reed. Steven Demarco Taylor. Manuel Ellis. Ahmaud Arbery. Darius Tarver. William Green. Michael Lorenzo Dean. Eric Reason. Ariane McCree. Kobe Dimock-Heisler. Atatiana Jefferson. Christopher Whitfield. Christopher McCorvey. Brian Quinones. Elijah McClain. Devon Bailey. Isak Aden. Ryan Matthew Smith. Dominique Clayton. Pamela Turner. Troy Hodge. Miles Hall. Ralph Bell. Willie McCoy. Bradley Blackshire. Ronell Foster. Jemel Roberson. Botham Jean. Nia Wilson. Marcus Deon Smith. Antwon Rose. Stephon Clark. Charleena Lyles. Timothy Caughman. Aaron Bailey. Jordan Edwards. Alteria Woods. Cordale Handy. Terrill Thomas. Mary Truxillo. Kevin Hicks. Demarcus Semer. Tyre King. Terence Crutcher. Korryn Gaines. Paul O’Neal. Alton Sterling. Joseph Mann. Philando Castile. Randy Nelson. David Joseph. Kionte Spencer. Peter Gaines. Sylville Smith. Torrey Robinson. Willie Tillman. Marco Loud. Antronie Scott. Darius Robinson. Janet Wilson. Christopher Davis. Wendell Celestine. Calin Roquemore. Dyzhawn Perkins. Quintonio Legrier. Keith Childress Jr. Bettie Jones. Kevin Matthews. Michael Noel. Miguel Espinal. Janisha Fonville. Lamontez Jones. Patterson Brown. Dominic Hutchinson. Michael Lee Marshall. Jamar Clark. Bennie Lee Tignor. India Kager. Angelo Delano Perry. Corey Jones. La’Vante Biggs. Tyree Crawford. Alonzo Smith. Nathaniel Harris Pickett. Anthony Ashford. Keith Harrison McKleod. Junior Prosper. Christian Taylor. Assahms Pharoh Manley. Michael Sabbie. Brian Keith Day. Felix Kumi. Albert Joseph Davis. Samuel Dubose. Billy Ray Davis. Albert Joseph Davis. Sandra Bland. Salvado Ellswood. George Mann. Jonathan Sanders. Kalief Browder. Darrius Stewart. Brendon Glenn. Alexia Christian. William Chapman II. Freddie Gray. Walter Scott. Eric Harris. Phillip White. Mya Hall. Anthony Hill. Tony Robinson. Corey Carter. Natasha McKenna. Frank Smart. Matthew Ajibade. Jerame Reid. Rumain Brisbon. Tamir Rice. Akai Gurley. Tanisha Anderson. Laquan McDonald. Darrien Hunt. Michelle Cusseaux. Dante Parker. Ezell Ford. Michael Brown. John Crawford III. Eric Garner. Victor White III. Yvette Smith. Renisha McBride. Larry Jackson Jr. Terrence Franklin. Tayler Rock. Clinton R. Allen. Derrick Ambrose Jr. Wayne Arnold Jones. Kendrick Johnson. Karvas Gamble Jr. Victor Duffy Jr. Rekia Boyd. Trayvon Martin. Ramarley Graham. Reginald Doucet Jr. Danroy “DJ” Henry Jr. Aiyana Stanley-Jones. Oscar Grant III. Sean Bell. Martin Lee Anderson. Timothy Thomas. Alfred Abuka Sanders. Amadou Diallo. Demetrius Dubose. Bobby Russ. James Byrd Jr. Nicholas Heyward Jr. Malice Green. Tycel Nelson. Phillip Pannell. Martin Luther King Jr. Malcom X. Cynthia Wesley. Carole Robertson. Addie May Collins. Medgar Evers. Emmett Till. Mary Turner. Henry Smith. The millions of enslaved black people who remain unnamed. And so many more.

 


Cannabis Delivery and COVID19 Coronavirus Quarantine

At bud.com delivery, we serve people out in the world, in their homes. During this outbreak of Spring 2020 we wanted to explain how bud.com is handling home delivery of cannabis in this pandemic quarantine for SARS-CoV-2 virus and the disease it causes, named “coronavirus disease 2019” (COVID-19).

Safe delivery steps we take in cannabis delivery during COVID19 coronavirus quarantine

State cannabis regulations mandate that we deliver the package to an adult over 21, so unfortunately we can't leave cannabis on the doorstep. Our drivers keep a respectful distance, and keep hand-sanitizer in their cars for use between calls. When they come to work and between deliveries we encourage our team to wash their hands and wear gloves.

Our delivery team members stay home if they are sick. Sick drivers can mean a late delivery, or closing early; better safe than sorry. We apologize for any service interruptions. We are hiring cannabis delivery drivers to meet demand.

We have been mindful of germs from the beginning since we serve immunocompromised customers. Ultimately any contact with the outside world carries risks; we work to minimize our potential to spread illness. 

Cannabis: like medicine + groceries

As our society decides how to function during a pandemic, we could run a social experiment: trap folks indoors for weeks without access to weed. It's possible that governments could order the closure of all "non-vital" businesses. Early in the spread of the pandemic, Italy ordered a closure to all businesses except groceries and drug stores. Would that kind of order effect cannabis businesses? We would argue cannabis is a bit of both grocery and pharmacy. Some people rely on cannabis as medicine to treat conditions and manage chronic pain. These patients should not unduly expose themselves to germs leaving the house to get medical marijuana. Other people will turn to alcohol from the market, drinking at home to blur the boredom. Too much isolated booze consumption can have sad side effects. We hope bud.com can provide a safe way for home-bound people to get access to lab-tested medical and recreational cannabis.

Assuming our supply chain members can stay healthy, we aim to continue weed delivery in the weeks ahead as the streets and businesses grow more quiet. Our bud.com team is already virtual. All of us live close with older folks and we are concerned to protect them from undue exposure.

In this unexpected time, too many businesses will close. We love our local restaurants, clubs, theaters, dance studios, coffee shops, bars - they're going to take a huge hit in the spring 2020. It's going to upend a lot of lives. We hope our supply chains can stay healthy so we can serve during a rough time.  We all need to aggressively support those people and communities impacted, if there are mass closures.

We have definitely noticed an uptick in requests: more people are ordering residential cannabis delivery during the day. It's a bit like the weekend didn't end on Monday 9 March, the orders just kept coming in. Perhaps cannabis use can alleviate the side effects of being trapped inside for days and weeks. Perhaps we want sleep aids because there appears to be more to worry about. Perhaps we'll take on indoor calisthenics and need something to take the ache off.  Rest assured our shelves are stocked and we are able to keep up with demand and deliver cannabis products safely and mindfully during this very weird time. 

At bud.com, we work to have a healthy company that can serve lab-tested products to people who want to remain healthy. We wish good luck and good health to all of us. Thanks to Sandra Garcia from The New York Times who gave us a chance to speak to these issues in her April 10 article "Staying Safe While Delivering Weed in the Pandemic".


Peak Cannabis Numerology Foiled?

If 4/20 is a holiday based on calendar numbering, this year is the most epic 4/20 there may ever be in human history! Not only is the day 4/20, but the whole month is also 4/20! And if you write the whole thing it's 4/20/2020 which is just a lot of 20. And if you write 4/20/20, there's 20/20 vision in there. Not until 4/20/2420 might the pot party potential be this big again.

And then coronavirus emerged to reset so much of human planning.

prohibited: pot prerolls in the park with strangers

So now for 4/20/20 we aren't going to be passing joints between strangers in a park. Many of us will be staring at futures grown more uncertain than usual. Death and illness loom larger in conversation. Maybe we need a party more than ever - to see a stranger and see them smiling because they're not wearing a mask.

But we don't puff puff pass in public on 4/20 this year. Because we value the human tribe. We value our elders. We don't want to be responsible for helping infect people we love. We don't want to lose more folks than we have to.

We can be inside if we have to. And cannabis can help us abide isolation, insecurity, anxiety, and boredom.

One Sesh In

To make Monday a bit memorable for marijuana mavens, a few of our dispensary partners are promoting The Great American Sesh In - a virtual online smoke session with famous tokers. Aundre Specialé is billed as a guest, as is Tommy Chong. I plan to drop by for a spell to see what's an online sesh; I hope the audience gets a chance to meet itself.

The event runs with @TheGreatAmericanSeshIn on Twitch on 4/20 from 11am-6pm PST. Sounds like a bit of a telethon (bongathon? tokeathon? tokealong?), with proceeds will benefit Direct Relief, working to get protective gear and critical care medications to health workers on the front-lines of COVID-19.

The dispensaries are promoting The Great American Sesh In to give their dedicated audience a reason to stay home on 4/20. From the program's web site: "you are flattening the rush of patrons to your location on 4/20, and safely maintaining social distancing." Dispensaries don't want to see a long queue of people lined up for 4/20 deals when they only have curbside pickup. How strange is this time! Consider delivery for 4/20 instead of going anywhere weed-related.

delivery on 4/20

bud.com will be running safe legal delivery of fire weed and compelling cannabis products for all of 4/20, with a number of deals featured across our service - check your area. We have been busier than ever in the last month. Crews of dedicated folks work on delivery, dispatch, and dispensary operations to keep the cannabis flowing. Some of us are socially isolated in our homes. Some of us are driving to people's homes to make deliveries. We are grateful for our front line folks, who are working hard and taking precautions to protect themselves and you.

One of our early business partners told me something he liked about working in weed. He says cannabis promotes proactive empathy. Let's recognize what's happening here: we value our collective safety and health, so we're not going to see each other out in the world for this momentous moment of marijuana numerology. We are alone together. Maybe this 4/20 we connect online. Ultimately, let's remember much of the journey is inwards. Good luck, be well, have the fun you can.


educating veterans about cannabis

Ryan Miller runs Operation E*V*A*C (Educating Veterans About Cannabis) based in the San Francisco Bay Area, California. Their mission is to “support the growth and healing of veterans through mutual assistance, personal development, and community service.” He hosts 16 veterans meetings a month across six different cannabis dispensaries, serving about 80 veterans.

Miller is now training another facilitator so the program can expand into the South Bay in Northern California. Each facilitators has studied “Mindful Resilience for Trauma Recovery” by the Veterans Yoga Project. They undertook Peer Specialist Training with the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance, enabling them to provide peer support through the VA, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

How do they guide veterans to use cannabis? Miller replies: “Cannabis is so subjective. Really it’s going to be trial and error until the patient figures out what's best for them. We can offer guidance on how to trial and error safely.”

Miller suggests people begin with edibles: start with a conservative portion, wait 60-90 minutes for onset, then maybe take more if you need it. If people take too much, he suggests that taking CBD can help balance the impact of THC, and black pepper as well. (Because it contains terpenes, smelling black pepper can help people come down a bit immediately and chewing black peppercorns can help balance the high in about an hour.)  Where did he pick up his knowledge? From years working at Bay Area dispensaries, learning from the patients and their experiences.

Do veterans have unique consumption patterns? Miller responds immediately: “Veterans tend to be on the higher end of consumption, in terms of milligram content, in terms of frequency. Of course they're all different, they’re not a homogenous group, but it's definitely on the higher end of consumption.”

This high consumption rate means that veterans are not happy about the 100 mg milligram limits for edibles in California. You can’t buy a single 1,000 mg edible brownie; now edibles can’t have more than 100 mg in a package. So someone with PTSD who needs 1,000 mg each morning to manage their anxiety must purchase and consume ten 100 mg brownies. Miller remarks acidly “you're going to treat people's pain but give them diabetes.”

Ryan Miller currently hosts veteran’s services in a dispensary setting. Thinking big, he wants to use that as an advocacy platform, promoting safe access for veterans in every state. “You shouldn't have to leave your friends, your family, your work, your community, your church, to come to California, Washington, Colorado to get your medicine.” Miller observes veterans coming to California and sleeping in their cars to get access to cannabis to treat their pain.

“We fought for the country, not the state.”

Ryan Miller stands up after submitting public commentary to the Bureau of Cannabis Control, Oakland, August 7 2018
Ryan Miller stands up after submitting public commentary to the Bureau of Cannabis Control, Oakland, August 7 2018

What about the long term? Miller envisions safe access to cannabis for active duty troops: “We're doing the work that the VA should be doing,” he says. “because the VA should be giving compassionate cannabis to troops like they are so willing to do with opioids & antidepressants.”

We asked Ryan Miller what a delivery service could do to help support veteran communities. We agreed we could help spread the word about Operation EVAC with articles like this. And, Miller suggested, we could help veterans get access to cannabis.

bud.com is proud to offer Veterans a discount on their cannabis delivery purchases. We believe cannabis is powerful medicine and we want to promote healing where it can provide real benefit. Once they sign up with bud.com during checkout, veterans automatically have 5% taken off all future purchases. We’re excited to offer more affordable cannabis, especially to those people with limited mobility.

 

Justin Hall is a retired rogue tech reporter, perhaps the first blogger, and the Chief Technology Officer of bud.com


Aundre Speciale by Shalom Ormsby in Spring 2019

Aundre Specialé: love is the best business model

Aundre Speciale has surfed the wave of cannabis legalization from guerilla activism to recreational branding. Today she’s Director of a number of California dispensaries, including bud.com delivery partners CBCB - the Cannabis Buyers Club Berkeley, Abatin in Sacramento, and LAPCG in West Hollywood. And she’s collaborated with some serious plant scientists to launch her own eponymous brand of top-shelf flower.

It was a long struggle for Speciale to arrive at this moment, including time spent as a single mom in poverty, and repeat confrontations with state and federal law enforcement. bud.com sits down to interview her on a brown chaise in the back of an apartment near the CBCB dispensary in Berkeley. On a stool next to her sits a short, clear, glass water pipe she periodically refills with fragrant, citrus-smelling cannabis: Lemon Crush. “It's what our amazing friends at Molecular Farm won the Emerald Cup with in 2017,” she says.

Like hundreds of thousands of children in the United States, Speciale ended up in foster care from a young age. When we ask her how she got her start in cannabis, she explains: “I had been in group homes and was just pretty pissed off at the system, and met my neighbor, Jack Herer, and I felt like I got struck by lightning, literally.”

Jack Herer (1939-2010) was an energetic evangelist for legal hemp and cannabis. His thoroughly-researched book, The Emperor Wears No Clothes, shared critical source material to, as Speciale says, “show what a racist, bullshit scam illegalization of cannabis was.” Falling in with Jack Herer in 1990 meant living on the road, traveling from town to town with petitions, tabling with cannabis books and literature around the country, and “educating people about hemp for food, fuel, fiber, fun and medicine.”

Speciale recalls when they were traveling together, Herer would go to Kinko’s late at night because he said everyone that works there at that hour is a stoner. “And so we'd roll in with a petition and a joint, or half a joint or whatever we had. And this big bus that said ‘Hemp Tour’ on it, and dancing bears and pot leaves, and they'd print us a bunch of copies of the petition.“

Working with Herer, Speciale developed a passion for street theater tactics to draw people in. She ended up in Sacramento where she volunteered with Americans for Safe Access (ASA). Founded in 2002, ASA took to the streets, battled in courtrooms, and lobbied in statehouses to bring legal cannabis to civil society.

Speciale says for one of her protest actions, she donned a grey wig and blocked an intersection in a wheelchair in front of the Federal Building.

My son would always be with me 'cause we didn't have any money for babysitters or anything. And so he'd be sitting on my lap and I'd have a gray wig on and somebody dressed like a police officer would [mime hitting me] with a baton. And I'd have this sign saying “I'm a medical marijuana patient!”

Besides activism, ASA also worked with early medical cannabis dispensaries to promote sound business and ethics. California voters had legalized medical cannabis with proposition 215 in 1996, but as Speciale explains, “There [were] no guidelines for us and so we would try to figure out: what's the best way to pay our taxes? What's the best way to ensure people are registered medical marijuana patients?"

Aundre Speciale by Shalom Ormsby in Spring 2019
Aundre Speciale by Shalom Ormsby in Spring 2019

This activism and outreach lead Speciale to open her own legal cannabis dispensaries. “We always told our people that every day you open the door, you're participating in civil disobedience. And it's the ultimate protest against the government: opening the door and serving the patients.” To Speciale, this kind of activism could ultimately lead to positive community relations. “Part of the activism was to open and operate well and pay your taxes, and be a good neighbor and be a good business.”

After an initial experience working with Health and Wellness Alternatives in San Francisco in 2004, Speciale set about opening Capitol Wellness Collective in Sacramento in 2005. Finding a building was a major challenge, since few landlords wanted to host tenants that could be readily raided by law enforcement. Capitol Wellness ended up across the street from the freeway next door to a vacant lot filled with trash, and first thing they did was to clean up the block.

In 2003, the California state senate passed SB420 to clarify medical cannabis rules. The law declared that medical cannabis “collectives” serving patients must be nonprofit, but didn’t specify many other operating strictures. So, Speciale and her team identified a building next door that could serve as a community center. “The rule I wrote is that we're a private membership collective and the fee to join was that you had to volunteer… or to even take a class.” They found retired people to teach life skills to young folks. They found people to mow the lawns of elderly neighbors. They planted flowers in the area. As stated in an article from 2010 in the Sacramento News Review, Capitol Wellness offered yoga (daily), tai chi, massage, cooking classes, fitness, spiritual, and life counseling. They had a chess club, book exchange, art therapy, veterans group, gardening, HIV/AIDS support group, guitar lessons, and “the ever-popular 420 bingo.” They had an apartment there and hosted people coming into Sacramento for cancer treatments. Aundre says, “It was a place of comfort, and cannabis was just part of it.”

Speciale ran her dispensaries her way, at a time when there weren’t a lot of women in the business. “It was a very masculine feel and so I really wanted to have a really female feel, like a motherly feel where everybody is welcome.“ Speciale says she filled her office with pillows. “People that wanted to come and do business with me would have to take off their shoes and come and sit on my silk pillows and talk business. A lot of times people would come in a little heavy or with an attitude: ‘Yeah, I got the goods’ and you'd get them to take their shoes off and the next thing you know, sitting on the silk pillows, these big, mountain men, sipping tea with their pinkies up.”

During our interview, Speciale repeats the phrase “Love is the best business model.” She remembers appreciative customers coming in to Capitol Wellness and saying to her "Man, the place down the street costs exactly the same and they don't do shit for anybody." Speciale cold-called the Sacramento Police Department and invited them to come in for a tour. They were able to show how the dispensary had helped to clean up the neighborhood. “It really started an amazing relationship with the government that we fostered.” Speciale reports this helped her continue her work around the state, replicating the model to help open and operate numerous dispensaries: Health and Wellness Alternatives (San Francisco) 2004, Capitol Wellness (Sacramento) 2004, Venice Beach Wellness Collective (Los Angeles) 2006, Abatin (Sacramento) 2007, Tahoe Wellness Collective (South Lake Tahoe) 2009, Cannabis Buyers Club Berkeley “CBCB” 2007, Phytologie (Oakland) 2012.

Speciale was eager to expand, but the threat of federal and local law enforcement made for challenging work. She lived in Berkeley and commuted to Sacramento to protect her child. “[At that time], Sacramento Child Protective Services had a rule that if you are even a medical marijuana patient, that was grounds to lose your kids.” In the Bay area, Child Protective Services didn’t have the same rules.

Now her two kids are grown and the cannabis business has evolved. With a spark in her eye and a lift in her voice, Speciale explains that she’s taken up branding, leveraging her decades of experience and connections to bring together top growers and manufacturers. Her first big brand is called Specialé. “Everything from the packaging on the outside, to the flowers on the inside: everything is special.” Her team sells product that won the Emerald Cup best in show, plus they have pioneered a number of remarkably high CBD strains, offering what Speciale refers to as “functional flower”—so you can smoke, find relief and still focus.

Aundre Speciale by Shalom Ormsby in Spring 2019
Aundre Speciale by Shalom Ormsby in Spring 2019

Aundre remembers debates from Jack Herer’s bus:

People would say, ‘Well, what if you legalize it and RJ Reynolds [the tobacco giant] takes over or something,’ or kind of what's happening now, all the big companies, and we'd think, ‘God, it'd be horrible, but probably the most important thing is let's just get cannabis. As long as it's clean, pure, good cannabis, let's get that in everybody's bodies and minds and then we can all talk about social policy.’ And I see it now, and it's just so wonderful to see everybody everywhere, embracing this natural plant.

Today recreational legalization in California means that it’s actually harder to be a non-profit, community-oriented cannabis business. The dispensaries Speciale has run have changed: “CBCB was familiar & friendly, it was small enough, we had classes, you could smoke there, it was a true community center.” What’s changed? She says, “[We] got busier, but also the city outlawed smoking [on premises] and that really takes away that community aspect.”

While full state-level legalization has brought on a new set of challenges, it has expanded the consumer base: Speciale says when she first opened her dispensary, only about 10% of the customers were women. “I think a big part is because there was a lot more shame for mothers and people were afraid to get their kids taken away, and now it's really close to 50/50, which is a wonderful thing.”

For all the regulation, commercialization and challenges of operating in this new commercialized environment, Aundre is ultimately awed by this moment: “When I was on the bus with Jack, this literally was a dream: that someday it'll be normalized and it'll be in stores, and it'll be available everywhere and grandmas will be using it and you know, and here we are. It's really cool.”

 

Justin Hall is a retired rogue tech reporter, perhaps the first blogger, and the Chief Technology Officer of bud.com


High in America book cover by Patrick Anderson

High In America – the birth of contemporary pot politics

bud.com in collaboration with Garrett County Press present a new ebook edition of the classic High in America, the definitive history of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML). This is the story of the birth of contemporary pot politics. Veteran journalist Patrick Anderson, in spectacular detail, recounts how a young lawyer from a small town, Keith Stroup, built an insanely successful political operation that advocated for the millions of Americans stuck in the marijuana closet. With the help of Hugh Hefner, Willie Nelson and others, Stroup managed to walk the tightrope between drug counter-culture and straight America, taking the conversation out of the realm of reefer madness and into the world of serious political debate. And the arguments NORML introduced in the 1970s—scientific, medical and criminal—are alive in the contemporary fight for legalization today. Anyone (smokers, lawyers, students and cops) who yearns to understand the architecture of contemporary pot politics will find High in America a valuable and entertaining resource. With a new forward by Justin Hall.

High in America book cover by Patrick Anderson
High in America by Patrick Anderson

treating my crohn’s disease with cannabis

One of the worst parts of Crohn’s Disease (CD) is the nausea. The overwhelming, all-consuming waves that make it impossible to eat, even when you’re starving. Feeling like you may projectile vomit at any given moment can really put a strain on physical activities as well.

For this reason alone, cannabis can provide serious relief for CD patients, but it also helps alleviate other debilitating symptoms of the disease. In 2011, a study of cannabis and CD was published in the Israel Medical Association Journal, and 21 out of 30 patients showed a significant improvement in symptoms. Additionally, there was a substantial reduction in the need for other standard forms of treatment.

I am all too familiar with the standard forms of CD treatment: the steroids that make my skin crawl and alter my moods drastically, the anti-anxiety medication that is highly habit-forming and increases my anxiety tenfold, the immunosuppressives that rip holes in my stomach lining with all the vomiting, and the painkillers wreaking havoc on my liver. When I was on the hamster wheel of discovery, in the beginning stages of my diagnosis before I became my own advocate, I tried many forms of treatment that only worsened my symptoms.

In another pilot study regarding CD and cannabis, Rudolf Schicho and Martin Storr note, “The immunosuppressives cause the same side effects that the disease causes: nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and diarrhea. Mesalamine frequently was reported to cause rash, itching, and photosensitivity. Steroids have a host of common side effects including anxiety, depression, irritability, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain; and, with chronic use, bone thinning, glucose intolerance, peptic ulcers, and the Cushingoid state.”

Crohn’s Disease belongs to a group of conditions known as Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) and is marked by inflammation of the digestive tract. Unlike other forms of IBD, CD can affect any part of the GI tract, from the mouth to anus. Most often, a CD patient will also experience several comorbidities, or co-existing conditions, such as anxiety, migraines, chronic pain, rheumatoid arthritis, or endometriosis.

Despite the positive anecdotal and clinical evidence, I have yet to find a doctor who embraces cannabis as a possible treatment option. For the last several years, I have treated my CD holistically. I came to CBD slowly, after a ton of research, and it drastically improved my symptoms. Even though I was safely managing my pain and anxiety along with other symptoms, every gastroenterologist I saw dismissed it and insisted on pharmaceuticals.

It has been my experience that the moment you mention homeopathic or holistic in relation to CD in front of a mainstream medical doctor, an implication of negligence ensues. Because I refuse their suggested form of treatment that will cause long-term and potentially fatal side effects, they imply I don’t care about my health. It doesn’t matter that my CD is in remission, which never happened with pharmaceuticals.

That isn’t to say that there are not times where pharmaceuticals are warranted, or that some of these treatments don’t work for a select few, but there are safer options. Unfortunately, with so much opposition remaining in mainstream health, and arbitrary laws still in place, those safer options aren’t always accessible. Even when they are, having your doctor dismiss your experience or curiosity is discouraging.

My most recent GI doctor didn’t even consider for one minute that CBD could be a formidable form of treatment for me. Even after my last colonoscopy, where my GI tract went from looking like swiss cheese to one lone ulcer, his consternation remained. He refused to discuss recent studies I brought with me, or to even acknowledge the improvement.

A randomized study completed in Israel showed that cannabis caused complete clinical remission in 45% of CD patients and a significant reduction in 90%. Complete clinical remission means that a patient doesn’t experience flare ups, or intensified symptoms.

Dr. Shivangi Amin, a family medicine and pain specialist expert in medical cannabis, tells bud.com that cannabis-based treatment can help with a patient’s overall quality of life, which is rare for a CD treatment:

“Cannabis has been used by many of my Crohn’s disease patients. I find that even though this is a disease with inflammation of the gut, cannabis use in these patients improves the symptoms associated with the disease such as pain and fatigue. This allows these patients to have a better quality of life.”

 

Diana-Ashley Krach is a freelance writer, journalist, and content creator whose work can be found on Everyday Feminism, Ravishly, and Playboy. She is the co-host and creator of Your Highness Podcast and founder of Good Vibes Marketing Agency. You can find her on Twitter or on her website


Zookies quarter in a Cypress Hill collectible crystal skull jar

bud.com delivers Cypress Hill's cannabis

Cypress Hill have been telling stories from the streets & frontiers of the mind for decades. A string of huge hit rap records erupted from West Coast stars B-Real, Sen Dog, DJ Muggs, and Eric Bobo: Cypress Hill spat rhymes as warriors and cannabis evangelists.

Now after eight years they have a new studio album, Elephants on Acid. If you watch the video for the first single "Crazy" starting at 1:25, you can see a crystal glass skull held aloft by B Real as he cruises a psychographic universe from a large brown recliner:

B Real holds aloft a crystal glass skull packed with fine cannabis in the video for Crazy from Cypress Hill's new album Elephants on Acid
B Real holds aloft a crystal glass skull packed with fine cannabis in the video for Crazy from Cypress Hill's new album Elephants on Acid

bud.com is proud to be the exclusive delivery provider for Cypress Hill's crystal skull with a quarter ounce of fire California cannabis. The skull is topped with a black bucket hat, and that bucket hat is child-resistant:

Zookies quarter in a Cypress Hill collectible crystal skull jar
Zookies quarter in a Cypress Hill collectible crystal skull jar

In addition Cypress Hill has figured out how to serve weed in a cassette: the Cypress Hill pre-rolls are top shelf Mendo Breath rolled in cones, in a collectible metal cassette case stash box.

present CHB crystal skull quarter-ounces and cassette-tape prerolls
present CHB crystal skull quarter-ounces and cassette-tape prerolls

All these products are more are listed on the CHB Cypress Hill Bhang site on bud.com - see if we can deliver to your area.

Back in the day we picked seeds from our bong hits on top of our plastic Black Sunday CD cases. Cypress Hill accompanied many sessions as we were learning to appreciate cannabis and music. Now Cypress Hill has arranged to deliver quality cannabis to their fans across California through bud.com.

We sponsored a Cypress Hill record release party the same day we received a large wire transfer to confirm the first investment in our delivery platform. As the elephantine beats dropped, we raised a pre-roll in the air to celebrate, passing it over to musicians working to grow their business sharing things they love: music, weed, good company.

Chuck D from Public Enemy stands for a pic with Cypress Hill, as the 2018 bud logo looms over their right shoulders, and the bud.com founders stand off to their left
Chuck D from Public Enemy stands for a pic with Cypress Hill, as the 2018 bud logo looms over their right shoulders, and the bud.com founders stand off to their left

how legal cannabis hurts compassionate care

Sweetleaf Collective is a charitable organization founded in 1996 to provide free medical cannabis to those in need throughout the Bay Area. Primarily serving low-income HIV/AIDS and cancer patients via bicycle delivery, Sweetleaf was originally founded and run on a volunteer basis, using excess flower and shake donations from farms in Humboldt County. For the first ten years, Sweetleaf’s founder Joe Airone did the bulk of the work—accepting donations, communicating with patients, and organizing volunteers.

Recipients of Sweetleaf’s free medical cannabis face such severe health and financial challenges that many would not be able to afford both food and medicine. Patients like Ed Gallagher, a 67-year old blind veteran diagnosed with HIV, rely on Sweetleaf’s free medical marijuana for the three most common needs among seriously ill patients: appetite stimulation, pain relief, and mood elevation. For many patients, the cocktail of medications they must take to treat or control their condition robs them of quality of life. Medical cannabis helps.

In the early days of Sweetleaf, there were moments when Airone’s paying job demanded more from him, and the efforts of the organization slowed. But despite the challenges of running a charitable organization in one’s spare time, during the first decade, Sweetleaf Collective was able to build and serve a clientele of ten to twelve, mostly terminal, patients. In 2006, bigger donations started to flow in, and Sweetleaf was able to increase the number of patients served and hire part-time workers.

It was the 1996 Compassionate Use Act, or Prop 215, that allowed Sweetleaf and other compassionate care providers to begin operating. But recently, these charitable organizations have run into unexpected trouble. In 2016, voters approved Prop 64, legalizing cannabis for recreational use. Sales began in January of this year. Though counted as an overall win for the industry, the sale of cannabis is now regulated in such a way that makes all cannabis transactions—even donations-based ones—taxable at 15% of market value, in addition to all local taxes.

The permits required by Prop 64 in order to obtain cannabis from legal growers are costly as well. All of this puts undue financial burden on organizations like Sweetleaf that run on a small budget and do not produce revenue. Under the new tax regimen, Sweetleaf could be responsible for $50K-$200K in taxes and fees per year—an untenable situation. Cultivators, too, would be responsible for taxes on the product they donate—making them less likely to do so. Reducing the flow of free medical cannabis available to Sweetleaf’s recipients comes with a human cost. “We’re concerned,” said Airone, “because our patients are already terminal.”

According to their website, in 2017, Sweetleaf Collective was able to provide over 100 pounds of free cannabis to more than 150 patients. But since legal sales began in January 2018, Sweetleaf has distributed only 10-15 pounds of medical cannabis. Airone has said that while there are a few workarounds, the situation is complicated. For instance, cannabis cultivators can still donate product that was grown before 2018, but not after.

Airone has said that he believes the burden on charitable organizations was an unintended consequence of Prop 64. But remedying that burden has not proved easy.

Jeff Sheehy, former Supervisor for San Francisco’s District 8, authored amended regulations in the city to allow tax-exempt status for charitable organizations. However, SB 829, a bill introduced by Scott Wiener (D) earlier this year that would have exempted charitable organizations statewide from the new taxes passed both houses of the California legislature but was vetoed by Governor Brown on September 30th.  It was a blow for compassionate care advocates across the state.

The fight for separate, non-commercial regulations for compassionate cannabis providers continues. Twenty or so organizations, such as the Weed for Warriors Project, Caladrius Network, and Wo/Men’s Alliance for Medical Marijuana, have joined with Sweetleaf to form the California Compassion Coalition in order to lobby toward that end. Today, Sweetleaf is raising funds to help offset the cost of legal fees, as well as their advocacy and education efforts.

Hopefully, the compassionate care and the recreational sectors of the cannabis industry can one day soon coexist in a way that makes sense to voters, legislators, and people in the industry. The people of Sweetleaf Collective want to be able to provide relief—both legally, and manageably. For Airone, the struggle is worthwhile. As he was quoted earlier this year: “These people have been counting on Sweetleaf and the compassionate cannabis that we provide, free of charge, to sustain their lives.”

 

Danielle Simone Brand is a mother of two, a die-hard idealist, and a breaker of conventions. She holds a BA from Dartmouth College and an MA from American University and has worked as a staff writer, an academic editor, and a researcher on issues of international conflict resolution.